there are men who only start appreciating their wives when another man gives her attention  

These are notes on the sermon, Guard the Imaginations of Your Heart, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 1 May 2022, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!

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Overview

  1. Introduction: Notice and appreciate all that God has blessed you with
  2. God’s Word brings complete healing and wellness to your entire being
  3. Guard your heart above everything else
  4. The heart consists of your imagination and thoughts
  5. Guard your heart by guarding your imagination
  6. Lean in to receive faith pictures and visions from God when you pray
  7. Possess God’s blessings by first possessing them in your thoughts and imagination
  8. Replace every negative thought with faith pictures from God’s Word
  9. Salvation Prayer
  10. Closing Prayer
  11. OWN THE WORD (life application)

Introduction: Notice and appreciate all that God has blessed you with

We share about the miracles that God has done in our lives so that others who are going through similar situations can find hope and courage to keep going on.

In a world that is dark, filled with hopelessness and pessimism, it is easy for us to become depressed. Even though today, we have inventions and devices that allow us to be more connected than ever before, many of us are still unhappy.

We crave what we can’t attain and discredit what we have. We tend to appreciate the people or things we cannot attain and take for granted the people and things we have. We are often more polite to strangers than our loved ones. Let us appreciate and express that appreciation to our loved ones.

The greatest gift that God has given us is Jesus Christ, His Son. We are so blessed—we are saved and we know Him who loves us in spite of ourselves.

We are not saved or justified by our own efforts but by Jesus alone. He is our righteousness. No matter what season you are in, whether you are feeling good about your walk with God or not, you can be confident that Jesus is your righteousness. When you allow this truth to sink into your heart, you will have a sense of peace and assurance because you will realize that God will not withhold any blessing from you.

Declare this: “Father God, I thank You that Jesus Christ is my righteousness. Your beloved Son and all that He is, You have credited to my account, You have imputed to me. On the cross, Jesus became sin with my sins that I might be made the righteousness of God in Him. Thank You, Father. Jesus is my righteousness—He is the measure of my right standing before You.”

When we pray this before we make our requests before God, we remind ourselves of the truth that we have right standing before God because we are in Christ. This is what builds our faith.

Picking up from before, we tend to crave what we don’t have and fail to appreciate what we do. Pastor Prince shares how much he appreciates the corporate gathering of God’s people (coming back to church physically).

Israel was held captive for 70 years in Babylon because of idolatry. Before they fell into idolatry, when they were still worshiping God, they were offering sin offerings (a representation of the real offering, Jesus, who would eventually come to take away the sins of the world). On account of these sin offerings, God looked past their sins.

Let’s say sin is represented by an ink stain. In Hebrew, to “atone” for sin means to “cover” it. That is why the mercy seat, which was placed over the symbols of sin in Old Testament times, was actually called the “covering seat.” The mercy seat would have the blood of the animal sacrifice sprinkled on it and cover the sins of God’s people. In the past, the stain of sin was covered by sacrifices so that God would not see it. Yet, the stain was still there until Jesus died on the cross (John 1:29). His sacrifice on the cross fully removed all our sins once and for all. Today, God does not just overlook our sins. To Him, our sins have been completely removed. This does not mean we are sinless. There is still sin in our flesh, but when we come before God, He sees absolutely no sin on us at all.

When Israel was worshiping God, they were offering sin offerings and their sins were covered. However, once they fell into idolatry and stopped worshiping God, they also stopped offering sin offerings and their sins were exposed. That’s when they went into captivity. After those 70 years of captivity, they never reverted to idolatry again.

For us who have lived through the pandemic, we can feel like we “went into captivity” for 2 years. And during this time, we learned many things—one of which is to appreciate what we have. For example, we begin to appreciate the resources that God has provided for us to come together, such as having spaces to congregate as a church. We thank God especially for the people in our church.

Similar to children, we can have a tendency to discredit what we have. Kids tend to want the toys that other kids want to play with. For example, a child can own a toy and be uninterested in it until another child comes to the house and wants to play with it. Then the toy suddenly becomes more attractive to the child who owns it. This is immature thinking, yet many adults still have this way of thinking.

For example, there are men who only start appreciating their wives when another man gives her attention. So if you are married, appreciate the spouse God has given you before somebody else does. Husbands, appreciate the beautiful virtues and wonderful traits that God has given your wife to bless you. At the same time, wives, if you receive flattery from other men, don’t let that flattery win you over because flattery will not carry you far in a relationship.

The childishness to crave what we can’t have is of the flesh. Let us be aware of it so we don’t allow ourselves to be swept up by it.

Pastor Prince believes that the word that is going to be shared in this sermon is a warning from the Lord that He is giving us out of love. He wants us to flow with Him and understand what He is doing in our lives.

We need to know His ways. God’s ways are not religious. His way is not to demand us to perform good works in order to obtain righteousness.

The only way for us to be righteous is by having faith in Jesus’ finished work on the cross.

The cross cost Jesus everything and it cost us nothing except to believe. Just by believing in the finished work, our sins are forgiven and we are made whole.

Today we are talking about the importance of guarding our hearts.

Pastor Prince encourages us to use physical Bibles instead of our smartphones because there are many things on our phones that are competing for our attention.

God’s Word brings complete healing and wellness to your entire being

“My son, give attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings
.
Do not let them depart from your eyes;
Keep them in the midst of your heart;
For they are life to those who find them,
And health to all their flesh
.”
—Proverbs 4:20–22 NKJV

give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes”— The first step to giving attention to God’s Word is to guard our ear-gate (what we hear) and our eye-gate (what we see).

Keep them in the midst of your heart” — It is via our ears and eyes that things enter our hearts. God’s word to us today is to guard our hearts by watching what we hear and see.

they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh” — This is God’s remedy for every part of our physical bodies. It is medicine that doesn’t have any side-effects. God’s Word is one of God’s perfect gifts to His children (James 1:17). When you hold your Bible in your hand, you’re holding a piece of heaven, you’re holding God’s grace gift to you. It is God's instruction manual, the manufacturer's handbook, and the only medicine that is health to all your flesh. The only side-effects are joy unspeakable and peace that surpasses understanding. The apostle Paul was an example of this, even in the face of fierce persecution (Acts 26:2, 29). We are meant to have joy, peace, and radiant personalities that witness to the world that we are saved.

This is God’s way:

His Word goes through our ear-gate and eye-gate → enters our hearts → becomes life and health to all our flesh

There are times we receive instant healing when the gifts of healings are operating, but most of the time, we receive our healing as we give attention to God’s Word. We are to receive His Word daily (Matt. 6:11).

His Word must enter our hearts via our ears and eyes before it becomes life and health to all our flesh.

Guard your heart above everything else

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

Keep [Guard] thy heart with all diligence . . .”
—Proverbs 4:23 KJV

Guard your heart with all diligence” — In the Hebrew, this means that of all the guarding we do, we must guard our heart. This is the priority because our heart is where all the forces of life come from.

Often, we tend to guard the things that matter to us such as our families, finances, and health, thinking that by doing so we are guarding ourselves. There’s nothing wrong with keeping these areas of our lives in consideration, however, they are all external and they flow out of the heart.

The most important thing to guard is your heart.

In a world where there is no more privacy, and the only real privacy you have is what is in your heart, be sure to guard your heart. No one except the Holy Spirit should enter that precious space.

The heart consists of your imagination and thoughts

So what is the heart?

Some may say that your heart is your spirit. However, in Greek, “spirit” is “pneuma” and “heart” is “cardia.” Meanwhile in Hebrew, “spirit” is “ruach” and “heart” is “lev.” Essentially, your heart is not your spirit.

We are tripartite beings. Each of us is a spirit that has a soul and is housed in a body. Our spirit connects us with God, our soul engages us with what is happening in our surroundings, and our body connects us with the physical world.

Today, we will learn more about the heart by learning what it does. What does a heart do?

With all your guarding, guard your heart. Jesus told us, “Let not your heart be troubled” (John 14:27).

The Lord didn’t tell us to guard our families, our finances, or our health. He told us to guard our hearts. When we guard our hearts, He will guard everything else.

Our part is to let not our hearts be troubled. When you hear bad news, quote John 14:27 under your breath. That’s one of the ways to guard your heart.

How else can we guard our hearts? We can discover this when we know how our hearts function.

Noah’s ark and the flood

“And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination (‘yeser') of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
—Genesis 6:5 KJV

every imagination (‘yeser') of the thoughts of his heart” — The word ‘imagination’ is ‘yeser’ (noun) in Hebrew. Why is imagination so important? Because God knew that once something is in the imagination, it will manifest outwardly. Already, at this time, mankind was already doing many wicked things. But this wickedness started from the imagination of the heart.

In all the earth, God only managed to find Noah and his family who were pure in His eyes. Noah’s ark was covered on the inside and outside with “pitch,” which means “atone” in Hebrew, so Noah and his family were safe inside the ark. This is a picture of believers today—no matter how many times we fall, we fall inside the safety of the ark. We are saved once and for all.

God was the One who invited Noah and his family into the ark before the flood and asked them to go out of the ark after the flood. Here, God demonstrates His style of leadership—first one in, last one out.

Pastor Prince encourages the congregation to lean in and respond to the preaching of the Word because this is how we shake off the dust of the world that we may have picked up—whether it is bad news, social media content, or entertainment that is causing depressive thoughts and negativism.

The word “imagination,” which is “yeser” in Hebrew, appears again after the flood.

“And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma. Then the Lord said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination (‘yeser') of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.”
—Genesis 8:21 NKJV

the imagination (‘yeser') of man’s heart is evil” — Although God could have simply said that “man’s heart is evil,” He chose to say, “The imagination of man’s heart is evil.”

Why is imagination so important?

“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people. . .”
—Ephesians 1:17–18 NIV

the Spirit of wisdom and revelation” — Wisdom is something for us to seek after. Wisdom brings length of days, riches, honor, pleasure, peace (Prov. 3:16–17). How does the Spirit of wisdom and revelation operate?

the eyes of your heart may be enlightened”— The Spirit of wisdom and revelation operates through the eyes of your heart. The eyes of your heart speak of vision and imagination.

Guard your heart by guarding your imagination

To the Lord, imagining something is already committing the act itself. That is why in Matthew 5:27–28, Jesus says that whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her. This points to imagination being the deed.

Imagination has creative power. What you imagine shapes your reality.

The word “imagination (‘yeser’)” first appears in the Bible in the story of creation:

“And the LORD God formed (‘yeser’) man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”
—Genesis 2:7 NKJV

formed (‘yeser’)” — This is the verb form of the word. It has to do with creation, formulation. To God, imagination is creative. It is not just something insignificant or inconsequential that happens in your mind.

Lean in to receive faith pictures and visions from God when you pray

Pastor Prince shares how before the church grew to the size it is now, he saw the growth of the church in his imagination. He encourages us to be receptive to positive imaginations when we pray. Pray in the Spirit and see what imaginations the Holy Spirit brings up in your heart. Be alert to the pictures that come up. This is how the Holy Spirit speaks to you.

“And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams
.”
—Acts 2:17 NKJV

Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams” — Both dreams and visions refer to pictures given to you by God, either when you’re sleeping or awake.

God speaks through pictures. His Word is filled with pictures—visual descriptions and depictions of how you should see yourself.

“He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.”
—Psalms 1:3 NKJV

This is God’s vision for you—that you live a supernatural life, planted by the rivers of water, not lacking in times of drought or famine, perennially green, always young and flourishing, and whatever you do prospers. Even your mistakes.

Go about your daily life meditating on pictures like this. You are meditating on God’s Word—not just words but pictures. Imagine it: you are a tree planted by the rivers of water; you are not just a tree growing wild somewhere, but you are planted because Someone cared enough to plant you. That person is Jesus.

Your imagination has the power to create. That is why Jesus said:

“. . . For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.”
— Matthew 12:34–35 NKJV

out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” — We often hear teaching about the power of confession, e.g. what you say is what you get. When it comes to salvation, we also put an emphasis on confession. However, there are two parts to it: confessing in the mouth and believing in the heart. Which one comes first? Based on this verse, it is the heart that is moved first, then the mouth follows.

It is by spending time in God’s Word that your heart is filled. It is not just about confession. First, fill the imaginations of your heart with God’s Word.

If you are sick, spend time listening to healing scriptures. As you keep listening, your heart is being filled with hope instead of filled with imaginations of the worst case scenario.

How do you know if you are guarding your heart? Take note of what your imagination is filled with. If it is filled with lust, with pessimism, with depressive thoughts, then you are not guarding your heart.

The devil is after your heart because it has creative power.

“. . . For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.”
— Matthew 12:34–35 NKJV

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things” — These “good things” are positive visions from God. He fills your heart with His visions, and only then do these visions manifest outwardly.

an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things” — The devil understands this principle too, and that’s why he tries to fill your heart with evil things. In fact, the very first sin in the Garden of Eden happened after the devil planted an evil imagination in Eve’s heart.

“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.”
— Genesis 3:6–7 NKJV

the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise” — How could Eve see all this when she had never touched the fruit before? She imagined this because the devil gave her this picture.

the eyes of both of them were opened” — This refers to spiritual eyes. God wanted their spiritual eyes to be opened by another tree, the tree of life, a picture of Christ. But when their eyes were opened by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, all they saw were their shortcomings. Before partaking of the forbidden tree, God clothed man in His glory; it was a radiant protection. However, man forfeited the glory of God when they sinned and had to cover themselves with fig leaves.

Through the cross, Jesus gave us back that glory that Adam and Eve had lost. There is a radiant glory surrounding all of us today.

Wisdom for marriage: From this story of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, we can see that It is so important to guard our imagination because it can bring destruction. If you are married and fantasize about another person besides your spouse, this doesn’t mean that you will end up with that person, but you will likely end up seeing destruction in your marriage. Adultery, even in the imagination, destroys. Instead, fill your imagination with positive pictures of marriage from God’s Word.

Possess God’s blessings by first possessing them in your thoughts and imagination

“And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered. Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you. Then Abram moved his tent, and went and dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and built an altar there to the Lord.”
— Genesis 13:14–18 NKJV

Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you. Then Abram moved his tent, and went and dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre” — Although God told Abraham to walk through the land that He was giving him, Abraham did not walk through the land physically but instead built a tent. Why? Because he knew that God was referring to walking through the land in his imagination. God was telling him to see himself possessing all the land and its produce in the north, south, east, and west.

We possess the promises and blessings that God has for us by first seeing them in our imagination.

Pastor Prince encourages us to have physical pictures of the “land” that we believe God wants us to possess and to fill our thoughts with His visions for us. For example, if you have a photo of yourself from your youth or your prime, keep on looking at that picture. Instead of feeling like your best days are behind you, let that picture serve as a faith picture of that “land” that God wants you to repossess.

This does not mean that we should become carnally minded and fill our minds with only material luxuries. There’s nothing wrong with trusting God for provision and practical supply, but more than anything else, this principle is for the things that really matter in life, especially our health and families.

“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people. . .”
—Ephesians 1:17–18 NIV

We have learned that the way the Spirit of wisdom and revelation operates is through the eyes of our hearts. To see something in our hearts means to have an understanding of it. When the Spirit of wisdom comes upon you, you will be able to look at a situation and see the solution or the answer.

This wisdom is not something that can be taught but needs to be prayed for, just like the apostle Paul and King Solomon prayed for it.

How to pray and be alert to the Spirit of wisdom

When you pray, the Lord may show you visions of the person you are praying for, whether it is yourself or someone else. Be alert to the pictures that come up. For example, you may be praying for your wife’s health and suddenly you see a picture of her in her childhood when certain deep-set fears began. You can say, “In the name of Jesus, I bind that fear and free her from it.” It could be that the sickness she has is the fear, and you just prayed against it. Or you could be praying for your son who is depressed, and you may have pictures coming up in your heart of your son’s future—smiling, having fun outdoors, depression-free. This is a positive picture that you can claim in Jesus’ name. You can pray, “Thank You, Father. I see my son this way.”

This is what prayer can be like. It is you communing with the Holy Spirit and Him speaking to you and delivering His answers to you in pictures. Prayer is not supposed to be you just desperately asking God for things based on fear.

Replace every negative thought with faith pictures from God’s Word

God’s vision for your family

“That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth;
That our daughters may be as pillars,
Sculptured in palace style;
That our barns may be full,
Supplying all kinds of produce;
That our sheep may bring forth thousands
And ten thousands in our fields
;
That our oxen may be well laden;
That there be no breaking in or going out;
That there be no outcry in our streets
.
Happy are the people who are in such a state;
Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!”
— Psalm 144:12–15 NKJV

God wants you to see your sons and daughters this way. He is deliberately giving you pictures to fill your heart with.

The world is always giving us pictures that fill our minds with negativity. The only way to overcome these images is to fill our minds and hearts with the wonderful visions that God has given to us in His Word.

God wants you to imagine rightly. Parents, fill your hearts with these visions of your children that the Lord has given to you. When you start experiencing worries or negative thoughts about your children, replace those thoughts with the positive pictures that God has given you.

our daughters may be as pillars, sculptured in palace style” — This is a picture of daughters possessing beauty, a stately posture, and good character.

our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth” — This is a picture of sons being mature and becoming great in their youth.

That our barns may be full, supplying all kinds of produce; that our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our fields” — This is a picture of abundant provision.

That our oxen may be well laden; that there be no breaking in or going out; that there be no outcry in our streets.” — The word “outcry” means “complaining.” There will be no complaining in our streets. This is a picture of us rejoicing and praising the Lord all the days of our lives. When good things happen, we praise the Lord. When bad things happen, we praise the Lord anyway because we know that all things work together for our good!

Salvation Prayer

“Heavenly Father, I thank You that You sent Jesus Christ, Your beloved Son, to die on that cross. He bore my sins and all my diseases. He was wounded for my transgressions and by His wounds I have been healed. I thank You that on the third day, You destroyed death and You raised Jesus from the dead. Because He lives, I live also. Jesus is my Lord forever. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Closing Prayer

“The Lord bless you and your families with the blessings of Deuteronomy 28. Christ has redeemed you from every curse in Deuteronomy 28 and all the blessings will keep on keeping on in your life. The Lord makes His face shine on you to keep you and your loved ones from harm, danger, every sickness—from all the powers of darkness. The Lord gives you His smiling radiance that you may be a joyful, smiling, radiant person throughout this week. It starts this week. And the Lord grant you and your loved ones His shalom peace. Above all the guarding, keep your heart and mind through Christ Jesus. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

OWN THE WORD (life application)

Has your heart been troubled lately? Perhaps you have been battling fearful thoughts about the future, dealing with discouragement because of a health challenge, or struggling with hopelessness about your family situation.

This week, guard your heart by replacing every negative or pessimistic thought with positive faith pictures from the Lord. Let Him fill your imagination with His visions for your health, your family life, your marriage, your career, your financial situation, and your future. Receive these pictures when you practice these two things this week:

  1. Find and meditate on the promises and blessings in God’s Word for your specific situation. Visualize them and see yourself possessing them in your heart. Here are some verses Pastor Prince highlighted in this sermon that you can fix your thoughts on:

    Vision for your health, well-being, and success
    “He shall be like a tree
    Planted by the rivers of water,
    That brings forth its fruit in its season,
    Whose leaf also shall not wither;
    And whatever he does shall prosper.”
    — Psalms 1:3 NKJV

    Vision for your children and family provision
    “That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth;
    That our daughters may be as pillars,
    Sculptured in palace style;
    That our barns may be full,
    Supplying all kinds of produce;
    That our sheep may bring forth thousands
    And ten thousands in our fields.”
    — Psalm 144:12–13 NKJV
  2. Pray for the Spirit of wisdom and revelation. Then, as you pray about the concerns on your heart, be alert to the Holy Spirit bringing up pictures regarding that situation or that person you are praying for. Allow Him to lead you to pray accurate prayers and be encouraged as He paints beautiful pictures of breakthroughs for you.

Friend, these positive pictures from God’s Word or from the promptings of the Holy Spirit are not just wishful thinking, but they are rightfully yours because the Lord Jesus purchased them for you at the cross.

As you fill your thoughts and imaginations with His visions for your life, you will begin to see them come to pass!

We hope these sermon notes blessed you! If they did, we encourage you to get the sermon and allow the Lord to speak to you personally as you watch or listen to it.

© Copyright JosephPrince.com 2022
These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.

PLAY FROM THIS POINT
01

Introduction: Are we appreciating what we have?

PLAY FROM THIS POINT
MAIN IDEA

Take time to reflect on and appreciate the blessings God has given you—especially your loved ones and the precious gift of Jesus Christ, who has made you forever right with God.

key scriptures

-

KEY TAKEAWAYS
FOLLOW PASTOR PRINCE AS HE EXPOUNDS ON THESE POINTS
  • In a world that is dark, filled with hopelessness and pessimism, it is easy for us to become depressed. Even though today, we have inventions and devices that allow us to be more connected than ever before, many of us are still unhappy.
  • We crave what we can’t attain and discredit what we have. We tend to appreciate the people or things we cannot attain and take for granted the people and things we have. We are often more polite to strangers than our loved ones. Let us appreciate and express that appreciation to our loved ones.
  • The greatest gift that God has given us is Jesus Christ, His Son. We are so blessed—we are saved and we know Him who loves us in spite of ourselves.
  • We are not saved or justified by our own efforts but by Jesus alone. He is our righteousness. No matter what season you are in, whether you are feeling good about your walk with God or not, you can be confident that Jesus is your righteousness. When you allow this truth to sink into your heart, you will have a sense of peace and assurance because you will realize that God will not withhold any blessing from you.
  • Declare this: “Father God, I thank You that Jesus Christ is my righteousness. Your beloved Son and all that He is, You have credited to my account, You have imputed to me. On the cross, Jesus became sin with my sins that I might be made the righteousness of God in Him. Thank You, Father. Jesus is my righteousness—He is the measure of my right standing before You.”
  • When we pray this before we make our requests before God, we remind ourselves of the truth that we have right standing before God because we are in Christ. This is what builds our faith.
PLAY FROM THIS POINT
02

We crave for things we can't attain

PLAY FROM THIS POINT
MAIN IDEA

Be aware of the tendency to desire the things you don’t have and take for granted the things you do. Learn to see the value of the things and people you have before someone else does.

key scriptures

John 1:29

KEY TAKEAWAYS
FOLLOW PASTOR PRINCE AS HE EXPOUNDS ON THESE POINTS
  • We tend to crave what we don’t have and fail to appreciate what we do. Pastor Prince shares how much he appreciates the corporate gathering of God’s people (coming back to church physically).
  • Israel was held captive for 70 years in Babylon because of idolatry. Before they fell into idolatry, when they were still worshiping God, they were offering sin offerings (a representation of the real offering, Jesus, who would eventually come to take away the sins of the world). On account of these sin offerings, God looked past their sins.
  • Let’s say sin is represented by an ink stain. In Hebrew, to “atone” for sin means to “cover” it. That is why the mercy seat, which was placed over the symbols of sin in Old Testament times, was actually called the “covering seat.” The mercy seat would have the blood of the animal sacrifice sprinkled on it and cover the sins of God’s people. In the past, the stain of sin was covered by sacrifices so that God would not see it. Yet, the stain was still there until Jesus died on the cross (John 1:29). His sacrifice on the cross fully removed all our sins once and for all. 
  • Today, God does not just overlook our sins. To Him, our sins have been completely removed. This does not mean we are sinless. There is still sin in our flesh, but when we come before God, He sees absolutely no sin on us at all.
  • When Israel was worshiping God, they were offering sin offerings and their sins were covered. However, once they fell into idolatry and stopped worshiping God, they also stopped offering sin offerings and their sins were exposed. That’s when they went into captivity. After those 70 years of captivity, they never reverted to idolatry again.
  • For us who have lived through the pandemic, we can feel like we “went into captivity” for 2 years. And during this time, we learned many things—one of which is to appreciate what we have. For example, we begin to appreciate the resources that God has provided for us to come together, such as having spaces to congregate as a church. We thank God especially for the people in our church.
  • Similar to children, we can have a tendency to discredit what we have. Kids tend to want the toys that other kids want to play with. For example, a child can own a toy and be uninterested in it until another child comes to the house and wants to play with it. Then the toy suddenly becomes more attractive to the child who owns it. This is immature thinking, yet many adults still have this way of thinking.
  • For example, there are men who only start appreciating their wives when another man gives her attention. So if you are married, appreciate the spouse God has given you before somebody else does. Husbands, appreciate the beautiful virtues and wonderful traits that God has given your wife to bless you. At the same time, wives, if you receive flattery from other men, don’t let that flattery win you over because flattery will not carry you far in a relationship.
  • The childishness to crave what we can’t have is of the flesh. Let us be aware of it so we don’t allow ourselves to be swept up by it.
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03

God wants you to guard your heart

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MAIN IDEA

The most important thing to guard is your heart because what is in your heart will manifest in your life. Guard your heart by guarding what you see and hear.

key scriptures

Prov. 4:20–22, James 1:17, Acts 26:2, 29, Matt. 6:11

KEY TAKEAWAYS
FOLLOW PASTOR PRINCE AS HE EXPOUNDS ON THESE POINTS
  • We need to know God’s ways. God’s ways are not religious. His way is not to demand us to perform good works in order to obtain righteousness. The only way for us to be righteous is by having faith in Jesus’ finished work on the cross. The cross cost Jesus everything and it cost us nothing except to believe. Just by believing in the finished work, our sins are forgiven and we are made whole.
  • Today, we are talking about the importance of guarding our hearts.
  • God’s Word brings complete healing and wellness to your entire being:
    “My son, give attention to my words;
    Incline your ear to my sayings.
    Do not let them depart from your eyes;
    Keep them in the midst of your heart;
    For they are life to those who find them,
    And health to all their flesh
    .”
    —Proverbs 4:20–22 NKJV
  • give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes”— The first step to giving attention to God’s Word is to guard our eargate (what we hear) and our eyegate (what we see).
  • Keep them in the midst of your heart” — It is via our ears and eyes that things enter our hearts. God’s word to us today is to guard our hearts by watching what we hear and see.
  • they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh” — This is God’s remedy for every part of our physical bodies. It is medicine that doesn’t have any side-effects. God’s Word is one of God’s perfect gifts to His children (James 1:17). When you hold your Bible in your hand, you’re holding a piece of heaven, you’re holding God’s grace gift to you. It is God's instruction manual, the manufacturer's handbook, and the only medicine that is health to all your flesh. The only side-effects are joy unspeakable and peace that surpasses understanding. The apostle Paul was an example of this, even in the face of fierce persecution (Acts 26:2, 29). We are meant to have joy, peace, and radiant personalities that witness to the world that we are saved.
  • This is God’s way: HIS WORD GOES THROUGH OUR EARGATE AND EYEGATE → ENTERS OUR HEARTS → BECOMES LIFE AND HEALTH TO ALL OUR FLESH
  • There are times we receive instant healing when the gifts of healings are operating, but most of the time, we receive our healing as we give attention to God’s Word. We are to receive His Word daily (Matt. 6:11).
  • His Word must enter our hearts via our ears and eyes before it becomes life and health to all our flesh.
  • Keep your heart with all diligence,
    For out of it spring the issues of life.”
    —Proverbs 4:23 NKJV
  • Keep [Guard] thy heart with all diligence . . .”
    —Proverbs 4:23 KJV
  • Guard your heart with all diligence” — In the Hebrew, this means that of all the guarding we do, we must guard our heart. This is the priority because our heart is where all the forces of life come from.
  • Often, we tend to guard the things that matter to us such as our families, finances, and health, thinking that by doing so we are guarding ourselves. There’s nothing wrong with keeping these areas of our lives in consideration, however, they are all external and they flow out of the heart.
  • The most important thing to guard is your heart.
  • In a world where there is no more privacy, and the only real privacy you have is what is in your heart, be sure to guard your heart. No one except the Holy Spirit should enter that precious space.
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04

What is the heart in the Bible?

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MAIN IDEA

The heart consists of the imagination and thoughts. When you guard your heart, God will guard everything else in your life.

key scriptures

John 14:27, Gen. 6:5

KEY TAKEAWAYS
FOLLOW PASTOR PRINCE AS HE EXPOUNDS ON THESE POINTS
  • Some may say that your heart is your spirit. However, in Greek, “spirit” is “pnevma” and “heart” is “cardia.” Meanwhile in Hebrew, “spirit” is “ruach” and “heart” is “lev.” Essentially, your heart is not your spirit.
  • We are tripartite beings. Each of us is a spirit that has a soul and is housed in a body. Our spirit connects us with God, our soul engages us with what is happening in our surroundings, and our body connects us with the physical world.
  • Today, we will learn more about the heart by learning what it does. What does a heart do?
  • With all your guarding, guard your heart. Jesus told us, “Let not your heart be troubled” (John 14:27).
  • The Lord didn’t tell us to guard our families, our finances, or our health. He told us to guard our hearts. When we guard our hearts, He will guard everything else.
  • Our part is to “let not our hearts be troubled”. When you hear bad news, quote John 14:27 under your breath. That’s one of the ways to guard your heart.
  • How else can we guard our hearts? We can discover this when we know how our hearts function.
  • Noah’s ark and the flood:
    “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination (‘yeser') of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
    —Genesis 6:5 KJV
  • every imagination (‘yeser') of the thoughts of his heart” — The word ‘imagination’ is ‘yeser’ (noun) in Hebrew. Why is imagination so important? Because God knew that once something is in the imagination, it will manifest outwardly. Already, at this time, mankind was already doing many wicked things. But this wickedness started from the imagination of the heart.
  • In all the earth, God only managed to find Noah and his family who were pure in His eyes. Noah’s ark was covered on the inside and outside with “pitch,” which means “atone” in Hebrew, so Noah and his family were safe inside the ark. This is a picture of believers today—no matter how many times we fall, we fall inside the safety of the ark. We are saved once and for all.
  • God was the One who invited Noah and his family into the ark before the flood and asked them to go out of the ark after the flood. Here, God demonstrates His style of leadership—first one in, last one out.
  • Pastor Prince encourages the congregation to lean in and respond to the preaching of the Word because this is how we shake off the dust of the world that we may have picked up—whether it is bad news, social media content, or entertainment that is causing depressive thoughts and negativism.
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05

Your imaginations shape your reality

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MAIN IDEA

God has designed your imagination to have the power to create and shape your reality. Fill your imagination with the Lord’s faith pictures and visions for your life, and you will see them come to pass.

key scriptures

Gen. 8:21, Eph. 1:17–18, Prov. 3:16–17, Matt 5:27–28, Gen. 2:7, Acts 2:17

KEY TAKEAWAYS
FOLLOW PASTOR PRINCE AS HE EXPOUNDS ON THESE POINTS
  • The word “imagination,” which is “yeser” in Hebrew, appears again after the flood.
  • “And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma. Then the Lord said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination (‘yeser') of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.”
    —Genesis 8:21 NKJV
  • the imagination (‘yeser') of man’s heart is evil” — Although God could have simply said that “man’s heart is evil,” He chose to say, “The imagination of man’s heart is evil.”
  • Why is imagination so important?
  • “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people. . .”
    —Ephesians 1:17–18 NIV
  • the Spirit of wisdom and revelation” — Wisdom is something for us to seek after. Wisdom brings length of days, riches, honor, pleasure, peace (Prov. 3:16–17). How does the Spirit of wisdom and revelation operate?
  • the eyes of your heart may be enlightened”— The Spirit of wisdom and revelation operates through the eyes of your heart. The eyes of your heart speak of vision and imagination.
  • Guard your heart by guarding your imagination
  • To the Lord, imagining something is already committing the act itself. That is why in Matthew 5:27–28, Jesus says that whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her. This points to imagination being the deed.
  • Imagination has creative power. What you imagine shapes your reality.
  • The word “imagination (‘yeser’)” first appears in the Bible in the story of creation:
  • “And the LORD God formed (‘yeser’) man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”
    —Genesis 2:7 NKJV
  • formed (‘yeser’)” — This is the verb form of the word. It has to do with creation, formulation. To God, imagination is creative. It is not just something insignificant or inconsequential that happens in your mind.
  • Pastor Prince shares how before the church grew to the size it is now, he saw the growth of the church in his imagination. He encourages us to be receptive to positive imaginations when we pray. Pray in the Spirit and see what imaginations the Holy Spirit brings up in your heart. Be alert to the pictures that come up. This is how the Holy Spirit speaks to you.
  • “And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
    That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
    Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
    Your young men shall see visions,
    Your old men shall dream dreams
    .”
    —Acts 2:17 NKJV
  • Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams” — Both dreams and visions refer to pictures given to you by God, either when you’re sleeping or awake.
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06

Fill your heart with faith pictures

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MAIN IDEA

God’s Word is brimming with faith pictures for your life. Fill the imaginations of your heart with these pictures, speak them forth, and watch them come to pass.

key scriptures

Ps. 1:3, Matt. 12:34–35, Gen. 3:6–7

KEY TAKEAWAYS
FOLLOW PASTOR PRINCE AS HE EXPOUNDS ON THESE POINTS
  • God speaks through pictures. His Word is filled with visual descriptions and depictions of how you should see yourself.
  • “He shall be like a tree
    Planted by the rivers of water,
    That brings forth its fruit in its season,
    Whose leaf also shall not wither;
    And whatever he does shall prosper.”
    —Psalm 1:3 NKJV
  • This is God’s vision for you—that you live a supernatural life, planted by the rivers of water, not lacking in times of drought or famine, perennially green, always young and flourishing, and whatever you do prospers. Even your mistakes.
  • Go about your daily life meditating on pictures like this. You are meditating on God’s Word—not just words but pictures. Imagine it: you are a tree planted by the rivers of water; you are not just a tree growing wild somewhere, but you are planted because Someone cared enough to plant you. That person is Jesus.
  • Your imagination has the power to create. That is why Jesus said:
    “. . . For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.”
    — Matthew 12:34–35 NKJV
  • out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” — We often hear teaching about the power of confession, e.g. what you say is what you get. When it comes to salvation, we also put an emphasis on confession. However, there are two parts to it: confessing in the mouth and believing in the heart. Which one comes first? Based on this verse, it is the heart that is moved first, then the mouth follows.
  • It is by spending time in God’s Word that your heart is filled. It is not just about confession. First, fill the imaginations of your heart with God’s Word.
  • If you are sick, spend time listening to healing scriptures. As you keep listening, your heart is being filled with hope instead of filled with imaginations of the worst case scenario.
  • How do you know if you are guarding your heart? Take note of what your imagination is filled with. If it is filled with lust, with pessimism, with depressive thoughts, then you are not guarding your heart.
  • The devil is after your heart because it has creative power.
  • “. . . For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.”
    — Matthew 12:34–35 NKJV
  • A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things” — These “good things” are positive visions from God. He fills your heart with His visions, and only then do these visions manifest outwardly.
  • an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things” — The devil understands this principle too, and that’s why he tries to fill your heart with evil things. In fact, the very first sin in the Garden of Eden happened after the devil planted an evil imagination in Eve’s heart.
  • “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.”
    — Genesis 3:6–7 NKJV
  • the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise” — How could Eve see all this when she had never touched the fruit before? She imagined this because the devil gave her this picture.
  • the eyes of both of them were opened” — This refers to spiritual eyes. God wanted their spiritual eyes to be opened by another tree, the tree of life, a picture of Christ. But when their eyes were opened by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, all they saw were their shortcomings. Before partaking of the forbidden tree, God clothed man in His glory; it was a radiant protection. However, man forfeited the glory of God when they sinned and had to cover themselves with fig leaves.
  • Through the cross, Jesus gave us back that glory that Adam and Eve had lost. There is a radiant glory surrounding all of us today.
  • Wisdom for marriage: From this story of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, we can see that it is so important to guard our imagination because it can bring destruction. If you are married and fantasize about another person besides your spouse, this doesn’t mean that you will end up with that person, but you will likely end up seeing destruction in your marriage. Adultery, even in the imagination, destroys. Instead, fill your imagination with positive pictures of marriage from God’s Word.
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07

What you see on the inside matters

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MAIN IDEA

The way to possess the blessings and breakthroughs God has for you is to first see yourself possessing them in your heart—in your thoughts and imaginations.

key scriptures

Gen. 13:14–18, Eph. 1:17–18

KEY TAKEAWAYS
FOLLOW PASTOR PRINCE AS HE EXPOUNDS ON THESE POINTS
  • “And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered. Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you. Then Abram moved his tent, and went and dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and built an altar there to the Lord.”
    — Genesis 13:14–18 NKJV
  • Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you. Then Abram moved his tent, and went and dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre” — Although God told Abraham to walk through the land that He was giving him, Abraham did not walk through the land physically but instead built a tent. Why? Because he knew that God was referring to walking through the land in his imagination. God was telling him to see himself possessing all the land and its produce in the north, south, east, and west.
  • We possess the promises and blessings that God has for us by first seeing them in our imagination.
  • Pastor Prince encourages us to have physical pictures of the “land” that we believe God wants us to possess and to fill our thoughts with His visions for us. For example, if you have a photo of yourself from your youth or your prime, keep on looking at that picture. Instead of feeling like your best days are behind you, let that picture serve as a faith picture of that “land” that God wants you to repossess.
  • This does not mean that we should become carnally minded and fill our minds with only material luxuries. There’s nothing wrong with trusting God for provision and practical supply, but more than anything else, this principle is for the things that really matter in life, especially our health and families.
  • “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people. . .”
    —Ephesians 1:17–18 NIV
  • We have learned that the way the Spirit of wisdom and revelation operates is through the eyes of our hearts. To see something in our hearts means to have an understanding of it. When the Spirit of wisdom comes upon you, you will be able to look at a situation and see the solution or the answer.
  • This wisdom is not something that can be taught but needs to be prayed for, just like the apostle Paul and King Solomon prayed for it.
  • How to pray and be alert to the Spirit of wisdom: When you pray, the Lord may show you visions of the person you are praying for, whether it is yourself or someone else. Be alert to the pictures that come up. For example, you may be praying for your wife’s health and suddenly you see a picture of her in her childhood when certain deep-set fears began. 

    You can say, “In the name of Jesus, I bind that fear and free her from it.” It could be that the sickness she has is the fear, and you just prayed against it. Or you could be praying for your son who is depressed, and you may have pictures coming up in your heart of your son’s future—smiling, having fun outdoors, depression-free. This is a positive picture that you can claim in Jesus’ name. You can pray, “Thank You, Father. I see my son this way.”

    This is what prayer can be like. It is you communing with the Holy Spirit and Him speaking to you and delivering His answers to you in pictures. Prayer is not supposed to be you just desperately asking God for things based on fear.
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08

Practice guarding your heart this week

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MAIN IDEA

When you start experiencing worries or negative thoughts, guard your heart by replacing these thoughts with faith pictures from God’s Word.

key scriptures

Ps. 144:12–15

KEY TAKEAWAYS
FOLLOW PASTOR PRINCE AS HE EXPOUNDS ON THESE POINTS
  • God’s vision for your family:
    That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth;
    That our daughters may be as pillars,
    Sculptured in palace style;
    That our barns may be full,
    Supplying all kinds of produce;
    That our sheep may bring forth thousands
    And ten thousands in our fields;
    That our oxen may be well laden;
    That there be no breaking in or going out;
    That there be no outcry in our streets.
    Happy are the people who are in such a state;
    Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!”
    — Psalm 144:12–15 NKJV
  • God wants you to see your sons and daughters this way. He is deliberately giving you pictures to fill your heart with.
  • The world is always giving us pictures that fill our minds with negativity. The only way to overcome these images is to fill our minds and hearts with the wonderful visions that God has given to us in His Word.
  • God wants you to imagine rightly. Parents, fill your hearts with these visions of your children that the Lord has given to you. When you start experiencing worries or negative thoughts about your children, replace those thoughts with the positive pictures that God has given you.
  • our daughters may be as pillars, sculptured in palace style” — This is a picture of daughters possessing beauty, a stately posture, and good character.
  • our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth” — This is a picture of sons being mature and becoming great in their youth.
  • That our barns may be full, supplying all kinds of produce; that our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our fields” — This is a picture of abundant provision.
  • That our oxen may be well laden; that there be no breaking in or going out; that there be no outcry in our streets.” — The word “outcry” means “complaining.” There will be no complaining in our streets. This is a picture of us rejoicing and praising the Lord all the days of our lives. When good things happen, we praise the Lord. When bad things happen, we praise the Lord anyway because we know that all things work together for our good!