Heaven is for Real for Kids

A follow-up to the hugely successful adult book Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo (see my review HERE), this book is a picture book in the same vein written in Colton’s words.

Heaven is for Real for Kids focuses on Colton’s memories of heaven.  He talks about Jesus, what heaven looks like, who you meet in heaven, what you do, the animals, the angels, and many more sights and sounds in heaven.  He talks about God’s throne and highlights how the Holy Spirit is with you when you pray.

Hebrews 12:2 “Jesus…sat down at the right hand at the throne of God.”  I’ve never really pictured an actual throne, even after we studied this passage this year.  Until this book where Colton says he saw God’s throne and Jesus was on God’s right side.  He says this was his favorite place in heaven.  There is an accompanying picture of God with Jesus by His side. Finally!  I can visualize it!  And what a glory it will be when I see it!

The book concludes with the most important thing Jesus told him, which was how to get to heaven:  believe in Him.  Then Jesus sent him back because he was answering his Dad’s prayer (something we all struggle with in different ways).

Great lessons for kids (and adults) with vivid pictures true to Colton’s memories.  The book ends with a great prayer for kids, which we all prayed.  Great Christian picture book and highly recommended for all ages.  It was by far the most popular book from our recent library trip.

After reading this book, my oldest asked to read the adult book when she gets a bit older. You know it’s a good book when it prompts the desire to read more!

“Everything God Commands is Good for Us”

Quote from my leader last night when speaking about submission to our husbands.  We tend to think of Ephesians 5:22-33 as taking something away from us.  But it’s quite the opposite.  Submitting to our husbands (and all of God’s laws) only builds us up, increases our sanctification, and changes us for the better.

Sometimes we think Seriously, God, do I have to do _____?!  Like tithing, giving to others, loving our enemies, forgiving others, being humble, and all those things we have no desire to do and which goes against our selfish nature.  But we must remember all of it is for our good–for us–and not just for God.  It’s all a process we must go through in our quest to be like Jesus.

While looking up sanctification in my Bible Dictionary (Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary by J D Douglas and Merrill C Tenney), I came across this nugget to share as well:

“The notion of holiness, when applied to things, places, and people, means that they are consecrated and set apart for the use of God.”

I loved the idea that my whole purpose on earth is for God’s use.  He is using me.  I’ve always known I’ve had a God-given purpose.  But the idea “I am set apart for the use of God” just struck me.  I think it goes beyond our purpose (which tends to be only one or a handful of things) and encompasses other uses that we don’t think about.

Purpose tends to be more of us doing the doing.  God’s use is more of God doing the doing.

Just some thoughts to chew on this week!

Am I a Saint?

Why is it that so many Christian terms are now derogatory in nature?

“She thinks she’s a saint!” is now commonly heard when someone is arrogant and prideful, a know-it-all or a hypocrite.  It has become something we do NOT want to be.

Yet God through Paul says otherwise.

If you believe in Jesus then you have been sanctified (made sacred, holy, and righteous) through the blood of Jesus.  That we “together with all the saints” (Ephesians 3:18) may know the fullness of God.

We hear all the time, “I’m no saint.”  Well, actually, if you’re a believer, you are.

Sure, you can chuck this up to euphemism or a figure of speech.  But our words are powerful and we should heed their hidden or implied messages.

Proverbs 18:21:  “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Jesus tells us “The things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean'” in Matthew 15:18

Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up…”

Over time, all languages change including English.  New words and expressions are being added every day.  Some due to technology (IPad); others, slang (cool or rad come to mind).  Meanings change and some disappear all together.

But we should we wary when an underlying spiritual war is taking place.  I believe this is the case in this instance and many other ways where sacred words from the Bible are being twisted.  As we learned, it is Satan, working through the minds of unbelievers (Ephesians 2:2), who has twisted such words and tried to rob them of their power and meaning.

Our words and our language is as much a part of us as our arm:  integral to living.  We must treat them as such; monitor its well-being; be wary of what it does/says.  And not give in to peer pressure and society’s whims when it comes to berating the Christian faith.

When we hear the word ‘saint’ many of us think of the Saints who have been recognized by the Catholic religion as holy:  St Patrick, St Valentine, St Michael, St Joseph, St Francis of Assisi, St Christopher, and thousands of others.

According to Webster’s Dictionary, the first definition of saint is what I knew:  “one officially recognized esp. through canonization as preeminent for holiness.”  Definition #3:  “One of God’s chosen and usually Christian people.”

My Bible Dictionary has a fascination explanation of the origin of the word in terms of the Catholic usage (which does not correspond to Biblical usage it points out).  But in short, a saint is “a person sacred to God” according to Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary by J.D Douglas and Merrill C Tenney.

I don’t know about you but I LOVE the idea that I (plain, ol’, insignificant me) am sacred to God!  I usually think of it as God being sacred, not me.  He is sacred to me.  Not I am sacred to Him.  But it makes sense.  Why else would He sacrifice His son?

This is what I love about BSF.  The Bible is so rich you can and do spend a lifetime studying and learning about it and BSF prompts me to learn things I otherwise wouldn’t think of (such as being a saint).

I had never heard of all Christians being Saints before now.  But if you are in Christ, have the Holy Spirit dwell within you then you are a Saint.  You don’t have to do any special works to be one (as I previously believed from definition #1 of Webster’s).

Therefore, I am a saint.  And I hope and pray you are too.

Am I Broken?

This question popped in my mind during lecture this week and I’ve been mulling it over ever since.

We were talking about embracing suffering…

I have been fighting demons every day and it seems like I lose every day.

I woke up this morning with a new thought:  one day at a time.

In my other bible study (yes, I am now doing two and I’m not for sure why besides out of pure insanity) one lady talks about how her husband has not had a drink in 18 months. Admittedly, this annoyed me.  Until I realized it was a good idea.

Taking life one step at a time, one moment at a time, striving to do better, to be better–all under God’s grace.

To overcome whatever lies the devil is speaking to our hearts.  To think before act.  To remain calm when society says this world is anything but.

Am I broken?  Yes.  We all are.  And that is okay.

We don’t have to have it all together because if we did we’d be perfect.  And we all know the only One who’s perfect.

Yet in my brokenness I can still be all God wants me to be.  And more.

If I only choose to believe.  In me.  In Him.  In His purpose for my life.  And in my ability to overcome my demons.  In God’s power to do so.  Rebuke them and put them where they belong.  All as God’s grace and mercy flow.  Perpetually.  Forever.  Amen.