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Guard Your Heart
and Find Rest
in Every Season

Beloved, with all that the world has been facing in the past few years, you might be feeling worn out from the ceaseless slew of bad news and events you’ve been hearing about and watching. Maybe you’ve even found yourself feeling increasingly anxious with the overload of information and spirit of pessimism that has become part and parcel of the world we live in today.

Take heart, my friend. The Bible tells us the world will get darker and darker, but it also tells us that as a child of God, you don’t have to be resigned to a dark future. And you don’t have to live in anxiety and fear, imagining that the worst case-scenarios will happen as a result of the challenges you’re facing right now.

You see, your heavenly Father’s heart for you is to prosper in ALL things and be in health—in your body and in your emotions—regardless of what the world is going through. Even in the most difficult seasons of life, you can rise above the storms and prosper in your physical and mental health, family life, relationships, career, and all that the Lord has put in your hands.

But how does this supernatural prospering in all things happen? It begins as your soul prospers (3 John 1:2). Friend, as you start to prosper inwardly, everything outward in your life will start to prosper as well, regardless of what your current circumstances may look like now.

Today, I want to share with you a word about the importance of guarding the imaginations of your heart. I believe it’s a powerful key to launching you on a life-long journey of soul prosperity that will unlock a greater measure of the Lord’s blessings and release an overwhelming sense of His shalom-peace in your everyday life.

Whether you’re feeling overwhelmed or going through a night season right now, or whether you just want to walk in a greater measure of peace, security, boldness, and faith, I pray that the following excerpt adapted from my book Unmerited Favor—Your Supernatural Advantage for a Successful Life will bless and deeply encourage you.

Do you know that the Lord has promised that no weapon formed against you shall prosper? Now, He did not promise that weapons would not be formed against you. He promised that even if weapons were formed against you, they will not hurt or defeat you.

There are all kinds of weapons formed against humanity, especially in these last days. Just think of the many kinds of deadly viruses, sicknesses, and diseases in the world. When you turn on the television and watch the news, all you seem to hear about are wars, unrest, disasters, financial collapses, violence, unemployment, famines, a global meltdown, rising inflation, mounting credit card debts, crashing stock markets, and large organizations filing for bankruptcy. It is amazing how many people wake up in the morning, and the first thing that they do is check their social media or news feeds or grab the newspapers and read bad news before heading to work. Then, just before they go to bed, they watch the news!

Now, please understand that I am not against reading or watching the news, or watching television for that matter. But I want to encourage you to start your day with Jesus instead, practicing His presence, acknowledging Him, committing your plans to Him, and trusting Him for His unmerited favor, wisdom, and strength for the day. Remember to be like Joseph in the Bible. The Lord was with Joseph and he was a successful man (Gen. 39:2)! Your success does not come as a result of you being updated about the latest virus or you being cued in to the latest disaster. No, your success will come as a result of your being tuned in to the presence of Jesus in your life!

There are many people in my church who start the day each morning by partaking of the holy Communion, not as a ritual, but as a time to remember Jesus and the power of His cross. They look to Jesus for His strength, receiving His divine life for their physical bodies as they partake of the bread. They renew their consciousness of their free gift of righteousness purchased by the blood of Jesus on the cross as they partake of the cup. What a way to start the day!

I have also come to realize that the last thought before you go to sleep is very important. I have tried this before and you can try it too—go to bed thinking about Jesus, giving thanks to Him for the day. You can also meditate on one of His promises, such as the one found in Isaiah 54:17. Just say, “Thank You, Father. Your Word declares that no weapon formed against me shall prosper!” Most times, I wake up feeling rejuvenated, energized and refreshed, even when I did not have many hours of sleep.

Conversely, if I go to bed with what I have just heard on the news swirling in my mind, I could sleep many more hours than usual, but still wake up feeling fatigued. Sometimes I even get a headache. Have you been there before? Well, you don’t have to experience that again. Sandwich your day with the presence of Jesus. Start the day with Him, enjoy Him during the day and end the day with Him on your mind!

You know, Psalm 127:2 aptly describes what we are talking about. It says, “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep.” The bread of the world is the bread of sorrows, but Jesus is our bread of life. When you feed on Him, you will be nourished physically, emotionally, and spiritually, whereas the bread of the world only depletes you physically and drains you emotionally by adding stress, anxiety, and worry to your life.

Isn’t it beautiful that quality sleep is a gift from God? If you are struggling to sleep at night, look to Jesus. Develop a knowing in your heart that you are His beloved and rest on the promise that “He gives His beloved sleep.” Are you His beloved? Of course you are! So you qualify to enjoy the blessedness of sleep. Insomnia is not from God. Sleep is!

I was watching a popular program on television with the host of that program interviewing some analysts about the economy. One analyst was very positive and gave his reasons for being so upbeat. Then, another analyst interjected and gave his reasons for a bleak economic outlook. I watched this program for over an hour and none of these analysts agreed on anything in the end.

The thing about such discussions, be it on television, the papers, or the internet, is that it’s supposed to present 2 sides—one good and the other bad. No real resolution is reached at the end. Sometime after watching that program, I shared with my pastoral team that I realized that I had unknowingly been feeding on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That’s all I got from watching such programs—more knowledge of what was good and what was evil, but this knowledge did nothing for me.

On the other hand, when we feed on the person of Jesus, who is the tree of life, we find that His wisdom, understanding, peace, joy, and unmerited favor will flow in our lives! Again, I am not saying that you should not watch the news. I am just saying that it is important for you to watch your viewing diet. It is far more powerful to be full of Jesus than to be full of worldly knowledge.

When we partake of Jesus, wisdom, understanding, peace, joy, and unmerited favor will flow in our lives!

I always encourage my church to be mindful of their eye- and ear-gates. Essentially, this means that we need to be conscious of what we watch and hear on a regular basis. The book of Proverbs, which is chock-full of God’s wisdom, tells us, “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” (Prov. 4:20–22).

God tells us to guard what we hear, what we see, and what is in our hearts. He wants us to have our ears full of the gracious words of Jesus, our eyes full of the presence of Jesus, and our hearts meditating on what we have heard and seen in Jesus. That’s what “give attention to my words” means today in the new covenant, for Jesus is God’s Word made flesh. John 1:14 says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace [unmerited favor] and truth.”

The more we hear and see Jesus, the healthier and stronger we become! Our mortal bodies become infused with His resurrection life and power!

It is all about beholding Jesus, and as we behold Him, we are transformed more and more into His likeness, full of unmerited favor and truth! Don’t miss this powerful promise, my friend. The result of tuning our ear- and eye-gates to Jesus is that He will be life and health to us. The Bible shows us that there is a direct correlation between hearing and seeing Jesus, and the health of our physical bodies. The more we hear and see Jesus, the healthier and stronger we become! Our mortal bodies become infused with His resurrection life and power!

If we are constantly feeding on the news media, it is no wonder that we feel weak and tired. There is just no nourishment for us there. Please hear what I am saying. It is all right to keep yourself abreast of current world events and be in the know about what is happening around you, trends in the economy, and developments in the political arena. Such information may even be necessary for the industry that you are in. I am not asking you to become an ignoramus or to live in a cave. I am just saying that you should not overdose yourself on world news and developments, and let them consume you.

The best way to know if you are embroiled in the things of this world is to be objective and ask yourself this: “Is my heart troubled?” I believe that the number one killer in the modern world is stress. Medical doctors in my church have told me that if a patient has high blood pressure, they can advise the patient to cut down on sodium. They can also advise their patients to cut down on other excesses such as sugar or cholesterol. But as doctors, there is one thing that they cannot control in their patients, and that is their patients’ stress levels.

I personally believe that the physical root cause of many medical conditions today is stress. Stress can produce all kinds of imbalances in your body. It can cause you to age prematurely, give you rashes, cause gastric pains, and even lead to abnormal growths in your body. To put it succinctly, stress kills! Doctors tell us that certain physical symptoms are psychosomatic in nature. That’s because these symptoms are brought about by psychological problems such as stress. Stress is not from God. Peace is from Him!

I trust that you are beginning to understand why Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). Now, Jesus would not have used the word “peace.” The Greek New Testament renders “peace” as eirene, but since Jesus spoke Aramaic-Hebrew, He would have used the word shalom—“Shalom I leave with you, My shalom I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.”

In the Hebrew vernacular, shalom is a very rich and loaded word. There is no English word that can accurately encapsulate the fullness, richness, and power contained in the word shalom. Hence, English Bible translators were only able to translate it as “peace.” But while the word shalom includes peace, it means so much more. Let’s look at the Brown Driver & Briggs Hebrew Lexicon to get a better idea of what Jesus meant when He said “Shalom I leave with you.”

The Hebrew Lexicon describes shalom as completeness, safety, soundness (in body), welfare, health, prosperity, peace, quiet, tranquility, contentment, peace used of human relationships, and peace with God especially in covenant relationship. Wow, what a powerful word! This is the shalom that Jesus has bequeathed you: His completeness, His safety, His soundness, His welfare, His health, His prosperity, His peace, His quietness, His tranquility, His contentment, His peace in human relationships, and His peace with God through the covenant made at the cross. All these, my friend, are part of your inheritance in Christ today! I don’t know about you, but I am jumping up and down in my heart and shouting praises to the Lord as I let this sink in!

Can you picture the full implications of what it means to experience Jesus’ shalom in your life? Can you picture your life being free from regrets, anxieties, and worries? How healthy, vibrant, energetic, and strong you will be!

Jesus gives you His shalom to set you up for success in this life. You cannot be a success in your marriage, family, and career when you are crippled and paralyzed with fear. Today, as you are reading this, I believe with all my heart that Jesus has already begun a work in your heart to liberate you from all your fears, whatever they may be. They may be the fear of failure, the fear of success, the fear of people’s opinions of you, or even the fear that God is not with you.

All the fears that you are experiencing in your life today began with an untruth, a lie that you have somehow believed. Perhaps you have believed that God is angry and displeased with you, and that His presence is far from you. That’s why the Bible says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18).

This scripture tells us that when you begin to have a revelation that God loves you perfectly (not because of what you have accomplished, but because of what Jesus has accomplished for you), that revelation of the unmerited favor of Jesus will cast out every fear, every lie, every anxiety, every doubt, and every worry that God is against you. The more you have a revelation of Jesus and how He has made you perfect, the more you will free yourself to receive His complete shalom and succeed in life!

Beloved, I’m so glad you’re reading this, and I truly believe your best days are ahead of you. As you go about your day-to-day activities, I understand there will still be moments where fearful thoughts may come in because of the challenges you are facing. It could be the short timeline to deliver an important project at work, taking care of your sick child, or resolving a conflict in your marriage—but 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 not let our hearts be troubled (John 14:27).

Instead of letting negative images flood your heart with fear, choose to meditate on God’s Word, for it is filled with pictures—visual descriptions and depictions of how you should see yourself. Doing so will birth fresh visions in your heart and start replacing every negative thought with positive pictures of His goodness at work in your life.

Psalm 1:3 says, “He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of living water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” My friend, this is God’s vision for your life—that you live a supernatural life, planted by the rivers of living water, not lacking in times of drought or famine, perennially green, always young and flourishing, and whatever you do prospers (even your mistakes).

So, I encourage you to go about your daily life meditating on pictures like this. And the more you fill the imaginations of your heart with these faith-filled pictures, you shall surely see Jesus granting you His peace, restoring your health, protecting you and your family from all danger and harm, and supplying everything you need.

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We are praying for you!

If you are dealing with a health or mental wellness challenge today, we are believing with you for your breakthrough. But even as we stand in faith with you, we encourage you to practice faith with godly wisdom. Please continue to consult your doctor about your condition and don’t throw away your medication or disregard any professional medical advice or diagnosis. We are praying for you, and look forward to hearing your praise report!

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John Akinmoladun