Accepting the Way God Created You

The Frasers were gone on for the meeting on January 21st so Mrs. Mindy Caron once again taught the lesson.  It was a blessing to have others step in and help with various aspects of the meeting… music, snacks, etc.  Special thanks to Hannah S. for the pictures and meeting report:

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“[Here are] some pictures of  the Bright Lights meeting from last Thursday…there were 35 girls there and one new girl! Mindy did an incredible job, as you can imagine. ? Her talk was really good…and then her ‘activity’ was doing a ‘spiritual’ makeover on [her daughter] (she applied real makeup, but gave each product a fruit of the Spirit and explained how we needed to put on that fruit for true loveliness)…the girls loved it.”

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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.

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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.

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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)

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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

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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.

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The table laden with things to fill the boxes
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Putting the shoe box together
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Writing notes for the boxes
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Choosing items for the boxes
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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.

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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.

Be Strong for the Lord in Your Youth, Part 2

We continued talking about being strong for the Lord in our youth at our meeting on October 22nd.

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Singing together

Many Americans seem to have the idea that that teenagers always rebel.  They assume that the teen-age years will be ones of difficulty, rebellion, and trouble.  This is a totally wrong perspective… our teenage years can be a very significant time for ministry and some of the best years of our life.  God wants to use young people to do His work (Jeremiah 1:6-8), but most young people—even Christians—are too busy chasing after the things of the world.  Let’s not waste this special opportunity to use these years to serve the King of kings!

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Time for an object lesson!

Have you ever wondered why it’s so hard to live for the Lord? Satan knows how valuable these years are and so he tries everything he can to distract us, trap us, and make us ineffective for the Lord.  He wants to trap us now when we are young so that he can ruin the years of our youth—and the rest of our lives.  We need to be aware of his traps and be on our guard against them.

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The rose represents the years of our youth that have so much God-given potential.  When we use the years of youth for the Lord, it is a beautiful thing in the sight of the Lord.  Just like a rose is delicate and fragile, so are the years of our youth. Unfortunately, because they are not strong in the Lord, young people are easily drawn into the sin of this world through Satan’s traps.

Why do we want to be strong for the Lord and live our lives for Him?  Why do we want to be bright lights in the darkness of the world around us? We were created for a relationship with God, but that was no longer possible when sin entered the world and separated us from Him.  But God loved us so much that He sent Jesus to die and take the punishment for our sin so that we could be made right with God again.  Jesus conquered death and offers the free gift of eternal life to all who believe on His name.

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This nasty concoction represents the world full of sin and temptations which seem harmless or maybe even attractive in and of themselves.  But when you mix it all together it’s a big filthy mess. Instead of using the years of their youth to serve the Lord, many young people become tainted by the filth and darkness of this world.  What could have been beautiful is now an ugly mess.  They waste their years of youth and throw away the beautiful potential they have to serve the Lord.

If someone rescued you from destruction, wouldn’t you be grateful?  We live for Him out of gratitude for what He’s done for us.  We obey Him because we love Him.  Do you love Him enough to live for Him even when its difficult?  Yes, we are human and fail, but that just shows us how much we need Him!  If our heart is to honor the Lord, He will help us and give us the strength we need to live and shine for Him.

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Which rose you want to be like?

God can and does use young people for His glory.  The problem is that most young people don’t want God to use them.  Will you choose to allow the Lord to use the years of your youth to do great things? As young ladies, we should make it our goal not just to simply avoid rebellion in our lives, but to be strong in the Lord, radiant and pure, magnifying our Savior and pointing others to Him.

For our activity time we did silent skits of young people from the Bible that the Lord used mightily.  The other groups had to guess which Bible character was being portrayed.

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Queen Esther
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David & Goliath
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Daniel in the lion’s den

 

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King Josiah

Practical Assignment: Memorize 1 Timothy 4:12

Be Strong for the Lord in Your Youth, Part 1

Time for blog catch-up! :)

October 5th was our first regular meeting of the school year and we were so blessed to have over thirty girls attend the meeting!

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How many times in your life will you get to be young?  Only once!  The years of our youth are some of the most important years of our life.  Our youth lays the foundation for the rest of our lives because the choices we make now will shape our future. These years are very valuable for growing in the Lord and serving Him. Our goal should be to use these years for the Lord and not waste them.

Many young people think that we have to wait until we’re “grown-up” to be strong for the Lord and serve Him. However, there are many examples in the Bible of young people that the Lord used mightily.  Here’s a short list: Miriam, David, Joseph, Josiah, Daniel, Samuel, Mary, Naaman’s servant girl, Esther, Jeremiah, Timothy, and the boy who gave his lunch to Jesus.

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As young people, we have an amazing opportunity to impact the world for Christ. Young people who are living for the Lord will stand out in our culture and shine brightly in our dark world.  I Timothy 4:12 tells us, “Let no one despise your youth [think little of, or look down on], but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. “  We had an object lesson to help us understand each area of example a little better:

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In word… how we talk
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In conduct… how we act and react – are we flexible when faced with life’s challenges or do we “explode” in frustration?

In love… sacrificial love in attitude and action – chocolate reminds us of love!
In spirit… our attitude toward spiritual things – God’s Word (the Bible) is how we grow!

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In faith… trusting God – like unquestioningly trusting a chair to hold us!
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In purity… having a clear conscience and right motives – pure and sweet like a marshmallow.

Most people take the years of their youth and use them selfishly things that don’t last. The years are wasted and vanish away.  But a few people take these years and give them to God.  They know that the only things that really matter are the things that last for eternity. Each one of you can choose to be one of those few who will follow the Lord.  God wants to use you—even right now while you are young—as a bright light for Him.  Will you let Him use you?

For our activity time, we did a couple of get-to-know-you activities since we have so many new girls this year.  First, everyone paired off to get to know someone new, or someone they didn’t know very well.  Then they had to introduce each other to the group!

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“Hi, my name is ______. What’s your name?”
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“That’s your favorite thing, too?!!”
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“This is ______, and she is ____ years old…”
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“…she’s in ____ grade and her favorite color is ______.”

Next, we made two circles, one around the other and the girls were given a topic to chat about with the person directly in front of them.  They had about a minute to talk before rotating the circle and starting a new topic with a different person.

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Topic: what’s your favorite winter activity?

We finished with a wonderful time of snacks and fellowship.

Inner Beauty

Singing favorites from the BL songbook around the piano
Singing favorites from the BL songbook around the piano

May 7 was our last meeting for the school year and we had a special tea party while we studied the topic of “Inner Beauty”.  Throughout Set 8, we have been discussed different topics related to our outward appearance and behavior. These are all important, but we want to end by setting our focus on the most important thing of all—having a heart that is right before the Lord.  Yes, we must be wise, discerning, and obedient in regards to our clothing, appearance, countenance, and manners.  But all of these will naturally fall into place if we are loving the Lord with all of our heart.  This is where true beauty begins.

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Object lesson: beautiful package contains rocks; ugly package contains chocolate!

It is easy for us to overemphasize outward things.  We tend to get wrong impressions about people because of the way they look or dress.  We often notice styles, fads, and fashions. We spend lots of time and money on things that are merely external.  While we are using up our time and energy on the outward, God is looking at the inward—the thoughts and motives of our hearts (1 Sam. 16:6-7).  As we get consumed with having a beautiful package, He is focused on the true product inside all the wrapping.  Outward beauty is really just a picture of true inner beauty that God desires to develop in each one of us as He conforms us into the image of His Son.  Physical beauty fades as we get older, but inner beauty will increase with age if we continue to obey the Lord and walk in His ways.

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Object lesson: We had some balloons marked with Satan’s lies and once we read a Scripture to combat the lie we popped the balloon!

Have you ever found yourself wishing that you had someone else’s hair, your sister’s really cute outfits, your friend’s amazing smile, or that you could be just as pretty as so-and-so?  Satan has deceived many young ladies into believing that they need to gain a particular look or certain standard of outward beauty.  But keep in mind that there’s no such thing as an outward ideal—some perfect standard we are all trying to measure up.  The enemy tries to distract us with many lies about our appearance. Some of the lies we looked at were:

  • Lie: God is not enough to satisfy me. • Truth: Psalm 107:9
  • Lie: Being beautiful will make me happy. • Truth: Prov. 31:30
  • Lie: I’m ugly. • Truth: Psalm 139:14
  • Lie: If I don’t wear the latest fashions, people won’t like me. • Truth: Rom. 12:2
  • Lie: My body belongs to me.  I can do what I want to with it. • Truth: 1 Cor. 6:20

Don’t give in to the world’s lies!  They are empty and unable to satisfy.  They bring confusion and sorrow, rather than fulfillment and joy.

P1110324God created everything.  The entire universe already belongs to Him.  Isn’t it incredible to think that something could be “of great price” in God’s sight?  Scripture tells us that a meek and quiet spirit is of great price in the sight of God.   Ornaments of gold and silver and outward beauty may be of great price in the eyes of this world, but not to God.  It is our inner character that is so valuable to Him.  It is beautiful to Him.  It is precious in His sight.  Why is this?  It demonstrates humility.  Pride is something God hates.  Humility is something God loves. Meekness and quietness require humility and lowliness.  This is something that the Lord notices and values (Ps. 10:17).

P1110342So how do we put it into practice? With these thoughts in mind, here are some things we can do to cultivate inner beauty:

  1. Spend time seeking heavenly things instead of earthly things.
  2. Lean as much about Jesus as you can and imitate Him.
  3. Humble yourself daily by putting other people first, serving them, and giving up your own expectations.
  4. Submit joyfully to authorities.
  5. Do not defend yourself—let God defend you.
  6. Respond as Jesus would to those who irritate or offend you.  Speak gently and kindly, forgive them, pray for them, and trust the Lord to take care of the situation.
  7. Rejoice in the suffering God allows, which is strengthening your character and conforming you into the image of His Son.

This is difficult to do.  We cannot do it in our own strength.  We must cry out to the Lord for help.

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Object lesson: every time “Joanna” responded to an irritation in a godly way, she got a piece of clothing or jewelry to wear to illustrate inner beauty

We ended our lesson with a story about a girl named Joanna.  One of the girls volunteered to act out the story.  As Joanna was faced with irritations and everyday problems, she chose to clothe herself with humility and in doing so, was cultivating inner beauty in her life.

For our activity time, we enjoyed making mini paper roses and enjoyed our adorable little tea snacks.

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Everyone dressed up for the tea party, so that called for a group picture!

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It was such a blessing to have all of you girls a part of Bright Lights this year. Let’s ask the Lord to give us wisdom each day as we seek to represent Him well.  Remember, one of the best ways to be representatives of Christ is by cultivating inner beauty.  As we focus on the inward—loving the Lord with all of our heart, soul, strength, and mind—it will overflow to the outward!  Others will see and the Lord will be glorified as we shine brightly for Him.  He is worthy!