God Loves Families

This picture was taken pre-Covid when we all were a little bit younger and a little less fractured by the world around us.

God loves families! Plain and simple, He created families and I believe He loves our families. I don’t know what your family is like. Perhaps you come from a fractured family, fractured by divorce, hurt feelings or misunderstandings. Perhaps your family is struggling right now with depressing addiction or job loss. Maybe your family is excited and happy. You’ve been planning a dream vacation for a long time and had to put it on hold during Covid and now you are finally able to go or maybe you are excited over the birth of a new baby, a job promotion or the new home you just moved into. Wherever your family is at right now, God is there and He loves your family.

I adore my family! I am so thankful for them, each and every one of them, but we are not perfect. We have good days and bad days. We have family members who are struggling with various things in their lives and we even have a few “extra-grace required” people in our family. I admit, sometimes it’s me who is the “extra-grace-required” person. I’m so thankful that when I’m the one that needs it, my family does give me grace – at least for the most part and I try to reciprocate by extending grace back. But what I really want to do is focus more on sharing the good news with my family, not just my immediate family, but with my extended family as well.

I know God loves families and I do want my family to know that God loves them even on dark days, in the midst of pain, sorrow, loss and yes, even when the world seems fractured by Covid, war, injustice or unkindness. There is still plenty of good news around that we can share so let’s share it and let’s start with our families because God truly does love you and your family.

Speaking of families, I believe that it was no accident that Paul and Silas were able to share good news with the jailer and his family. Paul and Silas found themselves in jail through no fault of their own. I’m sure the earthquake was no accident and I know Paul and Silas stayed around for a reason after the earthquake. Maybe they just hadn’t got their wits together yet to run. I think that is probably definitely true for the other prisoners, but I believe, Paul and Silas knew that God had something in mind. When they saw that the jailer was going to kill himself, they intervened. You see in the midst of the pain, the hurt, the mess that Paul and Silas were in, they praised God and trusted God’s plan. I believe the jailer and his family were part of God’s plan that day. God desired that a jailer and his family find Jesus because God loves families.

God loves your family and mine. He loves us in our fractured state and when we are rejoicing. He loves us as we are, but He wants to lead us into more. He loves us when we are rejoicing over good news and when we are struggling to rejoice. He loves us whether we are old, young or in between and yes, He still loves us in the middle of our messes. I wonder what would happen if we, like Paul and Silas, would dare to sing praise and share good news even when we are hurting, even in the middle of jail or whatever is imprisoning us. Paul and Silas didn’t run away from their problems. They couldn’t run at first, but even after the earthquake, they stayed and faced their situation with courage and good news. I think I would have probably hotfooted it out of there as soon as the ground stopped shaking, but not Paul and Silas, they stayed for the long haul. I want to be a good news bearer, a good news sharer like Paul and Silas and I want to start with my family. Hmm… I wonder, “Who can I encourage and share good news with today?”

PARENT OR GRANDPARENT PRAYER:
Father God,
Thank you for my family. Thank you for your love for us. Thank you that you are with us and have been with us, during these last few crazy years and always. I want to share good news with my family. I want, more than anything, to encourage them to look to you. I am fortunate to have family who does look to you, a family who is healthy and emotionally stable, family who does work together and does love one another, but we are not perfect. I know I have my dark days when instead of rejoicing, I am frustrated about various things such as the cost of living, not having a vehicle right now or just that everyone is growing up and I am feeling old and irrelevant.
I wish like Paul and Silas that I turned to you with rejoicing more. I am working on it, Lord. I know I do have a lot to be thankful for and I am thankful. Some of my family has some health problems and I’m sure others are struggling with various things because we are human. We all have our good days and bad days. We all make messes sometimes. In the midst of our day to day struggles, remind us to encourage one another and find good news to share. Perhaps that good news is to offer a prayer for each other. Thank you God for my family. Amen

PARENT OR GRANDPARENT PRAYER:
Father God,
Thank you for my family. Thank you for your love for us. Thank you that you are with us and have been with us, during these last few crazy years and always. I want to share good news with my family. I want, more than anything, to encourage them to look to you. I am fortunate to have family who does look to you, a family who is healthy and emotionally stable, family who does work together and does love one another, but we are not perfect. I know I have my dark days when instead of rejoicing, I am frustrated about various things such as the cost of living, not having a vehicle right now or just that everyone is growing up and I am feeling old and irrelevant.
I wish like Paul and Silas that I turned to you with rejoicing more. I am working on it, Lord. I know I do have a lot to be thankful for and I am thankful. Some of my family has some health problems and I’m sure others are struggling with various things because we are human. We all have our good days and bad days. We all make messes sometimes. In the midst of our day to day struggles, remind us to encourage one another and find good news to share. Perhaps that good news is to offer a prayer for each other. Thank you God for my family. Amen

GOOD NEWS TO SHARE WITH FAMILIES
* Share that you love them – even when they squirm out of your arms. I wish I would have said those three little words, “I love you!” to my kids more when they were still at home. It’s not too late to start now is it?

* You are valuable. You are valuable to me and to God.

* A listening ear. A listening ear is good news! It says that you care enough to stop and actually hear your spouse and your kids.

* Words of affirmation are always good news. They let your kids and perhaps your spouse know that you appreciate who they are and what they can do or have done.

* We can do this together. We’re here for each other.

* Everyone makes messes sometimes, we can clean this up together.

* I really like you, just the way you are.

* I forgive you. Will you forgive me?

* Families share and work together.

* Families stick together.

* I will never, ever give up on you.

* And to borrow one from Mr. Rogers, “I’m proud of you for standing up for something you believed in.”

* Appreciate, look for and applaud the good in your child, Be thankful for all that your child is. “Catch your child being good.”

* One last thing, mom & dad, love and grace covers a multitude of mistakes. You are doing a good job!

Kid’s Section

SHARE A STORY: A Jailer Hears Good News – Acts 16:16-34
Paul and Silas loved God. (Point up.) Everywhere they went, they told others about Jesus. (Put hands by mouth say, “Jesus loves you!”) One day some people became angry when Paul and Silas helped a girl learn about Jesus. The angry people had Paul and Silas put in jail. (Say, “Oh no!“.) Paul and Silas were in jail and in chains. They couldn’t even move! What do you think they did? Did they cry? (Say,“Boo, hoo!”) No! Did they complain? No! Were they scared? (Make scared face.) Maybe, but do you know what they did? They prayed and praised God! They sang songs to God while they were in jail! (May sing a simple praise song with your child if desired and pretend to pray.)

At midnight, while Paul and Silas were singing (Say, “La, La, La, La!) and praying (Pretend to pray) something amazing happened! (Clap hands to face and say, “Ah!”) There was a BIG earthquake! (Shake, shake, shake!) The earthquake shook everything! (Shake!) It shook the jail. (Shake again!) It shook so hard that the doors opened and all the prisoner’s chains came off! Wow!

What happened next? Did Paul and Silas run out of the jail? (Pretend to run) No! Did all the prisoners escape? No! The jailer was afraid everyone would escape. (Look scared.) He was so worried that he would be in BIG trouble if his prisoners escaped, he wanted to hurt himself, but Paul said, “Don’t hurt yourself! We are all here.” The jailer was so glad! (Smile and say, “Phew!”) Everyone was still there. He wanted Paul and Silas to tell him about Jesus too and they did. When the jailer heard about Jesus, he believed and asked Jesus to be his friend too.

Then he took Paul and Silas to his home where they told his family the good news about Jesus too. The jailer’s family believed too. Paul and Silas were happy (Smile) to share the good news with the jailer and his family. God helped Paul and Silas to tell the good news even when they were in jail!

You can tell your family just like Paul and Silas told the jailer’s family. God wants our families to know that Jesus loves them. Even if your family already knows about Jesus, you can still share His love with them. You can share God’s love with your family by giving them a hug and saying, “I love you and God loves you too.” You can share God’s love by helping your family, cleaning up your messes and doing what mom and dad ask you to do.

MEMORIZE: Mk 16:15 ERV – (Hold hands like holding a book.)
Go everywhere – (Stand up and walk in place)
In the world – (Make w’s with your fingers and circle)
Tell the – (Cup hands by mouth)
Good News – (Clap twice)
To everyone – (Extend hands outwards.)

PRAYER:
Dear Jesus, Thank you for loving me. I want my family to know that I love them and that you love them too. I want you to be my best friend forever. Amen

KNOW: Jesus loves me. Jesus loves my family.
TALK ABOUT: Sharing good news with our families.
ASK: Who loves you? Jesus loves me. Who can you tell about Jesus? I can tell my family.
DO: Share some good news!

FUN IDEAS FOR THIS WEEK

  • Tell someone in your family, “Jesus loves you and I do too.”
  • Share some good news.
  • Dance, clap or move to some praise music this week. Sing and praise God together energetically!
  • Invite a grandma, aunt, uncle or cousin to church with you.