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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Proverbs 4:23

"Heart Protectors"

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"Above all else, protect your heart, for everything you do flows from it" (Proverbs 4:23). 

Rick with ubiquitous pocket protector 5/16/14Rick is a mechanical engineer I regularly visit in the course of our chaplain work. He is a specialist in live animal traps and likely many of our readers have benefited from a product he designed. Like most engineering and design work these days it all begins on a computer screen.

Of the hundreds of people we see in the duties of our work Rick is the only one that wears a distinctive accessory, his ubiquitous pocket protector. He graciously offered me one but after wearing it a few times I decided I'm just not a pocket protector guy.

Pocket protectors according to most sources were invented in the nineteen-forties. It is a sheath designed to hold writing instruments and other small implements, such as slide rules, while preventing them from damaging the wearer's shirt pocket (e.g., by tearing or staining by a leaky pen). The pocket protector is designed to fit neatly inside the breast pocket of a shirt. A flap overlapping the pocket exterior helps to secure the pocket protector in place. *

Pocket protector with Proverbs 4:23Today's verse speaks of protecting something vitally more important than our shirt pocket; protecting our heart. "Above all else, protect your heart, for everything you do flows from it" (Proverbs 4:23). We have a personal responsibility to protect our heart. We certainly seek to do so physically, being aware of how vital our heart is to life.

But when
Solomon wrote these words he was primarily referring to the spiritual heart, our inner person. The CEV states, "Carefully guard your thoughts because they are the source of true life." The Amplified Version renders the passage, "Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life."

This must be our primary focus in life and of utmost importance as Solomon emphasized, "Above all else".

Protecting our hearts is of utmost importance because "everything you do flows from it". This is true both physically and spiritually. Jesus shared a similar teaching when He stated, "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander" (Matthew 15:19). The apostle Paul, using a lesson from history, "Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did" (1 Corinthians 10:6). The apostle Peter states, "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord" (1 Peter 3:15).

Blogger Michael Hyatt lists three reasons we must protect our hearts:
  •     Because our heart is extremely valuable.
  •     Because our heart is the source of everything we do.
  •     Because our heart is under constant attack.
As we prepare today's message we consider that yesterday a judge here in Pennsylvania ruled that the traditional and Biblical understanding of marriage was "unconstitutional". To use the proverbial phrase, our founding fathers must be "spinning in their graves". The judge wrote, "We are a better people than what these laws represent, it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history." We can only wonder how much longer our nation can survive with such a mockery of God and His laws.

We are reminded of the great deception and powerful delusion that is sweeping our world. I am even more convinced of the absolute importance of protecting my heart from deception and I believe that's true for all of us!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, You made my heart to be the life-giving source for my physical existence and You also made my heart to be the life-giving source for my spiritual existence. Create in me a pure and contrite heart, O God, and establish a steadfast spirit within me. It is only in the power of Your Holy Spirit that I can faithfully guard my heart from the follies of this world. Fill me with the abundance of Your goodness so that it overflows into the lives of others as my conversation and conduct reflect Your residency within my heart. Help me, I pray, in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

This morning I (Stephen) will be traveling to Washington, DC to attend the Watchmen on the Wall pastor's meeting with my pastor John Keefer and my brother Pat Weber, who is a pastor in the Lehigh Valley in eastern PA. Alan Walter, a pastor from Lebanon, PA will also be joining us this year. We welcome any who would care to pray for us and the many other pastors from all over America who will be in attendance. We will share more about this in tomorrow's message.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Guard Your Heart"  Video  Steve Green

"Slow Fade"  Video  Casting Crowns

"Three Reasons Why You Must Guard Your Heart" Michael Hyatt

"What does it mean to guard your heart?" (From gotquestions.org)

* Wikepedia article about the pocket protector

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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