Each day in November, the Everyday Truth blog is looking at a different name for God and providing a family devotional for you to use with your kids. The goal is to keep our hearts focused on giving thanks to God during the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving.
God loves you. You've probably heard that before, right? But have you ever really thought about what that means?
The God who spoke the universe into being loves you. The Bible tells us He knows the number of hairs on your head. He loves you so much that He sent Jesus to die for you, so that you can have a relationship with God. He refused to let our sin separate us forever from His love.
God's love is unconditional. No matter what we do, God will still love us. He doesn't care if you wear the "right" clothes. He doesn't care if your hair is blonde, brown or purple with pink stripes. He's even ready to forgive you when you mess up -- no matter what you have done.
Sometimes people tell us they love us, but then get mad at us when we don't live up to their expectations. Has your mom or dad ever said to you, "If you do well at school, then we'll go out for ice cream" or "If you clean your room, you can watch TV?" Those are conditional statements -- if you do this, then I will do that -- but they're not related to love. Sometimes, though, we have friends who don't want to be friends with us unless we do everything their way. They tell us with their words and actions that if we wear the right clothes or if we act a certain way, we can be their friend. That's conditional love.
God's love isn't like that. His love isn't based on anything that we do. It's based on who God is. The Bible tells us in 1 John 4:7-8 "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."
Look at that last statement. It says God is love. His whole being is made up of love. And He chooses to pour that love out on you. I don't know about you, but sometimes I'm not very lovable. I can be crabby and not much fun to be around. I make mistakes, and I don't always treat others like I should. But God loves me anyway.
Give everyone in your family a piece of paper. On the paper make two columns. Label one column lovable, and the other column unlovable. In the lovable column write down the things that you think make a person easy to love. In the other column right down things you think make a person hard to love. Share those lists with your family. Now draw a big red heart over both columns and write God in the middle. Hang your list somewhere that you can see it to remind you that even when you act in ways that might not be easy to love, God still loves you.
Do you know what the best thing about God's love is? We can share it with others. His love fills us up so much, that it should spill out of our lives onto other people. God will never run out of love. He has enough for each of us. Talk with your family about ways that you can show God's love to other people. Be sure to share God's love with someone else today.
Write on your thankfulness tree leaves ways that you are thankful for God's love. You can thank Him for loving you enough to send Jesus. You can thank Him for loving you even when you aren't easy to love. Thank Him for ways that you see His love in your life (he's given you great parents, good friends, a dog who loves to sit in your lap and kiss you). Hang your leaves on your tree.
Pray together, thanking God for His unconditional love. Have everyone take a turn telling God how His love makes a difference in their lives. Ask God to give your family opportunities to show God's love to others this week.