A Clear Conscience

On November 19 we had a snow storm and icy roads that kept some girls from coming.  However, we had a wonderful time with the smaller group that was able to brave the weather.  During our singing, we enjoyed having an “orchestra”!  Besides the usual piano, we had a violin, cello, mandolin, and flute.  It added a lot to the music!

P1130845For our lesson time, we talked about the importance of keeping a clear conscience.  Our conscience is a God-given sense of knowing the difference between right and wrong–God’s law written on our hearts (Rom. 2:14-15).  We can have ne of 3 consciences.  A good conscience is one that is sensitive to evil and free from guilt.  A guilty conscience is one that is bothered and troubled because of unresolved sin.  A dead conscience is one that is hardened against evil.

P1130852

A guilty conscience is God’s way of saying, “You need to confess your sin and make things right.” But what happens when we don’t deal with the sin that God has brought to our attention? What are the results of hiding our sin?

  • Living in fear of being found out (Num. 32:23b).  When we deal with the sin in our lives, we no longer need to live in fear. Although, it takes courage to confess what we have done wrong, there is freedom in having a clear conscience.
  • Hinders relationships with those we have wronged & with the Lord (Ps. 66:18). When we strive to maintain a clear conscience, our relationships with others are strengthened. Having a clear conscience is an important part have having a good reputation. Also, when we have a clear conscience before God, there is nothing between us and we grow in Him as a result.
  • Easy to continue in sin.  When others know your struggles (in particular your parents), they can help you by holding you accountable so that you don’t slip back into sin.
  • Affects our testimony and ministry. When we are hiding sin in our lives and it is hindering our relationship with the Lord, we cannot serve Him to the fullest. However, when we deal appropriately with the sin God brings to our attention, we grow in character and are better equipped to serve Him to the best of our ability.

P1130854

Little sins which are never made right will affect us our entire lives.  Each of us has made mistakes and sinned against the Lord and others, but we can obtain a clear conscience by going back and asking forgiveness from those we have offended and wronged.  Not dealing with sin in our lives will hinder our ability to grow in the Lord and serve Him.  This is very difficult to do, but the rewards are great and totally worth it. There is great joy and freedom in “striv[ing] to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.” (Acts 24:16)

P1130861
Object lesson: jar=our lives; candle=the light of Christ

He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy. -Proverbs 28:13

P1130865
Paper tube=sin in our life. It hinders our ability to shine for Jesus.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”1 John 1:9

Practical Assignment—Do you have hidden sin that you need to deal with?  Make a commitment to deal with it as soon as possible!

For our activity time, we packed some Christmas shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child.  We originally planned to pack 3 boxes, but everyone brought enough things so that we were able to pack 5 boxes!  This is a great ministry opportunity because the children who receive the shoe boxes hear the gospel and have a chance to be discipled.  We watched a couple of promo videos to get us excited for packing the boxes.

P1130871
The table laden with things to fill the boxes
P1130882
Putting the shoe box together
P1130887
Writing notes for the boxes
P1130896
Choosing items for the boxes
P1130895
Smiling faces as they pack

When we went to drop off the boxes at the collection site on Friday, the lady there told us they were closing in on 3,000 shoe boxes at their collection site!  She also told us that one shoe box on average impacts 10 people!  Samaritan’s Purse is also very dedicated to sharing the gospel and providing follow for the communities where the boxes are distributed.  What an amazing opportunity! Here’s a picture of some of the shoe boxes and cartons (each containing 15-23 boxes) at the collection site.

PB205936

We donated the shipping money for the boxes online so that we could get a tracking number for the boxes.  All going well, in January, we should be able to announce where our boxes were delivered.  Remember to pray for the girls who will be receiving our boxes, that they and their families will come to know Jesus as their Savior.

Developing a Ministry (and program for families)

June 7 was our last meeting for the summer.  We had our last lesson, talking about how we as young ladies can be serving the Lord in ministry. As young people, we have so much potential for ministry.  The world often listens to young people rather than adults, and young ladies who are mature and wise will stand out in today’s culture.

The enemy doesn’t want us to be fruitful or productive and tries to distract us.  We should be taking advantage of time that we have now as youth and devote it to the work of the Lord before we have the many different obligations that come with adulthood.

Often times we think of ministry as something for missionaries.  However, God calls all of His children to serve Him wherever He places us.  Developing the skills and talents that God has given us is a wonderful place to start.  Also, we need to as be open and attentive the opportunities that Lord brings our way.  I handed out sheets with a list of ministry ideas for the girls to use throughout the summer.

Following our lesson, we presented a program for the families of what we learned in Bright Lights over the winter/spring.  Each small group gave a presentation on one of the lessons that we had.  As a large group we sang some of our Bright Lights songs and recited the Bright Lights theme verse: 1 Timothy 4:12.

Sharing during the program
Gaining a Clear Conscience
Truthfulness
Presenting the Gospel (Witnessing)
Understanding the Fear of the Lord

We enjoyed a special time of fellowship following the program, as families got to meet and visit.

Snacks and fellowship
The younger siblings enjoying snacks

We were very blessed by all the families that came out and supported their daughters.  A special thank you to all of the parents who have allowed their daughters to come to Bright Lights this year, some of which have driven quite a ways to join us each meeting.

It has been such a blessing to have each on of you girls a part of our Bright Lights group this year.  May the Lord bless you as you seek and serve Him, shining as bright lights in this dark world.

“Together we will be bright lights!”

“Let no man despise thy youth, but be thou an example of the believers,
in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
I Timothy 4:12

Truthfulness

April 26 was our first lesson from Set 2 of the Bright Lights curriculum.  As usual, we started our meeting out with a time of singing… how sweet to hear voices raised in song to praise our Savior!

Learning a new song

Our lesson topic was “Truthfulness.”  As we study God’s Word we see that lying is a sin that is very serious in the sight of God.  We see this throughout Scripture, but there is one Bible story in particular that shows us the seriousness of lying.  This is the story of Ananias and Sapphira, the husband and wife whom God struck dead because of willfully lying (Acts 5:1-11).

Lies are like traps.  One lie often leads to another, and another until we are trapped in deceitfulness.  Lies and deceit in our lives give Satan a stronghold in our life that keep us from being a pure and bright light.  Only the truth can set us free (John 8:32).

As we shine as lights for Jesus, it is important that we not only speak the truth, but to avoid all forms of deceitfulness in our lives.  We need to be mindful that it is possible to be deceitful without actually telling a lie.

Our lesson time

Not only is it important to tell the truth, but also to know the truth.  The first spiritual battle on earth centered around truth and deception (Genesis 3).  Satan’s lie tempted Eve to sin and caused spiritual death for all mankind.  From this we see that life and death hinge on the truth, therefore it is very important that we know the truth.

In the Bible, we are told that Jesus is the truth (John 14:6).  God’s Word is the source of truth.  In contrast, Satan is a liar and the father of all lies (John 8:44).  Satan is still trying to deceive the world today.  It is important to know the truth so that we will not be deceived by the lies of the enemy.

As bright lights for the Lord, we want to be valiant for the truth.  We want to be fighting against the lies of the enemy and explaining God’s truth to those around us.  We want to represent Jesus, the One who is the truth, everywhere we go.   It is exciting to be able to share with those who are trapped by the lies and deceit of the enemy and tell them the of God’s truth that will set them free.

Following the lesson, we split into small groups to complete an assignment.  Each group was given a list of lies and had to find a verse from the Bible, the source of truth, that reveled the error of the lie.  It was a good exercise that showed us the importance of knowing the truth so that we are able to discern between what is true and what are lies.

Small group smiles

Our activity for the evening was a debate between the truth and lies.

Making up excuses and convincing reasons to lie
Listing important reasons to tell the truth

Our yummy snacks were provided by Amelia and Whitney.

Waiting in line for snacks
Snacks and fellowship

Gaining a Clear Conscience

At our third Bright Lights meeting (Feb. 16), we covered the very important topic of “Gaining a Clear Conscience.” Not only is it an important lesson, it’s perhaps one of the most difficult to put into practice.

First of all we talked about what our conscience is. We described it as a God-given sense of knowing right from wrong—it is God’s law written on our hearts. Romans 2:14-15 says: “For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them.”

From our skit: Sisters Alice and Mary couldn’t get along

We all make mistakes and sin against the Lord and others. Sins that we never make right, whether little or big, will effect us for the rest of our lives. When we do something wrong, we need to back and make it right.  If we try to ignore our conscience, things will only get worse.  God’s Word emphasizes having a clear conscience.  Why is this?  1.) Because we have to stand before God (Acts 24:15-16);  2.) to avoid failure (1 Timothy 1:19); and 3.) to maintain a good reputation (1 Peter 3:15-16).

We learned that there are 3 types of consciences:  A good conscience, which is one that is sensitive to evil and free from guilt; a guilty conscience, which is one that is bothered by guilt and unresolved sin; and a dead conscience–the very worst–which is one that is hardened against evil.  We each need to desire to have a clear conscience.

There are many sad consequences of a guilty conscience and hiding sin in our lives.  One of these is living in fear of being found out (Numbers 32:23b).  Secondly, a guilty conscience hinders relationships with those we have wronged, and more tragically, it hinders our with the Lord (Psalm 66:18—“If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.”)  Thirdly, when we are hiding sin in our lives, it is easy to continue in it because no one else knows and it able to help us with our struggles.  A guilty conscience also effects one’s testimony and ministry.

From our skit: Alice battling her conscience

So how do we obtain a clear conscience?  An important first step is to desire to have a clear conscience.  Next, list offenses that you have committed against God and others, and then confess your sin to the Lord.  1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  Now, purpose to ask forgiveness from those you have offended or wronged.  Determine when you will ask forgiveness and do it—don’t put it off!!!

When you ask for forgiveness, show sincerity and humility (James 4:6—“But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’”)  Explain that you were wrong and make no mention of the what they did.    It is important to understand that we need to fix the problems in our lives, which are often big, before we try to fix the small problems in someone else’s life (Matt. 7:3-5).

From our skit: Be sure your sin will find you out!

There are many benefits of having a clear conscience that far outweigh the difficulty of going back and asking for forgiveness.  Some of these many blessings are that you will be able to resolve conflicts, you will experience great freedom and joy (no more guilt!), you will have more strength to overcome future temptations, and you will have a good testimony to others.

My sister Abigail and I each shared about a time when we had to clear our conscience.  Both of us agree that while confessing what we have done and asking for forgiveness is hard, the rewards of obeying the Lord in this matter are great and totally worth the difficulty.  There is great joy and wonderful freedom that comes when we gain a clear conscience.

As an illustration of the struggle within of gaining a clear conscience, we presented a skit about Alice who after a fight with her sister Mary, buried her sister’s doll in the garden to get back at her.  Alice’s conscience told her that she needed to confess what she had done and make things right, while the “Bad Conscience” convinced Alice that it was just too hard to confess, after all no one would ever know if she didn’t tell.  Alice decided to cover up what she had done and lived in fear of being found out—which happened one day.  Mary’s doll was filled with corn kernels, and one day Mom found some corn growing (in the shape of a doll!) in the garden. Alice learned the hard way that “He who covers his sins shall not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13)

Playing “Bright Lights Pictionary” during our activity time

We were very grateful for the 17 girls that came out to the meeting. Our snacks were provided by Lily and Betty. Betty made some beautiful cupcakes to celebrate the birthday of one of the girls, which was a treat for us all.  Happy birthday, Joy!

The beautiful cupcakes

I’m looking forward to seeing all of you at our next meeting on March 1st!