Monday, October 31, 2011

Heaven: God's Promise For Me by Anne Graham Lotz

Recommendation: Highly Recommended

A girl and her younger brother are missing their grandmother, who has passed away. What follows is a delightful and biblically based description of heaven with wonderful illustrations to stimulate the imagination and satisfy some of the questions we encounter as children and parents.

Positives: Lotz gives a beautiful introduction, inviting readers to join in this consideration of heaven, referencing her own, personal, family relationships as the context in which she has wrestled with the reality of heaven. She concludes with a letter and invitation to children to trust in Christ as their Savior, confessing and repenting of their sins, and so gaining the inheritance of eternal life ultimately embodied in heaven.
Readers are invited to examine several Scriptures, and in so doing to see whether this depiction of heaven is according to God’s Word. Most notably, Jesus is not missing from this book. In fact, the book states that of all the wonderful things that will be in heaven, He is by far the best!
Negatives: None
Talking points: This book is done so well, I’m not sure I have much to add to it as a whole. Of course, each of us as parents ought to seek the Lord for wisdom (James 1:5) and discernment as to how we might individually meet the needs and questions of our own children.  Situations that may arise to prompt questions about heaven give all of us an added responsibility to know the Scriptures ourselves.
Age Level: 4-7 years old
Vicki's Personal Note/Application: In the wake of my father-in-law passing away this summer, I had some good discussions with our children regarding the importance of knowing what the Bible really says, as well as what it doesn’t say. For example, my 7-year-old daughter repeated something a family member said about how Grandpa was watching over us. I gently but very firmly redirected her to God’s Word, which does not support that view in any way of which I am aware. What we do know is that God is omnipresent and always watching over us (Psalm 139:1-18). To attribute to a deceased loved one (and even one you are confident is in the presence of God Himself) a power that the Bible only specifically gives to the Lord is misleading and simply unbiblical. While the thought that our loved one (whom we mourn and miss terribly) is watching over us might be comforting, we must cling to biblical integrity and not compromise the truth laid out for us in Scripture. There are many comforting and popular ideas in our culture regarding death and various other topics, but these qualities alone do not make those ideas true. And if we are to be sincerely comforted, we must seek what is true to give us comfort and peace (Phil 4:8-9), with God’s Word as our highest and only standard. Otherwise, we are allowing an untruth to supply us with the comfort, peace and strength that ought only to come from God Himself. Choosing to believe a thought, principal, or idea which we cannot find in Scripture, I believe, is not only damaging to our own faith, but to that of anyone we influence, namely our children. I personally do not want to fall prey to the schemes of the evil one who seeks to distract me and my family, even in our grief and mourning, from the treasures and extravagant grace that are ours in Christ (Eph. 1:3-8).

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