CHALLENGE ONE: Overcome A Challenge

 

Written by: Cindy Morrone

As we now meet with Jesus regularly in our own personal sanctuaries, enveloped in His Word and by the convictions of the Holy Spirit; amazing things start to happen.

This is just the start, my friends!  Let’s not just be attentive to the leading of God during our intentional times with Him but at all times; all throughout our day.

Karen, in Chapter 1, urges us to “…do it all with an attitude of openness that continues throughout the day. Be attentive to the Holy Spirit’s whispers to you—keep silent if that is the Spirit’s leading.  Or open your mouth and allow the words he is whispering and urging you to say to come out in your own sweet little voice.  It isn’t easy. It takes effort.”  (page 19)

Ready for Keep It Shut, Challenge #1?

Let’s read over pages 30-37 and take our cues from Joseph.  Notice Karen’s 8 learning points she has taken from Joseph’s life story.

Identify which one of these cues is your biggest challenge.  And in your meetings with the Lord, ask Him how He can help you with this challenge.

My page 39 is highlighted and underlined from the top to the bottom with Karen’s teaching on how to help us, Keep It Shut.  One word, my friends, one word……Grace. Grace. And more Grace!

Resist our urge to lash out? Yes! Bite down on our tongues? Yes! Do the right thing? Yes! Show Grace?!! Yes, and Yes!

Why?

“When we lace our words with grace, healing happens.” (page 39)

Post it!  We love to hear from you!  Share your biggest challenge from the cues from Joseph # 1-8 and how God helped you address and overcome this challenge this week!  There is so much learning in the sharing!

Chapter Three: Perfect the Art of the Pause

Written by: Angela Mercer

Chapter 3

I have never been good with pausing. Whether it is thinking through a solution or pausing in a game for the right strategy. In fact, I am so not good at pausing that my co-worker has called me “shot-gun Ange” at times, and we have joked that “it is a good thing that shot-gun isn’t loaded”! I can be trigger-happy. I like to make snap decisions and “get it done”.

I also like to talk. If I could bring you back to my childhood you would say that I have learned the art of the pause more then I think I have. I used to talk A LOT.

Early on in our marriage my mom once asked me if I was doing OK. She noticed that I just wasn’t as talkative as I used to be. I was actually doing just fine. I had just learned to not monopolize all the conversations. But compared to some people, I still do talk a lot.

My closest friend is very quiet. Until I get her in a car, for a long drive and we get talking about something she is passionate about, she is very quiet. This has been really eye opening for me to understand that people can just be less talkative. They have fewer words to speak in a day. At one time this would have made me very uncomfortable. I feel like people are having a good time when there is lots of conversation. During youth ministry days if I was in a carload of kids and it was quiet I would have assumed they were not having a good time and try to do something to encourage chatter. Now, I realize that chatter isn’t necessarily an indication that people are having a good time. People can be having a good time AND be quiet!

What my friend has also taught me is that if I want to hear her heart, know more about her and what is going on in her world, I need to pause. People who talk a lot and always have something to say can be very quick to monopolize conversation. When there is a pause it makes us uncomfortable and we feel we need to fill in the gap. However, when we do that, we may never really get to know our friends. I love how Karen Ehman references “heart drops”. One of her leaders taught that heart drops are “when someone drops a hint about something deeper going on without coming right out and saying it”. That really impacted me. I wonder how many times I have missed something a friend was trying to tell me because they didn’t have the courage to come right out with it. If I was really listening I may not have missed it.

What’s even worse is we take this same approach to our relationship with God. We get so good at doing all the talking we forget to just listen. To pause. And if I want to know His heart, and what He wants me to do, I have to perfect the art of the pause so that I can hear Him.

Just recently I was driving to someone’s house for coffee and I knew that conversation was going to get heavy. I was already starting to rehearse some of the conversation in my head and I was getting ahead of myself. I began to pray and ask God to guard my mouth. To keep it shut unless I was supposed to say something. I asked him to give me grace and mercy and that I would only say what He wanted me to say. We had such a great conversation that day and God totally clothed me in His grace.

I am learning that at the end of the day, my opinion doesn’t really matter. What really matters is that the people I am with know my love and support. I pray that I will learn to approach every conversation this way. It is a beautiful thing and I believe God is honoured when we do this. I would hate to miss something my friend has to say because I was going on about something that doesn’t matter – just to fill a gap of awkward silence. We need to get comfortable in the silence. We need to become friends with the pause. We’ll never know what we may hear next.

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing personal opinion. Proverbs 18:2 (NRSV)

Everyone should be quick to listen and slow to speak …  James 1:19

Week One: PRAYER

Written by: Monique Pye

Heavenly Father,

We come before you and we thank you for the opportunity to be able to come together and study this book as it teaches us your truth about how to use our words.

We know that the power of the tongue can be death and life (Proverbs 18:21), so Lord, we ask you to help us each day to use our words well and wisely! Words are powerful and they have consequences, so I pray that we are not quick to speak. Help us Lord, to take a moment before we open our mouths and to reflect on what we are about to say. We know that “it only takes a spark to get a fire going”.

Your word tells us in Luke 6:45 that the mouth speaks what the heart is full. Our words are intentional and come from the heart, so Lord I ask that you would give us wisdom and help us use our words in a way that will encourage others and please you. From our hearts, to our lips, may it bring you glory. Remind us that every word spoken has an impact and that we need to learn to speak in love, truth, and may it honor you. Be at work in our hearts as we continue to work through this book and learn all about what the bible teaches us on how to speak to one another.

I’m reminded of your word in Philippians 2, “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” Lord, may every word that comes out of our mouths please you! In our homes, at work, at school, at church, wherever we are, in every situation we want to honor you. May our words be a “sweet sound in your ear”.

As your word says in Psalm 86, “You Lord are compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” Let that be an example to us of how we are to act and respond to others. Let our conversation always be full of grace (Colossians 4:6) and may we lavish love through our speech. Help us to mirror you in the way we communicate with others. May we be an example of your love and may all that comes from our mouth be laced with grace.

As we continue through this book, open our hearts to receive all that you have in store for us.

I ask all these things in your Mighty Name,

AMEN

Chapter Two: Squabbles, Spats and Such

Written by: Mandy Lawrence-Hill

“Before we open our mouths, we need to think about not only to whom we’re speaking but also what they may be dealing with at the time and how the news may impact them.” — Karen Ehman, Keep It Shut, pg. 31

In chapter two Karen reminds of of the story of Joseph and how simply sharing his God-given dreams with his brothers caused them to stumble. She shares some incredibly wise points to think about when sharing our dreams and failures with family, friends and other necessary people in our lives. To recap those points:

  1. Beware of bragging — and the impact your good news could have on others.
  2. Say what honours 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.

The quote I shared at the beginning of this post is something I have had to learn myself over and over again. I’ve learned the art of obeying to the Holy Spirit on whether to share or not to share a piece of information with the person I am speaking to. There have been times when God has placed something incredibly exciting on my heart, but I was not given the green light to share for a time. Other times, when I have had personal struggles, he also has impressed on me specifically who is safe to share with and to whom I must steer clear.

Three things I know to be true:

1. You need to know who you are speaking to.
Yes, it is true. You must know your audience. If you’re telling information that is not supposed to be shared, simply put — don’t tell someone with loose lips.
“Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down. Fire goes out without wood, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops.” Proverbs 26:20

2. You don’t know what the person is dealing with or how your news will impact them.
Be so careful to share only as the Holy Spirit leads, friends. Even good news can crush a person’s spirit. Be in tune with the Holy Spirit in such a way that you know when He is giving a green light to share as well as when He is giving the red light to withhold.
“They are dismayed for they have heard bad news. Their courage melts because they have heard bad news.” Jeremiah 49:23

3. You may never know what a person is dealing with, and you need to be ok with that.
The Holy Spirit may not give you the ok to share your news with someone because of a personal struggle that only He knows. We need to do better at being ok with not knowing all the details of others lives and simply following the leading of His Holy Spirit.
“For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own within them. In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the spirit of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:11

Let’s use our mouths to honour God and our people. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment but let’s do our best to be better. Being intentional about first checking with the Holy Spirit on what or what not to share could make all the difference in someone’s life.

Week One: HEART VERSE

Written by: D’Anne Mullin

Each week I have the honour and privilege of sharing with you our Weekly Heart Verse.  An opportunity to highlight a scripture in our study of Karen Ehman’s book, “Keep It Shut,” and share scripture memorization techniques with you.

King David wrote in Psalm 119:11, “Your word have I hidden in my heart, that I may not sin against you.”  To hide God’s Word in our hearts is so key when it comes to the topic of this study, as our goal should always be to speak with wisdom, purity and to uplift.  Actively and intentionally memorizing the scriptures to follow will help you in moments when you are tempted to speak out of turn or with sinful intent.

I would like to draw your attention to Page 75 where you will find the “Top Ten Verses to Help You Watch Your Words.”  Each week we will focus on one verse from this list and I would encourage you to use the scripture memorization techniques I share to help you tuck these scriptures away in your hearts.

So, let’s get started!

This week’s heart verse is found in Ecclesiastes 10:2 (see Page 75).

“Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips.”

I felt this was a great place to start; to focus our minds on the importance of using wisdom in all our spoken/digital interactions with people.  We need to know when, what, and how to speak and when, what, and how not to speak.  The book of Proverbs, on countless occasions, implores us to pray for wisdom and shares that God will give it to us when we ask.  We need to begin each day by asking God to help us in our communication with others.

A great technique to learn a short, but important little verse like this, is to simply write it out each day in your prayer journal and underneath it write a small prayer asking God for wisdom in your speech and that it will be filled with grace as you interact with others.  Writing out scripture repeatedly will help to reinforce it in your mind.  At the end of the week look back over the scripture and prayers you wrote out each day and record how God helped you through the week!

Chapter One: Death and Life!

Written by: Emily Pelley

Chapter 1

I have been reminded a lot lately that the public front which we spend so much time and energy projecting. Like the face of a clock, it is probably the simplest, least influential part of a clock’s function. The small, intricate pieces that are hidden from sight are what actually makes a clock work.

The same can be said about our words. Our words are small, but it only takes one thoughtless word or comment, one hurtful piece of gossip to de-rail an otherwise positive conversation, to damage a relationship, and to break down what was given to us to build up. And we are warned about this in the Bible. Proverbs 18:21 says:

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

As we begin this study of Karen Ehman’s book, we need to understand how influential our words are; more so than any public persona or image you may have created for yourself. What we say is important to God. I was amazed to learn from Karen that the words tongue, talk, speak, words, mouth, and silence occur 3,500 times in the Bible! I believe that what the scriptures emphasize we need to take careful note of.

A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.  Luke 6:45

I think Karen points out the key concept in this discussion of controlling our words- long before our words go wrong our hearts are in the wrong place (page 18). Our words reveal so much of who we are, what we care about. If we are struggling to control the words we speak perhaps there is an opportunity here for some self-reflection. Ask God to show you what has crept into your heart that is feeding the negative words of gossip that have more power in your life than they ever should.

As we read this book together, let open our hearts. Let’s be willing to be wrong and open to correction. We all have something to learn because we are all human who fall far short of perfection. I want my words to build up, to strengthen. I want my words to be tools God can use to help someone else.

 

 

Week One Teaching: It Only Takes a Spark (Ch 1-3)

Written by: Mandy Lawrence-Hill

Good Morning, We are His Daughters OBSers!!!

I count it an incredible privilege and honour to hold this seat for our ‘Keep It Shut’ OBS. Each week I will be choosing a quote or concept that Karen Ehman has written about in the week’s assigned chapters and will be sharing some insights as the Lord leads.

This first week we will be reading and discussing chapters one through three. I want to start off by saying that I absolutely adore Karen Ehman and the way she shares her heart in this book. It takes courage to be as transparent as she has been, and I commend her for that bravery.

Karen reminds us within the first couple of pages that our words are powerful and have consequences. On page 18 she says, “How I use my words, whether for good or for evil, can often, although not always, be traced back to the quality time I am (or am not) spending with the Lord each day, how intentional I am about investing in my relationship with him, and whether or not I am taking steps to become more like his son, Jesus Christ.

In 2012 I found myself a new mom for the third time, lacking sleep in enormous quantities and simultaneously lacking in any form of intentionality when it came to my time with the Lord. When I could grab a moment, I’d sit down with my bible and read a chapter or two. Even those sporadic encounters were chased away by simple day-to-day living and routine. It wasn’t long before my lack of sleep matched my lack of relationship with the Lord.

One of my spiritual mentors noticed I was operating on low fuel and lovingly called me on it. She encouraged me to set a time every day to read my bible, pray and worship. As I began to think on when would be best to unwrap this much needed time with God — there was always something that stood in the way. So, I stepped outside of my comfort zone and made time! I would normally get up around 7am every morning, but decided to rewind the clock and get up at 6am every day instead setting aside the first hour of my day to spend with Jesus.

In all fairness, the first month of this new routine was hideous. I would drag myself downstairs, brew a cup of coffee and become incredibly distracted by the fact that I could barely even keep my eyelids open. But, it wasn’t long before that hour became the most precious portion of my day! God stirred within me a passion for His word – all simply because I showed up every day to sit as His feet and listen to what He had to say before I used any words of my own. And today, because I grew so much in that discipline, I get up even earlier everyday (5am) to spend with Jesus.

I think it is also very important to recognize that it takes more than simply showing up to really see the difference. “But the most important thing is responding to the Holy Spirit’s tap on my heart when He whispers to me.” (Keep It Shut, pg. 19)

No matter how together you feel, or how much you feel like you are falling apart — we all desperately need to spend quality time with the Lord. Karen hit the nail on the head when she said how I use my words can be traced back to the quality time I am spending with the Lord each day.

WATCH VIDEO HERE

Let’s chat…

In the comment section below, please choose one or more of the following questions to discuss with other OBSers:

  1. Do you currently carve out intentional time to spend with Jesus every day? If yes, please share what that looks like for you. If not, what are some of the main things standing in your way?
  2. Do you find when you read your bible, pray and take time to personally worship the Lord that your attitude changes? How so?
  3. What attainable goal can you set this week to carve out that special time with God. If you already have a time set apart, what goal can you set to push yourself a little deeper?

Ready, Get Set, and Post!!

Written by: Cindy Morrone

It’s time to get ready and set for our online book study, Keep It Shut written by Karen Ehman!! In Chapter 1, Karen writes about how to take care of our heart and our mind.

How I use my words, whether for good or for evil, can often, although not always, be traced back to the quality time I am (or am not) spending with the Lord each day, how intentional I am about investing in my relationship with him, and whether or not I am taking steps to become more like his Son, Jesus Christ.” (page 18)

What a great way to start!

Ready your place—Where do you meet with Jesus regularly?  If you don’t have a place yet; this is the time to prepare one.  Let it be somewhere you really want to spend time.  The big, comfy chair.  In the family room with pictures of your loved ones surrounding you.  It’s personal—all for you and your Jesus.

Set the time of day—What time of day do you meet regularly with Jesus?  What time works best for you? In the early morning hours?  Maybe on your lunch break?  Perhaps later in the evening just before you fall asleep.  No matter your time, let it be consistent and importantly quiet and free of distraction.  But I don’t yet meet regularly with Jesus?  What a great time to start!  One of the best things about meeting with Jesus, is that He is always available and waiting just to meet with you.

Keep it Shut, Pre-challenge:   …..And go!!  We are committed, we have our place and time, now post it!  We’d love to hear from you.  Share in the comments below and even post a picture of your own personal sanctuary!  We love seeing and hearing about your places!

Starting with Prayer…

Written by: Monique Pye

Hello everyone,

Monique Pye here, Prayer Team Leader for We Are His Daughters.

With our online study, Keep It Shut, just around the corner, I’d like to share my prayer with you before we get into it!

Dear Heavenly Father,

I come to you Lord, and I thank you for the team at WAHD. You have blessed this ministry as it continues to grow and reach others alike in faith. Thank you Lord for this opportunity to be able to reach out and interact with our readers through this online study. May each and every one of them be blessed by our daily devotions and through Karen’s book.

Lord, I ask before we begin, that you would prepare our hearts. That we would be open to receive your word, and through Karen’s teachings we will examine ourselves and be encouraged to make changes in our lives.

I pray for each and every person who has signed up for this study. Bless them Lord! May they be encouraged daily as they read through the book and the online posts. May this be a time to reflect on our behavior. Bring to mind things we need to work on and change in the way we interact and speak with one another. Let this be the start of a journey where we examine ourselves and learn what the Bible teaches about our speech, our communication with one another, and learning to listen.

Lord, I ask that you would be with our team writers as they prepare to share their devotions and thoughts with this community of readers. May what they bring forward be encouraging and may it bring forth the truth of your word. Give each writer clarity and may the words come easily as they write.

Lord, I lift up the Prayer Team to you. That each of us is committed to lifting up this ministry and this study in prayer daily.

Lord, I thank you for Karen Ehman, the author of Keep It Shut. Thank you that she has so graciously supported our team and has allowed and encouraged us to use her book. Bless her Lord and her teachings!

Be with all of us as we come together and begin this study. May we be intentional in spending time in your word and in prayer. Prepare our hearts, and may this study be a tool in helping us to grown in faith as we learn your example on what to say, how to say it, and when to say nothing at all. May we be confident in knowing that you are with us and that we are never alone on this journey to change.

Bless the team, the writers, and the readers,

I ask these things in your Mighty Name, AMEN!

#KeepItShutOBS

EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT REVEALED!!!!

Hello, my friends!

Its Mandy here with you today and I couldn’t be more excited (just ask my team!!) to share with you this special announcement today!!! I’ll let my friend, Karen Ehman, take it from here…

Here are the details that go along with this exciting announcement:

Dates: September 4-October 1, 2017

Sign up will open very soon and we would be so honoured if you would join us!! We have completely revamped the way we do Online Book Study and we cannot wait to reveal to you even more surprises in the days ahead!

Comment below if you are planning to join us!