Today’sThought: What Does It Mean To Guard Your Heart? …

“What does it mean to guard your heart”?
Proverbs 4:23–26 instructs believers to, “above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.” When Solomon refers to guarding the heart, he really means the inner core of a person, the thoughts, feelings, desires, will, and choices that make that person who he/she is. The Bible tells us that our thoughts often dictate who we become (Proverbs 23:727:19). The mind of a man reflects who he really is, not simply his actions or words. That is why God examines the heart of a man, not simply his outward appearance and what he appears to be (1 Samuel 16:7).

Just as there are many diseases and disorders that can affect the physical heart, there are many ailments of the spiritual heart that can impair growth and development as a believer. Atherosclerosis is a hardening of the arteries due to accumulated cholesterol plaques and scarring in the artery walls. Hardening of the spiritual heart can also occur. Hardening of the heart occurs when we are presented with God’s truth, and we refuse to acknowledge or accept it.

Although Egypt was stricken with one calamity after another when the pharaoh refused to release the Israelites from their bondage, he hardened his heart against the truth that God Almighty intended to deliver His people from Egypt (Exodus 7:228:329:34). In Psalm 95:7–8, King David pleaded with his people not to harden their hearts in rebellion against God as they did in the wilderness. There are many things that can harden the heart and lead a person to deny God, and just like cholesterol blocks blood flow, they keep a believer from having a free flow of God’s peace and blessings derived from obedience. Guarding against a rebellious spirit and cultivating a spirit of submissive obedience to God’s Word, therefore, is the first step in guarding the heart.

Heart murmurs are abnormal flow patterns due to faulty heart valves. Heart valves act as doors to prevent the backward flow of blood into the heart. Spiritual heart murmurs occur when believers engage in complaining, gossip, disputes, and contention. Believers are instructed many times to avoid grumbling, murmuring, and complaining (Exodus 16:3John 6:43Philippians 2:14). By engaging in these activities, believers shift their focus away from the plans, purposes, and past blessings of God to the things of the world. God sees this as a lack of faith, and without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Instead, Christians are instructed to strive for contentment in all things, trusting in God to provide what is needed in His good time (Hebrews 13:5). Guarding against a complaining spirit and cultivating a spirit of gratitude and trust is the second step toward guarding the heart.

Congestive heart failure is an inability of the heart to successfully pump blood through the body due to weaknesses within its walls. Congestive heart failure can result from hypertension (high blood pressure), myocardial infarctions (heart attacks), and abnormal enlargement of the heart. The spiritual equivalents are anger, giving in to temptation, and pride. Anger acts like a poison on the body, both physically and spiritually, and makes a believer more vulnerable to the temptation to hurt others with our actions and words. Ephesians 4:31–32 instructs, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Every Christian is locked in a constant, intense war with demonic forces. Many of us become so intent on fighting the external spiritual war that we forget that much of our battle is not with external forces, but with our own mind and thoughts. James 1:14–16 tells us, “Each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters.” Sin always begins in the mind. A sinner must first conceive and dwell on the sinful action before he actually carries it out. The first line of defense, therefore, must be to refuse to even contemplate a wrongful action. The apostle Paul tells us to take every thought captive, so that it conforms to the will of God (2 Corinthians 10:3–5).

Proverbs 16:18 tells us that pride leads to destruction. Proverbs 16:5, says, “Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord.” Pride was the first great sin of Satan, when he thought that he could be like God and incited one third of the angels to attempt a coup in heaven (Ezekiel 28:17). For this reason, Satan was cast from heaven. Satan also tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden by appealing to her ego. He said, “For God knows that when you eat from [the forbidden tree] your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Eve desired to be as wise as God, so she capitulated to Satan’s advice to eat of the fruit of the tree. Pride was, therefore, the downfall of man, as well. Satan did not want man to obey God but to become his own god—determining for himself reality, meaning, and ethics. This satanic philosophy is the foundational philosophy of sorcery, secular humanism, and New Age mysticism.

Avoiding anger, pride, and temptation are also critical elements of guarding the heart. The apostle Paul instructs us, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8). Dwelling on these things will help to build a guard fence around our hearts.

Recommended Resource:


Today’s Tasting: Beef Stroganoff….

Beef Stroganoff ##
  • 2 (3 pound) beef chuck roast, cut into 1/2-inch thick strips
  • 1/2 cup red wine or balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cup sliced Cremini mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 3 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon prepared brown mustard
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  1. Place the beef into a large bowl. Stir in the red wine, salt, and black pepper. Marinate for 10 minutes, then remove the beef and pat dry with a paper towel. Reserve the remaining marinade.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the beef; cook and stir until browned, then transfer to a plate, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain any remaining grease from the skillet. Melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Stir in the onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Cook and stir until the onion is soft and translucent. Transfer the onion mixture to the plate with the prepared beef; set aside.
  3. Melt another 2 tablespoons butter in the same skillet over medium heat, and stir in the mushrooms. Cook and stir until the mushrooms are tender, about 10 minutes. Place the cooked mushrooms in a bowl and set aside. Melt 1/4 cup of butter in the skillet. Whisk in the flour, cook and stir until the flour no longer tastes raw, about 4 minutes. Slowly whisk in the beef stock. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then reduce heat to medium low. Pour in the reserved red wine or balsamic marinade, Worcestershire sauce, prepared mustard, then add the beef and onion mixture. Cover and simmer until the meat is tender, about 1 hour. Season with salt and black pepper.
  4. Stir in the mushrooms, sour cream, and cream cheese about 5 minutes before serving.
  5. Serve with garden salad with balsamic vinaigrette.

Today’s Thought: God Has Not Forgotten…



Have you ever had a time in your life when you felt like God has forgotten you? Perhaps you’ve lived a faithful life before the Lord and suddenly things have fallen apart. Sometimes it could be trial with an enormous impact and disruption to your life. You’re looking at all the broken pieces and wondering “Has God forgotten me?”

It’s a temptation that will visit all of us at some point in time. We will feel abandoned because the plans we had for our lives didn’t work out the way we thought they would. We sense hopelessness because if we got this situation wrong, we might get every situation wrong afterwards as well. We can feel loneliness as others are perplexed by our sudden loss and confusion.

However, it’s important that we turn our eyes to heaven and know that God has not forgotten us. We may not sense His presence as keenly as we remembered in the past, yet we hold onto His word in spite of our pain and circumstances. When we feel tempted to believe that God has forgotten our faithfulness to Him, to our families, and to our church ministry, we must also speak truth to ourselves about what we have seen God do in the past.

Noah’s journey could be told in a few minutes. However, there were long periods of time for him to build the ark, gather enough food for the family and the animals, take in the animals, wait inside the ark for seven days before the rain fell for 40 days and nights, and wait even longer for the water to subside before they could safely exit the ark.

But God remembered Noah. God remembers us. He will do a greater work in us as we put our trust in Him regardless of our life circumstances.


Dear Lord, I know that You remember me in my time of suffering. Strengthen me according to Your word. In Jesus’ name, amen.

In His Service,

Todays Thought: Don,t Worry…



Worry is a dangerous pit for believers. If we fall into the worry pit, we forget that God is in control. Worry also causes us to forget that everything that happens to us must first filter through His fingers of love. Worry robs us of joy, and we are constantly second guessing God’s faithfulness.

Yet Christians have the ability to pray instead of worry. Our prayers don’t have to go through some process for God to hear us. He is a right-on-time God, and our prayers are immediately heard in heaven. We can P-R-A-Y when we feel tempted to worry.

P – Petition God about our concerns. (Philippians 4:6)
We have a loving Father who wants to hear our concerns. He knows what is bothering us, but we need to release it to Him. The answers to our problems are in Christ Jesus. Our prayers aren’t ignored or neglected—He is making all things work together for our good.

R – Remind ourselves of God’s word. (Hebrews 4:12)
Worrying every day makes us forget the truths of God’s word. We need to reflect and meditate on what God’s word reveals to us. When we begin to pray and repeat God’s word back to Him, our hearts are strengthened to keep moving forward.

A – Attack unbelieving thoughts. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)
Satan can’t read our minds, but he can send us unbelieving thoughts. It’s our responsibility to guard our minds like good soldiers of Jesus Christ. We can reject anything that goes against the teachings of the Bible through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Y – Yield to God’s peace (Philippians 4:7)
After presenting our requests to God, we can receive His peace that passes all understanding. We could sit for days and worry about our problems, or we could be at peace in the midst of great difficulty.


Dear Lord, I don’t want to worry. Renew my heart and mind to present my petitions so I can be at peace regardless of what is going on around me. In Jesus’ name, amen. In His Service,

From the Table: Steak Cosmos…

Steak Cosmos


  • Sauce:

  • 1/2 Cup Demi-Glace (Gravy Made with De Glazed Pan Drippings)

  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard

  • 2 Teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce

  • 1/2 Cup Beef Broth

  • 1 Teaspoon Tomato Paste

  • 1 Pinch Cayenne Pepper

  • Steaks:

  • 2 Teaspoons Vegetable Oil

  • 2 (8 Ounce) New York Steaks, Fully Trimmed, Pounded To 1/2 Inch Thick

  • Kosher Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste

  • 1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter, Cut Into Small Chunks

  • 3 Tablespoons Shallot, Minced

  • 1 Lb Cremini Mushrooms

  • 1/4 Balsamic Vinegar

  • 1/4 Cup Heavy Cream

  • 2 Teaspoons Sliced Fresh Chives


  1. Season steaks generously on both sides with salt. Allow steaks to come to room temperature while you make the sauce.

  2. Heat oil in a skillet over very high heat, swirling carefully to evenly cover surface. When oil reaches a smoking point, transfer steaks to oil; add a few chunks of butter. Sear meat on high heat until brown on each side, 2 to 3 minutes per side; keep them on the rare side. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 125 degrees F. Transfer steaks to a warm plate.

  3. Stir shallots into skillet; cook until softened, 2 to 3 minutes add mushrooms and cook another 4 minutes. Remove skillet from heat; pour in balsamic vinegar return skillet to high heat and bring to a boil; cook, stirring, a few minutes to reduce slightly. Add cream and any accumulated juices from the steak. Cook on high heat just until sauce starts to thicken, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer steaks back to pan and reduce heat to low. Gently simmer until meat is heated through and cooked to your desired level of doneness.

  4. Transfer to hot plates and serve with a generous spoonful or two of sauce. Sprinkle Chives for Garnish

  5. Stir together demi-glace, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, ½ Cup Beef Stock tomato paste, and cayenne pepper in a bowl.

  6. Serve with Zucchini Boats, Mash Potatoes, Caesar Salad and Dinner Rolls

Today ‘s Thought: The Hardened Heart…


“What are the causes and solutions for a hardened heart?”
To better understand the causes and solutions for a hardened heart, it’s important to understand the broad biblical meaning of the word “heart.” The Bible considers the heart to be the hub of human personality, producing the things we would ordinarily ascribe to the “mind.” For example, Scripture informs us that grief (John 14:1); desires (Matthew 5:28); joy (Ephesians 5:19); understanding (Isaiah 6:10Matthew 13:15); thoughts and reasoning (Genesis 6:5Hebrews 4:12Mark 2:8); and, most importantly, faith and belief (Hebrews 3:12Romans 10:10Mark 11:23) are all products of the heart. Also, Jesus tells us that the heart is a repository for good and evil and that what comes out of our mouth – good or bad – begins in the heart (Luke 6:43–45).

Considering this, it’s easy to see how a hardened heart can dull a person’s ability to perceive and understand. Anyone’s heart can harden, even faithful Christians’. In fact, in Mark 8:17–19 we see Jesus’ own disciples suffering from this malady. The disciples were concerned with their meager bread supply, and it was clear that each of them had forgotten how Jesus had just fed thousands with only a few loaves. Questioning them as to the hardness of their hearts, Christ spells out for us the characteristics of this spiritual heart condition as an inability to see, understand, hear, and remember. Regarding this last criterion, too often we forget how God has blessed us and what He has done for us. Similar to the disciples in this instance or the Israelites wandering in the wilderness, when a new calamity arises in our lives, our hearts often fill with fear and concern. Sadly, this simply reveals to God the little faith we have in His promise to take care of us (Matthew 6:32–33Philippians 4:19). We need to remember not only the many times God has graciously provided for us in our time of need, but also what He has told us: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6Hebrews 13:5).

Sin causes hearts to grow hard, especially continual and unrepentant sin. Now we know that “if we confess our sins, [Jesus] is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins” (1 John 1:9). However, if we don’t confess our sins, they have a cumulative and desensitizing effect on the conscience, making it difficult to even distinguish right from wrong. And this sinful and hardened heart is tantamount to the “seared conscience” Paul speaks of in 1Timothy 4:1–2. Scripture makes it clear that if we relentlessly continue to engage in sin, there will come a time when God will give us over to our “debased mind” and let us have it our way. The apostle Paul writes about God’s wrath of abandonment in his letter to the Romans where we see that godless and wicked “men who suppress the truth” are eventually given over to the sinful desires of their hardened hearts (Romans 1:18–24).

Pride will also cause our hearts to harden. The “pride of your heart has deceived you . . . you who say to yourself, ‘who can bring me down to the ground’ . . . I will bring you down declares the LORD” (Obadiah 3). Also, the root of Pharaoh’s hard-heartedness was his pride and arrogance. Even in the face of tremendous proofs and witnessing God’s powerful hand at work, Pharaoh’s hardened heart caused him to deny the sovereignty of the one, true God. And when King Nebuchadnezzar’s “heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory . . . until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and sets over them anyone He wishes” (Daniel 5:20–21). Accordingly, when we’re inclined to do it our way, thinking we can “go it on our own,” it would be wise to recall what King Solomon taught us in Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”

So, what then is the antidote for a heart condition such as this? First and foremost, we have to recognize the effect that this spiritual disease has on us. And God will help us to see our heart’s condition when we ask Him: “Search me O God, and know my heart…see if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23–24). God can heal any heart once we recognize our disobedience and repent of our sins. But true repentance is more than simply a resolute feeling of steadfast determination. Repentance manifests itself in a changed life.

After repenting of our sins, hard hearts begin to be cured when we study God’s Word. “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart. . . . I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:9–11). The Bible is our manual for living as it is “God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). If we are to live life to the fullest as God intended, we need to study and obey God’s written Word, which not only keeps a heart soft and pure but allows us to be “blessed” in whatever we do (Joshua 1:8James 1:25).

Hearts can also become hardened when we suffer setbacks and disappointments in life. No one is immune to trials here on earth. Yet, just as steel is forged by a blacksmith’s hammer, so, too, can our faith be strengthened by the trials we encounter in the valleys of life. As Paul encouraged the Romans: “But we also rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us” (Romans 5:3–5).

Recommended Resource: GOTQUESTIONS.ORG

Today’s Thought: Build Your Faith In God…

JUDE 1:20
All those who follow Christ Jesus as Lord have some measure of faith. Our faith in Him gives us the assurance of our salvation and our future home in eternity. Yet, our faith in God needs to grow if we are ever to become spiritually mature. Building our faith isn’t easy. Instead it’s a lifetime journey of ups and downs that every Christian will experience until Jesus calls them home.
Our faith isn’t supposed to remain stagnant and the same year after year. Our faith will be stretched, tested, and put under fiery trials. At times, we will feel like our faith is fragile and futile. Other days, we will feel our faith strengthened and emboldened. Yet, faith isn’t built up on our feelings. Our faith in God will be evident by what we do and faith is built on:
The Word of God.
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:15)
The indwelling presence of the Spirit.
“Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith” (Galatians 3:5)
The trials and testing of the life.
“So that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:7)
The word of our testimony and of others in the faith community.
“And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” (Revelation 12:11)
Dear Lord, I want to grow in my faith. Lead me according to Your word, the Holy Spirit, the trials, and the word of my testimony towards spiritual maturity. In Jesus’ name, amen.
In His Service,