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

30 Ways to Read Your Bible More

read your Bible more

Today I was thinking about all the excuses I’ve used in past years not to read my Bible. Honestly, I’m embarrassed when I think over them. “I just don’t have enough time.” Really? Did I have enough time to update my social media status? Then… Yeah, I know you get it. So instead of beating myself up when I mess up and fail to take the time to do what is really important to me- growing spiritually- then I decided to be more proactive in reading my Bible. Think of all the ways to read your Bible more!

How do we create habits? By consistently doing them- good or bad. Honestly, I love to be disciplined in good habits. I feel empowered when I am consistently following through with the goals I’ve set, no matter what they are. So today I’m sharing the ways I’ve found to read my Bible more and maybe you’ll find a couple methods that will work for you too! Here we go:

1. Keep a Bible in your purse or pocket.

2. Use a Bible app on your smartphone.

3. Sign up for Bible reading plan emails.

4. Read your Bible during waiting times, perhaps in the parent pickup line for school or the doctor’s office waiting room.

5. Listen to the Bible on audio during commute.

6. Decorate your walls with Scripture art.

7. Keep a chalkboard in the kitchen for a daily Scripture verse.

8. Use a perpetual calendar with Scripture for your office desk or dining room table.

9. Wear jewelry with a Bible verse.

10. Use BibleScreen.com for all your digital device screens.

11. Keep Bible memory verse cards handy.

12. Use Scripture Typer for Bible memory verse fun.

13. Listen to Scripture in song.

14. Keep a Scripture journal and simply write one verse a day from the passage you are reading. (I’m doing this for Proverbs now!)


Redeemed – Love & Faithfulness – Padfolio

from: DaySpring Cards Inc

15. Post a verse to your social media.

16. Read the Verse A Day from KLove Radio- also available as an email subscription!

17. Enjoy a Bible Verse of the Day on Facebook.

18. Check out the Verse for the Day from my awesome friends at What’s in the Bible?

19. Create your own Bible reading plan with Logos .

20. Read through the book of Proverbs in a month by reading one chapter a day.

21. Choose one of my printable Bible reading plans designed for children and read together as a family.

22. Follow @Daily_Bible on Twitter to read a Bible verse a day in your Twitter feed.

23. Use a weekly or daily planner that includes a Scripture at the top of the page.( like mine!)

24. One of my favorites- keep the Promise Box – Our Daily Bread in a handy location for daily reading.

25. Join a Bible study group in your church, community or online.

26. Have a cup of Scripture tea and meditate over the verse.

27. Play a Bible board game.

28. Do a Bible word search.

29. Keep a Bible on your nightstand and read one verse each night just before bed.

30. Download an app that specifically includes a Bible verse a day; there are many to choose from!

Bonus! Just saw this beautiful calendar from Dayspring that would be another perfect addition to read more Bible daily.
KJV Bible Verses - 2015 Value Wall Calendar
I’d love to hear from you today!

Which idea is your favorite? What method have you found to read more Scripture on a daily basis?

Have a marvelous Monday!

Rachel

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4 Choices I Made to Organize Life

organize life

There is so much in our lives that we don’t have the privilege of controlling or changing.  Would you agree? In the last two weeks, I’ve been thinking heavily about how much better I feel when life is organized. But when I think about my overall life organizational plan, I realize sometimes I can make better choices that would prevent the crazy overwhelmed feeling that I don’t like so much. Recently I received an email from a reader with a big question:

How do we choose to organize our lives?

I receive a lot of the “How in the world do you do everything?” emails. And while I don’t consider myself the top-notch expert, today I wanted to answer this reader question the best way I know how.

 

Isn’t organizing life some huge monstrous job that our parents should have done for us before we went to college? Shouldn’t grown adults know how to organize life in a fashion that we can handle? Life is ever changing; therefore organizing life is an ever-changing task. I believe the key is to be proactive in scheduling and processing change.

Here’s my approach; I hope it helps you!

4 Areas of Life Organization

In evaluating my overall life organization, I stared at Luke 2:52 for quite awhile:

And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.

You see, there are four areas of life in which Jesus was maturing as he walked this earth. And they are the same four areas we live in each day.

  1. Mental (wisdom)
  2. Physical (stature)
  3. Spiritual (in favor with God)
  4. Social (in favor with man)

In looking over these four areas of life and looking ahead in 2015, I made four decisions- one for each area of life development.

Mental Organization

What does it mean to make wise mental choices? I believe it means we purposefully choose what to place in our minds and know the choice will make us stronger mentally. In other words, what intake is going to increase my wisdom? While I didn’t choose every single book I’m going to read or movie I’m going to watch for the next year, I did make the choice to evaluate every piece of intake purposefully. I plan to read at least 36 books this year and I want to purposely choose to read some of those 36 books outside of my typical Christian nonfiction genre choice.  (That’s 3 books per month. I think I probably read more in 2014, but since is the first year in many that I’m tracking it, I wanted to be reasonable.) For every book, movie, or other entertainment, I want to ask myself the question:

Is this mental intake going to help me increase in wisdom in some way, shape or form?

Even if I’m reading or watching TV for relaxation, I don’t want to waste minutes. They are too precious.

Physical Organization

Organization doesn’t happen by chance; we all know that. If you’re ready to get serious about taking care of yourself physically,then my fitness friend, Clare at Peak313.com, has a wonderful plan to get you going on the right track for the new year.

For me, it’s back to the running game. In the past 6 years, I’ve run 5 half marathons and many other short runs. Since the beginning of summer, I cut back on the amount of time I was spending on exercise from an average of 4 or 5 times a week for 30-60 minutes, depending on training days, to 2-3 times  a week for 20 minutes. And the summer and fall were very hit or miss. I can just tell you that I’m a better wife, mother, blogger, author, whatever, when I run regularly. So with the beginning of the new year, I’m back in half marathon training mode and excited about it!

I’ve found that when I have a plan to track how much I’m exercising or what I’m eating, then the focus occurs because I am recording it. While I used to keep journals or spreadsheets, my favorite ways to track these two items are using apps. I use a free running app called RL Free and simply enter my times and mileage for each run throughout the year.  If I know that I’ve not been making healthy food choices, then I track my food intake with the Lose It! app. Simply logging the food will help me make better choices, even if I’m not concerned about counting calories or losing weight.

Do I have a daily/weekly physical care routine in place? If not, what should I use for one?

Spiritual Organization

While I believe we can “over organize” our spiritual walk and miss the point of drawing closer in relationship with God, no organization is a bad idea as well. That’s why I like to have a simple daily plan in place for quiet time with God. There’s no right or wrong way, but I encourage you to make a daily plan that includes prayer and Bible reading/study.

Right now, I am reading one chapter a day in Proverbs as part of the 2015 Bible Reading challenge. For prayer, I spend a few moments each morning before I ever even get out of bed. After Scripture reading, praying over the Scripture helps me tremendously. I use my phone reminders to pray for family and certain requests throughout the day. God and I enjoy an ongoing conversation throughout the day and I have a prayer journal that I write in almost every day. This is what works for me. The key is to find what works for you!

Besides a daily focused time with God, for this season, on Jan. 22, I will begin to facilitate the Bible study, The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst, at church. The awesome thing about participating in this study is that it provides organization for three of the four life areas- mental, spiritual and the next one- social. Keep in mind that this is seasonal for me; the course is 6 weeks. At that point, I will evaluate my work schedule and family life to determine the next Bible study participation.

Do I have a regular quiet time with God daily?

Social Organization

Social organization doesn’t necessarily mean you are the party planner for the next neighborhood get-together. I believe it means you are committed to spending time engaging with other people. These people are in your home, your office, your neighborhood, your grocery store, your church- essentially, your community. Whether via social media, in direct conversation, or handwriting letters, social growth can happen in all different kinds of ways.

Scheduling regular opportunities for social interaction is the key for growing relationships. Our family makes it a point to have dinner together, every night if possible. We are at church for at least one service every weekend and many times more services. Because we have such a large family, I won’t explain all the activities and how we choose our social interactions. The old adage is still true though: If you want to have a friend, you need to be a friend.

Am I using my social time effectively to communicate and love others God places in my path?

Pulling It All Together

Keeping schedules and having routines is what helps me pull these four areas of life together and manage them. For the past two years, I’ve kept two separate calendars. One has been our family calendar; the other has been my work/ministry calendar. My normal rule is that I don’t commit to anything until I’ve looked at the calendar. But I found that sometimes I overbooked myself because I wasn’t taking BOTH calendars into consideration. I needed a quick see everything at a glance calendar for making decisions. So this year, I decided to combine both calendars into a planner. I still have a detailed digital work/ministry calendar, but the planner is going to consolidate these four areas into one scheduling space. I didn’t take a ton of time in assessing which planner or how much detail to write. I just need to know the daily/weekly events. So here’s my planner:


Moms’ Night Out – 2015 12-Month Weekly Planner

(It’s $5 as of today!)

While this is a long post on how to organize your life, the beginning of a new year is a great time to establish routines. Why not have a full-blown discussion about it? I would love to hear how you have approached these four life areas and what you’re doing to organize your life this year!

What approach are you using to organize your life this year?

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Rachel

PS: Bloggers, if you are looking for Whimsical Wednesday, I have decided to discontinue the linkup. Thank you for your faithful posts and may the Lord continue to bless your work!

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