Tag Archives: guard your heart

Exodus 28; John 7; Proverbs 4; Galatians 3

Distracted driving! This is a term that has come to the forefront in the past few years. Thanks to technology, we can communicate with any one at any time. This has created quite an issue with drivers and become dangerous. For myself, I can remember being tired and driving home from work with glazed eyes just staring ahead. Once I got home, I wasn’t even sure how I got there. I have missed turns because I was having a conversation and not paying attention. Sometimes I really, really struggle to resist looking at my phone because someone texted me while I was driving. I am sorry to admit I have, on occasion, given in and tried to read and drive. That is not only dangerous to me, but it is also dangerous for anyone around me. I need to keep my eyes focused on the road before me at all times and be aware of my surroundings. This knowledge creates wisdom.

20 My son, pay attention to what I say;
turn your ear to my words.
21 Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;
22 for they are life to those who find them
and health to one’s whole body.
23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
24 Keep your mouth free of perversity;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
and be steadfast in all your ways.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil. (Prov. 4:20-27)

Solomon has been credited with writing most of the proverbs. He is also known as the man who asked God for wisdom. (1 Kings 3:9). The dictionary defines wisdom as “knowledge, and the capacity to make due use of it” (Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary). These words are a warning for our protection.  Pay attention! Remember my words, keep them in your heart, for your very life is at stake!

First, Solomon tells us to guard our hearts for everything flows from it. How true is that statement! I have let my heart make decisions for me that turned out to cause so much pain in my life. I have had to learn when it is okay to share it and when I must guard it. I need to watch what I say and speak loving, kind words—not words considered acceptable by the rest of the world. These words not only hurt my heart, they hurt the heart of our God.

I learned the hard way what happens when you do not keep your eyes on the path before you. I followed my heart into a situation that took me away from God. I took my eyes off Jesus! It seemed the right choice at the time, but God showed me that someone was taking advantage of my compassionate heart and I was being manipulated into doing something I thought was the loving thing to do. I looked away for an instant and paid the price–it led me straight into sin. Have you ever noticed that when you are driving and you look away, the car steers where your eyes are directed? We are not to turn to the right or the left but follow the path before us. We cannot let ourselves be distracted.

36 “Make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it as on a seal: holy to the Lord. 37 Fasten a blue cord to it to attach it to the turban; it is to be on the front of the turban. 38 It will be on Aaron’s forehead, and he will bear the guilt involved in the sacred gifts the Israelites consecrate, whatever their gifts may be. It will be on Aaron’s forehead continually so that they will be acceptable to the Lord. (Ex. 28:36-38) NIV

Jesus paid much too high a price for us to not listen to his words, his wisdom, which comes from his Father. Because of him, we have the Holy Spirit in us. Because of him, we have “HOLY TO THE LORD” written on our souls—not our foreheads. We do not need a priest to bear our guilt, Jesus did it on a cross. It was the greatest gift of all time. Because of him, we are acceptable to the LORD.

28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Gal 3:28-29)

Lord Jesus, thank you for leaving us your wisdom. Thank you for the example you lived before the eyes of the disciples that has been passed down to us. Because of you, we are heirs to a great promise and a great future. We must keep our eyes focused on you at all times looking neither to the right or the left so we will not be distracted. Help us to guard our hearts, for streams of living water flow from within us as it says in John 7. Let it flow from us to the places you want it to go. I pray this in your precious name, Amen.

Cindy (gardnlady)

 

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Filed under 66 Books, Exodus, Galatians, John, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Proverbs

Amos 7-9; Matthew 15

I will turn your celebrations into times of mourning
    and your singing into weeping.
You will wear funeral clothes
    and shave your heads to show your sorrow—
as if your only son had died.
    How very bitter that day will be! Amos 8:10, NLT

God knew the deep loss of an only son’s death. When I read scriptures in the Old Testament that hint of Jesus, my heart gives thanks. Thank you, God, for sending your son to die for me.

Jesus speaks to his disciples. The Pharisees certainly knew the right things to do, the right things to say–but their hearts were far from the Lord. Jesus looks at the heart, and he warns of the blind leading the blind.

13 Jesus replied, “Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be uprooted, 14 so ignore them. They are blind guides leading the blind, and if one blind person guides another, they will both fall into a ditch.” Matthew 15:13, NLT.

Lord, I pray that I keep my eyes on you for direction and instruction.

23 But Jesus gave her no reply, not even a word. Then his disciples urged him to send her away. “Tell her to go away,” they said. “She is bothering us with all her begging.” Matthew 15:23, NLT.

Lord, in your silence, you listen. Where the disciples saw her words as bother and begging, you saw faith.

32 Then Jesus called his disciples and told them, “I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry, or they will faint along the way.”

33 The disciples replied, “Where would we get enough food here in the wilderness for such a huge crowd?”

34 Jesus asked, “How much bread do you have?” Matthew 15:32-34, NLT.

I’m deep in preparation for a new school year. I’m encouraged by these scriptures. God’s great love for me means I don’t do life alone. If I keep my eyes on him, he will guide me in the right direction. He wants my heart. My mind is a steady state of “on” and he hears the stream. He listens and loves. When I talk to him, he calls it faith. He performs miracles still, and when I bring my offering–as limited as it is–he makes it enough. Because he is enough. He will not send us away hungry. And we will not faint along the way.

Lord God, thank you for this gift of time. Thank you for the time to plan and prepare. Thank you for this time with my children. Thank you for filling these days with enough minutes to do the things you want me to accomplish when I keep my gaze fixed on you. Help me to be careful of the influences I follow. Help me to steward my time, talent and treasure for your glory. And, please, help me to guard my heart.

Courtney (66books365)

(Thankful for Matthew 15 and Jesus feeding four thousand. Currently reading “Teaching From Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakeable Peace” by Sarah Mackenzie. It has been a great aid in planning my school year, preparing my heart, and affecting my focus as a teacher and as a mother. In it, she writes of bringing [your] basket, and how God will use the offering. I receive no compensation for mentioning her book.)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Matthew, Uncategorized

Proverbs 3-5; Romans 10

23 Guard your heart above all else,
    for it determines the course of your life.

24 Avoid all perverse talk;
    stay away from corrupt speech.

25 Look straight ahead,
    and fix your eyes on what lies before you.
26 Mark out a straight path for your feet;
    stay on the safe path.
27 Don’t get sidetracked;
    keep your feet from following evil. Proverbs 4:23-27, NLT

Sometimes sin is so subtle. It comes packaged as fun or funny, exciting or entertaining.

God, help me to guard my heart. Help my children to guard their hearts. Help our family to build boundaries and set straight paths. Help us so that when troubles and trials and temptations come, we keep our eyes fixed on you.

Courtney (66books365)

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2 Chronicles 24,25,26; 2 Corinthians 11:1-15

When I was younger, I learned the saying, “Birds of a feather flock together.”

Now, thanks to Pinterest, I’m exposed to all kinds of witticisms and Post-it Note-ish philosophy. Like this one, “You become like the 5 people you spend the most time with. Choose carefully.” I repinned it on a board, along with other quips and wordy things. I don’t often revisit them, but I hope if I do, this one will cause me to slow down and pause over the influences in my life.

Two Chronicles 24:2 reads, “Joash did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight throughout the lifetime of Jehoiada the priest.” Not only did Jehoiada select wives for Joash, he was also instrumental in the collection of funds for the restoration and strengthening of the Temple of the Lord.

However. After Jehoiada died, Joash–who had done things that were pleasing to the Lord (and the Lord’s people)–gets a new set of advisers.

17 But after Jehoiada’s death, the leaders of Judah came and bowed before King Joash and persuaded him to listen to their advice. 18 They decided to abandon the Temple of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and they worshiped Asherah poles and idols instead! Because of this sin, divine anger fell on Judah and Jerusalem. 19 Yet the Lord sent prophets to bring them back to him. The prophets warned them, but still the people would not listen.

Joash, a king, turns from who he was to the point he wouldn’t even listen to the prophets who tried to bring him back to the Lord.

Amaziah did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, but not wholeheartedly, 2 Chronicles 25:2 NLT. Amaziah even had listened to advice from a man of God regarding the organization of his army. Yet, at the end of that battle, this is what he does:

14 When King Amaziah returned from slaughtering the Edomites, he brought with him idols taken from the people of Seir. He set them up as his own gods, bowed down in front of them, and offered sacrifices to them! 15 This made the Lord very angry, and he sent a prophet to ask, “Why do you turn to gods who could not even save their own people from you?” 2 Chronicles 25:14-15.

Amaziah turns on the prophet. And after consulting with his advisers … well, it doesn’t go well for him.

2 Chronicles 26, Uzziah becomes king. He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, just as his father, Amaziah, had done. Uzziah sought God during the days of Zechariah, who taught him to fear God. And as long as the king sought guidance from the Lord, God gave him success.

But Uzziah becomes powerful and proud, and when the priests warn him of his actions, he rages against them.

New Testament, Paul addresses the Corinthians:

For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband—Christ. But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent. 2 Corinthians 11:2-3. (emphasis mine)

Pure and undivided devotion to Christ can be corrupted. Christ followers can be deceived. Anyone can be deceived … by the cunning ways of a serpent, by the advice of experts, or even by the comments of friends on a girls night out.

Lord, help me to guard my heart, to take thoughts captive and make them obedient to you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 2 Chronicles, 2 Corinthians, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament