Illustrations by Magriet Brink
Rainbow People and other stories
© Text: Ewald van Rensburg 2012 © Illustrations: Magriet Brink 2012 Design & Layout: Christine Scott
CMP Kids Meerkat CMP Kids is an imprint of Christian Media Publishers, Posbus 4502, Durbanville, 7551 www.christianmediapublishing.com Reg no 2010/008573/07 Printed and bound in China First Edition, first printing 2012 ISBN 978-1-920593-02-5 All rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced by any means - electronically or otherwise -without the prior written permission of the publisher. A book with wonderful timeless stories and fun activities that point kids in the right direction.
All CMP Kids books has been compiled with children’s
and development phases
in mind temperaments
For a full explanation of the temperament and developmental phases icons visit the CMP website www.christianmediapublishing.com
Contents Porkie and Everfresh
Frog and Scorpion
Bertie Baboonâ€™s big wish
Love knows no boundaries
Living in harmony
The paddy fields
The rainbow people
The great treasure
You reap what you sow
This is what God is like
The greatest gift
Puppies for sale
You are very rich
Everything that God does is good
The person who is without sin â€Ś
PORKY AND EVERFRESH Once upon a time there was a pig called Porky, and he had a problem. He just couldn’t understand why pigs are so unpopular. But nobody listened to him when he tried to complain. Who wants to be spend time with a pig? One day Porky happened to walk past Everfresh, a pretty milk cow. Porky asked her why everyone talks about cows” gentle natures, but when it comes to pigs, people have only rude things to say, like “You pig!” Everfresh smiled at him. “Oh Porky, but you are wrong. People also use my name as an insult. Haven’t you ever heard people calling a woman a ‘cow?’ That is certainly not meant as a compliment.” “Everfresh, stop joking!” Porky exclaimed. “You know as well as I do that people never just walk up to a pig and give him a hug. I know you cows give people many delicious things, like milk and cream and cheese, not to mention butter, but pigs give more than cows. I can see you don’t believe me. But just think about it for a moment. We give bacon, ham, sausages, ribs, chops and many other very delicious things to eat. People should love us more than you. I just can’t understand why cows are still more popular than pigs.” And he shook his head sadly. 6
Everfresh chewed a mouthful of grass and considered everything that Porky had said. “Maybe,” she said finally, “maybe the reasonhas something to do with the fact that we give all our products freely, while we are alive. Pigs don’t give anything to people, until they’re dead.” Shame! Maybe you and I have already eaten part of old Porky… who knows? “Each one, as a good manager of God ’s different gifts, must use for the good of others the special gift he has received from God .” 1 Peter 4:10 St Peter, writing a letter to encourage Christians who were being persecuted for their faith, says that while we are alive we must give our best to one another, just as Everfresh the cow did. The Lord is pleased when we care for one another. 7
Long, long ago there was a war between the birds and the animals. They fought so hard that feathers and fur flew everywhere! Bat was on the side of the birds. But during the first battle, when he saw that the animals were going to thrash the birds, he crept away and hid until the battle was over. The animals were on the way home peacefully, rejoicing over their victory, when Bat slipped in among their ranks. 8
They carried on walking, but as the animals noticed him, they asked each other, “Why is Bat here? Didn’t he fight against us?” Bat overheard them and quickly answered. “Oh no, I am one of you. I don’t belong with the birds. Have you ever seen a bird with a double row of teeth? 9
Go and look inside their beaks. If you find one with a double row of teeth like mine, you’ll know that I am one of them. But I’m not a bird, I promise you. ”A little while later there was another battle. But this time, the birds won. When Bat saw that the animals were losing, he slunk away and hid. When the battle was over, the birds began to fly home. And Bat flew with them. Straight away the birds confronted him. “You are our enemy. We saw you fighting against us!” “It’s not true,” said Bat. “I am one of you. I don’t belong with the animals. Have you ever seen an animal with wings?” The birds couldn’t think of an answer to his argument, so they allowed him to stay with them. As long as the war continued, Bat changed from side to side, depending on who was winning. But when the war was over the birds and the animals were no longer enemies, and when they talked to each other they realised he had changed sides. They held a meeting to discuss him.
Finally they reached a decision and called him in. “From now on,” they said, “you will never be friends with any of us – whether we walk on the earth or fly in the sky. You are alone forever.”
“I know what you have done; I know that you are neither cold not hot. how I wish you were either one or the other! But because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I am going to spit you out of my mouth.” Revelation 3: 15-16
As God ’s children, we should not be like Bat who could not decide which side to support in the battle. People like that just can’t be trusted. The Lord wants his children to love him with their whole hearts, and to always stay on his side in the battle against sin. 11
Frog and Scorpion Once upon a time a kind-hearted frog lived at the edge of a big dam. He was friendly and liked to help others, and often, when smaller creatures needed to reach the other side of the dam, he ferried them across the water on his back. One day a scorpion came past. Very friendly, he said to frog, “I want to ask you a big favour.” “What is it?” Frog asked. “Well,” said Scorpion, “I need to go to the other side of the dam. I hear you take other creatures across the water. Will you take me?” Frog answered nervously, “I’ll do it, Scorpion, but promise me you won’t sting me in the back? Because if you do, I will die.” “I promise you,” Scorpion said, “that I won’t use my sting against you. You can trust me, Frog. ”So Scorpion climbed on Frog’s back, and Frog began to swim. But halfway across the dam, Frog felt the most terrible stabbing pain in his back and he cried out, “Hey, Scorpion, what’s going on? You promised not to hurt me.” Coolly Scorpion answered, “Sorry Frog. I couldn’t help it. It’s just part of my nature to sting.” But he hadn’t finished speaking, when sadly, Frog died. And what became of Scorpion? He drowned. 12
“For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient and wrong. we were slaves to passions and pleasures of all kinds. we spent our lives in malice and envy; others hated us and we hated them. but when the kindness and love of God our saviour was revealed, he saved us.” Titus 3:3-4
In his letter to Titus, Paul writes that being unpleasant to other people is part of our sinful nature. But we don’t have to stab other people in the back like Scorpion. We have been filled with the love and power of Jesus. We can be like Frog, always ready to help other people. Which one are you? A frog or a scorpion?
Bertie Baboon sat on a tree stump, talking aloud to himself. “I wish I was a human,” he said. “People are clever, attractive, friendly, helpful, so many things. I would give anything to be a person. ” Walter Warthog happened to be passing by and he couldn’t help hearing Bertie’s wish.” “Bertie, you aren’t right in the head!” he exclaimed. “A human? Humans can act very stupidly sometimes. No, you’re better off being a baboon. Believe me, its much better. ”A little while later Jacky Jackal passed by. “Bertie, I hear from Walter that you want to be a human,” he said. “Man, you know how sneaky and skelm I can be. I promise you, humans can be much worse.” He’d just moved on when Bertie heard a voice from deep in the grass. “Hello, Bertie.” When he turned and saw who it was, he nearly jumped out of his skin. It was Victor Viper. “Calm down, I’m not going to hurt you. I just want to sssay, you think I am vicioussss, but humanssss can be just as vicioussss as snakesss…
And believe me, you don’t want to be like me.” With these words, Victor Viper gave a tiny strike in Bertie’s direction and slid away through the long grass. Victor had just left when King Lion arrived. He could see that Bertie was very unhappy.
“What’s the matter?” he asked. “King Lion, everyone is telling me that I don’t really want to become a human.” King Lion thought for a while, then he growled, “Rather stay a baboon, Bertie. Wherever you go there are humans trying to become king. They Bertie looked deep into King Lion’s wise eyes, and he knew that he was speaking the truth. “If that is the case,” he decided, “then I’d far rather remain a baboon.” And he picked two fleas off his tummy and jumped into the nearest tree, swinging from branch to branch, as merry as a monkey.
“You teach others – why don’t you teach yourself? you preach, “do not steal” – but do you yourself steal? you say, “do not commit dultery” – but do you commit adultery? you detest idols – but do you rob temples? you boast about having God ’s law – but do you bring shame on God by breaking his law? the scripture says, “because of you jews, the gentiles speak evil of God .” Romans 2:21-24
Sometimes other people look at our behaviour and say, “if Christians can do such ugly things, I don’t want to be one.” Remember, wherever you go, always behave like one of God ’s children. Everything that you do must draw other people to Jesus like a magnet.
Landseer, a famous painter, was best known for his paintings of mountains, woods, rivers and other scenes from nature. One holiday he was invited to a luxurious house in the north of Scotland. The house was almost as grand as a castle, and the lady who owned it was very proud of her fine home. Shortly before Landseer and the other guests arrived for the holiday, the lady began to get the house ready. She had the walls painted and bought new furniture and carpets. Everything looked beautiful when the guests arrived. But then something awful happened. One of the guests was carrying a bottle of red wine when he slipped, and the bottle broke against the newly painted wall. There was wine everywhere! And now the wall had a big red stain. 17
The poor man felt terrible, and the lady of the house was very upset. The following day, when the rest of the guests went out hunting, Landseer stayed behind. He looked at the stain on the wall for a very long time, and then he took out his paintbrushes. The wall sprang to life as he transformed the stain into a waterfall. He painted trees, ferns, and even a deer. You should have seen the owner’s face, not to mention the man who’d spilt the wine. They could not believe their eyes. The stained wall had turned into a Landseer masterpiece. Landseer had changed something ugly into a work of art.
“When anyone is joined to christ, he is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
This is exactly what God does with us. When our life is stained with sin, he forgives us because we are his children. Forgiveness means that He makes us into something new, and that the old us, the stain, is gone forever.
Love knows no boundaries
Many gripping and heart-wrenching stories have comeout of the Second World War. One of the stories told is about French soldiers whowere lying in one of the trenches during a fierce battle. The bullets flew over their heads. Explosion after explosionburst around them. A number of soldiers were ordered toleave the trench and to storm the enemy territory. Whenthey returned, one of the soldiers realised that his bestfriend was missing. He knew straight away that his friendhad been shot.He went to the Commanding Officer and said, â€œCaptain,my friend has been shot. 20
May I go and look for him?” The Captain answered firmly, “No, I refuse to allow it. One man alive is better than two men dead.” The soldier didn’t take this lying down. He carried on begging for permission. Finally, the Captain gave it. Quicklythe soldier crawled out of the trench. Bullets rained down on him. Ducking and diving, he ran through the battlefield. And a long time later he staggered back into the trench,carrying the lifeless body of his friend.“ I told you so,” said the Captain. “I knew it was apointless exercise.” But the soldier answered, “It was not pointless. He wasstill alive when I found him. And he said to me, “I knew you would come.”
“My children, our love should not be just wordsand talk; it must be true love, which shows itself inaction.” 1 john 3:18
This story shows us that love knows no boundaries. The cross of Jesus taught us this many centuries ago. It means nothing if you simply tell someone that you love them. You have to show it by your actions.
Living in Harmony Once upon a time two brothers lived and worked together in their family farm. One brother was married and had children. The other was single. They shared everything. When they had brought in the harvest, they divided it exactly in half, and each one stored his portion in his own barn. But one day the unmarried brother began to wonder if this was fair. “It’s not right that we should share the harvest exactly. I’m alone, and I need so little.
My brother has a wife and children to feed.” So he decided to take a sack of his grain and to put it into his brother’s barn. He did this in the middle of the night, so that his brother would never know about his generous act. Meanwhile, unaware of his brother’s decision, the married brother had the same thought. 22
“It’s not fair that we share everything so equally. I have received so many blessings from God – my wife and children. My brother has no one. He is all alone.” And he decided to go secretly at night to the barn, and to put a sack of grain among his brother’s portion. From that night onwards both brothers did this regularly. They each wondered why their grain pile was staying the same size. But one night they happened to be busy carrying the grain sacks at exactly the same moment. In the darkness they walked right into each other – each carrying a sack of grain on his back. They were astonished, but then they realised what had been going on. They dropped the sacks and hugged each other. Suddenly the dark night lit up, and a voice spoke. “I dwell here, because wherever two brothers live together in harmony, there I am.” “How wonderful it is, how pleasant, for God ’s people to live together in harmony! it is like the precious anointing oil running down from Aaron’s head and beard, down to the collar of his robes. it is like the dew on Mount Hermon, falling on the hills of Zion. that is where the Lord has promised his blessing – life that never ends.” Psalm 133:1-3
Love your family, and live in peace with them. You are a child of Jesus, so you are also part of a larger family, the family of God . This is why you must care for other people. It makes God ’s heart glad when you do.
The paddy fields Once upon a time there was a small village in Japan .On the east of the village was the sea, and to the weststood a high mountain. Some of the villagers made theirliving from the sea, but the rest â€“ man, woman and child â€“grew rice in paddy fields high up the mountain side. Every morning the villagers climbed the mountain,worked in the paddy fields all day and at sunset they woundtheir way down the mountain to their homes in the village.
Only Oupa stayed up the mountain day and night, with justhis grandson Ti for company. Oupa’s job was to keep firesburning, to keep the wild animals out of the rice fields. One morning early, when the paddy fields were nice and dry and the rice was almost ready to harvest, Oupa tendedto his fires as usual. Below in the village the people werewaking up and getting ready to start their journey up the mountain. When he had the fire burning to his satisfaction, Oupa decided to climb up to the very top of the mountain,to watch the sunrise. But that morning he did not see the sunrise. What he saw was something that terrified him. He ran back to his hut where Ti lay fast asleep. “Ti, Wake up.”“Ag Grandpa,” Ti muttered, “let me sleep a little whilelonger.” “No,” said Oupa. “Do what I say. Run and fetch a burningbranch from the fire. Hurry. Run.”This time Ti reacted, because he had never heard hisgrandfather speak as urgently as he did at that moment.He ran and fetched a burning branch as Oupa ordered him, “Set the paddy fields alight.” “But Oupa, it’s our food. Without the rice everyone in thevillage will starve to death.” “Do as I say.” With tears in his eyes Ti set fire to the paddy fields. Within seconds a heavy cloud of smoke hung above the burning fields.Below, in the village, the people saw the fire.
The priest rang the temple bell to call the people from their houses. Quickly the villagers ran up the mountain. When they got to the top, they saw the full extent of the fire. It had destroyed their rice harvest. “Who did this?” they asked. “I did,” said Oupa. “But why?” “Look.” Oupa pointed towards the sea. Now the people could see it too. A massive tsunami was rushing towards the coast. As it hit the land it destroyed every house in the village. It was followed by a second giant wave that left the remains of their village totally under water. The villagers were filled with anguish as they stared at their houses, now destroyed, and their rice harvest, burnt to a cinder. “We have nothing left,” they wailed. “On the contrary,” an old woman said, “we have life.Everyone has survived.” “Today we will begin again,” said the oldest inhabitant. “But first we will say thank you to Oupa for his deed of sacrifice. His swift action saved all of our lives.” Within seconds a heavy cloud of smoke hung above theburning fields. Below, in the village, the people saw the fire. The priestrang the temple bell to call the people from their houses. Quickly the villagers ran up the mountain. 26
When they got to the top, they saw the full extent of the fire. It had destroyed their rice harvest. “Who did this?” they asked.“I did,” said Oupa. “But why?” “Look.” Oupa pointed towards the sea. Now the people could see it too. A massive tsunami was rushing towards the coast. As it hit the land it destroyed every house in the village. It was followed by a second giant wave that left there mains of their village totally under water. The villagers were filled with anguish as they stared at their houses, now destroyed, and their rice harvest, burnt to a cinder. “We have nothing left,” they wailed. “On the contrary,” an old woman said, “we have life. Everyone has survived.” “Today we will begin again,” said the oldest inhabitant. “But first we will say thank you to Oupa for his deed ofsacrifice. His swift action saved all of our lives.” “perhaps my life’s blood is to be poured out like an offering on the sacrifice that your faith offers to God . if that is so, i am glad and share my joy withyou all.” Philippians 2:17
Faith demands something from each one of us, just as it asked Jesus for everything on the cross.
The rainbow people In a pretty valley at the foot of a mountain lived the people known as the “Greens.” They wore green clothes, lived in green houses, drovegreen cars, and believed that God was green. High up the mountain lived another group of people. They were known as the “Blues”, because they drove bluecars, lived in blue houses, wore blue clothes and believed that God was very definitely blue. The Blues and the Greens did not speak to one other. In fact they hated each other. Green mothers and fathers taught their children this little rhyme: “Green is happy, Blue is sad. Greens are good and Blues are bad.” Blue mothers and fathers taught their children a rhyme too. Theirs went: “Blue is happy, Green is sad. Blues are good and Greens are bad.” The little Blues and Greens grew up associating“sadness” and “badness” with one another. The worst thing was that they believed these things, even though they did not know each other. Some Blues had never spoken to a Green even once, in their whole lives. And vice versa. The reason was simple. Each group stayed in their own neighbourhood. They went to their own schools and churches and they never mixed with the other group. 28
One day a Green boy went for a walk in the veld with his father. They came upon a little Blue boy, playing alone with his kite. When he saw the Greens approaching, he got such a fright he ran away as fast as he could. But suddenly he fell, and twisted his ankle. The Green boy wanted to help him, but his father snapped, “No. Haven’t you learned anything at all? Green is happy, Blue is sad. Greens are good and Blues are bad.” But then the Green boy asked, “Daddy, how do we know this Blue boy is bad? All I know for sure is that he has hurt his ankle, and he needs somebody to help him get home. 29
”But his father grew angry. “Blue is the devil’s colour. God only loves Green people. Our church teaches us only to help our own people. Please act like someone who knows how to behave. ”A few weeks later the Green boy went to play with his pet rabbit. He was chasing the rabbit over the veld when, without noticing where he was going, he ran into Blueland. The rabbit ran between two big boulders, and when the little Green boy followed it, he found himself stuck fast. He struggled and struggled, but he could not get his leg free from the rocks that held him fast. He’d been struggling for quite a while when a Blue boy came walking by – the same boy who had been playing with a kite earlier and who had twisted his ankle. When the Blueboy saw the Green boy stuck fast, he ran to a tree and broke off a big stick. “Please don’t hit me,” the Green boy begged. “Don’t worry, I’m not going to hit you,” the Blue boy said. “I’m going to use the stick to wiggle your leg out from between the rocks. ”When Green’s leg was finally free, it was cut and bleeding badly. Blue tore a strip off his shirt and wrapped it around Green’s leg. Then he helped him home. Green’s father was furious when he saw what had happened. “I don’t care how badly injured you were, a Blue may never ever touch you.” In spite of his father’s reaction, Green could not forget the Blue boy.
When his leg was better, he decided to return to Blue land and to search for the boy who had helped him. It took a lot of courage, because doors were slammed in his face, he was yelled at and people threw stones at him. At last he found the Blue boy. Blue invited him into his home. Green said to him, “I just wanted to come and say thank you. But aren’t you afraid that people will find out that you helped a Green?”“I don’t care what people think,” Blue said.
“You should always help other people when they are in need. It doesn’t matter if they are green or blue.” And from that day on the Green boy and the Blue boy were best friends. They often visited each other. And they made up a new rhyme that they taught the other children: Green is good and so is blue, Purple, yellow, crimson too, So hear the news, rejoice, be glad All colours are perfect, none are bad. Slowly but surely, more and more Greens and Blues began to visit each other. They even started going to each other’s churches and schools. They also started reaching out to other countries, where the Yellows, Purple sand Crimsons lived. And after a while, nobody called themselves “Green” or “Blue” anymore. They described themselves as “Rainbow People.” And even today there are still children who sing, “All colours are perfect, none are bad.” “There is no longer any distinction between gentilesand jews, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarians,savages, slaves and free men, but christ is all,christ is in all. ”Colossians 3:11
Jesus loves everyone. We must show his love to every person who lives on the earth. 32
The great TREASURE Once upon a time there were two brothers, Cassiem andAli Baba. Cassiem was a rich man, but Ali Baba wasvery poor. He only just managed to keep his family alive bygathering firewood and selling it. One day he was far fromthe city gathering wood when he heard the galloping ofhorses’ hooves. Quickly he hid behind some bushes andsaw that it was a band of thieves who had arrived. Fortythieves and their leader. They gathered in front of a rocky outcrop, and the leader shouted, “Open Sesame. ”Immediately a door opened in the rock face, and the thieves disappeared through it.
A short while later the dooropened again, and the thieves reappeared and left on their horses. Ali Baba couldn’t contain his curiosity. He hurried to therock face, and called in a loud voice, “Open Sesame.” Andwhat do you think he found in the cave? Yes, chests of goldand precious stones. He wasted no time. Quickly he gathered as many piecesof gold and jewels as he could carry. When he reached the door he shouted, “Open Sesame.” Then he hid the treasure underneath the bundles of firewood and loaded them onthe donkey. His wife could not believe her eyes when shesaw the treasure he had brought home.Now it didn’t take long for his brother, Cassiem, to noticethat Ali Baba was suddenly a wealthy man, and he forcedAli Baba to tell him where he had got his riches. As soonas he had the answer, he hurried to the cave and began tohelp himself. But he was too greedy. The band of thievescaught him red-handed and killed him.
When Cassiem didn’t return from the cave, Ali Babawent to find him. He found his brother’s lifeless body lying in the cave and brought it home for burial. This was a mistake, because now the robbers knew that someoneelse knew the secret to their cave. To cut a long storyshort, one of the thieves discovered that it was Ali Baba and drew a big cross on his door, so he would rememberhis house when he came back to kill him. But Morgiana, Ali Baba’s clever servant, saw the cross and went out intothe street and drew an identical cross on every door inthe neighbourhood. When the thieves came back to dotheir evil deed, they were confused and could not find Ali’shouse. They went away, very angry.To make a long story even shorter, the leader of the banddiscovered Ali in the end, and made a plan to kill him. Hedisguised himself as an oil merchant. He took one jar filledto the brim with oil, and another forty jars that did notcontain oil – but the forty thieves. When the leader gave thesignal, they were to jump out of the jars and kill Ali Baba.While the leader of the band, disguised as an oilmerchant, was talking to Ali in the kitchen, one of thelamps ran out of oil. Morgiana, the clever servant,remembered that the oil merchant had brought manyjars of oil with him, and decided to borrow some. Whenthe thieves heard footsteps, they whispered, “Is it time, Master? 35
”Sharp-witted Morgiana realised immediately what wasgoing on. So in a deep voice she whispered, “No, not yet.”She ran to call the soldiers, who threw the thieves into jail.And that is how Ali Baba came to live a long andprosperous life. “because of his great mercy he gave us new life byraising jesus christ from death. this fills us with aliving hope, and so we look forward to possessingthe rich blessings that God keeps for his people. theyare for you, who through faith are kept safe by God ’s power for the salvation which is ready to berevealed at the end of time.”1 peter 1:3-5
St Peter told a very similar story, but his was not just an entertaining tale. His was the truth. Peter said that wonderful treasure awaits us – far greater and more valuable than the one Ali Baba discovered. The Lord keeps this treasure for us in heaven. What is this treasure? It is the new heaven and new earth where we will live forever with Jesus. Then it will be summer all year round, we will always eat the juiciest fruit, and we will never get sick or exhausted. How do we find this treasure? Ali Baba had to say, “Open Sesame.” What do we have to do? We must believe in Jesus. Ali Baba was saved twice by Morgiana. Peter says that the Lord himself will save and protect us, and no one will ever be able to steal this treasure from us. 36
You reap what you sow
Once upon a time a young man rented a farm from arich man. He worked day and night, determined to turnit into the finest farm in the district. But then a disaster happened. The owner notified the young man that he would have toleave the farm. “Why?” asked the young man. The answerwas simple. “My son has decided to try farming. I’m verysorry, because I know you have put everything into the farm.” The young man pleaded with the farmer, but with noeffect. He even offered to buy the farm. But it was nouse. He had to leave. 37
A great bitterness filled his heart,especially when he saw the work he had done to build upthe farm. He wanted to get revenge on the farmer. So hecollected together bags of seeds – the seeds of the worstkinds of weeds he could find – and he scattered the seedsto the furthest corners of the farm. A month before the owner’s son was due to take over thefarm, the owner sent another message to the young man.It was crushing news. His son had changed his mind. Hedidn’t want to be a farmer after all. The owner had decidedto accept his offer to buy the farm. He was the new owner. The messenger could not understand why the youngman looked so devastated when he had brought such goodnews, or why the young man kept repeating, “What a fool Ihave been. What a fool.” “Do not deceive yourselves; no one makes a fool of God . a person will reap exactly what he sows. if hesows in the field of his natural desires, from it hewill gather the harvest of death; if he sows in thefield of the spirit, from the spirit he will gather theharvest of eternal life. so let us not become tired ofdoing good; for if we do not give up, the time willcome when we will reap the harvest.” Galatians 6:7-9
The Bible says that we must take good care of the kind of seeds that wesow in our lives. What we sow, grows. That is why we must never stopdoing good, even though it is hard sometimes. Remember, good seedbrings a good harvest.
This is what God is like
One day a man told a story about something that happened to him when he was a boy. His parents grewtired of him always coming home late for dinner. So oneday they said to him, “The next time you’re late for dinner,you are going to get bread and water to eat. ”And believe it or not, the very next day the boy was lateagain. His parents were already sitting down to eat. In frontof them was a plate of juicy steak, baked potato, sweetpotato and mixed vegetables. Next to their plates waited a pudding bowl filled with ice cream and chocolate sauce. 39
He was very hungry, and his mouth was watering – until he saw what waited at his place. A plate of dry bread and a glass of water. Crushed, he sat down. His father waiteduntil the message had sunk in. Then something wonderfulhappened – something that changed his whole life. His father silently exchanged his plate of food with theboy’s. Yes, he took the dry bread and gave him his delicious meal. “From that day onwards,” the man says, “I knew what God was like. All because of what my father did for me.”
“would any of you who are fathers give your sona snake when he asks for fish? or would you givehim a scorpion when he asks for an egg? bad asyou are, you know how to give good things toyour children. how much more, then, will the fatherin heaven give the holy spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:11-13 If you think this father was generous and compassionate to his son,you can know for sure that God is infinitely more generous and kind.He loves you much, much more than this father loved his son. Never forget it. 40
The greatest gift A re-working of a story by Oâ€™Henry
Once, long ago, there lived a young American couplecalled Della and Jim. They were very poor, but lovedeach other dearly, and their love had helped them tosurvive their desperate poverty. Della and Jim each had one possession that wasvery special to them. Della had long, beautiful hair thateveryone admired. Jim had a gold watch that he hadinherited from his father. It was the day before Christmas, and neither of themhad the money to buy a gift for the other. So Della went tothe hairdresser, had her long hair cut off and sold it to awigmaker for twenty dollars. Then she went to the jeweller,and bought a platinum chain for Jimâ€™s prized watch. 41
When Jim came home, he saw Della with her hair cutshort. She looked prettier than ever to him. Slowly hehanded her the gift he had bought her – an expensive combfor her hair, set all around with jewels. He had sold his watch to buy her the comb. Although they could not use each other’s gifts, theproof that they loved each other more than their prizedpossessions was the greatest gift they could have giveneach other. Each one gave the other everything that theyhad. Real love cannot do less. “Jesus was in bethany at the house of simon, aman who had suffered from a dreaded skin disease.while jesus was eating, a woman came in withan alabaster jar full of a very expensive perfumemade of pure nard. she broke the jar and pouredthe perfume on jesus’ head. some of the people therebecame angry and said to one another, ‘what wasthe use of wasting the perfume? it could have beensold for more than three hundred silver coins andthe money given to the poor!’ and they criticized herharshly. but jesus said, ‘leave her alone!… she didwhat she could.’” Matthew 26:6-10
Mary Magdalene gave everything that she had to Jesus. (Read Mark14:3-9 in your Bible.) A few days later, Jesus gave everything he hadto the world. He knows no other way. Give everything you have to theLord. You will not be sorry. Remember, he gave his life for you. 42
Puppies for sale The owner of a pet shop placed an advertisement in hiswindow: Puppies for sale. Notices like that always act likemagnets for children. Shortly afterwards a small boy cameinto the shop and asked, “How much are the puppies?”The owner answered him, “Somewhere between R30 and R60.
”The boy dug around in his pocket and finally he said, “Ionly have R5.65. May I look at the puppies please?”The owner opened up the cage and all the puppies camerunning to the boy. All except one, which limped behindthe others. Immediately the boy asked, “What is the matterwith that one?” 43
The owner explained that the vet had examined thepuppy and had discovered that it had been born withouta hip socket. It would always be crippled. The boy calledexcitedly, “That is the puppy I’m going to buy.” “No,” the owner said. “You can’t buy that puppy. If youwant him I will give him to you for free.”But the boy insisted. “I don’t want him for nothing,” he said. “That little puppy is worth just as much as the others.I will give you the R5.65 now and pay the rest bit by bituntil I have paid the full amount.”The owner was irritated by now. “You can’t buy thispuppy. He will never run and jump and play like the others.”As he spoke, the boy rolled up the leg of his trousers. The owner saw that the boy wore an iron caliper on his leftleg. The boy said softly, “I don’t run too well myself. And this little puppy needs someone who understands him.”
“he helps us in all our troubles, so that we are ableto help others who have all kinds of troubles, usingthe same help that we ourselves have received from God .” 2 Corinthians 1:4
Sometimes we go through hard times so that we can help otherswho are suffering the same difficulties. When we have suffered, weunderstand how others feel. 44
Many years ago a simple, uneducated farmer lived on a small farm in Oklahoma in the USA. He kept a few sheep, grew some fields of corn, just enough to ensure he had enough to feed and clothe his family. One day an oil company discovered oil on his farm. With the profit he made from selling the oil, the farmer gradually became a very wealthy man. But he did not spend the money he made. He still lived like a poor farmer who needed to save every cent. He stayed in his old house, not even buying new furniture. On top of it all, he still drove his old bakkie, the one that guzzled petrol like there was no tomorrow. Everyone knew when he drove past â€“ by the clouds of smoke coming from the exhaust pipe. So what did he do with his money? He deposited it in the local bank every month. Every summer, when he went to the bank, he told the bank manager the same old story. 45
“The grass is dead, the sheep are sick and the boreholes are dry. Man, things are bad.”And every year the bank manager heard his complaints patiently and said the same thing. “You’re not poor. You have plenty of money in the bank.” The same thing happened year after year. And then one day the bank manager realised something. The farmer truly did not understand how rich he was. So that summer when the farmer came in as usual for his yearly appointment with the bank manager, the manager listened to the same old complaints. “The grass is dead, the sheep are sick and the borehole is dry. Man, things are bad.” But this time the manager took the farmer down to the strongroom. He piled all the farmer’s money on a table and said, “Start counting.” A long time later the farmer came upstairs and knocked on the manager’s door. “The grass is green, the sheep are very healthy and the borehole is full. Man, things are good.” And that was the last time the manager ever had to hear the farmer complaining. “The thief comes only in order to steal, kill and destroy. i have come in order that you might havelife – life in all its fullness.” John 10:10 You are a child of Jesus, and therefore you are very rich – a millionaire in blessings. Don’t behave like the uneducated farmer. Count all the blessings you receive every day from the Lord. This will fill your heart with joy, so that every day you can thank him for his goodness.
Children only It was a sunny day, and the children had been playing outside for hours. All except Levi, Mark and John. They wanted to play inside at Levi’s house – with Levi’s father’s woodworking tools. “On a beautiful day like this, children should be running around outside,” Levi’s mother said, shooing them into the yard. And the three children were glad later that she had insisted, because something wonderful happened. They never forgot that day. They were still talking about it when they were old and grey. That day, Levi, Mark and John decided to play Jews and Romans. Naturally nobody wanted to be the Roman, but finally Levi was chosen. They played for a long time, and then suddenly they saw someone walking down the road towards them. They stopped playing and watched. It was the wonderful man that their parents kept talking about.“Look, it’s Jesus,” they whispered to each other.
They watched as Jesus crossed over the road and sat down to rest. Levi ran to his mother. “Mamma, Jesus is outside. Please take us to him.” His mother did as he had asked. She took the three boys across the road, and stood in front of Jesus. He looked up with a smile. “Sir,” she said, “ these three boys are long ingto meet you. Their names are Levi, John and Mark. ”When they were old, the three boys still remembered how Jesus” disciples tried to shoo them away, saying that the Master was tired and they should not disturb him. But Jesus called them to him. He even lifted Mark ontohis knee. Within moments a whole crowd of children surrounded him. They remembered his words that day. “Let the children come to me, and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you that whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it. ”Then one of the children said, “Jesus, please tell us a story.” “Yes, yes, the one about the father with the two sons,”called another. So Jesus told them the story of the Prodigal Son. The children sat dead still and listened to every word. When he had finished the story, Jesus put his arms around the children, laid his hand on their heads and blessed them. Mark, John, Levi and all the children the reunderstood that this man, Jesus, loved all children.It was a day that they never forgot.
“Some people brought children to jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples scolded the people. when Jesus noticed this, he was angry and said to his disciples, “let the children come to me, and do not stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you that whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Then he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on each of them, and blessedt hem.” Mark 10:10
Never forget that Jesus is the friend of every child. He loves children, and he loves you.
Everything that God does is good Long, long ago a rabbi set out on a long and dangerous journey. He took very little with him, a donkey to ride, a lamp to lighten the darkness, and a hen to lay eggs. One stormy night he came to a village and knocked on a door, asking for a bed for the night. But nobody in the village would help him. It was wartime, and the villagers were suspicious of all strangers. They refused to give him somewhere to sleep. “Everything that God does is good,” the Rabbi said, turning away. He led his donkey into the forest and found a sheltered spot to rest for the night. He tied the donkey to a branch and settled down to sleep. But he had not noticed that the branch was rotten, and during the night the donkey broke free and ran away into the forest. “Everything that God does is good,” the Rabbi said, when he woke up and discovered that his donkey was gone. Then something even more dreadful happened. The rabbi heard a noise in the bushes and suddenly a jackal sprang out of the under growth.
It seized the hen by the neck and carried her away into the darkness. “Everything that God does is good,” the Rabbi said, and he knelt to pray. When he had finished praying, he looked at the darkforest and said softly, “Thank God that I still have my lamp.” He lay down to sleep again, and a strong wind came up and blew over his lamp. The oil all ran away into the ground. Now the rabbi sat in pitch darkness. “Everything that God does is good,” he said again, and went back to sleep. The next morning early the sun woke him. He rubbed his eyes and then he saw the pall of smoke hanging over the trees. It was coming from the direction of the village. Suddenly an old man appeared through the trees. He told the rabbi that during the night soldiers had attacked the village and burnt it to the ground. The rabbi set off again on his journey, this time without his donkey, hen and oil lamp. As he walked he thought about the night that had just passed. “If I had slept in the village,” he thought, “or if my donkey had brayed during the night, or the hen had cackled, or if my lamp had given away my presence in the forest, I would have been killed by the soldiers. The Lord saved me by taking away my possessions. Truly, everything that God does, is good.”
“Find out for yourself how good the lord is. Happy are those who find safety with him.” Psalm 34:8
Sometimes things happen in our lives that we just can’t understand. Psalm 34 confirms what the rabbi knew as a certainty. Things go wellfor those people who find refuge in God . Yes, everything that God doesis good.
Stone soup Once upon a time a tired soldier was on his way home after battle. His horse was even tireder than him, and both were hungry. It was late afternoon when the soldier saw a village in the distance. “I’ll find something to eat there, “ he said to himself, “and somewhere to stay the night.” Suddenly his horse stumbled, and the soldier was thrown off. He got up and dusted himself down, and then he saw that his horse had tripped over a stone in the road. He worked it loose with his sword. It was a pretty stone, round and smooth. He liked the look of it, so he put it into his saddlebag and continued on his way to the village.The people who lived in the first houses stopped working as he rode past. He waved to them, but nobody waved back. So he dismounted from his horse and made his way over to the family at the first house. “Good evening,” he said, “Have you perhaps got a little bit of food for a hungry man?” The woman sighed and said, “We had a terrible harvest this year. There is hardly enough food for my family. I’m sorry I can’t help you. ”He heard the same story from each house he tried. The soldier went and sat under a tree to rest, and he thought to himself, “ A few weeks from now these people are going to be just as hungry as I am. I wish I could help them to get more food.”Suddenly he had a bright idea. He took the stone out of 54
his saddlebag and went back to speak to the villagers. “I have here a very special stone, one that will help you to have food every day for the rest of the winter. This is a magic stone. You can use it to make stone soup.” “Stone soup?” repeated one man. “I’ve never heard of that.”“The wonder of stone soup is that it doesn’t just fill your tummies,” the soldier said. “It also draws people together in wonderful fellowship.
Has anyone here got a big iron pot?” Quickly a man brought a big pot on a wheelbarrow. “It’sa bit on the small side,” the soldier said, “but it will have to do. Now fill the pot with water, and light a fire beneath it.”Eager hands brought buckets of water and piles of wood. One, two, three the pot was filled, and stood over an enormous fire. When the water began to boil, carefully the soldier added the stone to the pot. 55
“Stone soup needs salt and pepper,” he said. A little while later he tasted it and said, “Hmm, it’s delicious, but it would be even better with a few carrots.”“I can spare a few carrots,” said a farmer, and his daughter ran and fetched a whole bunch of them. “It’s a shame the harvest was so poor this year,” the soldier said. “Stone soup always tastes far better with a bit of cabbage.” “I know where to get one,” said a woman. She returned a while later with three big cabbages. While he was chopping the vegetables for the soup, the soldier said, “The last time I made stone soup, a rich man donated a few potatoes and a piece of beef.” The people whispered together. “With a piece of meat in the pot we will all eat like rich people.” They went home and came back a little while later with not just potatoes and beef. They also brought milk, onions and barley. By the time the soup was cooked, darkness had fallen over the village. The men brought tables, the women brought soup bowls, and some also brought cider and bread. It was the most delicious soup any of them had ever eaten. They sang and danced late into the night. The next morning the soldier said goodbye to the villagers. As he climbed onto his horse, a boy called, “You have forgotten your magic stone.” The Soldier smiled. “I’m leaving it here for you. It is a present. ”As the soldier rode away a little girl said to her grandfather, “As long as we have the magic stone, we will never go hungry.” 56
“Remember,” said her grandfather, “the soldier promised us something. He said that the stone brings people together in fellowship.” And everyone agreed that the stone had certainly done that.
“Do not forget to do good and to help one another, because these are the sacrifices that please God .” Hebrews 13:16
Jesus asks us to be generous to other people, and to share everything we have.
The tongue One morning a wealthy woman called her cook to oneside. “Tonight,” she said, “ I am expecting very goodfriends for dinner. Please prepare us the most enjoyablemeal in the world.” The cook hurried to market and bought all theingredients he needed. That night, after he had served avariety of appetizers, he announced joyfully, “The maincourse tonight is tongue.”The hostess was astounded by his choice. “What madeyou choose tongue as the most enjoyable dish in the world?” The cook answered, “When people love each other, theirtongues say loving and affirming words to each other. Thatis why the tongue is the most enjoyable meal in the world.”
“You are not just an outstanding cook,” the hostess said,“but you are also a deep thinker.”The following morning the woman called the cook in foranother meeting. “Last night my friends and I found yourchoice very interesting. Tonight I would like you to preparethe most unpleasant meal in the whole world.”Once again the cook hurried to market to buy theingredients. That night he again presented a variety oftasty appetizers. And then he announced, “The main coursetonight is tongue.”The hostess could not disguise her astonishment.“Cook,” she said, “I don’t understand.” The cook explained, “When people hate each other, theirtongues say the ugliest things. That makes the tongue theugliest thing in all the world.”
“we use it to give thanks to our lord and fatherand also to curse our fellow-man, who is createdin the likeness of God . words of thanksgivingand cursing pour out from the same mouth. mybrothers, this should not happen!” James 3:9-10
Be careful of the words you use, because they are like toothpaste. Onceit is out of the tube, you can’t get it back inside. Make sure that onlygood words come out of your mouth. 59
The person who is without sin... Once upon a time there was a man who was accused ofstealing a packet of meat. Before he was dragged off tothe gallows to die, he was given the chance to talk to theking. “Your Majesty,” the man said, “I am the only person inthe world who knows how to plant an apple seed in sucha way that it will grow to full size overnight and bear fruit.Before I die, I want to show my repentance for my misdeedby sharing this secret with you and your people. All I need is a spade, a handful of apple seeds and a young girl whohas never fallen in love and been kissed.”The king, his advisers and his thirteen-year-old daughtergathered eagerly in a field. They couldn’t wait to hear thesecret of growing apple trees overnight. The man dug ahole and said, “This lovely young girl must now pour waterinto the hole.” The King’s daughter did as he requested.“Now we are ready for the planting ceremony,” the man said. 60
“The seed can only be thrown into this holeby someone who has never taken anything that does notbelong to him or her.” “I grant this honour to my trusted adviser, the Prime Minister,” the king declared. “He may plant the seeds.”The Prime Minister cleared his throat and spoke verynervously. “Forgive me, Your Majesty, but I do not qualify.When I was very young, I stole someone’s jersey.” “Well then,” the King said, “The Minister of Finance maydo the honours.” “Your Majesty,” the Minister of Finance stuttered, “youhave forgotten that in my previous position I was foolishenough to help myself to a little bonus.”
One by one the King’s advisers explained that each of them had at one time of another been a little dishonestand had taken something that did not belong to them. Finally the King himself admitted that he had once, whenhe was a little boy, taken something that belonged to hisfather. After all these confessions, the accused man spoketo the king again.” Your advisers are all people with thehighest ethical standards. Everyone admires them. But notone of them can say that he has never taken somethingthat did not belong to him. I know what I did was wrong,but must I now be hanged because I stole meat to feed myhungry family?”“You are a wise man,” the King said. “I am granting youmy pardon. You are free to go.”
“Do not judge others, so that God will not judgeyou, for God will judge you in the same way asyou judge others, and he will apply to you the samerules that you apply to others.”Matthew 7:1-2
Do not judge one another. Leave all judgment to God .
This delightfully illustrated storybook by the prize-winning childrenâ€™s author, Ewald van Rensburg, is filled with timeless values that will help children have a good night and a good day experience.