Welcome to “Caring for Souls.” The more I ponder the goals for this website, the more I think the title should be “Caring for Your Soul,” or “Caring for My Soul!” But the title of the website is what it is, and I trust it will be a doorway into many important reflections that you and I need to make. Most of all, I want these posts to be anchored to Scripture—the Word of Truth and the Word of Life.

As I write this first post (in a car dealership no less), my eyes glance back and forth to a television screen that is airing national news. What catches my attention is the story of two athletes. One is Lance Armstrong, who has just confessed to using illegal drugs during his many cycling victories. The other athlete is a University of Notre Dame linebacker who has been caught up in an elaborate hoax, where his “supposed girlfriend” had died early in December. His grief caught the attention of media outlets all across the globe. Everyone now seems to know that the purported death was a lie. The public is still waiting for reports as to why the hoax went on as long as it did.

One statement by Mr. Armstrong keeps recycling (no pun intended) in my mind. When the interviewer, Oprah Winfrey, asked why he kept lying year after year, he said, “I had this perfect life and I had to control the narrative.” He had to control his story, his fame, his fraudulent success, and all the benefits that came with it. What Armstrong failed to control was his heart. Lance Armstrong’s failure and my own shortcomings bring me back to a verse that I cling to constantly. Proverbs 4:23 states, “Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.” (HCSB) 

Even though the name of God is absent in this verse, God IS very much in the picture. In verse 20 the reader is addressed as “my son,” followed by different exhortations as to what a righteous person should do. Or to put it another way, the reader is being taught the ways of true wisdom. And who is the teacher? God is! The One who is the source of all truth and all wisdom is speaking in this verse. His will and ways are being made known. And the God who is the source of all wisdom wants us to guard our hearts. 

Two questions emerge from this principle. First, why must we guard our hearts? The wisdom writer leaves us with the impression that this act of “guarding” is of primary importance. He uses the words “above all else” to emphasize the critical importance of this command. The phrase can be translated literally, “More than anything else…GUARD!” And then the word “guard” means that our hearts are to be protected from attack and subtle deception. God, the One who is wise, says that we need to guard our hearts, because THE HEART is the source of life. It is in the heart where worldviews and attitudes reside. It is the heart that guides the mind, soul, and body down any given path. It is the heart that becomes the source of all moral reflection and action. Therefore, the God who is the source of all wisdom wants us to guard our hearts. It is absolutely essential for our reputations and our ultimate eternal destiny.

Second, how do we guard our hearts? That will be the question we will pick up in the next post. Suffice it to say that I have spent much of my life caring for the souls of a number of congregants. I have had the privilege of preaching the Word week-after-week in a local church that I loved, and was richly loved in return. I have “cared for souls” by way of personal interaction and spiritual mentoring. But somewhere along the line, we are responsible for guarding our own souls. This website is designed to assist you to care for…YOUR…soul. Two athletes failed to do this, and are paying a heavy toll in the arena of public opinion. Be careful that you don’t neglect the care of…YOUR…soul. Ponder the majesty of King Jesus and feed your soul on His Word. And when you do, you will experience the wonderful, sustaining blessings of God—both for time and eternity.

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