On Wednesday evening I led our life group.  A group of friendly women who love Jesus and love each other.  We meet in a casual setting, in the living room of one of our gracious group members.  It’s easy to lead this group of ladies.  We are all hungry for more of God and having a small group gives us a safe place to step out and practice our gifts and callings.  I’m so thankful for all the ladies in our life group!

However, today I taught children’s church.  I love kids, but I am not good at leading kids.  This is not a familiar lane and it can feel a little like driving the bumper cars at Carowinds…blindfolded.  Thankfully, God knows what we need and He meets us where we are!  We have this amazing curriculum that is made for people like me – who have no idea what they are doing.  You might even say its “Sharon-proof.”  Its wonderful, it tells me everything I need to do to prepare, and then walks me through the lesson step by step.  It even tells me exactly what to say.  This is a huge blessing for someone trying to do something afraid! There are videos, games, clues, a commissioner to lead us, and extraordinary secret agents that help teach our kids how to be real-life extraordinary agents for Christ.  It is lots of fun!  For example, today we interrupted the News Report to interview 4 eye-witnesses (kids) that were alive during the time of Saul (Paul of Tarsus).  The curriculum is fast-paced and interactive with lots of opportunity for volunteering.

Today’s lesson was on forgiveness. Forgiving people we don’t like and people who are mean to us. It referred to God forgiving Saul and using Him to minister to many.  But what I really loved about it was that there was a side box that gave the leaders a “tip” to be sensitive to kids who may be living in abusive situations or being bullied, molested etc. It said to make sure you are sensitive to those things and to explain that forgiving never means that the bad things are okay or that we have to let them keep happening because we forgive them.  It gave the opportunity to explain that if someone is hurting you then you tell an adult, and we gave them specific people at the church that were safe to tell if it was something you would never tell anyone. It was very thorough and sensitive to the needs of all our children.  We must protect them and provide every opportunity to both forgive and be set free from any harm that may be happening.

Our kids are warriors.  This generation is rising up to overcome and be a light in the darkness!  We are seeing a new move of God and He has not left the children out of it.  He is using them to be His witnesses!  He loves them, and we must teach them how to have personal encounters with God.  Remember, they do not receive a junior Holy Spirit, they can have the same baptism as adults and when that happens, look out!  They are on fire, equipped to be world changers and they are not waiting for all the adults to get on board.  More and more of them are setting an example for how we should be more in love with Jesus than anything else in this world.  Time is short.  Teach them well.  They are our next generation.  I remember sitting on my bed studying the Bible one day and the Lord told me that He was healing me so quickly because there isn’t much time left.  I believe they are the generation that will witness our King Jesus returning for His bride, what a glorious day that will be!!

Even though it was children’s church, it was very much a grown up lesson that we must all learn to apply to our lives.  From time to time, we all have people that we need to forgive.  We must remember that it is a choice of our will and not a feeling.  You may not feel like you want to ever forgive them.  However, if you want to be forgiven then you must!

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.  Luke 6:37.

Forgiveness is conditional, it comes with the qualifier that in order for us to be forgiven by our Heavenly Father, we must first forgive others.  Here is a powerful prayer that you can pray today if you need help with forgiving someone in your life.

Dear Heavenly Father,  Your Word says that I must forgive in order to be forgiven (Matthew 6:14-15).  So, Father, I choose to forgive (insert name) for __________________.  I choose as an act of my will to forgive them in obedience to Your word.  I release them to You, and I ask You to bless them.  Your Word also says that if we confess our sins that You are faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).  So, I ask You now to search my heart and forgive me for every sin I have committed, both known and unknown.  Create in me a clean heart and make me useable in Your Kingdom.  I thank You for the gift of forgiveness, and I ask You, Holy Spirit, to fill me afresh.  Lord, because I love You, I choose to walk in forgiveness and to serve You to the best of my ability.  In Jesus’ Mighty Name, Amen

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