This is the study that I’ve been doing the last few days. I thought I might as well put it online in case anyone out there in blog-land needs encouragement from the Word of God…specifically,
Prov. 4:20-23 ~ My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words. Don’t lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart, for they bring life to those who find them, & healing to their whole body. (amp: healing and health to all their flesh). Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
I have an example of letting God’s Word penetrate deep , so it brings life and healing: In ’99, Ricky’s (husband) night terrors were pretty bad. There was 1 night when darkness was closing in all around him, from the corners of the bedroom, in toward his face. He was gasping, “suffocating”. He literally thought he was dying. At that moment, He couldn’t speak. But I could. I spoke name of Jesus and the only verse I could think of dealing with fear, over & over again:
2 Tim. 1:7 ~ For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
…well, it took a good 10 minutes, but it drove away the night terror and the fear, and he was soon snoring again, peacefully. Those were some scary 10 minutes. There was evil in that room…but it left at the mention of Jesus’ name and of scripture.
1 John 4:2,4 talks about the Spirit of God vs. other spirits: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God…You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
It was around the time of that night terror that I wrote a song for Ricky, a prayer for sleep. Since then, I’ve sung it over my son too, on many occasions when he’s battled with fear at night (Even this week – it’s taken up to 2 hours to get him to sleep by himself) Real fear has been paralyzing him. But this always seems to help:
Lord, tonight, I pray for _________ & his sleep. May it peaceful. May it be deep. In your Name , by your power, every fear tonight, I bind. Place your mighty arms around his spirit and his mind
For You have not given us a spirit of fear, but power and of love and self control (2 Tim. 1:7). When we resist the evil one, he has to run and hide (James 4:7), for greater is HE within our soul (1 John 4:4)
That song has 3 scriptures in it, b/c prayer using the Word of God, and worship are MAJOR, POWERFUL weapons we can use to kill the fear we battle….or for that matter, whatever we struggle with the most. So what do you make an effort to protect- think of several things. Is your heart the very 1st thing you thought of? Maybe it should be.
Prov. 4:23 Guard your heart above all else (keep and guard your heart with all vigilance & above all that you guard), for it determines the course of your life (for out of it flows the springs of life).
“The Heart” – in this passage – is as the mind…your logical mind and emotional heart actually work together to form decisions – some of the most important decisions of your life…like who you will marry, whether you will leave a relationship or church or job. Guarding it will filter out the crud – In guarding your mind, you learn to recognize truth and hunger for it. And recognize lies and filter them out, “I will NOT believe that my son will just have to endure nightmares indefinitely & cry himself to sleep. I won’t believe that he can’t go to sleep peacefully without being by our side. That’s a lie.” I’m gonna fix my thoughts on what I know to be true…even if it hasn’t happened quite yet (Like 2Tim 1:7).
Interaction~ List #1-3. Jot down what you watch most on TV, listen to in your car, visit online. Are these things you’re letting in – helping or hindering you in your efforts to protect your heart?
What kind of things should you guard it from, anyway? I think, whatever you know your’e most vulnerable to! Disappointment or discouragement? Yes. Anxiety? Worry (which leads to Fear)? Envy? Lies about yourself? Jealousy? Holding grudges? Complacency or numbness to others’ pain?
We’re to guard our hearts and minds against these things – by using the weapons we’ve been given.
Sometimes the task seems to great to do on our own. Sometimes when life seems it’s finally getting easy to live, we’re hit, hard…with too much at once. But here’s some great news! It’s not all ON US. I immediately thought of another vs. (Phil. 4:6-8) where it says God will help us, with a covering of peace that you won’t be able to comprehend. Read this out loud:
Phil. 4:6 “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing.
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” … And I John 3:20 tells us that “even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings” (hearts), “and He knows everything”.
We can trust him to help us where we lack. Trust that he see us for our intentions in our heart & meets us according to our faith in Him. It’s like a dance ~ we work in tandem with the Spirit of God, to guard our hearts…and as we learn to use our weapons of authority in Jesus, as we learn that we can trust Him to answer us, great things will happen.
To wrap this up, I have a perfect story to tell you just what I mean – Just last night (9/22/09) , my husband decided he would pray over my son’s room before he did the bedtime ritual. We were so tired of Braylon’s constant crying and being overwhelmed with fear every night & we were at a loss. We tried everything…or so we thought.
But this night was different; while Bray was brushing his teeth, Ricky decided to use the weapon of prayer – he prayed out loud, over the windows, door, and against any type of spirit of fear that may have been in there before. And, for the 1st time in over a week, Braylon hopped in bed, and was asleep in 8-10 minutes. I went up there to say good night, and I entered a new kind of atmosphere. Instrumental hymns were playing softly. His eyes were closed, & his hands were together, under his face like a cherub – I haven’t seen it that peaceful at bedtime, in a long time.
To me, it’s a perfect and timely example of “guarding your heart” (we were guarding his heart for him because he’s so young) and God meeting us where we were…to listen, to grant our request for peace, and to draw near.