Everybody wears clothes.  Everybody wears different kinds of clothes for different reasons.  Teenagers especially like to experiment with the new fashions to be “in.”  But the emphasis put on fashion these days is bad for American teenagers.

True, fashion today helps people express themselves—even makes them express their personality.  Certain clothes show how much or how little a person cares about his looks.  Some people dress for success and get it.  Fashion emphasis does make most teens dress more nicely.  More kids care about how they look, which is important.  For example, almost everyone here at Covenant dresses nicely and looks good.

But clothes these days aren’t cheap to buy.  Obtaining the all-important new styles gets very expensive.  Teens and parents soon find their pockets empty because the kids just “have to have” that new outfit, shoes or jacket.

Although some fashions compel students to dress nicer, many so-called styles that are “in” today make kids look sloppy.  Those torn jeans and jackets and wrinkled clothes can be more expensive than the dress pants and sweaters that most students at Covenant wear.  Teenagers are seen on T.V., in the malls and on the street wearing those “rebel clothes” that look like they just went through a war.

Teens want to have the “in” fashions that the people on T.V. and in magazines wear.  Their friends buy new clothes and they want to keep up with the new look.  Soon, the importance of clothes to teenagers leads to covetousness, jealousy and competition between fellow teens and peers.  All of those are bad in kids’ lives.  Christians know that the Bible warns about the sins of jealousy and covetousness.

With all the competition going on, kids give in to peer pressure.  In the American society, especially with kids in high school, peer pressure is ever-present.  If someone doesn’t dress the right way or is slightly unstylish according to someone’s opinion, he gets ridiculed and mocked.  Some people will make judgments about him behind his back or in whispers as he walks by.  This is wrong.  Someone shouldn’t get a reputation for being queer just because he dresses a little differently from everyone else.

Such things shouldn’t occur, but they do, because of the importance put on style and fashion these days.  It’s okay for teens to keep up with the styles if they want to, or have the money for it, but it isn’t really that important what people wear.  Everybody wears different types of clothes.  Who cares what style they wear?

You’ve all heard the saying, “April showers bring May flowers,” right?  Well, what does it really mean?  To me it means not only what it says literally – flowers will bloom after the rain – but something further:  the rain and bad weather won’t last forever; be patient and look on the bright side.  Soon it will be sunny and warm and the flowers will bloom.  Don’t complain, for God sends both the showers and the flowers.  So this saying is true of our spiritual lives as well.  Hard times and persecution will come, but when it does, we must not complain, because it’s sent by God, and it means that everlasting glory is soon coming.

We should realize that the end is coming, and it will be difficult, but also know that it isn’t the end for us; it’s the beginning.  Be patient and look forward to it.

But are we ready for the “rain”?  Persecution, sorrow, even death, will be everyday burdens for us in the last days.  Are we frightened?  We shouldn’t by – it’s important for us to realize that those days are coming soon and we must be ready.  Are we even ready for the “sunshine” after the rainstorm?  Judgment and everlasting life in glory follow persecution.  For some it is the end – eternal damnation is all they have to look forward to: but for us, it’s the beginning – eternal glory in heaven.

So we mustn’t be afraid of the thunder and lightning in the midst of the storm.  Look for God’s hand; listen for God’s voice, even in that darkness.  Don’t be afraid, but praise God because everlasting glory is soon approaching.

Right now we don’t even experience these April showers yet.  But the storms will come.  It will be hard times – we’ll experience true hunger, poverty, sickness and death of loved ones.  It will be a time of grief and strife for us, but also one of joy, because we know “spring” is coming.  It might seem dark, dreary and scary, but God will be there with us.  So says Ps. 27:1 “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”  And Heb. 13:6 “The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”  Those trials that last for a short time will lead us to the “sunshine” and “flowers” that will last for eternity.

You know the pun, “If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring?”  The answer is…Pilgrims.  That’s true for us, too.  We’re pilgrims on this earth, just traveling thru this life with one goal in mind – everlasting glory.  So the “May flowers” bring us to the end of our pilgrimage.  And into heavenly glory for eternity.  Because Christ is coming and then spring has sprung forever – the dark rains are over for us.  Jn. 12:46 illustrates this:  Jesus says “I am come a light into the world that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.”  Only beauty and happiness – the flowers and warm sunshine – remain in dwelling with God.  Ps. 16:11 tells us “…in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore.”

Then will the sun shine eternally.  We won’t need that physical May sunshine that helps the flowers bloom.  Our light and heat and beautiful spiritual “flowers” will come from God’s glory in the springtime of the new heavens and new earth.  There it will always be bright and beautiful.  And Rev. 21:4 says “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain:  for the former things are passed away.”

Now you see what we have to look forward to?  God may send those storms, and the “thunder and lightning” may seem to overwhelm us, but don’t fear because God cares for us and protects us.  He will send the springtime flowers and sunshine, and bring us into his beautiful glory.  Look forward to that in anticipation, for it’s coming soon, as Christ Himself says in Rev. 22:20 “…Surely I come quickly Amen.  Even so come Lord Jesus.”  And the April showers will bring those May flowers.

The Christian is placed in many different circumstances while on this earth. Some are characterized by hardships and trials, and others are full of joy and peace. How should the Christian respond? Throughout the Bible there are numerous times where God’s people sang in response to their various circumstances. Singing in response to God’s ordering […]

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The book of Proverbs was written by King Solomon to his young adult son. Solomon’s purpose in writing Proverbs was “that the generation to come might know them [God’s wonderful works]…that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (Ps. 78:6–7). Throughout the book, Solomon […]

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The group of churches that John writes to in this trio of epistles had recently experienced a split because of doctrinal controversy. We do not know the exact content of the error that these false teachers were spreading, but it is apparent from John’s writing that their teaching somehow denied the truth of the incarnation—that […]

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Jael: An Example of Christian Warfare

This article was originally presented as a speech at a Protestant Reformed mini convention held at Quaker Haven Camp in August 2021. Jael lived during the era of the judges. Deborah the prophetess was the judge who served Israel at the time of Jael. During this time, the Canaanites under the rule of king Jabin […]

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Indiana Mini Convention Review 2021

One of this year’s “mini conventions” was hosted by Grace and Grandville Protestant Reformed Churches at Quaker Haven Camp. Located just over two hours away in northern Indiana, the camp was a perfect fit for the 120 kids and 15 chaperones who attended. A total of twelve different churches were represented: Byron Center, Faith, First […]

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Editorial, November 2021: Catechism Season

At the point that this edition of Beacon Lights arrives in the homes of our subscribers, most young people in the Protestant Reformed Churches will have been sitting under the catechism instruction of their pastor or elders for more than a month. If our readers are honest, that observation probably comes with a (quiet) sigh […]

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Tennessee Young People’s Retreat 2021

The 2021 Tennessee young people’s retreat was held August 9 to 13 by Providence, Hudsonville, Unity, and First (Holland) Protestant Reformed Churches. The retreat took place at Eagle Rock Retreat Center in the city of Tallassee. It was about an eleven-hour drive, give or take a bit due to stops for food and restrooms. Though […]

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