Welcome back! And congratulations – you made it through the first week! It’s a little bit different hosting this online instead of in-person. (Forgive me if I say that same sentiment every week. Hopefully I’ll get used to it eventually!) If you were in my living room, I would make sure that you are all comfy and cozy with coffee or tea or even a glass of wine in the evening. And I would ask how the week was. I just turned around to Josh, who is laying on the couch relaxing from his day, talking about how different this is. And he asked if we were on a chat forum. Which made me think “huh, maybe I should see about doing a webinar-type format where interactive conversation is a little bit more feasible!” I might do it in one of these future weeks. But I also know how far-spread we all are (with one of us even in Wales – hi Cara!). So that might not work out well.
Anyway, you can probably tell that I’m writing this as if I were speaking. So just roll with it and forgive the ramblings!
In an ordinary environment, I would just jump into the week. Going through day by day. Talking our way through Day One. And then Day Two after the first day has been exhausted. All the way through to the end of the week. I’d like to sort of keep the open and free-to-share feel here, though it has to be a little bit more structured just due to the nature of being spread out all over the world!
So I’ll post some questions below – one from each week. Answer if you feel led. Or, simply share what really struck you this week. And then, after you share, comment on other people’s thoughts. Let’s make this an active conversation together, encouraging, supporting, and learning from one another. Feel free to post as many comments as you’d like – you can lump everything together in one comment, or separate thoughts out into multiple. Whatever you think is best!
Thanks so much for being here!
this week in review
My goodness, these verses in Ephesians are a jolt of conviction and reality when you really dig into them, right? Overall, how was it getting to know the Blue Letter Bible website? Do you have any questions about that?
Oh boy – the part about looking over your shoulder before saying something that you shouldn’t? Or regretting later something that just “slipped out”? I wrote those words and I still cringe every time I read them. Because I’m guilty of it! How did you actively and deliberately promote someone else’s holiness this week?
Conviction. It’s something that we know God uses to deal with sin in our lives. And it’s entirely up to us what we do with it. Did the phrase “grieving the Spirit” take on an entirely new meaning for you this week? Feel free to share as specifically or as vaguely as you are comfortable.
I had you read John 15:2 toward the end of the homework, and write the words in your book. I also want you to read it here, from the Amplified Bible:
Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing] He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit.
He repeatedly prunes our branches because they repeatedly need pruning! (Aren’t you so thankful for His grace?)
Thinking of the story of the book-loving-pastor who put quite a bit of thought into buying someone a book if he was particularly frustrated with them, how can you apply that to your own special interests? What’s a unique way that you can think of that will go above and beyond to show someone kindness in order to counteract bitterness?
After spending some significant time in prayer this week, did you feel any weight falling off? Any bitterness being sweetened? Unforgiveness being released? I’d love to hear your stories!
a peek at next week
We’re abandoning the New Testament this week in favor of the Old. And you’ll find yourself in a crash-course on getting to know the Tabernacle. Feel a little intimidated? Don’t be! I had a woman who had never opened a Bible before attending a study I previously taught and she hung in like a champ! If she can do it, you can! The introduction this week provides the jungle-vine that will swing you from this week to next, connecting the bitterness-counteracted-with-kindness to the incense-prayers of the Old Testament. And it all starts with Psalm 141.
LORD, I cry out to You; make haste to me! Give ear to my voice when I cry out to You. Let my prayer be set before You as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
Join the conversation by leaving a comment below and replying to other people’s thoughts!
Please Note: In an effort to maintain the security of this website, all comments must be moderated. Because we are all in different time zones, comments might not be approved right away. However, we will get to posting them as soon as we can, as often as we can!
Hi sweet ladies! I am deeply grateful for this beautiful study and the way that God is already using it. I really want to better understand how to use Thayer’s Greek Lexicon. I can usually find the verse address in the paragraph, but then don’t know whether to look at the definition in before it, or after it. I reread through Jane’s awesome ‘How to study scripture’ PDF, but am still stumped. Do any of you have any tips?
Thanks so much!
I’m in the same boat! I’ve never used it before but have LOVED digging deeper into the meaning of words within a verse. I’m thankful for her explicit directions, because without them, I would be so lost!
I’ve been thinking for months that my next e-guide needs to be a much more in-depth picking apart instructional guide of the website!
Hi Emily! I know, it gets a little confusing sometimes! If you look closely at the sentence structure, you’ll see where within the list a definition applies. For example, look at this screenshot: http://bit.ly/29Ycx04
The pink highlighted section is one sentence. The yellow is another. Different definitions are always separated either by semicolons or periods for distinction. Does that help explain it a little bit?
Thanks for responding Kate and Jane! The confusion is so worth it! 🙂 I think I am getting the hang of it. This morning I tried to ‘rewrite’ 2 Timothy 2:16-17 by using what I uncovered in the lexicons. I then compared it to yours, Jane, at the beg. of week 2 to see how close I got. It wasn’t perfect but I’m becoming more comfortable with it, and able to let God guide my searches realizing it’s more about where He leads me than what I can find. I am definitely interested in an in-depth e-guide to the site! You’ve got a lot going on with that little one on the way (THRILLED for you, and have been praying for you!) so we’ll be patient!
I love this study, absolutely love it Jane. It’s my first time using the Blue Letter Bible resource and I am hooked! I landed on this study in a way similar to you, Khalia – I had been on the hunt for a new study, online or otherwise, for about a week (God making it clear to me I needed to press in more deeply) when I spotted Jane’s IG post. Total answered prayer.
I knew there was something going on with my mouth, I’d even just downloaded an audio book (Keep It Shut by Karen Ehman) though I wasn’t sure why. Why the mouth? I’ve been struggling emotionally this summer – in a way not typical of me. Was it menopausal changes? My firstborn getting ready to leave for college? The financial stress of college? No. I’m realizing the problem is ME – the way I’ve been talking, ruminating on worries and troubling things in the world. But more than that, my “tree” is sick. I haven’t been tending to my thoughts as usual, haven’t been using God’s truth as a filter for what I allow to settle in and take root.
Realizing what it means, truly means to grieve the Holy Spirit was eye opening. The stuff that spills out of my heart/mouth matters. It matters a lot.
I almost hate to put words to this part but I’ve been feeling bitterness towards my momma. Her mouth has grown into a ravenous beast, disparaging my dad whenever we talk. Being critical of others. Have I allowed her bitterness seep into me? Bring about a negative change in me? Yikes! I usually talk with her on the telephone 4-5 times a week, sometimes more, but lately I’ve been avoiding her. I have also had to end some conversations midstream – it’s gotten messy at times.
I also realize I have been feeling bitterness towards myself. My body is changing with age, betraying me in unexpected ways and I have been unforgiving and critical in my thoughts.
Now what to do with these revelations. I think some proactive acts of kindness towards my momma would help. Stopping to pray with her over the phone about the situation instead of leaving room for fruitless conversation. Speaking life, instead of being harsh and negative about things going on in the world, with my body, in my marriage, etc. I’m going to work on these things this week.
I look forward to learning more about each of you and seeing God at work in your lives and stories!
Tina- I had never used Blue letter either and am totally hooked! It is so awesome!
Tina, wow! Thank you so much for sharing! It’s so easy to be influenced by the negativity around us and sometimes we don’t realize the source until it’s become our regular watering hole! Josh can tell when I spend time with certain people because their attitude or negativity influence me in subtle ways I never would otherwise notice! I’m so glad He is showing you things that you need to pay attention to, and also creative ways to make those bitter waters sweet! xo
Thanks so much for sharing. This first week was very convicting for me. My mouth and tongue get the better of me and then I need pruning. Praying for you.
Day two: conviction
I need to put this scripture on a 3 X 5 card and tape it to several locations in my house! This is one to memorize and contemplate daily.
This was a perfect scripture this week with all the police shootings and racism going on in the world today not to mention politics. I feel we all need to edify those close to us but also keep this in mind when speaking in general.
The thought of grieving the Holy Spirit…. Cringe!
Right?! I remember the first time I ever studied that and wanted to curl up into a ball. I think I sat at the kitchen table and had a good cry for awhile. I’m so thankful for His mercy! Also, have you ever tried using dry erase markers to write scripture? Perfect for bathroom mirrors and shower walls!!
Great idea! I have been known to use eyeliner on my bathroom mirror. Dry erase marker will be so much easier to remove. lol. Thanks. 🙂
Thank you for allowing God to use you in creating this study !! I’m hosting a group of 9 women at my house in Marysville, WA (near Seattle). we’re all loving digging into the Word, and have had great discussion as we’re seeing the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.
Joelle- I am so jealous you are able to do this with a group of ladies! How fun!
Oh to be a fly on the wall in your gatherings! I wish I could crash your group and curl up on the couch with you ladies!! Post a group photo on the IG hashtag so I can see your beautiful faces!
Okay I just randomly jumped into this study last week thinking I would maybe do a few days and move on. I am so hooked. Day 2 is what really did it for me. I was so floored by what I learned and how you lead up to that final concept-literally blew my mind. I called three people to tell them what I had just learned (at 7am which may have been a mistake 🙂 ) but that is when I knew this was the real deal and I was going all the way. My book just arrived this morning (Lords timing, am I right?) and I am jazzed to jump back in. I would LOVE the idea of a periscope or Facebook live or something to discuss what we are learning and hear what other people are getting from this. Incredibly thankful and totally what I needed right now. So excited for the next 8 weeks!
Ahaha! I’m sure they loved their 7am wake-up calls! I’m so glad you’re loving it so far!!
Words. Ugh. I have been “plagued” with the line “you talk so fast” for as long as I can remember. It was my biggest “constructive criticism” during student teaching from all of my professors. I always cringe when I hear it, but feel ridiculous and animated at any attempts I make to slow down. However, this week it hit home again that not only do I talk fast, words often spew out so fast I don’t think long enough about what words are actually spewing out before it’s too late. I’ve been extremely convicted of it lately, especially over the past several months. My husband and I had a whirlwind dating/engaged experience and were married a short 9 1/2 months after meeting. Crazy? most likely. Our biggest struggle hands down in marriage: my mouth. Let’s just say my mouth was not bearing any good fruit when it came to communicating with my husband. I was cutting him in ways I didn’t even realize because of the words that would come out of my mouth or the tone in which my words were said. Working with 1st graders all day is HARD. I’ve never had to work all day come, come home tired/drained and had to still be functional in someone else’s presence until married life and I didn’t transition well. We’re in rough spot right now, where I’m trying to earn my husbands trust with my words/tone. It’s so true that wives hold quite the “power” within our words when it comes to our husbands. This study is so convicting in the content and truth and perfectly timed.
Oh man, our husbands often see the worst don’t they? That’s one thing Josh and I are constantly checking each other on. Now, when one of us says something with a particularly nasty delivery, all we say is “Tone!” It’s a battle that we will always fight (as discovered this week), but the more aware you become, the easier it is to catch! Thanks so much for sharing!
So let’s just say Week 1 totally Wrecked Me…. The convictions, the promises, the truths….It’s Sooo REAL & a lot to take in. I am realizing that it takes work and effort to control the things that come out of mouth but through the power that is available in the Holy Spirit, it’s possible! Following Christ is a hard feat but is sooo well worth it! Anticipating the Knowledge & Wisdom I’ll gain from week 2.
Yes!! You’re off to a great start!!
I purchased this study a few months back and never got into it and actually wondered why I had bought a book about treasures in darkness when my life felt full of hope and light. I was married almost three months ago (kind of a whirlwind) and then those newlywed fun times were bombarded by almost every change and hardship we could think of. It’s a dark time and this study is so timely. Getting up in the morning knowing that other women are pressing in along with me is so encouraging. I’m in a new town with no friends and somehow this group is helping me feel not so alone. Anyway, the struggle we’re in is partly about who my husband sees himself as and I love that the first chapter was about our words. I long to pour into him life giving words. When I’m hurt and lonely I want to complain and make it about me but God is showing me this is a season to pour into him and build him up. So, I’m asking for wisdom and watching my thoughts and words so that we can both be fruitful vines. Thanks, Jane, again for following the Lord’s leading. This is all so good!
Wow, I really love this! There’s a whole week on marriage coming up in a couple of weeks – I can’t wait for you to read it! xo!
I can’t wait for that! yay for God knowing what he’s doing!
I did have a trouble with the Parse section of Blue Letter Bible. I had found it on my phone when I did the 30 day challenge but then I couldn’t find it on the computer. I also have a bit of a hard time using the Thayer’s Lexicon. Just pressing in but I’ll take any tips.
Hi Meghan! I just posted a screenshot in reply to Emily’s comment above, explaining a little bit better how to dissect the more in-depth (and very confusing) lexicons! Let me know if that helps explain a little bit more!
To find the parsing information on the desktop site, click on any verse and you’ll see the parsing buttons in the far right column (screenshot here: http://bit.ly/29Z0oLn)
I have had a crazy year that has had me searching for answers from God. Big changes and prayer not being answered or maybe in a way I didn’t expect (or like). Some areas in my life even taken away (maybe for a moment). I am seeing now that maybe He is pruning me and asking me to cry out to him (psalm 141) and to just place all trust and faith into his good plan for me. Because, for one of the first times in my life, I have no idea what God has next for me, but maybe he is preparing something greater for me. He might just be building me to be able to share more fruit than before. A time of pruning might be a slow season and waiting and praying and listening.
I enjoyed the first week….even though it was really convicting for me. This is the type of study I was looking for. I hadn’t really used blueletterbible and am liking it. When my husband and I were first married, I had a terrible time with “my tone” in the way I said things. I wasn’t even aware of how I sounded. He has helped me so much in this area, but it will always be the thorn in my side. I have to constantly think, think, think before I speak.
Hello All! I am late to start this study, but am enjoying each day so very much! I wanted to share that what continues to cross my mind about day 1 is “Speak Life”.
Jane, thank you so much for sharing your life with me. The 30 day challenge was a huge blessing to me and I am excited to see what God has for me in the 9 weeks of this study.
Lindsey! It’s so good to see you here!! Thanks so much for chiming in!
I am a bit behind in the study but I am loving it! The overwhelming theme I kept revisiting is this idea that the Word of God is so applicable. We are never exempt from following His Truth. Not in darkness. In sickness. In surgery. In work. In disappointment. In death.
The tongue must be controlled no matter what we face. The heart must be softened against bitterness and unforgiveness no matter what we face. Our circumstances do not give us a “trump card” or “get out of jail free” card from following God’s Word. We must seek His face in spite of those circumstances and He will faithfully bring us to truth He wants to show us. And when we have nothing inside us to move us to seek, He brings His face near and shines His light into the darkest corner of our darkness. That is where I have started this journey.