Relationship with Your Parents

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November 5 was our meeting about our relationship with our parents.  Many young people today think that authority is a bad and undesirable thing, and so they often rebel against the authorities God has placed in their lives. They fail to understand that as the Author of the universe, He has all authority over it and He delegates authority to human people to accomplish His purposes (Rom. 13:1-5). As young people, the primary authority God has placed over us is our parents. When we submit to their God-given authority, we are submitting to God (Eph. 6:1).  When we disobey our parents authority, we are disobeying God.  Believe it or not, being under authority has many benefits including provision, training, correction, and protection.

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God has given us the protection of our parents.  He uses their authority that He has set in place in our lives to bring blessing and to be a protection over us.  Just like an umbrella protects us from getting wet from the rain, the authority of our parents protects us from the dangers of the world… as long as we stay under their authority.  When we chose to obey our parents, we are choosing to be under the protection that God has set in place.  When we disobey and resist authority we move out from under the protection that God has given us opening ourselves up to the dangers of the enemy.

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It is so important that we have a good relationship with our parents.  When we respect them and their authority, there are many blessings that follow.  Honoring our parents and being submissive is often hard, yet it is the key to a close relationship with our parents.  When your parents ask you to do something that you don’t like, ask the Lord to give you a submissive attitude.  When we have an attitude of true submission, obedient actions will follow naturally and we will being honoring our parents and the Lord.

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As we seek to be strong for the Lord and use the years of our youth for Him, we need to choose to honor the authority of our parents and seek to develop a close relationship with them.  As we honor our parents, others will notice and we will be a shining testimony to them.  Let’s each commit to honoring our parents and developing a close relationship with them for the glory of God.  Ask the Lord to help you gain a submissive attitude and to provide you with opportunities to build your relationship with your parents.

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For our activity time, the girls enjoyed making cards for their parents and writing notes of gratefulness to them.

Practical Assignment:  Write down three specific ways that you can intentionally honor your parents this coming week and do those things before the next meeting!

Royal Apparel

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Last night we had our meeting titled “Royal Apparel.”  We learned that God doesn’t give us a dress code.  That’s because it is a matter of our heart. He wants us to choose to dress in a way that honors Him because we want to, not because we have to.  The Lord doesn’t give us detailed rules or guidelines about what kind of clothing we should wear.  However, He does give us many principles in His Word that teach us what He desires and why He desires it.  Here are the principles we examined last night:

#1: Dress Modestly (1 Tim. 2:9)—The concept of modesty includes several aspects: (1) not revealing that which God intends to be covered, (2) not seeking to draw attention to ourselves, and (3) not stirring up wrong desires by dressing/acting in a sensual way. Immodesty is a huge problem for young ladies in our culture.  However, many times girls don’t even realize that they are dressing immodestly—they are simply following the fashions of the world.  It really goes back to this bigger question: to whom are we looking for approval?  Who are we trying to please—and why?

#2: Do Not Copy the World (1 John 2:15, James 4:4, Rom. 12:2)—The world’s thinking must not be our standard.  We do not need to act, look, or think like the world—in fact we should specifically purpose not to!  Being different from the world is a major part of our testimony and calling as Christians.  If the world can’t see any difference between our lives and theirs, how will they be drawn to Christ? How will they be drawn to the light if the light looks just like the darkness?

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#3: Do Not Defraud (1 Thess. 4:4-6)—The word “defraud” means to deceive or take advantage of someone; it carries the idea of causing harm to someone. 1 Thes. 4 explains that we are called to walk in holiness before God and warns us not to defraud others by stirring up lust. The Lord takes this issue seriously. Why is that?

  • First of all, we have been called to holiness.  We are to be holy as God is holy.  Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19-20).  God expects us to take this seriously and to be a temple for His glory through which His holiness can be seen in the world.  This requires cleanness and purity.
  • Secondly, immorality is extremely serious in God’s eyes.  The Bible tells us to flee from it (2 Tim. 2:22).  To flee means to run in the opposite direction.  Defrauding, on the hand, is getting close to it. Defrauding in itself may seem harmless, but it is the attitude behind immorality.  It is a selfish “getting” attitude.
  • Thirdly, as the Body of Christ, we are called to encourage and build one another up.  If we defraud a fellow believer, we are doing just the opposite—we are a stumbling block and tearing others down.

Some girls use the argument “It’s the guy’s problem if he can’t control his thoughts—it’s not my responsibility.”  But remember, we are one body in Christ; when one member suffers, we all suffer.  As girls, we should do everything in our power to help our brothers in Christ, and we certainly shouldn’t do anything that would cause them to stumble!  When we dress immodestly out of our own desire for attention and cause a young man to notice us, we are stirring up desires in him that we cannot righteously fulfill.  This is defrauding, it is selfish, and it is the opposite of true love.

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#4: Honor Your Father (Eph. 6:2-3)—Some girls see clothing as a ‘little’ area in which they don’t need to honor their parents.  But Scripture doesn’t make a distinction between ‘big’ or ‘little’ things; it simply says to honor them.  Jesus said that those who are faithful in little are faithful in much.  It will matter for eternity if we seek to please the Lord by honoring our parents, but in the long run it really won’t matter if we please our friends.  Listen to your parents, especially your dad, regarding your clothing choices.  They want to protect you, and your dad can give you a guy’s perspective one whether something is truly modest or not.

#5: Remember that You are Representing Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:20)—In everything that we do, our goal must not be to please ourselves, but to honor Christ and represent Him well.  Scripture tells us that we are ambassadors of Christ.  We communicate a significant message by our smile, bright countenance, posture, confidence, manners, and clothing.  The next time you go shopping, remember that you are actually purchasing clothing for Christ’s ambassador.  By His grace, let’s represent Him as well as we can!

#6: Dress Femininely (Mark 10:6)—We see evidence of Satan’s attempt to pervert our God-given roles even in the way he influences fads and fashions.  He wants men to look like women, and women to look like men.  As young ladies, we can be feminine through our actions, words, appearance, and godly attributes of womanhood.  As we apply the principle of femininity to dress, it’s not wrong to wear clothing that is similar to a man’s (i.e. modest pants). However, there are special benefits to wearing clothing that is specifically feminine!  It shows the world that we are not ashamed to embrace our calling as women.

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#7: Draw Attention to Your Countenance (Dan. 12:3)—It’s amazing how the light of Christ can shine through our lives and countenances even when we do not speak a word.  What do we want people to notice about us?  As Christians, our desire is that anyone who sees us would see Christ. This will only happen if we allow the joy and love of Christ to shine through us in our smile, attitudes, words, and actions.  We need to keep this in mind as we decide what to wear.  We should dress and act in a way which will draw attention to our joyful countenance, and ultimately to the Lord.

#8: Don’t Judge Others by Their Outward Appearance (Matt. 7:1-5, 1 Sam 16:7)—Others will probably judge us by the way we dress, but we should not judge others by their outward appearance. We want to follow Jesus’ example of being sensitive and responding to the “inside,” not the “outside.”  Be careful not to jump to conclusions based on outward appearances.  When we see immodesty in others, we should give grace to those who do not share the same convictions as we have.  As we show them love, we may be able to lead and encourage them in the right direction.

The world is going in such a wrong direction in the area of clothing.  It’s time for us to take a stand for the Lord.  The world is pushing girls to dress immodestly, to attract attention in a wrong way, and to just go with the flow.  Instead of getting as close as we can to worldly ways, let’s strive to set an example of modesty, discretion, maturity, femininity, and beauty as we represent the King of kings!  Ask the Lord to give you a heart that desires to honor Him in the area of clothing, and to give you the courage to be different from the world.  Talk with your parents about your family’s standards for modesty and how you can honor the Lord in the way you dress.

For our activity time, we divided into teams.  Each team was tasked to create a princess dress out of brown packing paper.  It was a fun activity that helped to remind us that we, as daughters of the King, should dress in a way that brings Him glory and honor.

Disrespect & Honoring Our Parents

P1300296Since we had to cancel a meeting in December due to bad weather, we combined two lessons in one to finish up Set 5 of the Bright Lights curriculum on January 30.  The topics were very closely related and we had a lot to talk about as we looked at the lessons “Disrespect” and “Honoring Our Parents”.

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We have talked about honoring parents in previous Bright Lights lessons, but this is an area that most of us struggle with every day.  It’s an area that Satan tries so hard to destroy in our lives, because our relationship with our parents should be a picture of our relationship with our Heavenly Father.   As young people, Satan wants us to make foolish choices that ruin our lives rather than listening to our parents’ wisdom and counsel.  So this is such an important issue in the life of a young lady who wants to serve the Lord and be a bright light for Him.

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We talked about the importance of wanting a good relationship with our parents, choosing to stay under their authority and protection, maintaining a clear conscience with them, and not keeping secrets from them.  It takes humility to do these things, especially since we know that our parents aren’t perfect.  We have the challenging example of Jesus in this area – He was perfect, yet He choose to be subject to His earthly, imperfect parents (Luke 2:51).

Disrespect is opposite of honor, and is actually a sign of rebellion, an outward evidence of an inner attitude.  Disrespect can be very subtle and so it seem like a very small thing, but the Bible makes it clear just how serious it is (2 Kings 2:23-24; Prov. 20:20; Ex. 21:15, 17; Prov. 30:17).   Attitude is key – if you have the right attitude there will be no disrespect.  If you have a wrong attitude it will be almost impossible to avoid disrespect.  Having a grateful attitude – remembering all that our parents have done and continue to do and sacrifice for us – makes it a whole lot easier to show them honor.  Let’s not just eliminate disrespect from our lives, but replace it with gratefulness and honor to our parents.  Young people who honor and respect their parents will stand out as bright lights in today’s world.

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Disrespect is an outward sign of an inward problem.  Many young ladies allow anger, wrong thoughts, and bitterness grow in their hearts toward their parents and it reveals itself in the form of disrespect. Bitterness clouds our thinking, cripples our ability to respond with humility, and prevents us from showing true honor as God commands us.  Bitterness may start small and seem harmless, but it grows rapidly and becomes a huge danger in our lives.  It’s very difficult to honor and respect someone who has wronged you, or when you don’t agree with them, or think they dealt with a situation wrongly, yet God calls us to forgive just as He has forgiven us (Eph. 4:31-32), and to respect our parents and their authority.

P1300254Honoring our parents can be very difficult a lot of times, but the rewards far outweigh the struggles.  God promises blessings for us as we purpose to honor our parents in everything and respond to them in a godly way.  Ultimately, we are not just honoring our parents – we are honoring the Lord!

After the lesson, we split up into small groups for discussion on how we struggle with being respectful to our parents, and practical ways to honor them in everyday life.

We did skits for our activity (and everyone cheered when I announced that).  Each group was given a scenario and needed to come up with one in which they were disrespectful, and one in which they honored their parents.  Here’s some pictures from the skits:

Scenario: You’ve had a rough day and are trying to finish your “To Do” list before supper time when your mom unexpectedly asks you to make supper because she is so busy…

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Mom is busy to the point of frustration, but Emma and Lily are no help
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Madison and Autumn cheerfully make supper

Scenario – Your friend recommends a movie to you, but your parents don’t want you to watch it.  All your friends have seen it and say it’s a good movie…

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Maria’s friends recommend the movie to her
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Maria’s mom is shocked by what movie her friends recommended

Scenario – You are shopping with your mom and find some a cute clothes.  However, once you try them on, your mom doesn’t think they’re appropriate, although you think they’re perfectly fine…

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The girls are excited to be shopping for clothes
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Mom doesn’t think that Deborah’s new headgear is appropriate for the occasion

Scenario – Your mom tells you that she thinks that you are spending too much time on the internet…

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Joy doesn’t listen to her mom about spending time on the internet
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Calli heeds her mom’s concerns about her time on the internet

We ended our time together with tea and snacks provided by Rose, Becky, and the N ladies. It was wonderful to fellowship with so many of you who haven’t been able to make it out for the past couple of meetings!

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I want to finish this post with a quick reminder about the Creation/Evolution debate tomorrow between Bill Nye the Science Guy and Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis.  You can watch the live stream tomorrow evening – find our more at DebateLive.org.

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Gratefulness

Last night we started Set 5 of the Bright Lights curriculum with a lesson on gratefulness.  We were delighted to have four new young ladies join us… it’s been a blessing to see the Lord growing our group this year with girls who desire to be bright lights.

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For lesson on gratefulness, we started out by talking about how our culture tells us to look out for ourselves and is very me-centered, but gratefulness is not me-centered at all – true gratefulness is giving appreciation to others rather than expecting attention or wanting more for ourselves. In order to be truly grateful, we need to understand that everything we have has been given to us.  Anything we have can be attributed to the investments God or others have made in our life.  Having an attitude of gratefulness makes it so much easier to recognize when others do something for us and use our words of gratefulness to bless and encourage them.

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We then talked about being grateful to our parents and made a list of the many different things they do for us.  It can be so easy to get caught up in thinking about what our parents don’t do for us or won’t allow us to do and become ungrateful and complaining all the time.  But as we think about everything that they do for us, it makes us realize we have so much more to thank them for than to complain about!  An attitude of gratefulness makes it much easier to obey the Lord’s command honor, obey, and respect our parents.

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It’s easy to be grateful for the things that we like, but true gratefulness is being thankful even for the things that you don’t like because you realize that God is using it for good.  An attitude of gratefulness is only possible if we are willing to trust that God knows best in every detail of our lives.

I shared with the girls about my grandma who had a stroke last week… what could I be grateful for about that?  Yet as I was preparing this lesson on gratefulness I took a few minutes to think about what I could be thankful for in this difficult situation.  It may be surprising, but this exercise helped me to realize that there is so much to be grateful for in this situation, such as it helped me to learn to trust the Lord more and to value having my grandmother living close by.

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To close the lesson time, I handed out some paper and asked the girls to think of a situation, circumstance, or person that they are struggling to accept as from the Lord with gratitude.  Then I asked them to make a list of 3 or more possible benefits (things they could be thankful for) about this “problem” has in their life. We then had a time of silent prayer asking the Lord for His help to have a grateful attitude about their situation.

For our activity, we divided into 4 small groups, each with a list.  Using the prompts on the list, each group was to write down things related to gratefulness (one possession they were grateful for, one animal that shows gratefulness, a phrase expressing gratefulness, etc.).  Then when they came back with the lists completed, I surprised them and switched the lists.  Now each group had a list completed by a different group and they had to write a song about gratefulness using the words on the list.  It was funny to hear the girls singing about being thankful for pizza, dogs, and various other things.

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Song to the tune of Jingle Bells chorus
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Song to the tune of Yankee Doodle
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Song to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
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Song to the tune of Jingle Bells – verse and chorus

We enjoyed our fall themed snacks and tea as we spent the rest of the evening in fellowship and laughter.  The Lord really blessed the meeting and I am looking forward to a wonderful school year of  studying God’s Word together.

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Pumpkin bars, acorn treats, and cinnamon roll cookies

See you all again on November 7!

Courtship

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
-Proverbs 4:23-

We were so encouraged by the fact that most of the girls were able to make it to this past meeting as we discussed the important topic of courtship…

The enemy wants us to have dim lights or no lights at all.  Temptation in the area of boy/girl relationships is one of the biggest snares that the enemy uses to damage the lives and testimonies of Christian young people. In order to be strong for the Lord in our youth, it is essential that we understand the importance of this topic, make personal commitments in this area, and learn how to guard our hearts.

Getting married is one of the most important decisions that we will ever make . If we truly desire God’s best for our lives, than we need to be willing to marry God’s choice. We cannot marry someone who is not a Christian; we need to marry a strong Christian.  Often girls begin to be worried that they will never get married and they settle for second best. They do not seem to realize that is much better to never marry than to marry the wrong person. If our goal is to have the best marriage possible, then we must be willing to exchange the lesser pleasures for the greater treasure.

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Courtship is entering a relationship for the purpose of determining whether or not you will marry that person.  It is a commitment.  With dating, on the other hand, people plan to break up if things don’t work out.  This is practice for divorce, not marriage. Ultimately, God is the One who brings people together.  If marriage is in His plan for you, He will bring you the right person to marry in His perfect timing.  There’s no need to date, have a boyfriend, or worry since God is in control or every detail of our lives. There is no reason to cultivate a romantic relationship with someone for any purpose other than marriage.

Marriage is an extremely important decision, and we should be very grateful for our parents’ protection and willingness to be involved. Our parents know us better than anyone else does, and they desire the very best for our life. Our parents also have more experience and understanding than we do. Make a commitment that when you get old enough to be thinking about marriage, you will send any young men that express interest in you to your father/parents.

It is easy to give a piece of your heart away to a young man without dating him at all. A common mistake we as young ladies can easily make is encouraging guys to be interested in us simply because we like the attention. Ask your parents for advice on how to interact with young men; they know you and understand your strengths and weaknesses and will be able to give you specific guidance. The Lord wants us to be thinking about Him, not spending all the time dreaming about marriage and romance.  When a wrong thought comes, use it as a springboard to direct you to pray and delight in the Lord.

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Marriage on earth is a picture of the spiritual relationship that the Lord wants to have with every one of us. We long for someone who loves us, understands us, listens to us, protects us, cares for us, etc. – God wants to meet our every need, and He is the only One who can give us true fulfillment.  The Lord wants us to be excited about loving Him, serving Him, and being with Him. Fill your mind with Scripture, work on developing a more intimate relationship with Jesus, and delight yourself in Him.

As bright lights, we should be truly seeking to follow God’s way instead of the world’s way in every aspect of life – including marriage.  One of the wisest decisions that we can make now is to embrace – not just tolerate – safeguards of protection. It is important to make commitments now before the temptation comes.  It is your heart – your own personal commitments before the Lord – that will make the difference.   Only those who have formed their own personal convictions will have the strength required to remain pure and the discernment needed to escape temptation.

After the lesson, we had a short skit based on the story “Stay in the Castle” by Jerry Ross.  A princess was told by her father of a prince who was being prepared for her, and she for him.  Yet she must be patients, prepare, and stay in the castle.  As the years went by the princess began to lose sight of the one who was to come, and began to listen to the sounds of laughter in the village.  When one day she met a young man from the village who invited her to attend one of the village festivals with him.  The skit ended leaving the princess with a decision to make… would she visit the village with the young man?  Or would she listen to her father and stay in the castle?

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The Princess and the King busy with her preparation
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The Kings shows the Princess the direction from which the Prince will come
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The Princess meets the charming young man from the village

The girls were then split up into small groups to discuss the princess’ dilemma and how her decision would effect her future – relating to the lesson.  The discussions went very well and the leaders were encouraged to hear what the girls were thinking about this topic.

Following the small groups, Mrs. Mindy Caron shared her courtship story with us… how God brought her and her husband Ben together in His perfect time and way.  It was a great follow up to the lesson and helped the girls to see that courtship does indeed work! :)  Thank you, Mindy, for taking the time to join us and share your amazing story with us!

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Mindy shared lots of biblical wisdom with us throughout her story

We enjoyed our yummy treats made by Autumn, Hannah, Sarah, and the A. sisters while looking through Mindy’s courtship/wedding scrapbook that she brought with her.

BYMPC-bookThis meeting really only scratched the surface of this important topic.  I highly recommend the book Before You Meet Prince Charming by Sarah Mally for more in-depth, helpful information… it’s a great book for parents and daughters to go through together.  Here’s some of the chapter titles: Dangers with the Dating System, Guard Your Heart, How Parents Can Help, Have a Life Purpose Bigger than Marriage, Dreams Must Die, Reserved for One, Delighting in the Lord, & Know that God Arranges Marriages.  This is a very helpful book for young ladies, and is available from Tomorrow’s Forefathers, as well as a number of Christian bookstores.

May the Lord bless you girls as you commit to waiting for God’s best for your lives!