Studies, Lessons and Devotionals
The Sermon on the Mount is not a chance piece of teaching; it is Jesus opening up his heart to those who would follow him. Advertisers claim they have the “official drink of the Olympics,” etc. This sermon could be considered the “official teaching of Jesus.” It is the summary of all Jesus believed, taught and lived.
"A wife of noble character is her husband's crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones." -- Proverbs 12:4
I talked with a friend of mine whose husband is not a disciple. I love her heart and her desire to build up her husband. She shared the above scripture with me and said, “I go after being a crown to my husband. I want to make him feel like a king.” This of course does not mean that we want to become chambermaids for the king. It does mean, however, that we want to
In the spirit of Thanksgiving….
Whenever I read the short book of Philippians, I am struck by the apostle Paul’s gratitude and corresponding joy. Whether or not you celebrate a particular day of Thanksgiving, take the time this week to read the short book of Philippians—focusing on Paul’s thankful attitude and the joy that flows from this attitude. Now, think about the circumstances he faced as he wrote, especially his imprisonment.
If Paul had not been a grateful person, I imagine his letter would have sounded more like this:
Thanksgiving devotional idea:
One morning this week, I took a glass, set it in a bowl, and started pouring milk into the cup until it overflowed and started filling the bowl. My children watched me with mingled awe and horror, thinking I was both brilliant and crazy at the same time. We read Colossians 2:7: "So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, . . . overflowing with thankfulness." We talked about how we want to be a family that has so much gratitude, it spills out everywhere, and we discussed ideas for how we can express thanks to God and to other people. It was a fun, simple devotional that took about five minutes . . . and as an added bonus, it tricked my kids into drinking extra milk, because afterwards, I stuck straws in the bowl and they all shared their germs and—well, they started out drinking the milk, but ended up blowing lots of milk bubbles. (Because what better use could a kid find for a bowl full of milk and a straw?!)
A Calling to Draw Near-A Longing for Intimacy
Sometime after we have come into our relationship with God and have been serving him for a while, we may begin to think and feel that something is missing in our relationship with God or in the practice of our religion or faith. It seems as if an inner voice is nagging at us or persistently calling to us.
We may have inner questions suggesting that there is something more. Perhaps we have become dissatisfied with what we think is the status quo of the faith within our religious community. Perhaps we are disappointed that others don’t meet our expectations. Perhaps we are disappointed in God? We find ourselves disgruntled and living on the edge of cynicism and criticism. However, we have to be very careful of such promptings because they are not the voice that is calling to us and they will lead us away from God rather than closer to him.
This inner prompting is not about other people, or a new paradigm, but about you and your personal relationship with God. There is an inner longing within you. Other people or circumstances outside of you will not meet this longing, nor at this point, are they a factor.
In Psalm 46:10, God through his Word, says: “Be still and know that I am God.” Your longing comes from God. His longing for you is transferred into you. Once we have come to God, our heart continues to yearn for a closer, deep personal knowledge (relationship) with God. It is similar to Moses and his longing to see God more.
Exodus 33:12b- 34:9 – “… You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’ 13 If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.” The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” And the LORD said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.” Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” Then the LORD said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”…
34: 4-9- “… So Moses chiseled out two stone tablets like the first ones and went up Mount Sinai early in the morning, as the LORD had commanded him; and he carried the two stone tablets in his hands. Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.” Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped. “Lord,” he said, “if I have found favor in your eyes, then let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as your inheritance.”
Moses wanted to see God more clearly and to be re-assured that God would be with him, would walk with him. Moses did not necessarily want to know more about God in having more factual or head knowledge about God, but rather to “see” God with the eyes of his heart, and to deepen his personal bond with God. So we need to listen to that inner voice, the calling to draw near to God. In order to do this we need to prepare our hearts to “be still before him.”
We need to make time to remove ourselves from the chaos and busyness of our schedule. We need to calm down and close out some of the other voices that are calling to us. We can explore these other callings after we have drawn closer to God, and we will be better able to hear them, see them and discern what we need to do in regard to them. But for now close out the cries of anger, discontent, busyness, etc. Instead focus on God. Look for him in the pages of the Old and New Testaments. Call out to God and ask him to help you see him in a real and more close up way. Don’t seek doctrine. Don’t seek a “second hand” relationship with him. Surely what other people have told us about a relationship with God, and what we have learned from our experience in the past is a stepping off point, but, we have to make this continually personal and not allow our relationship with God to be diluted by these other voices. We have to make it current and personal. Who do I see as I read about God? How personal is God to me today? How am I deepening my bond with God? In the book of James, the Spirit tells us a truth and gives us a promise. He says: “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.” (James 4:8) Give attention to your inner longing. It may very well be the Spirit trying to draw you closer to God. Don’t cry out to God to fix it all, to answer your prayers your way. Instead cry out to God to see his greatness, to become in awe of him, to see in him what will cause you fear, yet trust him. Imagine what awe and wonder Moses had in his heart when God responded to his request to reveal more of Himself to Moses. Moses already had a relationship with God. He already experienced intimacy with God, so much so that in Ex. 33: 12b, the Spirit said that God knew Moses by name and that Moses had found favor in God’s sight. We know Moses had a personal relationship with God different from that of others. We see this in verses such as, Exodus 34:29-35, which describes the radiance of Moses face from having been with God. Yet, Moses hungered for more depth and a greater bond with God.
What about me? What about you? Where are you now, today, in seeking a deeper relationship with God?
Prepare Your Heart and Mind to Draw Near
If we want to draw closer to God and we want to prove his promise true, that is that he will draw near to us, then we need to prepare our heart for this.
Look at the context in which James 4:8 is set. We are told to draw near to God, yet there are other factors we need to consider before we can do that.
James 4:1-10- “What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? 6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.” 7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.”
In verses 1 through 4, the spirit addresses the dual nature of disciples. He draws attention to that fact that our desires and our thoughts can be very chaotic. We can be pulled into worldly and un-Spiritual thinking and living. In so doing we are breaching our covenant with God. This is akin to spiritual adultery in our relationship with God. Do not look at this “adultery” in terms of going after material things, although it can include that pursuit. But rather look even beyond that for settling for a shallow, superficial relationship with God. One that might, for all intents and purposes, be termed a practical agnosticism, in which we espouse to faith, but it, is truly just a veneer. We have drifted from actively seeking a deep, true, living faith in God because our focus and thoughts have become diluted by worldly/ un-Spiritual thinking.
So this leads to the Spirit’s next thought in verse 6-7 that we have to be humble and submitted to God. Our faith must be solely in God, in his wisdom and love. When we are not surrendered to God in trust, we play a “faith game.” We try to maneuver, negotiate and control our lives, rather than to be still and know God, rather than wait in faith on him.
Another factor that convolutes our relationship with God is Satan. We see this interference throughout scripture from Genesis through Revelation. Think of Adam, Eve, Moses, Miriam, Joshua, Saul, David and so on. Satan is so bold and vicious he even attempted to destroy Jesus oneness with God, the Father.
In James 4:7, we are commanded to “resist the devil.” We need to resist the false thoughts, emotions and accusations Satan plants in our minds. Seriously think about what lies Satan has been telling you about you and God? What distractions has he been putting in your life that draw you away from trusting God and relating to him? What emotions has he been inflaming in your mind and heart to confuse your thoughts and weaken your faith in God? Are we reading and recalling truths from God’s word so that we can distinguish these lies?
In James 4 verse 8 we see that Spirit through James’ pen telling us we must repent of these things if we are to draw near to God and he to us. We tells us to “wash your hands.” He takes it even further when he says “purify your hearts you double minded.” Our focus and perspective needs to change from seeing things our way to seeking to see them God’s way.
Prepare your heart to draw near to God, through being still and answering some of the questions posed above, through deeper study of God and through calling out to him to see him more deeply and personally than ever before. Take time to let God put you in the cleft of the rock so that you can see him.
The Heart of Modesty
Modesty is not just how you dress- it comes from what is actually dwelling deeply in your heart.
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light  (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)  and find out what pleases the Lord.  Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.  For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.
Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise,  making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is.
1 Peter 3:3-4
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.  Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.
About 6 months ago we did a survey with men in the church; single men, teen men, married men, dads…everyone- and to start out I wanted to share some statistics from those surveys.
- For me- hearing these statistics really convicted and hurt my heart. I realized that I could be doing things (even accidentally, that cause men to struggle with purity at church).
- It also helped me to define- some things that I didn’t think were “a big deal” are a big deal for men.
So I started to think about a few questions that I want to share with you:
1) Why do you wear what you wear?“I feel like it”
“It looks good on me”
“Someone bought it for me”
“The weather- it’s hot out/ cold out.”
Maybe you want to be powerful-like pat talked about last week.
Or is it LOVE/ Acceptance that you are seeking?
Either way- is your ambition selfish or unselfish?
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
Where do your ideas about fashion come from?
- Culture: this is how white women in their 30’s dress- well…maybe their 20’s
- Mother: When I was growing up- my mom and I were the same size- we didn’t have much money- so we all shared clothes…all of my earliest fashion sense came from my mother.
- Friends: what my friends wear still effects me.
- Media: what beautiful people are wearing- what women in movies are wearing…
- Church: how women in the church dress.
What LIES do you believe?Do you forget who is the prince of this world?
You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
John 12:31, John 14: 30, John 16:11 – Jesus refers to satan as the prince of this world- the ruler- he has authority over our fallen world.
SKIT -- “Lies Women Believe” (See below.)
LIES ABOUT GOD
- God is not with you
- God forgot you.
- He is not directly involved in your life.
- God is really disappointed or mad at you.
- God will not forgive you for the one really bad sin you committed…
- You’re only hanging on by a string.
- God loves other people more than you- that’s why they have the blessings that you want…
LIES ABOUT OURSELVES:You are not ENOUGH- not pretty enough, skinny enough, outgoing enough, smart enough. tall enough, talented enough, loving enough, giving enough…ENOUGH
You are too much- too fat, too needy, too emotional, too outgoing, too annoying… too messed up…too far gone…
- Beautiful women are worth more
- I have to perform to be loved and accepted
- It’s just flirting…
- It’s hopeless…I can never overcome my sin.
- I can’t handle the loneliness of staying pure
- It’s not really bad to fantasize/masturbation is fine
- It’s ok to do everything leading up to sex as long as I stay a virgin until I’m married…
- It’s ok to date someone who is not a Christian
- There are no good brothers to date in the church..
- I need a boyfriend….husband…etc.
- He doesn’t love me
- He doesn’t meet my needs
- If he were more spiritual… then I would
- If he were more attentive… then I would
- If he really loved me he would…
LIES ABOUT OUR SISTERS in CHRIST:Satan wants to destroy the church. One of the ways that he can do that is by getting you to think negatively and in an untrusting way towards your sisters.
- She doesn’t understand me.
- She doesn’t like me.
- She ignored me- so I’m going to ignore her.
- All she ever does is correct me.
- She thinks she’s all that.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
How can we do this if we are listening to Satan’s lies?
We must love each other enough to call each other back to the standard of the Bible.
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
Humility to receive input- not easy to hear when it comes to how we dress.
Pat Brush shared in a very loving way. “I can see why you like that outfit. It’s really pretty on you. You probably didn’t realize it but it really draws attention to your chest.”
- A sister told me that what I was wearing was inappropriate when I bent over…I felt embarrassed- covered myself didn’t wear it again.
- Then had three other people talk to me about it--gossiping – thinking that I had fallen away and was trying to cause the brothers to struggle.
- There really is a right way and not so right way to talk to people about how they are dressed--but we are responsible for helping each other in this area – and really any area that we see them falling prey to satan in.
Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. 4 But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
6 Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."
8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let's go out to the field." [d] And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
9 Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?"
"I don't know," he replied. "Am I my brother's keeper?"
We are our brother’s and sister’s keeper.
How can we dispel Satan’s lies?1) Talk about them!
2) Pray about them!
3) Guard YOUR HEART “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Prov. 4: 23
Lifestyle: A Christian Perspective on Non-Sexual Promiscuity
"If you are giving pieces of your emotions, soul or body to people on a frequent and casual basis, you're promiscuous. Dictionary.com states, promiscuity is "Lacking standards of selection." When it comes to our relationships, the best thing we can be is selective. The best thing we can have is standards. Being promiscuous provides neither selectivity or high standards." by: PTLeena
- In the same way men are aroused visually- women are aroused emotionally.
- So- having late night conversations on facebook is a lot more dangerous for us. Or talking about our past sins, troubles or issues with men instead of other women or our husbands…
- Giving your heart away too quickly can lead to a lot of pain...
- The time to give your heart away completely is when you are engaged- or at least in a very seriously committed relationship.
James 4:7-10 (New Living Translation)
7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.
4) Memorize scripture!
Proverbs 30: 5 Every word of God proves TRUE. He is a shield to all who come to him for protection.
- Talk to someone in your life who will challenge you about which lies satan has been deceiving you with.
- Memorize a scripture to help you to overcome this lie.
- How can you more effectively be your sister’s keeper?
- Which lies does Satan tempt you with?
- How does this effect your relationship with God/brothers/sisters?
- How does this effect your purity or modesty?
Lies Women Believe
Sarah as “Mary”
(Young Mary looking in the mirror. Angel is to the left and demon is to the right -neither are visible)
Mary (Sarah): What should I wear today? Oh man… I’m really feeling really ugly ….
Demon: Well- you did eat ice cream last night…that DEFINITELY didn’t help.
Mary: My mom thinks I look good in this outfit- I think I’ll wear it. It is flattering..not too short…
Demon: Wait…seriously? YOUR MOM said she liked it? What are you, three?? Remember that guy from third hour…he said you looked hot in those short shorts…You’re feeling ugly…that will give you a little self-esteem boost… plus you wore it before anyway… so what is it going to hurt…?
Mary: hmmmm… (looking at short shorts)
Angel: Reading loud - Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
Mary: (chooses other outfit) walking off stage
Demon: (holding up short shorts)- Even the girls at church wear short shorts….
(A few years later- Summer as “Mary”)
Mary (Summer): I am so nervous about this promotion at work..I really hope I get it- but what am I going to wear to the meeting??
Demon: You’ve got this girl…you just need to work some girl power…show off a little…I mean COMPARED TO THE WORLD everything in your closet is modest…
Mary: Kinda true…
Angel: (handing her the bible) 1 John 3
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.
Mary: I know who I am- I don’t need to be defined by my outward appearance.
Demon: (Angry) Where exactly has all this purity gotten you anyway…I mean you don’t even have a boyfriend…and you’re HOW OLD??
Angel: Matthew 6 - "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Mary: (Smiles- walks off stage)
A few Years Later (Alex as Mary)
Mary (Alex): I am so excited about the baby… I just can’t believe how much weight I’ve gained during this pregnancy….
Demon: Yeah…Did you see the way your husband looked at that waitress last night?…skinny little thing…
Mary: I’m just going to wear work out clothes- they hide everything. Even if they are a little tight… I mean, who is looking at a pregnant woman?
Demon: Yeah… and why even try to look good for your husband… does HE try to look good for YOU??
Angel: 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
Mary: I do need to honor God- regardless of how I feel at the moment. (exit stage)
(A few Years later- Mary as Mary)
Mary (Mary): Ever since my daughter left home- I have no one to consult on my outfits anymore…
Demon: Yeah…can you believe that girl at church said that her spaghetti straps were immodest? I mean- this is SOUTH FLORIDA…apparently she hasn’t been out shopping with a teen lately…the only thing out there is spaghetti straps and halter tops…
Mary: Well…I did appreciate her talking to me about that…she’s only trying to protect her and the brothers…
Mary: I could wear this… my husband really likes it.
Demon: Yeah…and YOU look HOT in it! Who says you can’t be sexy over 50??
Mary: Forty nine…and I think it’s a little tight…I am not going to make that choice.
Demon: It really looked good a few years go before you got heavier…just try it on…I mean- does it even still fit you?
Mary: (thinks about it) What really matters is on the inside.
Demon: Yeah… but a lot of your friends are going through divorces…I mean… even disciples…and you really need to keep up your game, Mary. Most women in the world are getting plastic surgery…
Angel: (standing next to Mary, reading the scripture)
1 Peter 3:3-5 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.
Introduction to Modesty classes
Editor’s Note: Pat Brush, an elder’s wife in the South Florida church, put together a series of lessons on modesty. The Modesty class was held during the month of June (4 midweek classes) and attended by middle-school girls on up to senior citizens. Pat shares below some of the different aspects and resources they used in the classes.
- Modesty Survey: we printed up some of the brothers' responses on a hand out. We also had pre-recorded different brothers reading their responses. The sisters seemed to be very affected by hearing their brothers voice concerns about their modesty.
- PowerPoint: One sister lifted photos that our disciples posted on Facebook and put them together in a PowerPoint. (The faces were blurred so their identities were protected.) A picture says a thousand words! After hearing the results of the modesty survey, this was especially convicting.
- Lies Women Believe: a skit showing how Satan lies to all women, regardless of age, marital status, etc., about body image, peer pressure, etc.
- "So You Think You Are Modest" Fashion Show: We took pictures of sisters in immodest outfits. When each of these photos came on the screen, the same sister walked on stage with the same outfit, but "upgraded" to a modest look (use of jackets, long sweater vests, camisoles that covered, etc.) We wanted to show that you don't have to throw out all of your clothes, or spend a fortune, in order to dress modestly. (When the models walked out on stage, we played the music from the TV show "So You Think You Can Dance")
- Q and A: tried to address how to gently teach and encourage each other about our appearance and how we "carry" ourselves. Discouraged "Drive By discipling” - correcting that may not include enough teaching, understanding or follow up.
Pursuing Purity and A Gentle and Quiet Spirit both by Virginia Lefler
A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue by Wendy Shalit
Set Apart by R. Kent Hughes
What do you think when you hear the word “MODESTY?”We put together a collection of photos that sisters in our congregation put on their Facebook pages. We have deliberately blurred the faces so that no one will feel specifically picked on.
Why do we need to talk about modesty? Because many of us do not understand what it is, we don’t give much thought to it. And because God cares about it!
You won’t hear it at school, workplace, retail clothing stores: no “Modest Prom Dresses”
Why do we need to talk about it?
- Isn’t it a matter of opinion?
- Do I only get “talked to” about being modest when something I’m wearing isn’t
Why don’t guys get this lesson more often? Why women all the time?
- Good question! Autonomic nervous system – have you ever experienced sudden sense of danger, heart rate increases?
- ANS controls many organs and muscles within the body. It works and we’re unaware b/c works involuntary, reflexive
- Increased pulse rate, hot flashes, cold sweats – in women, fear can create these reactions
- In men – ANS activated not only by fear – also connected to his sexual system
- Men stimulated by sight. When see female form, even when fully clothed
- Tight fitting clothes, thin stretchy material, body language that draws attention to breasts, backside, thighs, leads to lust
What does the following passage teach us?
"You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.'  But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.  And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
- Most women don’t lust @ sight; most lust for the attention we can receive
What is discretion, decency, propriety?
Proverbs 11: 22 Discretion: ability to make responsible decisions. Habits of a pig: root in dirt, roll in mud and manure – gold ring crusted over with gunk.
1 Timothy 2: 9,10
- Decency: sense of shame or modesty; not shame of being woman; shame at being out of line with God. Shows respect for others.
- Propriety: Self-control, control over sensual desires, like a braking system that operates from inside out. Think of the tragedies that occur when a car’s braking system fails on inside, and only way car stops is when it crashes on outside.
- The Facebook pictures we saw…. Show that we have faulty brakes!
Our culture today shouts the goal is to be “Sexy”
- Sexy is Powerful, it is Empowering
- I don’t have to be restricted;
- Younger girls want to dress older than their years; older women want to dress like teens
- We are told; wear what you want , go where you want with whom you want and that is sexy, powerful
- It is communicated that you do not need to be embarrassed if someone can look down your shirt, or up your skirt, or see thong panties, or bra or maybe even have a picture taken showing you are not wearing panties – because celebrities – women who are beautiful, powerful, famous, and wealthy do this.
- We are told to not be embarrassed by the crude remarks of boys and men at school and work when they stare or lust; we can make rude, crude remarks – we can be just like them – Girl Power!!
- Is this true? Is this what being female, womanly, wanting to be beautiful comes to?
Modesty begins within
- Being feminine, embracing modesty comes from an inner source, inner beauty fueled by reverence for God.
- Gentle and quiet – great worth – “Highest cost, very expensive”
- If you compare all things God values, this at the top!!
Esther – what can you tell me about Esther?
- She knew that her outer beauty wouldn’t save her life when husband found out she was a Jew.
- Out of reverence for God, got entire city full of ppl. To fast and pray – 3 days! – Saved her people from annihilation.
- Confidence in God, used her femininity to convict her accuser and save many. Empowered by her respect for God, how he made her a woman for His purposes.
Beauty is important to God. He knows that it is important to us.
1 Peter 3: 3, 4
Unfading Beauty – we want this!! How many cosmetics say this!
Modesty is a gift to us from God – the One who made you.
Gift that asks us to consider that our bodies are unique, specially made, no two alike, God’s handiwork
Psalm 139 “fearfully and wonderfully made, woven (embroidered) together; God’s eyes saw my unformed body.”
You are not a man; different than a guy. You are not wired like a guy, you don’t think like a guy, body not built like a man
1 Peter 3: 7 husbands called to treated women with respect as the weaker partner – as heirs with men in the gracious gift of life.
If they don’t – prayers hindered – blocked!
God is protective of women.
Appreciate His gift to you. Learn about it, value it, as God values you.
Anonymous Modesty SurveyPlease answer the following questions as specifically and honestly as possible. We will be using this information to teach a class to young women in the church about the importance of modesty. (Both disciples and nondisciples)
Results are in italics
1) If a young woman wears the following clothing to church, which of them could cause men to struggle? (circle all that apply)
A. spaghetti straps
B. halter tops
C. low cut shirts
D. low cut jeans
E. backless/ strapless dresses
F. tight fitting clothes
G. short dresses or skirts
H. all of the above
- Most said all of the above or circled many of them.
- Short shorts were specifically mentioned.
- Semi-transparent clothing
2) How often do you struggle with having impure thoughts at church due to something immodest that someone is wearing?
A. Almost never
C. Almost always
- Almost never -19
- Sometimes -28
- Almost always- 1
- More than sometimes but not always-1
- Once in a while-1
- There are 1 or 2 sisters that are currently always the source of struggle.
3) Please tell about what you would like to see the sisters and young women at church do differently to be more modest.
(These are direct quotes)
- Less exposure, guidance from older sisters, don’t be misleading, be more careful when bending over, more skirts (dress nicer), simply cover more
- I know “casual” is in but would Jesus approve of how much skin shows?
- Not to wear tops that show lower back when they sit down. No worldly piercings.
- Cover up what’s not for sale.
- Dress like you are in God’s house and not the mall.
- More clothes!
- Wear longer pants, higher cut shirts, undershirts under low cut shirts
- Cover more skin
- Wear something nice - but doesn’t go overboard.
- I’d like it if they didn’t wear short shorts
- Work on the way they dress. Think about 1) why they dress the way they do 2) does it please God? 3) Does it hurt the brothers?
- Dress attractively without being revealing or immodest.
- Wear loose clothing (pants, skirts)
- Don’t show skin (belly)
- Nothing transparent.
- Dress more elegant, less sexy
- Wear longer dresses/skirts
- Dress appropriately and in style.
- Them to think, would Jesus want me to be wearing this, and could I possibly be making men struggle?
- Have a separate service.
- Modest outfits
- Learn from other sisters how to dress modest and still look cute. Some women don’t know how to dress.
- Dress more modestly, looser clothing.
- Dress professionally or ask a married mom/older woman.
- Dress in nicer clothes to avoid tighter clothes or casual things like sweats or tank tops.
- Less fitting clothes, especially jeans and tops.
- Look nice but don’t show!
- Cleavage makes men struggle
- Clothes that reveal too much skin.
- Not to wear thin material dresses and not to wear clothes so tight.
A) Almost every time I go on.
C) Not often- but once or twice.
D) I have never seen an immodest picture of a woman/girl from church on facebook.
- Sometimes- Second most common answer
- Not often- Most common answer
5) Which topics do you think the young women at church need to hear more about ?
A. Modest dressing
B. Coarse joking
D. Appropriate Internet pictures/ dialogue
Please explain why you picked these topics:
- modest dress, flirting, dating- recent things heard from single brothers
- all of the above, plus peer pressure
- dressing can lead to more serious issues
- dating- some don’t understand
- modest dress and flirting- those are the two where I’ve seen the most blurring of lines between our standard and society. Lots of peer pressure.
- Gossip- cliques- not acknowledging other brothers or sisters in the church
- More dating- it’s a great opportunity to teach.
- Modest Dress- flirting- Most girls wear immodest clothing. If they don’t then they flirt a lot.
- Not tempting guys with internet pictures.
- Internet pictures- Some people are not the way they act outside of church
- Some sisters dress only to impress
- Some sisters don’t let go of brothers even if they are dating.
- Internet pictures- I don’t think I should ever see immodest pictures of girls on the internet.
- Dating- some girls don’t know about ho to date
- Modest dress- immodest shirts, pictures etc. can make any guy struggle
- Coarse joking/ flirting- can lead a boy/ man on
- Inappropriate pictures on internet- it’s hard to avoid them when they are posted up and can even lead me into watching pornography
- Some of the worse sin is in the internet interactions.
- Appropriate internet pictures and dating- it’s very important.
- Younger sisters need help with modest dressing.
- Modest dress- very obvious- coarse joking and flirting because of a lose attitude in general.
- Flirting- it can be interpreted differently than was intended. Some things are not as obvious like humor.
- Modesty and security and the heart- immodesty comes from seeking attention instead of seeking God and being faithful.
- The way they dress and carry themselves says a lot about who they are and who they hang out with.
- It seems like they are trying to seek attention from boys.
- Some don’t realize the impact of what they wear on others around them.
- Some of them need to know more about why they should not date yet.
- All of them- I think they are part of loving God because he cares for them.
- Dressing causes just about all men to struggle
- Modest dress, flirting, internet pictures- these can lead to bad relationships with people outside of the church.
- The internet is seen by everyone.
- All are needed.
- All of them.
- The church is different from the world.
- I have been a part of many different congregations. This church rates at the worst in modest dress with younger sisters.
- Modest dress, appropriate internet pictures, dating- these are things that people don’t talk about and is never talked about specifically at church.
- Some women do not know what is appropriate and what will make men struggle. Mostly teens put pictures up that are fun but too inappropriate.
- Modest dress and dating principles ca not be overemphasized, I believe.
- Modest dress and flirting- I observe these things the most.
- Flirting will lead to more feeling, deep feeling will open many doors that no one wants to enter.
- The interactions I sometimes see at church between brothers and sisters borders on inappropriate. They young teen girls get too affectionate with the boys, which can easily feel like flirting to men.
- All of the above- seen most of these frequently at church or been affected directly by it.
- Flirting and Modest dress- are the most prevalent.
- Modest dress- some clothes make brothers struggle. I hear incidents of a brother sharing with me about a sister that had him struggling.
- All of them- you can never speak about it too much. We deal with these things on a daily basis. We would like to have our sisters be set apart and not to add on to the daily bombardment we encounter.
- Think about your actions and dress and the possible effects, then think again.
- Dressing modestly will cause you to draw less attention in the world as far as men hitting on you. If you are dressing sexy, it sends the wrong message.
- Get advice
- In general- I am very proud of my sisters in Christ in the way they carry themselves.
- Please don’t make it as tough for guys to avoid distraction in church as it is for us outside! Church should be a refuge.
- Be true to yourself – not all of your girlfriends.
- I don’t know how the parents let the kids dress the way they do.
- Women in the church are modest.
- I have to say that teens in the south dress modestly. I have no serious criticism to give.
- No cleavage please. It is very hard to talk with you with visible cleavage.
- It’s all about remaining pure until you are married .It is very easy to miss steps along the way, and it often starts with innocent behavior, etc…
- How they talk with brothers, treat our brothers.
- Keep/ stay humble.
- Dressing in a revealing manner can not only cause us to struggle, but it can actually make it more challenging to focus on the message during service.
- They will find a better man, and be more pleasing to God.
- Help men to stay pure.
- Barometer= would Jesus feel great about what I am wearing?
- Get advice- don’t dress like people at school.
- Think about what others would say before you put it on.
- Can’t be too modest!
- This should be taken more seriously because it DOES cause men to struggle. If not, there will come a day when it will be hard to tell a sister from a woman in the world. It would be sad to get to that point.
To have love for someone must there also be relationship? Is relationship necessary to maintain feelings of love? Can love manifest itself simply from biological connection? I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately as I’ve been challenged in more than a few relationships. Surely Jesus had to decide how to prioritize the time and effort he invested in his relationships. During his time on earth he took on the same human limitations that faced us all. We also see first century disciples making hard decisions when it came to those they loved.