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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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)

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)

 

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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)

Short Story: Truth Glasses

Darkness—oppressive darkness. It was all Emma could see. No matter which way she looked, there it was staring back at her. Each path she could take led to the same thing: more darkness. What had become of light? Did it even exist anymore?

Perhaps it did, somewhere. Emma knew at the end of her journey there’d be light. But there was no more light on the journey, of that she felt sure.

Emma’s last several miles had been filled with obstacles. Now all she could see were dark shadows stretching out before her.

“It’s just so discouraging,” Emma moaned to her traveling companion, Sarah. “I’m not sure why my father set me on this journey in the first place.”

“Okay, I know it seems discouraging,” Sarah replied. “But you’re not seeing the truth, Emma. Yes, there’s darkness, but there’s light too. There’s night, but there’s also day. You’ve got to put those glasses on.”

“Glasses?” Emma asked listlessly.

“Yes, you know, the ones your father gave you.”

Right—the glasses. Her father had given her glasses to help her see the world as it really was. Emma was pretty sure the glasses wouldn’t change anything—that she was already seeing everything accurately—but she pulled them out and dutifully held them up to her eyes anyway.

Wait—there was light amid what before had seemed only darkness! What a difference it made to look at the situation through the lenses of truth.


“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” John 17:7 (ESV)

“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'” John 8:31-32 (ESV)

Short Story: Ignoring the Lantern

Short Story: Ignoring the Lantern

Short Story: Ignoring the LanternThe children started on their journey with a light heart. Their father had given them everything they needed to make the journey, including a lantern to light their path.

There was just one problem. As odd as it might sound, the children weren’t using their lantern. They carried it with them–but they didn’t turn it on. Instead, they tried to force their way through in the darkness.

It was comically sad to watch their progress. They agonized over their steps, stumbling forward, all the while failing to turn on the lantern that would have illuminated their path. They complained about the darkness, allowed discouragement and depression to grip their heart, and wondered if their father had forgotten them. Yet all the while, they failed to turn on the lantern he’d provided. They carried it with them and talked about it with one another, but it didn’t seem to occur to them that it would only light their path if they actually turned it on. The few brief times they turned it on, they did so out of ritual, not really using it to look at the path.

Oh, how they were missing out! Had they only let it, they’d have discovered that the lantern’s light would have dispelled the darkness and shown them the truth about the path on which they were walking. When, oh when, would they let it light their path?

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105 (ESV)

Short Story: Missing Out?

Short Story: Missing Out?

Short Story: Missing Out?Hannah saw her father every day—at least technically. That is, she passed him in the hallway and briefly said hello. Or sometimes she’d slip into his office and ask him to help her…or complain about her day. Yet while she saw him regularly, she strangely missed him.

When she paused long enough in her busy day, she could remember back to the sweet times she used to have with her father. How they’d sit and talk for hours. You know—really talked. Not a few quick words while racing off to an event, but focused, deep, daddy-daughter time.

What had happened? It was a question Hannah began asking herself. She knew her father hadn’t changed—he was still there, available to talk with, arms open wide. No, the problem wasn’t his—it was hers. She’d had her mind so occupied in a thousand different directions that she’d failed to quiet her thoughts long enough to really spend time with her father. She’d been missing out.

“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 (KJV)

Short Story: Test It

story test it

story test itThe jeweler turned the stone over and over again in his hand, rubbing it, smelling it, and examining it carefully under polarized light. He wasn’t about to buy a fake stone.

Julie waited patiently. She had no idea her stone would be subjected to so many different tests! “It’s real, I tell you. I paid good money for it.”

The jeweler looked up and shook his head. “I’m sorry to hear that,” he replied. “It’s not real amber. See? Look at it in the light.” The jeweler held the stone up to the ultraviolet light again.

Julie looked at the stone. It simply looked like the stone to her.

“As you turn it around and examine it in the light, you don’t see a rainbow full of colors, do you?” The jeweler asked.

Julie shook her head. “No. So what, though?”

“True amber would have an iridescent look under polarized light. I’m sorry, but I’m afraid what you have there isn’t really amber. The light doesn’t lie.”

Julie buried her head in her hands. Oh, why hadn’t she tested the stone before she invested everything she had to buy it?

“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Acts 17:11 (KJV)

but test everything; hold fast what is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21 (ESV)

Short Story: Make Time to Eat

Olivia steadied herself on the counter. Why was the world spinning? She shook her head, trying to shake away the blurriness and focus again on the task before her.

It was no use. She couldn’t keep standing. Wearily, she sank into a chair, burying her head in her hands.

She just didn’t get it. A few days ago she had so much energy and felt like she could conquer the world. Now, she felt like a complete failure and could hardly keep standing. What was wrong with her?

Olivia’s sister Sophia came to her side, giving her a gentle side hug. “Oh, Sophi, what’s wrong with me?” Olivia cried, burying her head on her sister’s shoulder.

Sophia listened patiently as Olivia recounted the week’s adventures. “I just feel so tired out,” Olivia explained. “I want to complete the tasks before me well, but I don’t have any energy to do it. I can’t think straight at all.”

“When was the last time you ate?” Sophia’s gentle question was the last one Olivia expected, but one she needed to hear. When was the last time she ate? Come to think of it, her last real meal was several days ago now. Her only other food had been small, rushed snacks here and there, along with some junk food.

“I’ve had so much to do, I’ve not really had a good meal in days,” Olivia confessed.

Sophia nodded. “That’s what I thought. My dear sister, there’s no way you can complete what you need to do unless you nourish yourself! And I don’t mean just a quick snack here and there. You need a real meal. Your body simply wasn’t made to run without good food.”

Olivia was surprised that, after a good meal, she could suddenly think clearly again and walk without the world spinning. How different life looked when properly fed! No matter how busy life got, she needed to make time to eat.

 But he [Jesus] answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4 (KJV)