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Don't go there....

When I was in the military, I pulled the assigned task of "guard duty" on a few occasions. The thing that struck me most was that I was guarding "stuff" that I really had no clue that anybody would want, but it was supposed to teach me the skill of ferreting out friend from foe! Sometimes I'd be assigned to the motor pool, while I would just walk a perimeter around some place where others slept peacefully. Did I find I had to ward off intruders all that much? No, but I was ready! You never know when the enemy will attack, or at what location. So you "prepare" for the worst and pray for the best!

God guards you from every evil, he guards your very life. He guards you when you leave and when you return, he guards you now, he guards you always. (Psalm 121:7-8)

God's watchfulness over his children is much like that of the one who diligent fulfills his role of 'guard duty'. When intruders come, we want to know we can answer the question, "Where does my help come from?" We need to rest certain in the fact our "help" comes from God and no other source. It is he who guards our very life, now and always! To guard means that someone or something is kept safe from harm. There is a watchfulness over that person or thing that keeps it out of harm's way. Did you also know that to guard refers to keeping a watchful eye so that the one being guarded does not escape or engage in misconduct? God does more as the "guard" over our lives than just keep us safe - he also keeps us from escaping his care, running toward those things that will harm us, and reminding us of the pain that our misconduct will eventually end up costing us. What a faithful "guard" he is!

As my children were born, there were things I did to "guard" them from injury. One of the simplest things was to purchase those small plastic caps that fit tightly into the electrical outlets. How did I know to do this - to guard them from electrical shock? Truth be told, I learned by experience - my own blunders of sticking pointy things into those small holes as a kid! I "covered" the small holes that could injure my children because I had already experienced the painfulness of my own "misconduct"!
God places "safeguards" in our lives, much like the outlet covers I placed for my kids, in order to prevent loss, injury, or damage to our reputation. Just like my children, we often resist those safeguards because we think something "good" must be on the other side of the safeguard - something is being kept from us that we 'deserve' or 'want'! I periodically watched as my children took small fingers and attempted to manipulate the plastic guards from those outlets. Each time, I'd remind them that they should not play with the outlets. Guess what? To my knowledge, my kids never got the "jolt" of playing around with electricity - because of my preparation and my guard!

God doesn't want to "keep us from the good stuff" - he is working overtime to keep us safe from the "bad stuff" that leaves us feeling 'jolted' by life! Safeguards don't mean we aren't curious about what is "on the other side" of the safeguard (boundary). All it means is that we have something that stands between us and the object of our desirous attention. God leaves the response to the "safeguard" he has placed for us totally in our court of decision. Much like my kids pulling with all their might to get that plastic plug out of the outlet, we often find ourselves "pulling with all our might" to remove the safeguards God has placed in our lives. Did you realize that there are a ton of synonyms for "guard" in the Bible? Here are just a few: shield, shelter, watch, defend, bulwark, watchman. God must really want to get the point across that we need "guarding"! The next time you see one of these words, look at in the context of what God says he is doing for his children as their shield, their defender, a bulwark, or a watchman. It may just open a whole new meaning for you about the value of God's "guarding" boundaries in your life. 

Aren't you glad that you have someone as dedicated to your safety on Guard Duty in your life? The next time you hear, "Halt, who goes there", you might do well to actually stop and ask why God is halting your forward progress. He might actually be trying to get you to realize the error of your steps, not to keep you from something good in your life, but to keep you safely within the boundaries that help you to avoid all things evil in it! The first step to enjoying the safety of our boundaries is understanding where we are about to cross over them! Then the next step should be the one that alters our course! Just sayin!

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