I love Communion Sunday. I take the forgiveness of my sins seriously and believe with my whole heart that Jesus is not only the Savior of the world but MY Friend. The price He paid for me to know Him and walk in that friendship is no small thing. While my children took communion on Sunday, I wanted to go deeper with them. I went to the store to buy gluten-free rice crackers and a bottle of grape juice. I already had communion cups (at any party store) and gathered the kids. We spent time going around telling Jesus what we were thankful for (because of Him). We broke the cracker and sat quietly as we each focused on His body being beaten, ripped, and torn for US! We recalled the countless times He has washed us clean from our messes and mistakes and never once turned His back on us. We thanked Him for ‘taking the spanking on our behalf’ and quietly consumed the juice. What struck me so profoundly about our pastor’s message is that communion is so much more than just eating and drinking over a history lesson. Just as being baptized is more than taking a swim, there is something more significant going on when we take communion. We take communion to RECEIVE His forgiveness and healing TODAY. We are committed as a family to taking communion every morning. We recall who needs the blood of Jesus in their life or circumstances, and we take it on their behalf. We focus on what Jesus has done for us TODAY and fill our hearts and minds with His goodness. Gather your kids and partake in one of the greatest gifts ever given to man!
Often, the last thing I feel like doing when I feel heavy is worship, but there is something so powerful about opening your mouth and flexing those weak muscles. Worship ushers in His presence, aligns our thoughts with His, and, most importantly, gets our eyes off of ourselves and our weaknesses and back onto Him and His power, strength, and ability. I have my go-to songs for when I feel tired and weary.
John Bevere wrote a book called The Bait of Satan, and it is just that, a bait. Someone does something that causes us to be offended, and we nurse it until it becomes a wildfire spreading to our mind, spirit, and body. We open the door to the enemy through his bait of offense. I gathered the kids, and we played a round of ‘hot potato’, where you catch the ball and throw it as fast as you can, pretending it is a hot potato so that it doesn’t burn your hands. Laughter broke out, and then I switched gears and explained to them about offense and how we can feel offended, but God wants us to be super quick to let it go and toss it back to Him, just like the ‘hot potato’ game. I have been able to cash in on this teaching over the years and remind them, “Hey, remember the ‘hot potato’ game? If you choose to hold onto this offense, it will cause greater hurt. Do you want to let it go?”
What would our school look like if each child came to school not only with a full belly but their love tank overflowing? What would it look like if we were able to help our children process the hurts and offenses so that healthy connections remained among peers on the playground? What if their character was the key that opened doors to greater favor and opportunities? You have a responsibility to teach and train your children at home so that they can be as successful as possible in the classroom.
When we face anger, anxiety, fear, etc., it invites us to encounter Him. Many believe you have to be free of such things to encounter God, but the truth is some of the greatest intimacy comes when we invite Him into those messy places.
Hopefully by now you have worked through and settled the question if God wants to speak to you. Faith is an important ingredient in our relationship with our Father. In fact, Hebrews 11:6 says that it is impossible to please God without faith! Ponder for a moment what life would be like if you went mute and had to try to teach, train, and love on your children without words. Seriously, think about how many times a day you use your words to guide your children to teach and train them, encourage them, cheer them on and help them. How often do you use your words to lavish love all over them and tell them how precious and beautiful they are to you? Now, how many times a day do you let your Father speak to you? Stop for a moment and ask yourself.
Why not spend the next hour with your children and tell them you are all going to play a game. NO TALKING. Each person has to communicate what they want to say without using words. Too many believers have limited their relationship to God with the written Word (which is very important), but He wants us to relate to Him, hear Him, feel His love, and experience Him. I liken the difference to wives whose husbands are overseas. While they may exchange beautiful love letters, it is not the same as the wife whose husband is there every night holding her, kissing her, and protecting her. The latter is the kind of love Jesus wants to have with us. We all know no marriage would be healthy or survive without communication. That is how personal God wants our relationship with Him to be. How could anyone find that level of intimacy with someone without talking, listening, and responding to each other? I have often heard people say that they believed God loved them in the “He loves the whole wide world” sense but had never fully understood how much He loved THEM personally until they heard Him speaking to them (John 10:27; Revelations 3:20). The purpose of the cross wasn’t only for forgiveness but also to grant us a relationship with God. God paid a pretty big price to offer us a relationship with Him. Do we not really believe that He wants to communicate with us (John 14:6)? We often pray, fast, believe, declare, hope, meditate, quote Scriptures, seek medical help, strive, ask others to pray, do it on our own strength and lean on our own understanding, but have we simply just asked Him?
I recently heard that people who hear God’s voice (and seek Him) are successful people. I agree – God is all-knowing all the time, and desires to share His answers with us, but we need to ask and then be quiet for a moment and listen to His response. Proverbs 25:2 says, “It is God’s privilege to conceal things, and the king’s privilege to discover it.” The reason why the Creator of the universe would concern Himself with speaking to us is for one reason alone – He loves us (Romans 5:8)! Many of us have been bruised by life circumstances, past relationships, or parents who parented out of their own wounds which can make it hard for us to grasp the depth and width of God’s love for us (Ephesians 3:8). But that’s the whole point of the Good News – we are LOVED! Radically wanted and loved in a way no human ever has and with a depth so deep we would never be able to consume it all. A proper response to His love is hunger – hunger for MORE of Him! Some of the greatest encounters with God are when we get to a place of such holy dissatisfaction with the reality there is MORE of Him and cry out for it. While we have all of God available to us when we first believe there will always be more of Him to discover, explore, experience, and encounter – always! How hungry are you for Him? Hungry people do what it takes, go great distances and pay the cost to get food. Spiritual hunger is a good thing. Matthew 5:6 says, “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.”
How hungry are you?
Parents – you have homework! Love is a VERB. Grab some paper and begin to write notes to your child. So tuck them in their underwear drawer, by their toothbrush, in their favorite book. Let them find your nuggets of love!!!! You can do it for your children or have them do it for each other.
Teach the children about the sun, stars, grass, and trees. Who made them all? God did. OOH and AAH over His mighty creation. Then tell them that there is one thing that He loves more than anything else He has ever created and ask if they want to see it. Spend some time making a big deal out of it. When they can’t hold onto their excitement any longer, bring out a mirror and let them see themselves.
In the days to come, remind them often of just how valuable and important they are to Him.
God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. “Jesus, will You show me a picture of how much YOU love me?”
Gather as a family in the living room, in the car, at the dinner table, or bedtime, and ask Jesus together. This is so empowering for children because they get to witness how God communicates with you, which increases their faith, and together you get to encounter Him. Spiritual hearing is a muscle that is strengthened by worshiping and praying. The more you do it, the stronger you become at it.
When my kids come home with stories about how someone was unkind, rude, or disrespectful, we walk through forgiveness and then release the opposite back to them in the spiritual realm. You can’t be a victim when you are partnering with the Creator of the universe.
Homework – Call a family meeting and ask your children what would happen if you walked into the middle of a busy street and held up your hand. Nothing would probably happen. Next, ask what would happen if a police officer walked in the middle of a busy street and put up his hand. Because of his badge, he has authority. Not only that, but all of the courts back him up. We get to be police officers in the spiritual realm because of the badge of Jesus, and all of heaven backs us up. We get to tie up the bad and then unleash all the good stuff.
2 Chronicles 7:14 – “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” One small two-letter word is the key to Him healing our land. **IF** What does He consider wicked? We would be wise to know what His heart is so that we can measure ourselves to His standard. Proverbs 6:16-19 (MSG) – “Here are six things God hates, and one more that he loathes with a passion: eyes that are arrogant, a tongue that lies, hands that murder the innocent, a heart that hatches evil plots, feet that race down a wicked track, a mouth that lies under oath, a troublemaker in the family.”
It is easy to read this list and say, “Not me! Goodness, with all of the stories on the news today, I am surely not that bad.” But how about we ask Him?
REPENT – “Jesus, will You please show me if there are areas I have walked in pride?”
REPENT – “Jesus, will You please show me if there are things I have not been fully truthful about?”
REPENT – “Jesus, will You please show me if there are areas I have partnered with anger rather than forgiveness?”
REPENT – “Jesus, will You please show me if there are areas I have desired or acted on revenge?”
REPENT – “Jesus, will You please show me if there are areas I have rushed to speak instead of seeking to understand?”
REPENT – “Jesus, will You please show me if there are areas I have shared gossip or juicy stories not even knowing they were 100% true?”
REPENT – “Jesus, will You please show me if there are areas I have caused my family – immediate or church family – hardship or harm by my words or actions?”
REPENT – “Jesus, I confess I have partnered with _____ by _____. I see that this is not Your will for Your children. Will You please forgive me?”
Now go teach your children about these verses, give examples, and teach them how to ask for forgiveness.