Minister’s Message: Guard your heart; care for your soul

  • Friday, May 10, 2019 12:05am
  • Life

Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. — Proverbs 4:23 NKJV

I didn’t think too much about my heart until about a year ago. I went to the doctor to check on something that appeared on my skin. Doing all the routine checks of a check up the doctor said, “Did you know you have an irregular heartbeat?” Until that moment I have to say I took my heart for granted.

The Bible in many ways implores us to not take our heart for granted, but to guard it. It isn’t referring to the pump that circulates and oxygenates the blood in our bodies, but it refers to our soul, the center of our being, the “heart” of our being.

“Keep” in Proverbs 4:23 is sometimes translated “guard” as well. The message is that we should protect, maintain and nourish our heart because it is our heart that helps us successfully navigate life. A well-kept, guarded heart will serve us well by helping us navigate the stress of life, sustaining us in difficult circumstances and being around negative people.

How do I go about “guarding” my heart? Philippians 4:6-8 puts us on the right track:

Philippians 4:6-8 NKJV:

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 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.

What we feed our minds will affect our heart. Life usually provides enough drama on its own so it doesn’t seem like a good idea to stir up more or to create conflict or to nurse or hold grudges and unforgiveness.

There is a direct correlation between how we care for our physical hearts and the “heart” that represents our soul. What we feed our bodies affects our physical heart, the amount of exercise and the stress that we carry. High blood pressure, heart attacks and a variety of other maladies are very real possibilities when we fail to guard our physical heart. So it is with our soul. What we feed upon, how we live out spiritual disciplines and our response to the things that offend and hurt us all will have an impact on the health of our soul.

Making the right changes takes time and I am on my journey to correct some of the things that I can control to guard my heart. At the same time, I am learning that when I care for my soul, it enhances that marvelous pump that keeps the blood moving through my body. My prayer for all of us today is: Lord, teach us to keep our hearts with all diligence and not to take our heart or our soul for granted, giving us increased capacity for life and grace for others. Amen.

Rev. Stephen Brown is minister at Kenai New Life Assembly of God.

• Rev. Stephen Brown is minister at Kenai New Life Assembly of God.

More in Life

Kachemak Cuisine: Find comfort in hard times by cooking good food

The first tastes of spring for me are rhubarb, fresh-caught fish from Kachemak Bay and chives.

Fiddlehead ferns shooting up from the ground, on May 24 in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Foraging for fiddleheads

Springtime in Alaska is the beginning of foraging season for me.

This enlarged section of Dr. David H. Sleem’s 1910 map of the Kenai Mining District shows the Shackleford Cabin just above the Kenai River outlet on lower Kenai Lake. The stream entering the lake at the far right is Quartz Creek.
A tale of two Shacklefords, in a way — part two

New facts intruded upon my easy solution to the origins of the eponymously named creek and cabin.

A simple syrup made from locally harvested spruce tips is photographed in the author’s Anchorage kitchen on Tuesday, May 26, 2020. Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion
Sprucing up summer cocktails

The spruce tip simple syrup goes great in a lot of cocktails.

Kachemak Cuisine: Teri’s Special Spinach Salad is perfect for Memorial Day weekend

This tasty salad is packed with lots of goodies and is substantial enough to be a main course.

Quarantine and taxes

When the first stay-at-home mandates came out, I jumped into it with a “carpe diem” kind of energy.

Ready, set, edit!

Even as a follower of Jesus, we can often feel like we keep needing editing.

Jane Wiebe’s wheelbarrow of lovely tubers will cause any potato aficionado’s heart to sing. The photo was taken on Oct. 7, 2019, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Rosemary Fitzpatrick)
Kachemak Cuisine: Try these spicy potato recipes

Recall when you tried sriracha for the first time?

Nick Varney
Believe it or not, there’s a bright side

Don’t worry, I’m not going to jump into the COVID-19 kerfuffle.

Dutch babies, golden, eggy, puffy pancakes most often baked in a cast-iron skillet, can be paired with sweet or savory ingredients. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
                                Dutch babies, golden, eggy, puffy pancakes most often baked in a cast-iron skillet, can be paired with sweet or savory ingredients. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Kalifornsky Kitchen: Puffy pancakes help fill downtime at home

Dutch babies are a golden, eggy, puffy pancake that can be served sweet or savory.

Minister’s Message: Create in me a clean heart, O God

Youth are highly valued and loved by God.