WHY TIME with NannyGranne

If Daddy is a Christian, Why Does He Get Mad at Me?

Even though they were only FaceTiming, Nannygranne recognized a derailed train of thought in Joyanna’s question. She finished with “If Jesus is in charge, everything should be perfect.” Nannygranne had heard the sentiment before.  It’s common among believers and non-believers alike, but one not really supported in scripture.

Nannygranne sympathized with her young friend. “I wish everything for Christians would be perfect and happy, don’t you?”

Joyanna answered, “Yeah!  I do!”

But Nannygranne also understood the need to define expectations and compare them to Truth’s reality. That could be so hard. But it was time for a Biblical reality check. “I wonder if that is how life was for the very first Christians. Would you like for us to look at their stories in the Bible and see what happened?”

Joyanna nodded.

Nannygranne reached for her Common English Bible. “I have a story to tell. Why don’t you grab a piece of paper and maybe you can draw a picture of what you hear.  Would you like that?”

“Okay,” the girl said.  “I’ll be right back.”  She disappeared from the screen. Nannygranne heard rummaging through a drawer or box. She smiled as Joyanna returned to the phone with her supplies. She had also brought a bowl of snacks.  “Okay, I’m back.”

“I can’t wait to see your work, Joyanna.  Okay, before I read the story, I want us to think about a couple of things.  We know Jesus said to treat others the way we want to be treated.”

“Yes, He did!” Joyanna said, glad to know her point of view was supported.  “And Jesus said to be patient and kind.”

“You are right, Joyanna.  Can you think of anything Jesus said about what He wanted children to do?”

Crunching on an apple slice, Joyanna guessed. “That children should come unto Him?”

“Good for you!  You’ve been listening to your teachers. I can tell!  He also said children are to obey their parents in the Lord. Now I have a harder question: Do you think Jesus ever got angry?”

Joyanna didn’t speak for a moment. She carefully selected the right colored pencil for her project. Finally she shrugged her shoulders. She wasn’t sure she wanted to hear the answer.

“Well, let’s see what we can find.”  Nannygranne flipped a few pages of the Bible. “I remember this story. One day Jesus came to the temple (sort of like our church building only a LOT bigger).  He noticed people having an animal sale inside, and some of the sellers were even cheating people!”

“What?” Joyanna was shocked.  “That would be loud and messy and not very nice.”

“Yes, and there were even people just out walking.  Instead of going around the temple, they took a shortcut right through the temple while worship was going on!  Can you imagine strangers just walking right through the church building while we were trying to worship?”

“How rude!!” Joyanna exclaimed.  “Why did they do that?”

“Well, they weren’t showing very much respect for God, were they?”

“No!” she huffed.

“That’s right.  Jesus was furious, too, so He decided He wanted to think about what He would do.  He turned around and left.  Jesus spent that evening thinking.  He also made a whip.  Somebody was going to get it!”

Joyanna’s eyes grew wide as she envisioned Jesus about to whip someone.  She wasn’t sure she liked knowing this about Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

“Well, this happened just a little while after Jesus started teaching and healing people.  It was his first trip to Jerusalem with His disciples.” Nannygranne began reading John 2:13-16 with the passion the words demanded. “It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. He found in the temple those who were selling cattle, sheep, and doves, as well as those involved in exchanging currency sitting there.  He made a whip from ropes and chased them all out of the temple, including the cattle and the sheep. He scattered the coins and overturned the tables of those who exchanged currency.  He said to the dove sellers, ‘Get these things out of here! Don’t make my Father’s house a place of business.’”

Joyanna was stunned. “I didn’t know Jesus got mad like that.”

“Did you notice whose house Jesus said it was?”

“His Father’s house?”  Joanna was still trying to reconcile her expectations with what she was hearing.

“And guess what. He did it again the last time He visited the temple before they crucified Him. He even made another whip.”

“Then why does Jesus tell us to be kind and patient and love each other?”

“Well, Jesus tells us never to forget who God is and that He is to be respected and obeyed.  And Jesus obeyed His Father.  AND we’re supposed to be like Jesus, and He only got angry when people didn’t obey God.”

Joyanna’s expression told Nannygranne she was still struggling.

“It’s a little complicated, huh?  Well, who are some Bible people you remember who didn’t obey God and got into trouble?”

Joyanna thought a moment.  Her eyes brightened as she recalled her Bible lessons. “There was Adam and Eve.  They got sent out of the garden of Eden.”1 She continued with enthusiasm. “And everybody but Noah got drowned because they didn’t obey God.2 And Jonah got swallowed by the big fish3, and …”

“And a couple named Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Church and the Holy Spirit, and they dropped dead because of it,” Nannygranne finished.  “So you see, obeying and respecting are very important.  God knows it makes life better for everyone when we do right.  Sometimes being angry is the right thing.  But God warns us to be very careful when we are angry and make sure it is for the right reason.”

Turning to Matthew 5:22, she said, “Jesus said that we aren’t to be angry without a real reason.  And the Bible tells us, ‘Don’t sin by letting anger control you.’5 In other words, we don’t throw fits or just get mad at someone because they got in our way.”6

“So, it’s okay for Daddy to be mad at me?” Joyanna needed to find a balance.

“God also tells us in several places that children are to obey their parents. Did you remember that?” Joyanna lowered her eyes and nodded her head.

Nannygranne continued gently: “And God tells parents to teach their children to follow God’s ways.7 And parents who lead you to God love you very much, I think.  Do you think your parents are trying to teach you to follow God’s ways?”

The girl again nodded her head.

“So, if we disobey our parents—especially on purpose—and our parents need us to do better, maybe they might feel angry and do something to help us to remember better the next time…”

“…because they love us.”  The girl finished the sentence with a little smile. She was beginning to realize that anger wasn’t always bad.

Nannygranne smiled. “You’ve GOT it!!”

She leaned toward Joyanna’s image on the screen. Another painful truth was also part of this equation. “God’s Word also says something about how even grownups make mistakes.  First John 1:8-9 says, ‘If we claim we don’t have any sin, we deceive ourselves and the Truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from everything we’ve done wrong.’  So even moms and dads make mistakes.8 We just all need to do the best we can to be like Jesus and forgive each other when we make mistakes. Your part is to do your best to obey your parents.  Your parents have to do the best they can, too.”

Joyanna looked up with a smile.  She’d been working on her picture. Now she held it up for Nannygranne’s enjoyment.

Nannygranne smiled. Her young friend understood.

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  1. Genesis 3; 2. Genesis 6; 3. Book of Jonah; 4. Acts 5; 5. Eph 4:26; 6. Gal 5:19-21;Eph 6:4; 8. Lk. 11:11-13

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.

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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