Browsing Tag

Modesty

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #20: Proverbs 11:1–Business Ethics

My husband, Glenn, is sharing these daily lessons  for our West Huntsville family as we are necessarily (because of the virus) spending less time physically together in worship, study and fellowship. We may be “socially distanced,” but  we’re a close-knit family and we want to keep it that way! One way to stay on track together, spiritually, is to think about a common passage and make applications for our lives together even when we are unable to assemble as frequently. I’m sharing these daily family lessons here for those in other places, whose families (or even congregations) might benefit from a common study in these uncommon days of semi-quarantine. There are Family Bible Time guides included, as well. You can adapt, shorten or lengthen them according to the ages of kids (and adults) in your family. Blessings.

From Glenn:

 

My Favorite Proverbs:  Practicing Fair Business (Proverb 11:1)

Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight.

Norman Rockwell had a famous and humorous painting in which a butcher had his thumb on the top of the meat scales pushing down, and the customer had her finger under the scales pushing up. It was duel-cheating. 

The old scales have been replaced by computers but good, old-fashioned integrity is still often at a premium. This proverb says God pays attention to the business affairs of men.

Honest weights and scales are the Lord’s; all the weights in the bag are His work (Proverbs 16:11).

Diverse weights and diverse measures, they are both alike, an abomination to the Lord (Proverbs 20:10).

You shall not have in your bag differing weights, a heavy and a light. You shall not have in your house differing measures, a large and a small (Deut. 25:13-14).

Are you honest in all your dealings? Jesus put it this way: “But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one” (Matt. 5:34-37).

This is clean and simple.  We should adopt it for business practices large and small and every single time.  What I tell a man must always be the truth. I must pay attention as a Christian to the qualities people attach to my name when they hear it.  As with obeying the civil law (Rom. 13:5), I should do this, not merely because of the problems deceit could cause me, but I should do this for “conscience sake”.  My business dealings aren’t merely between men and myself.  They are also between God and me.

“Provide things honest in the sight of all men” (Rom. 12:17, KJV). 

Family Bible Time with Glenn and Cindy

David and Bathsheba (continued)

1.Tonight’s Bible time for teens is an assignment. Take the definitions from Strong’s that we extracted last night and, for tonight just list all of the simple one-word adjectives that come from these definitions. Make this all one list and make it on heavy paper. Artsy girls may want to make it colorful and even use calligraphies. Boys may want to type it. The list should have about 30 adjectives on it and should begin with:

modest

decorous

well arranged

seemly…

Before you have them tack or tape these lists to their closet doors or bathroom mirrors, be sure daughters remember that these words are for help in making decisions when shopping or getting dressed every day.  Stress to boys that they each want to be looking for a girl who cares about this list of words when it comes time for choosing a wife. remember, these are God’s  words; not the words of any Bible class teacher or preacher.

2.Now, for all the children, read and explain 2 Samuel 11:3. This is the verse that tells exactly who the beautiful woman is. Make sure they know the following:

Bathsheba’s husband–Uriah, a man of honor in David’s army.

Bathsheba’s daddy– Eliab, One of David’s 30 warriors (2 Samuel 23:24)

Bathsheba’s grandaddy–Ahithophel. Many people believe this to be the very same Ahithophel who was respected so much that people thought his counsel was straight from God. ( Samuel 16:23)

3. The point you are wanting to make to your children here is that Bathsheba was from a good and well-respected home. She did not need David in any way. She lived in the same neighborhood with the palace.  She had a lot going for her, but she was about to lose her self-respect and her home, because she failed to see the blackness of sin.   The devil always tries to make sin look good. In fact, he wants sin to look better than our blessed lives when we walk in His ways.

4. Finally for tonight, make the children see that David still (in verse 3) could have turned back and not taken Bathsheba for himself. Just because we are tempted to sin does not mean we are already sinning. When we are tempted to sin, we have a choice. We can walk away and not do the wrong thing or we can choose to do the wrong thing.

At this point, turn to James 1:14,15:

But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

Explain this progression, as best you can, to children of all ages. Ask them what things we might do to stop ourselves when we want to do the wrong thing. What can we do to make ourselves decide not to do wrong when we really want to do wrong?

Start here and make a list of temptation-busters:

a. Prayer  to God in the moment of temptation…

b.

c.

d.

 

5. Have your kids repeat the KidSing rule: Do the right thing.

6. Pray with them. Before you pray remind them that Jesus taught us to pray “Lead us not into temptation” (Mt.6:13), and include this in your prayer.

 

 

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #19: Proverbs 7:6-27 & 9:13-18–Chastity

My husband, Glenn, is sharing these daily lessons  for our West Huntsville family as we are necessarily (because of the virus) spending less time physically together in worship, study and fellowship. We may be “socially distanced,” but  we’re a close-knit family and we want to keep it that way! One way to stay on track together, spiritually, is to think about a common passage and make applications for our lives together even when we are unable to assemble as frequently. I’m sharing these daily family lessons here for those in other places, whose families (or even congregations) might benefit from a common study in these uncommon days of semi-quarantine. There are Family Bible Time guides included, as well. You can adapt, shorten or lengthen them according to the ages of kids (and adults) in your family. Blessings.

From Glenn:

My Favorite Proverbs:   Fear Fornication (7:6-27,  9:13-18)

If you take all the warnings against fornication and lasciviousness in Scripture and read them at one sitting you’ll probably be impressed that they are mostly gender-specific. The man has the greatest temptation. In Proverbs 7, a young man who is “devoid of understanding” (7:7) is being counseled on a subject he thinks about often despite knowing little about it.  He’s in danger because the temptation of a seductress is very intense. 

Proverbs not only shows such a woman enticing a man with her clothing (or lack thereof), but also by her flattery.  This isn’t a great compliment for the masculine gender in general, but a man can often be greatly influenced by a women who admires him:

“For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil;” (5:3).

“For the commandment is a lamp, and the law a light; reproofs of instruction are the way of life, to keep you from the evil woman, from the flattering tongue of a seductress” (6:23-24).

Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call understanding your nearest kin, that they may keep you from the immoral woman, from the seductress who flatters with her words (7:4-5).

In this passage, she did not stop with flattering words.

She wore enticing clothing (vs. 10).

She was loud and strong-willed, as opposed to having a meek and quiet spirit of 1 Pet. 3:4 (vs.11).

She was looking for a man—any man would do (vs. 12).

She kissed him, and made her invitation. In her own words she suggested that there were no strings attached (vs. 13-21). 

Parents need to teach their daughters (and sons for that matter) a sense of discretion instead of allowing them to believe the world’s rhetoric about having the right to dress and act in a tempting manner with impunity and without risking sexual harassment.  Proverbs 11:22 says, “As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a lovely woman who lacks discretion.”

Think of all the problems in the world which are directly connected to fornication. They include  AIDS, homosexuality, transgenderism, unwanted children, abortion, prostitution, sex trafficking and adultery.  Heeding today’s proverb would heal many of the world’s current ills.  You and I can’t change the world ourselves, but we can influence our children and grandchildren and those in our Bible classes to be what God wants them to be in reference to sexuality.  

Paul described the antithesis of that woman who is like the gold in a pig’s snout.  “…the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed” (Tit. 2:3-5). 

Family Bible Time with Glenn and Cindy:

1. Tonight’s emphasis will be on the fact that God wants His people to wear appropriate clothing. Tell your children that David, while walking on the roof at night, looked down and saw a woman bathing herself. She was beautiful and he wanted to have her. For your younger children, say “David wanted her to come and be like his wife, only she was already somebody else’s wife.” If you have older children, talk here about the sin of lust.

2. For teens: Lust is the desire for that to which you have no right or, said another way, it’s illicit desire. Talk with your teens about how, in God’s perfect plan he made guys to be drawn to the bodies of women. He did that to forever draw husbands and wives together. Talk to them about how the woman who does not wear enough clothes will always cause men to experience desires that are impure; scantily clad women tempt men to lust. This is what happened when David saw Bathsheba bathing. He wanted to have her, sexually. Have your teens use a concordance and read all the passages in the New Testament that contain the word lust. Have them notice which of the verses are about sexual sin and which ones are about general desires for things to which one has no right.

3. For young children, challenge them to think about things they might want (desire) but which would be off limits to them. This is the “simple” concept of lust. It’s a good starting place for them to understand that we must stop ourselves from getting things to which we have no right. It’s the seed of temptation-resistance that you’re planting in their hearts. Here are some examples of things they might suggest:

Cookies in the jar

Breakables on the shelf

Toys that belong to someone else

Waking a sibling to play

Talking when he’s been told to go to sleep

Unbuckling a seat belt while the car is moving

Explain that, when we want to do things that we know are against the rules, we have to stop ourselves from doing those things. We have to be strong and say “No, I can wait until I have permission to do or have this.”

4. For all ages, go back to Genesis 3:6-21. Recount this profound passage to your kids in terms they can understand. Ask them how we know, from this passage that it is important to our God that His people are careful to wear enough clothes. Was the clothing that Adam and Eve made for themselves enough to please God? How do we know this?

5. There is no better time to plant seeds for modesty in dress in children than when they are ages 4-10. If you have girls this age, talk to them, in specifics, starting now about why “mothers” (women) should always wear clothing that covers their thighs, clothing that’s not too tight, that covers their chests, and that covers all of their tummies. This is a great time to have them start noticing those women around them–at the grocery store and the playground– who are not “careful” about what they wear. (It is important, in my judgment, to also tell them that you are making a plan about the way they will dress when they are teenagers and grown-ups; that little girls should just wear what Mama buys/sews for them. I think it’s important for them to come to trust the judgment of you, their mom; their first Titus 2 woman about when some article–a swimsuit or a shorter dress–becomes inappropriate. I do not believe that a swimsuit is inappropriate for a four-year-old, but I do believe it is so for a fourteen-year-old, in public.) Modesty in dress will become second-nature to them as they grow older when you start teaching this very early on. This is also a big part of your being a Titus 2 older woman. After all, you are older than your little girls!

If you have little ones, have them take a clip-art of the human form and make it “have clothes that would please God.” Here’s one of many that can be found by googling human form clipart.

Have your little children draw a mommy face and “beautiful hair” and clothes on this “mommy” (Try to make her look like your mama!) so she will be modest. This is just a great way to help your kids know, from early ages, that God wants us to wear our clothes.

6. If you have teens, have them look at I Timothy 2:9,10 and look up the meanings of the five Greek words in bold below. Assign this for tomorrow night.This is great training. They need to be learning, as teens, to use a Greek lexicon. If you do not have one, we suggest that you download one for your computer or have a hard copy of Strong’s on the bookshelf. Show your teens how to find a word in the lexicon, if they do not already know this. You may need to help them a bit through the day tomorrow as they accomplish this. Tomorrow night, we’ll look at the definitions of these words.

...in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.

In the case that you don’t have a lexicon or the knowledge yet to use it, here’s the homework already done. Either way, make sure your teens have a copy of these definitions from Strong’s Greek Lexicon for tomorrow night.

modest-κόσμιος kosmios; from 2889 (in its primary sense); orderly, i.e. decorous: — of good behaviour, modest.
AV (2) – modest 1, of good behaviour 1;
well arranged, seemly, modest

propriety-g0127. αἰδώς aidōs; perhaps from 1 (as a negative particle) and 1492 (through the idea of downcast eyes); bashfulness, i.e. (towards men), modesty or (towards God) awe: — reverence, shamefacedness.
AV (2) – shamefacedness 1, reverence 1;
a sense of shame or honour, modesty, bashfulness, reverence, regard for others, respect

moderation-g4997. σωφροσύνη sōphrosynē; from 4998; soundness of mind, i.e. (literally) sanity or (figuratively) self-control: — soberness, sobriety.
AV (3) – sobriety 2, soberness 1;
soundness of mindself-control, sobriety

proper-g4241. πρέπω prepō; apparently a primary verb; to tower up (be conspicuous), i.e. (by implication) to be suitable or proper (third person singular present indicative, often used impersonally, it is fit or right): — become, comely.
AV (7) – become 6, comely 1;
to stand out, to be conspicuous, to be eminentto be becoming, seemly, fit

godliness: g2317. θεοσέβεια theosebeia; from 2318; devoutness, i.e. piety: — godliness.
AV (1) – godliness 1;
reverence towards God’s goodness

Pray with your kids.

 

 

 

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: Cycling Out of Pornography Use?

The long and short of it (pun intended) is that the opinions and assertions about modesty are all across the board this time of year as we approach warm days and consider hot vacation spots. But, in truth , surely we must all admit the un-get-around-able truth that, when we wear skimpy, tight and/or revealing clothing, we put godly men in the awkward position of having to “bounce” their eyes to keep their vigil of personal purity of thought. Thus, unless we’d like to have the temptation of lust placed conspicuously before us, we violate the golden rule. At the very least, surely we could agree on that. This violation is occurring…

—whether the passage in I Timothy 2:9,10 is primarily referring to gaudy clothing or skimpy clothing, or both.

—whether or not the exact proper standards of modest dress change from era to era and from culture to culture.

—whether or not God’s definition, for all time, of modesty is prescribed in Old Testament passages about the priesthood. 

—whether or not the men involved have seen a lot of nakedness in their lives.

It’s that last whether or not about which I’d like to make one observation in today’s post. The fact that God made men to be aroused by women who wear very short, very tight, very low-cut or very revealing clothing is simply truth. That’s the reason that, while many women struggle with a temptation to view pornography, the problem will never even approach being as prevalent among women as it is among men. We are wired differently and visual stimuli will always be more exciting to men than to women. 

But is it true that, after men have seen so much near-nakedness or nudity, that they are no longer affected by immodesty?—that it is no longer a temptation for them? (Just get on board this train of thought with me for a moment…)

Isn’t it true that, IF a man could see so many provocatively dressed women that he was no longer tempted to lust, THEN a man who is looking at pornography would lose interest after seeing his quota? Wouldn’t men just cycle out of pornography use if they could see so much and no longer be affected (tempted to lust) by it? If not, why not?

It’s the if-not-why not question of the day. I believe considering this mammoth problem in our society and the relevance of pornography’s ever-tighter grasp on the porn user is helpful in recognizing fallacious reasoning about immodest apparel. The truth is, men do not normally become less interested or aroused by viewing more and more of the “undressed” women that are in public arenas of our country in 2019. As they view more and more they want to view more and more.The data pointing to that conclusion is irrefutable.  

One more relevant point: God placed the response (the sexual desire upon looking) in men for marriage. He’s made the place for that desire’s fulfillment very clear in the Word. The reason (at least one of the important ones) for the desire is that it is glue for a healthy marriage. How long did God intend for men to keep on having this desires–the first five years?…ten?…of marriage. We all know healthy Christian marriages in which the sexual relationship is very strong after fifty-plus years of marriage. The fact is, married Christian men will tell you that they never tire of seeing their unclothed wives’ bodies, even though they have seen them so frequently for so long that they have memorized those bodies. Men do not see so much nudity that it begins to be boring or lose the drawing power God made.

Another relevant question: Why does a woman’s unclothed hand not produce the same result in a man’s mind as her unclothed breast or bottom?   There is a Master-mind behind the design of our sexual attraction. And the Mastermind has commanded our modesty and respect in the use and display of our temples. They are for His glory.               

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: Q & A–What to Wear with a Brand New Ring?

Question: This one seems to always surface in June….Some seem to have convictions about modesty, but then when it comes time for a wedding, the attire that would be inappropriate in their minds for most occasions, seems to be perfectly acceptable. What gives?

Response: Well, this does seem to be a bit of a rhetorical question. I would be surprised if the one who asked the question doesn’t already have a fairly strong opinion about situational modesty. But, nevertheless, let me just take the time and space today to say that, of course, what’s too skimpy, tight, short, low-cut or revealing under other circumstances is certainly so at a wedding. It has always blown my mind that some women who are big on dressing modestly throughout the teen years have been willing to show cleavage, bare shoulders and/or naked backs when they are the center of attention as the bride in front of so many men just a little while before they are to give themselves to their husbands in the most intimate and holy relationship between two mortal people. I think if I’d had the discretion to cover myself in other situations when the world was undressing, I would want to stay covered just a little while more, till I could present my body to the man who would own it for the rest of our lives together (I Cor. 7:4). I would want to show that man this respect during the wedding ceremony.

And then it also seems that some in the audience at a wedding are comfortable wearing, on that Saturday evening, outfits that are skimpier than anything they would wear the next morning to worship services. I believe that we sadly give the nod to what is culturally correct rather than what is chaste and discreet as commanded in Titus 2.

I think I get more mail about immodest clothing than any other subject I ever address. Two observations come to mind when I think about the interest in this subject. One is that we seem to be constantly asking “How close to immodesty can I get without actually crossing the line into disobedience to the injunction in I Timothy 2?” The other is that as our culture moves more and more toward culturally accepted nakedness, we, as God’s people seem to be comfortable following so long as we stay a little behind the world in our movement into immodesty. Both of these observations make me want to shout the words of Romans 12:2.

I’m glad for some faithful sisters I know who regret what they wore on their wedding night. I’m glad they have sweet and penitent hearts. While I’m sad they’ve had to remove their wedding photos from Facebook or Instagram because they now know the clothing was surely not in conformity to I Timothy 2:9; that it was not taking into account the seriousness of Matthew 5:28, I am still happy for their conviction and the way they have decided to teach their own children about this subject. Their daughters will have fewer regrets.

I am saddest of all for those who have no embarrassment (or “ability to blush” as the Greek word for modesty or shamefacedness, taken literally, puts it in I Timothy 2:9). I am sad for the lack of concern for brothers who, while trying to control their thoughts, will continue to have to battle the temptations that are put in front of them, even in the family of God. In a world where the devil is having a heyday with pornography and fornication, surely God’s daughters could take some responsibility for making the atmosphere in the family of God a safety zone from the temptations caused by immodesty. The fact that the whole world is doing something should have nothing to do with our choices about morality. In fact, I can think of no better way to glorify Him than in this very visible and noticeable distinction of dress.

Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Modesty: We Can Do Better

I was recently talking to a friend whose husband was one of the ministers in a large college church. She confided in me that at this congregation there were lists of men who had volunteered to serve the communion. She added that there was a separate list of guys who, while willing to serve communion, had specifically asked NOT to be asked to serve communion in the college section. Puzzled by this odd request I asked “Why do they not want to serve the college kids?”My friend responded “It’s the way the girls dress. They say they can’t focus on the cross and the Savior when there’s such an unavoidable visual distraction as they stand at the end of those pews full of college students.” Something is very wrong with that picture.My husband recently asked a large group of teen guys guys at a summer youth camp to identify their greatest challenge in being what God wanted them to be while at camp. The unanimous answer was “It’s the way the girls dress.”

My husband prodded them to be specific in explaining exactly what kinds of clothing made it difficult for them to be what they want to be for the Lord. “It’s very tight clothing. It’s those shirts that show some of their stomachs when they reach up to hit a volleyball or shoot a basket. It’s those times when they sit down in front of us on the bleachers and we see their backs and sometimes their underwear. It’s just really hard to focus on the devo when this is what is in front of us.” They went on to say that low-cut tops are a problem. “Maybe not so much if we are just standing around, but when we go into a Bible class and sit across the table from them and they lean over to write a note in their Bibles, little is left to our imaginations. We just wish they would help us out a little.”

The fact is… you can help them out a lot! When you choose to be discreet and modest, you not only help the guys in your circle of friends. You help the girls in your circle of friends. You help them to be modest without being excluded. You encourage them to be more aware of our calling to be holy. You help them to be able to sing “Purer in Heart O God, help me to be,’ without hypocrisy. You help them to stop being a stumbling block and start being this kind of example in their circles of friends. You make a difference in lives that you may not even know. There may be guys who are indirectly blessed by your modesty that you may never even meet. Someone may actually abstain from fornication or adultery of the heart as a result of your choice to be modest.

Best of all, you will know you mean it when you sing “O Lord prepare me to be a sanctuary..pure and holy, tried and true.” You will be a living sacrifice, not conformed to this world but transformed by a renewed mind. It’s really a small thing to do for such great rewards.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: William Rotty was NOT his Real Name…

But it was close….

I remember in the fourth grade when Valentine’s day held an embarrassing kind of surprise for me as we all went to the blackboard tray to retrieve our little brown decorated bags full of tiny brightly colored paper cliche’ poems…the egg ones with the word “egg-cited” in them,”…the turtle ones that were all about “SLOWLY falling for you”…the elephant ones that were about “never forgetting my favorite valentine,”…and the ever- popular “nuts about you” ones. This year there was candy and a big regular store-shelf kind of card in my bag… from William Rotty.  Now William Rotty was older than everyone else because he’d failed a grade or two and I think he failed because he was too busy being obnoxious and thinking of devious ways to be disrespectful. It was the worst day of the fourth grade to have that big candy heart sticking up out of the top of my bag and have the whole class (including me) excitedly waiting for the revelation of its origin…only to find out that it was from William Rotty.

Some love letters are like that…the tender little expressions of relationships that are never meant to be. And we all got over the awkwardness of the moments that came in decorated class Valentine bags in the sixties. I got over the good and the bad of William Rotty, Jeff McCaleb, Mark Wolfe, Steve Cicero, Jimmy Hood, and Robert Bowman–all little boys from whom I, at one time or another, in elementary school received “special” Valentines.

And then we grew up. And so did our love letters. And so did the pain and the angst. And sometimes the awkwardness got really big and the ending of relationships was so much more traumatic than if they’d only involved a big red candy box sticking out of a brown bag taped to a black board tray.

And you know…whether you court or date, whether you live in a Christian home or not, I think there will be relationships that will change you, mature you, help to make you the woman, the mother and wife, after you finally make it to the altar of marriage, that you will be.

One day you will be telling your little girls about Valentines, about dress-up dates, about awkward moments and situations that made you laugh and cry through the dating years. That’s why I’m about dating purity. That’s why I wanted to help my daughter, in tangible ways, make it down the aisle as a woman who could give her husband the wonderful gift of exclusivity. I know what marriage can be like if there are no sexual comparisons (comparing my partner to someone else with whom I’ve been intimate or vice-versa) on the part of either partner–ever. I wanted that for her and I want it for you. It solves a lot of potential problems, not the least of which is guilt over sexual sin…a ghost that, because of His forgiveness, is sometimes not even real; but it still haunts in ways that are painful and sometimes destructive.

I may not know all the reasons for God’s very strong fences around the sexual relationship of marriage, but I do know that He is very serious about abstinence before marriage and fidelity in marriage. And I know that it’s because He wants what’s ultimately going to fill our lives with contentment and give us eternity with Him. He gives us His very best when we purposefully do life His way.

I recognize that abstinence and purity through the teen years is a purposeful choice. It doesn’t just happen. It takes the development of a relationship with God that makes a young heart pliable and submissive. It takes the rare ability, in a world of instant gratification, to wait for the time and circumstance when I can have the best He has to offer (and His best is THE best!). It takes an amazing amount of “turning down” the influences around you and “turning up” the influence of the Word. It even takes a lot of wisdom to decipher through a lot of psycho-theo-babble today from some youth ministers and religious leaders who would try and convince you to “not worry so much about keeping lists of dos and don’ts and worry just about loving God.” (Of course, loving God is about keeping his list of commandments[John 14:15; John 15:10]. The works of the flesh are listed…LISTED…in Galatians 5.) It takes, in short, your steel will to do His real will in a world that’s forsaken Him and His system of morality. Today, for the most part, you cannot look to your peers, your teachers at school, those who are touted as “good” in the media or the leader of the free world on Pennsylvania Avenue as any sort of moral compass. Some of you cannot look to parents and some cannot even look to religious leaders.

But you can look to God. Your relationship with Him is not contingent on your family situation, your educational circumstance, or the spiritual veracity of your elders or youth group. Your relationship with Him is settled in your willingness to get into His Word and apply it, to the best of your ability, in every relationship and decision. There is great power, beyond what you have asked or imagined, when you let the power of His Word live in you(Eph. 3:20)!

May I encourage you to help yourself to happiness? There are some teen materials at www.thecolleyhouse.org that might help you as you try to be light in a dark world through the teen years. Let me know if you need them, will use them, and can’t afford them.

That’s all for now. Except here’s my short list of practical tools for your walk in purity through the teen years. Some of these sound terribly old-fashioned for those influenced by 2017 culture. But I believe this list in strongly influenced by examples and statutes from the Word.

  1. Decide now that you will not be truly alone for long periods of time with any other young person of the opposite sex. This will, unfortunately, automatically mark lots of guys off your radar.
  2. Decide now that you will choose movies and television and music and internet sites that you’d be comfortable enjoying if Jesus were physically in your presence. This will significantly narrow your scope of entertainment, so keep in mind that entertainment is not all the world makes it out to be.
  3. Decide now that you will abstain from alcohol and drugs and from being present when others are drinking or doing drugs. This will be prohibitive of many parties.
  4. Decide now that you will never dress in a way that might be provocative or cause others to think sexual thoughts. Remember, especially for guys, the struggle is real. If this involves a wardrobe re-do, get on that. This decision will also automatically mark some extra-curricular activities off your list.
  5. Decide now which areas of your body are off-limits to the hands of others and never, ever compromise that promise to yourself and God. This will prohibit some activities that are a part of the 2017 teen world.
  6. Decide now that you will get in the word and spend some time in prayer every day. Every day. Ask for His help to be pure in your heart, dress, words and actions. This will open up some unbelievable doors of opportunity for you.
  7. Memorize Philippians 4:8 and decide now to let it saturate every decision and purpose. This will bring contentment and peace as the context of the verse clearly states.
  8. Decide now what you are looking for in a marriage partner. Make a list off “must-haves”, a list of “would-likes” and a list of “can’t-handles” based a lot in the Word and a little in your own tastes and then just stick with the list. Be patient.
  9. Decide now that, once you marry, you’re all in…forever. This should prompt some very careful thought and meticulous elimination of people who can’t be spiritual leaders. Believe me, you WANT a spiritual leader.
  10. Pay particular attention to the word “now” in all of the above. It’s the most important word. (If  past decisions have already messed up your “now”  you can still fix your eternal future. You will, almost always, face negative consequences to sinful past actions. But “now” is still the operative word.) Start now to be what He wants you to be and you will be surprised how He can work through His will in your life to give you victory and heaven!