Thursday, April 30, 2015

Week 3: Thursday

Moving right along to chapter 6.  If you haven't read it yet,  take some time to read it and then check back.

Reread the section of chapter 6 in Keep It Shut about the various properties of salt (pages 106-110).

We briefly covered these in the video outline from Monday and they are repeated below for your convenience.  As you read through them,  select your favorite finding and then post a few sentences about why it is meaningful to you.

  • Salt enhances flavor.
  • Salt preserves.
  • Salt is valuable.
  • Salt purifies and softens.
  • Salt melts hard ice.
  • Salt prevents infection in a wound.
  • Too much salt destroys the dish.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Week 3: Wednesday

Let's continue on with chapter 5.

In the video, Karen said, "Our human default setting is to have hard hearts and thin skins.  We need to flip that script and be tenderhearted and thick-skinned."

While we should be careful to examine our motives carefully- making sure we aren't trying to poke a hole in someone's happiness or make another person feel bad-  we shouldn't always jump to conclusions about the motives of others.

Can you think of an example from your life when you were thin-skinned (let an offense rattle you)  and it hardened your heart?

How might possessing thick skin in that situation instead have led to a tender heart?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Enjoy a midweek musical break below....

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Week 3: Tuesday

So hopefully you have read chapter 5 of Keep It Shut.  If you have not,  you may want to go back and read it before continuing.

In chapter 5,  Karen shared a story of her unkind words delivered with wrong motives to a woman who was at her home.  Did this story spark a memory of when you may have said something that was technically true, but you said it with a wrong motive--in order to make someone else feel bad or guilty?

Food for thought....

Read Proverbs 16:2 in as many Bible versions as you can find. (You may want to use an online source such as  Then in the comment box below, summarize this verse in a sentence that is applicable and memorable to you.

"If we want to become people who not only utter words that are true but also say them for the right reasons, what are we to do?  How do we train our brains and tame our tongues in order to make sure that our motives and manners line up with God's Word?  Whenever I need practical wisdom like this, one of the first places I look for answers is the book of Proverbs."

Keep It Shut, page 81

Monday, April 27, 2015

Week 3: Monday

As you watch the video below,  record or make a mental note of any thoughts or concepts that stand out to you in the outline that follows:

There is a new national pastime these days: online opinion-slinging!

"I used to wish I could read minds.  And then I got Facebook!"

Sometimes instead of being "friends" on social media, we have frenemies:  someone who appears on the surface to be our friend, but stealthily, they are really an enemy.

Colossians 4: 5-6 serves as a grid to run our words through before speaking them, especially online:

  • Is this comment wise?
  • Will writing this comment help me display God's love to outsiders?
  • Is this comment full of grace?
  • Is this comment seasoned with salt?
  • Have I asked God if this is the best response?
In Matthew 5:13 Jesus tells believers that we are "the salt of the earth."    What might this mean?  Here are some facts about salt:
  1. Salt enhances flavor
  2. Salt preserves.
  3. Salt is valuable.
  4. Salt purifies and softens.
  5. Salt melts hard ice.
When dealing with other people and wondering about their motives, believe the best before you assume the worst.

Our human default setting is to have hard hearts and thin skins.  We need to flip that script and be tenderhearted and thick skinned.

Enjoy the video and when you are done,  Share in the comments box about what part of the video had the most impact on you!
Having trouble viewing the video in your email?  Click here to visit the blog.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Week 3: Opinion-Slinging and Salty Speech: Assessing our Digital Tongues

Welcome Back Everyone!  Ready to start with Week 3?

This week we will be focusing on Chapters 5 & 6 of the Keep It Shut book.

Monday: We will watch a video and respond to some questions.
Tuesday: We will dive into chapter 5 of the book and engage in some discussion
Wednesday: We will continue on chapter 5 and further our learning responding to some questions
Thursday: Chapter 6 and some questions to go with it.
Friday: Time to do some self evaluation:  I will pose some statements and you will reflect upon them and evaluate yourself.

Memory verse for the week:

Friday, April 24, 2015

Week 2: Friday

Well...Let's wrap up another week with some Bible study on your own.

As you read through and study these verses,  take a moment to create a summarizing statement that applies specifically to your life.  For example:  Ephesians 4:26 declares, "In your anger do not sin."  It could be summarized specifically by a stressed-out mom to read "When my kids leave their toys out AGAIN--even though they've been told several times to put them away--it might make me angry, but I shouldn't let it make me sin by screaming at my kids."  Ready?

  • Proverbs 10:19
  • Proverbs 29:20
  • Proverbs 18:13
  • Proverbs 17:28
  • Proverbs 18:2
Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Week 2: Thursday

In chapter 4 of Keep It Shut, Karen tells about her college experience of trying to spend an hour in prayer. (That one didn't end well, did it?)  Have you ever spent a long, concentrated time in prayer? Or do you find obstacles that pop up that keep you from focusing and praying to God while all alone?  In the space below, list what you think are your three greatest hindrances to spending time connecting with God through the practice of prayer.  Share them below in the comment box.

Now, for each of the hindrances, list a possible solution.  If you have trouble coming up with a solution yourself, contact a trusted friend committed to the practice of prayer to see if he or she can offer any solutions.

It has been said that if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.  That is an immensely accurate statement when it comes to the spiritual discipline of private prayer!

Enjoy this musical reminder....

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Week 2: Wednesday

Has your mouth ever got you in trouble--yes, even made you sin--all because you talked too much?  In your conversation you started to ramble.  The more you spoke, the more your speech dug a deep hole, tripping you up and trapping you inside.  Soon you were in a mighty tangled mess.  It's certainly happened to me.
Keep It Shut, page 49

In chapter 3 of Keep It Shut, Karen tells the story of talking to her friend at the basketball game.  Because her "words were many", things got confusing and a conflict arose. 

Describe a situation in your life-- either in the distant past or sometime more recent--when talking too much got you or someone you know into a heap of trouble.  Now, jot down a couple of sentences that you can use as a go-to phrases when you know the conversation is heading south due to your excessive words. (Example:  "I'm sorry.  I'm talking too much.  I'm gonna just hush up now.")  Use the comment box below to share.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Week 2: Tuesday

Chapter we go.

On page 48 of the book Keep It Shut, Karen lists four verses from Proverbs as Old Testament tweets.  They are printed again here for your convenience.  Take a look at them and choose the one that you think you need to remember most in your life right now.

  • "When there are many words, sin is unavoidable, but the one who controls his lips is wise." (10:9)
  • "Do you see a man who speaks too soon?  There is more hope for a fool than for him." (29:20)
  • "The one who gives an answer before he listens-this is foolishness and disgrace for him." (18:13)
  • "Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues." (17:28)
Can you think of a specific reason or situation that prompted you to choose the verse that you did?  Post the reason in the comment box below.  What change would you like to make that could change that situation?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Week 2: Monday

Check out this week's video....

As you watch consider the following notes:

Some people are verbal "gap fillers".  When there is a break in the conversation, you can count on them to fill the slight gap of silence.

We sometimes suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out).  We just have to say something! If we suffer from FOMO and just have to keep talking to add our two cents' worth, saying, "But...but...but," we need to learn to "Shut the But"--Shut it down!

Talking to God before we talk to others will allow the Holy Spirit to empower us to live life in a godly manner, processing as we pray.  Then we are better able to break the habit of sinning with our mouths.

The Bible is full of examples of men and women who spoke filled with the Holy Spirit, some even when they were in a tight spot.  When the did, Scripture never records them then sinning in what they said.

Having trouble viewing the video in your email?  Click here to visit the blog.

Which of the 4 pieces of advice found in Proverbs- The Twitter of the Old Testament- did you most need to hear? (Don't speak too much.  Don't speak too soon.  Don't speak without first listening. Don't speak at all.)  Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Week 2: On Filling Gaps and Zipping Lips: Listen to Others, Talk to God

Welcome Back!  Here we go with Week 2!

Remember that an important part of this study is sharing what you have learned from reading the book and from completing the activities/discussions.  Don't worry if you weren't able to cover all the material.  You are still welcome and your input is valuable.

This week we will be focusing on Chapters 3 & 4 of the Keep It Shut book.

Monday: We will watch a video and respond to some questions.
Tuesday: We will dive into chapter 3 of the book and respond to some questions
Wednesday: We will continue on chapter 3 and further our learning with some discussion on the blog
Thursday: Chapter 4 and some questions to go with it.
Friday: Time to delve into some Scripture.  Verses to look up and reflect upon.

Memory verse for the week:

trouble viewing in email?  click here to go to the blog

Friday, April 17, 2015

Week 1: Friday

Whew....We Made It!  Friday!

What a great week.  I hope it was filled with learning and God's Grace.  Speaking of grace,  in chapter 2 of Keep It Shut (pp. 38-39), Karen explains the concept of grace and gracious speech as taught in the Bible.  Does the clever way her husband was taught to remember just was grace is (G.R.A.C.E.= God's Riches At Christ's Expense) help your understanding?  Or does it equip you to better explain it to someone else?  How?  Share in the comment box below.

As we close out our week one study, Look up the following Bible passages.  Contemplate how it speaks to the concept of having gracious speech.

  • Proverbs 145:8
  • Proverbs 15:26
  • Proverbs 16:21
  • Proverbs 16:24
  • Ecclesiastes 10:12
  • Colossians 4:6
Have a great weekend everyone!  Next week's overview will come out on Sunday!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Week 1: Thursday

Here we go!  Chapter 2.

In chapter 2 of Keep It Shut, we encounter an example of someone who used his words---and sometimes his silence---wisely and strategically; the Old Testament character, Joseph.  Glance back over this portion in the book (pp. 26-37) and then answer the following questions:

What stands out to you most about the way Joseph behaved when it comes to the words he uttered or even the times he remained silent?  Did you learn anything new that you hadn't discovered about him before?

Karen listed several cues we can take from Joseph's life.  Which most resonated with you?  Reflect on what is happening in your life currently that made that particular cue/statement speak to you.

  1. Beware of bragging--and the impact of your good news might have on others
  2. Say what honors God, not what other people want to hear
  3. Realize that lies are the minuscule snowflakes in a monumental snowball
  4. Give God credit where credit is due
  5. Watch your words in the workplace
  6. Just because you have a reason to retaliate does not mean you're justified in doing so
  7. Don't be God
  8. Do be nice
Now go back and consider which one of these statements you most want to work on this next week.  Share it with us below in the comment section.  Then for added effect, write the statement on a stick note and post it somewhere you will be sure to see it.  Or set a calendar reminder on your phone for a few days from now with the particular phrase that you chose.  When it pops up, do a quick self evaluation to see how you are doing with regards to that principle from the life of Joseph.

Tomorrow is Friday!


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Week 1: Wednesday

Here we are in the middle of week 1:  We are also going to wrap up Chapter 1.

A survey through the Bible reveals that God places great importance on the way we use our speech.  In fact, the words tongue, talk, speak, words, mouth, and silence are used over 3,500 times in the Bible.  The pages of Scripture are full of people just like you and me.  Some of them serve as a great example of how we should use our words to build up, encourage, and speak for truth.  How ever, there are others who seem to be the poster children for just how not to use our mouths.
Keep It Shut pp. 15-16

Now...Enjoy this midweek musical break by Toby Mac!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Week 1: Tuesday

Welcome Back,

So hopefully you have already started your reading assignment for the week.  Tonight let's consider chapter 1:

In this Chapter Karen writes this about James 3:6:

The passage in James also talks about how the tongue can corrupt our whole body.  I myself know very well from the times I have wished I could take back my words; often my whole body is affected.  My mind races with regret.  My heart pounds.  My stomach churns and becomes tied up in knots as I fret and stress over what now might happen.  My fingers fidget, and I can't seem to concentrate.  Sometimes my feet pace as I ponder what I possibly can do now to get myself out of the royal mess I now find myself in.  p.14

Have you ever felt this way?

Let's Chat.... (use the comment box below to discuss any or all of your responses to these questions)

  • How does the concept of our whole body being affected when we misuse our tongue tie into what James says in chapter 3, the last part of verse 2? 

  • The ESV and NIV versions of the Bible use the word perfect in James 3:2.  The HCSB translation uses the word mature.  The original Greek word used here is teleios. It is an adjective that means full-grown, complete, having reached maturity, especially as it relates to character.  Does knowing the background of this word shed any new light on what you think this verse means?
Have a great day!


Monday, April 13, 2015

Week 1: Monday

Alright Everyone!  Happy Monday and Let's get this party started!

Please watch the video for week one below.

As you watch , use the following notes as an outline to help you record your thoughts.

  • Words are powerful and they have consequences
  • What starts as a little spark can become a booming blaze, as in the Colorado Black Forest Fire of 2013.
  • James 3:2-12 Tells us this about the tongue:  It can corrupt our whole body, It cannot be tamed & It cannot pour out both what is bitter and what is sweet.
  • Luke 6:45 states that the mouth speaks what the heart is already full of.  We need to learn to "mind our spillage"
  • In our homes, often the problem isn't how we talk about our family members but rather how we talk to them.
  • Our tongues are fire.  From where will they be lit: above or below?  Are our words a sword or a salve?
  • Let's learn to pause before we pounce: to not say something permanently painful just because you are temporarily ticked off.
  • Perhaps we need a "force quit" feature for our mouths.

Having trouble viewing the video in your email?  Click here to visit the blog.
Thought provoking, huh?  Now consider...Is it time to flip your thinking?  Instead of just "unloading" the next time you might be angry or frustrated,  give yourself a little pep talk while you pause and ponder.  Use the comment box below to list some things that you might say to yourself to avoid saying something permanently painful just because you are temporarily ticked off.

Have a great Monday!


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Week 1: Trial & Error


I am learning new things about blogging everyday.  It seems that there is some confusion between when the blog post is scheduled to go out and when feedburner emails all of you subscribers.

Hopefully, I have fixed that for future posts but it seems that today's entry went out without an email.

Please click the link below to go to the blog and see an overview of this week's book study.

Keep It Shut Blog

Have a great Sunday,


Week 1 Sparks, Squabbles, Spats, and Such: Our Words Matter

Welcome Everyone!

I am so glad that you decided to join us.  Each Sunday, I will post your reading assignment, memory verse, and overview of the week's activities.  Then each night of the work week (M-F)  I will make a daily post pertaining to that week's topic.

You can choose to follow along each night,  or if you get behind, you can go back and complete several activities in one sitting.  It is entirely up to you.

Remember,  this study is about what you make it.

This week's reading assignment is chapters 1 & 2 of your Keep It Shut book.  If you have not ordered or downloaded your book,  you can do that by clicking on the amazon link in the sidebar.  (If you have an electronic device,  you can have your book in seconds)

This week's memory verse is  Proverbs 10: 12-13a

Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.  Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning.

This week's overview

  • Monday: Watch the Session 1 Video  and comment with your response to the question on the blog post.
  • Tuesday: Read the blog post and comment with any or all of your responses to the Let's chat questions
  • Wednesday: Read the blog post wrapping up chapter one and then enjoy a musical message from Toby Mac about using your words to Speak Life!
  • Thursday: We will dive into chapter 2 and learn to take some cues from Joseph.  Read the blog post and comment with your responses to the Let's chat questions.
  • Friday: G.R.A.C.E.  & Sharing some Bible passages for you to read and reflect on over the weekend.
Looking forward to an exciting week!


Monday, April 6, 2015

Getting Excited?

Well folks,  I hope you are getting excited!  We are only 1 week away until we start up our online book study of Keep It Shut!

Hopefully you have purchased your book but if you have not,  you can purchase the book by clicking on one of the links below.

Paper copies or e-readers are fine.  Whatever is most convenient for you.  You do not need to purchase the study guide or supplemental materials.  Just the book will do!

Looking forward to chatting with all of you soon!



Christian Book Distributors Hard Copy only