Watch and Pray…

God has appointed His intercessors to be Watchmen on the Wall…

In ancient times, watchmen stood guard on a city’s walls to see to the welfare of its citizens and to warn of coming trouble.

Who is to do that job today in a dangerous world moving closer to the crisis of the close of the age?

Jesus told us to both watch and pray!

Question: “What does it mean to watch and pray?”

Jesus used the phrase “watch and pray” on a couple of different occasions.

Once was the night before the crucifixion. Jesus took Peter, James, and John with Him to the Garden of Gethsemane, where He prayed that “this cup be taken from me” (Matthew 26:39).

After the prayer, He found His disciples sleeping. He was grieved that they could not even pray with Him for an hour and warned them…

When he came back to his disciples, he found them sound asleep.

He said to Peter, “Can’t you stick it out with me a single hour?

Stay alert; be in prayer so you don’t wander into temptation without even knowing you’re in danger.

There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God. But there’s another part that’s as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.”

(Matthew 26:40-41 The Message)

Another occurrence of the phrase “watch and pray” is found earlier in Jesus’ ministry when He prophesied about the end times.

Luke chapter 21 details many of those events, and Jesus warns that they would happen suddenly…

“But be on your guard. Don’t let the sharp edge of your expectation get dulled by parties and drinking and shopping.

Otherwise, that Day is going to take you by complete surprise, spring on you suddenly like a trap, for it’s going to come on everyone, everywhere, at once.

So, whatever you do, don’t go to sleep at the switch. Pray constantly that you will have the strength and wits to make it through everything that’s coming and end up on your feet before the Son of Man.”

(Luke 21:34-36 The Message)

“Watch and pray.” The word translated “watch” means “to have the alertness of a guard at night.”

A night watchman must be even more vigilant than a daytime guard. In the daytime, danger can often be spotted from a distance. But in the night everything is different.

A night watchman must use senses other than sight to detect danger. He is often alone in the darkness and without the defenses he would otherwise employ.

There may be no indications of enemy attack until it happens, so he must be hyper-vigilant, suspecting it at any moment. That is the type of watching Jesus spoke about.

Jesus warned us that we are too easily distracted by the physical and will be caught unaware if we do not continually discipline ourselves.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, sleepiness overcame the disciples. Their physical need overpowered their desire to obey Him.

He was grieved when He saw this, knowing what was ahead for them.

If they did not remain spiritually vigilant, in tune with Him (John 15:5) and ready to deny the flesh, they would be overcome by the evil one (1 Peter 5:8).

Jesus’ disciples today must also watch and pray. We are easily distracted by this world, our fleshly needs and desires, and the schemes of the enemy (2 Corinthians 2:11).

When we take our eyes from Jesus and His soon return, our values begin to shift, our attention wanders, and soon we are living like the world and bearing little fruit for God’s kingdom (1 Timothy 6:18–19).

He warned us that we must be ready at any moment to stand before Him and give an account of our lives (Romans 14:12; 1 Peter 4:5; Matthew 12:36).

“Watch and pray.” We can only remain faithful when we are devoted to prayer.

Through the pray of faith, offered in Jesus’ name, God has made available to us ALL power in Heaven and Earth (see Matthew 28:18-20) to accomplish His will, keep the “Turkey” at bay and change the world, but these things only happen as we submit to God in prayer.

In prayer, we continually allow God to forgive us, cleanse us, teach us, and strengthen us to obey Him (John 14:14).

In order to keep watch, we must pray for endurance and freedom from distractions (Hebrews 12:2; Luke 18:1; Ephesians 6:18).

We must pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

If you don’t like what you see happening in the world today, then God has given us His instructions on how to change the world!

“If my God-defined people, respond (debauchery of the world) by humbling themselves, praying, seeking My presence, and turning their backs on their wicked lives (and ways) , then I’ll be there ready for you: I’ll listen from heaven, forgive their sins, and restore their land to health.

(2 Chronicles 7:14 The Message)

Change starts with us and our relationship with God!

Gideon’s 300

Judges 7:4-7

[The Backstory: God first encounters Gideon cowering in a winepress, ironically calling him a “mighty man of valor,” prophetically forecasting Gideon’s role as a savior of Israel, rescuing them from the Midianites.

Gideon incrementally moved from a position of weakness and fear to a position of strength and valor as he started to trust increasingly in God.

But first Gideon’s army had to be whittled down from 32,000 to 300 by a series of tests designed to weed out the fearful, leaving a 450 to 1 ratio in favor of the Midianites, ensuring that God would get the credit for the victory.

Nevertheless, Gideon’s 300 men seemed like a million men to the Midianites, throwing the enemy into utter confusion, fighting one another in the darkness. And Gideon’s army did not even have to fight.]
4 And the Lord said to Gideon, “The people are still too many. Take them down to the water, and I will test them for you there, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ shall go with you, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ shall not go.”
5 So he brought the people down to the water. And the Lord said to Gideon, “Every one who laps the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set by himself. Likewise, every one who kneels down to drink.”
6 And the number of those who lapped, putting their hands to their mouths, was 300 men, but all the rest of the people knelt down to drink water.
7 And the Lord said to Gideon, “With the 300 men who lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hand, and let all the others go every man to his home.”

Please note that the men that God chose we’re the ones who had the presence of mind to keep their eyes on the horizon, to watch and see what the enemy was doing!

This is your invitation to come join our Watchmen on the Wall Prayer Call three times a week, where we pray for and encourage one another; where we pray for our modern-day Cyrus – President Donald Trump; we also pray for a grassroots Awakening and Revival in our land and in the churches across our land; and we pray for the Peace of Jerusalem and for God’s guidance over Bibi Netanyahu.

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The Lamb

The Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world…

Revelation 5:1-7

The Lamb Takes the Scroll

5 And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. 2 Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” 3 And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it.

4 So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. 5 But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”

6 And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.

The Passover Lamb

Out of all the sacrificial services in the Torah, none is so well known and so often remembered as the sacrifice of the Passover Lamb.

The Passover Lamb was the first sacrifice that Israel, as a nation, was commanded to make. Juxtaposed against the drama unfolding in the Exodus narrative, the Passover sacrifice strikes an indelible impression on the mind of the reader.

In that story, the stakes are very high. Death is coming to the land of Egypt. Even the Israelites will not be spared as the LORD comes to strike the firstborn of man and beast. It is a judgment from heaven, a terror in the night.

Merits of innocence and guilt are not considered. Faith and creed are irrelevant. The righteous will perish with the wicked. Previous plagues had shown particularity, sparing the Jews in the midst of Egypt. The tenth plague, however, will be completely impartial. Just as in life itself, death knows no boundaries, the tenth plague will strike Egyptian and Jewish homes alike.

Only those who are within homes marked by the blood of a lamb will be spared. Had the Egyptians imitated the ritual slaughter of the Pesach, marking their homes with the blood in like manner, they too would have been spared. The only criteria for salvation, in this instance at least, is the blood on the doorway.

Who’s Blood Is It?

Christianity has traditionally interpreted the Passover and particularly the blood on the doorway as a type of Messiah’s redeeming work. One midrash interprets the situation in an identical manner, except that the blood symbolized by the lamb’s blood is Isaac’s.

“What did God see [when he passed over the Israelites houses]? He saw the blood of the binding of Isaac: as it is said, ‘God will see for himself the lamb . . .'” Genesis 22:8, Macoby, 1988

In that midrash, the blood of the Passover lamb symbolizes the sacrifice of Abraham’s only son. The blood of Isaac serves as an atonement. God remembers Isaac’s sacrifice when he sees the lamb’s blood, and in the merit of Isaac’s willing self-sacrifice, he spares the blood-marked house from wrath.

The Christian interpretation is the same, but the names have changed. The blood of the Passover lamb symbolizes God’s only begotten son. The blood of Yeshua serves as an atonement. God remembers the Messiah’s sacrifice when he sees the lamb’s blood, and in merit of Messiah’s willing sacrifice, he spares that house from wrath.

[Sar Shalom – Messianic Jewish Community]


Note the highlighted words from God’s instructions, regarding the Passover sacrifice:

“…on the tenth day of this month each family must choose a lamb… The animal you select must be…with no defects…take special care of this chosen animal until the evening of the fourteenth day of this first month” (Exodus 12:1-13)

Have you ever kept a one-year-old lamb roaming loose in your house? Not to mention for four days? Well, neither had the Hebrews.

Remember that they were slaves whose living areas were probably small and cramped.

Can you imagine living in tight quarters with a one-year-old lamb? What would your house sound and smell like?

Lambs are about the nicest and cutess pet you could have.

How would your family, especially your children, react to after keeping this young lamb in your home for four days, and after having it become a part of your family, to then have to slaughter it and offer it as a sacrifice?

How do you think Abraham felt, after having waited 100 years to have Sarah give birth to Issac, to then be asked by God to offer him as a sacrifice?

We are told in John 3:16, “That God so LOVED the world that He gave His ONLY begotten Son…”

The message here is that even though SALVATION comes to us as a GIFT, by faith, it did not come cheap!!!

The point is, intimacy with Messiah Jesus is paramount to our receiving this GIFT from God, for the forgiveness of our sins and reconciliation back into God’s family.

Jesus CANNOT be our Saviour, unless we first make Him Lord of our life.

This is the price we must ALL pay to follow Jesus and be one of His disciples:

Romans 12:1-2
Living Sacrifices to God

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Matthew 16:24
Then Jesus said His to disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

1 John 2:6
He who says he abides in Him (Jesus) ought himself also to walk just as He (Jesus) walked.

It’s at this time of the year that we celebrate the RESURRECTION of our Lord Jesus, the Christ (Messiah) – who is Saviour of the World, where we acknowledge that after 3 days and nights in the grave, that Jesus walked out of that tomb, as our Risen Lord!

What is the significance of the Resurrection?

If you are already a Believer, then please allow me to wish you a blessed and happy Resurrection Day; but if your are not yet a Believer, then please come along with us and join the Adventure!

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Because He lives, I can face tomorrow…

The Resurrected Life

Romans 8:10-14

The Message (MSG)

9-11 But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won’t know what we’re talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God’s terms.

It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself?

When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!

Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won’t know what we’re talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God’s terms.

It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself?

When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!

12-14 So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!

Come join the Adventure!

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What did Jesus mean when He told His disciples to count the cost?

Counting the cost…

Luke 14:25-34

The Voice Translation

Count the Cost

Jesus continues to challenge Jewish ideas about who will be in the kingdom of God and how the Kingdom will work. Those who have been dishonored on earth will be honored in the Kingdom, and those in positions of economic and religious honor here will be dishonored there. He also challenges individuals to reconsider their personal value systems. They should not honor their own lives and family above Christ, but rather give them up for Him.

25 Great crowds joined Him on His journey, and He turned to them.

Jesus: 26 If any of you come to Me without hating your own father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, and yes, even your own life, you can’t be My disciple. 27 If you don’t carry your own cross as if to your own execution as you follow Me, you can’t be part of My movement. 28 Just imagine that you want to build a tower. Wouldn’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to be sure you have enough to finish what you start? 29 If you lay the foundation but then can’t afford to finish the tower, everyone will mock you: 30 “Look at that guy who started something that he couldn’t finish!”

31 Or imagine a king gearing up to go to war. Wouldn’t he begin by sitting down with his advisors to determine whether his 10,000 troops could defeat the opponent’s 20,000 troops? 32 If not, he’ll send a peace delegation quickly and negotiate a peace treaty. 33 In the same way, if you want to be My disciple, it will cost you everything. Don’t underestimate that cost!

34 Don’t be like salt that has lost its taste. How can its saltiness be restored? Flavorless salt is absolutely worthless.

https://youtu.be/GO0iYMWhwFk

Question: “What does it mean to ‘count the cost’ (Luke 14:28)?”

Answer:

In Luke 14, Jesus lays out the terms of discipleship. There were great crowds following Him. Everyone loved the miracles, healing, and free food.

Jesus was cool, the talk of the town, and the latest fad. But He knew their hearts. He knew they desired the benefits of what He did rather than an understanding of who He was.

They loved His gifts, not the life He was calling them to. So He explained what it takes to be one of His followers:

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.

Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?

Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’

Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?

And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26-33).

Jesus said a lot in those simple illustrations. He quickly put an end to the idea that He offered some kind of welfare program.

Although the gift of eternal life is free to anyone who asks (John 3:16), the asking requires a transfer of ownership (Luke 9:23; Galatians 5:24).

“Counting the cost” means recognizing and agreeing to some terms first. In following Christ, we cannot simply follow our own inclinations. We cannot follow Him and the world’s way at the same time (Matthew 7:13-14).

Following Him may mean we lose relationships, dreams, material things, or even our lives.

Those who are following Jesus simply for what they can get won’t stick around when the going gets tough. When God’s way conflicts with our way, we will feel betrayed by the shallow, me-first faith we have bought into.

If we have not counted the cost of being His child, we will turn away at the threat of sacrifice and find something else to gratify our selfish desires (cf. Mark 4:5, 16-17).

In Jesus’ earthly ministry, there came a time when the free food stopped and public opinion turned ugly. The cheering crowds became jeering crowds. And Jesus knew ahead of time that would happen.

Jesus ended His description of the cost of discipleship with a breathtaking statement: “Any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33).

“Renouncing” may mean we give up something physically, but more often it means we let go emotionally so that what we possess no longer possesses us.

When we become one of His, we cannot continue to belong to this world (1 John 2:15-17). We must make a choice, for we cannot serve both God and Mammon (Matthew 6:24).

The rich young ruler, when confronted with that choice, turned his back on Jesus (Luke 18:18-25).

Suppose you learned that you had been given an all-expense-paid condo on a beach in Tahiti, complete with airfare, a car, food, and a maid.

You could brag about your new lifestyle, plan for it, and dream about it. But until you pack up and leave your current home, the new life is never really yours.

You cannot live in Tahiti and your current hometown at the same time.

Many people approach Christianity the same way. They love the idea of eternal life, escaping hell, and having Jesus at their beck and call. But they are not willing to leave the life they now live.

Their desires, lifestyle, and sinful habits are too precious to them. Their lives may exhibit a token change—starting to attend church or giving up a major sin—but they want to retain ownership of everything else.

Jesus is speaking in Luke 14 to those with that mindset.

We cannot earn salvation by lifestyle change or any other good deed (Ephesians 2:8-9). But when we choose to follow Christ, we are releasing control of our lives.

When Jesus is in control, pure living results (1 John 3:4-10; 2 Corinthians 5:17). In Jesus’ parable of the sower, it was only the soil that allowed the seed to put down roots and bear fruit that was called “good.”

If we are going to be disciples of Christ, we must first count the cost of following Him.

From: True Discipleship: The Art of Following Jesus by John Koessler

Here’s the deal, the God who gave us our life —- Authored and Created us — also gave to each of us a free will, so it would be solely up to us how we would spend our life, whether we would spend our life to serve self, or to serve our Creator?

Of course it was always God’s purpose and wish that we each would choose to follow Him and the reason He never forces this issue is because God is looking for a people who would willingly lay their life down for Him, as Jesus did for us.

Here’s the deal,