MONTHLY ARCHIVES: June 2009
Wondering what’s going on here at camp? Well, here’s another message from Sharon to keep you updated on the happenings so far this summer!
Keep checking back for more Vlogs!
An Apple a Day
Read This Passage: Proverbs 25:8-12
A word spoken at the right time is like golden apples on a silver tray. —Proverbs 25:11
I HAVE A good friend named Candy. She is someone who really loves Jesus, and her life is proof of it. When I’m having a bad day or am feeling discouraged, I know if I call her she will know just what to say.
You see Candy does two things when she talks to people. She points them to Jesus, and she reminds them of how special they are to Him. She is the kind of friend I want to be. Candy knows the power of words and wants hers to bring honor to God and those to whom she’s speaking.
Today’s key verse, Proverbs 25:11, isn’t about knowing the right thing to say in every situation. Most of us don’t always know what to say. And there are -situations in life when there is absolutely nothing to say. Today’s key verse is about the power of our speech. When we follow God’s leading, filter our words with prayer, and allow Him to speak through us, we’ll speak the right words at the right times.
We each have the opportunity to follow God’s leading in our relationships. His Word is clear; He has called us to love others and to point them to Him. The problem is, we get busy with our own problems, or we just forget what really matters in life. To be the friend others are drawn to, we must make some very real choices in our lives. We must choose to spend time with God every day. We won’t lead others to Someone we don’t really know.
We must also pray each day, asking God for His leading in every part of our lives. Then, when He tells us to slow down and take time for someone, we must do what He says! In the end, it will be worth it.
Take a look at your life. Do your words point others to Him? Why or why not? Do you allow Him to speak through you?
Read John 4. How did Jesus’ words change the Samaritan woman’s life? How did her words have an impact on the people in her community?
God, help me to see those around me in the way that You do. Help me to allow You to speak through me.
Keep Your Cool
Read This Passage: Proverbs 17:27–18:2
“The intelligent person restrains his words, and one who keeps a cool head is a man of understanding.”
OPEN MOUTH. Insert foot. That’s me. I have this horrible habit of talking, then thinking. After about a million words that I can’t take back, I’m learning to be quiet more often and think carefully about what I say. I’m still not there. In the heat of the moment, I’m still more likely to spout off than practice restraint.
Proverbs describes the person who restrains his or her words as intelligent. I want to be considered intelligent! Don’t you?
There’s a lot of truth in today’s Scripture passage. Losing your cool and saying whatever you want in a fit of anger rarely ends well. It is easy to do that at camp when you are around your peers for at least two weeks straight. As a Christian, saying whatever you want, no matter how justified and especially in anger, isn’t always the best example of Christ. Restraint goes a long way, and Scripture clearly honors those who keep a cool head.
What situations do you get into that cause you to speak first and think later? The next time you are in those situations, carefully consider what God would have you do before you speak. You may be surprised at what He shows you!
Ask God to teach you to guard your tongue and be more wise when you speak.
Sweet as Honey
Read This Passage: Proverbs 16:23-25
“Pleasant words are a honeycomb: sweet to the taste and health to the body.” —Proverbs 16:24
THINK ABOUT that person in your life with whom you love to talk. Maybe you spend hours just talking. This is the person in your life to whom you turn when you need advice, help, or just someone you trust to see the situation clearly and respond honestly. This is the person whom you trust to tell you the truth, even when it hurts. Conversations with him or her leave you feeling better, more focused, and enlightened. These people seem to have learned the secret of keeping their words right on track with God and what He’s doing.
What about you? When someone walks away from a conversation with you, do they walk away feeling blessed or stressed?
That’s why today’s key verse in Proverbs is so powerful: it speaks to us about situations we face every day. And it’s oh-so-easy to let spiteful, hateful words spew out of our mouths without a second thought.
It’s amazing what happens when you stop and think about what to say before you speak. Our words have an effect, and we should consider that. Filter what you say through prayer. Just ask God to help you, even in that split second before you start talking. Let your words bring glory to Him! Let them be as sweet as honey.
Ask God to give you just the right words to say when you talk to others.
A gentle answer turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath. —Proverbs 15:1
KEEP YOUR COOL. Stay calm. Relax. All of these are words or phrases that most of us don’t want to hear when we‘re angry or frustrated. Because we’re human, we want to say what’s on our minds, even when we know we’ll probably regret it as soon as the words fly past our lips.
Has that ever happened to you? It has to me! In the moment, why is it so much easier to say the things that may hurt than it is to be quiet, stay calm, and carefully consider our words before we say them?
Taming your tongue and learning to think before you speak, especially in anger, is a tough lesson to learn. And most of us learn it through experience. Think about the times when you’ve lashed out and your angry words brought regret and broken relationships. Then consider the times you’ve been on the receiving end of hateful, venomous words. They hurt, and they probably made you angry.
That’s why today’s key verse is so important, especially when we talk about relationships. Gentle answers bring peace, strengthen relationships, and show consideration for the person to whom we’re speaking. If we will choose to look at each person we encounter as someone God might have us minister to, care for, and love, we might choose to treat them differently.
Responding in gentleness and love takes discipline and practice. It also takes God’s help. Not everyone we meet is easy to love. You know those people in your life who just know how to frustrate you? Look at them from Jesus’ perspective, then treat them in a way that shows them His love. Even our words should point to God. Do yours?
What situations cause you to get angry? How can you remind yourself—before you speak—to be the one who brings a gentle answer? What can you do now to prepare for these situations?
Read through John 18. As Jesus was being betrayed, what are some examples of His choice to respond with a gentle word? How does His example challenge you in your daily life?
Ask God to show you the areas you are more likely to speak a harsh word than a gentle word. Pray that He would help you be an example of Him, even in your speech.
Light the Way
Read This Passage: Psalm 119:105-112
“Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path. I have solemnly sworn to keep Your righteous judgments.” —Psalm 119:105-106
THERE’S SOMETHING frightening about not knowing what’s around us. Think about a time when you were surrounded by complete and total darkness. Maybe it was so dark you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face or know which direction to go. Complete darkness is disconcerting and far from comforting. We feel that we’re in danger when we can’t see the way ahead. That’s even true in our spiritual lives. But there is a solution.
Like a flashlight illuminating the path in front of us, God’s Word exposes the dangers in our lives. This light also shows us the safe way home. Scripture shows us what God expects of us. It has something to say about common things like lying, how to live in relationship with others, and the things we should and shouldn’t say. God’s Word offers guidance and focus in our lives. The psalmist recognized that and was committed to following God’s commands in Scripture.
Nothing else can bring safety, guidance, and joy like the Word of our God. Since this is true, we need to ask ourselves the following questions: Am I passionate about knowing God’s Word? If not, pray that God would help you in these areas.
But clearly, God expects us to do more than just know His Word. We’re supposed to obey it. James 1:22 tells us that those who hear without obeying actually deceive themselves into thinking they are Christians. Like the writer of the psalms, we must commit to obeying the Word of God. This is the path to true and eternal security and joy.
Create a plan to memorize Scripture by writing out verses on index cards. You may want to start with shorter verses, but don’t forget to think about the meaning of the words. Girls, this is why we have you memorize Scripture as part of the challenge at camp. It is so important! Let God’s Word renew your mind throughout the day.
Psalm 119 is divided up into 22 sections. Read at least one a day for the next few weeks.
Ask God to give you wisdom according to the promise of James 1:5-6 in areas where His will seems unclear.