HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!
Have you ever thought about what it really means to love? I’ve heard some people say that it’s the warm, romantic feeling you get when you know you’ve found the ‘right one’, the person you want to share your life with and live happily ever after. I’ve heard others say it’s friendship or holding your baby for the very first time at birth. Others say that love is not a feeling at all, but rather a decision. We choose to love even when we don’t feel like it. However you define love, as a warm, fuzzy feeling, a conscious decision or a long-lasting friendship; real love shows.
God gave us the best example of love when He sent Jesus. God’s love wasn’t just a warm, fuzzy feeling or flowery words; God’s love went far beyond that. His love is active and demonstrative. He sent His own Son, Jesus, to dwell among us here on earth; to die for us and to free us from our sin and also from death by rising to new life. That’s real love! God showed His love when we were at our worst, in the middle of our biggest mess and He still loves us. He still loves us and forgives us even when we are at our worst.
In light of God’s love for us, how can we show love to our world? How can we show God’s love to the world. I think one of the best ways is to love people wherever and however they are at the moment. We can love our world by showing them Jesus. We can choose to love even when others share different political or life views than we do. We can treat others with kindness and compassion and we can forgive. Isn’t that what Jesus did? He entered the world to live among us, to literally be Immanuel or God with us.
We also can enter someone else’s world and love them in the midst of their hurt and mess whatever that might look like. Yes, I know it takes time and effort, but remember, we all have hurts, messes and idiosyncrasies which drive others crazy. Don’t ever forget, God is still loving you. Maybe your neighbor or friend is going through a divorce, a job loss, addiction or just bad choices. Choose to love them right where they are. Jesus did.
Jesus went beyond what we would even think by offering Himself as the ultimate sacrifice for us on the cross. Hopefully none of us will ever have to do that for another person. Yet we can sacrifice our time, our resources and even our abilities to help someone else. As we travel the journey with them, sharing life with them, maybe we will be able to share Jesus too.
Perhaps it’s time to spend less time judging people and more time loving them. I’m not sure that even with all our best intentions, equality and fairness can be achieved by legislation. Yes, I do believe that we should stand up when we see injustice and prejudice in our world. But I believe that what will really change our world is loving others. Prejudice has to be changed inside of us, in our hearts. When we kneel at the cross receiving forgiveness and love from God, then we can rise ready to extend that love, grace and forgiveness to others. We are all equal when we kneel at the cross. God so loved the world. He loved everyone so much that He gave. He didn’t wait for us to agree with Him or even to love Him first. No, first He loved and gave. Because we have received so much, let us too, love and give to those in our world. Maybe we can start an epidemic of love sharing!
PARENT OR GRANDPARENT PRAYER:
Dear God, Show me how I can be open to people in my life everyday. If that means that I need to walk slower, then show me how to do that. I know I can’t help everyone, but I can help someone. Give me wisdom to know when to say yes and when to graciously say no. Let your love shine through me. Amen
* Don’t just say it, do it!~ Live with love and grace towards others.
* Do something for someone without expecting anything in return. Watch their child or take a meal to someone recovering from an illness.
* Listen! Stop and really listen even if you have a different opinion. When you do share your opinion, share it with grace, lots of grace. Does it really matter if you agree or disagree?
* Do things with others. Having fun with someone can be a great way to let them know you do care and build relationships – Share life.
* Be trustworthy. When someone shares a confidence with you, keep it, don’t share private information with everyone.
* Be genuinely friendly, hospitable and interested in the other person.
* Make friends with someone who is very different from you. Learn from them.
* Get to know your neighbors.
* Forgive quickly!
SHARE A STORY: God Loved The World – John 3:16
One time a teacher named Nicodemus came to see (Put hands by eyes.) Jesus at night. He knew Jesus was a good teacher and he wanted to talk to Jesus. He wanted to know how He could live with God in heaven someday.
Jesus said, “God loved (Give yourself a hug.) the world (Show world.) so much that He gave His only Son.” Jesus wanted Nicodemus to know that He was God‘s Son. He wanted Nicodemus to love Him because He wanted to be Nicodemus’ forever friend.
Even though you’re little, you can welcome Jesus as your forever friend too. Jesus is a very good friend to have because He loves you so much. (Give self a hug.) God made you and He loves you. God loves the world too. (Show world.) He loves boys and girls all around the world that’s why He gave Jesus. God loves (Point with hand to the kids calling them by name as you go around the circle. ‘God loves Macy, God loves Janis, God loves Logan, God loves Ethan…..) And because God loves you so much, you can love too. You can love God and others. Let’s thank God for making us and loving us. Let’s thank God for our friend, Jesus.
Dear God, Thank you for loving me and making me so that I can love you and other people. Thank you for sending Jesus to the world. Jesus, I’m glad that you love me too. I want you to be my forever friend. I love you. Help me to love others just like you do. Amen
MEMORIZE: Psalm 139:14 NIrV – (Hold hands as though holding a book.)
How you – (Point upwards.)
Made me – (Point to self.)
Is amazing – (Hold up closed fists then open hands wide.)
And wonderful – (Jump up and down with hands in the air.)
THE MAIN IDEA THIS WEEK IS
TO KNOW: God loves the world and God loves me.
TO TALK ABOUT: Why did God give us Jesus?
TO ASK: Who loves you? God loves me.
AND DO: I can love God and love others because He loves me. I can thank God for Jesus.
FUN IDEAS FOR THIS WEEK
- Make a shaker by putting a small scoop of rice into a small plastic container. Play some music and dance around with your child thanking God for sending Jesus.
- Pick a country or a person from another country to pray for with your child. How about a missionary from your church or sponsor a child from another country? It’s one way of loving others.