Baptism at Singles Retreat - 147 Baptized!!!

*******************Baptism at Singles Retreat 147 Baptized!!! ***********************

* Sharing times in the Word and looking for growth. Let's Commune Together!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

What does it mean to guard your heart?

Probing Proverbs: 4:23-24 Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Avoid all perverse talk; stay away from corrupt speech.

One of the affections of mine has always been music. Even though I am not very good at it I became very attached to the guitar. Before I had a relationship with Christ I would say I almost worshipped my guitar…nobody was allowed to touch it without my permission, and they would be required to wash their hands before they played it to get the oil off so they would not deaden the strings. 
Fast forward many years later. Two of the guitars I own were special, a 1957 Gibson and a 1967 Guild. When we were called to the Philippines to serve the Lord there, I decided to take the Guild and store the Gibson. The humidity in the Philippines is tough on wood. This 1967 acoustical Guild had a plastic bridge, and it began to lift up. I talked with many where to take it to replace the bridge with a rosewood one. The store that was recommended had a good reputation. Long story short, after weeks I came to the store and all the sales people huddled in a corner…clearly afraid to inform me of something. Finally a small, innocent young woman came to me…I remember as she stuttered, “SOR…SORR…SORRY sir!” I felt my heart drop to the floor…inside ANGER was trying to explode…BUT that same heart had now been loved and cherished by Christ for years! How could I unleash evil on another creation of God over a “thing?” As her words were leaving her lips…another Voice…the One that had been endeavoring to mold me into a Christian whispered in my ear, “Nathan – remember: The anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God...Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of your guitar!” (food) (James 1:20 & Romans 14:20)

She told me that acid had been spilled on the Top (That’s the front part of the Body that has the Sound Hole) I took a breath, smiled and said, “So what do we do now?” She began to cry and said “Oh sir, salamat po!” (Thank you - respectfully)   

I saw a lot of those folks for several years as I stopped into visit, they were always open to talk to me about the issues of life…think what damage I could have done if my heart had not been guarded by the Holy Spirit?

Life is made up of choices, if we do not prioritize, all decisions will be treated the same and we will find ourselves in deep regret because we failed to make the most important decisions properly due to being lost in the crowd of choices we must make everyday! This Proverb points out here a priority that needs to exist in our life. So many try to think through what to do at “the moment” of decision, and that is why they fail. None of us can plan everything that might happen in life…Life just happens sometimes! 
However, we can focus on the center of where all our decisions are made…our Heart! The "heart" here is not the one that beats in our chest - it is the essence of who we are - how we think, what we consider valuable. You can guard your possessions, you can guard your reputation and position, but if your heart is flawed you will end up either losing what you guarded or it will become your master. When you keep your heart safe it protects all that you own, all that you are and all that you desire to become. I can tell you from so many experiences that this truth is Truth! Here are just a few like my experience with my Guitar:

The most exciting disciple I ever had was a man named Jun Pacudan. He began a relationship with Christ; within 2 months he was developing his own material to share with small groups. I only found 1 error, and it was minor. He also began 4 small groups on his own! On the morning I was going to his place to begin a 5th small group, I received the news he had died the night before. I was furious with the Lord! If He wanted to take some people home, I had a list that I would gladly volunteer…but why Jun? 
Again, that whisper came: “Let go of your vision Nathan a let God have His! Remember, Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass...If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is.” (1 Thessalonians 5:24,         2 Timothy 2:13)


What God did after Jun was taken home was unbelievable. I believe 4 very important things happened because Jun went to heaven!

One day I was out in my back yard cleaning up when suddenly I felt warm water hitting me. No clouds in the sky, I looked up and my neighbor on the second floor of the house next door was relieving himself out of his window! No…I did not break out in a chorus of “Showers of Blessing!” I said “Hey Stop!” He disappeared quickly. I remember telling the Lord I was willing to die for Him in the Philippines…BUT not this! The whisper came: Nathan…He is drunk, Remember - "A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls…But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." Proverbs 25:28,  Galatians 5:22–23

After I cleaned up, I went over to his house. He felt such hiya, (shame) and I was able to tell him I forgave him. Over the next year I talked with he and his wife often, and she decided to begin a relationship with Christ. 

God is not focused on the things you are in to and the things around you – He is focused on you.

After 22 years in the Philippines I have realized that God did not take me to the Philippines for Filipinos, He took me there to deal with me. As I learn to reflect Him, those around me see it! If you will take the time to examine each and everything that is going on in your life and discern how God is using these things to affect your heart – you will be on the mission field also.

What we do is merely a reflection of what we are. What we are comes directly from what I believe is where the true mission field is – OUR HEART.

Psalm 78:70–72 He also chose David His servant And took him from the sheepfolds; From the care of the ewes with suckling lambs He brought him To shepherd Jacob His people, And Israel His inheritance. So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, And guided them with his skillful hands.

That is where God wants to do His work. Not in some country…but in our hearts. How do we guard our heart? Giving it to God everyday - He never fails to protect what is His!

The so what? How about you? Does your heart have a sign that says Under Construction. Or does the sign say: Closed, Finished, Work stopped due to lack of interest. Let God work on the Mission Field He desiresyour heart!

5 comments:

  1. great lesson for all of us !

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  2. I love reading your posts....almost like old times in the lounge at WBC :D Are you and Dee Dee about to come to the WBC reunion in Lanham August 19th? Would love to see you both!

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  3. Such an amazing wisdom, you're right sir, everything God wants to have is our heart but its also the most difficult thing to manage.

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