Tag Archives: Heart

Keep vigilant watch over your heart.

Jesus challenges me to be vigilant. If I don’t pay attention, I will drift. Jesus has given me the way of wisdom. May I pay attention and not reject him.

Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts.” ~King Solomon | Source: Proverbs 4:23

I must watch over my heart. The main thing to pay attention to is my heart. From my heart comes what I think, what I say and what I do. It starts with my heart.

Life starts with my heart. It is easy to believe my heart isn’t important but it is the key. David knew it. Solomon knew it. Jesus focused on it and challenges me to pay attention.

David was known as a man after God’s own heart. May I learn enough to have that said of me. Now that is a real goal to have.

The good news is the Jesus gives me a new heart. I am a new creation in Him. That is amazing to consider. I have been born again.

According to the Bible, the heart is the center not only of spiritual activity, but of all the operations of human life.

The heart is the “home of the personal life,” and hence a man is designated, according to his heart, wise, upright and righteous, pious and good.

The heart is also the seat of the conscience. It is naturally wicked, and hence it can contaminate my whole life and character. Hence the heart must be changed, regenerated, before a man can willingly obey God.

The process of salvation begins in the heart by the believing reception of the testimony of God, while the rejection of that testimony hardens the heart. “Hardness of heart” evidences itself by light views of sin; partial acknowledgment and confession of it; pride and conceit; ingratitude; unconcern about the word and ordinances of God; inattention to divine providences; stifling convictions of conscience; shunning reproof; presumption, and general ignorance of divine things.”

We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things.  Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God. | 1 John 3:19–21 (NASB)

 

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“With ALL Thine Heart”

Proverbs 3:5 is probably the most famous verse in all of chapter three. As a matter of fact, one post this week has already addressed it. 

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

However, one part is worth another look, if for no other reason than to remind us once again of something we should already know. 

“All” means all.  

How often do we say we trust God, but then fall back on our own knowledge, experience, and conscience when His leading seems to conflict with our understanding? We read His commands, sense the Spirit’s leading, but then doubt Him. 

There are parts of our hearts that don’t want to yield. They will fight, kick, and scream in order to have their way. The Lord will ask us to do something, only to have a part of us reply, “But my heart disagrees.”

Verse 6 tells us that when we let the Lord have control, He will “direct” our paths. That means He will make the paths of life straight, passable, smoother, and more direct. In other words, it may be the “straight and narrow,” but it will get you where you need to go without the damage to your suspension a rutted, pothole-filled highway may bring. Yet, how often we say, “My heart is telling me to go another way,” only to find ourselves beaten, scarred, busted, and way off track by the time we reach our destination. 

Point: Your heart is like an outdated GPS that will leave with flat tires, busted shocks, and more than a few stains on the upholstery. Why not give your heart to Jesus and let Him take the wheel? 

After all, He’s already been smoothing out the road. 


Where Is Your Trust?

Proverbs 28:26

He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.”

Common Core

There is a common teaching throughout the world and particularly popular in Western entertainment today.

That teaching is to “find yourself” by “looking inside yourself for true happiness.” It is closely related to the other teaching: “Follow your heart.”

Why are you a fool to follow these? They sound innocent enough.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Jeremiah 17:9

God has told us that our hearts are wicked and deceitful, and the world acts as great evidence through all of the problems, pain, and chaos caused by humans doing what felt right or seemed right.

At the core of who we are, we all share a common trait: sin.

Walking Wisely

How then shall we be delivered? How do we find happiness and peace?

We need to turn to the One who knows us completely, the One who knows all of our sin and all of our capabilities.

Only God knows all of this. And only God is able to deliver us from our sin and sinfulness.

To walk wisely is to trust in our Deliverer: God the Son, Jesus Christ, the One who died to free us from our sin and rose to life again.

Through the Holy Spirit, we are able to walk in all wisdom and righteousness.

Where is your trust? Is it in your heart that cannot be understood, or is it in the One who understands you completely and did everything to deliver you and give you peace?

Loving Lord, give us understanding and humility. Through Your Holy Spirit, deliver us in wisdom to walk with You and love all.


Multiple Choice Living

Proverbs 28:14

“Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.” (KJV).
“Blessed is the man who always fears the LORD, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble.” (NIV). 

The Best Tests:

When I was in school, I always liked multiple choice tests the best. The way most of them were written, you could almost always rule out one or two of the right away, and if you even had a basic knowledge of the material, you would be able to do okay on the exam. In the Book of Proverbs, many times Solomon kind of makes life out to be like a multiple choice test. Only instead of four answers marked A, B, C or D, there are only two choices, and one of them is obviously the smarter choice.

Only Two Choices:

For example, in the above Scripture, Solomon says you have two choices: You can either fear always (that is, fear the Lord), or you can harden your heart. If you fear the Lord, you will be happy and blessed. If you harden your heart, you will fall into trouble or experience mischief. Who wants trouble? Not me! I don’t think any smart person does. So, we’ll choose answer “A!”

Fear the Lord:

What does it mean to fear the Lord? I don’t think it means that we have to cower terrified like someone in a horror movie running from zombies or vampires. Rather, I believe it means that we are to respect God. If we respect God as our Sovereign Lord, then we are going to honour His Word. If He says that we are to be loving, forgiving, accepting people, then that’s what we’re going to do. And we will realize that God doesn’t give us commandments to keep us from having fun. Rather, His commandments are for our own good! When we obey the Bible, we are happy and blessed.

Don’t Harden Your Heart:

What does it mean to harden your heart? I believe this happens when we choose to sin and disobey God. When that happens, we lose the tender sensitivity to the Holy Spirit in our heart, and day by day, it becomes more hardened. We become desensitized to sin, and stop feeling guilty about doing wrong things. Eventually, we are running away from God, and we end up in trouble and mischief. So don’t harden your heart!

Lord, we are so thankful that you are a good God, and that your commandments are for our own good, to give us a future and a hope. Help us to reverentially fear you, and trust that you are good, and that your commandments are so that we can experience the blessed life. In Jesus’ precious name, amen!


A Proud Dad

Proverbs 27:11 – My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him that reproacheth me.

Over and over again, I can remember my father introducing me to his friends. It would go something like this, “And this is Jason. He is a chip off the old block”. What my dad was saying about me was that we were (and still are) very much alike. What he liked, I liked. What he enjoyed doing in his spare time, I enjoyed doing in my spare time. What he liked to eat, I liked to eat! I was just a smaller (chip) version of him (block). My dad was proud to call me his son!

father-SonEven though I was a small version of him, there were things that I did to make him proud of me and things that I did that did not make him so proud of me. Those times that I listen to his instructions and was wise in the decisions I made, as our verse says, it made his heart glad. It brought joy to him and even the simplest “attaboy” brought joy to my heart.

We have seen this before in Proverbs 10:1 – “A wise son makes a proud father…”

There are several things we can learn from this verse:

1. There had to be instruction given to the son in order for him to learn or gain the wisdom. Fathers, we can’t expect our children to grow up in this world without giving them the instructions that God has laid out for us to pass along to them. Let’s not miss the opportunity to teach them God’s Word. It may be hard work now but when we are older and our children are following God and teaching their children His Word – I guarantee you there will be many glad hearts.

2. The son had a choice to make. The father may have given up everything to teach and direct him in the way of God, but the son had the final choice in which direction he was going to go. Each of us have to make that choice. Solomon knew his son had to make his own choice, that is why over and over and over again he is pleading with him to get understanding and wisdom.

My prayer is not only will I be willing to instruct my daughter in God’s Word but that she would also be wise and make the right decisions. Now that would make my heart very, very glad!

When we are wise and follow our heavenly Father’s instructions, I can’t help but think HE will have a happy heart as well!

Lord, please guide and direct me as I raise my daughter. Help me to be the man of God that I need to be first, so that I may teach her your Word. Lord I pray that she will hear and understand your Word and listen to your teachings. 


Get Ready to Learn

Proverbs 23:12

“Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.”

Pause to Prepare

This proverb echos 22:17-21 and asks us to get ready for what we are about to read/hear. In other words, what is about to be said is very important, so we should prepare our hearts and tune our ears.

I can almost imagine Solomon looking at his son the way I sometimes look at my daughters. I call their name, get eye contact, and then ask, “Are you listening to what I am about to say?” Sometimes I even take two of my fingers, point at their eyes, then mine, just to make sure I have their attention.

Solomon is trying to get our attention, but he is warning us that what we are about to hear might not be pleasant.

“Apply”

It is interesting to note that the majority of Bible translations use the same word in this proverb: “apply.” This should tell us that there is something special about this word – something worth examining.

The Hebrew word for “apply” is an expression that simply means to go in and come out. But when we use it in connection with one’s heart, the idea is that we must decide where the heart goes – it can’t be allowed to go where it wants.

Obviously, the heart is our seat of emotions, but too often the heart is in the seat driving. Solomon wants us to prepare our hearts for something that might not be pleasant, something that might cause our emotions to take over.

“Instruction”

What is it that Solomon asks us to apply our hearts to? He says, “Apply thine heart unto instruction.” But here again, should be mindful of words. “Instruction” is a word we typically associate with being told what to do. However, the Hebrew word muwcar (mü·sär’) lends itself more to the idea of discipline and chastisement.

So what is the point?

Solomon is about to instruct us with knowledge that may be hard to handle, so he is telling us in advance to do what is necessary, even if it is difficult.

You see, we need to make our heart go to a place from where it would normally run. We need to force our ears to hear what we don’t want to hear. We need to take our emotions by the hand and willfully walk them through disciplined paces. Otherwise, what we are about to read next will cause us to flee with our emotions leading the way.


BOGO

Proverbs 17:20

“He that hath a froward heart findeth no good: and he that hath a perverse tongue falleth into mischief.”

Not A Good Deal

BOGODo you know what BOGO means? It stands for “Buy One Get One” free. My wife and I have argued for years what is the better way of going; buying one at regular price and getting a second for free or just buying one and only paying half price. I am sure that every one will agree with me that “two for the price of one” is a much better deal!

But not in the case of Proverbs 17:20!

Our verse not only talks about a “froward heart” but it also mentions a “perverse tongue”. It goes on to state that these will lead to no good and mischief.

Definitions

Let’s define two words: “froward” and “perverse” (Definitions are from Merriam-Webster)

  • FROWARD: habitually disposed to disobedience and opposition
  • PERVERSE: turned away from what is right or good | obstinate in opposing what is right, reasonable, or accepted

Do these definitions sound like someone you know? Do these definitions sound like you?

So Where’s The BOGO?

We may not be actually buying a physical product at the store, but by the way we live our lives we may not only have a “froward heart” (BUY ONE) but our heart will lead us to having a “perverse tongue” (GET ONE). Matthew 12:34 says, “You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (ESV)

Solomon is telling us that neither of these are good character traits to have and neither of them will end well. This is one more reason why we need to make Proverbs 4:23 a priority in our lives.

Lord, I pray that You would help us to guard our hearts will all diligence and keep our eyes focused on you. Help us to guard our hearts and to keep our tongues as we should. Keep us striving to be more and more like You!


Unstooping the Back

Proverbs 12:25

“Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.”

Pain & Sadness

When I was engaged to be married to a woman who was not quite right for me, it dragged us both down. When I knew God did not want me with that woman, I knew I had to end the relationship.

The bad news is that I did not want to. This led to a deep depression. My heart was so heavy that it held me in place, emotionally and physically. I was practically useless for a couple of weeks and literally useless for a few days, those last days of which I sat slouched on a couch not moving except to go to the bathroom.

My heavy heart literally made me stoop and slouch.

I was in mourning for a relationship that had yet to end.

Good Words

It seemed that nothing anyone said could help.

The thing that did it was a dear brother in the Lord saying “God loves you. Show Him you love Him, too.”

It made me realize how to live out Jesus’ words: “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26)

I needed to show God that I loved Him more than anything or anyone else. It took a friend’s words to lift me up and make me move.

Kindness & Love

It is a great kindness to share a good word with someone with a heavy heart full of pain and/or sadness. It should be done with love, and that love should be the love of God.

Someone can offer a kind word, even a good word, to someone, but if it is done at the wrong time or in the wrong way it can have the opposite effect.

Sometimes, the best thing to say is nothing at all. It is just to sit there, to be there.

God of mercy and kindness, thank You for leading us to and through those times of pain and sadness. Thank You that You also provide us with those people and words that can lift us up to gladness, again. Give us a heart to share that love and kindness to others, and give us the wisdom to know when to speak and when to simply be there.


Warning Signs

Proverbs 11:19
As righteousness tendeth to life: so he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death.

Multiple Warnings

As a child, one of the things that I learned very quickly was that if my parents told me “To Do” or “Not To Do” something over and over again, I knew that it must be important, and I either better do it or not do it. In the same way as my parents, Solomon is giving us multiple warnings about which path we should choose – righteousness or evil. Here are just a few of the examples:

  • Proverbs 10:6 – “Blessings are upon the head of the just: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.”
  • Proverbs 12:2 – “A good man obtaineth favour of the Lord: but a man of wicked devices will he condemn”
  • Proverbs 14:11 – “The house of the wicked shall be overthrown: but the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish.”

The warnings are out there and we must heed them with all our heart!

It’s Our Choice

Even if we can clearly see the warning signs that are out there, it is still our choice to live a righteous life or to “pursue evil”. We can see in this verse that “he” made a choice to go after evil. The word “pursue” has several meanings:

  1. To follow in order to catch or attack
  2. Seek to attain or accomplish
  3. Continue or proceed along a path
  4. Engage in

In each one of these definitions there is one constant – there is a choice that must be made! We must make the choice daily to run in the opposite direction of sin and run into the arms of a loving and gracious God. We need to remember the words of James 1:15 that says, “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” If we continue down the path toward evil, it will eventually lead us to death!

The warning signs are all around us, but it is still up to us to make the right choice as to which path our lives will lead. Will we take the path of righteousness or will we pursue evil? I hope each one of us can live out the words that Joshua said in Joshua 24:15,

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Lord, help us to pursue YOU with all our heart! No matter what may come our way, help us to choose YOU! Help us to stand firm on our Word and make you our refuge until that glorious appearing of our Great God and Savior!


It’s a Heart Issue

Proverbs 4:23 

“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”

The Heart

The heart is more that just our affections, as some people think. The heart encompasses mind, emotions and will. The heart is often spoken of in God’s Word as our innermost being. You can say that our heart determines who we are.

Oswald Chambers said this about the heart…

The Bible term “heart” is best understood if we simply say “me,” it is the central citadel of a man’s personality. The heart is the altar of which the physical body is the outer court, and whatever is offered on the altar of the heart will tell ultimately through the extremities of the body.

The Bible informs us that the heart is a critical center of life which touches and impacts all we are and all we do. The NIV says it this way – “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

When it comes down to it, our heart determines who we are and what we do. That is why, over and over in scripture, God talks about how we need to protect our hearts. The Bible warns us to avoid:

  • A Double Heart – Psalm 12:2
  • A Hard Heart – Proverbs 28:14
  • A Proud Heart – Proverbs 21:4
  • An Unbelieving Heart – Hebrews 3:12
  • A Cold Heart – Matthew 24:12
  • An Unclean Heart – Psalm 51:10

We all know that when we go to the doctor that he is going to listen to our heart. Just by listening, the doctor is able to tell if there is something wrong or not.

Each and every day, we need to listen to our spiritual heart! We need to listen to see if what we are, and what we are doing is matching up with God and what he wants for our lives. Above all else, we must keep our heart focused on God!

One little sin, what harm can it do?
Give it free reign and soon there are two.
Then sinful deeds and habits ensue—
Guard well your thoughts, lest they control you. —DJD

My prayer is that each day we would pray Psalm 139:23 – “Search me, O God, and know my heart…”