Love: A Spiritual Reinforcement

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1 Love: A Spiritual Reinforcement Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails I Corinthians 13:4-8a

2 As parents, we should set aside time to teach our children character traits that will make them outstanding, admired citizens. Every day is filled with opportunities for helping them learn about the character traits we value and want to encourage. Children who demonstrate Love show: Tenderness Affection Devotion Fondness Respect Appreciation Love is giving to others basic needs without having personal reward as a motive. The opposite of love is selfishness, hate, neglect, disloyalty, indifference, and ill will. Love is the foundation of life. Without love, the other Christian Character traits will simply not exist. Without love you won't be humble! Without love you won't have the courage to step up, you'll step back. Without love you won't be forgiving, giving, or faithful! Without love you won't even have the desire to live a Godly life! In other words, without love we are nothing like Jesus. When Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment, He responded You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important commandment. The second is exactly like it: You must love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments Matthew 22: Teaching our children about love, therefore, is the greatest gift we can give them. Love is what will make the biggest difference not only in the lives of our children but on their impact on our world. Let s get to it and be more intentional about teaching our children to love by making this a priority in our family! Three Bible Stories That Teach Children About Love 1. Jesus loves us, and that helps us love others. The Vine and the Branches (John 15:9-15) Through Jesus s illustration of the grapevine, we see our relationship with Him as lifegiving, nourishing, and imperative as the connection between the vine and branch. This simple, yet powerful picture is one children can understand. Verse 9 encourages us to remain in His love. Love comes from a heart that is connected to Jesus. When we truly know Him and understand His heart for us and for others, we will love well. Related verse: We love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19) 2. Love the unlovable. Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10) Even though he was known as a sinful, tax collector, Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus the day He came to town. Use this story to help your child understand that unkind, unpleasant,

3 unlovable people still want to be known and loved even though they don t act like it. Jesus gives a wonderful example in this story of reaching out to someone who is unloved by many. He goes out of His way to reach out and Zacchaeus s heart is changed by His love. Related verse: Love others as I have loved you. (John 15:12) 3. Love those in need. The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:26-37) Jesus instructs us to love our neighbor as ourselves. When asked Who is our neighbor? He responds with this story we ve all heard a thousand times in so many ways. The Good Samaritan is a foundational example of what it means to be a Christian. Our children need to be encouraged to notice those in need around them. Through this teaching, we can help foster a heart of compassion in our kids. We can teach them to see and then act when others are in need. In doing so, we are encouraging a love that puts others first. Related verse: Love your neighbor as yourself. (Luke 10:27)

4 The I Wills of Love I will choose to learn about God s love. I will choose to practice otherness attitudes. I will choose to help those in need. I will choose to treat everyone the way I want to be treated. I will choose to practice thoughtfulness. I will choose to show love for my family members. Activity: For this simple activity, you will need heart shaped construction paper and dark writing utensils (markers, crayons, pens). All you need to do is have your children write the word Valentine vertically just right of the center of the heart and then fill in the words below. You will end up writing out John 3:16.

5 It's important to memorize Scripture in order to stand strong during life's difficult circumstances. When you have Bible verses inscribed in your mind, you're carrying a concealed weapon. You're wielding the sword of the Spirit. (Dr. David Jeremiah) With your family, meditate on these passages about Love during the month of February, and begin laying up His words in your heart. 1 John 4:8: Whoever does not LOVE does not know GOD, because GOD is LOVE. 1 John 4:9: This is how GOD showed his LOVE among us: He sent His one and only SON into the world that we might live through Him. 1 John 4:10: This is LOVE: not that we loved GOD, but that He loved us and sent His SON as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:12: No one has ever seen GOD; but if we LOVE one another, GOD lives in us and His LOVE is made complete in us. 1 John 4:16b: GOD is LOVE. Whoever lives in LOVE lives in GOD and GOD in him. 1 John 4:19: We LOVE because He [God] first loved us. 1 John 5:2: This is how we know that we are children of GOD: by LOVING GOD and carrying out His commands. 1 John 5:3: This is LOVE for GOD: to obey His commands. John 3:16 For God so LOVED the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

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