We need boundaries for our protection as we seek to grow in our relationship with our Savior and in our witness to the world.
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We have included our final Spring Fundraiser totals in a graphic at the bottom of this e-mail. God is so good, and we are grateful for His continued provision for Living by Design Ministries.
Happy Saturday, Cara.

Today I invited Cara Blondo to share some powerful biblical truth to help you GUARD your hearts against unwelcomed invaders. If you are struggling with a spiritual siege today, I encourage you to take the time to read the additional Bible verses we've linked to throughout this SOULfood. -Sarah Koontz

Driving past the lake one cold, wintry morning, I noticed a sign placed at its edge: Stay Off Ice.  

I thought how tempting it would be for children to venture onto the ice and hoped they would see and obey the sign.

Boundaries are always for our good and our benefit, whether we can discern the danger ahead or not.  

But have you considered the boundary not placed around a frozen lake but rather around our hearts?

In Proverbs 4:23 HCSB we read, "Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life."

We are to watch over our hearts, guarding against dangers from without and temptations from within.         

Guarding Your Heart Against Unwelcome Invaders

When David was surrounded by troubles, he cried out to the Lord concerning his enemies, "Confuse them, Lord, and frustrate their plans, for I see violence and conflict in the city. Its walls are patrolled day and night against invaders, but the real danger is wickedness within the city." (Ps 55:9-10 NLT, emphasis mine)

The "real danger" is what’s happening within. Within a nation, a city, or a single heart.  

However well the wall is patrolled, it does little good if the city is overrun by wickedness.  

Likewise, if the boundaries I erect simply amount to outward behavior, that leaves my heart susceptible to temptations and vulnerable to attacks.

While external boundaries are prudent and needful, we must not neglect guarding our hearts (our minds and emotions). This is where the battle will ultimately be won.  

Practically speaking, what does this look like?  Consider the acronym G-U-A-R-D.

G - Go to God for wisdom (Jas 1:5).

We need wisdom when the storm begins to brew within our hearts through unwelcome emotions, troubling circumstances, or nagging temptations. We need wisdom on how to guard against these unwanted invaders.

The good news is that wisdom is promised to be poured out upon those who ask. Pray for wisdom at the first sign of a troubled, anxious, tempted heart.

U - Unburden your heart before Him (Ps 55:22).

When Hannah’s heart was provoked and needed to be guarded against angst caused by her rival Peninnah, she did what we, too, must do to guard our hearts. In prayer, she poured her anguish out to her God.

We are told to cast our burdens on the Lord. Whatever creeps into our hearts that weighs it down, we need to give it to the Lord. In doing so, His peace can once again flood our hearts and guard our hearts and minds.

A - Arm yourself with His truth (Eph 6:13-14).

In this quest to guard our hearts, we must steep ourselves in His truth. If we can obtain peace through prayer, we can obtain His perspective through the Bible. In His Word, we behold His character - who He is and by His grace, who He has made us to be.  

Regarding the temptation and its looming consequence, we are once again aware of His care which is the cure for our anxieties. The answer to combat every would-be invader of our hearts is found in His Word.

R - Renew your mind (Rom 12:2).

Once we are armed with the truth and His perspective, we need to make it our perspective by renewing our minds. We renew our minds with God’s truth one thought at a time, one day at a time, and one situation at a time.

When the battle for our hearts is intense, we must remind ourselves of His truth one moment at a time! This constant replacing of our thoughts with His truth is how we ultimately guard, or keep watch over, our hearts.

D - Dedicate your battle to the Lord
for the sake of others (2 Cor 1:4).                                                             
I am always amazed how the Lord weaves His good purposes even from my hardest-fought heart battles. He often calls me to offer encouragement to another believer who is going through something similar. On the other side of the battle, we can offer empathy and understanding in both words and prayers.

Once the would-be invaders have been handled, and peace has returned to my heart, the final way to guard my heart is to dedicate the battle to the Lord. This prevents any shadow from setting in afterward while simultaneously helping us stay confident that He does not waste one battle we face.

We need boundaries for our protection as we seek to grow in our relationship with our Savior and in our witness to the world.

But we must not forget the importance of guarding our hearts against both external attacks and internal temptations.  

When they come, remember to go to God in prayer, unburden your heart before Him, arm yourself with His truth, renew your mind, and dedicate the heart battle to Him.  

"Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way." Psalm 139:23-24 HCSB

- Cara Blondo
Cara Blondo has served the Lord for more than twenty years, having been trained in full-time college ministry as a college missionary. She has since served in her local church in various capacities, including the counseling ministry, young moms group, and women's ministry, where she continues to teach Bible studies. Cara has also been married for more than twenty years and has four children. She would love nothing more than to connect with you on Instagram or through her podcast, Perspective Shifts.
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