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)

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Short Story: Why Didn’t You Tell Me?

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A Christmas Note

What incredibly good news we have to celebrate this Christmas–Jesus came, took the punishment we deserved, rose again, and now offers eternal life to those who will believe upon Him!

I hope the story below will encourage you to share that good news with others. As atheist Penn Jillete said, “How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?”

Wishing you a blessed Christmas season!

Katherine

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Short Story: Why Didn’t You Tell Me?

Jeremy could hardly believe it.

His debt, which he never thought he’d ever be able be able to pay, was paid! This debt was not just any debt–it was a serious one that would have one day cost him his very life. To say he was excited was to put it mildly.

At first, Jeremy told everyone he could. After all, the King who paid his debt offered to do the same for others too. This was the best news ever!

Yet after a few people refused to believe Jeremy, Jeremy got discouraged and stopped telling others. Instead, he kept it to himself.

One day, some time later, Jeremy’s friend Mat came bounding into Jeremy’s hut. “You’ll never believe it!” Mat exclaimed excitedly. “My debt has been paid!”

Jeremy smiled. “My debt’s been paid too. It’s been a couple of years, actually.”

Matt stared at Jeremy in shock. “Then why didn’t you tell me? How could you keep such news to yourself?”

Jeremy wasn’t sure how to respond. “It’s just–” he took a step closer to Matt, but Matt drew back, offended.

“How could you claim to be my friend when you didn’t tell me about this? You would have let me die without telling me of the King’s offer of salvation?”

Once again, Jeremy didn’t have an answer. He hung his head, realizing how foolish he’d been. “Forgive me,” he whispered. “Shall we go tell others?”

Together, they headed out to tell everyone they could the good news. Of course, some didn’t believe them. But others did. And either way, Jeremy discovered there was tremendous joy in telling others such good news. It continually filled his heart with joy again over the gift he’d been given. Oh, why hadn’t he shared before?

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.” Luke 2:11-17 (KJV)

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Evangelism Resources & Christmas Ideas

If you’re struggling with how to begin sharing the good news of Jesus (I know I did for years), there are a lot of helpful evangelism resources and ideas at LivingWaters.com. Here’s a simple idea a friend shared with me that you could use this time of year: hand someone a candy cane and ask if you can share the story of the candy cane (you can easily find it online). You can use that to start talking about how Jesus came to be the Good Shepherd–to lay down His life–to take the punishment for our sin! Or ask what they think is the most important thing about Christmas…and what will be the most important thing the moment after they die.

 

Short Story: No Destination?

airport-1230017“Our next story is from Matt, who’s reporting from World Airport, where an unheard of phenomenon is occurring. Matt, what’s going on?”

The newscast cut over to Matt, who stood in the middle of a bustling airport terminal. Matt’s face instantly told the viewer that whatever he was about to report was quite unusual. “Well, Dan, I’ve been interviewing passengers at the airport, and no one seems to know where they’re traveling.”

Dan raised his eyebrows, incredulous. “What do you mean? Everyone knows where they’re traveling. Why else would they be traveling?”

Matt shook his head. “I know it’s hard to fathom, but that’s exactly the issue. Here, I’ll interview someone so you can hear it for yourself. Excuse me, Sir, do you have a minute for a few questions?”

The gentleman stopped and gave Matt his attention. “Sure, so long as it’s brief.”

Matt nodded. “It will be. I was just wondering if you could tell our viewers your final destination.”

“My final destination?” the man raised her eyebrows. “Well, I don’t typically think much about that. I’m just enjoying the present, you know. I’m not really sure where I’ll end up. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to run.”

“See what I mean?” Matt narrated, looking at the camera again.

“Surely some passengers have thought about their destination, at least?” Dan queried.

Matt nodded. “Oh, yes, some have. But they seem under a delusion about how to arrive there. Here, let me interview someone else. Excuse me, Ma’am,” Matt asked a lady walking by. “What’s your final destination?”

“Oh, I hope I’ll end up in Paradise,” the woman replied with a smile.

“Do you have a ticket?” Matt prodded.

“A ticket?” The woman thought for a moment. “No, but I try to be a good person. I’m a whole lot better than most folks. I’m sure they’ll let me on the plane.” The woman smiled.

On the other end of the newscast, Dan’s face dropped. Did he just hear that correctly?

“See what I mean?” Matt asked after the woman had walked away. “No one seems to grasp the fact that you need a ticket to get on a plane. People here complain a lot about the airport accommodations as if the journey itself was all there was to consider. It’s really strange, Dan. Here, let me try this gentleman. He looks a lot more serious than some of the others.”

“Excuse me, Sir, what’s your ultimate destination?”

The man paused. “I hope I’ll end up in Paradise,” he replied.

“You hope?”

The man nodded. “No one can know for sure if the airline will take their ticket. But I’ve worked hard to make mine and keep it clean, so I’m hopeful.”

Matt looked at the homemade ticket the man held. “Did it occur to you that perhaps you have to get a ticket from the airline, and that any ticket not issued by them won’t get you on board?”

The man shook his head. “No, no, that’s so narrow-minded. Any well-done ticket will be accepted. You can bring yours from the airline, and I’ll bring mine. They’re all the same in the end. Now if you’ll excuse me…”

Matt sighed, turning back to the camera and explaining more details. “I went to the ticket counter a few minutes ago. They’re offering free tickets to any who want them. But most people seem either caught up in the moment and not worrying about their final destination, or else confident they’ll get on board without an official ticket. It’s a strange, terrible delusion, Dan. Even worse, this airport is going to be destroyed soon. These people have got to get on a plane out of here or–”

Matt’s voice cut off, emotion overcoming him.

Dan nodded, trying hard to keep his composure. “Do what you can to warn people, Matt. Maybe some will get a real ticket while they still can.”

*******

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6

“In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” 2 Corinthians 4:4

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

Story: Lost in the Darkness

lostinthedarkness1Johanna had lived her entire life in the dark cave, deep underneath the earth’s surface. She’d never seen light—not pure light, anyway. There were little glimmers of light that reached her here and there—a fish that glowed, a glimpse of the outside world if she wandered too close to the edge, and an occasional traveler with a headlamp.

Johanna, and the thousands of others who lived in the gigantic cave, passed their existence in darkness. They stumbled along, making their way as best as they could in the blackness, often falling to their deaths in huge drop-offs, getting bitten by poisonous creatures, or twisting an ankle on a rock—all because they couldn’t see. They daily walked right over incredible crystal formations and jewels, only they didn’t know it, because they couldn’t see them in the darkness. They remained oblivious to the breathtaking colors and dazzling designs.

As odd as it may sound, these people lived in the darkness by choice. I know that sounds crazy—who would choose to stumble in the fearful darkness? Who would choose not to see? And why would they choose that?

Well, although very few admitted this was the reason, the people chose the darkness because they didn’t want to see themselves as they really were. In the darkness, they’d convinced themselves they were clean and healthy, and they didn’t want to admit that wasn’t true.

Light showed them things as they really were. It showed them the dirt all over them. It showed them the dried-up blood covering their bodies, and puss oozing out of uncared for wounds. It revealed the sores and disease that ravaged their bodies. It showed them their mangled hair and weak eyes. In short, it showed them that they were a mess.

Had they only realized the healing and life that could be theirs if they were only willing to step into that light, they wouldn’t have hesitated for one moment. Had they only really understood that their present life in the dark cave ended only in death, they would have raced into the life the light offered to them. But instead they refused, living in darkness—loving it actually—rather than in the light of life.

“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12

“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” John 3:19-21

“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:5-9


Light is an amazing thing. Without it, we don’t know how to walk safely…nor can we see the beauty surrounding us. Light shows things as they really are—it reveals the truth about ourselves and the world around us.

God is light and truth—and He reveals Himself in His Word, the Bible. Are we willing to let God show us the truth—even if it’s not initially pleasant? Are we in His Word? Are we letting His Word light are path?

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

“For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:” Ephesians 5:8

Story: A Bank, Cop, and Drop-Off (or Believe Whatever You Want, But…)

beliefsJane was under a very strange misunderstanding. She’d been told that she could believe whatever she wanted about everything and was living her life as if believing something made it true. The only problem was, that simply wasn’t the case, as she was soon to find out.

Jane sauntered into the bank and confidently walked up to the teller. “I’d like to withdrawal one million dollars,” she announced confidently.

The teller looked up in surprise. “May I see your I.D. and have your bank account number?” she asked suspiciously.

Jane promptly handed over the requested items. After a minute, the teller announced, “I’m sorry, but your account balance is only $200. That’s the maximum you can withdrawal.”

Jane shook her head. “I believe my balance is 2 million dollars, and I’d like to withdrawal 1 million please.”

The teller tried again to explain reality to Jane, but she simply didn’t want to hear. Finally, Jane realized she was getting nowhere and stormed off to her car. Realizing she was late for her weekly kayaking trip, she sped down the road.

Soon, she heard a siren and found herself pulled over to the side of the road. The cop informed her she’d violated the speed limit and needed to pay a fine.

“But sir, I don’t believe in the speed limit,” she informed him.

The cop raised his eyebrows a little. Was this girl for real? “Well believe in it or not, you have to obey it,” he replied calmly, handing her the ticket.

Jane again realized there was nothing she could do but accept the ticket and be on her way. She was immensely relived to reach the riverbank at last and hop into her kayak. As she was heading down the river, she wondered what the river was like. She’d never been down this particular river before. She wondered if it had any rapids.

Jane felt a momentary panic at the thought of the possibility of rapids, but then a smile returned to her face. She didn’t believe the river had any rapids, so she’d be just fine.

As she happily rowed along, she past another kayak anchored up on the shore. The man in it frantically waved her down. “Hasn’t anyone told you? There’s a huge drop-off up ahead. You’d better pull off here. I’ve got a friend coming with a van who can drive you back.”

Jane did not welcome this intrusion on her happiness. “Look, I’m very happy. I don’t want to think about a drop-off. I don’t believe in it.”

The man tried his best to explain the pending danger, even pulling out a map of the river, but Jane refused to listen. “You can believe whatever you want, but let me believe what I want too. Let’s both just be happy.”

“It’s not about happiness! You’re believing a lie and about ready to-”

Jane cut him off. “I can believe whatever I want. Who’s to say you’re right and I’m wrong?”

The man tried again. “You’re right–you can believe whatever you want. But you’d better make sure your belief is anchored in truth. I believe in the drop-off because of this map–it clearly shows it and warns about it.”

“And I believe there is no drop-off,” Jane repeated.

“But on what basis?”

Jane squirmed. “I don’t want to talk about it anymore.” With that, Jane continued downriver, inching closer and closer to the drop-off which if she continued along her present path, would hurl her to her death, whether she believed in it or not. Oh, if only she would stop to make sure her beliefs were grounded in truth!

**************

I have been reminded a lot lately of the importance of making sure our beliefs line up with the truth of God’s Word, the Bible. God does not lie. He means what He says.

“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” Numbers 23:19

“Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.” Psalm 119:160

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

When God tells us in the Bible that Jesus is the only way to God (John 14:6) and there is salvation in no one else (Acts 4:12), He means it. When He tells us He will punish all whose names are not written in His book of life (Revelation 20:15), He means it. When He tells us that He is able to save (Hebrews 7:25), He means it. When He tells us nothing in all creation can separate those who are in Christ Jesus from the love of Christ and that we are more than conquerors in Him (Romans 8:37-39), He means it.

The only question is, are we living like we believe the truth of God’s Word? Can we say with the Psalmist that God’s Word is lighting our path, or are there areas where we’re clinging to our own darkness?

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

Refusing Treatment

“But you’re not okay; you need to get treatment before it’s too late,” Andrew felt tears forming in his eyes. It pained him so to see people ignore their sickness!

“No!” Luke Howard practically screamed his answer. “I’m not sick. I don’t need help.”

“Wait–please! Let me show you your test results. You can see that something’s wrong…”

But Luke had already stormed away. He didn’t want to hear that he wasn’t okay.

*********

If he hadn’t seen it with his own eyes, Andrew would have never believed the situation. The entire town was infected with a fatal disease. There was a cure–but, strangely, only a very few were willing to take it. Part of the disease itself blinded those infected with it to their need for help.

Some people let the disease run rampage in their lives. Boils grew untreated on their skins. Their fevers ran unchecked. But they didn’t care. There was always someone worse off they could point to and claim, “I’m better than him!” Their lives were just too filled with their own pursuits to worry about treatment.

Others tried hard to cover their symptoms so no one else would notice (and so they could convince themselves they’d be okay). They hid their boils under fancy clothes and makeup. They took fever reducers to reduce the fever. They convinced themselves and others they were healthy. Yet underneath their guise, they were just as sick as the sickest. It didn’t matter how well the disease was hidden–it was killing them none-the-less.

Still others admitted their sickness and attempted to save themselves from the disease. They exercised, ate special diets, and tried other proposed cures, but to no avail. All their efforts did nothing to arrest the disease’s progress.

The only way to be saved from this particular disease was to take the cure offered by the Doctor. You would think people would be standing in line, eager to receive it. But they weren’t, because, in one way or another, they didn’t believe they really needed it.

“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” 1 Timothy 1:15

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

“When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Mark 2:17

Story: Misguided Peace

Jason screeched the jeep to a halt in front of the mansion. Even over his engine he could hear the jovial music and merry making. He leaped out of the car, not a moment to lose.

“I need everyone to head for shelter–the volcano is erupting soon!” he shouted.

Someone grabbed him by the arm. “Excuse me, sir, but would you mind keeping it down? You’ll disturb the guests.”

Jason stared at the man in bewilderment. “That’s the idea! They need disturbed. Did you hear what I said? The volcano is erupting soon–everyone needs to get out of here right now.”

The man just smiled. “They’ll be time to deal with that later. Right now, we’re enjoying life. And if you don’t watch it,” he added gruffly, “I’ll see you get put out of the way. I’m in the middle of closing a very lucrative business deal.” The man rubbed his hands together gleefully as he spoke.

As if that will matter if the volcano gets you, Jason thought to himself, as he hurried on. He kept shouting his warning, but to his surprise, no one paid much attention.

“I don’t believe in volcanoes,” one young lady informed him with a rebellious shake of her head. “If you do, that’s fine, but don’t force your beliefs on others.”

Jason shook his head. “You don’t understand–I’m not trying to force anything on you. I’m trying to get you safe. If you don’t leave this area, you will die, whether you believe in volcanoes or not.”

“As I said, I don’t believe in them. I think we’re all just supposed to be kind to one another, and then everyone will be okay.”

“But–” the lady had already walked off before Jason could reply.

After many similar interchanges, Jason finally jumped back in his jeep and drove on to find others to warn. He simply had to try to tell as many people as he could before it was too late! How they responded–well, that he couldn’t control.

Jason pulled his jeep to a halt in front of a large “Volcano Shelter” sign. The whole area looked like a massive construction zone, as men and women labored to reinforce an enormous concrete building.

“The volcano is erupting soon–you guys need to flee!” Jason called through his window.

“Flee? You mean work harder!” a woman with a wheelbarrow full of bricks replied. “We’ve been working and working on this shelter my whole life. If we just keep working, it will hold us through the volcano.”

Jason examined the impressive-looking shelter. For a moment, he thought maybe the woman was right–it did look well built. And these people, unlike the ones at the mansion, were at least trying to prepare for the coming catastrophe. But then he shook his head. He knew the volcano would obliterate everything in its path–whether a mansion or a fabulous shelter. The only way to safety was to leave the little island.

“Ma’am, this structure won’t hold. You have to leave the island–and you have to do it now!”

The woman held herself up to her full height. “What do you mean it won’t hold? We’ve been working hard, I tell you, unlike those frolicking fools over there.” The woman tossed her head knowingly in the direction of the mansion.

“It just won’t hold–the volcano will destroy everything in its path. Come, leave the island, and you’ll be safe.”

“Humph! And leave behind all I’ve worked for? I think not! You, sir, should not be so narrow-minded. There’s more than one way to prepare for this volcano.”

Jason sighed. “I’m not meaning to be narrow-minded. I just want to warn you of the danger. There is only one way to safety–and that’s to leave this island. Everything on it will be destroyed.”

“How do you know that?” the woman snapped.

“I have it on good word. The manual…”

“Aw, there’s more than one way to interpret that, even if you believe it’s error-free,” replied the woman.

“Even if? Ma’am, that manual has predicted hundreds of things accurately. This very island bears within it evidence of a flood that ties with what the manual says happened. Plus, we can see evidence of the volcano getting ready to explode that ties with what the manual says will happen. And as for interpretation, it’s pretty clear. The problem is that people keep twisting it because they don’t want to hear what it says.”

The woman shook her head. “Look, I believe the manual is a good book. But it’s foolish not to do what we can to prepare for the volcano.”

“Exactly! That’s why you must leave. If you believe it’s a good book, you should follow what it says…”

“I’m trying!”

“But it says to flee, not to try.”

The woman shook her head despairingly and with a loud, “Humph!” turned back to her work. She was too busy building her own volcano shelter to take the way of escape already offered to her. How could she turn her back on all she’d accomplished and admit she was no better off than the people over in the mansion?

Jason found himself fighting back tears. Would no one listen? Would they insist on either clinging to the cares and fun of life or vainly trying to make their own provision for safety instead of taking the one offered to them at tremendous cost? The king’s own son had died to provide a way of escape from the volcano…oh, that more people would listen and respond before it was too late!

****
“For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” 1 Thessalonians 5:3

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6