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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Grin and Grow with Kathy 03/07/18

Brave Heart

my heart will not be afraid

STORY: Good for the Heart!

I have a confession to make. I’m a gym rat. I don’t look like one, but I am. In fact, I’m going later today. Like many, I do some form of cardio exercise for the heart. The word “cardio” is a good giveaway that it benefits the heart, doesn’t it? I also enjoy lifting weights for strength. Who doesn’t want to be strong? Sure sounds better than weak or wimpy!

I’m imagining those old ads at the back of comic books showing the scrawny young man on the beach being bullied, and then he signs up for some muscle program and comes back to the beach with his muscles all pumped up. And then my mind goes to the old cartoons on TV where the hero takes a bicycle tire pump and blows up his muscles. Oh—if only it were that easy. (And now you know how my mind easily races from one thought to another!)

But did you know weightlifting also has therapeutic benefits for the heart? You can literally have a strong heart. It is a muscle. (Don’t worry, there’s no such thing as a heart curl!) But today, let’s look at the way our figurative hearts (that invisible part inside of us that feels and makes decisions) can also be strong.

STUDY: May Your Hearts Be Brave

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! (Psalm 27:14 ESV)

  • Look at what begins and ends this verse. It must be pretty important to mention it twice. What is it?
  • As you wait for the Lord, you’re going to need some extra strength to hang on.
  • What are we to do with our hearts? How can we let this happen?

Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord! (Psalm 31:24 ESV)

  • Here’s a similar verse in a different psalm. The psalmist knew a little about waiting, didn’t he?
  • Is finding our strength simply as easy as “being” strong? How can we cause that to happen? Where do we acquire strength?
  • Why do you think you need to let your heart take courage while you wait? It’s easy for our hearts to feel the opposite of courage when we’re feeling on hold.

The Lord is my light and my salvation—so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? When evil people come to devour me, when my enemies and foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident. (Psalm 27:1-3 NLT)

  • What can we remind ourselves of when we are tempted to be afraid?
  • What kind of reassurance does it give you, when you think of God as your Protector?
  • When others attack you, or you’re overwhelmed from experiencing resistance from a big force (army), how can you remain confident?
  • When you say, “My heart will not be afraid,” what does that do to any lingering hints of fear?

My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. (Psalm 73:26 NLT)

  • We are three-part beings. We may think we’ll fail when the body and spirit falter, but what happens when our hearts are strong? Who is the strength of your heart?
  • “God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.” Doesn’t this sound like the best Valentine of all?

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. (Ephesians 3:16-17 NLT)

  • Paul wrote to the Ephesians a prayer in this verse. What is it?
  • How does Paul describe God’s resources?
  • Part of having a brave heart is to have God’s power. What does this verse say He empowers us with? How does the Holy Spirit make a difference in our strength?
  • When we do tap into God’s limitless resources and receive the Holy Spirit’s empowerment, what does the second sentence say will help next? (It uses the word “then” to show us, when we’ve done that first part, then this second part will happen.)
  • What does trust have to do with Christ being active in our lives?
  • What roots do we grow when Christ makes His home in our hearts? These roots are what will keep us strong.

And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows. May he, as a result, make your hearts strong, blameless, and holy as you stand before God our Father when our Lord Jesus comes again with all his holy people. Amen. (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 NLT)

  • The Lord is the source of our ability to have overflowing love or each other. When we experience that kind of love, what is the result?
  • What is the benefit of a strong heart? A blameless heart? A holy heart?
  • Where and when do we have a heart-accounting with the Father?

STEPS: Be Strong-hearted

  1. Be mine. In prayer today, write your own Valentine, asking God to “Be mine forever.” (Valentine’s Day may be passed, but we can have the sentiment of the holiday every day!)
  2. Fearless. This week, when you are tempted to fear, let your go-to phrase be, “My heart will not be afraid.”
  3. Wait strong. Be empowered by the Spirit while you wait, so your strength doesn’t weaken. Next time you feel impatient, ask God to fill you with the bravery needed during the wait.

Copyright © 2018 Kathy Carlton Willis. Used by permission.

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