Story: Use Your Sword

sword

Why, oh why, weren’t more people using the Sword more?

That was Lucas’s cry as he surveyed the city of Bondage. As the name implies, all of the inhabitants of Bondage were in serious bondage. They were controlled by computer chips implanted in them before birth. These computer chips affected their vision, their thinking, and their actions.

Sadly, the people did not even realize they were in bondage. The evil dictator of the land filled their minds with lies. They thought they were free—and the more they acted out against the true King of the land, against whom the evil dictator was waging war, the more free they thought themselves to be. Little did they realize that they were just doing the evil dictator’s bidding. The implanted chips kept them from seeing the truth.

Lucas sighed. Such darkness and oppression nearly brought him to tears every time he thought about it. He remembered when he himself had been in bondage. But there was a way out!

You see, the townspeople’s implanted chips were each controlled by a box that they carried around in a backpack. If this box were destroyed, the townspeople could see the truth, at least for a moment. Then they could decide if they’d respond to it. And while the box was made with impenetrable material, the King’s Sword could pierce it.

Lucas felt the Sword at his side. He needed to learn to wield it more. Instead, he’d often fallen into using his own human reasoning to try to persuade people. He’d tried being nice to them…he’d tried yanking their boxes off. He’d tried shouting…and it felt like he’d tried standing on his head to get their attention. But it was the Sword that could help people see. I need to learn to rely on my Sword, he reminded himself as he headed down into the city as the King’s ambassador, pleading with people to leave their bondage behind.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16 (KJV)

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17 (KJV)

Get Free Short Stories Via Email
Subscribe to our short story list--you'll get a free eBook of short stories too!
We respect your privacy.

Don’t Follow Your Heart

Don't Follow Your Heart

Watching a movie the other night reminded me of how we are bombarded by media with the message to “follow your heart.” For example, a popular Disney movie has the song that says “if only I knew what my heart was telling me,”[1] and portrays it as the basis on which decisions should be based.

On a more subtle level, here are some examples of ways this message sometimes comes across or gets adopted into our thinking:

  • You can rely solely on what you experience or feel to determine the validity of your spiritual condition. For example, you can rely on a warm feeling or experience of happiness for assurance of salvation instead of anchoring your assurance on what God says in His Word about salvation through repentance and belief in His Son. Or you can assume if you don’t “feel” close to God, you’re not.
  • You should make decisions based on how you feel–marry someone if you feel in love; divorce them if you don’t.

The problem with following our heart or feelings is that the Bible tells us our heart is deceitful and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9)! It’s not an accurate gauge to follow.

We need to follow the Truth, which our Maker has shown us in His Word, instead, knowing that He is the One before whom we will have to give an account (Hebrews 4:13) and that His Word is right and true (Psalm 33:4).

The story below illustrates how silly it would be if we applied this same follow-your-heart thinking in ordinary life decisions. I hope you’ll smile, and that the story will help be a reminder to you to live life by God’s Word, not feelings.

Kate

P.S. For more on this topic, here’s an excellent podcast by Revive Our Hearts addressing this topic of living by the Truth, not our emotions.


Evelyn decided one morning to live life by following her heart. She woke up with her alarm, and turned it off. Her heart said she needed more sleep. Never mind the fact that she would miss work—she didn’t really feel like working anyway.

When she finally got up, she went to make herself a nutritious smoothie like normal, but then decided her heart longed for sugary cereal instead. So that’s what she had to eat.

After breakfast, she normally exercised, but not today! Her heart certainly said no to that! So she sat and watched TV all morning instead.

A few weeks later, her friend Amelia found her still sitting on the couch. She hardly recognized her dear friend. Evelyn had gained weight to the point that she no longer fit inside her clothes. She was crying when Amelia walked into the room, as she just found out she’d been fired from her job, as she had missed too many days at work.

Evelyn sobbed on her friend’s shoulders. “What will I do? How will I pay my bills?”

Amelia tried to comfort her friend. “What happened?” she asked. “Why didn’t you go to work?”

“I was just trying to follow my heart,” Evelyn sobbed.

Amelia shook her head. “Our hearts don’t make good guides. You have to live life by the truth, Evelyn.”

“I see that now,” Amelia sobbed. “Oh, what do I do?”

Amelia was firm, but kind. “You do what you should have done from the beginning: stop following your heart and live by the truth. Come on, let’s start by getting you cleaned up. It’s going to be a hard road of change, but there’s no time like the present to start.”

With that, Evelyn got up off the couch.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9 (kjv)

Story: Why Did You Give Me This?

gift

Ryan looked up from the pages of the how-to-code book with a sigh. This was sooooo hard! His eyes wandered out the window to where his brothers were throwing a ball their father had given them. Why couldn’t his father have given him something easy to use too? He was frustrated…and afraid of failing.

“I gave you just what you need.” Ryan’s father’s voice startled him. Ryan had forgotten his father was sitting right there.

“It’s just so hard,” Ryan muttered.

His father smiled. “Of course it is. You know, I never expected you to do it alone. I’m right here and can help you.”

Ryan looked back at the frustrating coding pages. He would try again…this time, with his father’s help.

The book was still tough, but it made such a difference to do it with his father! A  strange thing began to happen. He began to actually enjoy his coding assignment and become thankful his father had given him it. Truly, his father had known what was best!

“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:17 (NASB)

“Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:11 (NASB)

 

Story: Forgetting

Jonathan could hardly believe the gifts he’d been given.

His father had sacrificed everything he had to not only ransom him from prison (which he was in due to his own fault–due in fact to crimes he’d committed against his father), but also buy him everything he would need for surviving in the wilderness in which they lived. He’d been given a flashlight to light up his path, access to food to sustain him in his father’s kitchen, a shelter to hide under during the scorching heat–the list could go on and on. Above all, his father had given him his word that he would meet all his needs forever.

Now, you would think Jonathan would have been incredibly grateful for all he’d been given. And he was–at first. He couldn’t believe that his father would have given him so much, especially when he knew how wrong he’d been and how much his actions had grieved his father.

Yet as the weeks and months went on, a strange thing began to happen. Jonathan began simply ignoring his father’s precious gifts. He got busy with life and found himself complaining more than giving thanks. He complained about how dark it got at night, forgetting about the flashlight his father had given him. He complained about how hungry he was, forgetting to go to his father for food.

Jonathan had been given everything–yet he was living as if he had nothing. He was tired and angry and fearful and frustrated–all because he’d forgotten his father’s gifts.

One day, he wad pouring out his frustrations to a friend. His friend shook his head. “If you’d just stop ignoring your father and instead remember all he’s done and given you, you could be walking in peace and joy. You’re all worried about how you’ll meet your needs, but didn’t your father promise to meet them? You’re all frustrated because of how dark the prairie gets at night, but didn’t your father give you a flashlight? You’re malnourished and exhausted, but have you been going to your father for food?” he admonished.

Jonathan shook his head, realizing how foolish he’d been. “I’m not sure my father will want to see me now,” he muttered.

His friend gently touched his shoulder. “You know that’s not true. Your father rescued you when you had nothing. He’s longing for you to run to him.”

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23 (KJV)

“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:” 1 Corinthians 1:30 (KJV)

“For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:1-3 (esv)

Jesus: The Life-Giver Easter DevotionalPrepare Your Hearts for Easter Now Just $3.99!

If you’re looking for a way to focus your children on the life Jesus came to bring this Easter season, check out our Easter devotional, Jesus: The Life-Giver. It includes a fun craft for children as they discover why Jesus came.

Learn more.

“This is a wonderful product! It can be used for simple or in-depth conversations, depending upon the length of time you may have and the ages of your children. Our kids, ages 4 – 12, enjoyed it very much; my husband and I did too. Also, our boys liked designing their own flowers just as much as our girls. Each day we had great discussions, and we saved the flowers for a month or more! This was our best Easter week ever thanks to ‘The Life-Giver.’” – Stephanie Woole

Short Story: Read the Instructions

Blender

BlenderSusie felt completely overwhelmed. She had so much to do…and she didn’t feel good on top of it. She decided to make herself a smoothie, hopeful it would give her some energy.

She’d never used her new blender, but that was okay. She was confident she could figure it out. She threw her ingredients inside, not stopping to read the instructions or the warning label on the top of the blender. She was sure she knew how to use a blender.

Now to put it into the glass. She took the lid off and poured, trying to get all of the blended mixture into her glass…

Sharp pain made Susie cry out. The blades of this blender had not stayed in the machine like Susie was used to–instead, they had fallen on her, cutting her finger badly in the process.

After a trip to urgent care for stitches, Susie went home and did what she should have done from the beginning: read the warning label. Sure enough, it warned her about those blades. Oh, she should never have just charged forward on her own understanding without reading that label!

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (KJV)

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105 (KJV)

 

Jesus: The Life-Giver Easter DevotionalPrepare Your Hearts for Easter Now Just $3.99!

If you’re looking for a way to focus your children on the life Jesus came to bring this Easter season, check out our Easter devotional, Jesus: The Life-Giver. It includes a fun craft for children as they discover why Jesus came.

Learn more.

“This is a wonderful product! It can be used for simple or in-depth conversations, depending upon the length of time you may have and the ages of your children. Our kids, ages 4 – 12, enjoyed it very much; my husband and I did too. Also, our boys liked designing their own flowers just as much as our girls. Each day we had great discussions, and we saved the flowers for a month or more! This was our best Easter week ever thanks to ‘The Life-Giver.’” – Stephanie Woole

Short Story: Unconditional Love

Wedding

Lilly loved the golden bracelet she’d been given. It was a symbol of her fiancé’s love—something precious beyond measure. She reached out to touch it…

Panic gripped Lilly’s heart. The bracelet wasn’t on her wrist! She knew she’d put it on that morning. She must have lost it! It could be anywhere—she’d been on a long walk. Where, oh where, had it fallen off?

And how could she lose that bracelet? What must her fiancé think? She felt unbearably terrible and ashamed.

Unable to find it on her own, she told her fiancé; his reaction completely surprised her. He wasn’t mad at her. In fact, he assured her that all that mattered to him was her. He wept with her because he knew she valued the bracelet and assured her he’d work with her to find it if they at all could, but her actions had not affected his love in the least.

Wiping away the tears and the shame, Lilly began to realize that her fiancé wasn’t surprised at her failures—and when she failed, she should run to him, not away. His arms were always open wide; he saw her, not as the mess she was, but as his spotless, beloved bride.

“…Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” Revelation 21:9 (KJV)

“The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” Jeremiah 31:3 (KJV)

Instantly Fit?

Instantly Fit?

Cherie knew she wasn’t as strong as she needed to be. Somehow, exercise just never made the top of the to-do list.

One day, she decided to change. She began exercising.

But as she did so, she quickly became discouraged. She couldn’t keep up with the people in the exercise video. Her muscles screamed at her after just half the repetitions. Plus, old injuries began hurting again. Hadn’t she already rehabilitated that knee? Why was it causing problems yet again?

“I just can’t do it,” she moaned to her friend Anna.

Anna’s reply surprised her. “Why, Cherie, did you expect to get fit overnight?”

“Well…” Cherie wasn’t sure how to reply. In a way, she sort of had.

“Cherie, it takes training and work to get strong. Don’t give up just because you’re not instantly fit.”

“Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:7-8 ESV

Story: The Most Important Thing May Not Be What You Think

Emma’s day started on a positive note. She had a lot to do, but she was up early and ready to tackle the list. She had her normal cup of water with breakfast, got ready, and headed to the stores to take care of some errands.

The hot summer day blazed down on her, but she didn’t take much notice of it. She had to get these errands done and get to work on time. She had water in her purse, but she didn’t take the time to stop and drink it.

The thought crossed her mind that she hadn’t drunken enough, but she ignored the thought. There just wasn’t time to stop and drink. At one point she meant to get some water when she got to work, but she soon became engrossed in other tasks and forgot all about it. While she was inside some of the afternoon at work, she had to go outside for periods too. But she failed to drink much at all.

This wasn’t the first day she hadn’t been drinking a lot either. Her liquid intake had become more sporadic for days. Life had just become so busy.

By the time night came, Emma was exhausted. She felt cold and clammy. And nauseous. So nauseous. Why were her muscles aching so? Why was she starting to shake?

Slowly, it dawned on her: she was dehydrated. A friend explained that dehydration had actually led to heat exhaustion, and that if she didn’t stop and hydrate, she could wind up in a serious condition.

As she lay doubled over in pain, she wished with all her heart she’d taken the time to hydrate earlier. The hydration she’d been putting off was what had really been the most important thing on her schedule, only she hadn’t realized it.


“On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.” John 7:37 (esv)

“For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” Jeremiah 2:13 (esv)

Story/Thought: At Peace

Short Story

Short StoryIn the distance, Jane heard sirens and gunfire. While her body trembled sometimes at the noise, she wasn’t terrified. Her daddy was taking care of her.

One day at the playground someone said something very mean to Jane. The words stung. But then she smiled. Her daddy loved her.

Another time Jane messed up badly and broke a glass dish. She felt terrible—and so very clumsy. But her heart rested when she remembered that even so, her daddy still loved her.

At night, Jane curled up in bed and slept contentedly. She had no cause to fear. Her daddy was still awake.

She was at peace in her daddy’s care.

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.” Psalm 121 (KJV)

God doesn’t promise everything will go our way or we won’t suffer (in fact, He warns we will have tribulations—John 16:33)—but He does promise to watch over us night and day, working all things for good (Romans 8:28). And despite how confident we are sometimes that we know what is best, God truly knows what is best—He sees eternity’s grand picture—and He is in charge of everything. We can be at peace in Him.

Story: Swallowing Poison Again?

Jared had been brought up on a very unusual diet—or I should say unusual to us. In the prison in which he was born to one of the prisoners, it was the standard fare. All of the inmates were fed poisoned food. Yes, that’s right—the food had poison in it—the sort of slow poison that gradually weakened and killed over many years.

The amazingly good news was that Jared was no longer a prisoner. He’d been ransomed and set free. In fact, he’d been adopted by the most wonderful father you could imagine.

So you might imagine Jared’s brother Ethan’s surprise when he walked into the room and saw Jared eating poisoned food.

“Jared, why are you eating that again?” his brother Ethan asked.

Jared shrugged. “I just can’t help it,” he mumbled. “I’ve always eaten this.”

Ethan grabbed the plate out of his brother’s hands. “You can to help it!” he replied. “Father set you free—you’re not a prisoner. You don’t have to eat this anymore. There’s lots of good food to be had.”

Jared reached for the plate. “Just leave me alone for now. I’m just so tired—I need this.”

“You’ll only get more tired eating that,” Ethan remarked. “Come on, Jared, don’t you remember how this poison works? It messes with your mind, so you can’t think clearly. It takes away your energy, so you’re unable to accomplish anything of value. It slowly destroys you.”

Jared did remember. Oh, why was he swallowing poison again?

“For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2 (ESV)

“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” Ephesians 6:1-4 (ESV)