There is a lot of controversy surrounding the bestselling book (and subsequent movie coming out this Wednesday 4/16/14) Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo.
Amazon’s description of the story states:
A young boy emerges from life-saving surgery with remarkable stories of his visit to heaven…Told by the father [Todd], but often in Colton’s own words, the disarmingly simple message is heaven is a real place, Jesus really loves children, and be ready, there is a coming last battle.
I’ve read the book and found it interesting.
Having so many children of my own, I could understand why God would choose to reveal certain things in a way that a three-year-old child could understand. (ie…Colton sees Jesus holding “markers” vs seeing actual wounds from the cross in his hands and feet).
Of course, there is little talk of sin or hell in the book which (understandably) freaks Christians out, though there is talk of the coming Battle of Armageddon.
I’ll let you decide on your own whether or not the account is real or not. Personally, I can take it or leave it. For me, the Bible is always better.
What I do want to focus on is Colton’s obsession with telling his dad that “Jesus really loves children.” He says it so often that Colton’s father tells him that he has been exonerated from his duty of telling Todd this message.
In light of the scripture describing Jesus’ first coming, I find Colton’s reminder of “turning our hearts toward our children” refreshing.
The Bible records that the prophet Malachi stated:
Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the Lord arrives. His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise I will come and strike the land with a curse.” Malachi 4:5-6 NLT
John the Baptist also quoted this scripture when describing his own purpose in Luke 1:17.
I (hopefully not in error) make the assumption that God would do this same “turning of hearts” before the Second Coming of Christ as well.
As someone who believes that our American society is in decline, I am concerned with the state of our youth.
We know according to history that the youth of our nation are a very vulnerable asset.
One that Satan can use easily.
In Nazi Germany, according to Wikipedia Hitlerjugend (aka Hilter Youth) was a paramilitary organization of the Nazi Party made up of boys (14-18 years old) and girls (10-14 years old).
Hilter wasn’t the first (or last) to utilize the youth of a nation to carry out an evil agenda. Think Chairman Mao.
A Roman satirist (Juvenal, Satire 10.77–81) said this:
Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses. (latin: panem et circenses)
Roughly meaning that if you appease the masses with food and entertainment, politicians can rise to power.
(P.S. Panem was the name of the dystopian nation in the Hunger Games.)
Our children are already drowning in the “panem et circenses” of the Roman civilization — heck, almost ALL Americans are drowning in constant distraction! (Can I get a good Amen?)
As parents and Christians, part of our job is to turn the hearts of our children away from a lifestyle of “self”. To do that, we must first make sure that our own hearts aren’t turned towards “self.” Notice that Malachi first stated that the father’s heart turns…then he listed the children’s hearts turning. I think it is significant that it is NOT the other way around.
Do your children’s wrong every move drive you bananas? If so, maybe you would do well to examine your heart.
Do you dread the weekends because it means you have to entertain your children? If so, maybe your heart is NOT turned towards them.
When is the last time you sat and listened to your child ramble on without thinking about the pile of laundry needing to be folded? Maybe you should make some time to spend time getting to know their little hearts.
Because if you don’t do it now…someone else will.
I get it. I’m a mom of (almost) six children. We are busy…stressed…tired. Believe me, when my children go to bed I LOVE having time to myself to write, watch TV or just be alone. I am not a saint. I do not think entertainment is evil, in and of itself, rather a tool to be utilized.
But we do well to continually check our hearts for areas needing improvement. Nothing can happen in one fatal step. You will not lose your children over one simple mistake, but a series of unchecked selfish habits.
The good news it that you can win them over in the same manner. One. Simple. Moment. At. A. Time.
Recommended Reading on Turning Our Hearts Toward Our Children
Head covering Christian woman who loves good coffee and stinky cheese. My favorite dessert is Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake. I am a Christian author, blogger, and speaker. I fell in love with my husband because he had rain drops on his glasses (true story). In my spare time I homeschool my seven children (5 girls, 2 boys).
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