Daily Encouragement Net
The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.

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Friday, July 30, 2021

Smoky Mountain guardrail
Guardrail along stream in Smoky Mountain National Park

"Guardrails For The Heart"

Message summary: Let us thank God for the blessing of guardrails for the heart. When we see spiritual guardrails keeping us on the right road during our earthly journey we need to carefully and Scripturally assess the situation, recognize the danger that is nearby, and prayerfully stay on course.

Listen to this message on your audio player.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23). “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). "So be on your guard!" (1 Corinthians 16:13). "Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong"  (1 Timothy 6:20). "By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you" (2 Timothy 1:14). “For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day” (2 Timothy 1:12). "Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position” (2 Peter 3:17).

GuardrailsSeveral times during our road trip last week we were on mountain highways, especially in Arkansas and Tennessee, some with harrowing drop-offs and switchbacks. Sometimes there were guardrails, other times just a long drop down if you ventured off the road. A guardrail is a railing that lessens the danger since it acts as a barrier along the edge of a highway at dangerous points, especially drop-offs. (Note: the photo to the left was not taken during our trip!)

Today let us consider how guardrails pertain to our spiritual life. Although highway guardrails can function to prevent travelers from going down if they veer off the road, they are best seen as a constant warning and guide. Tragically the vast majority of people are ignoring these God-ordained guardrails that He so wisely and graciously provides. "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life" (Proverbs 4:23).

Today let us consider several guardrails that God has provided:

1) The Guardrail of Scriptural commands and prohibitions. God's Word is like a guardrail. It contains both commands, "You shall..." and prohibitions, "You shall not...". Our second text today states, "My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge." This is speaking about the knowledge of God and His Word. So many disregard this knowledge and we see our society racing headlong to most certain judgment which seems to be getting closer by the day. Regardless of what happens, the faithful Christian and church must continue to "devote themselves to the apostles' teaching" (Acts 2:42) and "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints" (Jude 3). John Bunyan, who wrote Pilgrim's Progress said, "What God says is best is best, though all the men in the world are against it."

2) The Guardrail of the Holy Spirit's guidance. The Holy Spirit can function in our lives as a spiritual guardrail. Paul was intending to continue his mission work in Asia Minor when he had his Macedonian vision. The Holy Spirit essentially stopped him and led him in another direction by closing a door: "When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to" (Acts 16:7). As we walk with the Lord, in sensitivity to His Spirit, we need to respect the guardrails of God's direction, oversight and protection.

3) The Guardrail of Godly counsel. Solomon wrote, "My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity" (Proverbs 3:1,2). We need to heed the counsel of the wise and esteem the elderly who have gone on before us and those yet with us. It seems more and more young people have little regard for their elders. Wisdom has been defined as "knowledge rightly applied."

4) The Guardrail of Patterns. This point is most difficult to develop since many have a negative attitude toward tradition and even the Scriptures speak out against tradition in some circumstances. Certainly, tradition for tradition's sake needs to be evaluated carefully. But it seems to me that an attitude prevails in the church among more than a few that "new" is always seen as better, more hip, and more appealing to a current generation and the old is bad. But good patterns and practices developed over years by those who have lived before us can too quickly be shrugged aside in favor of the new, without considering what significance is lost in the process or the consequences of abandoning them. We addressed this topic many years ago in a message titled "The Tyranny of the New".

Bible commentator John Gill issues this challenge,

"Turn not to the right hand nor to the left, either into the road of immorality and profaneness, or into that of error, superstition, and false worship; but attend to the way of holiness and truth, directed to in the Word of God. Don't be cast down with adversity, nor be lifted up with prosperity; but keep on in an even way, attending to that which is just and right; leaving all events with God, as knowing you are in the way of your duty, and in which He would have you walk."

Today let us thank God for spiritual guardrails. When we see spiritual guardrails keeping us on the right road during our earthly journey we need to carefully and Scripturally assess the situation, recognize the danger that is close at hand, and prayerfully stay on course.

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, it is because of Your wise and loving character that You teach us about the wiles of our adversary, the devil, and his cunning ways. We are not caught unaware but recognize his strategy as we regularly read Your Word and store it up in our hearts. Your precepts are right and because of that we hate every wrong path. Direct our footsteps according to Your Word so that we stay in pace with You, observing the yellow lights of caution, stopping at the red lights of danger, and staying within the confines of Your guardrails. As we do so we will not allow sin to dominate our lives or lead us astray. We pray for Your guidance which leads to blessing in Jesus' name. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Guard Your Heart"  Video   Steve Green

Today we will share several scenes from our travel back home through Virginia

Scene from Blue Ridge Parkway
In southern Virginia we drove for awhile on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a National Parkway and All-American Road, noted for its scenic beauty. The parkway, which is America's longest linear park, runs for 469 miles through twenty-nine Virginia and North Carolina counties, mostly along the Blue Ridge, a major mountain chain that is part of the Appalachian Mountains. (Wikipedia)

Scene from Blue Ridge Parkway
We enjoy the scenery riding along the parkway but it takes a lot longer than the essentially parallel Rt I-81. We were anxious to get home so we only rode on it for awhile.

Cyrus McCormick farm
Cyrus McCormick farm, near Lexington, VA. Cyrus Hall McCormick improved and patented the mechanical reaper, which eventually led to the creation of the combine harvester.

Cyrus McCormick farm
Cyrus McCormick farm

Giant watering can in Staunton, VA
This giant watering can is near Staunton, VA

Finally today:

This morning we stopped by two of our favorite locally grown produce sources.

Corn Wagon, New Danville
Fresh from the field corn from the Corn Wagon in New Danville!

Cherry Hill peaches
Fresh peaches from the Cherry Hill Orchards

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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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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