WHY TIME with NannyGranne

“God, why do I have to be an adopted?”

She’d whispered her question into her teacher’s ear whose task it was to write it on a yellow slip of paper for Nannygranne.  Nannygranne had invited the class to ask God any question. She would then look at God’s message, the Bible, and write them a story with the answer. 

The Bible class teacher wordlessly handed the slip to Nannygranne, her eyes brimming.  The expression on the little girl’s face said it all.  She felt confused.  Why was her situation different?  Nannygranne knew this question needed an answer now.

“Oh Mrs. Rosso!  I do have time to answer one question right now, but the others I’ll have to send back to you.  Would that be alright?”  Nannygranne nodded imperceptibly toward the little girl, winking to the other woman.

Understanding Nannygranne’s purpose, Mrs.  Rosso was visibly relieved.  “Well, Nannygranne, I think that would be nice for us.  Boys and girls, would you like Nannygranne to answer one question right now?”

To a chorus of agreement, Nannygranne smiled and said, “Alright, let me see,  which question  would be a good one for now?”  As she pretended to shuffle the slips, she stopped with little Lilly’s question.  “Okay, here is one.  God, why do I have to be an adopted?”  She waved the slip and said, “Now let’s pray together for God’s answer. We need to find the verses in the Bible where this answer is found.”  From years of study, Nannygranne already knew God’s views of adoption and God would want little Lilly to understand them.

After praying a simple prayer for God’s guidance to the right scriptures, Nannygranne took her Bible and had the children gather around her on the floor as she pulled up a chair near them.  With her Bible in her lap, she began. “I’m so glad this question was asked because it’s a very big and important question.   Did you know that God knows all about adoption because Jesus was adopted?”

Lilly’s eyes sparkled with curiosity, but she was hesitant to speak.  Perhaps she didn’t want the others to know the question was hers.  

Other children gasped. “Jesus was adopted!” 

Nannygranne continued.  “Yes.  Who remembers that Jesus was the Son of….?”  She gave opportunity for the little ones to answer “God!”  She then asked the next question.  “Very good.  Yes, Jesus is the Son of God.  But who did Jesus live with when He was growing up?”

“His mom?” guessed one four-year-old.  

“Her name was Mary!” announced another.

“Mary and Joseph!” shouted Lilly.  Nannygranne could now see the adventure in her eyes.

“That’s right, Lilly.  Jesus lived with Mary and Joseph and Joseph wasn’t Jesus’ real father.  But he helped Mary raise Jesus—just like being adopted.”

“But why didn’t God keep Jesus?” asked Lilly.

“Well, Lilly, that’s why God likes adoption.  God had a special plan for Jesus and job for Him to do on earth, so Jesus moved from Heaven to here.  And sometimes God has a special plan for kids whose moms and dads are having bad troubles. Sometimes those moms and dads need someone else to take care of their children.  Sometimes those moms and dads let God help them get better and that takes a long time.   But kids need parents while they’re still kids and can’t wait so long.  So God sends help. “

Lilly seemed to wilt a little. She grew quiet.

“Let’s think about being adopted.   I think being adopted is a special kind of being loved. When someone adopts you, they pick you especially and want you very VERY much!  Then they go to court and tell the judge they want to give you their name and be your family.  They even have to pay a lot of money for all the work people did to make you be in their family.  But the best part of all is that they give you their hearts and all of their hard work because they want to take care of you and love you from now on.”

“Wow!” interrupted one little boy.  “I’ve got five brothers and sisters.  My Mama said I was a accident.  I wish I was a-dotted.”

Nannygranne, laughing, said, “Well, your mama is happy you’re here and isn’t going to let you go anywhere, even if you aren’t adopted, so nobody needs to worry.  We’re happy you’re here, too.”

Nannygranne then opened her Bible and said, “Now let’s read some of God’s words about adoption, okay?”

From Galatians 4:4-5 “…God sent out his Son…so that we may be adopted….”

“What did you hear God say there?”  Nannygranne knew the Bible terms could throw little ones, but she waited patiently.

Finally Lilly whispered, “God gave away Jesus, so He could adopt us?”

The room went quiet. For a room full of four-year-olds, silence is rare.  Nannygranne knew this moment would remain in every heart in the room forever.  

“Yes, Lilly.  You are very right.  God gave away Jesus for a while so that He could adopt us.  Jesus lived here instead of in Heaven with His Father, so that He could show us and teach us how to have a good life here, and how to go home together to His Kingdom.”

The growing lump in her throat and the tears blurring her vision made Nannygranne look to Mrs. Rosso to finish the thought.

“You see, boys and girls,” said the teacher, “God wants all of us to want to be His children.  He says He’s our Father.  He gives us His heart and gave us this whole world for a place to live.  And He wants to give us everything in Heaven, too.  So I guess He wants to adopt us all!  Oh, and did you know that when we say we’re Christians that we’re using Jesus’ name—Christ?” 

“But you still get to live with your mom and dad, right?” asked one concerned boy.

Nannygranne, now feeling more collected, finished her comments just as the bell rang. “Yes, He does because He knows we need help growing up and he gave us moms and dads to raise us for Him. That’s why I decided to become a Christian.  I wanted God to adopt me.”

As Mrs. Rosso helped the little ones gather their things and line up at the door to greet their parents, Lilly caught Nannygranne’s eye.  Running to her with open arms, she said, “Nannygranne, I liked your story.”  Then she motioned for Nannygranne to lean over so she could whisper her secret.  Nannygranne bent low and Lilly whispered, “I’m glad you’re adopted, too.”  Then with a smile, she bounced into the arms of her mother.

Is God Mad at America?

As Nannygranne stirred the bubbling stew for dinner, her husband and sons, watching the news, fervently discussed among themselves the state of the country.1  The aproned eight-year-old girl beside her, little to the adults’ awareness, clearly heard the caution and concern in the voices of the men gathered around the television. 

“Is God mad at America, Nannygranne,” she asked.  

Nannygranne glanced down into her face and immediately realized her question came from the intensity of this conversation and others.  Between the lackluster approach to American History in school, voices decrying America’s founding values, and the constant complaints of conservatives that America is falling from grace, children hear nothing but bad news about our country.  Is it any wonder our young feel like rats on a sinking ship.2

“Is that a scary thing to you?” Nannygranne responded as she reached for the soup bowls in the cabinet. 

“Uncle Brett said that some people think America’s hurting people.  Then Grandpa said that America’s not a Christian anymore!” Obviously, the conversation was unsettling for Janie. But they were part of our family’s fabric, so she needed help processing its weight.

“I need you to help me at the table, so come sit with me.” Nannygranne turned the heat low on the stew, took the cornbread out of the oven, then grabbed cheese, pickles, and carrots from the refrigerator.  Pouring a glass of water for herself and Janie, she invited her to sit with her as she sliced cheese and dill pickles for the relish plate. “Here, Janie.  Could you put some baby carrots on this plate, too?”

“Okay,” she responded. 

“You know, hearing all the bad news makes me sad, too.  You are right that grownups are talking about those things and worry.  And God doesn’t like it when countries forget about Him or hurt other people.  When America started, the people used the Bible to make the laws and wanted everyone to follow God’s way.  But people quit reading what they said and have forgotten about God.4 I wish those people wouldn’t like talking about bad things so much.”

Stopping mid-motion, Janie whispered, “What people, Nannygranne?”

“The news people.  They get more money for talking about bad things happening than the good things.  Too many people like hearing bad things about other people.  But do you know what?  I like to watch for the helpers and the brave people.  And I know that thousands and thousands of people are praying every minute for God to help us.  God wants us to be okay and for Christians to help make America remember Him, again.”

Wrinkling her nose, Janie complained, “I wish Grandpa and Daddy and Uncle Brett wouldn’t watch the news!”

“Well, we need to remember that God gave men hearts that want to protect us and keep us safe.3  They watch the news, so they understand things that are happening. It’s sort of like they are the guards for our family.   But for now, you get to be a kid and let them worry about all that.” 

“Oh!  Then that’s why they are watching?”

“Yeah. That’s just part of being grownup.  But Grandpa and them don’t worry all the time. There’s something else they know that’s even more important.” Nannygranne, having finished the last pickle, wiped her hands on her apron and smiled.

“What is it?” Janie asked, wiping her hands on her little apron, too.

“We are indeed Americans, but we mainly belong to a different country.”  

“We do?” The girl was suddenly curious.

“Christians are citizens of the Kingdom of God, the strongest country there is.  And it’s all around us and all over the world! Jesus is even more powerful than any President because He’s our Champion and King.  And no matter what happens to America or any country in the world, nobody can mess up God’s Kingdom.  Jesus guards and takes care of us.”

“And even Grandpa’s and Daddy’s and Uncle Brett’s, too?” At that, Janie ran to her Daddy, jumped into his lap, threw her arms around his neck, and shouted, “Daddy, you don’t have to worry about God burning American down.  Jesus guards us, and we’re his scizzorins!”

Her daddy looked up at Nannygranne, puzzled.  Nannygranne just grinned and responded, “Wash your hands, guys. Let’s eat, and then we can talk.”

“My kingdom is not of this world,” said Jesus. “If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Jews. As it is, My kingdom does not have its origin here…I was born for this, and I have come into the world for this: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.” from John 18:36-37

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November 2020 Poll regarding the state of America –  https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/17/poll-we-have-met-the-enemy-and-it-is-us-459948

2 “Only 4 out of 10 respondents ages 18-34 claim to be extremely or very proud of being American.” – source https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/voices/2020/09/23/1619-project-american-history-education-trump-patriotic-column/5864265002/

3 God’s spiritual economy for families Ephesians 5:23; I Peter 3:7; Colossians 3:21; I Tim 5:8; I Cor. 7:1-5 

The American Heritage Series with David Barton Amazon Prime

Will some people who believe in God be lost?

     

Nannygranne and her sweet neighbor girl Kiera were watching Pilgrim’s Progress together when her young guest asked, “Will some people who believe in God be lost?”

Kiera had so many ten-year-old type questions. Nannygranne could tell she was processing as she watched the movie.  She also knew that these moments could be pivotal in Kiera’s own journey into the Kingdom.  

“Wow, girl!” Nannygranne said, “You’ve asked a really big question.  In fact, it’s so important that I don’t think I should just give you my words.  I think we need to hear Jesus’ words to answer your question.  After the movie, you want to have some hot chocolate and see what He says in the Bible?”

“Okay,” Kiera replied with a smile.  Settling back with her popcorn, she seemed content to wait for her answer. Nannygranne used the time to pray and call to mind the scriptures where Jesus made statements about believers being lost.  Those verses aren’t the ones most people are familiar with.  They’re not comforting, but regardless of how people feel about it, He said what He meant to say so Nannygranne knew they had to look at them..

Later, settled at the kitchen table with their hot drinks and newly-baked peanut-butter cookies, Nannygranne pulled out her worn, large-print Bible.  And she queued up her on-line Bible concordance to help with searches.  

“Okay, Kiera.  I’m going to try to find some verses where Jesus talks about believers who would be lost.  He’s the one that decides who is saved and lost.  Our job is to listen to Him and follow His words.  Is that what you think, too?”

“Uh, huh.”

“I remember one verse, James 2:19, that says the devils believe and tremble.” Nannygranne helped the girl find the verse.

“Oh, I know the devils won’t go to heaven.  They don’t really believe, do they?” 

“Well, the Bible says they do.  Do you think there might be different kinds of ‘belief’?  What kind of belief do you think the devils have?”  

Nannygranne knew this question was far more important than Kiera might know.

Kiera looked at the verse several seconds, then looked up at Nannygranne and shrugged her shoulders.  “I don’t know.  Maybe they KNOW he is God, but they don’t like Him.”

“So then sometimes there might be someone who knows—or believes—that God is there, but they don’t really care enough to listen to Him?  Is that what you’re saying?”

“I guess there could be people like that.”

“I agree with you.  Now let’s look at something Jesus said.  It’s a hard saying, and people don’t like to talk about this, but I think it must be important because God put it in the Bible.  Let’s look at Matthew 7.  Jesus starts out saying we can’t put people down because we think they’re bad at heart, because we don’t know anyone’s heart. Only God does.  He tells us that, if we need Him, to call for Him, look for Him, and go to Him. Then Jesus says to treat people the way you’d want them to treat you.  He then said that you’d be able to tell what people are like by what happens when they’re around.  

“It was after all that, that Jesus said the hard-to-hear thing.  He said that when He comes to take all His people home, there will be people who think they will go with Him.  They’ll brag about doing big things for Jesus, but they never took time to call for Him, look for Him or go to Him, so they never got acquainted with Him.  Jesus will only take His friends home.  Can you read verses 21-23 for us?”

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’  And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”

Nannygranne waited for the words to soak in.  “What kind of faith do you think those people had, Kiera?  Did they like Jesus?”

Kiera thought for several seconds.  Finally, she said, “They must have liked Jesus because they did all those things for Him.  Why wouldn’t they get to know Jesus?”  Her voice held the sadness such a thought deserves.

“I’m not sure, but it sounds like maybe they thought they could get Jesus to admire how smart they were without needing Him.  Sometimes people think they don’t really need to depend on Jesus.  They like the way they’re doing things and how it makes them feel and don’t even find out what Jesus really wants.”  

Nannygranne handed the girl a napkin for her little chocolate mustache.  “Jesus wants us to believe that He’s more important than anyone or anything when it comes to living our lives.  That’s the kind of belief Jesus says we have to have.” 

“How do you know if you really believe right, Nannygranne?”  

The woman’s heart went out to the girl, knowing seekers of all ages have asked that same question with the same concern she saw in the child’s wide eyes.  But she also knew that John 20:31 teaches that Jesus doesn’t want His real followers to worry, but to know—based on scripture—that we are saved. She wanted Kiera to know that if anyone is lost, it won’t be God’s fault. The choice is theirs. 

She took the girl’s small hand with a reassuring smile.  “Well, to start with, you need to know how much Jesus wantsyou.  Paul told the Christians in Rome that nothing—absolutely nothing—will ever stop God from loving us.1  We can’t stop Him from loving us and we can’t make Him love us any more than someone else.  God loves because He IS love, not because we’re always loveable.2  

“Jesus told a man one night that God loved the whole world so much that He sent Jesus so that people who believed in Him could be saved.3  And Paul told his friend, Timothy, that God wants all men to be saved. Peter wrote that God doesn’t want anyone to be lost, but He wants them to change and become followers of Jesus.5  And Jesus wants to be your friend and for us to prove it by listening to Him and doing what He wants.6   Jesus wants us to be in his family! God went to a lot of trouble to be able to save us from a bad life now and to take us to be together with Him forever.” 

Patting Kiera’s arm, Nannygranne said, “So to have the right faith, you do what He said to do. You ask for Him, look for Him, and go to Him.”

Kiera said, “How do I do that?”

“Well, let’s read how people in the Bible asked for, looked for, and went to Jesus.”  Together they turned to the book of Acts and read story after story.  

Kiera had more questions but eventually decided she knew the answer to her first question:  

Only the truly believing, dependant, and faithful ones (not perfect) are saved. 

 The Bible tells us so.

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1 Romans 8:38-39

I John 4:8

John 3:16-17

I Tim 2:3-4

II Peter 3:9

6 John 15:14

Matthew 12:50

More regarding believers falling from grace:  I Peter 4:18; I Cor 10:12; I Tim 3:6-7; Heb 4:11; Heb 12:15; James 5:17; II Peter 3:17. What Jesus said to churches: Rev 2:5, 15-16; 3:1, 11, 17&21.

Why did God give us beds and blankets?

Just as they were about to doze off, Marih asked, “Why did God give us beds and blankets?”  Was she fighting sleep?  What an unusual question.  

Then Nannygranne remembered her prayer with her granddaughter: “Father, thank you for our warm bed and home.  Be with those who are going to bed cold tonight. Help us be ready to help them when we can.”   So, to see what spurred her concern, she asked Marih, “Do you mean why do we have warm beds and blankets and some people don’t?”

“No, I was just wondering why God would want to give us beds and blankets.”  

Still puzzled, Nannygranne explained, “Well, the way God gives us most things is by giving abilities to people to invent things and also make the materials they use.  So, somewhere there are people with the ability to figure out how to use cotton, bamboo, or silk, or even make fabrics out of oil to make sheets and pillows and things.  That’s a lot harder than sewing the bedding.  Does that make sense?”1

She raised her head with a little frown and a twist of her head.  “Yes, that makes sense.  But why would God go to all that trouble so that we could have beds and blankets?”

Smiling, Nannygranne pulled her closer and said, “Because God loves to take care of us.  He’s our very first Father and is our only forever Father who will never die.2  Everything He’s made on earth is for our benefit:  food, water, the animals, all the plants.  In fact, some things He’s made so that they are pretty or taste good or feel good or maybe smell good.  It’s one way He tells us what He’s like.”

“But I don’t get it, Nannygranne.  Why does He go to all that trouble when we’re just ordinary people?”

“I know, sweetheart. I don’t get it either.  All I know is that He told us in the Bible that He loves us.  Then He gives us everything and even each other.  Then Jesus even became a human to show us how to live well, and then died and took the punishment for our sins.  Then He loves us all enough to wait for us to want to be with Him.   And anyone who decides to go with God will be okay with Him.  He wants us all.  It’s just too much love to understand.”

Yawning, she said, “That’s what I thought.  Lying here, so warm and soft and with you, it’s kind of like being in God’s lap, isn’t it.”  Then she turned over, sighed, and said, “Goodnight, Nannygranne.  I love you.”

As Nannygranne lay there, she thought about what her granddaughter had reminded her of: to envision the Father’s embrace in every flower, breeze, and summer meadow.  Even in the violence of nature, to remember the power He has to keep His promises.3  

“Goodnight, Marih,” she said. “I love you, too.  And I’m going to cuddle up in God’s lap, too.”

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Photo credit Almay Stock Photo

James 1:17

Psa 68:5; Psa 89:26; Psa 103:13; Prov 3:12

Psa 8:3-4

Are we supposed to hate the devil?

Ireland was only four years old with big blue eyes, cherub cheeks, and curly blond hair. She looked up rom her toys and asked, “Auntie N, are we supposed to hate the devil?” She knew that “hate” is a bad word and was never to be said of her sister.  But she also knew that the devil was bad and that everyone seemed to hate him.    

My first inclination was to say, “YES!!” but I wanted her to understand the reasons why, not just my opinion.  At four, my opinion carried weight for her.  At fourteen, she’d hear other ideas and form her own.  She needed to see HOW to create views based on reason, not merely personal preferences.

“What did the devil do, do you think?” I questioned.

“He’s mean and ugly,” she snarled as she wrinkled her forehead, shaking her curls angrily.

“Did you see a picture of him somewhere?”  I wondered what brought the Enemy into her sights.

“On TV.  He scared me, too.  I don’t like him.” She looked over at her sister. “Sophie said her friends in Bible class hate the devil, and she hates him, too.”

“Sophie is right about God and Satan being enemies.  But God isn’t afraid of the devil.  God is God, and the devil is just a mean angel. God is way stronger than any angel, even old Satan.  Have you ever heard about what the devil did to God’s friend, Job?”

“The one that got swallowed by the whale?”  Her face brightened, thinking she remembered something important.

“Well, that man’s name was Jonah.  This man lived a very long time before Jonah.  His name was Job, and Satan was really mean to him.”1

“No, I don’t know Job,” she admitted.

“Job was God’s friend, and one day God was meeting with a bunch of His angels.  Then in came old Satan.” I hissed as I said his name, frowning as if greatly offended.  “God asked him what he was doing there.  Old Satan said, ‘Aw, I was just out messing around and was in the neighborhood and wanted to see what’s going on.’  So God said, ‘Then did you notice my good friend Job when you went by his place?  He’s one of the best people I know.’  Then old Satan said God wasn’t fair and was nicer to Job than He was to anybody else, and that’s the only reason Job was his friend.  God told him that wasn’t true, and if Satan thought he could make Job hate God, then just go ahead and try.  Well, Satan was so mean and ugly, he hurt Job’s kids and all of his animals and even made Job have sores all over his body.  Then Satan made Job’s friends bully him, too.  Job didn’t understand why all those things were happening to him, and Job’s feelings were really hurt.  But he always knew God was in charge.  And sure enough, God made him well and gave him an even bigger family and more animals, and Job lived a long time. Satan never beats God.”2

Sophie joined in the discussion. “If Satan’s an angel, why is he so mean?”

“I think he’s ashamed of himself when he sees how strong and good God is, and he’s jealous and wants what God has.3  He even lied to the first humans God made–Adam and Eve…”4

“I know Adam and Eve!”  Ireland, bouncing excitedly, clapped her hands.  “They lived in God’s garden!”

“Yes, they did, but Satan lied to them and got them in trouble with God, so they had to live somewhere else.  But God has shown everybody the way back to His house. He put it in the Bible. So Satan won’t ever get his way.”  

Nannygranne didn’t want the girls to fear Satan but instead understand he’s not to be ignored, keeping a distance from him with God between him and them.

“Satan is our enemy, but Jesus is our real superhero and always beats Satan. One time Jesus went away by Himself into the mountains to pray for a long time.  Satan came slipping up and whispered stuff in Jesus’ ear to make Him think God didn’t really love him. But he didn’t fool Jesus.4   Satan always likes to try to make us mad at God and each other.5  Satan likes to talk ugly to our thoughts in the dark.  But when we listen to God’s word and pray to Him, it’s like turning on a flashlight, and Satan always runs from the light.”

“Yeah!  We’ll turn on God’s flashlight and scare the devil away!”  Ireland pumped her chubby fist.

“You know, girls, there was a mighty and important soldier angel of God named Michael.  Michael wanted to take care of Moses after he died.  But old Satan wanted to carry Moses’ body off.4  Michael just said, ‘I’m going to let God take care of you, Satan.  He’s going to tell you that you’re wrong.’  Even that strong, powerful soldier, angel Michael, stayed away from Satan and left him up to God.  He wouldn’t even say anything ugly to Satan.  He didn’t want to be like Satan was.  Satan’s the one that says ugly things to people.”

“So we’re supposed to be nice to him?” Sophie challenged.  

“Let’s think about this.  If you were at Walmart and a nice-looking stranger smiled at you and put out his hand and said to go with him or her, what would you do?”

“I’d run tell you, Auntie N!  You’d clobber ’em!”

I couldn’t help but laugh at her keen vision of my defensive actions regarding my sweet nieces.  She wasn’t far off!  “That’s right!  And when Satan makes us feel like doing mean or ugly things like him, let’s run tell God, and God will clobber him, too!  We can always tell God, and He’ll make Satan leave us alone.6

“So no, Sophie.  Michael wasn’t nice to Satan at all.  But Michael stayed away from him even though he was strong and powerful.  He knew it wasn’t his job, but God’s, to get Satan.  You and I want to stay far away from Satan or anything like him and stay close to God.”

“Okay.  I hate the devil like God does, but I’m not going to mess with him.  God’s going to mess with the devil for me.”  

At that, Sophie and Ireland seemed satisfied, turned back toward their toys, and the conversation was over.

I prayed they would always be so resolute, trusting them to God’s great safe hands.

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Book of Jonah

Satan’s jealousy Luke 10:17-20

The Book of Job

Genesis 3

Jesus and Satan Matthew 4; Luke 4

Jude 1:9

Rev 12:10

James 4:7-8a “… But resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”