February Bible Reading Challenge

** Post includes this week’s reading summary of Proverbs and check-in.

 

February Bible Reading Challenge

February Bible Reading Challenge

Friday is here and today we check in for the January Bible Reading challenge. I’m so excited about continuing to focus on Proverbs again for the month of February! We will read one chapter a day except the last three days of the month, we will read two chapters a day. This plan will take us through the book of Proverbs during the month. Let’s continue to check in each Friday and share what God is teaching us with one another.

This Week’s Reading Summary

This week, we are summarizing Proverbs 23-29. the chapters we read from last Friday through today. Was there a particular chapter that stood out to you this week? Let’s take a look at each one individually.

Chapter 23

Chapter 23 focuses on the foolishness of alcoholism and specifically outlines all the marks of addiction. I was able to hone in on verse 12:

Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge.

Listening and applying are the key words in this chapter.

What kind of action did this chapter evoke from you?

Chapter 24

I love the emphasis of hard work that Solomon places in this chapter. My parents always taught our family to work hard and I can easily picture Solomon lecturing his sons about the importance of honesty and good work ethics. Really this entire chapter would be an excellent employee handbook.

Chapter 25

Feed your enemy. Not the typical words you anticipate from a very wealthy king. Solomon was surely the exception to the rule with his wisdom from God. In this chapter, I found myself focused on a single key verse, verse 11:

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.

proverbs2511

Which verse captured your focus in chapter 25?

Chapter 26

Chapter 26 is the comparison chapter; did you notice all the “like’s?” The word pictures Solomon paints offer common sense warnings to the one who will listen. Isn’t the timeless nature of these comparisons ever so classic?

Chapter 27

My husband and I joke about verse 15 of chapter 27 quite often. There are a few other similarly-themed verses we throw back and forth in best marriage jesting as well, but this one is interesting.

A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike;

I don’t have a fond appreciation for rainy days. Oh I make the most of them, but you know those days that you simply must go out of the house for whatever reason and a continual drizzle of rain is nothing but flat out annoying? It never stops, you never get a break, and well, no matter what you do, you wind up soaked? If anyone knew what a quarrelsome wife was like, the man was Solomon; guess that’s what happens when you have over 700.

Chapter 27 is full of wisdom nuggets, bit after bit of food for thought. One more verse that stood out to me:

iron sharpens iron

Chapter 28

I feel that this chapter is another one difficult to summarize because there are many conclusions and thoughts you can pull from each verse or section of verses.

If you’ve been around here long, then you know that I have a radar for verses that are prayer -related. I found verse 9 quite interesting:

If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.

As Christians, if we don’t do what we know to do, which is listening to what God’s Word says, then our relationship with God will not grow.

What is your application from verse 9?

Chapter 29

In chapter 29, Solomon is warning his son of the pitfall of pride. Many of the verses speak to how a person of character should speak and act. Because I’m a word nerd, verse 20 called out to me…

proverbs2920

 

“Haste makes waste” applies to words as well.

Why do you think Solomon feels words are so very valuable?

I apologize that the post is going up a bit late and hope that you’ll still have a moment to discuss your study for the week. I can’t wait to keep going in Proverbs for the month of February! Let’s soak up the wisdom together.

Rachel

 

Victory Belongs to the Lord

Welcome to Friday and the weekly Bible reading challenge check-in! When I first introduced the 2015 Bible Reading Challenge, I explained how I felt the Lord was directing me to focus on the book of Proverbs. Since then, in the last two weeks, my pastor encouraged the church to read Proverbs 3:1-15 every day for a week- more Proverbs. I began The Best Yes Bible study by Lysa Terkeurst and the focus is on wisdom, centered in Proverbs. I have been reading Keep It Shut by Karen Ehman and a portion of her book is focused in Proverbs. Pretty incredible!

This week we read Proverbs chapters 16-22. It’s going to be tough because these passages are so rich; but let’s take a look at the highlights this week, shall we?

Proverbs 16

Chapter 16 provides two contrasting views throughout the chapter. One is who God is and what he does; the second is who man is and what he does. Throughout the chapter, we find reassurance of God’s character. I had a conversation with my brother-in-law about the book of Proverbs and he mentioned a term I hadn’t heard or thought of before. “Proverbs is often referred to as “bumper sticker theology.”” Not because it’s cheap talk. It’s just packed full of message in a few words.

Which verse was your focus verse of this chapter?

Proverbs 17

This chapter seems to focus on wisdom in relationships. How we treat others and how we communicate with others were noted throughout the verses. I highlighted a few different lines from this chapter. Let’s see if ours match:

Whoever mocks the poor insults his Maker; he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished. v. 5

Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends. v. 9

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. v. 22

Did any of these verses jump off the page into your heart?

Proverbs 18

Wow, this chapter seems to be another one focused on controlling our tongues and using our words wisely. The second verse immediately wraps up the largest problem of a fool- he loves to express his own opinion, before he pauses long enough to understand a situation. (I had to wonder if Solomon might have been predicting future social media. But then I remembered there is no new thing under the sun. )

Proverbs 19

I could see a recurring idea of the importance of disciplines, both mental and physical. Solomon is admonishing his son to focus on getting understanding. And he mentions that oversleeping is a bad idea too. Chapter 19 is chocked full of tidbits of wisdom. My husband and I had a conversation about this today and he mentioned, “I feel like you could study one Proverb a day.” Hmmmm. Thinking on that still.

Proverbs 20

Chapter 20 mentions character traits Solomon wants his son to develop. Faithfulness and purity are emphasized in this chapter. I honed in on verse 24:

A man’s steps are from the LORD; how then can man understand his way?

As humans, our understanding is limited; we simply aren’t going to understand everything God does or allows in this world. What is your takeaway from the above verse?

I also loved verse 28:

Prov

Proverbs 21

I read the first verse of this chapter right after the State of the Union address:

The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.

What reassurance that no matter the political power, God is in control. The last phrase of the last verse of this chapter was personal reassurance for me:

…the victory belongs to the LORD. Prov. 21:31

That habit you want to break…discipline you want to make…test you never wished to take? All completed through Him.

Chapter 22

Chapter 22 is incredibly full of witty sayings and wise word offerings. If I HAD to choose a theme for this chapter, it would be the simple summary: Choose your friends wisely. But there is so much more included in this chapter!

Summary

I’ve been reading and re-reading each chapter of Proverbs and really, we could reflect on one verse a day. For that reason, I hope you won’t be bored when I say that for the month of February, we are going to read through the book of Proverbs again. I realize there are only 28 days in February, so for the last three days we will double up and read 2 chapters a day.

I can’t wait to hear what you think! How was your week of reading and study? Choose one of the questions above and let’s keep one another encouraged to continue reading each day!

Happy Friday!

Rachel

On Guarding Your Mouth and Gaining Wisdom

I am enjoying the 2015 Bible reading challenge so much! How did your Proverbs reading go this week? I found myself reading the chapter twice on many days as  I lingered over my morning coffee.  Let’s summarize chapters 10-15 this week. I read chapter 9 before posting on last Friday, so it was included in the summary “Because Wisdom is Calling Us.” When I look at the major focus of the chapters we read this week, I felt that this section seemed to be on guarding your mouth and gaining wisdom. It’s quite difficult to summarize the whole, but that was my takeaway. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

In the mean time, let’s take a peek at each chapter. Ready?

Chapter 10

I feel like we’ve truly arrived in Proverbs land; haven’t we? Each verse is so rich and all the way through chapter 10, verse after verse, we discover truth after truth. There is so much in every chapter, but the verse I tweeted out on the 10th was:

This verse arrived in perfect time for me. Love it when God does that!

Chapter 11

Several verses in Proverbs 11 mention guarding your mouth and using it properly. I meditated on the second half of verse 25:

and one who waters will himself be watered.

When we offer encouragement to others, we find ourselves encouraged! Isn’t that powerful?

If using words effectively is an issue for you, be sure to check out Karen Ehman’s latest book, Keep It Shut, up for giveaway in yesterday’s post.

Chapter 12

More words of wisdom are contained in chapter 12 and the ones that spoke to me the most loudly were those on controlling the tongue. Yesterday I shared with you one of those verses, but the other one that I thought about throughout the day of reading this chapter was Proverbs 12:25.

Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad. Proverbs 12:25

proverbs1225

There is so much power in a good word! I’ve seen this principle come to life through my personal use of 20 Things to Say to Encourage Your Husband and 20 Things to Say To Encourage Your Children.

Chapter 13 

I can hardly believe that half of this month is over. In thinking about all the goals and planning that are known to be a part of the beginning of a new year, I found it interesting that two verses in this chapter sort of mimicked  one another.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. v. 12

A desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but to turn away from evil is an abomination to fools. v. 19

Staying focused on how it is going to feel when we reach that goal, that dream, that plan… no matter what it is, can propel us forward to actually reaching that goal.

Chapter 14

This chapter is packed with wisdom and every verse offers incredible wisdom. The verse in this chapter that resonated with me was really only half of a verse.

In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty. v. 23

For some reason those words “mere talk” really stood out to me. We can talk about it all day long. No matter what “it” is. But until we put the work behind it, talk is cheap and will bring no worth.

Chapter 15

Chapter 15 contains many verses on controlling our mouths and obtaining wisdom. There are many nuggets of truth in this chapter and I found it interesting that physical body parts, specifically the ear, the heart, and the tongue, often provide the visual image for the meaning behind the truth. Solomon had a unique style of writing these pithy sayings and yet his overall intention in writing Proverbs is clear. I felt that the last verse of this chapter summed up the reading very well so far:

The fear of the LORD is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor. v. 33

Wow- we covered an enormous amount of material in a week! But I’d love to hear about your study. Take a moment and choose one or two of these questions to answer and share with the rest of us.

Did you feel a “theme” to the chapters you read, perhaps something that continually popped out at you during the reading?

How important do you think Solomon feels it is to use positive words in everyday life? Is there a particular person in your life with whom you find this most difficult? You don’t need to share who, but perhaps you could share why you have realized you have power in the words you choose.

Was there a particular verse that stood out to you in chapter 15?

Looking forward to learning from you all. Have a fabulous Friday!

Rachel