“…Do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in Heaven.” — Matthew 18:10
My initial inspiration for Heaven: God’s Promise for Me was my three granddaughters. So it was a thrill to share my very first copy with my youngest, Anne Riggin. She now has her own copy and loves it! How I pray God will use this book to gather little children into His loving embrace. Forever!
Jesus loves little children! He underscored their value in Heaven when He revealed that the angels who are assigned to them occupy a position of privilege and power in God’s inner circle. He singled children out for attention and affection, seated them on His lap, wrapped His arms around them, and rebuked misguided adults who sought to keep children away from Him.
As an AnGeL who seeks to stay focused on the Father, I have wondered if I also might merit Jesus’ gentle rebuke. Could I be hindering little children from coming to Jesus simply because I do not intentionally invite them to draw near to Him? Because with my adult words and adult ways I make it hard for them to come to Him? Is the next generation being lost simply because people like me are neglecting our responsibility to make coming to Jesus easy and desirable for little children?
As part of Rooted in MORE of Jeus/Kampala, one or our three ministry initiatives is a children’s day. When God gave me the burden initially, and I explored the possibility with Pastor Michael, he exclaimed that God had burdened him in the same way. We are thrilled to facilitate little children coming to Jesus, helping to insure that the next generation is rooted in God’s Word.
At the time of this writing, news accounts are filled with the images of young people rioting, burning, and looting in London and other major cities of the United Kingdom. We have seen rioting by young people in northern Africa, Syria, Iran, and multiple places around the globe. They express a longing for freedom, for an opportunity to have a job and the self-respect that goes with it, for a sense of real purpose. There is a desperation on the part of many young people which seems to be driven by hopelessness and meaninglessness. In some cases, this sense of desperation is used by wicked people for their own evil agendas. And I’m left to wonder…what if someone, when these young people were little children, had told them that God loved them? That He has a specific plan and purpose for their lives? That there is hope for tomorrow, as well as peace and joy for today? What difference would it have made on the streets of London today, if yesterday in the nurseries and Sunday school classrooms someone had shared the Gospel with them?
Tim Turner is our Director forRooted in MORE of Jesus/Kampala, Uganda. He has deeply bonded with those on the core team who have caught the vision, had the heart, and made the time to organize three ministry initiatives in November. Please visit annegrahamlotz.com after November 10th for more detail in our Ugandan Ministry Praise Report. Pictured above l-r: Pastor Michael Okwakol, Rev. Jack Semoka, Christopher Yiiki, Abby Makubuya, Zipporah Osiru, Dennis Tsunimi and Tim Turner.
These nagging thoughts have also been stimulated by questions I am repeatedly asked about how my parents were able to pass on to me their faith in Jesus. Although there are several answers to that question, one underlying fact is that my parents were intentional about it. They did not leave the instruction of Biblical truth to the pastor or Sunday school teacher or visiting evangelist to carry out. They did not assume that just because I was their child I would somehow “catch faith” like a contagious disease. They themselves, along with my maternal grandparents, accepted the privilege and the responsibility of teaching me God’s Word in a way that was personal, relevant, and easy to understand. Then I had to choose to respond and make their faith my own, which I did as a young girl, when I confessed my sin, told God I was sorry and asked Him to forgive me, then claimed Jesus as my personal Savior and Lord.
Four hours before the Simulcast, Joel, Selah, and myself shared in a 20-minute video presentation. It was designed to thank and encourage the church technicians who worked behind the scenes in almost 400 churches, in 42 states, plus Canada and Puerto Rico, whom we considered to be part of our “team.” Praise God that we made this effort! In the process, a major glitch was revealed in our live link which, if not corrected, would have prevented us from broadcasting that night!
But while I have placed my own faith in Jesus, and then invited my children and grandchildren to come to Him, have I been neglecting the privilege and responsibility of inviting yours also? The conclusion of these personal reflections was to ask myself how I could intentionally impart God’s Word to little children outside of my immediate family, so that they would come to Jesus too.
One answer that I believe God placed on my heart has been to write my first children’s book. The subject is Heaven. The source is the Bible. With whimsical poetry I describe what Heaven is like, and how a young child can know for sure that it is his or her home. I have two target audiences for this book. One audience that I wrote for is the reader-the parent or Sunday school teacher or grandparent or friend-who perhaps needs a simple but effective tool to use in presenting the Hope of the Gospel to children.
Two days after the Simulcast, I traveled to Dallas, then to New York City, to promote Expecting to See Jesus. The opportunities, which enabled me to issue the wake-up call again and again, included Huckabee, where I was graciously given two segments.
But the other more obvious audience is that of little children, ages four through eight. I want them to know that Jesus is preparing a place for them that is the Home of their dreams. It is a happy place, a place that will be fun to explore, a place where Jesus will live forever with His Father and those who are members of His family.
Originally I wrote Heaven: God’s Promise for Me, for my own three young granddaughters. They have already gone through the loss of my beloved mother and their great-grandmother, Ruth Bell Graham. In addition, when my oldest granddaughter was six years old, she was confronted with the death of a young friend due to cancer, the death of the mother of another little classmate, the death of her father’s co-worker, and the death of her next-door neighbor. These deaths have prompted many questions, some of which have no answers. But her mother (my daughter, Rachel-Ruth) and I found that helping her to focus beyond the grave seemed to ease her pain, comfort her fears, enlarge her faith, and gave us opportunity to talk to her about Heaven, and how she can know for sure it will one day be her Home.
God has blessed AnGeL Ministries exceedingly above and beyond what we could have asked for as He has unified and expanded our incredibly gifted staff. Back row (l-r): Ross Rhudy, Anna Little, Jennifer Gillikin and Tim Turner. Front row (l-r): Jean Cipra, Jamie Wood, Bonnie Moore, Sarah Erwin, Ava Zettel, Carol Cooper, Jenny Stokes, Mary Fuller Sessoms, Mary Sisco and Ginger Kirby.
God used this personal interaction with my own grandchildren to prompt me to want to reach out to yours…and to you. Death is a difficult subject for anyone at any age. It can be especially difficult to explain to little children, which is one reason sometimes well-meaning adults make up fanciful stories to ease the pain. But without realizing it, these adults may find that they are like the ones Jesus rebuked, because their fanciful stories actually hinder little children from coming to the Truth…from coming to Jesus.
My prayer is that this little book will help you not only handle the difficult subject of death, but more than that, I pray it will help you be intentional about passing genuine faith in Jesus to the children to whom you read it. And that as a result, the children’s population in our heavenly Home will be dramatically increased! Rather than hinder little children from coming to Jesus, this AnGeL deeply desires to take them by the hand, and lead them to the One Who longs to gather them into His loving embrace now…and forever.
Click here for the Bible study especially developed for this newsletter.
Heaven: God’s Promise for Me
The light is always on
Because Jesus is waiting for you.
The very best part of Heaven
Is that He’s going to be there too.
Heaven is a real place. It’s where Jesus lives and waits to welcome His children home. It’s a place of joy and love and hope – a place where all of God’s children, young and old, will live and be happy forever.
Engaging questions and Scripture references in the back of this book will help the reader reinforce the message that Heaven is a place of love that we can all look forward to seeing one day.
There’s even a special keepsake invitation for children to RSVP to Jesus!
The inspirational words of Anne Graham Lotz tell of the joys and comforts of Heaven. The beautiful rhyming text and intriguing, familiar images help children understand that Heaven is real and Jesus is waiting for them to come some day.
Heaven: God’s Promise for Me DVD Curriculum
This five-session children’s curriculum, includes a Bible study workshop demonstrating how to lead children into God’s Word, an original music component, craft ideas, skits and videos of Anne talking about a child’s perspective of Heaven.
This DVD curriculum can be used in a variety of ways and tailored to the differing needs of classrooms and teachers, homes and parents. Each week’s lesson includes a brief video word from Anne, Scripture memory verse, story time, song, skit and craft.