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Guidelines for Christian couples who want to grow closer to God and each other

This was written by Heather and Kyle who wanted a relationship that honors God.  It was so good I wanted to make it available for any Christian couple who is trying put God first in their relationship.

1. We will keep God FIRST in our individual lives by spending alone time with God daily *Matthew 6:33
2. We will grow closer to God individually and as a couple by praying for each other, praying together, discussing scripture,and serving together
3. We will glorify God in our relationship and be a godly example of dating to others *Psalm 34:3
4. We will seek and surround ourselves with godly mentors who will keep us accountable
5. We will set boundaries for protecting our purity (hand holding and kissing only) *Psalm 119:9 *Colossians 3:5
6. We will be patient and kind to each other *1 Corinthians 13:4
7. We will intentionally listen to each other, seek to understand each other, and be slow to become angry *James 1:19
8. We will keep honest and open communication with each other by addressing and discussing problems together
9. We will use our speech to encourage each other and build each up*1 Thessalonians 5:11 *Romans 12:10
10. We will serve, honor and respect each other *Philippians 2:3
11. We will be mindful of our actions impact on each other
12. We will not keep record of wrongs or bring up the past *1 Corinthians 10:5 *Proverbs 19:11
13. We will be tender hearted and forgive each other. *Ephesians 4:3
14. We will always protect, always trust, always hope, and always persevere *1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:7‬ ‭

As always comments are always welcome.

 

 

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The 7 hour challenge to a closer relationship with God

I’ve really been feeling convicted recently to spend more time with God.  I’ve been running around doing, but not being still and listening to Jesus.

Be Still and Know that I am God

The verse in Psalms has been on my mind which says “Be still and know that I am God” along with the story of Martha and Mary found in Luke:

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary,who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things,  but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

I’m a doer by nature.  Given a choice between sitting or doing, I’ll be doing any day, but that has not helped my relationship with God, or other people but that’s another story.  I’ve felt separated from God, lost because I’m not spending time with him.  My relationship had stopped being personal and started to become something I do, but God has been calling me.  I’ve felt his urging to bring back my heart and walk with him in a relationship that is personal, to spend time praying, and just to be silent and know for myself that our relationship is real.

The 7 hour challenge

That is when I started thinking about the 7 hour challenge.  I probably took the idea from the 4 hour work week by Tim Ferriss or the 7 habits of highly effective people.  Wherever the idea came from I felt God telling me that I was spending to much time on things that don’t matter and not focused on the one thing that does.

I feel God calling; spend time with me so I committed to spend an hour a day with Him.  I don’t feel him asking me to put a stop watch on our time but to spend time on our relationship.  It is not about a legalistic time but  that my heart and mind should be focused on Him.  I’m spending time reading, praying, memorizing Scripture, writing,  listening to Christian music, walking and watching Christian videos.  Francis Chan is one of my favorite Christian speakers so I included one of his about living the Christian life.  Adam and Eve spent every evening walking with God in the Garden.  It must have been an amazing time since there was not yet sin to separate them from God.

As I’ve been spending more time with God I’ve found my relationship with Him getting closer.  My desire to spend my time doing other things has decreased and my desire to love and serve God seems to be growing, if not every day then every week.  I’ve found my focus to be getting better also.

I’m challenging you to spend 7 hours a week with God and see if your life changes also.  Sometimes you might have to force yourself to spend the time.  I personally have not, at least not yet but I’ve found that the more time I spend with him the greater the change in my life.

Jesus has called us to go make disciples and I’m feeling like the most effective way to start is by allowing God to fill my heart and mind.  When Christians start having a relationship with Jesus that causes their life to change, people will notice and I believe they will be drawn toward the fire that is now burning in our lives.

So I challenge you.  Start spending an hour a day with God and see if your life does not erupt from a small flame to a blazing fire, changing your life and the lives of those around you.  If you also feel convinced that God is calling you to spend more time with Him, take the challenge with me.  Put a comment below and share this post with your friends.  Maybe God is taking to them also.

May the fire of God settle in on your life so that you experience it lighting up your life.

What should I do to restore my faith in Christianity?

With each passing day my faith in God and Christianity is drifting apart and am inching closer to atheism. How do I restore my faith?

I came across this question on Quora and after reading the answers decided to also answer it and post it here on our blog.  Restore my faith in Christianity

You are not the only one who asks this question. I’ve asked this more than once and unfortunately still struggle with my relationship.

First I want to define what I mean by faith in Christianity. To me it is a personal relationship with God and Jesus, someone I pray to daily and someone who lets me know that He is there and that cares for me.

I wish it was a constant moving forward where every day I felt closer to God than the day before, but that rarely is the case. My path has been filled with ups and downs, time when I felt so close and times when I lived without thinking of Him or feeling His presence.

I’d love to know if Billy Graham or other leaders of our faith felt that way but I know that Mother Teresa did. She wrote about it and it was published in Mother Teresa- come be my light. I’d recommend you read this book. It might inspire you but I’m sure it will help you know that you are not alone. Others struggle with this question also.

Things you can do to restore your faith:

  • Spend time reading the Bible and praying. James 4:8 says “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” I know there will be times when you read and don’t get anything out of it or pray and feel like God is far away but don’t get discouraged. Keep it up and I believe God will draw closer to you.
  • Spend time with other people who want to get closer to God. Hopefully you can find this group in your church (if you go) but if not ask around and keep searching until you find one.
  • Find Christian friends. It is said you become like those you hang out with so if you want to strengthen your relationship with God, hang out with people who are following God.
  • Serve others with the right motives. There is something about giving your time and skills to serving other people that will draw you closer to God. Some of the times I felt closest to God was when I was on a mission trip serving others. We’ve built and repaired houses in the United States and abroad. I look back on those times not only with fond memories but remembering times when I knew God was real. If this is something that you want to know more about check out Poverty Resolutions. These guys went down to Haiti after the earthquake, not with any plans, but just to know what it was like to live in Haiti after the quake. Their experience changed their lives forever. They documented their story in a pretty powerful video that I’ve linked to here.
  • Memorize Scripture. Chuck Swindoll says: “I know of no other single practice in the Christian life more rewarding, practically speaking, than memorizing Scripture…No other single exercise pays greater spiritual dividends! Your prayer life will be strengthened. Your witnessing will be sharper and much more effective. Your attitudes and outlook will begin to change. Your mind will become alert and observant. Your confidence and assurance will be enhanced. Your faith will be solidified.” Joshua 1:8 says “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” – NIV. There are several simple ways to memorize Scripture – The low tech and high tech methods.
  • Write down your thoughts. I’m not sure this will help everyone and I have been inconsistent over the years but I’ve found that writing down my thoughts helps me grow my relationship with Christ. If you are interested one of my business blogs that I write for can be found here and my personal one is at vitamvas.com.
  • Finally I personally find stories of other people who have struggled comforting and inspiring. One of my favorite resources, besides YouTube, is I am Second.

Don’t give up. I think every Christian who really wants a relationship with God has struggled. At the end of our life we want to say what Paul said: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.” 2 Timothy 4:7.

The Bible says to pray for one another. I’m praying that you will take a step closer to God and that He’ll draw closer to you. I finish with one more Scripture from Philippians 4:7 “you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

How to change your Dennis The Menace into a firecracker for God

Meet my granddaughter, Autumn.  She is a three year old with more uncontrolled energy  than any child I’ve met and with a determination that rivals Rocky Balboa or Louie Zamperini from the movie Unbroken.

Dennis the Menace Firecracker God

I’ve never helped to raise a child with so much energy, determination and stubbornness.  When she sets her mind on something it is almost impossible to deter her.  At three most of her actions result in mini disasters at our house.

She is fast also.  Leave her alone for one minute and it could be a disaster.  Her calmer five year old sister will usually come in yelling come see Autumn, it’s a disaster, it’s a disaster.  Usually she is right.  We spank her, put her in time out and talk with her, all of which seem to have zero effect in deterring her behavior.

When I listed to the book Unbroken (don’t watch the movie.  It was very disappointing compared to the book.) I realized that Louie and Autumn share a common temperament, unwilling to quit and always getting into some trouble.

If you have a child like this, you know what I mean.  They keep you constantly on the move and a respirate is just a temporary lull in the storm.  So how do you guide them growing up?  You know if they stay away from drugs and other life destroying temptations that they are going to be someone who changes their world, either for God or evil.

So how to you change your Dennis the Menace into firecracker for God?

Here are my thoughts.  If you have a hyperactive, strong willed and stubborn child write your experiences in the comment box.

First expose them to God and his love for us.  That is the one thing that is life changing.  In the book Unbroken Louie survived terrible torture in Japan only to come back and fall apart after the war.  His wife convinced him to attend a Billy Graham event.  That night he gave his life, along with all the bad experiences to Jesus and his life was forever changed.  (The movie left that part out.)

For your kids it might happen at home, church, summer camp or retreat.  I can count in the hundreds the kids I know that have had their lives changed through youth group, summer camp or retreats.  As I write this my granddaughters are down at summer camp at Mt. Shepherd, a Methodist retreat center in Asheboro NC.  At three and five they’ll get to go swimming, do crafts, get exposed to the outdoors, hear God’s Word and get exposed to God’s love through the counselors.

Next help them to find something that they are passionate about and let them focus on that one thing.  At three it is hard to tell but she loves anything involving a ball.  So while she has been to young to participate in soccer there are soccer summer camps available for three year olds in my area.

Going back to the book Unbroken one more time Louie’s life was turn around when his brother got him involved in running.  Ends up he was fast, really fast.  So fast that he probably would have set the world record had WWII not put an end to his career.  For me growing up it was sailing.  I got pretty good, usually capturing one of the first three places in any race, except for the world cup where I placed 13th in our fleet.

Any child needs something that they are good it.  It gives them self confidence and teaches them skills they will use throughout life.  When you have a strong willed child they’ll throw their hearts and minds into a sport they love, allowing them to not only learn a skill but excel as well.

If you live in the United States or other developed country send your children on a short term mission trip.  It will expose them to other cultures and help them realize the Christianity of America is not the norm.  In Francis Chan’s book, Crazy love he says:

During my time in India, the commitment level of believers there shocked me.  I visited thousands of Christians who had been beaten or watched relatives murdered for their faith.  At one point, I said to one of the leaders, “Every believer seems so serious about his or her commitment to Christ.  Arn’t there people who just profess Christ but don’t really follow Him?”

He answered by explaining that nominal Christianity doesn’t make sense for India.  Calling yourself a Christian means you loose everything.  Your family and friends reject you, and you lose your home, status, and job.  So why would anyone choose that unless he or she is serious about Jesus?

Mission trips can be life changing.  Matthew and Andrew Jones founded Poverty Resolutions after visiting Haiti and living for 30 days on a dollar a day, which is the average wage in Haiti.  I’ve included their story below.

Finally pray for all your children, especially your high energy, high maintenance child.  God can use them in a special way.  Don’t get discouraged and don’t stop praying if they don’t come to God as teens.

Comments or suggestions?  Be sure to write them in the comments box.

God has a special purpose for your life

God has a special purpose for your life

Did you know that God has a special purpose for your life?  In the Bible we see God working through his people.  In Genesis there is the story about how God worked in Abraham’s life.  Abraham made mistakes but he trusted God and because of that God blessed him.

God wants to work in your life also.  Through the 10 Commandments and Jesus we’re told what we are given guiding principles.  In Matthew Jesus is asked what are the greatest commandments.

Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Later on in Matthew we are told to:  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

These are the three principles that should guide our life if we are following Christ:  Love God with all your hear, soul and mind, love others and bring them into a relationship with God.  We can do that no matter where we work or live.

God will also guide us in specific circumstances.  Sometimes that is through His Word.  The Bible is filled with advice on living.  Besides the ones above some others include: pray always, spend time with God, avoid debt, don’t get caught up in material things and contentment in life will come from following God, not accumulating a lot of stuff.  Life is short, don’t waste a minute of it.

I read that the average church goer spends 10 minutes a day in prayer and thinking about God, and 4 hours watching TV.  What would happen if we reversed it?

There are also verses that speak about God’s plans for us.

Jeremiah 29:11  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Philippians 2:3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Matthew 5: 13-16  You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

God has a special purpose for your life

God also will direct us on specific directions in our life but it is important to clear our mind as much as possible from the influences of our culture.  I just finished listening to Team of Rivals which was the story of Abraham Lincoln’s life.  One thing that stood out was there were Christians on both sides believing that their cause was right.  The result was the greatest loss of American life in any war.

You don’t know how much your culture influences your decisions until you experience life in another part of the world.  That is one reason I encourage everyone to go on a mission trip out of the country.  You’ll come back with a different perspective and hopefully with a life that has been changed.

I’ve included some videos of lives that have been changed as a result of their encounter with God and some videos that will challenge you to look at your life.  As you watch them look for how God is working in their lives.

Nick Vujicic was born without legs or arms.  When he was 15 and struggling with why God made him like this he read the story in the Bible about a man born blind.  In the story found in John 9 Jesus is asked by his disciples:  “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”  “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.  Nick realized that God could use even him, with no legs or arms for his purposes.  

In this video 4 guys decide to go to Haiti after the earthquake and live on one dollar a day.  The results are that two of them devoted their life to making a difference in the lives of the Haitian people.  You can find out more about their work by clicking here.
https://youtu.be/VGeFpz10baw
The last video encourages us to look at our life from an eternal perspective.

Why don’t churches care about evangelism anymore in America

Evangelism is not dead, but is it dying in America?  Busyness in America is killing Christianity.

Seems like everyone is maxed out.  Families are maxed out with moms and dads working more hours than ever before.  From 1979 to 2007 the average number of hours worked in America increased by 4.5 weeks per year!  Why churches don't care bout evangelismEvery spare moment of kid’s lives are tied up doing something.  Even if they are not in sports or after school activities text messages, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram can easily fill every minute.

We’re loosing relationships everywhere and sitting down having a conversation is becoming a dying art.  And our relationship with God?  Alive, vibrant, life changing or relagated to a few exhausted minutes before we fall asleep?

We fill our lives up with so many things that in the end do not matter and neglect the things that really do.

What does our crazy busy schedules and lack of close relationships have to do with evangelism and our church?  Jesus gave the church this mission:  Go into all the world and make disciples.  The church is made up of individuals and families and when they are breaking down or too busy to spend time with Jesus then the church becomes ….. lukewarm.

Jesus gave this warning to the church in Laodicia  “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold or hot.  I wish you were either one or the other!  So because you are luck ware – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.  You say I am rich, I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.  But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

So what is the answer?  What has God called us to do?

Paul says in Philippians 3:  “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

God called us to do three things:

  1. Love God with our whole heart soul and mind
  2. Love people
  3. Go into all the world and make disciples

These are the things that matter.  When your life is over and you stand before God it won’t matter the size of your house or how important your job was.  It won’t matter how much money you accumulated or how many toys you had.  What will matter is how much you loved God and people, and responded to His calling.

Evangelism is dying because we are dying.  Dying from focusing on things that don’t really matter and forgetting the things that do.

Here is a few “radical” ideas to revive you and your church.

  • Turn off the TV.  Better yet, sell it and give the money to the poor.
  • Spend more time praying, reading the Bible or other book that encourages you to grow in your relationship with Jesus. God says:  “be still and know that I am God.”  The creator of the world wants to be your friend but it is up to you to take the steps.
  • Spend no more than 15 minutes a day personal time on Facebook, text messages, Instagram, Twitter or other social media.  Instead develop a deeper relationship with the people who are close to you.  Don’t be on the phone when you are with your friends.  Turn on the airplane mode.  You’ll probably find 80% of the messages were unnecessary noise.
  • Take walks and talk with God.  Your body and soul will appreciate it.  Ask God what he wants you to do with your new found time.
  • Sell your house or downsize.  Take the money you save and invest it in things that will matter eternally.
  • Read Dave Ramsey’s book, Total Money Makeover and become debt free.  Now you’ll be totally free to respond whenever and wherever  God calls you.

Why churches don’t care about evangelism anymore?

Do you see that the church in America does not care about evangelism because we are the church and we’ve gotten to busy.  Our lives are not being transformed by the power of God but merely dusted by his shadow.  God wants us to experience an amazing life.

Jesus said: I have come so that you may have life, life in its fullest measure.  Don’t waste your life.  Live it walking in close relationship with God and live it to its fullest measure.

 

What I’ve learned from the death of my mom

“Lessons Well-Learned”

4 Lessons I Learned When My Mother Passed Away

I am not a mother’s girl but as Mother’s day is once again approaching, I definitely miss her so much. She passed after fighting What I learned from the death of my momwith cancer.  When you lose your mom, you also lose a piece in you. That is why it is so important that you celebrate her life while she is still with you.

Moms are special. Their love is incomparable. Their sacrifices are deep. They may drive us nuts at times but they will always be our number one supporter and source of encourager and though we know deep in our hearts that we always value and love them, most of the time our actions speak otherwise.  We need to take every opportunity that we have to let our mothers know that we love them.

Beyond flowery words and extra special gifts for this Mother’s Day, I am giving you lessons that I gained after I lost my own mother.  I hope that you will think about them before you run out of time.

Obedience

In Ephesians 6:1, it clearly commands children to “obey” our parents for this is the right thing in the eyes of the Lord. But most of the time our obedience is half-hearted obedience and delayed obedience. Unfortunately, half-hearted obedience and delayed obedience is still disobedience. If you truly want to let your mom know that you truly love her, obey her words. Our best interest is always at their heart.

Respect

If we learn to obey our mom, we will also eventually learn to respect them. Respect is one of the utmost honors that we can give our parents especially our mother. Maybe there are times that our decisions don’t match hers or her life’s principles don’t fit with ours, but still we have to give her our respect.  After all the pains and labors she has to be through just to bring us up to this world, she sure is worthy of our respect.

 Trust

We tend to disobey and disrespect our parents especially our mom because we don’t trust her.   As children living in the new generation, we tend to think highly of ourselves as if we know everything and that we don’t need our mother’s advices. Wrong! Maybe they were born in a different generation but lessons from life experiences never fail and I strongly believe that God never made a mistake of giving us the mom we have.  We had been given to them as their children because God trust them. Shouldn’t we do the same thing?

Time

Time, I believe is the most valuable thing we can give to our mother if we want them to feel that we truly love them. Time is gold. This may be an old saying but it is sure true. Once a time is wasted, it can never be recovered, it is gone forever and all that is left will be regrets. Life is short and our mothers will not be there for us forever. Let us give her our attention, let us give her our time, enjoy life with her, celebrate life with her and most of all celebrate her life.

Obedience. Respect. Trust. Time. These are the four important lessons that I learned from the death of my own mom. Sure, I have always been called a good daughter but deep inside I know I have a lot of shortcomings when it comes to my mother. Yes I was obedient but I usually obeyed after a period of time.  I respected my mom but I was also hard headed at times.  I trusted her but there are times that I did my own thing. I lived with her in our house but I didn’t spend much time with her. I didn’t get to create many wonderful and memorable moments with her and as much as I want to dwell on a lot of regrets in my life I know it will just do me no good at all.

So today, as we are celebrating Mother’s Day, I am passing to you these lessons. And I will also be passing these lessons to my children hoping that someday I won’t be singing this song from the movie Enchanted:

“It’s not enough to take the one you love for granted
You must remind her, or she’ll be inclined to say…
“How do I know he loves me?”

May you have a blast of pure joy and unforgettable moments with your mom this Mother’s Day and may Mother’s Day be an everyday experience for your Mom from now on.

What are the most important things you learn from your Mom? Care to share? Comment it down. We would love to hear it from you.

What does God want from me?

I’ve been thinking about the question what does God want from me lately so I decided to write down my thoughts along with what other people have said.  I’m getting close to 60 and God is still leading me but here is what I’ve learned over the years.

What does God want from me

What does God want from me?

First God wants us to have a relationship with Him.  He does not want us to be separated from Him, not in this life nor in the next.  He loves us so much that he  sent His son to take our punishment.  All he asks is that we accept His gift and it is free.

For those people who accept His gift he calls us to do more.  First he calls us to love Him and love others.  Matthew 22: 36-40 says: Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

In the Old Testament we are told:  This is what the Lord requires from you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to live humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8.

What does it mean to love God?  When I think of that question I think about what it means to love anyone.  If you love someone you’ll want to spend time with them.  Their interests will become your interest.  Their life will become your life.

The State Farm ad is a great example of how love can influence our life.

Our love for God must have the same influence on our life.  If we love God we’ll spend time with Him and I don’t mean five minutes before we fall asleep at night.  It won’t be an obligation, it will be something we crave, something we are excited about.  Just like our relationships influence our life when we spend time with Him our life will change and we’ll see our relationships with people start to change also.

1 John 4:20 says: If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?

Those are the guiding principles that he expects every person who believes in Him to follow.  The next question related to what does God want from me is what does He want me to do with my life?

This would be specific questions like to marry or not marry, who to marry, what school to go to, what type of job to take, etc.  The answer to this question will be different for every person.

For the question about work I believe that you should look for something that you are passionate about.  You can serve God in almost any job so look for something you enjoy doing.  The Bible tells us to stay out of debt which will free you to serve God in ways you cannot do when you have debt to service every month.

Finally look at what you are doing in relationship to eternity.  It is easy to get focused on things of this world but God wants us to look at life from the perspective of eternity.  I’ve included a few videos that help answer the question what does God want from me.  I hope you will enjoy them.

 

The final verse comes from Hebrews 12:1  Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

Let us focus on Jesus and love Him with all of our heart, mind and soul.  Life is short, don’t waste it.  Another related post can be found here.

Comments?  Put them in the comments box.

How to teach children that God loves them

How do you teach children that God loves them so that they really understand and respond to His love?

 If you live in America you probably know people who say they love God but whose lives do not reflect his teachings.  That’s not what I want for my kids, grandkids and children I teach at church.  I want them to be a passionate follower of Jesus, someone who really understands how much God loves them and responds by giving their heart, mind and soul to Jesus, someone who is on fire.
Teach children that God loves them

 

There are so many opportunities to teach children that God loves them depending their ages or whether they are your kids, friends of your children or you teach them.

 

Today I’m going to be writing about helping kids learn that God loves them in a Sunday School setting.  There are videos and ideas that you can use with your own kids at home so don’t leave!  No matter how you arrived on this page if you have kids or are teaching children be open to God’s leading, opportunities will come your way.  We can reach children through words and actions.  If you are a parent, model Christ’s love in your life.  None of us are perfect but if we live a life that has been changed because of a relationship with Jesus that we are passionate about, our kids will pick up on that.

 

With your own children teach them God’s Word and help them memorize Scripture.  There are many helpful tools and we’ve put together some of them in recent blog posts.  God changes lives.  We only help plant and water the seed.

 

I’m teaching Sunday School to 5th graders and we’re going to be talking about how do we know God loves us, which is why I decided to write this article.  I want to help them understand that God loves them, and learn what God wants from us.

 

One of my favorite books is Crazy Love by Francis Chan and he says “Our greatest fear as individuals and as a church should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.”  Success needs to be measured looking at eternity, not simply by our 76 years we might spend here on earth.

 

I want to open up our conversation with the first half of the video below and then ask how do they know that God loves them, then show the 2nd half.

 

Next I’ll ask them if they know any scriptures that talk about how much Jesus loves me.  Here are 8 verses that talk about how much God loves us.

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 8:37-39 – No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Ephesians 2:4-5 – But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, evenwhen we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved …

Romans 5:8 – but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Zephaniah 3:17 – The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

1 Peter 5:6-7 – Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Psalm 86:15 – But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 – Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Here are a couple other videos that will help children learn about how much God loves them.

 

I am not showing the video below but including it because I mentioned Francis Chan’s book above plus in this sermon he talks about our purpose in life which for me is to love God and love others.  That should be our overall mission in life.

I’ll be closing the lesson asking if they’ve experienced God’s love in their life or want to know God in a personal way and then saying a prayer.

I usually have something the kids can take home to remind them of the lesson.  This time I’ll either be giving them the ABCs of salvation or a card with 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8.  

Love to hear your thoughts and comments.  God wants people who are passionately in love with him and who prove it with their lives.  Final quote from the book Crazy Love:  “Leftovers are not merely inadequate; from God’s point of view, they’re evil.  Let’s stop calling it “a busy schedule” or “bills” or “forgetfulness.”  It’s called evil.  According to God, we are here to love.  Not much else really matters.

What does God want from me?

What does God want of me?  I’ve struggled with that question most of my life.  I wish I’d known at 20 what I know at 59 so I decided to write down what I’ve learned.  Maybe you’re 20 and wondering the same question.  If you’re 100 and know the answer then be sure to post in the comment section.

What Does God Want from Me?

First I want to mention what God does not care about.  I think it helps focus our mind on what is really important.

  • How big our house is
  • How nice a car we drive
  • How much money is in our bank account
  • How close we can park to the front door at the grocery store
  • How impressive our job is
  • How good looking our spouse is

After I finished the list I realized that is not totally true.  God does care about those things, but His perspective is not the same as ours so I’ve modified the list:

  • God does care how big your house is.  Smaller is probably better.  A paid off house is better than one you do not own.  Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. – Romans 13:8.  With the extra cash you can feed poor children who don’t have the ability to feed themselves, sponsor children who are orphans or do any number of other projects that change the world.  Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. – James 1:27
  • God does not care whether we drive a 68 VW bug or a Tesla Model X.  You could make the argument that God gave us the responsibility to take care of the earth and that the Tesla is more earth responsible but I think he would rather have us walk.
  • Unless we are handicapped and someone who is not has taken the handicapped parking space God is not concerned with where we park our car.   God does not care whether you are parked next to the front door or you have to walk for 5 minutes to reach the front door.  I used to hear pastors and others say they prayed about a parking space and God always made one available.  If that is true then pray about something that is more important, like children in your community who will go to bed hungry.
  • God does not care how impressive your title is but he does want you to serve him through your work and he does want you to do your best.  I’ve worked for a number of people and owned my own businesses.  Personally I’ve found that owning my own business gives me more opportunities to serve him, but that is me.  Work needs to be put in perspective.  God commands us to work but he does not command that it take over our life.  Paul says “Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:10.
  • God does not care how good looking our spouse is.  We are commanded to take care of our bodies.  1 Corinthians 6: 19-20 says: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”  When you are young your body is probably in good shape even if you don’t do the best at taking care of it.  The older you get the more you appreciate your health.  It is harder to serve God when you have spent years abusing his temple.

So what does God want of me and you?  Here is my list.  

  • First he wants us to have a relationship with him which only comes through faith in Jesus Christ.  God wanted this relationship so much that he sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins.  There are four steps to this journey.  Click here to find out more.
  • Next he wants you to love Him with all your heart, soul and mind.  No longer will any of the things that matter to the world matter to you.  You’ll want to spend lots of time with God and as you do God will change your life.  God will transform you into a new person.
  • Finally he wants you to love others.  Jesus’  last commandment given to his disciples was:  “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” –  John 13:34.

That’s it.  Your list becomes really short.  Love God and love others.  Put God first, others second and become passions about following him.  Spend time with him and you’ll find your life transformed.

Finally I’ll leave you a video to watch.  Christian Hosoi had everything the world offered yet he found it meaningless.  Don’t wonder through life.  Make your life count.  Find passion, follow Jesus.