WHY TIME with NannyGranne

What Are the Odds . . . ? (part one)

“The odds of someone doing 8 of the prophesies that Jesus completed is 1030, so what are the odds that someone could complete all 252 of the prophesies (about Jesus)?                                    – 12 yo boy

I immediately liked this kid.  We were going to have fun because he likes to think.  Here’s our story.

“I like that question,” I  begin. “And you like math, am I right?”

“Yeah,” he admitted.

“Ok, so where did you get your numbers?” I asked, hoping he knew his source.

“I heard it somewhere.”

“How would you like to research this together, and you find your own answer?  That’s one great thing about Google.”

“Ok,” he said.  I motioned for him to sit next to me at the computer and we went to work.

“Before we start,  let’s see if we can agree on something first.  Would that be ok?”  he nodded, so I continued.  “If you see a commercial on TV and it says that if you wear ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ tennis shoes it’s guaranteed that you can dunk a basketball every single time, and you got a pair—what would you expect?”

He laughed and said, “That’d be false advertising!  There are no shoes like that!”

I smiled because he’d made my point for me.  “Alright, then.  If I got a pair of them and you and I went to play ball…”

“That ain’t gonna happen, either,” he laughed.

“Aw come on…work with me here,” I teased.  “Let’s say we were playing ball, and I had those shoes on, and I actually dunked the ball.  Then would you want a pair?”

“Well yeah, I sure would!”

“Alright, then.  At first, you FELT like the shoes couldn’t work.  Then when you saw the evidence, you changed your mind. ”  He was nodding his head, so I turned to face him and said, “Then do we agree that we don’t decide if Jesus is really God because we FEEL like He is or isn’t.  We decide based on evidence.  In other words, if the evidence is there for Jesus to be divine, it’s true whether we believe it or not.  Do we agree?”

He thought a minute, then said, “So we’re not talking about how we FEEL about Jesus, but what we KNOW is real about Jesus?”

I smiled and said, “I knew you were smart.”  We turned back to the screen.  What we found blew our minds.

After watching one YouTube video, he was silent for a moment.  Then he turned to me and asked, “So what were the prophecies?”

All I could do was look at him with admiration.  Finally, I was able to say, “Alrighty, then.  Let’s check that out.”

We began a journey that would take us to mind-boggling destinations.  Check back next week to see what we discovered.

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Here’s the video.  Watch it for yourself!1  By the way,  this video states the chances of only eight fulfilled prophecies were 1 in 1017.   One chance in 100,000,000,000,000,000 (That’s one hundred thousand billion)   But there were over 300 fulfilled prophecies.2   The number is one chance in a Trillion7. (The chances of you being struck by lightning in your lifetime is one chance in a little over 9,000.)

 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mG37ysdWLWc

2 Peter W. Stoner, Science Speaks (Chicago: Moody Press, 1958), 5, 97-110.

“Will my flower last forever because I have a pretty one?” 

Dear Flower girl,

       You asked, “Will my flower last forever because I have a pretty one?” I think that when you get this letter that you will already know that flowers just last a little while before they wilt away. But here is what God had to say about your flower:

“Grass dies and flowers fall,
but the word of our God lasts forever.”

Isaiah 40:8

       It is a beautiful thing to know that God makes new flowers again and again. He loves beautiful things. And He loves for you to enjoy what He has made. 

       God likes flowers, too. He decorated his temple with flowers. He talks about roses and lilies in the Bible. But God teaches us a lesson with flowers. Flowers don’t live forever. People don’t either. But when we are part of  Jesus’ family, we do get to live forever. He has made a promise to us. And His words last forever.

       The next time you get a pretty flower, tell God thank you for making it, and then tell God thank you that He can make you stronger than a flower so you can live forever.

                                           Love,

                                           Nannygranne

DOES GOD PUNISH US?

Nannygranne sat surrounded by the 4’s & 5’s in Bible class. “Today is WHY TIME,” she announced. “Today, you can write any question you would like to ask God. Then we’ll put them in an envelope, and I will pray and look at God’s words, and find your answer. When that happens, I’ll bring the answer back to you. OK?”

The class clapped and bounced in their chairs, excited to receive their yellow slips.

“You can draw a picture or come up and ask your answer, and I’ll write it down for you. Or, if you want to, you can raise your hand and ask your question, and I’ll write it down.”

All hands flew up around the room.  ‘You can raise your hand,’ is a trigger for preschoolers.  It feels so ‘school-like.’

Little Libby called out first, “Why did God send the flood in the Noah story?”

“Well, actually, I’ve already read God’s answer to your question. Would you like me to tell you about it now?”

“Yes!  I want it now!” she responded, happy to be picked.

“Why did the sailors throw Jonah overboard?” Dayson asked. A frown on his face, he crossed his arms. “That wasn’t very nice!” he declared.

“Why did King Nebuchadnezzar throw the three boys in the furnace: Shadrach, Meshach, and ‘A-ben-dego?'”  Kiera asked.

“Whoa!  ou have to slow down,” Nannygranne held up her hands and laughed. “You guys are too smart and fast! I need you to wait and watch me. I’m going to think.”

Nannygranne put her finger to her temple, looked up at the ceiling, drumming the fingers of her other hand on the table. When curiosity overcame their excitement, they grew quiet. She suddenly sat up in surprise, “I’ve GOT it!! Yes! I remember why God did all those things.” Then she frowned and scratched her head. “But, I’m wondering about something.”

She waited quietly, looking from face to face. Finally, Dayson, Jonah’s little advocate, said, “What? WHAT did He say?”

“Well, I can tell you what He said, but I’m wondering, is it unfair for God to let those sailors do that to Jonah? Weren’t there nice people who drowned, too, when God destroyed the Earth with a flood?  Why didn’t God stop old King Nebuchadnezzar?”

Now they were still, eyes wide, uncomfortable.  Did they just hear their Bible class teacher complain about God?

Nannygranne continued, “We’re not as smart as God, and sometimes we have to think a while about what He tells us in the Bible. But that’s OK because Moses asked God ‘why’ one day. Elijah asked God, ‘why.’  John the Baptist asked Jesus ‘why.’  And even Jesus asked his Father ‘Why’ one time.  Maybe what we’re really wondering is this: ‘ Why doesn’t God make everything OK for everybody?’ Do you ever wonder that?”

A couple of them nodded slowly. Nannygranne continued talking while handing each one a yellow question sheet along with crayons. “God can do anything He wants to do. God could stop everything wrong if He wanted to.” Then she suddenly stopped, leaned over the table as close to their faces as she could, and whispered her mysterious secret. “But He doesn’t because God wants every man and woman, and every boy and girl to WANT to listen to Him.”

Then finishing passing out the papers, she completed her thought. “You see, God doesn’t want to make us robots. So when people push God away, God lets them, but it’s not what He wants.”

They each quietly began coloring their papers. Nannygranne sat in her place and opened her Bible. “Here’s what God said in the Bible about Noah, Libby. Before the Flood, God said that all the people in the world–ALL the people–only did mean things all the time to everyone.  All anyone thought about was doing bad things to one another. Only Noah was ever good. So God put Noah and his family and the animals in the boat. He just let the people who didn’t want God to go with the other mean people. Then Noah and his family started a whole new group of people. Things were better after that.”

“And what about Jonah?” Dayson reminded, not looking up from his work.

Nannygranne turned a few pages in her Bible and answered, “Jonah knew he had not minded God and was trying to run away from God. God made a mighty wind to blow to scare Jonah and remind him who was in charge.  When the wind got worse and worse, Jonah was afraid the waves would break up the boat and kill the sailors. So Jonah told the sailors that it was his fault and to throw him out of the ship. They didn’t want to, but Jonah insisted. As soon as Jonah hit the water, the wind stopped. God sent a big fish to rescue Jonah, and Jonah told God he’d do what God told him to. So God helped Jonah do the right thing. It turned out better.”

“But Shadrack and Meshack and ‘A-ben-digo’ were nice. Why did they get in trouble?” Kiera’s lip stuck out as she talked, so worried about those three boys.

“You are so right, Kiera. Those three young men were very good. But old King Nebuchadnezzar was jealous! He wanted all of God’s people to pray to him and not to God. Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego would not bow down and worship that King. Instead, they just stood tall and looked to Heaven. So the king had them thrown into the furnace, but Jesus got in there with them and kept them from burning up. They didn’t even SMELL like smoke!” The class erupted with applause at Nannygranne’s victorious excitement. “When King Nebuchadnezzar saw that, he decided to worship God, too. So again, everything turned out better.”

“But if we’re bad like Jonah, will we get in trouble?” Dayson began.

“Or get us in a flood?” Libby worried

“Or the bad guys might get us?” Kiera whispered.

Nannygranne smiled and said, “Well, that’s the secret. Noah and Jonah and even Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego didn’t know this secret. Today we can be Christians, and the Holy Spirit can live inside us and help us be brave. And God doesn’t punish Christians when we accidentally do wrong. Jesus already got punished for our sins instead of us. That’s why he died on the cross. Jesus took our punishment.”

She waited to see if the children seemed to understand. Then she motioned for them to gather around her. “When bad things happen to Christians now, it’s not because God is angry. Satan is doing it to Christians. Satan wants us to give up on God, but God promises to help us get through our troubles. Even though troubles are hard, if we let God help us, He’ll train us to be stronger and wiser. And Satan can never beat us. And everything will turn out better in the end. God is our hero!

“Yea! God is our hero!!” Dayson cheered.

______________________________________

Genesis 6; Daniel 3; Jonah 1; 1 Cor. 10:13; Rom. 8:28; 2 Peter 3:9

Helpful videos:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rv8h1f1bzB0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zb5fEK99BIk

DID ADAM AND EVE’S SON, CAIN, HAVE KIDS?… Ellie, 3rd Gr

Thank you, Ellie, for an excellent question!  I can tell you are a good thinker and am glad you are looking for an answer.

Things so long ago were different from our lives now.  Adam and Eve and their children were the only people in the world.  God gave Adam and Eve MANY children.  Cain was the oldest.  Abel was his brother.  When they were grown up they fought, and Cain killed his brother because he was jealous.  God sent Cain away and gave Adam and Eve a son named Seth.  Seth’s family, a long time later, were Jesus’ kinfolks.  Adam and Eve had many other children besides those three.  In fact, Adam lived over 900 years and had a LOT of kids and grandkids.  Some of Jesus’ relatives thought Adam and Even had over 50 kids!

When Cain moved away, he took one of his sisters or nieces as his wife but God didn’t tell us her name.  They had many children.  Enoch was the first son they had.  It wasn’t against the rules to marry your cousin or sister until over 1,000 years later.  That’s when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments and the Law.  He told Moses he didn’t want people to do that anymore.  By then, there were plenty of people to choose from.

Before God told Moses the new rules, Abraham married his half-sister.  Isaac and Jacob both married their cousins.  God’s people even had more than one wife sometimes, but God told Moses a long time later that He wanted people to get married to God-loving people, and stay married to each other all their lives.

That’s still what God wants.  But many people want to do the things God doesn’t want them to do because they don’t like God to be their leader. God wants us to be wise and to live well because He wants the very best for us.   He loves us more than anything!  We have to decide who we’re going to let lead our lives.  I’ve learned that when I do things God’s way, everything feels better.

Thank you again for your question, Ellie.  A lot of grownups wonder about Cain, too, but they’re not brave enough to ask their question the way you have.

I hope you grow up and marry a God-loving man and have a good and long life with a great family.

______________

Passages to consider:  I Cor. 15 (esp. v. 45); Gen 3:20; Gen 4:17; Gen 5:4; Leviticus 18

Here’s a video with more information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZojhvVgGhQ

Where is my dad?

I could tell by the colored hearts that she’d labored over her note. Her teacher said to write any question for God. The first time I saw it, I wept. I have no doubt that God did, too.

The precious hearts she drew reminded me of the many  hearts broken by her parents’ separation:  hers, her mother’s, her dad’s, siblings, grandparents, friends. I wanted to wrap her in my arms and assure her that it wasn’t her fault. Perhaps he’d said,  “Honey, Daddy still loves you. Mommy and I just can’t live together anymore.” But the forever unanswered question remains, “But why are you leaving me?”

Malachi said God hates it when a man treats his wife violently and tosses her aside (Mal 2:15-16).  Jesus said God never meant for divorce to happen (Matt 19:3-9). But God also understands the rejection of unfaithfulness and experienced the pain of Israel’s adultery (Jeremiah 3:8). God is Love, and divorce is the opposite of love. God knows what it does to those He loves: men and women, families, children. One definition of death is the word “separation.”

What could I say to this child? She needs to know that she is loved, understood, wanted, and not alone.

“Your daddy is gone?” I begin.

“Yes, and I don’t know where he went,” she answers.

“I think you really miss him.”

She nods her head sadly. “Is he mad at me?”

“Did he tell you he was angry with you?” I whisper.

“No. Daddy told me he loves me. But he went away, and I don’t know where he is.”

“He’s not lost where no one can find him because God knows where he is. Is that why you asked God where your dad is?”

“Yes,” she answers, looking up at me hopefully.

“God is watching and waiting for your dad to learn how to love better. Until then, God wants to be your forever dad. Would you like to have a forever dad?”

She readily nods her head and smiles.

“You know when Jesus lived in this world, He was away from His Father, too.  He knows you miss your dad.”

“He does?”

“Yes, He does! And God’s family left Him for a while, too, so God the Father knows how your feelings hurt.”

“He does?” she whispers, lowering her head, not wanting me to see her trembling lips.

“And you know what?” I pick her up into my lap as I go on. “I miss my daddy, too, because my dad died and went to live with Jesus. I haven’t gotten to talk to him in a lot of years.”

Her eyes widen as she looks up at me. Then she gently pats my arm with her tiny hand.

I continue, “A forever father lives with you wherever you are. We get to talk to Him anytime we want to pray, and  He’s never too busy. My forever father talks to me when I read the Bible and helps me be good and remember how much He loves me.”

“He does that?”

“Yes He does! And He never gets tired, and He can see in the dark! He can even hear what your heart is saying, and He always listens! The best part is that I know He will never go away, or forget me,  or die. I always know I’m not all by myself.”

She leans against me, her head on my shoulder. I pull her close and whisper, “And you’re never going to be all by yourself, either.”

“And I can ask my forever father to take care of my dad and tell him to come home?”

“Yes, you can, Sweet Girl. I will, too, and we’ll hope your daddy listens to God.”

What happened to Jesus’ body when He went to Heaven? Conclusion

We were back, ready to continue the discussion Kathy had begun accidentally the day before.  Prepared this time, I’d brought Hot Pockets and lemonade. They’d invited a couple more friends and asked to go outside for lunch. The Fall weather was perfect. We settled down on a bench in the shade of a maple tree.

“So what questions have you thought of since yesterday?” I began.

“Well, we were wondering how will bodies go to Heaven if they’ve been in an accident like an explosion, or lost at sea, or burned up in a fire?” Kathy spoke for the group, and I was pleased to see that they hadn’t lost their sense of adventure. No longer playing “stump the teacher,” they were curious about the whole subject. God had answered my prayer.

“You guys are awesome; you know that?” I genuinely wanted to hug each one. But they were serious, so we began. “Do you remember the story of the valley of dry bones in the Old Testament? God told Ezekiel to preach to those bones. Then the foot bone connected to the leg bone and the leg bone…”  At that, they laughed.

“Seriously, though, since God made the first man out of dirt, He can remake us from ashes or pieces. Revelation 20:13 says the sea will give up its dead when Christ returns. I think Jesus will manage. How about you?”

Dusty grinned and said, “He can manage.” The rest smiled and agreed.

“Since there will be life but no death, let’s talk about bodies in Heaven. You see, when God created us, He made us in such a way that we could inhabit Him as part of His Body, the church, and He could inhabit a human body and be Jesus, God incarnate. Are you following me so far?”

A few nods showed me they were, so I continued. “When Jesus was here, He showed us how life in the Kingdom was to be. He extinguished sicknesses, storms, Satanic presence, and death on many occasions. We have His teachings. Christ painted our world with words to heal hearts and minds and relationships. Then  He battled sin and death and declared victory for those willing to serve Him. Do you see now that He was showing what Kingdom living will be?”

“I’d never thought of it that way,” Kathy said. The others, lost in thought, were uncharacteristically quiet. Kathy tilted her head, wanting to make sure she understood what I was telling them. “You mean our BODIES were supposed to live forever or just our souls?”

“Earlier, you all described Jesus’ activities after He resurrected.  What came out of the tomb? Was it a body or just a spirit?” They waited for me to answer my own question. “The answer’s obvious. He ate. He had skin; they touched him AND his scars.”

Kathy smiled and nodded. “Yeah, that’s right! They touched him! That was a body”.

Continuing, I explained, “The separation of our spirits from our bodies will only happen between death and our resurrection. Being ‘disembodied spirits’ is not how we were created to be. And how do we know this? Because we will be like Jesus and Jesus took His body with Him out of the grave AND with Him to Heaven.  But remember that His new body was different, too.  His new body could go through walls, time-travel, and ascend into Heaven. Your new body will be recreated and changed, also. It will become a spiritual body. Beyond that, I can’t describe how that will feel. Neither could the Apostle Paul.” I found 1 Corinthians 15:41-44 on my Bible app and read it to the kids.

“It will be the same when those who have died are raised to life. The body that is ‘planted’ in the grave will ruin and decay, but it will be raised to a life that cannot be destroyed. When the body is ‘planted,’ it is without honor. But when it is raised, it will be great and glorious. When the body is ‘planted,’ it is weak. But when it is raised, it will be full of power. The body that is ‘planted’ is a physical body. When it is raised, it will be a spiritual body. There is a physical body. So there is also a spiritual body.”  ERV

“And John wrote, ‘Dear friends, now we are children of God. We have not yet been shown what we will be in the future. But we know that when Christ comes again, we will be like him. We will see him just as he is. He is pure, and everyone who has this hope in him keeps themselves pure like Christ.’ I John 3:2, 3, ERV

“So Jesus’ spiritual body went to Heaven and is STILL alive!”  Kathy exclaimed.  They all were talking at once now.  It seemed something had clicked.

Animated conversation erupted.  Suddenly, Heaven was something they could better imagine. “So there will be places to go and things to do in Heaven?”

“We’ll have places to live, too!  Jesus said He was building us all something!”

“And we’ll get to see what David really looks like!”

“What JESUS looks like!”

“And I can recognize my Grandpa!”

“Hey!  Maybe I’ll finally be good looking!”  I could count on Dusty for comedic relief.

His friend added good-naturedly, “Yeah, and maybe you’ll finally be smart!”  They seemed happy!

I waited for their fun and excitement to run its course. “Yes, it will be all that and more. We will finally exist the way we were meant to exist when we arrive in the new Heaven and new Earth God is now preparing.  Everyone will finally be able to have all that’s needed to live well with God without a worry or a heartache. Death and everything that comes with it will be out of the picture for good. We’ll enjoy being part of God’s world and thrive without interference from anyone or anything. It’s going to be everything our hearts reach for now and can’t quite grasp in this world. Finally being all about God and ‘doing His thing’ will be the norm. It’s an everlasting adventure! What a life! So you see, Heaven is not just a place to go, but a Life to live fully alive!”

They all sat looking at me, somewhat stunned. Finally, Dusty said, “Cool.”

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

“A Country” Heb 11:16

“God’s Will holds sway” Matt 6:10

“Nothing there that doesn’t fit in God’s presence” Matt 18:3-35; Mk 10:14ff; Lk 16:16-31; Lk 18:16f

“No more struggle. Finally safe” Rev 7:17; 21:4

“New Heaven New Earth” Isa 65:17; 66:22; 2 Peter 3:13;Rev 21:1; John 14:2

“We are in Christ” Rom. 6:3 & Gal 3:27

“Jesus in a human body” John 1:1&14; Heb 11:

“Living in God’s world” 2 Cor 5:1; John 14:2-3

“Fully alive” John 10:10

Interesting Video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfgWzo3k9MM

What happened to Jesus’ body when He went to Heaven? Pt 2 of 3

Our lesson on the Ascension had concluded, and we’d dismissed for lunch when Kathy and three of her friends apparently wished to play “Stump the Teacher.”  Instead, we launched a discussion I hoped to continue.  Thanks to a package of “emergency” double-stuffed cookies from my desk, we bought more time.  I prayed  God would grant us a time we’d never forget.

As I sat perched on the front of my desk, the kids munched their cookies and waited.  “I think it must be a God thing that you all asked about the afterlife.  I got a WHY TIME question recently that brought the issue to my mind.”  I pulled out the yellow slip with the childlike scrawls which read, “What will it [Heaven] look like?” Signed Wyatt, 2nd Grade.  The kids passed it around. “Aw, that’s so cute,” the girls gushed.

“I’ve got to tell you guys; I’ve discovered that there is so much more to ‘going to Heaven’ than just the going.  You see, God’s Eternal Mysterious Plan wasn’t just to get us back home for an eternal holiday at His house.  Jesus never spoke of it as a perpetual vacation just lying around visiting with folks and singing with the angels.  When the Bible speaks of Heaven, it’s described as a Kingdom, a Country, a City,  a New Heaven and New Earth.”  I looked at the group and asked, “How do you imagine Heaven?”

“Streets of GOLD, man! Diamonds and pearls! And a river, too!” Dusty said and high-fived  Kathy.

“Will there really be streets of gold?” asked Kathy.

“Good questions! Have you ever tried to draw the color nine?  Trying to make us humans understand God’s world is a little like that.  Revelation gives us a beautiful word-painting of a world very different from ours.   The gold represents no more need, no hunger.  The walls say complete safety.  The gates and jewels tell us there will be beauty and access.  The river is a picture of ongoing life.  Only Jesus, the Holy Artist,  could paint a word-picture of  peace, perfection, and security forever!”

“Yeah, but what about the pearly gates and all that?” Dusty questioned.

Heather, Kathy’s friend, spoke for the first time. “You mean Heaven’s not going to look like it’s described in the Bible? No pearly gates?  No streets of gold?”

“Oh, Heather!  It’s going to be even better than that!  Isaiah, Peter, and John all talk about the time when God will give us a New Heaven and New Earth. In the beginning, God wanted humanity to fill the earth with His glory and govern it!  We haven’t done very well on this earth.  The sin in Eden resulted in pain, discord between people, and difficulty in obtaining food.  But in the New, there will be none of that. We’ll finally subdue the earth (the New Earth) without interference.  There will be no more world hunger.   We’ll finally love each other completely.  God will populate the New Earth (Heaven)  with His faithful ones, and no one will ever die again.”

“So what will  it be like to live there, then?” Kathy still wanted more, but we were interrupted by the bell.

“How about we pick up there tomorrow.  Let’s see how Jesus talked about His new Kingdom.  I’ll bring lunch!

(Conclusion next week)