Friday, May 22, 2015

Week 6: Friday we are.  Our last post.  I truly hope that this study enriched your life and your journey with Christ.

I would like to close with a prayer the Karen Ehman has for us at the end of her study guide.

"Father, please bring to this sweet reader's memory what we have learned together during this study.  Help them to know what it means to be angry but not sin.  To not let the sun go down while they still harbor even a slight pinch in their heart toward anyone.  To be quick to listen and slow to speak and slow to become angry.  May they make it their aim to give a soft answer, thereby helping to stop a family fight before it starts.  Enable them to be selfless and humble rather than selfish and haughty.  May they zip their lips when they know they are beginning to gossip.  Empower them to avoid godless chatter and instead speak only with a reverent purpose.  May their words not become a spark that sets off a wildfire of regret.  Help them to notice the one who least expects to be noticed, changing a life history with their encouraging words.  May they build up and not break down. And most importantly, will you tap them on the heart and remind them of the truth that You see everything, Father?  They so want to please you.  Will you help them do just that?  Assist them in keeping the lines of divine communication open.  May they continue to learn how and when to their mouth shut while they keep their heart wide open to You.  In Jesus' Name,  Amen"

We would be very grateful if you would click the link below and give us your feedback about the study!

Thanks Everyone,

Study Feedback

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Week 6: Thursday

Take the next few days to think about many areas in which you may be tempted to use your words in a wrong manner.  Or to speak when you should keep your lips zipped.  Or perhaps the opposite--to fail to speak up when you should.  Choosing just one or two areas, write out your goals in the form of an honest prayer to God about each area.  Be specific, mentioning situations, places, or people.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Week 6: Wednesday

Of all the stories, examples, Scripture passages, and conversations during the course of our study, which one has clung to your heart and mind?  Why?

Share with us below!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Week 6: Tuesday

Think back on your life before you started this study.  On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 being never and 10 being always) what would you have given yourself when it comes to how often your words lined up with the teachings of Scripture?

Has that number changed at all?  Or do you have a desire to see that number change?  Explain...

Let's not let the progress we've made together over our time together just melt away.  Let's aspire to use our mouths with godly purpose.

To build....not to break

To bless.....not to badger

To encourage....not to embitter

To praise....not to pounce

You with me?
Keep it Shut p. 203

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Week 6: As Sweet as Honey: Wonderful Ways to Use Your Words

Wow!  Well,  We made it.  This is the last week of our online study together.  It is so hard to believe.  As we finish up our book this week,  I want you to give you this week's memory verse.
This week we will be reading Chapters 10 &11

On Monday; Watch the video, reflect with the notes on the blog and comment to a question in the comments box.

On Tuesday through Thursday- Respond to some daily questions

On Friday; We close with prayer and please let us know what you thought by responding to our survey.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Week 5: Friday

Let's close out our week with some readings for you to do on your own.

Read the following verses and note your thoughts about the light they shed on anger.  The list is long, but don't hurry through it.  Split these questions over two or three days if you need to in order to let the full weight of each verse sink into your heart and solidify in your mind.

  • Psalm 37:8
  • Proverbs 22:24
  • Proverbs 30:33
  • Ecclesiastes 7:9
  • 1 Corinthians 13: 4-6
  • Ephesians 4: 31-32
  • Colossians 3:8
  • Proverbs 29:22
  • Ecclesiastes 5:6 (The first sentence of the verse)
  • Matthew 5:22
  • Proverbs 15:18
  • Proverbs 17:14
  • Proverbs 17:19
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Week 5: Thursday

What is the most important lesson or fact about anger from this study that you want to allow to alter your thinking, your behavior, or your speech?  How would you say it in a sentence?  Share it below in the comment section.  Once you have your sentence, program your phone or computer to send it to you a week or two from now.  When it arrives, evaluate yourself to see if you have made any progress in this area.

Enjoy this midweek musical snack from LeCrae....(For our "younger" crowd)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Week 5: Wednesday

Have you ever been guilty of being a "gasoline queen" (or king for our male participants)--of drizzling or even dousing gasoline on an already heated conversation, making it even worse?  If you can recall such a time,  jot the details down below in the comment section.

In retrospect, and based on what you have learned in this week's study, how could you do things differently the next time a slightly heated conversation is beginning to combust and flare, threatening to set off a big blaze?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Week 5: Tuesday

Hopefully you have read or are in the process of reading chapter 9 of Keep It Shut.

As you are reading or reflecting  Think about this quote from the book.

Will you commit with me to answering annoying questions in a soft and gentle way?  To refuse to throw gasoline on a small spark that could ignite a fiery family feud or cause a ruckus with your coworkers?  Will you work to defuse the fight before it even begins?  Your family and friends might notice your effort and reward you by responding in kind.
Keep It Shut, p. 164

In chapter 9 of Keep It Shut, Karen recalls how her friend's daughter once scribbled in permanent marker all over the Ehmans' newly purchased children's plastic picnic table.  Though Karen held it together and didn't use an angry tone with the young doodler, it might not have been the same scenario of one of her own dear darlings had played Picasso with that picnic table!  Why do you think it is easier for us to control our tempers--and our tongues-- with those outside our immediate family?

What little pep talk can you give yourself about how this reality should not be?  Write your thoughts in the comment box below.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Week 5: Monday

When the actions of others threaten to make us angry, we need to learn to mind our own sin.

James 1:19-20 urges us to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry because our anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.  However our natural tendency is to be slow to listen, quick to speak, and faster than Usain Bolt to become angry!

Ephesians 4: 26-27 instructs us: "In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold."  We can observe four principles from this passage:

  • First, we are going to get angry
  • We should not sin (Learn to attack the problem, not the person)
  • We need to deal with our anger, and PRONTO! (The longer we stew, the more likely we are to strike.)
  • Finally, beware of the Devil's sneaky wrestling moves.  He wants to get a foothold.

Proverbs 15:1 says, "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger" (ESV)  We need to learn to give a soft- even Snuggie like answer!

Giving a soft answer doesn't mean I don't give a truthful one.

Don't be a gasoline queen or king, throwing fuel on a small spark that could ignite a fiery feud.

Before interacting with others, sometimes--in a spiritual sense-- we need to utter the words Karen's son spoke when playing his video game:  "Hang on a second.  I gotta die."  We must learn to embrace and adopt the practice the apostle Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 15:31,  "I die daily."

Enjoy this week's video...

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Week 5: Pause Before You Pounce: On Cultivating Soft Speech

Wow!  We are coming down the home stretch!  Let's begin week 5 with a quote from James....

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.
James 1: 19-20

This week's agenda includes:

Reading Chapter 9 of Keep It Shut.

Monday: Watching the video segment and responding to a question in the comment box on the blog.

Tuesday through Thursday: Digging deeper into chapter 9 and responding to some questions and think points.  (I will be sure to include a musical snack on Thursday!)

Friday: Some "on your own" reading suggestions.

This week's Bible Verse

Friday, May 8, 2015

Week 4: Friday

Happy Friday everyone!

As you head into the weekend,  I want to give you some Scripture to read and think upon.

  • Proverbs 11:13

  • Proverbs 16:28

  • Proverbs 20:19

  • Proverbs 26:22

  • 2 Corinthians 12:20

  • Proverbs 26:20

Which of the preceding verses most challenged or convicted you?

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Week 4: Thursday

By this point,  you should be working your way through chapters 7 &8 of Keep It Shut.

Ecclesiastes 5:2 urges us, "Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God.  God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few."  How does this verse relate to the subject of people-pleasing?  Can letting your "words be few" help avoid the trap of flattery and people-pleasing? How so?

Post your comments below.

Enjoy this musical reminder about your words being few....

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Week 4: Wednesday

We are going to deviate off our book reading this week.

Instead we are going to read Psalm 31.  You can do this in your Bibles OR you can click the link below to get a printed copy.

As you read....

  • Circle any references to people who were either talking about David or plotting and scheming against him.
  • Draw a box around any verses that mention what David is thinking or feeling or what action he is taking or will take.
  • Place a star next to any verses that tell what God is doing or thinking during this incident in David's life.
  • Go back and put a :) (smiley face) next to your favorite verse or section of this Psalm.
Note-  You may also choose to use three different colored highlighters for the three different marks. (helpful when using and digital Bible)

After you have finished:  What has this little markup exercise taught you?  What principles can you draw from Psalm 31 when you are facing enemies or are the victim of gossip?

If you would like,  share these thoughts in the comment box below.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Week 4: Tuesday

So this week you should be reading along with chapters 7 & 8 of Keep It Shut.

In chapter 7 on pages 117-118, Karen outlines what she feels are examples of what gossip is and also what gossip is not.  Choose one statement from each list- both what a gossip is and what it is not- that most jumped out at you when you read it.  Write those two statements below in the comment box.  After each, explain why you selected it.  Can you think of any other examples that fit in either category?

Monday, May 4, 2015

Week 4: Monday

The video for week 4 is below.  As you watch consider the following:

"If you haven't got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me." - Alice Roosevelt, President Teddy Roosevelt's daughter

"He who gossips with you will also gossip about you."- An old Irish proverb

"Gossiping isn't just a personality trait.  It is a sin."

In Scripture, the word sin was originally used by archers of arrows that "missed the mark".  Anything other than dead center bull's-eye is sin.  Romans 1:29-32 lists many sins, such as murder and envy but it also mentions gossiping with them.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me?  No!  Bruises fade and bones heal, but a scorched heart may take years to mend.

It has been said that gossip is saying something behind someone's back that you would never dare say to the person's face.  However, flattery is almost the opposite.  It is saying something to someone's face that you would probably never say behind his or her back.

So.....what do we do to stop gossiping?

  • Adopt the revers Nike slogan:  "Just DON'T do it!"
  • Know when to eat your words and admit your fault (see Proverbs 6:1-5)
  • Make a promise to yourself and to others
  • Remember, the closest exit may be somewhere behind you.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Week 4: Gossip, Flattery, and People-Pleasing: How to speak the truth in Love

Hello Everyone!  Welcome to Week 4.

We are half way through our book study and this week we will be reading chapters 7 & 8.

The Title of this week's study is Gossip, Flattery, and People Pleasing- How to speak the truth in Love.

No doubt that everyone in this study has either been the victim of gossip or has at least one time in their life gossiped about someone else.  Most likely both scenarios are true.

The word gossip appears at least a dozen times in both the Old and New Testaments.  The Old Testament Hebrew word is rakil, which refers to one who travels about speaking slander or telling tales.  The New Testament Greek word is psithurismos, which describes a whisperer who goes around revealing secrets in order to paint someone else in a bad light.  Throughout the Bible, a gossip is never spoken of highly.  Gossip is always treated as something that does damage and is to be avoided.
Keep It Shut, page 118

This week's schedule:

Monday:  Watch the video and respond to a  question via the blog comments.
Tuesday: Read chapter 7 and respond to a question.
Wednesday: Read Psalm 31 and complete a focus activity about it.
Thursday: Read chapter 8 and respond to a question.
Friday: Partake in some scripture study passages.

This week's Memory Verse: 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Week 3: Friday

Well....Here we are at another Friday!  As you go off to enjoy the weekend and to probably post on social media,  I want to give you some statements for self evaluation.

Read the statement below and then evaluate yourself based on the following scale.

"Never Ever"    "Once in a great while"    "Okay, I do this sometimes"    Yep, This describes me often."   "Yikes! I do that often."

I spend time each day on the Internet or social media sites.

I enjoy "liking" posts, leaving comments on blogs, or replying to what others have written online.

I enjoy posting and sharing my own thoughts online or on my social media accounts.

I say things privately online to someone that I probably would not say in person.

I type words publicly online that I probably would not say to someone's face.

I type a comment or thought online but then delete it before actually posting it because I am convicted it is wrong, or I am afraid it might look unkind.

I have had to delete Facebook comments, tweets, or other content I have put up online because I become convinced I shouldn't have said it in the first place.

I participate in online "fights" where people are commenting back and forth about an issue, opinion, or person.

*Not an online poster?  Think this doesn't apply to you?  Click here for an alternative self evaluation.

Enjoy your weekend!