So glad you’ve joined us for Day One of the 21 Day Watch. “Watching for what?” you may ask. Watching for signs of God at work all around us. Looking for insights from His Word. Watching closely for His “fingerprints.” I’m asking God specifically to Open My Eyes so I may see Him more clearly. God’s Presence holds the answer to all life’s problems. So why do we race around looking everywhere else for solutions?
The idea to do a 21 Day Watch was inspired by several recent conversations with friends. Each confided they were overwhelmed by the same problem. Anxiety. They were consumed with worry about frightening events in the news. Admittedly, the world can be a scary place right now. Terror attacks have been fierce. Persecution of Christians is at an all time high. Some say it’s the most dangerous time in history to believe in Jesus.
Frankly, it’s always been dangerous to follow God. The Bible is full of examples of believers facing persecution. John the Baptist met a gruesome death at the hands of the evil ruler Herod. John had confronted Herod on his adulterous relationship with Herodias, his brother’s wife. Herod wanted to kill John, but was afraid of the wrath of his followers. The Message Bible tells us what happened next:
But at Herod’s birthday celebration, he got his chance. Herodias’s daughter provided the entertainment, dancing for the guests. She swept Herod away. In his drunken enthusiasm, he promised her on oath anything she wanted. Already coached by her mother, she was ready: “Give me, served up on a platter, the head of John the Baptizer.” That sobered the king up fast. Unwilling to lose face with his guests, he did it—ordered John’s head cut off and presented to the girl on a platter. She in turn gave it to her mother (Matthew 14:6-12 MSG).
Sounds remarkably like ISIS staged event. But notice the reaction of Jesus to the death of His dearly loved cousin. He doesn’t panic or lose heart. The Bible simply tells us He went away by Himself to be alone with God. To be in God’s presence. You can read the entire text by clicking here.
The biblical account tells us nothing about the grief He surely suffered. But Jesus was fully human, so we must assume He needed time to process the tragedy, to pour out His heart, to be healed and strengthened by His heavenly Father. Along the way, He is intercepted by a crowd of needy and hurting people. Moved with compassion for their suffering, He heals their sick and even performs a miracle of feeding the 5000 plus. God showed up big time. I’m sure Jesus was exhilarated by this mighty moment. But notice: He still needed time alone with God.
As soon as the meal was finished, he insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he dismissed the people. With the crowd dispersed, he climbed the mountain so he could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night. (Matthew 14:22, 23 MSG).
Jesus needed time in God’s presence. Time to pray, to heal, to grieve, to seek strength, to refuel. Friends, if Jesus needed time alone with God, how much more do we?
My husband is fond of saying that kids spell love T-I-M-E. I think it’s the same with God. Time alone with God sets the stage to experience Him throughout the rest of our day. If you’re serious about this 21 Day Watch, I encourage you to carve out a daily T-I-M-E with God as your starting point.
Lord, renew my zeal to spend time in Your Presence. Ignite my passion for Your Word and for prayer. Fine tune my hearing to Your voice. Make my eyes sensitive to Your slightest movement. May I see Your fingerprints today. -Amen.