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Startling Stories

Christian book: Good Neighbors
Good Neighbors
A boy watches as his father out blasts the neighbors with his stereo, but the musical revenge he takes backfires on him. It never pays to take revenge. It is not the Christian way to hit back."You shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but you shalt love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord." Leviticus 19:18Jesus said: "And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night to him, though he bear long with them?" Luke 18:7Many times kids will come to their Dad and complain about some injustice which someone has inflicted on them. They expect their Dad to deal out a fair punishment on the offender - so Christians ought to tell God about any unfair treatment and leave the matter there. God is wise enough to sort out any problem with His kids, too."Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place to wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord." Romans 12:19

Christian book: Lucky
Lucky
Some Christians object to the word luck, and I can see why. They say, quite rightly, that God is in charge of everything, so nothing happens by chance. Luck is a 'heathen concept' they say, and looked at this way I totally agree.

On the other hand, if "luck" was defined as "an event which came as a surprise to us" we could still accept that God was in charge, and enjoy the event as a piece of "luck."

Another problem with the subject of "luck" is how it is perceived. For example, one farmer might see a sudden rainstorm as extremely lucky because his fields were just sown and he needed the water, but a neighboring farmer might see the same rain as unlucky because he was just about to start bailing. The same rain can be seen as good luck and bad luck, depending on which side of the fence you stand. Literally.

In the story I throw a few thoughts in about "luck" and leave the reader to decide whether it is a good thing or a bad thing to have control over it. Personally, I think the best course is to thank God for whatever happens, because from God's point of view, everything that happens to us is motivated (or energized) by His love, and every event is part of His plan to bring all creation to a state of perfect goodness. In which case there is no such thing as 'bad' luck.

"The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord." Proverbs 16:33. This verse seems to imply that there are times in life when we have no idea what to do, so we leave the path ahead open to God and He decides for us. We take whatever comes.

"The lot causes contentions to cease, and parts between the mighty." Proverbs 18:18. There are times when the toss of a coin or some similar random chance mechanism is a good way to solve a difference between locked horns. Most rugby and soccer games begin with the toss of a coin to decide who plays which end first.

Christian book: Manure Pie
Manure Pie
A simple, funny story about a bunch of kids who defeat a bully without using violence. Warning, this story contains many gross things! Do not read if you have a weak stomach.

(Jesus said) "I say to you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?" Matthew 6:25

Just how literally we should take this advice is fairly open to personal choice, but what would the Christian life be like if these words of Jesus were taken in a strictly literal sense? What would we eat? What would we wear? The possibilities are very challenging.

Paul wrote: "Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world stands, lest I offend my brother." 1 Corinthians 8:13

One of the most common discussions between people (I think) is about what we like and don't like to eat. We all have favorite foods, and least liked foods, and we love to tell other people about these preferences. On the other hand, when we meet people from different cultures, we sometimes stare in amazement at what they like to eat - pickled octopus for example, or tripe, or brains, or roast guinea pig! Each to their own, but Christians must try not to offend in the things they feel free to eat. This shows how important our dietary preferences are in God's sight.

Christian book: Pimple-Face
Pimple-Face
This story is science-fiction in flavor, but its theme is about cultures, and about how we become familiar with our own, and how we see people from other cultures, and how they see us.

"One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and to the stranger that sojourns (lives) among you." Exodus 12:49

"You shall neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for you were strangers in the land of Egypt." Exodus 22:21

"Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loves another has fulfilled the law." Romans 13:8

"For I was hungry, and you gave me food: I was thirsty, and you gave me drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in:" Matthew 25:35

Christian book: Shiner's Gold
Shiner's Gold
In this story a boy and his father go deep into the native bush of New Zealand, and discover something very strange. The end of the story is designed to catch the reader with a laugh. The setting is based on a real place which I discovered, but the inhabitant is fictional. I may have been thinking of Gollum (or Smeagal) when I wrote this story, but I also recall hearing about someone who had 'gone bush' for many years on the Australian outback and had thrived in the wild lands. The same could happen in NZ if one knew what to eat in the bush.

"And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leather girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey." Matthew 3:4. (I at times wondered what John's mother thought about this? Was she happy knowing her son was not eating a balanced diet? How would a child fare today if they ate only honey and grasshoppers?)

"And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven (i.e., the rain)" Daniel 5:21

"For he (Jesus) had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For often it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he broke the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness." Luke 8:29

Christian book: Twinkle Dust
Twinkle Dust
A funny story about revenge gone wrong. In the story the possibility is raised that people can be just as real and complete even when they are the size of peanuts, and in fact there is a time when we are this small - in our mother's womb. Perhaps the "Tom Thumb" stories from around the world, and the "Borrowers" and all the other miniature people stories, are a harp back to memories when we were all very small people?

"That he (Samson) told her all his heart, and said to her, There has not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite to God from my mother's womb." Judges 16:17

"I was cast upon you from the womb: You art my God from my mother's belly." Psalms 22:10

"For you have possessed my reins: You have covered me in my mother's womb." Psalms 139:13

"For, lo, as soon as the voice of your salutation sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy." Luke 1:44