Gentle Words 

It’s day 15 of Proverbs a chapter a day here at Refocused Bible Study.  (Each day we read and discuss the chapter corresponding with the date).

This month we are digging deep into the word through a quiet time pattern based on the word ‘WISE” (see the image below). We’ve been talking about the Word traveling from our minds to our hearts and coming alive in our lives. When we see how God can use just one verse of scripture to renew our minds and transform the way we think, act and become more like Jesus (Romans 12:2).

Friday we studied Proverbs 12 and discussed how encouraging words can cheer a person up. It’s easy to speak encouragement when a conversation is going well; but what about when the atmosphere is tense and you or the person you are speaking to are frustrated, snippy, or angry? It’s much harder to answer a person kindly When they have spoken to you in anger.

Our verse of the week and my verse of the day show us what to do when we find ourselves in this situation.

“A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.”

Proverbs 15:1 NLT 

In my life: Rely on the Holy Spirit to produce the fruit of gentleness in my words – even when the words coming at me are not gentle. Remember what this verse says; tender, soft words make wrath turn away from you — that is the desired result. I don’t want to stir up anger. I want peace in the relationships in my life.

Speak the verse aloud.

End in prayer: Lord, thank you for the wisdom in your word about how to handle it when a person is speaking angrily at us. Please help us respond with a gentle, soft answer through the power of your Holy Spirit so we can bring you glory and diffuse anger. Thank you for your help in this, Jesus, Amen.

For more study on life giving words, click here. 

Which verse spoke to you today?

Encouraging Words

Worry weighs a person down;
an encouraging word cheers a person up.

Proverbs 12:25

It’s day twelve of Proverbs, a chapter a day here at Refocused Bible Study! Today we are studying chapter twelve. (Each day we read and discuss the chapter corresponding with the date).

This month we are digging deep into the word through a quiet time pattern based on the word ‘WISE” (see the image below). We’ve been talking about the Word traveling from our minds to our hearts and coming alive in our lives. When we see how God can use just one verse of scripture to renew our minds and transform the way we think, act and become more like Jesus (Romans 12:2).

Write the verse that speaks the most to you.

Worry weighs a person down;
an encouraging word cheers a person up.

Proverbs 12:25 NLT


In my life: Encourage others about God’s goodness when you see them worrying. Use scripture to speak these encouraging words to others. He is always working things together for good for his people (Romans 8:28).

Don’t worry about anything, instead, pray about everything (Philippians 4:6). Surround yourself with godly people who encourage you with truth, not flattery, so the encouragement you receive is weighty and of worth.

Speak the verse aloud

End in Prayer: Lord, thank you for your encouragement. You are always so good. Please help us all to be encouragers of truth – of your activeness in our lives and your unfailing love and faithfulness that never ends. The evidence of your goodness can always be seen by what Jesus did on the cross for us. We can always be encouraged that you love us. Help us give others encouragement today and receive the encouragement we need.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

What verse are you asking God to help you apply today?

I want to encourage all you mamas that God is faithful in motherhood! Happy Mother’s Day!

Amy

A Wise Listener 

It’s  Women of the Word Wednesday here at Refocused Bible Study! This project is near and dear to my heart. Every Wednesday, a fellow blogger will share with us how the Lord spoke to them through the day’s chapter.

If you are passionate about sharing what the Lord is teaching you through his Word, I want to encourage you to use your passion to build up God’s people. Start with the people in your own home, and then reach outward. His Word is living and active and helpful!

I was so challenged by this guest post from our contributing writer this week, Leah Weber. Her insight on Proverbs chapter 10 is extremely applicable and helpful. Most importantly, she shows us at the end of the post how Jesus modeled listening to people, from the heart. This posts fits in so perfectly with what we have been discussing about wisdom reaching our heart and turning into action. You’re going to love what she has to say! Visit her blog and comment to her below to show a fellow sister some love!

 

I oftentimes approach reading the Bible like I approach reading a handbook or an instruction manual. I ask myself questions like, “what can I get out of this, how can I be a better person, or what should I do in this situation?.” This can often discourage me when I realize that I can never live up to everything the Bible says I should do. While the Bible is full of wisdom and advice on how we should live our lives, it is not primarily about that. The Bible is about Jesus. Scripture should ultimately point us to the glory of God. I want us to remember that while we look at this passage.

What stood out to me the most about Proverbs 10 are the numerous verses about the tongue and the heart. Verse 20 says:

“The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, the heart of the wicked is of little worth.”


I went back and read this verse again and thought that Solomon got it wrong, he should have said the “TONGUE” of the wicked is of little worth, not the heart. But Solomon has a reason for choosing the heart.

Solomon uses the heart instead of the tongue to illustrate how what we say flows out of our hearts. This is also mentioned in Matthew 15:18

“But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.”

Our words are more than just meaningless phrases strung together, they are powerful tools that can be used to either uplift or tear down a person. So what is an example of a righteous person who uses words to uplift someone? Solomon says that the righteous, whose tongue is choice silver, flows out of a heart full of worth. What does a heart of worth look like? Let’s look at an earlier verse in chapter 10:8

“The wise of heart will receive commandments, but a babbling fool will come to ruin.” 

Again Solomon contrasts the heart with the tongue but in a different context. The wise person is someone who receives commandments. This is someone who is in the Word, listens to advice from others, and accepts reproof with humility. Numerous verses in this chapter (vs 8, 19) say that talking a lot, or babbling, can lead to ruin. This implies that the wise are also good listeners.

As women of the word, we need to become good listeners. Not just women who listen with our minds, but women who listen with our hearts. Instead of contributing to the constant comparison, judgement, and guilt that is so prevalent among women (especially in our mom culture), we need to come alongside each other and truly listen to each other.

Think about a time when you felt truly listened to; what are some words that come to mind? I feel like I’ve been given a gift. I feel heard, known, affirmed, and healed. When we listen like this we foster relationships of trust which not only allows us to encourage one another, but also allows us to speak wisely and truthfully into another person’s life.

So often we can either listen with our mind or our heart. But Jesus did both perfectly. Jesus puts aside cultural differences, misunderstandings, and his own reputation when he listens to people. When Jesus approaches the woman at the well (John 4), the woman tells Jesus that he shouldn’t speak to her because she is a Samaritan and he is Jew. This cultural difference doesn’t stop Jesus from asking her questions and continuing to pursue her heart.

Jesus also listens intently and knows how to encourage someone who is in need. When Martha comes to Jesus and tells him that Lazarus is sick Jesus says, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it. (John 11:4) How beautiful is that! Jesus listens and hears the sorrow and worry in her voice and gives her hope by pointing her to Jesus and God’s ultimate glory.

But Jesus doesn’t just say the right thing, he also feels the emotions of others. Jesus goes to the tomb of Lazarus and even though he knows that he is about to raise Lazarus from the dead, when he sees Martha crying, he weeps. Jesus doesn’t just say the right thing at the right time, he knows when to be silent and empathize with people.

There are people in all of our lives who desperately need someone to listen to them. They need us to lay aside our selfishness, our prejudice, and our hurts in order to minister to them like Jesus ministered to Martha and the woman at the well.

My hope for us as we read this passage is not that we would just try harder to be better listeners, but that by seeing the example of the way Jesus loves, listens, and empathizes with others, that we would be spurred on to do likewise.

Meet our contributoring writer for this “Women of the Word Wednesday!” 

Leah Weber 

http://www.scenesfromcedarstreet.com


Hi! I’m Leah Weber and I live in a small town right outside Atlanta, GA with my husband and one year old little girl. I work alongside my husband in college ministry and it is one of my greatest joys to mentor young women. I started my blog as a creative outlet for myself and as a way to share my passion for creativity, and love for the Lord with others. I hope my post encourages and inspires you! I would love to hear from you!

If you are interested in contributing for Women of the Word Wednesdays, email Amy at Adterry13@hotmail.com!

If you’re joining us to study Proverbs, you can purchase a study guide here.

We would love for you to join our Facebook group here. Wednesdays at noon Amy hosts a live discussion! Join us! ❤

Amy

Head to Heart Wisdom

“For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it.” Proverbs‬ ‭8:11‬ ‭NLT‬‬


It’s day eight of Proverbs, a chapter a day, here at Refocused Bible Study. Everyday this month, we are reading one chapter a day that corresponds to the date.

To dig deeper, we then follow the quiet time pattern below to help interact with the Lord through the verse and apply the truth to our lives.


My verse today is the same as our weekly memory verse for this week:

Biblical wisdom is “knowledge applied.” It means not just knowing what God’s Word says, but letting it travel the eighteen inches from your head to your heart and living it out. In the church world, this is called “fleshing it out.” What we read in his word and learn in sermons and in small group bible studies attaches to us so well that we really live what we believe.

This is hard. If you don’t think it’s hard to always desire to do what the word of God says, maybe you aren’t reading the same bible we are! Jesus was our ultimate picture of the Word made flesh. He was selflessness in human form; the only person ever to walk this earth and not sin.

Thankfully, he knew we couldn’t do life perfectly, so he took the required death that must happen when we sin. Wisdom is walking in our salvation; your robes of righteousness because of what Christ has done. We aren’t righteous because we are good wives, excellent mothers, or church goers. We are right with God because of what Jesus has done.

Walk in wisdom by really believing the truths in his word at the level of your heart. Apply the knowledge of his word, asking God to make it come alive and not just stay in your mind, but to keep breath and a heartbeat and stay in motion from our heads, to our hearts, to our mouths, hands and feet.

Lord, 

Thank you for the wisdom you have given us through your word, especially for the wisdom that we are righteous only because of you, our Jesus. You died and rose from the dead for us. You have deemed us fully forgiven daughters. Please help the knowledge from your word move from our heads to our hearts today, living powerfully unafraid, full of the confidence knowing you brings.

In the MIGHTY NAME of JESUS,

Amen.

Protecting your marriage

A few years ago I was reading through Proverbs with my son, and we came to this chapter, “Avoid the Immoral Woman.” He was only about seven at the time and I remember cringing a little inside. We pressed on and I just prayed quietly to myself for God to help me explain things the way he wanted me to.

We came to verse 16 and I quickly said, “Love your wife only, and nobody else.” 

Phew, that was a close one. I almost had to talk about the three letter word with him. Thankfully what I said summed up the entire chapter perfectly. That a man would be so in love with his wife, but more importantly so in love with Jesus that he would heed and take the warnings about avoiding immoral women very seriously.

Furthermore, if I were talking to my daughters about this chapter, I would say to let their husband love them.


“Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth.” Proverbs 5:18

What does a “fountain of blessing” mean? It means a source of life, joy, and purification that bends down and puts the other person before themselves. Sounds a lot like Jesus, doesn’t it? Whenever we question how we are to love our spouse, we can always look at how Jesus has loved us and see clearly how to give ourselves up for them. Marriage is a beautiful portrait of Christ and his church. As women, we can look to his word and learn how he designed marriage and get the direction we need to honor God with our wifehood. We won’t always do it perfectly, but we will pray for a fountain of grace from our husband as we ask God to help us be a fountain of blessing to him.

We will also pray like crazy and never stop praying for our husband to listen and follow God’s commands to stay away from the  “immoral women” this chapter speaks of. She’s out there, and the enemy will be certain to try and lure him into sin through her. (I know, it’s so not fun to talk about, but somebody has to!) A husband is responsible for his own actions and we want to be a fountain of blessing to him by praying daily for him to be careful to keep the covenant he made before God to love only us.

Lastly, you can talk to your husband about putting safe barriers in place to help both of you stay true to the promises you made to love only one another. This is something my husband and I have become passionate about. We’ve spoken to groups about it together a few times and I’ve written about it in a few places (you can find links below.) As we are studying the book about wisdom, let’s be wise and put walls up and protect our most important earthly relationship: our marriage. If you haven’t already talked to your husband about being proactive to avoid letting another woman slide their way into your man’s heart, then prayer and the links below will help you. Please take the time to protect your marriage and frequently make sure you are continuing to do so. Don’t get comfortable thinking you or your husband are above the ability to sin. Set boundaries and stick to them, because a lifelong marriage is worth it.

I know this has been a tough topic to write about, as it is not the most fun to read about either, I am sure. We say “I do” and ride off happily into the sunset, right? Girls, that’s in fairy tales. We live in a world where the enemy prowls around like a lion, looking for someone (or someone’s marriage) to devour.

“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

The good news is: after you set up walls to protect your marriage and ask Jesus daily to keep them nice and strong, he also makes the space behind the walls abundant with beauty unimaginable. The stories only heaven sees behind the sacred walls of your marriage will echo into eternity. What an amazing gift the Lord gave us in marriage. It’s definitely worth making sure you are a fountain of blessing and that you are doing what you can to protect your marriage. ❤

My husband and I sharing our story

>>>A book to help you set up walls around your marriage<<<

Keep reading through the weekend! I’ll be back on Monday with chapter 8!

Amy

Women of The Word Wednesday: Trusting the Lord 

I’m thrilled to launch Women of the Word Wednesday here at Refocused Bible Study! This project is  near and dear to my heart. Every Wednesday, a fellow blogger will share with us how the Lord spoke to them through the day’s chapter.

The mission of Refocused is to “equip women to engage in God’s Word in a practical way and to know Jesus more intimately.”

I believe:

“All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” 2 Timothy 3:16 

I believe to know His Word is to know Him and to Love Him. His Word is alive and He wants it fresh on our hearts, minds, and lips so we can walk with Him daily. It’s for the everyday woman and man; not just pastors and full time ministers.

That’s why I’m so excited to showcase some other daughters of God in this space whose hearts echo a love and daily dependence on his Word! So without further ado, I give you our first Women of the Word Wednesday from a blogging friend, Britney Clair!


Life throws many curve balls.

There are surprises around every corner, surprises both good and bad.

Happiness finds us when we least expect it and God picks us up when we have no strength left to stand.
There are many things we have to leave in Gods hands.

Many things we cannot and will not ever understand.

We cannot control the future, we cannot change the past and we cannot move the present.

As women of faith you must remember to, “trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3:5

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart.”

To trust in the Lord is to surrender control, to trust in the Lord with all your heart is to lay it at Gods feet.

“Do not depend on your understanding,”

In order to truly strengthen our faith we must lay it at Gods feet without any understanding at all. We must remember God has always been in control and His plan and purposes for our lives are greater than anything we could have ever imagined.

“Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.”

As women of faith we must seek God everyday, in every situation and through any trial or tribulation. By doing this God will guide our footsteps and show us the way.

Through this word God reminded me that life can be much more simple, much less stressful and filled with more joy! He reminded me that by giving my worries and cares to Him I am free!
– Britney


Hi, my name is Britney Clair! I am just a girl trying to inspire the world one woman at a time! Due to the love I hold for digging into Gods word and then journaling about it, I decided to create a blog. My hope is to inspire other girls, woman, wives and mothers to dig deeper into Gods word and listen closer to what it is he has called you to do. Visit my blog today at theproverbs31wife.com

If you are interested in contributing for Women of the Word Wednesdays, email Amy at Adterry13@hotmail.com!

If you’re joining us to study Proverbs, you can purchase a study guide here.

We would love for you to join our Facebook group here. Wednesdays at noon Amy hosts a live discussion! Join us! ❤

Laying a Foundation for Wisdom

Welcome to the first day of Proverbs, a chapter a day here at Refocused Bible Study! We’ve already started laying the foundation last week for the study of this super practical book of the bible by studying King Solomon, who wrote many chapters in this book. If you missed those posts, you can find them here.

Today we start this book as women who want God’s wisdom. But we don’t want it just for the purpose of knowing it. We want wisdom for the purpose of knowing HIM. I pray that as we approach this book, we will allow the Holy Spirit to be our teacher and show us things in his word that only he ( the One who dreamed us up, uniquely wired our personalities and pursued us in love) can whisper to us. If you are new to studying God’s word or want a refresher,  you can read more about how He teaches us through it here.

In the first seven verses of chapter one, Solomon lays out the purpose of his writing, and lays the foundation for this book:

These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel.

2 Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline,
to help them understand the insights of the wise.
3 Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives,
to help them do what is right, just, and fair.
4 These proverbs will give insight to the simple,
knowledge and discernment to the young.
5 Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser.
Let those with understanding receive guidance
6 by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables,
the words of the wise and their riddles.
7 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.


Verse seven stands at the bottom of these first seven verses, ironically the foundation of the entire book of Proverbs. Everything else in the book of wisdom stands upon this verse. Let’s study it more in depth.

According to the Strong’s Lexicon, the Hebrew Word for “fear” in this verse is

‘yir’ah” – fear, terror, fearing
fear, terror
awesome or terrifying thing (object causing fear)
fear (of God), respect, reverence, piety
revered

Are you fearing the Lord these days in this way? This kind of fear or reverence brings us to a place of honest humility. It brings us to our knees, knowing we are and will always be in need of the God who is so much bigger than our minds could understand.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 55:8-9

As I meditated on what it meant to fear the Lord, I heard the preschool director’s voice echo in my memory,  “bow your heads and close your eyes, be very reverent to God while we pray.” It may sound legalistic to say that, but she was totally correct in teaching our children the outward expression of an inward fear of the Lord. She was planting reverence in the hearts of our children, and I am so thankful she did.

Reverence for the Lord should start on the inside. If we need a good dose of reverence for the Lord, we can get one by reading one of the replies God gave Job: 

4“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Tell me, if you know so much.
5Who determined its dimensions
and stretched out the surveying line?
6What supports its foundations,
and who laid its cornerstone
7as the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?
8“Who kept the sea inside its boundaries
as it burst from the womb,
9and as I clothed it with clouds
and wrapped it in thick darkness?
10For I locked it behind barred gates,
limiting its shores.
11I said, ‘This far and no farther will you come.
Here your proud waves must stop!’

Job 38:4-11NLT

When he formed the boundaries of the seas, he knew our names, how many days we would live on this earth and which oceans our toes would touch before he decided which day to bring us home to heaven, but where were we?

The mere thought of the vast oceans fixes my need to fear him every single time. He’s so much bigger than we make him out to be.

In My Life

Grow in your respectful admiration of the Lord. Continuing to realize he is bigger and better than we can imagine will naturally lead us into more wholehearted reverence and fear of Him.

As we read the book of Proverbs, I pray we will respond to Lady Wisdom calling to us and listen. No matter how many times we have read these words, I pray they will fall fresh on us and that God will give us specific direction about things we have questions about in our lives right now. I know he will be faithful to do just that, and I look forward to hearing how he leads you through it!

What was your verse today? How is God speaking to you?

You can purchase the study guide/journal here. 

We’d love for you to connect through our Facebook Group here!

Praying for you,

Amy