Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A Time Between Time-Conforming to Popular Trends

By Mary Vee
Between the Old and New Testament


From the Historical records



The time in between time. 

Four hundred years are in the process of passing since God last spoke through a prophet to His people.

The Persians have been conquered by the Greeks. Alexander the Great, the leader of the Greeks died. His two general fought over who would rule the empire. The two men, Ptolemy and Seleucus chose to divide the territory. Ptolemy ruled over Egypt and Seleucus ruled Syria and Asia minor. A problem rose when both wanted to rule Judea to have the key position. 

Many years later, kings took over the rule of these generals. The Seleucus king forced the Ptolemy king to give up control of Judea. Antiochus III became the new king of the Judea.

Antiochus III continued efforts to bring the Greek culture into every home. He ordered Greek statues to be placed in all Jewish synagogues and the temple in Jerusalem. When the Jews protested, he backed down, as long as efforts to make the Greek culture the main culture continued.

Antiochus IV wasn't as kind. The Jews called him a madman. In order to conquer Egypt as he wanted, everyone in his realm had to be 100% behind the Greeks in culture, language, fashion, everything.

Many Jews didn't have a problem changing. In order to run a good, successful business in the cities, the owner had to speak Greek, wear Greek clothing, celebrate Greek festivities or his business would fail. These Jews didn't even hide their own heritage. Instead they walked away from it in exchange for wealth and success.

Still there was a remnant of Jews who held to their heritage. To win these people over and want to live a Greek life, a high priest was put into power. Jason, a Jew, was a man who supported the Greek way. Over twelve months, he gently persuaded many Jews to conform. His lenient rule was frowned upon. The governing people forced Jason to flee the country. 

Menelaus, a Jew who didn't care at all about living the life of a Jew, asked to be appointed to the high priest position. He didn't have enough of his own money to pay those he bribed for the position. He sold precious Temple pieces to pay the price. 

While most of Judea lived a Grecian life, a group of Jews banded together to fight. These men called themselves Hasideans. They didn't like having the Jewish way squeezed out of Judea or seeing brothers and friends caught up in Greek fashions, speaking only Greek, or teaching their children only Greek ways. 

The Hasideans grew in number waiting for the right time to revolt.

Remember we are counting backwards to year 0. The year is near 200 BC.

    400 BC                           300 BC                        200 BC                        100 BC                          Birth of Christ
|------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|



Come back next time, because some really exciting events happen in Jerusalem in days to come.
*********************************************************************************************


sources: 
*New International Version, New King James Version. 
*My Bible College training.
*My notes and walk through classes I've taught in Children's church. Answers to student questions, etc.
*Pastoral sermons on this time
*Matthew Henry Commentary
*F. LaGard Smith Commentary
*The Hanukkah Book by Marilyn Burns, Four Winds Press, Macmillan Publishing Company, 1981

Monday, December 5, 2016

Jonathan Goforth-Clinging to Life

By Mary Vee
Year: summer 1889
Jonathan Goforth-30 years old


Jonathan Goforth's Journal





Photo Courtesy Chinese Dai house architecture
with bamboo sides and thatched roof 
My name is Jonathan Goforth. My wife, Rosalind and I are missionaries in China. 

I understand this is the Advent time for you, Reader. A time to remember what God has done for us and taught us. 

What happened to us next in China is the perfect story to tell you during this Advent time.

Rosalind, our baby, Gertrude, and I all climbed in a small boat to travel up river into the north country. We had been warned about the extreme high temperatures, but hadn't realized the days would be this bad. After all, we were on the river where it should be cooler. 

Instead, the humidity increased how hot the heat felt. Gertrude could barely breathe. Babies have a difficult time getting rid of heat because they don't sweat. Rosalind came up with a great idea to make the journey more comfy. "Go into the luggage and find our sheets." 

I sifted through the luggage until I found the sheets. We soaked them in the river water then hung them over our heads. The idea worked. We felt less hot within seconds. The trip up the river took two days. Imagine sitting in a small boat for two days. Yeah, our behinds were pretty sore.

We arrived in Linching and were pleased with the housing that had been prepared for us. The house wasn't completely done, just mostly. Construction workers were in the process of building a wall around the house for privacy. 

I found out that the construction workers didn't want to walk the long distance to the well for fresh water. There was a pond closer that provided water for mortar. With the terrible heat, I could understand why the workers wanted to use the pond water.

That night, an awful stench filled the air. We could hardly breathe. I thought maybe there might be a dead body in the house next door. After checking, we found the smell came from our new house. 

After more investigation, I found the pond was actually an open sewer. Flies were attracted to the area. Exposure to this would make the workers and us sick. I told the workers they couldn't use the pond water for any more of their work and explained the dangers of disease. I told the workers they had to walk for the fresh well water.

Unfortunately, my warning was too late. Many of the workers became ill with dysentery, a horrible disease. A short time later, my sweet little baby girl, Gertrude came down with dysentery. The missionary doctor tried her best to help save Gertrude.

When my wife, Rosalind then became ill with dysentery, I have to admit, I was wild with concern. I was so afraid I would lose both of my girls.

On July, 24, 1889, only twenty days after landing in Linching, and less than a month short of Gertrude's first birthday, our sweet little baby left us to be with Jesus. 

I wept. How I miss my sweet little one. Her curly hair. Her sweet smile. My precious treasure. The loss is so much for me to bear since we are far away in a strange land with no family to comfort us. I hugged my dear wife, Rosalind who still clung to life. 

According to the local laws, there wasn't a place to bury foreigners in Linching. I had to take my baby girl's body back to Pangchwang, a two day boat ride, where she could be buried in the mission cemetery. Rosalind was too ill to come with me. 

I prayed the entire trip back to Linching, asking God to restore health to Rosalind. When I returned....she had some improvement, which is really huge for a person with dysentery.

Thank you, God. Thank you, God.

I will always miss my sweet Gertrude, but know she is safe and cuddled in the arms of Jesus.



Jonathan has many stories to share. Come back each Monday to find out what happened next.



Resources Used for This Series
Being, Janet, and Geoff Benge. Jonathan Goforth: An Open Door in China. Seattle. WA: YWAM Pub., 2001.Print
Doyle, G. Wright. Builders of the Chinese Church: Pioneer Protestant Missionaries and Chinese Church Leaders. Eugene Oregon: Pickwick Pub, 2015. Print.
Goforth, Jonathan, and Rosaline Goforth, Miracle Lives of China, London" Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1931, Print.
Goforth, Jonathan. "By My Spirit" Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1942. Print
Goforth, Rosalind. Climbing; Memories of a Missionary's Wife. Chicago: Moody Pub, n.d. Print
Goforth, Rosalind, How I Know God Answers Prayers; The Personal Testimony of One Life-time, New York: Harper & Brothers, 1921. Print
Goforth, Rosalind. Jonathan Goforth. Minneapolis, MN: Bethan House, 1986. Print
Goforth, Rosalind, How God Answers Prayer: The Mighty Miracles of God from the Mission Field of Jonathan Goforth. USA: Revival, 2016. Print Original copyright not stated.
Jackson, Dave, and Neta Jackson. Mask of the Wolf Boy: Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 1999. Print.
McCleary, Walter. An Hour with Jonathan Goforth: A Biography. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1938. Print.
Meloche, Renee Taft., and Bryan Pollard. Jonathan Goforth: Never Give up. Seattle, WA: YWAM, 2004. Print.

.

Let Jonathan hear from you!
Leave a comment below.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

A Time Between Time- Alexander the Great Takes Over

By Mary Vee
Between the Old and New Testament

From the Historical records



photo by Mary Vee
The time in between time. 

Four hundred years are in the process of passing since God last spoke through a prophet to His people.

The Persians were in power. Jerusalem and Judah were still under the Persian control. Emphasis on the word "were." 

Counting backwards from four hundred to 0, in the year 332 BC (which means almost seventy years have gone by), a greek king named Alexander the Great defeated the Persian armies and marched into Jerusalem.

Alexander the Great now ruled over all the land that the Persians once ruled, including Judea, the country where Jerusalem was capital.

When Alexander arrived in Jerusalem, the priests greeted him. They welcomed his presence. Alexander was pleased with the way they treated his army and in exchange allowed the Jews to rule their country the way they wanted. He didn't even make the Jewish boys and men join his army. The Jews were so happy they chose to name all the boy babies born the first year of Alexander's rule in their country, "Alexander."

Basically nothing changed in Judea except the people would pay their taxes to Greece instead of Persia. Jews continued to worship at the Temple. The High Priest continued to rule from the temple. All seemed well, to the Jews.

Alexander the Great, though, wanted the whole world to live like Greeks. Taking taxes from the countries he conquered was nice, but not enough. He wanted every one to be Greek, to have one culture throughout the world. A Greek culture. The Greek language. A Greek education. 

Alexander came up with a plan to get what he wanted without wars and bloodshed. He encouraged his soldiers to move to every area of his empire. These soldiers would build houses, marry into local families and have their own children. Soon the local people would learn the Greek language, wear Greek clothes, eat Greek foods, and practice the Greek culture.

The Jews didn't mind. They enjoyed learning. They studied the Greek language, the Greek philosophers, scientists, and all matters of the Greeks. After all, Alexander the Great gave them permission to continue following their Laws, their Jewish heritage. 

This shouldn't be so bad, right? They could both live together. Jews learning Greek ways, Greeks allowing Jews to worship the way the Jews wanted.

After only twelve years as ruler, Alexander the Great died. 

And so did the Jews idea of keeping their heritage.

A little more than 300 years were left in the time out that God gave the Israelites.




Come back next time, because some really exciting events happen in Jerusalem in days to come.
*********************************************************************************************


sources: 
*New International Version, New King James Version. 
*My Bible College training.
*My notes and walk through classes I've taught in Children's church. Answers to student questions, etc.
*Pastoral sermons on this time
*Matthew Henry Commentary
*F. LaGard Smith Commentary
*The Hanukkah Book by Marilyn Burns, Four Winds Press, Macmillan Publishing Company, 1981

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Time Between Time: The People Needed Someone Who Knew and Understood God

By Mary Vee
Between the Old and New Testament

From the Historical records



photo by Mary Vee
The time in between time. 

Four hundred years are in the process of passing. 

Political powers change. Not all the Hebrews chose to return to Jerusalem and Judea. They chose to remain living in Babylon, which is now part of Persia. A Persian influence worms into Hebrew homes. 

The Hebrew language is not being taught to the children. The law of Moses is neglected. Persian's interest in mysticism, astrology, and the occult is found in these Hebrew homes. 

One of the Persian beliefs that makes its way into the Hebrew homes is that God is not concerned with the affairs and cares of man, and God is an impersonal god. So sad. God was there like a parent who has their child in time out.

Because this thinking is believed by the Hebrews living in Persian and elsewhere, these men and women struggled to believe Isaiah's prophesy that the coming Messiah would be called Immanuel, which is translated, God with us. 

Many times in the Old Testament God said there would always be a remnant. A group of people, no matter how small, who would remain loyal and dedicated to the truth of His Word and continually worship Him.

In this mixed up time, the orthodox Jews fought against the Persian influence. Or it seemed that way. According to historical documents written and preserved from this period of time, these Orthodox Jews didn't gather in the temple for regular worship. Also, because of the strong foreign politics in the area, sacrifices were no longer permissible.

The dedicated ones, the remnant who still wanted to serve God, gathered to pray, sing, and to discuss God's laws and His Word. Synagogues were built for those who lived far from Jerusalem. 

The role of the priest was replaced with the rabbi, men who studied and became experts in the law and the prophets. These rabbis become the teachers. 

The various synagogues took an individual focus of the law, just like people who live in different countries have different laws. The once Law of Moses now had many different interpretations and as time went by, the Torah had oral traditions added to the document.

The strong commitment to follow God's commands as he gave it unraveled like yarn.

The people needed someone who knew and understood God. 
They needed Immanuel. 
Immanuel--God with us. 
Because Immanuel is the only one who fully knows and understands.

"Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and call his name Immanuel."



Come back next time, because interesting events happen in Jerusalem in days to come.
*********************************************************************************************


sources: 
New International Version, New King James Version. 
My Bible College training.
My notes and walk through classes I've taught in Children's church. Answers to student questions, etc.
Pastoral sermons on this time
Matthew Henry Commentary
F. LaGard Smith Commentary

Monday, November 28, 2016

Jonathan Goforth-Mandarin, Tithes, and Cholera

By Mary Vee
Year: summer 1888
Jonathan Goforth-29 years old


Jonathan Goforth's Journal




Photo Courtesy Chinese Dai house architecture
with bamboo sides and thatched roof 
My name is Jonathan Goforth. My wife, Rosalind and I are missionaries in China. I'm so excited to finally say we are missionaries in China.

I bumble with my Mandarin which makes buying groceries a bit difficult. I don't always end up with what I think I ask for. It truly is amazing how many Mandarin words sound the same. I'm study every minute of the day. Someday soon, I hope to be dreaming in Mandarin. Wouldn't that be exciting!! I think so, too. I only hope I can understand the dream!!

After we'd lost most everything we owned in the fire that burned our first house in Chefoo, word spread to missionaries here in China and to folks back in Canada where we lived. Within one week, we moved into a second home to rent with all the basic furniture, clothes, and kitchenware basics needed. It was less than what we brought, but we survived just fine.

Rosalind and I learned so much with our meager belongings. Every time my account books showed we had any money beyond what we actually needed, we gave some to other missionaries in need. After all, we wouldn't have survived if missionaries hadn't helped us. 

In only a few months, my records showed we'd given ten percent of our annual income to other missionaries. I was so happy. I brought my paperwork to Rosalind.

She wasn't quite as excited as I was. In fact, she said, "Well, then, we can set aside money for our future needs."

"What future needs? God will supply as we need."

Well, my comment didn't go over very well.

She set her hands on her large belly. "The baby? Shouldn't we set aside money for the baby?"

Well, I saw her point, but I also couldn't stop the urge to at least try to give double our tide before our first year ended there in China. 

"What is it that you want to do, Jonathan?" she asked.

I had to tell her. It wouldn't be fair to feel God calling me to do something and not give her a chance to say something. "I think God wants us to help needy missionaries with any extra money we have."

She took a deep breath then smiled. "All right then. If we have extra, go ahead."

What made me extra happy was how she worked to keep expenses to a minimum. What a sweet woman I married.

August came. Our sweet little Gertrude was born on August 12, 1888. What a beautiful little girl. 

At the same time, a terrible outbreak of cholera hit the area. The disease was spread by the water and caused diarrhea, dehydration, and vomiting. Missionaries died. Chinese men, women, and children died. It was such a sad time.

New missionaries came from Canada and England to help. I've never been so busy in my life helping the sick, learning the language, praying, and helping missionaries with their work. Praise God, our little Gertrude did not get sick. 

This first year has been a busy one so far. I have a feeling there will be many adventures ahead.




Jonathan has many stories to share. Come back each Monday to find out what happened next.



Resources Used for This Series
Being, Janet, and Geoff Benge. Jonathan Goforth: An Open Door in China. Seattle. WA: YWAM Pub., 2001.Print
Doyle, G. Wright. Builders of the Chinese Church: Pioneer Protestant Missionaries and Chinese Church Leaders. Eugene Oregon: Pickwick Pub, 2015. Print.
Goforth, Jonathan, and Rosaline Goforth, Miracle Lives of China, London" Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1931, Print.
Goforth, Jonathan. "By My Spirit" Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1942. Print
Goforth, Rosalind. Climbing; Memories of a Missionary's Wife. Chicago: Moody Pub, n.d. Print
Goforth, Rosalind, How I Know God Answers Prayers; The Personal Testimony of One Life-time, New York: Harper & Brothers, 1921. Print
Goforth, Rosalind. Jonathan Goforth. Minneapolis, MN: Bethan House, 1986. Print
Goforth, Rosalind, How God Answers Prayer: The Mighty Miracles of God from the Mission Field of Jonathan Goforth. USA: Revival, 2016. Print Original copyright not stated.
Jackson, Dave, and Neta Jackson. Mask of the Wolf Boy: Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 1999. Print.
McCleary, Walter. An Hour with Jonathan Goforth: A Biography. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1938. Print.
Meloche, Renee Taft., and Bryan Pollard. Jonathan Goforth: Never Give up. Seattle, WA: YWAM, 2004. Print.

.

Let Jonathan hear from you!
Leave a comment below.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

A Time Between Time - Remember

By Mary Vee
Malachi 3
Between the Old and New Testament

From the Historical records



Photo by Mary Vee
The time in between time. 

Four hundred years are in the process of passing. We won't hear anymore from Nehemiah, Ezra, Ezekiel, or other prophets like Hosea, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, or Malachi. They've told us their stories and have nothing more to say.

But, remember this: 

God told Malachi to tell us there were those who feared and worshiped the Lord faithfully during that time and during our time. They talked with each other, encouraged one another to continue, and the Lord listened and heard.

A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name.

"Those who remembered Me and continued to worship Me will be mine in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. 

"You will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.

"The day is coming. It will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble. That day will set them on fire. Not a root or a branch will be left to them. 

"But for you who revere My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. You will go out and leap like calves released from the stall. You will trample down the wicked. They will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I do these things," says the Lord Almighty.

"Remember the law of my servant Mose, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel."

"See," says the Lord, "I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers. If they will not, I will come and strike the land with a curse."

And so...we are asked to remember. 

Remember God. 

Our creator. 

The giver of life. 

Our protector. 

The One who faithfully loves us and will never leave us....even when we are stifled in a terrible storm.


Come back next time, because interesting events happen in Jerusalem in days to come.
*********************************************************************************************


sources: 
New International Version, New King James Version. 
My Bible College training.
My notes and walk through classes I've taught in Children's church. Answers to student questions, etc.
Pastoral sermons on this time
Matthew Henry Commentary
F. LaGard Smith Commentary

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Time In Between Time

By Mary Vee
Between the Old and New Testament

From the Historical records



Photo by Mary Vee
The time in between time. 

In our chronological walk through the Bible, which started "In the beginning," Genesis 1:1, we have read about the lives of many people. 

Once Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem the second time, there wasn't anything else recorded in the Old Testament, chronologically speaking. The Israelites never really did follow through and stay loyal to God's commands. 

God became silent.

And so the Bible, God's Word, is silent during the four hundred years between the Old Testament and New Testament. 

But there are records, documents, like Josephus, archeological, Biblical and historical studies of the time that have been used to conclude these four hundred years were not a time in which the the men and women of Judah and Jerusalem followed God's commands as they promised they would.

A few posts back show Nehemiah's frustration when he returned to Jerusalem the second time. He'd led the campaign to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. He'd led the campaign to dedicate lives to worship the one true God. The God who loved them. He'd led the campaign to insure the Levites received proper payment in order to continue their work in the temple. 

And still.

The people did not prosper as a people who'd dedicated their lives to God. The Persian Empire continued their rule over Judah and Jerusalem. 

The Jews kinda expected a super hero to come and rescue them. They wanted this super hero to prove Israel's dominance. To bring wealth and power to the country.

And when they didn't see this super hero...they stop trusting in God. They turned their backs on their promises to faithfully worship Him. 

 *They forgot God's gift of the land to Abraham. His rescue of them from Egypt. 
 *They forgot His miraculous wins in battle like Jericho, and a small rock in the hand of a young man who was willing to fully trust God when facing a giant. 
 *They forgot the strong judges who preserved their nation. Judges like Deborah who led the nation to victory over the enemy commander Sisera who ended up dying by the hands of a woman named Jael. 
 *They forgot how God's word, sweet like honey in a rock, soothed in times of trouble.
 *They forgot how God searched for Cain and gave him a chance to repent.
 *They forgot how God protected them from rebellion within the ranks as with Korah.
 *They forgot how God used a donkey to protect a prophet from listening to an evil king.
 *They forgot how God gave them the king they wanted, even though it offended Him.
 *They forgot how God kept prophets in the know. Prophets who had the strength to give messages, exactly as God spoke, to the people.
 *They forgot about the water and food in the desert. The land of milk and honey.


They forgot.

They forgot.

They forgot.

The next few days we will remember what God has done...so we will not forget what He has done for us because of His great love for us.

Come back next time, because interesting events happen in Jerusalem in days to come.
*********************************************************************************************


sources: 
New International Version, New King James Version. 
My Bible College training.
My notes and walk through classes I've taught in Children's church. Answers to student questions, etc.
Pastoral sermons on this time
Matthew Henry Commentary
F. LaGard Smith Commentary