VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL
This year's VBS reminded us of the many facets of God's love and how God is Love. Centered on I John 4:16 (We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in Him. God is Love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. -New Living Translation), students took a blast through the past to see the expanse of God's love. To see what else took place duirng VBS click here.
God's Love is Incredible
The Israelites had been slaves in Egypt for hundreds of years. They cried out to God, begging to be rescued-and God heard them. He would save his people through a mumbling, runaway shephard named Moses. God found Moses in the land of Midian and spoke to him from a bush that was on fire but not burning up. Moses was afraid and didn't want any part of this job. He gave God one excuse and another and another... But God gave Moses miracles and signs (and his brother Aaron) in order to persuade him. Most importantly, God promised Moses that He would be with him every step of the way. God cared about His people. He cared about Moses. He cares about YOU. God's love is INCREDIBLE! For more open your Bible to Exodus, Chapter 3, or click here.
God's Love is Invincible
In life we all face obstacles. Sometimes they are small obstacles, sometimes they are giant obstacles and occasionally some of us may come up against actual giants. I Samuel 17 chronicles such an occasion, when David, the youngest and smallest son of a large family stepped up to take on Goliath, a man whose size and strength were the stuff of legend. Confident in himself the giant challenged Israel's army for 40 days. Offended that someone would dare defy God's chosen people, David offered to fight the giant that kept the other soldiers at bay. With his faith in God's power, the shepard boy armed himself with a slingshot and smooth rocks and killed the giant.
When life's giants challenge us we must exhibit this same faith in God. Sometimes God will provide solutions that are easy for us to understand, and other times God's answers to life's giants may confuse us. After all who would ever think that a shepard boy could defeat a man who was trained for combat since youth? But when that young boy relies on God's invincible love, anything can happen. That invincible love is still available to us today. All we need to do is ask God how to handle the giants in our lives and behave according to his answers.
God's Love is Faithful
A lesson of faith was found in Joshua, chapter 2 as the classes all took a look at how Rahab, a prostitute in the city of Jericho, assisted Joshua's spies in their misson of surveying the land before conquering it. Before the spies arrival in Jericho, word of how the Lord dried up the Red Sea for the Israelites to pass over, along with their impressive victories over Sihon and Og, had already arrived in the town (without the Internet, imagine that!).
Upon the spies arrival Rahab hid them in her house. When the king's representatives arrived at her home demanding they be turned over, Rahab sent the men looking elsewhere, claiming the spies left her home already. In conversation Rahab told the spies she knew that the Lord had already granted the land to the Israelites and she also told the spies how the entire city was afraid of the pending invasion. Believing that God's power was greater than the king's power, she asked the spies to promise protection for her family once the invasion took place. The spies gave Rahab their word (and strict instructions to ensure their safety) and then returned to Joshua with a full report of all that took place.
Later in the book of Joshua the city of Jericho is taken (after a few laps and some loud horns.) For more on the day's lesson, as well as those laps and horns, click here.
After the lesson the classes crafted a healthy necklace of red snacks (grapes and watermelon) to remind them of the red cord that Rahab was instructed to tie to her window (feel free to click on the link above, we'll still be here when you are done). Another craft allowed everyone the chance to make a bracelet adorned with a cross. The evening concluded with a song about love.
God's Love is Unconditional
Do you judge people? Do you think some sins are worse than other sins? At one time or another we all acted or thought that someone was beyond reproach because of behaviors they commited in their lifetime.
As it turns out, such judgemental actions date all the way back to Jesus' time. Our Lord was once invited to dinner at a man named Simon's house. This particular Simon was a Pharisee, a leading political figure of the day. Understandably there were other "people of note" at the dinner. During the meal an univited guest, a woman of ill repute, entered the home with a beautful jar filled with expensive perfume. She fell at Jesus' feet, with tears streaming from her face and onto his feet, and than washed Jesus' feet with her hair. She then used the perfume to further care for Jesus' feet.
The mere presence of this woman caused great agitation for Simon, who thought that if Jesus was indeed a prophet he would know the sins of this woman and would never allow her to even touch him. Jesus answered Simon's thoughts with evidence of how unconditional God's love is for all of us... "Then Jesus said to the woman, "Your sins are forgiven...Your faith has saved you; go in peace." (Luke 7: 48-50, NLT)
Regardless of how society regards the actions of someone, God's love is big enough, wide enough, deep enough,m stong enough and unconditional enough to forgive them and grant them peace. If you have dobts about this love applying to you, remember the story of this woman. Or you can recall the story of the criminal who hung next to Jesus at the cruxifiction (read Luke 23:39-43).
God's Love is Real
When you pray do you expect something to happen? In Acts, chapter 12, King Herod had Peter, a follower of Jesus, arrested during Passover with the intent of putting him on public trial after Passover. In those days followers of Jesus were arrested and exectued for their contrary beliefs and it is believed that Herod planned to execute Peter while the Passover visitors were in town. The early church immediately began to pray for Peter.
The night before Peter was set to stand trial God sent an angel to bring Peter out of prison. Under the angel's care Peter passed all the guards, passed through the city and made his way to the people who were praying for him. When it was brought to their attention that Peter, the man they were praying for, was outside knocking to come in they didn't believe it. Naturally they went to see for themselves and staring them in the face was their answered prayer.
Sometimes God's answer is immediate. Other times we must wait patiently for God to respond to our prayers. Whatever the case, remember that God is real, His love is real and he will answer your prayers.