The Heart Affects Everything

Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do. 

Proverbs 4:23 NLT

Let us learn to cast our hearts into God


Guard the inside


If you’re typical, you think of guarding your heart in terms of keeping things out. Corruption, false ideas, temptations — all are to be held at arm’s length, never to be allowed in the inner depths of your affections. But there’s another side to this vigilance. We are to keep things in. In fact, if we can master that, the corruptions and temptations will often take care of themselves.

Think about it: The things that can assail a heart from the outside are innumerable, far too overwhelming to manage. But the things we are told to keep within — the spirit of Jesus, the humility and gentleness, the servanthood and sacrifice, the worship and thankfulness — these are one Spirit. Most religions tell us to avoid the bad; God tells us to embrace Him. We are better equipped to focus on His character than on the enemy’s devices. Nowhere are we told to live against the sinful nature and hope that the Spirit will show up. We’re told to live by the Spirit and expect the sinful nature to have no power. We often get confused about that.

Too many Christians guard the way into their hearts to keep things out. That may be appropriate at times, but try a different approach. Guard the way out. Stand at the inside of the gate, and be careful about what may be leaving. Once in a while, we get a life-altering glimpse of true worship. By all means, keep it in! From time to time, we’ll see a picture of true servanthood. Don’t let that picture go! Hold on to these things! Treasuring the wellspring that God has birthed in your heart will leave little room for those corruptions you once obsessed over. And the wellspring is a much more pleasant preoccupation.

Adapted from The One Year® Walk with God Devotional by Chris Tiegreen, Tyndale House Publishers (2004), entry for May 10.


Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House


Do not be afraid

Do not be afraid

The Lord who created you says: “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you.”

Isaiah 43:1-2 NLT

Two Margarets

Margaret MacLachlan and Margaret Wilson, Covenanters in Wigtown, Scotland, were tried for their faith on April 13, 1685, for refusing to take the Oath of Abjuration, which stated that the Church of God is a department of the State. Found guilty of rebellion, attending field meetings, and worshipping in places other than a church, they were ordered to receive their sentences on their knees. When they refused to bow before anyone but God, they were forced down to their knees and then were sentenced to death by drowning.

On May 11, 1685, the two faithful Margarets were tied to posts and staked in the sea as the tide was rising. The older Margaret (MacLachlan) was farther out. They were given many chances to recant their beliefs, but they stood firm and resolute.

Margaret MacLachlan remained silent, her eyes closed throughout the ordeal, communing with Christ until death. As the tide rose eighteen-year-old Margaret Wilson began to sing a Covenanter rendition of Psalm 25:7. Then, she recited from Romans 8: “We are more than conquerors through him that loves us.…”

After the waves washed over her head, the soldiers pulled her out, pleading with her one last time to “pray for the king!” She prayed, but her pray was, “Lord, give him repentance, forgiveness, and salvation, if it be Thy holy will.” The angry soldiers threw her back into the water, and she joined Margaret MacLachlan before the throne.

We may never face the rising tide of the sea, but the deep waters of trouble and loss can be just as overwhelming. How do you react when you feel you are about to drown in the rising tide of your own troubles?

Adapted from The One Year® Book of Christian History by E. Michael and Sharon Rusten (Tyndale, 2003), entry for May 11.

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House