Watch and Pray
(This is a Conference Message presented to hundreds of Pentecostal women by my late wife, Dixie, in Montgomery, Alabama in 1998, six months after her first surgery for Stage 3 cancer. At the time she presented this message, Dixie was undergoing Chemotherapy and Radiation treatments. She presented this message with much conviction. Cancer finally took her life in 2003. - Ken)
By Dixie Raggio
Note: Since this was a SPEECH, she capitalized the words she emphasized.
The theme of this conference is “Watch Ye”. The subject assigned to me was “When to Watch."
First of all, the Bible emphasizes WATCHFULNESS from beginning to end. I hope that I can amplify the meaning and purpose of WATCHFULNESS today.
WATCHFULNESS is derived from a Hebrew word meaning to lean forward, to peer into the distance; to BE ALERT, to SPY, to WATCH CLOSELY.
WATCHFULNESS implies an awareness of dangers and hazards lurking in our lives. WATCHFULNESS speaks of imminent and urgent events about to take place.
I want to read some select verses out of the story of Nehemiah rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem; how the enemies came against him, and what he did about them.
"But it came to pass, that when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, and that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth, And conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it. Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them," Nehemiah 4:7-9.
Nehemiah COMMANDED the people to watch DAY AND NIGHT.
In verse 17, they built on the wall, working with one hand, and carrying a weapon in the other.
In verse 21, they worked and watched from the rising of the sun until the stars appeared at night.
In verse 22, they even guarded one another throughout the night.
You know, that says a lot about how close at hand the enemy was and how much resistance they faced every moment of the day.
Nehemiah COMMANDED the people to WATCH – DAY AND NIGHT!
You and I must understand that IF WE ARE TO SURVIVE the battles we face, we are REQUIRED to WATCH.
Think about what it MEANS to be a WATCHMAN.
We must CONSTANTLY have our EYES on the horizon - CAREFULLY LOOKING for ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that might be HAZARDOUS to our RELATIONSHIP with God.
If we don’t CAREFULLY watch for our SOULS, we WILL be OVERTAKEN and DESTROYED!
That is not MERELY a RISK! It is an INEVITABLE FACT!
If we do not WATCH, we simply will not SURVIVE THE DECEPTIONS and the SUBTLETIES of the DEVIL. In case you don’t know, SATAN is ROAMING about as a roaring LION SEEKING whom he may DEVOUR. He doesn’t even COME AROUND EXCEPT TO STEAL, KILL, and DESTROY!
I’ll tell you the CONCLUSION of the matter, right here in the BEGINNING!
There is ONLY ONE TIME to WATCH –
DAY AND NIGHT. 24/7.
One of the most CUTTING CRITICISMS Jesus ever made of his disciples was that they COULD NOT WATCH WITH HIM FOR ONE HOUR!
Jesus KNEW it was his time to be delivered into the hands of EVIL MEN. He STRAIGHTLY told his disciples to WATCH and PRAY, lest they enter into temptation.
THAT COMMANDMENT was MUCH more PIERCING than we have REALIZED.
When Jesus told them to WATCH and PRAY, the THING that was ON HIS MIND was the IMMINENT DANGERS they were about to face with his ACCUSERS and MURDERERS!
Standing RIGHT THERE in the midst of the PEACEFUL GARDEN of Gethsemane, under the QUIETNESS of the MOONLIGHT, Jesus was KEENLY AWARE that there were DANGEROUS FORCES LURKING in the shadows. THAT is why he WARNED his disciples to WATCH and PRAY!
Jesus was TRYING to PREPARE them for the UNSPEAKABLE DIFFICULTIES that were about to come upon them. He wanted Peter and the brethren NOT ONLY to have their EYES WIDE OPEN, but to have their HEARTS and MINDS in a STATE of READINESS for the MOST UNBELIEVABLE TRIAL of their lives.
I want to tell you that if Satan hasn’t thrown you a curve yet, HE WILL!
He threw me a curve last September when the Doctor told me I had cancer. If I had had ANY IDEA what my future was going to hold, I would have done ANYTHING to prevent it.
I’m not telling you that EVERY problem can be PREVENTED. But I DO BELIEVE that to be FOREWARNED is to be FORE ARMED!
The Lord has been GOOD to me, and the DOCTOR says I don’t have any CANCER NOW.
But SATAN is STILL trying to HINDER ME throughout all the therapy and treatments. I HAVE TO CONSTANTLY be ON GUARD for all the FIERY DARTS of the DEVIL.
One of the reasons we DON’T HEAR the Lord TELLING us and WARNING us to WATCH, is because WE REALLY DON’T HAVE ANY IDEA how CLOSE and PRESENT the DANGERS of life actually ARE!!!
We HAVE to WAKE UP and REALIZE there is TROUBLE BREWING in this old world, and if we FALL ASLEEP right now, WE ARE GOING TO BE OVERCOME!
This is ALL ABOUT being ON YOUR GUARD, about being in a CONSTANT STATE of READINESS for WHATEVER the WORLD, and the FLESH and the DEVIL might COME AGAINST US with.
WATCHING and PRAYING is what makes the DIFFERENCE between FALLING into a state of PANIC, FEAR, and RETREAT OR being PREPARED to STAND FIRM – and even DECLARE WAR – when the adversary comes around.
The Bible is full of examples of WATCHMEN – and WATCHERS – and WATCHING.
The ANCIENT people built TOWERS on the WALLS of the CITIES to watch for ANY KIND of DANGERS coming around.
The HUSBANDMEN built TOWERS in their VINEYARDS to protect their crops.
The SHEPHERDS kept WATCHES over their FLOCKS, day and night, to protect them.
WHY? Because those ancient people NEVER, NEVER took their SAFETY for granted!! They had a DEEP, INGRAINED INSTINCTIVE AWARENESS that EVERYTHING in life is FRAUGHT with DANGER.
They were CONSTANTLY EXPOSED to THIEVES – MOLESTERS – and RUSTLERS. Everything that wasn’t NAILED DOWN got stolen. People would take ANYTHING and EVERYTHING, ANYTIME, ANYWHERE!
They had to WATCH their FLOCKS.
They had to WATCH their CATTLE.
They had to WATCH their SHEEP.
They had to WATCH their BELONGINGS!
THAT OUGHT TO SAY SOMETHING TO US. We need to set a TWENTY FOUR HOUR WATCH over our VERY SOULS. Over our HOMES, our MARRIAGES, our CHILDREN, our CHURCHES. Over EVERYTHING we LOVE!
When the DISCIPLES asked JESUS to tell them WHAT WOULD BE THE SIGNS of his coming, the FIRST TWO WORDS OUT OF HIS MOUTH were “TAKE HEED.”
In the GREEK language, that phrase means: BEHOLD – BEWARE – LOOK ON – PERCEIVE – SEE – TAKE HEED!!
JESUS was WARNING them to WATCH OUT!!! WATCH OUT for DECEIVERS! WATCH OUT for WARS and RUMORS of WARS; ...for FAMINES, PESTILENCES, and EARTHQUAKES; ...for PERSECUTION of the CHURCH; ...for those in the CHURCH who would OFFEND you and BETRAY you, and HATE you.
Watch out for FALSE PROPHETS.
WATCH OUT for INIQUITY that would ABOUND and cause the LOVE of many to WAX COLD.
IF YOU BELIEVE that we are LIVING in the days of the COMING of the LORD, THEN YOU KNOW IT’S TIME FOR US TO BE WATCHING!!!
WE NEED TO BE WATCHING 24/7 - 24 hours a DAY, SEVEN DAYS a WEEK.
It’s time for us to be CLIMBING UP INTO OUR TOWERS and get our BINOCULARS out, and start SEARCHING for EVERY DEVIL that JESUS WARNED us about.
It’s time for us to get our EYES SHARPENED for ANYTHING SUSPICIOUS that even MOVES!
JESUS said, Be WISE as SERPENTS. PAUL warned us to take care, “Lest SATAN should get and ADVANTAGE of us, For we are NOT IGNORANT of his DEVICES.”
In the book of Hebrews, Paul talked about using the Word of God SKILLFULLY. He spoke of those who, “BY REASON OF USE, have their SENSES EXERCISED to DISCERN both GOOD and EVIL”.
I want to tell you WHAT I SEE on the HORIZON.
I SEE THE DECEPTION that Jesus warned about. I want to WARN you about EVIL MEN and SEDUCERS, who the BIBLE SAYS will WAX WORSE and WORSE, DECEIVING and BEING DECEIVED!
FALSE CHRISTIANITY is STEAMROLLING all over the world today.
They are having MORE SIGNS, and WONDERS, and MIRACLES than they have EVER HAD BEFORE.
Many of OUR BEST KNOWN PREACHERS and SINGERS and CHURCHES have been TRICKED into believing that its a REAL MOVE OF GOD !
BUT IT’S NOT! It’s a TROJAN HORSE!
I don’t want MY HUSBAND to be a "PROMISE-KEEPER"! I WANT HIM TO BE AN APOSTOLIC!!!!!
Their DOCTRINE is WRONG!! Their GOSPEL is WRONG!!
It’s TIME to WATCH OUT !!
JOHN WARNED that ANTICHRISTS would come.
He talked about THOSE who would LEAVE US to go with that OTHER CROWD.
He said, “They WENT OUT FROM US but they were NOT OF US, for IF they had BEEN OF US, no doubt, they would have CONTINUED WITH us. But THEY WENT OUT that it might be MADE MANIFEST THAT THEY WERE NOT OF US!!!
Some of our people have LEFT BECAUSE they THOUGHT that God was doing MORE for TRINITARIANS than he is doing for ONENESS APOSTOLICS. BUT THAT is a STRONG DELUSION!!
That is simply not the TRUTH. JESUS SAID, For there shall arise FALSE CHRISTS, and FALSE PROPHETS, and shall SHOW GREAT SIGNS AND WONDERS, insomuch that IF IT WERE POSSIBLE, they shall DECEIVE THE VERY ELECT.
DON’T BE DECEIVED by these MIRACLES. They are just like JANNES and JAMBRES, who FOLLOWED MOSES into PHARAOHS throne room, and IMITATED MOSES MIRACLES !
But they were OPERATING BY WITCHCRAFT! They were doing MIRACLES by EVIL SPIRITS. DON’T FOLLOW THEIR MIRACLES, or their ANGELS, or their BIG MINISTRIES that are POPPING UP EVERYWHERE!
PAUL said in GALATIANS 1:8, "But though WE or an ANGEL from HEAVEN preach ANY OTHER GOSPEL unto you THAN THAT we have PREACHED unto you – LET HIM BE ACCURSED. As we said before, so say I now again, If ANY man preach ANY other Gospel unto you than THAT you have RECEIVED – LET HIM BE ACCURSED."
It doesn’t matter HOW MANY SIGNS AND WONDERS that crowd has, if THEY DON’T PREACH “You MUST BE BORN AGAIN of the WATER and the SPIRIT," in the NAME of JESUS ACCORDING to the ACTS 2:38 experience, and HOLINESS without which NO MAN SHALL SEE GOD.
A FALSE MESSAGE IS SIMPLY NOT OF GOD!! IT’S TIME TO WATCH OUT!
You CAN'T AFFORD TO WAIT until the enemy comes right UP ON YOU to start WATCHING. You BETTER BE WATCHING BEFORE these things come upon you.
In Matthew 24, verses 9 and 10, JESUS said, “They shall DELIVER YOU UP to be afflicted, and THEY SHALL KILL YOU, and ye shall be HATED OF ALL NATIONS for MY NAME’s SAKE. And then MANY shall be OFFENDED, and shall BETRAY one another, and shall HATE one another."
A lot of YOU DO NOT REALIZE that the CHURCH is about to be PERSECUTED Like it has NEVER been persecuted in MODERN TIMES.
Jesus said we would be AFFLICTED – some would be KILLED – and we would be HATED of all nations.
A LOT OF PEOPLE THINK that is talking about the JEWS – but IT’S NOT !!
Jesus PLAINLY SAID it would be for “my NAME’S sake!” in verse 9.
That’s talking about JESUS' NAME PEOPLE! JESUS' NAME PEOPLE are going to be TARGETED for PERSECUTION. WATCH and SEE!!
Some of the WORST PERSECUTION (according to verse 10) is going to come from THOSE WHO BETRAY US. (Just like JUDAS BETRAYED JESUS).
JUDAS was one of the BRETHREN who CHANGED SIDES unexpectedly! Our OWN FAMILIAR FRIENDS – IN WHOM WE TRUSTED!!
Jesus WARNED of OFFENSES. No doubt they will be PAINFUL OFFENSES. BETRAYALS. And HATEFUL ATTACKS. All part of God’s PROPHESIED PLAN!!
WATCH and SEE !!
Luke 21:34 says, "And TAKE HEED to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be OVERCHARGED with SURFEITING, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares."
The LORD is WARNING us about OVER INDULGING in the THINGS of this LIFE. SURFEITING is the AWFUL SICKNESS that COMES after OVERINDULGING. SURFEITING is like having a HANGOVER from being DRUNK.
We may not drink Alcohol, but we can have a hangover from too much of the vanities of life. Too much running around. Too much time in the shopping centers. Too much time chasing fads and fashions. Too much tinkering with silly things and silly people and silly places. Too much time indulging in things that have no eternal value. It really can make you sick.
Our GENERATION is NOXIOUS from TOO MUCH SIN.
TOO MUCH RADIO AND TV. TOO MUCH SEX AND VIOLENCE. TOO MUCH of EVERYTHING that KEEPS US FROM LIVING FOR GOD and being READY for the LORD to come.
Verse 35 says, "FOR AS A SNARE shall it come on ALL THEM that dwell on the face of the whole earth."
Saints! DON’T THINK that YOU can’t be CAUGHT IN A TRAP.
VERSE 36 SAYS, "WATCH YE THEREFORE AND PRAY ALWAYS that YOU MAY BE ACCOUNTED WORTHY TO ESCAPE ALL THESE THINGS that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man."
LET’S ASK GOD TO HELP US ALWAYS TO WATCH AND PRAY.
A Three-Fold Cord Is Not Easily Broken
Also see this article by Dixie Raggio
Three Characteristics Of A Christ-Like Person
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