Submission

For our last Bright Lights meeting of the year, we finished up Set 6 of the Bright Lights curriculum by studying the topic of submission.  When discussing this topic, it is important to understand the difference between submission and obedience.  Submission is more than just obedience.  It is an attitude from our heart; it is joyfully putting ourselves under someone else’s authority and giving up our way.    It is possible be obedient without being submissive.  We can obey and be rebellious at the same time.  We can be forced to obey, but not to submit.  Submission is the inner attitude; obedience is the outward action.  While we might have the outward appearance of being obedient, the Lord looks on the heart and sees whether or not our attitude is truly submissive.

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Object lesson: a chocolate box with dirt inside illustrates how we can be outwardly obedient, but inwardly rebellious instead of submissive

Submission is…

  • obeying with a humble attitude.
  • complying not only with the commands, but also to the wishes of those who are in authority over us.
  • lowering ourselves and joyfully putting ourselves under another.
  • voluntarily giving up our way and trusting God to work out His plan through the authorities He has set in place over us.
  • delighting to honor our authorities not only in our actions, but also in our attitudes.

Jesus is our perfect example of submission: He is Lord of all, Creator of the universe, yet He was willing to demonstrate submission, both to His earthly parents (Luke 2:51) – who weren’t perfect – and to His Heavenly Father.  Jesus came to earth, not to do His will, but the will of His Father (John 6:38).  Jesus submitted His will to the will of His Father, even when it was most difficult (Luke 22:42). If Jesus hadn’t been willing to submit Himself, He wouldn’t have gone to the cross and we would have no way to be saved!  Submission requires a humble spirit, and in Philippians 2:5-11 we are called to follow the example of Christ’s humility.

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A submissive volunteer obeying bossy orders as she does a math worksheet

Submission is one of the very hardest things to do.  Everyone naturally wants to make their own decisions and be in charge of their own lives.  We don’t like others telling us what to do.  We think we know more.  We think our plan will work better.  Our pride often gets in the way and causes to do things our own way instead of submitting to others.  The world often considers submission to be degrading and negative; the world says to be independent and that you don’t need to do what others tell you to do.  God’s way is opposite:

Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.  –1 Peter 5:5-6

Submission is lowering ourselves.  Few people realize that when they lower themselves, God promises to exalt them in His time.  God tells us to submit because He know that it is for our protection and good.  The challenge is hard, but God’s rewards are always greater.  God ultimately wants us to learn submission to authorities so that we will submit to the Jesus as Lord of our lives.

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A submissive volunteer learning to drive while given rapid-fire directions

God has commanded wives to submit to their husbands (Ephesians 5:22-24); this is an example and testimony to the world.  It is also a picture of how we as Christians, the Bride of Christ, should be submitted to our Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ.  If we as young ladies can learn to submit to our parents, we will have a head start in learning to submit to our husbands (Lord willing) and to others for the rest of our lives.  Submitting to human authorities will help us learn to submit to God.

Each of the topics that we have covered in Set 6 (Preparing to Be Wives and Mothers) are things that we should be cultivating in our lives, whether or not the Lord has marriage in store for our future.  Our ultimate goal in life isn’t to get married; rather, it is to please the Lord and glorify Him with our life.  We can only do this as we learn to submit to God’s will for our life.

For our activity time, we enjoyed doing small group skits (a favorite activity in our Bemidji BL group!).  Each group was given a verse and had to come up with a skirt relating that verse to the topic of submission.

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Colossians 3:20 – “Children, obey your parents in all things…”
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“…for this is well pleasing to the Lord.”
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Proverbs 15:5 – “A fool despises his father’s instruction…”
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“…But he who receives correction is prudent.”
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Romans 13:1 – “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities…”
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“…For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.”
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1 Peter 5:5 – “Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another…”
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“…and be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.'”

Since this was our last Bright Lights meeting for the year, we finished off the evening with an ice cream sundae party!

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The snack table laden with sweets
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No one minded the long line as we enjoyed fellowship while waiting for our ice cream
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Build your own sundae bar (someone called it Bright Lights Cherry Berry!)
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Beautiful Bright Lights smiles

We have had such a blessed year of meetings and we are sad to come to a close.  I’ll miss you girls, and am looking forward to seeing what the Lord has in store for our Bemidji Bright Lights group.  May each one of you girls continue to seek and serve our Savior throughout the summer and shine as bright lights for Him!

Being Wise Stewards of Money

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Skit: Karen – “Can you believe Mrs. McGregor gave each of us $25? Let’s go to the mall and go shopping!” Molly – “Great idea!” Annie – “We don’t need to spend it right now.”

“Being Wise Stewards of Money” was our lesson topic for our meeting on April 25.  We learned that there are some important principles to keep in mind as we talk about money…

“‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts.” -Haggai 2:8

“As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor—this is the gift of God.” – Ecclesiastes 5:19

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Skit: Karen: “Really, Annie? Is shampoo the only thing you bought?” Annie – “I didn’t need anything else.” Molly – “Didn’t you want to buy anything fun – like this cute teddy bear?”

Everything that we have belongs to God – even our money.   The resources that He gives us are His gift to us.  Just like we read in the parable of the talents, we are stewards of what God has given us.  We need to be faithful stewards, because each of us will one day give account to the Lord for how we have used the resources that He has entrusted us (Romans 14:12).

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Skit: Karen – “There was no way I was leaving the store without this hat… even though it cost me $24.89.” Molly – “I have $1 left… who wants a snack?” Annie – “Why don’t you save your money?”

Money is a major battlefront in people’s lives, and often causes friction in many families, marriages, and relationships.  However, the answer is not to have more money, but to learn the secret of being content with whatever amount God has given us. Contentment is an attitude that allows us to not be tempted by unnecessary things, and will help us see the important things in life.

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Skit: Molly – “Oh, no! The car won’t start – we’re out of gas… and money!” Karen – “Do you suppose they’ll take these chips back?” Annie – “I have $3 left out of the $5 I brought; you can use that for gas.”

We need to remember that our treasure is in heaven.  Don’t focus on what you want to get; rather focus on the blessings that you already have! Purpose to allow God to determine what you need and don’t need – He knows best!  God is all powerful. He knows all of our needs, even before we speak them, and He and is able to supply all our needs.  He simply wants us to learn to trust Him.

“Our heavenly Father is a very experienced One. He knows very well that His children wake up with a good appetite every morning… He sustained 3 million Israelites in the wilderness for 40 years. We do not expect He will send 3 million missionaries to China; but if He did, He would have ample means to sustain them all… Depend on it, God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply.”  –Hudson Taylor

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Skit: Molly – “Mom, look at this adorable teddy I bought, and take a look at Karen’s hat!” Mom – “Did you get anything Annie?” Annie – “I saw a cute scarf but it didn’t go with anything I already have, so I just got some more shampoo.”

One important part of using our money wisely is to remember to give back to God from what He has given us!  God wants us to give sacrificially (Mark 12:41-44), cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:6-7), and secretly (Matthew 6:1-4).  God is the ultimate example of giving – He loves to give (He gave us His only Son-Jesus Christ) and He wants us to experience the joy that comes from giving sacrificially out of our love for Him and others.  He promises that He will bless us when we give to others (Luke 6:38).  As young ladies, we should build wise spending, saving, and giving habits into our lives now as we prepare for God’s calling for us in the future.

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Skit: A letter from their missionary aunt tells of needs on the field. Annie – “I still have $20 left I can give!” Molly – “I wish I wouldn’t have spent all my money today.” Karen – “Me, too. However, we certainly learned an important lesson about using God’s money wisely.”

For our activity time, we split into small groups and each team planned a low-cost, healthy dinner using a stack of grocery papers.  Each group was able to come up with a delicious meal for less than $20!  It was a fun activity and helped to reinforce what we learned about spending our money wisely.

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What should we put on the menu?
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Look at this deal, girls!

And after looking at all the pictures of food in the grocery papers, we were hungry for snacks. :) One of the girls brought a beautiful lamb cake that we all enjoyed.  I don’t know that we’ve ever had such a fancy snack for Bright Light before!

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The beautiful lamb cake

I am looking forward to seeing all of you at our last meeting for the school year – don’t forget to sign up to bring something for our ice cream sundae party! :)

Diligence

At our April 10 meeting, our lesson was on the topic of diligence.  As young ladies seeking to be Bright Lights, we want to be diligent to accomplish each task the Lord has given us – persevering and using all our energy to do it quickly and skillfully. Diligence is investing time and energy to complete each task that is assigned to us.  It includes being prepared, successfully avoid distractions, paying attention to details, and being committed to quality.

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The opposite of diligence is laziness (or slothfulness).  The dictionary define laziness as “not liking to work, or moving slowly.  God’s Word warns us of the dangers of laziness many times.  A little bit of laziness just leads to more and more, and can bring serious consequences.   See these verses: Proverbs 15:19, Proverbs 19:15, & Ecclesiastes 10:18

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?  Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man. -Proverb 6:6-8

We read the above passage and then learned some interesting facts about diligent ants.  For example: The ant is one of  the worlds’ strongest creature in relation to its size.  The average ant can carry up to three times its weight (equivalent to a 250 lb man carrying 750lbs!)  I also shared about an amazing video clip my family saw about some scientists who excavated a giant ant colony.  Its amazing what diligent ants can do with “no guide, overseer, or ruler”.  The video clip is below:

Two areas of life that we need to show diligence in is our walk with the Lord and our time.  As young ladies, we don’t have the many cares and responsibilities of adults.  Sadly, many young people see this as a time to be lazy and irresponsible and do their own thing.  However, the years of our youth are a special time to diligently apply ourselves to cultivating a close relationship with our Heavenly Father.  Time is one of the most valuable resources that God has given us.  We will never get it back. We need to choose to use these years wisely and avoid the temptation to slack off.

We need to be committed to serving the Lord diligently both in the small and large tasks He gives us.  Jesus never told us that our work on earth would be easy.  In fact, the work that He gives us will sometimes be hard.  The apostle Paul had a difficult ministry (2 Corinthians 11:23-28), yet he was diligent in faithfully serving the Lord in the work He had called him to.  We also heard the inspiring story of Georgia Willis – how her diligence in shining in her little corner – though seemingly small and insignificant – challenged others to be diligent in their tasks as well (click here to read the whole story).  As we seek to be diligent and faithful in the little tasks that the Lord has given us, we will be blessed and He will use it to accomplish much for His glory.

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And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men. -Colossians 3:23

For our activity time, we split up into small groups; each group was given some coded Bible verses about diligence that they need to solve.  There were only a few decoders available so the girls had to trade among themselves.  It was a fun project and we discovered that there are lots of verses in the Bible – especially the book of Proverbs – that talk about diligence and laziness.

P1050980P1050986And then we enjoyed quite an assortment of snacks — gummy worms seemed to be the common theme as we’re all ready for spring weather! :)

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Turning Your Heart to Your Father

March 29 was our meeting on turning your heart to your father.  God has given you just the right father for you.  That doesn’t mean your father is perfect (in fact, none of us have perfect parents).  However, God is perfect and in His perfect plan, He is going to use your father as a very important person in your life.  He uses our fathers to give us direction, provision, protection, and guidance.  There are many blessings that come from following their leadership.

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Yet Satan is working hard to destroy our relationship with our father.  He knows that if he can get us to be ungrateful and rebellious towards our dad, we can easily ruin our lives during our youth as we refuse his direction, protection, and guidance.  God desires for our heart to be turned to our father’s (Malachi 4:6), and godly fathers desire to have a good relationship with their children: they want us to give them our heart (Proverbs 23:26).  Since this was a new concept for some of the girls, we discussed a number of practical ways to turn our hearts to our father.  Here’s a few of them:

Pray for your dad.  Our fathers have a big responsibility as the head of our home. When our father is spiritually strong, we receive many benefits.  When they face attacks of the enemy, this can also affect us.  Satan attacks fathers because he knows that if a father is not leading and protecting as God designed, it is so much easier to destroy the entire family and their testimony for Christ. Our fathers need lots or prayer and encouragement to stand strong against the attacks of the enemy.

Make an effort to communicate with your dad.  Communication is an essential key to relationships.  If we want to have a good relationship with our dad, we need to make an effort to communicate with him.  Many fathers want to have a good relationship with their daughters, but they don’t know how.  We can help to make it happen by being open and taking initiative to share our life (prayer requests, details of your day, struggles, etc.) with him.

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Make it your goal to please him.  To give our fathers our hearts, means that we love him and desire to make him happy.  Seek to honor his preferences rather than just obeying his commands.  It is much more than just obedience.   Jesus is an example to us of pleasing His Father (John 8:28-29).

God gives us pictures on earth to help us to understand spiritual truths.  One of the reasons God has given us dads here on earth is to be an example of what our Heavenly Father is to us.  When we recognize that we are sinners, incapable of saving ourselves from the punishment of sin, and trust in Jesus Christ to save us – He becomes our Savior, and we become children of God (1 John 3:1).  We then have the amazing privilege of calling Him “Father”.  Our Father in Heaven is the perfect father and our ultimate goal is to give our hearts, our lives, and our all to Him.

For our activity, we enjoyed a cooperation relay race.  It was a fun reminder of how much can be accomplished for the glory of God when we work together under the leadership of our father with our family.

P1050871We divided into four teams and each team was given a number of balloons.

P1050882It started out fairly easy: two girls had to carry one balloon across the room and back to their team – only the couldn’t use their hands or arms to hold the balloon in place.  If it fell out, they had to go back to the starting line and try again.

P1050878Once everyone went through with one balloon teams, then it was groups of three with two balloons…

P1050883One team was having so much fun, and since they finished before everyone else, they decided to do three balloons!  This game showed just how fun cooperation can be.

It is such so special to have so many moms stay for the evening on a regular basis.  They help with so many little things that are such a huge help – and they do it with joy! :)

P1050885Thank you, mothers, for being a godly example to us all!

Encouraging Younger Brothers and Sisters

For our meeting on encouraging younger brothers and sisters, we watched the DVD presentation called “Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends” by Sarah, Stephen, and Grace Mally.  We all enjoyed the engaging way in which these siblings presented Scripture, ideas, skits, and personal testimonies as they encouraged us how to become best friends with our brothers and sisters.

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Singing together at the beginning of the meeting

It’s so common in our world to see brothers and sisters fighting against each other.  Yet, just because it’s a common problem doesn’t mean it’s acceptable.  Instead, it is God’s desire that we not only survive but that we become best friends.  We shouldn’t do this simply to avoid tension in our homes, rather we should do it for the glory of God, defeat of the enemy, and a powerful testimony (a family of bright lights).  So let’s strive for God’s best in family relationships!

Our homes are the best places to practice serving the Lord.  It is often easy to do what is right and be a bright light when you are in public and you know that other people are watching you, but the real test comes when you at home with your family.  The Lord gave us brothers and sisters to help accomplish His purpose for our lives, but many girls view their siblings as trouble or irritations.  Instead, we should learn to see the blessing that they truly are and purpose to develop close relationships with them.  It is important to realize the influence we have with our brothers and sisters and the responsibility that we have to set a good example for them to follow.

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Watching “Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends” for our lesson

We finished off our evening together with small groups – looking into the Word and discussing strategies for encouraging our siblings and honoring the Lord in this difficult area.  Some of the small groups went till 8:30 (our usual end time), and so most everyone was enjoying snacks and fellowship past 8:45.  It was such a blessing to have most of you out for this important lesson!

DVD-coverSeveral of you asked where you could find the “Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends” DVD to show to the rest of your families, and since there’s a line-up for borrowing our copy :), I wanted to let you all know that you can purchase the DVD for your family from Tomorrow’s Forefathers (the Mally’s online store).  Also, the book that the Mallys wrote (“Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends: How to Fight the GOOD Fight at Home!”) goes into much more depth than the DVD presentation… and as you can imagine after seeing the DVD, the book is also written in a very engaging way with Scripture, personal stories, Stephen’s definitions, funny artwork, and personal evaluation quiz questions like we did in our small group time.  You can purchase the book here (link includes a chapter overview).