WHY TIME with NannyGranne

Why did God let Granma get COVID-19?

When Nannygranne read the email from her 12-year-old friend, her heart shuddered.  Blair’s family had gotten the call.  Her Grandmother needed a respirator.  Her condition was grave.

Nannygranne froze, her heart pleading with God to comfort this child and asking for love’s wisdom to choose the words to respond.

“I’m so, SO sorry, sweet girl,” she typed.  “I wish I could hold you right now and help you know that you are not alone.” She paused, then felt the next words pour through her fingers.  “I would hold you and tell you that God is with your Grandma.  He is a mind reader, and He knows precisely how your Grandma is feeling and exactly what she needs.  God can help her not to be afraid.  And God knows exactly how you are feeling, too, and will help you not to be afraid, either.”

Blair’s response was soon to arrive: “Thank you, Nannygranne.  You are such a good friend to our family.  But I wish God would just take away everything bad.”

“Oh, He will take every bit of it away, my girl.  That’s exactly what He has planned.”

“It is?” Blair hadn’t expected to hear that perspective.  “When!”

“When God first made the world, there was NOTHING bad in it.  No weeds, or bugs, or germs, or diseases.  Nobody was hungry or afraid.  Guess what the name of that place was,” Nannygranne smiled to herself, wondering if Blair would catch on.  The response wasn’t immediate.  Perhaps she was thinking.

“The Garden of Eden?” came the response.

“That’s right.  Now, do you remember what messed everything up?”

“The devil made them eat that apple.”

“Well.  You are almost right.  Actually, the devil only suggested they eat the fruit God told them not to eat.  He encouraged them to eat it.  But they chose to listen to the devil rather than remember God’s way.  That’s when everything fell apart in the world.  They had to leave God’s company and go live somewhere else away from Him.  Then the weeds started, and the bad bugs and germs.  And that’s when disease started, too.  But the worst part is that Adam and Eve’s bodies would die from it.  And our world still has all that bad stuff.  But when Jesus comes back to take His family home with Him, all the bad stuff will be gone.  No disease, no death, no tears in Heaven.”

“But I don’t want to lose my Granma!”

“And I don’t want you to lose her, either, Blair.  But when my Grandma and Grandpa and even my Mama and Daddy died, I tried to remember that they weren’t really lost.  They are in God’s world, and He knows exactly where they are and what they are doing.  That always makes me feel better.”

“But, I would miss her.”

“Yes, you will.  You’ve already learned how badly that hurts, haven’t you?”  Nannygranne knew that just three months ago, Blair’s father had died unexpectedly on Christmas Eve.  Already she was too familiar with grief for a young girl.  “I have a poem I’d like to give you.  Would that be alright?”

“Okay,” she responded

“It’s about how hard it is to understand things sometimes, and how God answers our ‘Whys.’  I’ll send it, and you can read it, and later you can tell me what you think about it. Okay?”

“Okay.  Thank you.  I love you.”

“I love you, too, Blair.  Just close your eyes tonight and crawl into God’s lap.  He’ll hold you and you can go to sleep.”

 

Why?

 

“Why am I like this?” says the babe in the womb.

“Eyes to see darkness? Legs and no room?

I have hands without purpose, a tongue without words.

Why Lord is it like this? It seems so absurd!”

“Oh, my little one, soon you will see

That you’re made for life elsewhere, and soon you’ll be free!

You’ll see wonders and hear music. You’ll touch and be touched

Be patient, my child, you’re created for such.”

 

“Why is it like this!” says the struggling one.

“The failure and the losing, and pain always comes.

What is the purpose of these burdens of life?

I don’t understand!  Why so much strife?”

“Your living wasn’t intended to be so very pressed.

You were made in the beginning to be forever blessed.

But Eden was invaded, and your lives were undone.

Now deep in your heart is this longing for Home.”

 

“Why am I like this?” says the aged old soul.

“A body that defies me, one I barely control.

Yet I’m so much wiser than when I was young.

I now know life’s reasons and how to overcome.

 

“What use is this knowing? All the experience, untold!

No one wants to listen simply because I’ve grown old.”

“Oh, my dear Loved One, you are ready, you see!

The world you were made for is forever with Me

 

“Some questions are never answered. You’ve learned to really see.

And you’re prepared for real living, and soon you’ll be free!”

“The reason you are like this,” the Creator said,

“You were made not for this world, but for Mine instead.”

 

-Anne Coleman

June 2012

 

When is Jesus Coming Back?

Nannygranne and her five-year-old companion finished their walk, arriving through the patio.  The boy opened the sliding door and dashed to the kitchen.  “I’ll get the bread and jelly, OK?”

“You bet!  I’ll get the peanut butter,” Nannygranne replied.

“Can you smush it all together, please?”

“I’ll let you do that.  Is your hand good at working hard?”

“You bet,” he echoed.

Soon their snacks were ready, his milk poured, and her coffee steaming.  They sat together at the table and Nannygranne continued their conversation.  “So you wanted to talk about when Jesus comes back, am I right?”

“Yes,” he said, “because I heard our neighbor lady tell Mommy that she thought the world might be coming to an end because everybody in the world is gonna get sick.” As he spoke, his voice became quieter and the words came with effort.  After he spoke, he looked at his sandwich, took a vicious bite and frowned ferociously.

“Oh my!  Your neighbor lady sounds very worried.  Do you think she knows Jesus?” Nannygranne asked.

“I don’t know,” he replied.

“Well, you and I can find out what Jesus said about His coming back.  Then we’ll know.”  Nannygranne drew her ever-present Bible from the center of the table.  Turning a few pages, she read 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17,

16 With a loud command and with the shout of the chief angel and a blast of God’s trumpet, the Lord will return from Heaven. Then those who had faith in Christ before they died will be raised to life. 17 Next, all of us who are still alive will be taken up into the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the sky. From that time on, we will all be with the Lord forever.

“But what if someone doesn’t worship Jesus or they don’t like church?”  Nannygranne knew there was more to his question than just the “when.” “Will it be scary?” he wondered.

“For some people, it will be because they haven’t wanted Jesus and maybe thought He wasn’t real, or that they could fool Him.  But suddenly,  there He will be!  God told the Apostle Paul about this.”  Nannygranne turned to 2 Thessalonians 1:8-10.

Our Lord Jesus will punish anyone who doesn’t know God and won’t obey his message. Their punishment will be eternal destruction, and they will be kept far from the presence of our Lord and his glorious strength. 10 This will happen on that day when the Lord returns to be praised and honored by all who have faith in him and belong to him. This includes you because you believed what we said.

Nannygranne stopped. Looking at the boy, she asked, “God says that people who don’t know God and won’t obey His message will just keep doing what they are used to doing.  They’ll be away from God and His people forever.  But those of us who trust and obey God and love His people will be glad to see Him coming.  I pray every day for people to want to know God and to learn to love others, and I pray that if God needs me to help, I want to help.”

As she talked, he took a long drink of milk.  He set the glass back onto the placemat, wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, and said, “I trust and obey God so I can be glad to see Him.”  Then he added, “It’s going to be a long time from now, right?  People aren’t all going to get sick and die, right?” His was a hopeful question, and Nannygranne didn’t miss the wide-eyed concern in his deep brown eyes.

“Of course, everyone is not going to die.  People are getting well from the Coronavirus every day, and we’re all being careful to wash germs from our hands and not cough or sneeze on people.”  She smiled assuringly and added one more thought.  “But the most important thing is that even if Jesus doesn’t come to take His people to Heaven for a long time, many of us will go to Him soon anyway.  For example, I’m a lot older than you, and I will probably go to Jesus before you get married, and I’m excited about that.”

“You mean you’re going to die?” He whispered.

“No, just my body will die.  My self–the ‘me’ that you know–will still be alive. I’ll get to go to the place Jesus called Paradise, where the others who trust and obey God are waiting.”  Then she smiled and looked thoughtfully past him.  “Others are waiting, too, like Abraham and Sarah, Moses and Elijah, Young Good King Josiah, Noah, and King David…”

“Waiting for what?” he asked.

Nannygranne answered matter-of-factly, “For Jesus to come for all His children!  He’ll wake up our bodies and make them like His Heavenly body.  Then He’ll change all His other children’s bodies to be like His.  Then we’ll all go home with Him, and we’ll all be together from then on.  Our new bodies will never get sick or old or tired…”

“And will I get to see Samuel and Joseph?  Can I talk to them?  Will Joseph have on his coat of many colors?”  Now  his questions were full of excitement and wonder as he clapped, bouncing in his seat, offering his high five.

Nannygranne laughed. “Oh, we’ll get to see lots more than that.”  Then with mystery in her voice, she asked, “But do you know who the best one of all we’ll get see?”  Suddenly her voice caught, her eyes threatening to fill.  She took a deep breath, concentrating on her young student.

The boy sensed this answer was something special.  Nannygranne raised her eyebrows and smiled, inviting him to guess.  She waited.

He searched her face, then flashed a broad grin.  He suddenly knew the answer.  “We get to see Jesus and give Him a hug!”

All she could do was smile, ruffling his hair and drawing him into a hug, her heart too full to speak.

16 The (disciples) said to Jesus, “Don’t you hear what those children are saying?”

“Yes, I do!” Jesus answered. “Don’t you know that the Scriptures say, ‘Children and infants will sing praises’?”  Matthew 21:16

 

A note to parents:  Little ones can understand more than we realize when it comes to anticipating eternal life.  We are not temporary.  God created us to live eternally with Him.  Our bodies separated from our souls is not our natural state.  That unnatural state is called Death.  Jesus beat Death at its own game.  We may have that separation (Death), but Jesus made it temporary.  While we wait for our re-creation, we wait with the ancients until the Day He returns.  For more reading, consider:

Luke 16:19-31; 1 Thess 4:13-18; Luke 23:38-44; Matthew 17:1-3 (Moses and Elijah had come from that waiting place, Paradise). 2 Corinthians 12:2-4—a difficult passage, but speaks of the wonders of Paradise.

 

Why go to Church if God is Everywhere?

Nannygranne loved children, and everyone knew it.  Parents often asked her to spend time with little ones, and this was always a chance to show little ones more about their Creator.  Today was one of those days, and she and a child were enjoying a walk in the park.

“I see God doing something,” Nannygranne whispered.

Her little five-year-old friend suddenly looked every direction saying, “Where?  Where!”

“Do you see that bird?  What is it doing?”

“It’s jumping around and pecking at the ground,” he answered.

“Why do you think that bird’s doing that?”

After watching a few seconds and thinking it over, he offered, “Is he eating dirt?  I don’t see any worms.”

Nannygranne knelt, gathering him in her arms and said, “Let’s watch and see what he’s getting.”  After a few minutes, they realized the bird was choosing little sticks and flying away, returning to find another, and flying back to the same tree.  “I think he’s building a nest for his family that’s coming.  His lady bird will soon lay some eggs, and he’s getting her a nest ready.”

The boy watched a little longer, then took Nannygranne’s hand and continued their walk without comment.

“I know something else God has done on your head,” she continued, hoping to spur his curiosity.

He grabbed his head, then shook it, looking up at her with his freckled grin, “That’s funny, Nannygranne!  I don’t feel anything!”

“The Bible says God knows exactly how many hairs are on your head.  He also feeds the birds and takes good care of them, even dressing them in beautiful feathers.  God is busy all the time, everywhere.  Of course, his angels help Him get things done.”

“Oh, yeah!  You mean, God is everywhere, all the time!  I remember that from Bible class!”  He was proud that he was already “up” on the conversation.

They continued to walk, and the boy darted off the path to a bench, jumped upon it, walking its length, then back down, racing to catch up.   He took her hand again as they walked in companionable silence.

Then he asked, “Nannygranne, why do we go to church when God is everywhere?”

She stopped, turned to look at him, impressed by his sensible logic.  “That’s a good point.  Sometimes people think God lives in the church building or is just up in the sky.  But you have learned and are wiser than that.  You know that God is everywhere.  And you know that we go to church to worship Him. ”

Before she continued, they arrived at another bench beneath a shade tree, so she sat down, giving them time to chat.  “Do you talk in Bible class about what the church is?”

Immediately he clasped his hands, intertwining his fingers, then tenting his pinkies. “This is the church.  This is the steeple. Open the doors and the church is the people!”

“That’s right!  I did that when I was your age, too.  Yes, the church is the people, whether they are in a building or worshipping here in the park.  So when we go to church, we’re really going to BE with the church, God’s people.  And when Christians get together, we love to talk about and sing to God and pray to Him together.  And God loves it when we do that.”

“Oh, okay.  But do we have to go to church?  Sometimes I’d rather play outside or even have church in the park!”  He was undoubtedly perceptive.

“A long time ago, not long after Jesus went back to Heaven after living here, God had a very wise person write a letter to the Christians who lived in Jesus’ country.  God said to tell them that sometimes life was going to be busy and confusing, and maybe even dangerous.  He told them that coming together to help each other understand God better, and take care of each other was very important.  He said if we didn’t, we might forget God’s ways and how to love each other.  Being Christians by ourselves isn’t God’s way.  Then when we die, or when Jesus comes, we might be too far away from God and be lost.”

As she’d talked, he’d busied himself with a stick chasing an ant but he was quiet and listening carefully.  He looked up at her and said, “When Jesus comes back, I want to be sure I’m very close to Him, so He recognizes me.”

“I do, too.  So let’s both go to church and help each other be ready.  That’s what I say.”  As she stood, she held out her hand, and together, they continued on the path.

Then, as children usually do, he asked another question.  “So, when is Jesus coming back?”

Nannygranne answered, “When we get home, let’s have a snack and look at God’s book to see what He says.  How does that sound?”

“Do you have any peanut butter and jelly?” he asked.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. 24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

26 Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. 27 There is only the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies.” Heb 10:23-27 NLT

 

 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in Heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’ Matt 7:21-23

 

 

So, What Do the Angels Do?

It was the end of the quarter, and next week some of Nannygranne’s class would move up to the next grade.

“Good morning, friends.  Today is the last Wednesday of this quarter.  Next week you’ll have a new class and talk about new things.  But today, I want to finish our discussion about angels.  I’m pretty sure that after today you’re going to feel really good about the angels God made to help us.”

As she talked, the students took their seats.

“I’ve given you all sorts of art supplies.  I’d like you to create something to remind you of what we’ve learned about the angels.  Who has an idea?”

Alexander’s hand flew up.  “I like knowing God has warrior angels to help protect us.”

“I liked that God made angels to be our helpers,” Emma said.

“I like that, too, Emma.  Could you come and help me read the Bible verse about that?”

They turned to Hebrews 1:14 and read.

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

“Nannygwanne?  Are there angels in this woom wight now?” Benjamin wondered.

“Benjamin, come help me look at what God says about angels being with us.”  Nannygranne opened her Bible to Hebrews 13:2 and helped Benjamin read the verse aloud.

“Always remember to help people by welcoming them into your home. Some people have done that and have helped angels without knowing it.”

“What do you think about that, Benjamin?”

Benjamin smiled and said, “I want to help an angel, too.”

“Ok, Benjamin, maybe you could make a picture of you welcoming an angel into your home.”

Jasmin had been sitting quietly, listening, looking at her paper as if trying to see what might appear on its surface.  Now she slowly raised her hand.  “Nannygranne, do we turn into angels when we get to heaven?”

“What an important question, Jasmin!  There are stories about people who are in Heaven.  Moses and Elijah came back to visit with Jesus before He died, but they weren’t angels.  Also, Samuel came back from Heaven to talk to Saul, and he wasn’t an angel.  The Bible tells us that God made angels for special jobs.  And Jesus told John that when we go to Heaven, we’ll have new bodies like Jesus had when He rose from the grave.  And He wasn’t an angel.  I think God has something even better for us to be than an angel.  What do you think?”

Jasmine smiled. Then she said, “I’m going to make the angel that came to visit Mary.”

The only sounds in the room now were quiet whispers with the sound of papers and markers as each child crafted a token of their discoveries.  Nannygranne knew their imaginations were now full of truth, as their hearts were filled with anticipation.

One more verse came to Nannygranne’s mind—Jesus’ own words of warning:

“Be careful. Don’t think these little children are not important. I tell you that these children have angels in Heaven. And those angels are always with my Father in Heaven.” Matthew 18:10

 

The “Other” Angels – Pt 2

As the class huddled together with their story-corner quilts and pillows, Nannygranne continued the account given by Matthew and Mark about an incident with the “other” angels.

“As I started to say, Jesus had worked all day in the town where He lived, a town called Capernaum. He’d healed Peter’s mother-in-law, who had been very sick.  Then, after supper, the whole village came bringing their sick family and friends. Jesus and His disciples worked late into the night.

“Jesus finally told His men that He wanted them to go across the lake—they called it the Sea of Galilee-—to the other side.  When they set sail, Jesus got a pillow and lay down at the back of the ship.  After a while, a mighty windstorm came up.  The waves were so big they sloshed water into the boat. It was filling up and about to sink!  But Jesus was fast asleep. The disciples screamed at Him to wake up and save them before they drowned!

“Jesus sat up and looked around. Then he said, ‘Why are you guys so afraid?  Don’t you trust me?’  Then He got up and spoke to the storm: ‘Alright, you old windbag, cut it out!  And water, you lay down and be still!’”

Nannygranne snapped her fingers. “And just like that, the wind calmed down to a gentle breeze, the clouds disappeared, and the stars came out.  The water was suddenly as smooth as glass!  The disciples said, ‘Whoa!  What kind of man talks to the wind and water and makes them obey!’

“Well, the next morning, they finally came to the shore. But the wind had blown them off course and they’d landed right at a cemetery! This cemetery was in some caves.”  Nannygranne lowered her voice. “And somebody lived in those caves.”  She looked from face to face, eyes opened wide. “And that somebody had a whole bunch of somethings living in him!”

The girls huddled together and squealed.  The boys chattered noisily, trying to out-grotesque what they thought was happening in the story.

Nannygranne raised her hand for silence. Then, eyebrows raised, she continued. “Those ‘somethings’ living in that poor man were demons and they drove him wild!  He ran through the mountains at night, screaming.  People tried to catch him and chain him up, but he broke the chains. And they dangled and clanked when he ran.  He cut himself with rocks so he had dried blood all over him.  His clothes were torn off and he smelled terrible.  His hair and beard were long and scraggly, and his teeth were just nasty.

“When the boat landed, here came that wild man running and screaming.  When he got to Jesus, he fell on his face and started begging. ‘Jesus!  Son of God most high! In the name of God, please don’t hurt us!  Please don’t torture us!’  Really that was the demons talking. They were saying this because Jesus was telling them to get out and go far, far away. They begged and begged for their lives. Jesus asked the man’s name, but the demons answered: ‘Call us Legion because there are a lot of us here.’

“Jesus looked up and saw about two thousand pigs up on a hill, so He ordered the demons to get out of the man and go into the pigs.  When the demons took over the pigs, the two thousand pigs began to stampede and squeal. They ran right off a cliff into the lake and drowned.”

The class erupted into cheers and applause—Nannygranne included.

Once they quieted, Nannygranne asked, “What do we learn about demons from what happened that day?”

“That they’re scared of Jesus!” shouted  Anthony. “They knew who He was, too!”

“Good observation, Anthony!  Yes, they did know who He was, and they also fell at His feet in fear. If they believed in Jesus, were they saved?”

The boys and girls looked at each other. Finally Emma spoke up. “No,  because they don’t trust and obey Jesus.”

“Well said, Emma.”

Alex asked, “Can demons get inside us like that and make us wild?”  The question quieted the room.  Nobody breathed. Wide eyes turned to Nannygranne. Nannygranne knew Alex needed an answer now.

“Do you remember how we learned that television and movie angels aren’t always like the real ones God shows us in His scriptures?”

Nods among the students confirmed that they remembered.

“Well, TV and the movies have more demons, devils, and monsters than good angels. And those pretend bad ones aren’t like the real ones, either.  The real ones are worse.  But from the story we’re studying, you can see that, as bad as they are, Jesus can stop them and make them do what He says.”

“But I don’t want a devil to get inside me,” Destiny said as she moved closer to her teacher.

Nannygranne pulled Destiny close, putting her arm around her shoulder.  “And Jesus doesn’t either, Destiny. You see, when Jesus lived in Capernaum and helped people in His country, Satan was working extra hard to stop Him. But when Jesus left this earth, He sent the Holy Spirit-—who is just as strong as Jesus is-—to come and live inside His people. Did you guys know about that?”

“Arise and be baptized for the remission of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,” quoted Emma.

“Excellent Emma. You remembered one of our Bible verses. Let me ask you something, Emma.”

“Okay,” she said proudly.

“If the Holy Spirit—who is as strong as Jesus—lives inside you, would He let a demon inside you, too?”

“No way!” shouted Anthony.

“What do you think, Alex?  If we’ve got the Holy Spirit in us and we’re in Jesus, can any demon take us over?”

Alex looked at his teacher and tilted his head in thought. Then a smile began to spread across his face.  “No way!” he echoed.  “No way!”

Mark 4-5; Matthew 8; Luke 8; Acts 2:36-38; Romans 8

The “Other” Angels, Pt 1

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 an excellent 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.”

That’s how the class had ended the week before. Nannygranne knew that talking about evil in the world required a delicate balance for children. The reality of evil needed to be addressed. Today’s electronic world is filled with dark unlocked doors. Sadly, too many children know evil intimately and are among us with their sad secrets.  This class and these children had been bathed by her prayers all week. She whispered one more time: “Father, surround us all this morning as we hide behind your mantel of grace and dare to shine your light on evil.”

“Good morning, sweet friends,” Nannygranne greeted. “Who remembers what we’re going to talk about today?”

As the children took their seats, they looked at each other. One hand raised, then all raised.

“Angels, Nannygranne!  Wike those pictures!”  Benjamin pointed out the pages from last week’s lesson now arranged on a bulletin board.

“Not all those,” corrected Emma.  “Just that one without wings.”

“I thought we were going to talk about the devil’s angels,” reminded Alexander. With that comment, the class grew quiet.

“Yes, Jesus tells us about the devil’s angels.” Nannygranne began. “I need a reader. Alexander, why don’t you be first this morning.  You’re a good thinker, and you can tell us what’s going to happen to the devil’s angels.”

Alexander came forward.

“Then the king will say to the evil people on his left, ‘Get away from me. God has already decided that you will be punished. Go into the fire that burns forever—the fire that was prepared for the devil and his angels.” Matthew 25:41

“Thank you, Alexander. Boys and girls, where do you think the place is that has a fire that burns forever?”

The children were quiet, looking at each other, not knowing what to say.

Finally, Emma raised her hand. “Isn’t that what Hell is like?” she ventured.

“Yes, Emma, that’s what Jesus said.  And He said we should do whatever it takes to stay close to Him, because getting away from Jesus puts us where Satan is.” Then: “Did anyone notice who Jesus said Hell was made for?” Matt 5:22, 18:9; Mk 9:43-47  

No hands went up.

“Alex, come back and let’s look at your verse again.”

Alexander came forward and took the Bible into his hands.  Nannygranne pointed to the last half of the verse. He read, “…the fire that was prepared for the devil and his angels.”

“Alexander, who does Jesus say Hell was made for?”

Alexander looked at the verse again.  “”or the devil and his angels.”  He looked at his teacher, hesitated, then continued, “So the devil does have angels but God’s going to send them to hell?”

“Alex, you read it right from God’s word.  That’s exactly what Jesus said.”

“But what can they do to us?” Alex’s eyes told her this was a genuine concern of his.

“Alex, do you remember how we learned that God’s real angels could be very different from the made-up ones on TV or storybooks?”

Alex nodded his head.

Nannygranne continued, “It’s the same with the devil’s angels.  Sometimes they’re called demons or evil spirits. But they ALWAYS lose in the end.”

She indicated Alex could return to his seat.

“Class, Jesus gave us many stories about the devil and his angels.  I read them this week, and I would like to tell you about something that happened one day.   The disciples saw it and Matthew wrote down what happened.  Let’s all go over to the corner and anyone can grab a quilt or pillow out of the tub if you want.  I can hardly wait to tell you what happened!”

As the students relocated, it seemed apparently that Alex was struggling with the unseen world.  Nannygranne decided to pray for an opportunity to spend some time talking with him. God may be dealing with this another way, but she felt Alex needed some answers now.

When everyone was settled, Nannygranne began. “Well, it all started when Jesus was worn out from working all day. He needed to get away from the crowd. Jesus told His disciples to go in the boats to the other side of the lake and He’d come later.  They left a boat for Him and set sail.  Jesus went up on the mountain to spend time with His Father. But a storm was brewing. He could see the lightning off in the distance.  He thought about his friends out on the lake in the boat….”

(to be continued next week)

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.