Gleaning Wisdom from the Garden

Did you know that a garden is full of wisdom? Yes, it is! In fact, gardens overflow with wisdom only they can give, and that you have to be willing to receive.  Okay, okay.  Maybe I’m being a little dramatic.  Now that my drama moment is over, allow me to share the wisdom I have received from our garden!

While I was weeding our garden Sunday evening, I thought about how weeding a garden is a lot like what the Heavenly Father does in our hearts.

Clear your mind of every thought and picture this with me: You are standing in front of a beautiful and massive vegetable garden, and in it grow healthy tomato plants, cucumbers, zucchini, butternut squash, and various other vegetables.  You are so proud of your garden, and you are very excited because within the next week, you will be able to go out and pick fresh, organic, non-GMO veggies—yum! For the rest of the week it rains continuously! At the end of the week you go out and immediately your eyes are drawn to the garden; not to its beauty, but to the weeds that are contaminating it.  Being the worried gardener that you are, you get on your hands and knees and start pulling out each individual weed, one-by-one.  After a couple days of continuous weed-pulling, you finally have your garden free of weeds, and are able to focus on harvesting your vegetables!

Okay – so what am I trying to get at with this?

Let me tell you what each aspect of our imaginary garden represents in your spiritual life.

The garden – this, my dear friend, is your heart.

The vegetable plants – these represent your personality, faith, all your quirks, passions, and characteristics.

The rain – this is the world, and it is continuously attempting to contaminate your faith and provide the nutrition to the lusts of your flesh.

The weeds – these are the sins that we may allow into our life if they aren’t properly maintained.

The gardener – this, my friend,  is your Creator, the Lord God Almighty

As the “garden”, our outward appearance can and may seem absolutely beautiful!  People can tell we have a faith in Christ, and our personality is absolutely wonderful (that of a garden – the appearance is appealing to the eyes).  Suddenly, we allow the world to contaminate a portion of our lives (whether it be through music, books, TV, friends, etc.), and then all of a sudden “weeds” start growing and growing and growing.  Now, what once seemed beautiful and pleasant to look at, is now unpleasant to the eyes, and no longer enjoyable to be around.  Thankfully the Gardener (God) loves us enough to, if we humble our hearts, take care of each and individual sin (weed) until our garden (heart) is once again free from every sin.

See, I told you that gardens are full of wisdom! I pray that you all have a great day!

Oh, by the way, it is true that I enjoy gardening, but only if want to.  If I’m asked to weed and care for our garden, I will begrudgingly do it, but I wont necessarily enjoy the work.

God’s Young Lady ~ Lesson 5

 “That they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, home-makers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the Word of God may not be blasphemed.” Titus 2:4-5

 “Why do I need to be feminine? I’m fine the way I am!” I’ve heard this many times, and sometimes the Devil throws this at me too! Let’s get real though…are we fine the way we are? I have to ask myself this many times throughout my day. If I was fine the way I was, there would be no reason for me to have a Savior, no reason for me to take instruction, etc. Let’s face it, with out our parent’s here to guide, lead, and teach us, we would be in so much trouble! With out a Savior, we all would not have an Eternity! Let me rephrase that…we all would have the worst Eternity ever!

the young lady God wants us to be.

So many of us think that being feminine means wearing prairie dresses, bonnets, and all the other clothing Laura Ingalls wore. To some degree it has to do with the way we dress (another way to present ourselves), but it also has to do with the way we talk, how we talk, and much more.

Here is a list of ways to be feminine:

*the way you dress

*the volume of your voice

*the way you talk

*the things you say

*your countenance (attitude)

*your outlook on things

*your obedience level

I’m going to close today’s devotion with some questions for you to think about the rest of today.

*Is the way you dress feminine?

*How is the volume of your voice?

*Is the way you talk feminine?

*Are the things you say showing femininity?

Challenges/activities:

-memorize Titus 2:4-5

White as a Rose – Lesson 4

 “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace, with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” 2 Timothy 2:22 

Living in purity is by far the best way to live your life. God has a perfect future for you, but sometimes we tend to forget that God is in control of our life, and go out trying to live for us. This is very dangerous…especially when it involves close friendships with young men. Lets take a look at an example, then I’ll explain what I mean.

Eleven year old Gracelynn was so excited! She was finally at the age that her parents said she could have a “boyfriend” and start dating. She couldn’t wait until she was asked to go out on a date, finally it happened! A young boy named Trevor, came to Gracelynn after school and asked her to go to the movies with him. She said yes and immensely enjoyed her first date with Trevor. Soon the two became inseparable! Suddenly Gracelynn’s heart was broken. As she was walking in the hall at school, she noticed Trevor holding hands with another girl. Soon Trevor came to Gracelynn and dumped her. Gracelynn’s heart is now scared forever!

Did you notice anything wrong with this example? Let me show you what’s wrong:

First, an eleven year old young lady should not be dating (any young lady should not date period), that is just asking for trouble.

Secondly, having a “boyfriend” is only temporary enjoyment. I’m sure you have friends that say, “Oh wow, having a boyfriend is so much fun!” What they really mean is, “I hope this relationship will last longer than the previous relationship that I was in.” We as young ladies don’t need to go searching for temporary enjoyment, when we have God to give us everlasting enjoyment, through His precious Love Letter (His Word).

Last but not least, dating is another form of divorce. Let’s take for instance Trevor and Gracelynn’s situation. They enjoyed their relationship, until Trevor thought that Gracelynn was not good enough for him, so he dumped her. When a couple gets married they have the best life together, until they realize their partner has too many quirks or dislikes. Then they go searching for something better…this leads to a sometimes nasty divorce.

Give your heart to the Lord, asking Him to hold it in His strong hands. Have Him give it to the right person at the right time. It’s never to late! Thankfully we have a God of second chances! Strive to live a life of purity…you can do it!

Challenges/activities:

-memorize 2 Timothy 2:22

Being a Contagious Christian – Lesson 3

“For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil in treasure in his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”  John 6:43-45

Doesn’t it get annoying when you’ve been around someone who’s sick? Especially if you can’t help it, because you live in the same house! It turns out that the family member has the stomach flu, and you end up missing the get-together at your church! I despise being sick…absolutely despise it…especially if I end up getting sick right before something fun happens!

Did you realize that we as Christians are also contagious…if our walk is right? Your probably asking, “what do you mean contagious?” When I say contagious, I mean, when people see you live out your faith or striving to serve Him…they want to live like that too (sometimes). Remember my good friend Emily? She is contagious…every time I’m around her, I want to be like her (I still want to be like her everyday). It is important to have a contagious faith, because this is just one of the many ways to shine His Light (we’ll talk about some other ways later in this book).

Why is it important to have a contagious faith? Here are a few reasons why:

*your faith just might help someone realize that they are lost and need a Savior!

*you never know who might be touched by the willingness you have in living for His name!

*When you get to heaven you will be greeted by your Savior with Him saying, “well done, good and faithful servant!”

There are many other reasons, but I only listed three! There are many “name it and claim it Christians”, but there are very few who actually live for God.

Do you remember Daniel, who was thrown into the lion’s den? I’m sure you all do, it is a very popular Sunday School story! Do you remember why he was thrown in with the lions? He was thrown into the lions den, because he wouldn’t stop praying to God, when King Nebuchadnezzar told his people to stop. Daniel believed in being a contagious Christian! Here is a question for you to think upon the rest of the day.

Will you be the next Daniel?

The challenges for this lesson are:

-go one week without electronics

-memorize John 6: 43-45

The Importance of Modesty – Lesson 2

“The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.”  Deuteronomy 22:5

Femininity and modesty are two areas that our society is lacking!  Many of us struggle with these areas, but it is in our struggles that only God can help us through!  Do you know what happens when you wear a mini-skirt or skinny jeans?  Think about who you pass on the street, in the school hall, etc.  Any guesses?  How about we have a little fun and you take a quiz!

1. When you walk down the street, wearing a mini-skirt, who do you think looks at you?

a. your best friend

b. the young men walking past you

c. your friends mother

2. When you choose to wear your favorite pair of skinny jeans, you end up getting the attention from…

a. your friends

b. your teacher

c. the young man who walks behind you

3. What do you think happens when you wear a mini-skirt, tight tank-top, and high heels…

a. your friends get jealous

b. you become one of the popular girls in school

c. the young men around you stare at you

Now it’s time for the answers…are you ready? 

Question one: the answer was b. 

Young men can’t help but stare at a young girl who is wearing a really short mini-skirt (yikes).  Our goal as young ladies should be to help our “brothers”…not make them stumble.  And young women wearing mini-skirts will make them STUMBLE!

Question two: the answer was c.

If you wear your favorite tight jeans…honey they extenuate everything!  Do you want that really?  The next time you are picking out what jeans to wear, ask yourself this question, “who will really notice me?  My best friend or the boys at school, church, etc.?

Question three: the answer was c.

Think about it: you go out wearing a tank top (tanks usually have spaghetti straps), a mini-skirt, and extremely high heels…my friend, all that put together will indeed create a huge stumbling block for the young men!

When you wear a mini-skirt and walk past an innocent young man, he is instantly tempted to stare at you.  Now God gave all of us self-control, but you can help the young men out by wearing a skirt to about the knee-calf.  As young ladies we want to impress the young men around us…that’s just who we are.  However, it’s not God-glorifying to try to impress the young men around us, but we’ll get into this in a later section.  Although, you can wear beautiful clothing to look nice, without it showing off everything!  Like I said before the young men around us are instantly tempted to stare us down if we are dressed poorly (inappropriately).  Modesty is extremely important in our society.  Also, this is another way to stand on your faith.  However, dressing modestly has to be your own personal conviction.

Don’t dress to impress…dress to make a difference!!

Strive to be the modest young lady of today’s society!  You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philip. 4:13)

Flirtatious Interaction – Lesson 1

Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”  2 Timothy 2:22 (KJV)

Flirting is another major problem in our society, however it’s not only common in young ladies…but also in young men. However I believe that young men tend to be flirtatious only because the young women encourage it.

Have you ever looked up the word flirt?  Here is the definition that I thought would be appropriate for today’s topic:

Flirt (flǔrt) v.

1. If you flirt with someone you play at being in love with that person.

When I was fifteen, my mom, sister, and I went to Iowa to visit some family and friends. As I was talking to my two good friends Irene and Taylor about flirting, we noticed a young girl walking down the street. Taylor quietly informed me that, that was Nicole (an old friend of mine). I let out a dismayed sigh and quietly prayed for her. Irene asked me if I was okay, and I told her “no.” Soon I began talking about how young ladies today are getting themselves into a lot of trouble. As I kept going on, Taylor’s eyes grew wide. She informed me that I had changed drastically, in my views of boy/girl interaction, since the last time we had seen each other.

However what I told them was absolutely true! Young ladies are getting themselves into a lot of trouble. The young lady we saw walking down the street has giving into the “fun” of the world. And it saddened my heart to hear about it and witness it first hand!

When you stand next to a young man that you think is cute (we’ll cover crushes later), how do you interact around him? Are you loud, constantly laughing at every joke, flipping your hair, etc.? This dearest, is flirtatious interaction. “How am I supposed to interact with the young men around me then?” If you really want to interact with the young men then you can do so appropriately by simply only talking!

If we young ladies were to treat the young men around us as brothers-in-Christ, interacting with young men will be a whole lot easier!  Here are some ways we can treat the young men around us as brothers-in-Christ:

*Think of ways you can encourage him in his walk….in a way a sister would encourage her brother!

*Make sure you are interacting with them for the right reasons!  So many times we as young ladies try to interact with young men in order to get their attention.  If you must have their attention…stop flirting!

The world wants you to have “fun” their way! And they seem to think that we Christians can’t have fun at all. But we can – young men and women talking together, laughing and having a good time, young women ministering to young ladies, doing the work of Christ, going on short-term missions trip, and the list can go on.

The challenges for this lesson are:

-interact with the young women only!

-pray with three people

-also memorize 2 Timothy 2:22