The Fear of the Lord

January 7 was our first meeting of 2016!  We switched things up a little bit and played a game before the lesson.  We played the attentiveness game and talked about how we pay attention to something important.  Understanding the fear of the Lord is very important!  A proper view of God is essential as we seek to honor Him.

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Why do we fear something?  We fear something either because we see it as dangerous or important—God is both.  As Christians, we don’t need to fear the danger of God (Christ took care of that for us), but rather should fear that we will not please Him.  In this sense, fear refers to respect or reverence.  A fear of the Lord comes from a deep love and respect for Him, as well as an understanding of the consequences of disobeying Him.  Fearing the Lord is knowing and taking seriously the fact that we will one day stand before our holy and just Creator and give account to Him. (2 Cor. 5:9-10)

What is the opposite of the fear of the Lord?  The fear of man.  Fear of what people think of us can be a huge, and often invisible, obstacle in our lives. Fear of man brings insecurity, but “the fear of the Lord is strong confidence.” (Prov. 14:26); we can not be secure if we feel threatened by what others might think of us.

The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.” Proverbs 29:25 (NKJV)

P1140181Everyone has a desire for approval. God has given us this desire so that we will turn to Him to fulfill it.  Our desire should be to serve the Lord and receive our approval from Him. If our focus is on eternity, than we will realize the importance of pleasing God rather than men.  The best way to overcome the fear of man is to learn to “be in the fear of the Lord all the day long.” (Prov. 23:17)

We took a quick look at the contrasting lives of Saul and David.  Saul tried to serve God, but was hindered by his fear of man (1 Sam. 10:22, 15:24, 17:12, 18:7-8; 12).  On the other hand, David spent much time with the Lord and lived in a way pleasing to God, who called him a man after His own heart (Acts 13:22, 1 Sam.17:26; 24:6, 12; 32-33; 45-47, 2 Sam. 6:17).

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The Lord sees our every thought, attitude, and action.  Are we more concerned with what the Lord sees when He looks at our lives, or are we more focused on receiving approval from men?  One day we will stand before God and give account to Him.  If we truly fear the Lord we will respect Him, take Him seriously, and give Him the most important place in our lives.

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all.” Ecclesiastes 12:13 (NKJV)

For our activity, we did skits on the fear of the Lord vs. the fear of man.

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Accepting the Way God Created You

“But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay,
and You our potter; and we all are the work of Your hand.”

Isaiah 64:8

It was such a blessing to have 17 girls attend our 6th Bright Lights meeting on March 29.  After reviewing the lesson on understanding the fear of the Lord from our last meeting, which was foundational to this lesson, we talked about accepting the way God created us.

Lesson time

A major struggle young ladies often face is being discontented or overly concerned with their appearance.  This is a wrong attitude that comes from the fear of man rather than a proper fear of the Lord.  The right attitude to have is to be concerned about what God sees when He looks at us.

“Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” (1 Peter 3:3-4)

In His great wisdom and love, God created each one of us different than anyone else—yet we are all of equal importance to Him.  God has a unique and exciting plan for each of our lives, and He created us to be exactly the way He wanted us to be to fulfill the plans He has for us.  Our appearance, family, time of birth, and abilities did not happen by accident—God has designed every detail of our lives to work together for our good and for His glory.

We do not need to compare ourselves with others because God has a different plan for each of our lives.  Instead, we need to trust God and the unique plan that He has for us.   If we wish to we could change something about ourselves, we are not accepting God’s design for our lives and it is just as if we were telling God He made a mistake (which He never does!).

“But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why have you made me like this?’  Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?” (Romans 9:20-21)

We learned about about brown-eyed Amy Carmichael (1867-1951) who as a young girl asked the Lord to give her blue eyes; He said “no”.  Later in life, she went to India as a missionary.  Dressed in the native clothing, Amy was able to minister in places a blue-eyed foreigner would never have been able to go.  God knew exactly what He was doing when He gave her brown eyes.

We also listened to the story of  “The Elephant Man”- Joseph Merrick (1862-1890).  Joseph was born with a deformity that worsened as he grew older, and he was eventually abandoned by his family.  Thick and lumpy skin covered his deformed body.   A large bony mass grew on his forehead, and the large growth on his lip made his speech nearly impossible to understand.  His one hand and two feet were greatly enlarged causing him to walk with a painful limp.  People were so shocked by his hideous appearance that he had trouble keeping a job until he joined a show on exhibit as a freak.  If anyone had “reason” to blame God for their appearance and difficult life, it would be Joseph Merrick.  Yet in spite of his very difficult life from his severe deformity, Joseph chose to trust God.  He wrote this poem:

“Tis true my form is something odd,
But blaming me is blaming God;
Could I create my self anew
I would not fail in pleasing you.”

We were challenged not only to accept the way God created us, but to thank Him for creating us in His great wisdom and love and to trust the perfect plan that He has for our lives.

After the lesson, we split into 5 small groups to read through Psalm 139. There was good discussion and sharing of personal testimonies and struggles in the area of accepting the way God created us.  It was encouraging to hear what the girls had to say on the subject.

As the plan is for the each of small groups to have time to meet together each meeting for encouragement, each group also came up with a name.

For our activity, we did a design experiment.  Each girl folded a sheet of paper in half and drew the top half of a girl, then turned it over passed it to next person to draw the bottom half.  When we unfolded the pictures, we all laughed to see the different pictures with halves that didn’t match.  It was a reminder that God’s has a perfect design for each of our lives.

We concluded our meeting with our usual tea, snacks, and fellowship.  Our yummy treats were provided by Calli, Katie, and Tami.

Enjoying snacks and fellowship

While some of the girls were waiting for their parents to come pick them up, we have an impromptu game of musical chairs to the songs from the Bright Lights songbook.

Musical chairs

And one more special picture from the night… some of the girls were drawing on the board after the meeting.  Notice what one of them wrote! ;)

Drawing on the whiteboard

Understanding the Fear of the Lord

March 15 was our smallest meeting yet with the 10 girls who came.  Although there weren’t as many there, the Lord really blessed our time together.

Our lesson was on the fear of the Lord.  Fear is a result of seeing something as being important or dangerous, and God is both of these. As Christians, we don’t need to fear that God will harm us (Christ took care of that for us when He died on the cross), but rather we should fear that we will not please Him.  So when we talk about fearing the Lord, this fear refers to respect or reverence.  A proper fear of the Lord comes from a deep love and respect for God, as well as an understanding of the consequences of disobeying Him.

Fearing the Lord is knowing and taking seriously the fact that we will one day stand before our holy and just Creator and give account to Him.  2 Corinthians 5:9-10 says,  “Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” 

How would a proper fear of the Lord change our lives? What actions would differ?  What words would you choose not to say?  What thoughts would you change?  What attitudes would you reevaluate?  What motives would you purify?

As we aim to be strong for the Lord in our youth, there will be obstacles that arise, some of which are invisible.  Fear of what people think of us can be a huge, and often invisible, obstacle in our lives.  God’s Word tells us that the fear of man is a snare, or a trap (Proverbs 29:25).  Fear of man brings insecurity, but “the fear of the Lord is strong confidence” (Prov. 14:26).   If we have the fear of man we will be concerned about our own reputation, but if we have the fear of the Lord, we will be concerned about God’s reputation.

There were two men in the Bible who lived at the same time.  One was driven by the fear of man, while the other had a proper fear of the Lord.  These men were Saul and David.  It was very interesting to contrast the lives of these two men.

Saul tried to serve God, but was hindered by his fear of man.  For example:

  • he hid because he was afraid to be chosen king (1 Sam. 10:22)
  • the Lord gave Saul the command to destroy the spoil from the enemy, but he gave in to the people who wanted to keep the spoil for themselves (1 Sam 15:24)
  • he was afraid of killing Goliath because he was not trusting in God (1 Sam. 17:12)
  • he was jealous of David, showing that he was seeking the approval of men rather than God (1 Sam. 18:7-8; 12)

David spent much time with the Lord and lived in a way pleasing to God, who called David a man after His own heart (Acts 13:22).

  • he confidently went out to fight Goliath knowing that the battle was the Lord’s (1 Sam.17:26; 32-33; 45-47)
  • although he had several opportunities to harm Saul (who had tried to kill David), he let the Lord deal with Saul (1 Sam. 24:6, 12)
  • he sought to make the Lord the center of the nation by bringing the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem (2 Sam. 6:17)
  • we also see his fear of the Lord in many of the psalms that he wrote, for example: “Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints!  There is no want to those who fear Him.” (Psalm 34:9)

Everyone has a desire for approval. God has given us this desire so that we will turn to Him to fulfill it. Our desire should be to serve the Lord and receive our approval from Him.  If our focus is on eternity, then we will realize the importance of pleasing God rather than men.

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13)

For our activity time, the girls split up into 3 groups to come up with a skit about fearing the Lord rather than fearing man to present to the rest of the group.  They all did a great job.

A skit about trying to be popular
A skit about not following the wrong ways of the world
A skit about taking a stand against something wrong

We had some extra time, so we also played the “Attentiveness Game” to remind us that we need to be attentive to the Lord in our lives.

Playing the "Attentiveness Game"

Our snacks were delicious… Hannah and Havala brought apple cake with coffee frosting, Katie and Tami brought caramel bars and cookie bars, and my family brought chocolate truffle cookies.

The elegant snack table