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Wednesday, November 16, 2022
Message summary: There is a 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!
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"Above all else, protect your heart, for everything you do flows from it" (Proverbs 4:23).
For many years I visited weekly with Rick, a mechanical engineer, in the course of our chaplain work. He is now retired but was 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 thousands of people we have seen in our work Rick is the only one that I recall who always wore a distinctive accessory, his pocket protector. He actually had a collection and 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. *
Today'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 your heart 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:
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily 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.
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.
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