by Pastor Tim Burt
Prov 4:23 “Guard thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life”
I live on a creek inhabited by ducks. I love to feed them. I have this big bucket filled with bird seed in the garage. The ducks love it and come running when they see me walk in the back yard carrying it.
One day I opened the bucket to get some seed. It has a secure lid on it but I must not have had it snapped on all the way. Amazingly, when I opened it there was a dead mouse in it. I would assume he over-ate to his death. (He looked pudgy in his gut and it almost seemed as though he was smiling!) How he got in there was close to an impossible feat. The lid opening was almost non-existent and the bucket is tall. I don’t think the mouse couldn't have scaled it but he did find some way to get in and it had to be through the tiniest crack.
Negative thoughts and bad worldly input seems to find its way into our mind and heart through any crack we leave open. That is why Prov 4:23 says that we need to “guard our heart with diligence.” When I think of this I most often get the visual of soldiers at their post watching for enemies day and night.
This morning for whatever reason, I woke up with an old worldly song on my mind – one that I consider having negative words and attitudes. I know I haven't thought of this song for over 20 years and I am almost positive that I have not heard it in at least that long. Where did it come from? How did it get on my mind? I don't know. Possibly through a dream? That is what I call a small crack. I chased this song out replacing it with a song worshiping the Lord.
Our brain stores up and remembers incomprehensible amounts of information. It shouldn't surprise us when somewhere down the line and not always when you expect it, some of the unwanted information and thoughts rise to the surface of your memory.
I recently talked with a man who was struggling with inappropriate sexual thoughts. He hated it and only wanted his thoughts and mind to be pure. He said he struggled with his mind drifting to past sexual thoughts and memories that were a part of his life prior to making Jesus His Savior. He knew Jesus has forgiven him and washed his past sins away, but hated when these kinds of thoughts seemed to randomly surface at the most awkward times and he was feeling condemned.
2 Corinthians 10:5 (KJV) instructs us what to do with thoughts that are in appropriate and contrary to God's Word. It says, "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." If you read through this chapter you'd see God had given us power to rule our thought-life and keep it pure. When I learned this truth and began to exercise this in my life, it was as if for the first time in my life, my mind became mine to rule and use for God's glory and was no longer ruled by random and unwanted thoughts producing embarrassment and condemnation.
What we let into the gates of our mind and heart that are not good, will try to come back to haunt us. We have to exercise casting down inappropriate thoughts in the authority of Jesus name and refocus on godly things. It takes effort, but in time we have fewer and fewer flashbacks and instead develop the "strong mind" mentioned in 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV) "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."
God isn't condemning us as we work through this. He is the one helping us renew our minds to His Word with the help of the Holy Spirit. He is the one that told us, "So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
Today's Fresh Manna says to guard your heart because out of it "come the issues of life." What you hear and see will affect the choices that you make good or bad. Even old information stored in your mind. This is why we need to be on guard as to what we let through our sense gates. Hurtful information and images, like the mouse I mentioned earlier, will slip through the slightest crack if we aren't on guard.
Praise God today and do what the Apostle Paul taught us to do to guard our hearts. Philippians 4:8-9 says, "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy; meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do..." What will be the result? The issues of life will be conducted with clear and godly thinking and choices and, as the Apostle Paul goes on to say, “the God of peace will be with you."
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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