RELATED VERSE: GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD
A Letter to Read/Use As A Guide With Your Children
If you capture an understanding of anything at all concerning your Heavenly Father, I pray, with all my heart, you will have a complete knowledge and heartfelt belief in His intimate love for each of you. Study I Corinthians 13. God is the author of this kind of love, so it is accurate to say, this is the way He loves you. Please know, sweet ones, the devil himself is going to try to keep you from understanding this love. You see, Satan realizes, if you don’t know, or if you don’t rely upon this Source of love, then you will soon become an empty vessel with nothing to draw from and nothing to give. Know God’s love, dear children, believe in His love! I want you to listen to a couple of small, yet convincing, ways that I know He loves me, personally:
This past winter I was looking out the window of my bedroom as I was running on the treadmill. The day happened to be cold and wintery, and the ground was covered with a wonderful, soft white dust of snow. As I was admiring this outdoor beauty, a brilliantly colored redbird flew into the scene and perched himself on a branch right there in front of me. “Wow,” I thought to myself, as I gazed at the bright red bird contrasted against the pure white snow. I then prayed to God, “This picture is so beautiful to me! Thank you, God, for giving me this scene to that I could enjoy your incredible artwork! You know what it reminds me of, God?” (I was not fully aware that He put the thought in my head to begin with.) “What a perfect picture to illustrate how Jesus can turn the crimson blood of my sin into something as pure and white as this snow. How amazing to me! Thank You, God, for this vivid reminder. Thank you, Lord Jesus!”
Well, the next time I ran on the treadmill, I said a short little prayer (really not expecting an answer), saying, “God, I’d love it if You would send that red bird back my way.” Children, do you know, not just one, but two redbirds flew and sat right in front of my window!? I just laughed out loud! In my mind and heart I knew God did that for me, because He loves me. And I truly felt His love for me then.
You see, during this period of time in my life, I had been asking God to really show me, and reassure me of His personal love for me as an individual. I knew that “God so loved the world” (John 3:16), but I needed a reminder of His great love for me. Well, one way He chose to answer this prayer was to start sending me redbirds everywhere I went! Isn’t that funny? But, it’s true! One, for months, would “happen to” (no such thing in God’s world) fly right in front of our van every single Thursday as we drove down the tree- shaded street to Grandmother’s and Dee-Doc’s house. And then, I’d see them on walks, and in friends’ yards, and anywhere and everywhere! They would just show up right in my line of vision. They would also come in the early quiet mornings as I wrote these letters to you, my sweet ones, and these prayers to God, my loving Father. He knew I needed, at that time, a very visible reminder of His love. So…He let the redbirds fly.
Now, I know you may think those redbirds may have been there all along. And, you know what? You may be absolutely right. But, the fact that my God opened my eyes to see them in such a way that I would always be reminded of Christ’s love for me is the beauty of it all. Again, every time I see them, I just smile at His consistency. I know God Himself is “wooing” me. He does this for you too, you know. He loves you like a bridegroom loves a bride, and He yearns for your heart! Ask Him, children, to open your eyes and your heart so you, too, can see and receive this intimate love He has planned especially for you. I promise, you will be overwhelmed with great joy and laughter at the way He pursues you!
Now listen to another time I really felt His love for me. (By the way, “feeling” His love like this is temporary, but trusting in His love is forever. We are called to trust in His love.) I was outlet shopping in Gulf Shores during our summer vacation. Maggie, you were with me. We wandered in a country store and browsed all through it, picking up a few things as we went. When we got up to the check-out counter, I saw a selection of silver rings. For a while, I had been wanting a ring with either a cross on it or one with the Christian symbol of a fish. Well, there the ring sat, right in front of me; I knew in my heart, this ring was meant for my finger. There was only one, so I picked up the little silver ring with small black crosses, and slid it on my finger. And, of course the ring fit! I smiled and bought the simple yet beautiful ring, knowing that my God was really the One who picked out this “gift” for me, the one He loves, as opposed to me picking it out for Him, the One I love. Remember, “we love because He first loved us” (I John 4:19). The ring now reminds me of this truth every time I wear it.
Children, you may think this redbird and ring business is just a little bit “off the wall,” and that your mother is a wee bit crazy. ( I do have more stories of His love for me!) But, what I think is crazy is how anyone can not believe that God cares for them in this way. He is their Father, if they believe in Him! We as humans, and even animals, give to, provide for, and protect our young. Why, then, wouldn’t God, our Creator, who knows each of our hearts intimately, also do the same?
I challenge you, children, to seek God’s personal love for you. God is real, and He really loves you. He is not just floating around watching you go about your days with no feeling for you at all. And He’s not a God who’s sitting there waiting to zap you down when you do something wrong. Remember, there’s nothing you have done, are doing, or will do that can make Him stop loving you, or even love you “more.” He can’t “not love” because He is Love! Loving, sweet ones, is not about what you do; it’s about accepting what He does— remember, He gave and continues to give Himself to you—through Jesus Christ. O, children, how His heart is lovesick and broken, and tears rain down from heaven, when He, and the love He has to give, is rejected by His people, His creation. You see, He desires to be an active part of all your days—giving you encouragement, providing you hope, and building your faith. He knows your “likes,” your needs, and even your wants. Ask Him to be real to you. And then, sit back , and marvel at His love as He answers.
I have one more ”love” story for you: My sister, your Aunt “Pooh,” told me, several years ago she was feeling rather “blue” on a particular “red” Valentine’s Day. She had just been through a breakup with a boyfriend and was very lonely and confused. She sat praying to God from her broken heart, saying something like: “God, I just need to know that You love me. I feel so alone right now. Please just reveal Your love for me on this special day that is set aside for love.” Well, she told me, when she opened her Bible (remember, if you don’t seek, you won’t find), she “happened to” turn to a verse she did not remember reading before. There, before her eyes, were the most simple, but yet most cherished words you could ever say to a human heart: “Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you…” (Is. 43:4) God Himself spoke them to her that day, at that moment when she needed it most. Please, my sweet ones, let Him speak those words to you.
Teaching Tools/Activities For Your Children
1. Mother (or Daddy), pray to God each day, “Show me, dear Father, in a personal way, You love me.” Wait expectantly for His answer. Then, share the answer with your children.
2. Ask your children to pray the same prayer. When they recognize their answer, tell them to share it with you. (realize, parents, you may recognize the answered prayer before they do, so be sure to point it out to them.)
3. Rejoice together by thanking Him for His intimate love!
A Prayer To Pray Over Your Children
Dear Heavenly Father,
I humbly ask for Your incredible love to penetrate the hearts of my children. May they never doubt it, and always live by it. May they understand You love them with a love that is greater than we could ever imagine! For Your love surpasses knowledge. Thank You for making us the apple of Your eye (Ps. 17:8). Nothing can separate us from You!
Please help my children to see the most beautiful evidence of Your love is in the giving of Yourself. Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself… being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Phil. 2:6-8). O thank you, God, for this perfect and holy sacrifice of Your love, so that we may have Your life living inside of us! May my children sing with all their heart these beautiful words to this timeless hymn:
“And can it be that I should gain,
An int’rest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain?
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be?
That thou, my God shouldst die for me?”
May they grasp and keep hold of this amazing love, dear Father. And as they grow in it, may their light shine brighter and brighter, causing them to guide others around them, who may (or may not) be seeking You. I pray that believing, understanding, and proclaiming Your love, Lord Jesus, would be the passion of my children’s beating heart. I pray Your love will give them joy, fulfilling and overflowing. And may You, dear Jesus, hear them willfully declare to You and to the world, …Your loving-kindness is better than life… (Ps. 63:3).
Scripture references in letter:
Eph. 3:14-19, Is. 1:18; Ps. 86:13; Is. 61:10; Is. 62:5; Is. 54:5; Ps. 103:13; Deut. 5:29; Ps. 145:14-19
Scripture references in prayer:
Is. 54:10; Rom. 8:38-39; Jer. 31:3; Matt. 5:14-16; Ps. 16:11