Monday, November 11, 2013

"Keep vigilant watch over your heart;
that’s where life starts.
Don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth;
avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip.
Keep your eyes straight ahead;
ignore all sideshow distractions.
Watch your step,
and the road will stretch out smooth before you.
Look neither right nor left;
leave evil in the dust."  ( Proverbs 4:23-27 MSG)

I've made it clear from other blogs that one of the main assignments God has given my wife and I is to "Encourage people all over the World!"  I still remember it like it just happened but it was 4 years ago while I was driving down Hwy. 50 in Pueblo, CO. that God spoke those words in my heart.  It wasn't an audible voice but in my heart and ears it was close. 

With this in mind I've had to be very diligent about guarding my heart and keeping it pure and encouraging my family to do the same. Why is this?  Straight to the point, it would be very difficult to encourage others with a "sick" heart.  After all the Bible says, "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." 

Proverbs 4:23 in the New Living Translation says it like this: "Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life." Yes guard your heart, but did you notice the words after that.  "Above all else."  Sounds pretty important to me.   And let me be up front and say that I haven't always done the best job at this but we've made adjustments as the Holy Spirit has directed us. 

The next paragraph of the blog I'm sharing just so you'll understand the level we've had to rise in guarding our hearts but I'll not reveal the details. 

I've been in vocational ministry for over 20 years now.  But in all my years of ministry I've never been exposed to the elements that have had the potential to damage and give me an unhealthy spiritual heart as I have in the last few years.  From our failed church planting experience to our return to Texas there has been plenty of opportunity for our hearts to be contaminated and instead of encouraging people all over the world I  and my family could be living with offended and discouraged hearts that are spewing venom on anyone who is willing listening. 

When we've walked through failure or disappointments in life I believe God wants all of us to get back to the place that we're Dreaming.......Again.  But honestly that can be difficult to do if our heart is "sick!"  So I think it's imperative that we all make it a priority to guard our hearts.  The following is from the book "Sifted" by Wayne Cordeiro and gives a perfect example of guarding the heart.

"When I disagree with someone who is not present, it's tempting to speak bluntly and sometimes inappropriately.  We are but a breath away from gossiping and tearing down others.  But a man of integrity says, "Hold on! It is not my job to ruin that person's reputation. It's not right for me to criticize him until I fully understand his side of the story."  The Bible warns us not to rush to judgement, saying, "He who gives an answer before he [fully understands], it is folly and shame to him." (Proverbs 18:13).  If you are upset about an incident, do some research first, and allow the other person to share his or her side of the story.  For me to come to a conclusion about another's reputation, heart, spirit, motives, or actions without fully investigating all of the facts would be wrong. Doing so would reveal a lack of integrity.  I honor other people by finding out the facts first, and I honor God by trusting him in the process, knowing that he will ultimately expose and judge the truth of the matter.  If I slaughter someones reputation when he's not there to defend himself, then those listening think, "Whoa! If he slanders that guy when he's not around, then what does he say about me?"  Protecting the reputation of those who aren't present gains the trust of those who are.  Our integrity will be tested throughout our lives, guaranteed.  So prepare yourself by knowing how to respond: by refraining from snap judgements or unfounded gossip." 

My friends words can damage a heart or they can heal a heart.  Proverbs 12:18 says, "There are those who speak rashly, like the piercing of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." 

Today my wife and I feel more spiritually healthy than we did a year ago.  God has done wonders with our heart and He'll do the same for you!  So be honest right now!  What's the condition of your heart?  Just like one of my previous blogs I'm praying for every person that reads this.  The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ came to give us life and life more abundantly.  God wants you and me to be living the abundant life!  He paid a great price for it! 

So if you can be honest and you know your heart is "sick"  why not ask God right now to heal your wounded heart and restore any area the enemy has robbed you! Remember, God loves you with an unconditional love and His mercy and grace are greater than any mistake you or someone else has made. 

Let me challenge you!  Guard you heart and start Dreaming.......Again!  God has a great plan for your life!

Love you!