WHY TIME with NannyGranne

What are Angels like?

As the kids came into the classroom, Nannygranne was glad to see some of them had brought their Bibles.  Nannygranne held an Easy-to-Read version in her lap.  She’d placed several pictures around the room to remind them of today’s planned topic:  Angels!

 

“Good morning, everyone!  I’m soooo excited because God says soooo many things about angels.” Then, with a secretive whisper: “And other strange beings.  Are you ready to get started?”

“Yes!” was the echoed answer.

Nannygranne prayed with them for God to help them see what HIS angels are like, and not just the picturebook or movie versions people make up.  She asked God to show them in His word what real angels are like.  Then: “Alright.  I have four pictures here.   Whoever helps me find which one is the angel gets a prize out of the golden shoebox.”

The children studied the pictures.

Finally, Andrew said, “Are they all angels–except the cartoon?”

“Well, Andrew, that’s why I’m so glad we have a Bible here because God is the one who knows all about angels because He made them.  People have all sorts of ideas, some really sweet and some really crazy, but if we really want to know about the REAL angels, God is the only one that knows all about them.  And He tells us what we need to know.”

Nannygranne opened her Bible to Genesis.  “Who wants to come here and read about the very first heavenly worker God sent to do a job?”

Ava raised her hand.  “I will, Nannygranne!”

Together they found Genesis 3:24. “God forced the man to leave the garden. Then he put Cherubs and a sword of fire at the entrance to the garden to protect it. The sword flashed around and around, guarding the way to the tree of life.”

“OK.  Which of the pictures here look like the Cherub?”

All hands flew up as students bounced eagerly in their chairs. “Alexander, which one do you think  looks like the angel God tells us about here?”

He pointed to the Cherub with a flaming sword.

Nannygranne went on. “I think I like that one, too, Alexander.  But I wonder about something.  This verse says the Cherub has a sword, but it doesn’t say it has wings. But I found where God tells us a Cherub did have wings.  Who wants to read for me next?

Emma quickly raised her hand and came forward.  “ The noise from the wings of the Cherub angels could be heard all the way out into the outer courtyard. The sound was very loud—like the thundering voice when God All-Powerful speaks. Ezekiel 10:6″  Then she hurried back to her chair.

“So Emma, does God say His Cherubs have wings?”

Emma responded with a vigorous nod.

“Thank you all, and I’d like Alexander, Emma, and Ava to pick a prize from the golden shoebox.”

Each child jumped up for their gift.

“William, I think I would like you to come and help me with the next one.  It’s a little strange and I know you won’t be afraid.”

William strode to stand near Nannygranne.

“Okay, William. In Isaiah 6:1-5, God let Isaiah look into Heaven, and this is what he saw.  Now you won’t be scared, will you?”

William just grinned and shook his head and began to read.

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a very high and wonderful throne. His long robe filled the Temple.  Seraphim stood around him. Each one had six wings. They used two wings to cover their faces, two wings to cover their bodies, and two wings to fly. The Seraphim were calling to each other, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord All-Powerful. His glory fills the whole earth.” The sound was so loud that it caused the frame around the door to shake, and the Temple was filled with smoke. I was frightened and said, “Oh, no! I will be destroyed. I am not pure enough to speak to God, and I live among people who are not pure enough to speak to him. But I have seen the King, the Lord All-Powerful.” 

William stood quietly for a second, then turned to look at the pictures, pointed and said, “That’s a Seraphim.”

“Yes, William, you are right.  You can go get something out of the gold box.  Thank you.”

William strode back to his seat with his trophy, proud of his success.

“William, this is the only place God tells us about His Seraphim.  When I looked at the word Seraphim up in the Bible Dictionary, it said the name means “firey creature.”  I think the picture you chose is just right.”

Nannygranne looked at the last picture and said, “Well, if the Cherub is called a Cherub, and Seraphim is called Seraphim, we still haven’t read about angels.  But don’t worry.  God talks about them a lot.  I need three people to come up here and read three verses.  Mason, Oliver, and Benjamin come help me here.”

The boys hurried forward, scrambling to be first.  Little Benjamin was last in line. Nannygranne found each verse, and each boy read them in order.

As Nannygranne pointed at the verse, Mason read Luke 1:26b. “…God sent the angel Gabriel to a virgin girl who lived in Nazareth, a town in Galilee. She was engaged to marry a man named Joseph from the family of David.  Her name was Mary.  The angel came to her and said, ‘Greetings! The Lord is with you; you are very special to him.’”  Nannygranne indicated he could be seated.

Oliver was next. “The angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary, because God is very pleased with you.  Listen! You will become pregnant and have a baby boy. You will name him Jesus.”

Then Benjamin stepped forward, looked nervously up to his teacher.  She smiled and assured him they would do this together.  Benjamin read the words as she pointed to them. Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let this thing you have said happen to me!” Then the angel went away.”

Benjamin didn’t wait for instruction, he stopped and got something from the gold box just as Mason and Oliver had done.

“What does the Bible say this angel looked like when he came to Mary?”

The children were quiet since they’d heard no description.

“They were surprised when this stranger just suddenly appeared, and he must have looked unusual, but he just came to talk.”

She looked at their confused expressions and said, “Let’s keep reading.  Maybe somewhere, God will describe an angel for us.  I’ll read it this time.  This verse is where God tells us what happened when Jesus woke up and came out of His grave after He died on the cross.

Suddenly, an angel of the Lord came from the sky, and there was a huge earthquake. The angel went to the tomb and rolled the stone away from the entrance. Then he sat on top of the stone.  The angel was shining as bright as lightning. His clothes were as white as snow. The soldiers guarding the tomb were very afraid of the angel. They shook with fear and then became like dead men.”

Nannygranne’s eyes were wide.  She smiled and looked around at the students.  “Now what did THIS angel look like?”

Benjamin jumped up and said, “That one!  The one thitting on top of the thtone!”

“Yes Benjamin!  He’s shiny, isn’t he?  But God doesn’t say the angel had wings like the Cherubs and Seraphim.  They are different.  They are God’s deputies, His workers, and they bring messages.  That’s their job.”

“You mean angels don’t have wings?!” Alexander was shocked.

“God never says they have wings.  They don’t need them because they can just go wherever God sends them from Heaven.  But Cherubim and Seraphim do have wings.  The angels sometimes just looked like important people or are shiny, and sometimes they were invisible, too.  It just depended on the job and what God needed them to do.”

Alexander shook his head in amazement.  “Hmph.  I just did not know that.”

Nannygranne stifled a laugh at his remark.

“Guess what else, Alexander.  Angels live where you never get old so they live forever . And Jesus said He could call thousands of angels if He wanted to.” Matt 22:30; Mk 12:25; Matt. 26:53

The first bell rang so Nannygranne asked Emma to tell her what she chose from the golden box.  Emma raised her shiny bookmark.  Nannygranne asked her to read what it said.

“All the angels are spirits who serve God and are sent to help those who will receive salvation.”

“Thank you Emma.  Angels are important and very interesting, but the Bible says they just work for God to help us.  God loves us more than the angels.”

Alexander raised his hand, a puzzled look on his face.  “But doesn’t the Bible say Satan has angels, too?  What do they do?”

“Alexander, you are a very good thinker.  Next week we’ll read what God says about Satan and his angels.  I think we’ll find out that they aren’t as strong as God’s angels, and absolutely not as strong as Jesus.”

“I’m weally gwad about that,” Benjamin said.

“Me, too!”  Nannygranne replied.

Are Angels Real?

As the class thoughtfully colored their angels for the story of Mary and Joseph, Nannygranne noticed most were similar,

Except one.

“Are angels real?” asked Alexander.  Ever the thoughtful one in class, Nannygranne knew he was hoping for a real answer.

“I like that question, Alexander,” she said as she patted his shoulder approvingly.  “Does anyone know somebody who doesn’t think angels are real?”

No response.

“Ok, can anyone name someone who  does think angels are real?”

Still no response.

Nannygranne had an unsettling thought. She exaggeratedly laid her finger on her chin and asked, “Has anyone in here ever heard much about angels?”

Hands all over the room flew up.  “You told us there used to be angels.”

“I’ve seen pictures of them. They have wings and a shiny circle over their heads.”

“My grandma likes to watch an angel show on TV.”

Nannygranne said, “What are some things you’d like to know about angels?”

“Do we turn into angels when we get to Heaven?”

“Why can’t we see them? They weren’t invisible in the Bible.”

“Why are angels girls!”

“No! Angels are boys!!!”

“The Bible says Satan has angels, too.  Why does he get to have angels?”

Nannygranne held up her hands in surrender.  “Oh, WOW!  You guys would really like to talk about angels!  How about we do that for a few weeks. Would you guys want to see what all God says about angels?”

A chorus of “Yes! Woo-hoo! Please!” erupted. The timing was perfect because the first dismissal bell rang at that moment.

“Ok, guys.  You’ve got it!  I’ll study God’s book and pray and ask Him to help us learn what we need to learn about angels.  Then we should have some answers to our questions.”

Then she spoke to Alexander. “Alexander, I am so proud of you for asking that question. Let me ask you a question, is that okay?”

Alexander nodded his head cautiously.

“Have we found out in this class that God is real, and His message to us is the Bible?”

“Yes.”

“Then I assume we can know that angels are real because God tells us about them. So we’ll go to the Bible to learn about them. Does that sound like a plan?”

Alexander grinned and said, “Yes!  Like a plan!”

(to be continued)

What does God look like?

Eric was new to the class.  His family had moved into the neighborhood near the church building, and he’d been invited by Alex.  As the lesson progressed, Eric seemed interested but uncomfortable. Nannygranne sensed he was self-conscious and felt “behind” in the discussion, and unfamiliar with the story under discussion. Needs overruled structure, so Nannygranne decided to change gears.

“Ok, guys.  How about we have a palaver?”

“A what?” Alex asked.

“A group discussion,” Anthony answered. He loved group discussions. Anthony liked to talk.

“Right, Anthony.”

She had the class circle their desks as she wrote ‘Palaver Place’ on the chalkboard. “Okay, everyone. We each write down a question and pass it to me. I’ll choose one and we’ll discuss that topic.”  She handed out index cards. “I’ll give you 60 seconds to write your question. We want plenty of time to talk.” When she took up the papers, she took special note of which one belonged to Eric, curious about what was on his mind.

“Ok, Palaverers. I’m going to choose this question.” With flair, she whipped Eric’s card from the stack and read ceremoniously “What does God look like?”

Nannygranne lowered the card, stood up, and began walking around the circle, dramatically searching every face, scrutinizing hair color, height, even jokingly sniffing the red-headed Destiny’s hair. The students started to giggle, wriggling in their chairs as she came closer to each one.

“What are you DOING!” demanded Anthony.

“Trying to see what God looks like,” she answered.

“We’re not God!” said Destiny stating the obvious.

“But we just studied that God said we were created in His image,” Nannygranne argued.

Silence hung in the room. Eventually, Eric spoke softly. “But we all look so different,” he said, glancing around the room where nobody looked like him.

“Yes, Eric, we are all very different. So, class, how are we made in God’s image yet look so different from one another? Also, Jesus was born in Israel and He looked different from each of us. He was Jewish.”

Jasmine raised her hand, “But aren’t we made to BE like God, not just to look like Him?”

“What do you think, group?”

Alysha agreed, as well as Isabella and Mateo.

“Let me tell you how the Bible describes God. Some of this is pretty scary. Some of it is really cool.  Ezekiel said God was brightness all around Him. James said he was the Father of lights. John said when he got to look into Heaven that God looked like someone dressed in a long flowing robe with a golden belt, his hair was snow-white, and his eyes shined like flames of fire!”

The students were mesmerized, hanging on every word.

“But Paul told the Christians in ancient Colossae that God is invisible. Jesus said He came to show us what the Father was like.  Jesus also told a Samaritan woman, one day, that God was Spirit and that our worship was to be in spirit and in truth.”

“So, God made us alike on the inside, but different on the outside?” Alex ventured.

“That’s right, Alex. One of the most beautiful things Jesus said about His way of living was that His people are equal.  Let me read you some beautiful words the Apostle Paul wrote to a group of Christians in a place called Galatia.

“You are all God’s children through faith in Christ Jesus.  All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”  Galatians 3:26-28

Nannygranne lowered her Bible, silent, smiling slightly, looking at each child’s face. “So you see, God doesn’t just see your eye color, hair color, skin color, or body shape. He doesn’t see you as rich or poor. He doesn’t even see you as a boy or a girl. He only sees you as His creation. God has such dreams for you. Before He ever made the universe, He wanted you to want Him and to want to be with Him.”

Then she closed her Bible and said, “Now I have a question:  What Does God Look Like?”

Michael, the quiet, thoughtful one of the group, slowly raised his hand and said, “I think God looks like love.”

Indeed, Michael. Indeed.

~~~~~~

Scripture References: Colossians 1:15; Revelation 1:13-14; Ezekiel 1:26-28; John 4:24; Exodus 24:10; James 1:17; Matthew 25:34.

“Why do we thank God for Gummies we got at the grocery store?”

It was snack time in Bible class.  Oliver had thanked God for the fruit Gummies everyone had received.  Suddenly he stopped, leaned back in his seat against the chalkboard, and asked, “Why do we thank God for Gummies we got at the grocery store?”

Nannygranne tilted her head in curiosity and then, with a friendly voice, said, “That’s a fascinating question, Oliver.  Who should we thank for the Gummies?”

“The grocery store lady who lets you take it home,” replied Mason.

“She just works there, Mason,” corrected Ava.  “We should thank Mommy and Daddy because they buy the Gummies for us.”  Ava crossed her arms, with a satisfied nod of her head for settling the matter.

Nannygranne placed her finger to her chin thoughtfully.  “But who made the Gummies?”

“………uh…..God?” ventured William, the oldest of the group.

Nannygranne winked at William, smiling at him and said, “William, you gave the answer we all know, but does anyone wonder if God really makes our food and drops it into the grocery store, or does that sound strange to you?”

“He made the manna and dropped it from Heaven when the children of Israel were wandering in the wilderness,” Emma said.  She was fortunate to have parents who taught her Bible stories.

“You are very right, Emma.  Those people had no gardens or grocery stores to get food.  God helped them out, didn’t He.”  Then Nannygranne said, “God does give us or food, but He does it by giving us plants and water and even animals.  Then God gives us our minds and good health to figure out how to cook vegetables and fruits and.”

“So did God make a Gummy twee?” piped up little Benjamin.

“What is your favorite flavor of Gummy, Benjamin?” Nannygranne asked.

“I jus’ wuv gwape!”

“Okay, class, let’s help Benjamin figure out how God gave us grape Gummies.”  Nannygranne stepped to the chalkboard and wrote GRAPES.  “What else do you think is in grape Gummies besides grape juice?”

Ava’s hand flew up.  “Sugar!”

Nannygranne wrote SUGAR.  “Who picks the grapes and cuts the sugar cane?”

“A farmer!”

“Good job!  And who takes the farmer’s grapes and sugar cane to the factory to be turned into grape juice and sugar?”

“A truck driver!  AND God made the gasoline for the truck to drink!”  Jacob’s dad owned a service station.

Having written FARMER and TRUCK DRIVER, and GASOLINE to the growing list, Nannygranne continued: “Who mixes the grape juice and sugar and puts the Gummies in a bag?”

“A Gummie cook!”

Adding COOK to her list, Nannygranne continued.  “And who takes the Gummies to the store?”

“A twuck dwiver!” shouted Benjamin, thrilled to be included.

‘DRIVER’ now underlined on the board, Nannygranne asked,  “Now let’s all look and see if God did anything to bring us Gummies.  Did God make the grapes?”

“Yes”

“The farmer?”

“Yes!”

Continuing down the list, the class gave God credit for every step of bringing Gummies to their hands in class.

“So, boys and girls, who worked hardest in bringing you your Gummies today?”

“God did!” in a chorus, clapping and giggling.

When silence returned, Oliver folded his hands, bowed his head, and repeated earnestly, “Thank you, God, for our Gummies.”

And Nannygranne thanked God for Oliver.

 

“..every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights…”  James 1:17

TALKING WITH YOUR KIDS ABOUT JESUS

Nannygranne is still in Israel. She’ll be back next week with her fascinating stories. In the meantime, let me take a few moments to tell you about an exciting new book for parents and grandparents. The author is Natasha Crain and the new book is TALKING WITH YOUR KIDS ABOUT JESUS.

Natasha’s previous books are KEEPING YOUR KIDS ON GOD’S SIDE and TALKING TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT GOD. These books explain Christian apologetics (the defense of Christian teachings) in words you can understand. They suggest ways you can share your faith in God, Christ, and the Bible with your children and grandchildren and they can help with tough faith questions kids ask.

The publication date for TALKING WITH YOUR KIDS ABOUT JESUS is March 31. In the meantime, you can pre-order it from most book retailers. And, while you are at it, you may also want to order one or both of her other books. I have profited from Natasha’s books; I think you will, too.

David Roper, author of the Zoey books

A FREE BOOK!

Nannygranne is visiting Israel! (Let me pause a moment to shake off my envy  . . . Okay, I think I can continue now.) While she’s gone, let me take a moment to tell you about my latest Zoey book – plus tell you how you can get A FREE BOOK.

ZOEY STILL LIKES TO ASK QUESTIONS! is the second in the series of the Zoey Faith Books: a series of picture books designed to help parents build faith in the hearts of their small children. ZOEY STILL LIKES TO ASK QUESTIONS! is a fun story that teaches Zoey (and your child or grandchild) that God speaks to us through His word, the Bible.

What do others think about the series? Phil Sanders, popular speaker on the international television program IN SEARCH OF THE LORD’S WAY, says, “I bought copies for all my grandkids of the first one. I hope to get more soon.” A father writes, “Despite the challenging subject matter, the story is simple and straightforward—my 6-year-old son was able to read all of the large text with very minimal help . . . Whether you’re a parent or a Sunday school teacher, this series of books would be an excellent investment in your child’s spiritual development.”

And the first two books in the series only cost $9.95 each!

How can you get your own copies? You can order the new one from Amazon or you can order directly from the publisher: https://warrenapologetics.org/bookstore/zoey-still-like-to-ask-questions. (You can also get the first book in the series—ZOEY LIKES TO ASK QUESTIONS—from Amazon or the publisher.)

Now what about that FREE BOOK? If you post a review of the new Zoey book on Amazon, just let me know via email (macroper@sbcglobal.net) and I will send you a free digital copy of one of my other children’s books. You can choose between these four:

HORSEFLY HANK AND THE OSAGE WAR SHIELD

SUPER KIDS!

WHAT IF STORIES FOR BOYS AND GIRLS

MELVIN, THE MYSTERIOUS

Hoping to hear from you. And thanks for taking the time to read this. I really appreciate it!

David Roper

THE RESURRECTION GAME, concluded

Nannygranne got up, turned the lights back on, and said, “Even history books say Jesus’ body disappeared and was never found.  Now if Jesus wasn’t the Son of God and didn’t rise from the dead, something else must have happened to His body.  So, teams, talk among yourselves and tell us what else could have happened to Jesus’ body.  One!  Two!  Three!  GO!”

After loud and enthusiastic deliberation, Nannygranne asked for their ideas. “Okay, let the oldest person on each team tell what their team thought up.  Jacob, you go first.”

Jacob checked with the other two and said, “An animal got Him.  Or the disciples got Him.  Or the soldiers threw His body away.”

Nannygranne frowned, looked at the ceiling thoughtfully, then said, “Sorry.  Those don’t work.  The Roman soldiers would have chased off the animal.  Besides, the animal would have messed up the mummy clothes and left a terrible mess.  Animals don’t have hands and can’t fold a napkin.”

She returned to her thinking posture for a moment, then continued:  “We already mentioned the disciples being afraid of the soldiers.  They were fishermen and businessmen, and those soldiers were big and mean, tough guys.  The governor’s rule was that if any soldier let his prisoner escape, it was off with his head!”

“Then the soldiers wouldn’t have thrown Jesus away somewhere, either,” admitted Jacob.

The two older girls loudly declared victory.

“Not so fast, ladies.  I want to hear your ideas before you’re declared winners.”

“Okie-dokie then,” began Brooke confidently.  “Somebody dug a tunnel into the back of the cave and got Him out.  Or maybe He wasn’t dead, and He moved the stone, and it scared the guards so much that they froze!”

Nannygranne went “Hmmm,” then said, “Brilliant deductions.  But wrong.”

The other team howled.

“Okay, quiet down and think about this.  Remember, the cave would have been on the side of a big hill or mountain, and Jesus was only in there from Friday afternoon to early Sunday morning.  So somebody had to work fast with only picks, hammers, and shovels, and couldn’t have done that without making a lot of noise.   What do you think, girls?”

Brooke looked at Chloe, and they answered simultaneously, “We’re wrong.”

“More good thinking, girls.”

“Well, couldn’t He have just fainted, and they thought He was dead?” Chloe asked

“Well, let’s think about His condition.  He’d been up all night and all day being slapped and beaten.  He was too weak to carry His cross because they made a man named Simon help him with it.  Then on the cross, His hands and feet were nailed and He was stabbed in the heart. He’d lost a lot of blood.  Then He hung there for six hours, and it was hard for him to breath.  Also, He hadn’t had anything to eat or drink in those three days.  Remember, too, that He was wrapped up tight like a mummy.  He’d have had to wiggle out and then push that massive rock out of the way, then get out and get past all of those soldiers.”

Nannygranne stopped to let the information soak in.  Then, looking at the girls, she said gently, “Now, what do you think?”

“I think Jesus must have risen from the dead,” Chloe answered quietly.

“Yes, Chloe.  He did.  After leaving the cave, He went to see His brother James, and then Peter.   He went to, and ate with, the disciples, and one day He preached to over 500 people.  On another day, He made breakfast and ate with the disciples when they came in after fishing all night.  Most of those people had seen Him on the cross and knew He died.  Now they saw Him alive again!  Then after forty days, He took the disciples out on a hilltop and told them what to do. After that He left with His new body and went home to God’s world.  He said He’s coming back for those who are ready to go and live with Him in Heaven.”

Nannygranne looked at the precious five in her care and silently thanked the Lord for this time with them.  Being a Nanny was a mission of love and laughter.  She picked up little Mason who had fallen asleep.

“Let’s all go to bed now.  Jesus doesn’t have to sleep, and He’ll be up all night taking care of everything.”