Total Dedication to God

On February 11, we wrapped up Set 1 with a lesson on total dedication to God.  What does it mean when something is dedicated?  It is set apart for a specific purpose.  When you dedicate something to God, you are saying that it belongs to Him and are making a commitment that it will be used for Him (Romans 12:1).  When we dedicate our lives to the Lord, we setting ourselves apart for His purpose.  God can do amazing things through those who live a life that’s totally sold out to Him.

P1140924The opposite of dedication is distraction.  Satan tries his best to distract us because he knows that we can’t be effective for the Lord if we take our eyes off of Christ.  We need to be totally dedicated to Christ and keep our eyes on Him.  He must be our focus.  That is what dedication is—constant focus.

God has given us a short window of time in this life to devote to His kingdom.  A good way to gauge what matters in life is to think about what will matter after life on earth.  What has eternal value?  What does not?  One day we will stand before the judgment seat of Christ.  The pleasures of this world won’t matter then.  All that will matter is what we did with the life, time, and resources He’s given us.  When we stand before Him, will our life be wasted on ourselves? Or will He say “Well done” for a life well-lived in light of eternity?  A good question to ask yourself often is “Am I dedicated or am I distracted?”

Being dedicated to God requires faithfulness to the point of cost.  It’s easy to say we are giving our lives to the Lord, but we will find that this is going to take much endurance to live out.  God has given us everything that we have.  He gave us His very own Son to die for us and save us.  We should want to give Him our lives out of gratitude.  When we think about all that He’s done for us, how can we not give Him our all?

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What does it take to be fully dedicated to God?  God needs to have our heart.  He needs to be our focus.  One of the lies of Satan is that if we surrender our entire lives to Christ, it will take all the fun out of our lives.  The truth is that only when we fully surrender to the Lord will experience joy.

Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee
Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of Thy love
At the impulse of Thy love

Take my love–my God, I pour at Thy feet its treasures store
Take myself and I will be ever only all for Thee
Ever only all for Thee

Frances R. Havergal

For our activity we did Bright Lights commercial skits explaining why girls should come!  It was great to see each group’s creativity, as well as hearing from some of the girls how the Lord has used BL in their lives.

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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.

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!

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.