Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Unfaithful - Sermon on the Mount

By Mary Vee
Matthew 5



From Matthew's Journal 

Photo by Mary Vee. View down to the Sea of Galilee from
the Mountain where it is believed Jesus was at this time.
Capernaum is down and to the left by the shore.
My name is Matthew. I am a disciple of Jesus. I am here with other disciples, so they may add something to today's post. 

We are sitting on the side of a mountain bordering the Sea of Galilee with a large number of people, some have traveled a long ways.

Jesus has been speaking most of the morning. You can read what He has already said in the last posts. Just scroll down.

He hasn't taken a break since the last time I shared with you, but went on to talk about the seventh commandment next. Here is what he is saying:

"Let's talk next about the seventh commandment. You remember that God instructed Moses to teach: Do not commit adultery. You may think that you have obeyed this teaching, walked the straight and narrow road, but I tell you this, if a man even looks at a woman with lust, he has already committed adultery in his heart. 

"The eye must be tamed. If it causes you to sin, remove it and throw it in the garbage. It is much better for you to lose it than for you to be thrown into hell. 

"The same thing goes for your right hand. If it causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away, because it really is better to lose it than for you to be thrown into hell. 

"The same for your feet or stomach, any part of your body that may cause you to sin. Get rid of it to spare yourself from being cast into hell.

"The seventh commandment even includes this from the teachings of Moses: Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce, being fair to her and sending her away without anything restarting her. But I tell you, unless she has cheated on you, you must not divorce her at all, no exceptions because a divorced person who marries again commits the sin of adultery.  See what a mess it creates?" 


Yes, this does make sense. He teaches with such a deep understanding. I am sure we all learned more than we had in a very long time. Jesus has more to say. I will share them next time.


Author's note, this section is from the Sermon on the Mount. Come back to read the next story.


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


sources: 
*A Harmony of the Gospels for Historical Study, An Analytical Synopsis of the Four Gospels by William Arnold Stevens and Ernest DeWitt Burton, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York 1932
*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
*My notes from my trip to Israel.
*Photos from my trip to Israel.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Jonathan Goforth-The Epic Power of One Letter

By Mary Vee
Year: summer 1920
Jonathan Goforth-61 years old


Jonathan Goforth's Journal


My name is Jonathan Goforth. My wife, Rosalind, and I are missionaries in China. In all the years I have been here, I have never desired to do anything else with my life than to tell the people in China about the living God who loves them. 

The year is 1920 and life is prosperous in much of the world, except here in north central China. I'm so sad to say that due to weather there has been a terrible famine here. Between thirty and forty million people are starving.

We don't have the technology that you have in modern days. It hasn't been invented yet. One of the biggest problems we face is letting those who could help know about a need. A letter takes time to get across the ocean. And that is only one letter in one language. Millions of starving people need a lot more help than what one letter could do. 

All the missionaries working in the area stopped their normal work to care for the physical needs of the starving people. I went too. Rosalind couldn't go with me. She was ill.

What I didn't know at the time was what she did while I was gone.

 This is a Mimeograph machine. Photo Courtesy
God gave her the idea to quickly write a letter, not to any one person, but to anyone who could read it. She then took it to a neighbor who had a mimeograph machine. Hah, you don't know what that is, right? Well, in our days we could etch, carve letters into a sheet with a purple substance. That purple sheet was placed on a drum with a handle. We turned the handle causing ink to fill in the carved areas and print the words onto paper. This is what we used before copy machines. 

Any way, Rosalind made 150 copies. Then she took those copies to every foreign missionary in the area that she could find. Those missionaries then translated the letter into other languages. Within 24 hours the letter had been mimeographed, distributed to local missionaries, translated into many languages, and sent out to the world.

In an amazing amount of short time, money arrived from all over the globe to help feed the starving people. Food was bought in areas not affected by the famine and sent to the hungry people.

And because the money came to the missionaries who then bought and delivered food, the Chinese people began to trust them and listen to their messages about the One True Living God who loves them.

Remember Changte is a central big city in this area where the starving people lived. We set up tents for the people to gather. Even with the bitter cold temperatures of winter, the people, thankful because of the help, came to hear about a God who loved them. Over three thousand people placed their believe in the living God during that winter.

All from a letter that God asked Rosalind to write when she was ill.

Wow! I am continually amazed at what God can do. 


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.

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Let Jonathan hear from you!
Leave a comment below.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Leave Your Gift- Go-Sermon on the Mount

By Mary Vee
Matthew 5



From Matthew's Journal 

Photo by Mary Vee. View down to the Sea of Galilee from
the Mountain where it is believed Jesus was at this time.
Capernaum is down and to the left by the shore.
My name is Matthew. I am a disciple of Jesus. I am here with other disciples, so they may add something to today's post. 

We are sitting on the side of a mountain bordering the Sea of Galilee with a large number of people, some have traveled a long ways.

Jesus is in the midst of speaking to the very large crowd. They are very intrigued and so are we disciples. Here is what He is saying:

"Do not think that I have come to do away with the Law or over turn what the Prophets have said. I haven't come to undo them, but to fulfill them.

"I am here to tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the smallest stroke of a pen will in any measure disappear from the  sacred Law, for absolutely everything will be fulfilled and accomplished.

"You see, anyone who breaks even one of the littlest commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called small, even obscure in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever follows these commandments, practicing them and teaching others how to live them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

"Know this, and it is truth, unless your righteousness is deeper and richer than that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

"Here is what I mean by this. Consider the sixth commandment. You know that God instructed Moses to teach this: Do not murder. Anyone who murders will be judged and punished. But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be judged and will receive a punishment. If anyone even taunts his friend, calls him a fool, looks, down at him, he will be judged and will be in danger of the fire of hell.

"So, if you come to the altar and offer your gift then remember your brother is upset with you, leave your gift at the altar and, first go, speak with your brother. Apologize and make things right. When you have forgiven each other, go back to the altar and offer your gift.

"If someone says they will sue you, settle the matter quickly. Do it while you are still with him, before you are taken before a judge who then may turn you over to an officer. You may be thrown into prison. If this happens, you won't get out until you have paid the last penny."

These words of Jesus made such sense. I may have heard something like this before, but not like how Jesus explained. He taught us with a deep understanding. I am sure we all learned more than we had in a very long time. Jesus has more to say. I will share them next time.


Author's note, this section is from the Sermon on the Mount. Come back to read the next story.


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


sources: 
*A Harmony of the Gospels for Historical Study, An Analytical Synopsis of the Four Gospels by William Arnold Stevens and Ernest DeWitt Burton, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York 1932
*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
*My notes from my trip to Israel.
*Photos from my trip to Israel.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Jonathan Goforth- 180 from Tyrant

By Mary Vee
Year: August 1915
Jonathan Goforth-56 years old


Jonathan Goforth's Journal


My name is Jonathan Goforth. My wife, Rosalind, and I are missionaries in China and we are having an exciting time telling the people here about a living God who loves them. 

I must admit, that as I get older, the diseases that run rampant here in China catch up to me quicker. I have been ill, but kept working, more than I should have. I became so weak the doctor admitted me to the hospital and said if I returned to the fast-paced work in Changte where the weather was harsh, I would be committing suicide.

I didn't want to do that, of course. So, for a time I agreed to return to my home in Canada with my family. All our supporters told us to retire. They tried to encourage us by saying we had worked hard and had accomplished a lot.

In truth, I just wasn't ready to stop. The fire still blazed inside me to return to China and tell more people about the living God who loved them. 

When I asked to return, the mission board agreed only if I went to a location farther south where the weather would be gentler on my system. They suggested Kikungshan which is located on a high plateau three hundred miles south of Changte. I agree.

At the end of our furlough, we returned to China and wanted to spend time settling into our new home and see what new ministry we could have there.

One morning, I received a message from a General Feng. I knew him from long ago. During the Boxer Rebellion he wanted to show his enthusiasm for the Chinese cause by ridding the country of foreigners. He was a very cruel man who searched for any foreigner. He showed no mercy when burning homes with men, women, and children inside. He laughed when gunning down foreigners. And, his tyrant behavior gained him the position in the army that he wanted. 

He continued his cruel, unforgiving ways into leadership with his men who learned to despise him with fear instead of honoring him with respect for great leadership. As the years passed, though, General Feng couldn't get the memory of one woman out of his mind. Her name was Miss Morrell.

Miss Morrell, a young missionary stood outside the mission compound and pleaded with him to take her life in exchange for the others inside. He killed her--then set all the buildings on fire, trapping all those missionary families, men, women, and children.

No one had given their life for him as she offered for the others with her. No one had given so much for him. 

As far as he knew. 

Her face. Her words. Her voice appeared again and again in his memory. The Boxer Rebellion ended, and General Feng had questions. What drove this woman to do that? He heard about a gathering of Christians and went to get his questions answered. And when he heard those answers, he became a new man. One who believed in the living God who truly loved him and had given His Son to take the punishment for the sins of everyone, including him.

General Feng became an advocate for missionaries. He sent a message to me, asking me to speak to his officers. I spoke with him and was amazed at the 180 he made in his life. Over four thousand soldiers who served under General Feng chose to believe in the living God and were baptized at the meetings he set up for me to speak at.

Wow! I am continually amazed at what God can do. 


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, September 9, 2017

Jesus- Salt Should Be Salty, Light Should Give Light

By Mary Vee
Matthew 5



From Matthew's Journal 

Photo by Mary Vee. View down to the Sea of Galilee from
the Mountain where it is believed Jesus was at this time.
Capernaum is down and to the left by the shore.
My name is Matthew. I am a disciple of Jesus. I am here with other disciples, so they may add something to today's post. 

A lot has happened today already. Jesus started the morning with chasing 12 of the disciples to be his apostles. I was fortunate to be one of those chosen. He then walked to a big plain where many people came to be healed and hear him speak.

To let his voice carry to all the people, he went up the nearby mountain edging up to the Sea of Galilee where the people could sit and he could sit at a higher level, which helped the sound carry to everyone who wanted to hear.

Jesus first gave blessings. Nine of them. 

We all know the benefits of salt. First of all it brings out good, hidden flavors, and it preserves food. We weren't far from a market where many of the local people bought food.

A salt mine in Germany
 Photo Courtesy
Jesus used these thoughts with what he said next. He was speaking to those who believed.

"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?"

He had a point there.

Jesus said, "Once the salt has lost its saltiness it's no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

Jesus paused, giving the people a moment to think about the meaning. Then he said, "You are the light of the world. A city built on a hilltop cannot be hidden."

Photo Courtesy

That was true. I think about Jerusalem, built on high ground. The city can be seen from far away.

Jesus then said, "People with a light don't put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on a stand to give light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father who is in heaven.


Amazing words, right? There  is much more to what he said. I and the other disciples will break it into pieces for you. Trust me, you won't want to miss a single bit!

Author's note, this section is from the Sermon on the Mount. Come back to read the next story.


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


sources: 
*A Harmony of the Gospels for Historical Study, An Analytical Synopsis of the Four Gospels by William Arnold Stevens and Ernest DeWitt Burton, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York 1932
*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
*My notes from my trip to Israel.
*Photos from my trip to Israel.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Jesus- The Nine Blesseds

By Mary Vee
Luke 6



From Luke's Journal 

Photo by Mary Vee. View down to the Sea of Galilee from
the Mountain where it is believed Jesus was at this time.
Capernaum is down and to the left by the shore.
My name is Luke. I am a disciple of Jesus. I am here with other disciples, so they may add something to today's post. 

As of today, Jesus has chosen twelve disciples from the many who followed him. This didn't mean the others who wanted to follow Him couldn't. They just wouldn't be with Him as often as the twelve.

After Jesus chose his close disciples, who were also called apostles, we went to a wide plain and met with the many other disciples who followed Him. 

I learned Jesus chose this location to have a place where many people could come. And they did. People came from Judea, Jerusalem, Tyre, Sidon and more to hear him speak and to be healed of their diseases. 

Those who were troubled by evil spirits were cured.

People pressed forward, wanting to touch Jesus because power came from him, healing them all. 

Now Jesus, being wise, knew his voice would not carry to all the people who came to that flat plain. He turned and walked to the nearby mountain at Capernaum. The people, very curious to see what he would say, followed him.

They sat on the mountainside as Jesus began to speak. From here, He sat, and His voice easily carried to all who came.

Jesus began by saying:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

But all of you who are rich, you are in danger because you have so much.
All of you who are full now are in danger because one day you will be hungry.
All of you who laugh now are in danger because one day you will grieve and cry.
And when someone speaks well of you, you re in danger because your ancestors spoke well of the false prophets too.

Amazing words, right? There  is much more to what he said. I and the other disciples will break it into pieces for you. Trust me, you won't want to miss a single bit!


Come back to read the next story.



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


sources: 
*A Harmony of the Gospels for Historical Study, An Analytical Synopsis of the Four Gospels by William Arnold Stevens and Ernest DeWitt Burton, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York 1932
*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
*My notes from my trip to Israel.
*Photos from my trip to Israel.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Jonathan Goforth-Even If It Costs Me My Life

By Mary Vee
Year: August 1910
Jonathan Goforth-51 years old


Jonathan Goforth's Journal


My name is Jonathan Goforth. My wife, Rosalind, and I are missionaries in China and we are having an exciting time telling the people here about a living God who loves them. 

Last time I mentioned a rich man who happened to stop at the tent where I was preaching. He staggered down the aisle to the front row. I could smell alcohol oozing from him even from where I stood. The poor people who sat on either side.

I didn't mind him being there as long as he didn't disturb others.

Chinese services usually lasted a long time. This is expected and no one complains. During church services there is singing, then preaching, then more singing, and more preaching. This can go on for hours. And sometimes when we try to end the service the people beg us to continue.

This was one of those long services, which raised my concern about this drunk man in the front row. At times he mumbled rather loudly. At times he stood. At times he raised a fist. But he always sat back down and listened to more.

At the end of the church service he said, "You told all those people about the things I have done wrong."

Now that was an amazing comment. I didn't even know this man, or anything about him.

"But I forgive you," he said. "Just like you said God forgave me."

I hardly knew whether to be happy or surprised. He then said, "I want to know more about this God." So we talked for a while until he asked what he should do to believe in this living God who could forgive someone like him. I answered his questions. He left quite a different man. Sober in many ways.

The next morning while my family ate breakfast, we heard a knock on the door. The same man stood at the door. Before I had a chance to invite him in he said, "I told my father that I now believe in the living God. The one who forgives and saves us. My father, he believes strongly in and is a Confucian scholar. He became very angry with me for leaving his god. He hit me and ordered me to leave the house. 

"When my wife heard what happened she spit at me and told me she didn't want to see me ever again. I went to my job at the electric company and was told I no longer worked there. They had heard what I did also."

I hardly knew what to say. The man had everything and now he had nothing. "I'm sorry. I--"

He bowed. "Do not apologize. I have come for something else. See, everything from my past has left me. I don't want to smoke, or drink, or do anything else that was evil anymore. I knew they were bad, but that was what men in my community did. I don't want to do them any more." 

He bowed again. "Please let me go with you. Let me learn from you. I want nothing more than to learn about this God who has changed my life so much.

"During the Boxer rebellion I thought as many other Chinese, that killing all foreigners was the right thing to do. But now. Now that I have learned about this God who can make such a difference, I would do anything to protect you. Even if it costs me my life."

That was when I wondered if this man who had spent his money and life doing evil and yet changed so much, if he was the one who would become the evangelist that would help me. I smiled. God gives in the most unusual way.

I said, "Su Chuangting, to go with me means you will have no comforts of home, we will walk long distances every day, people will spit at us and throw rocks even at you, we will be hungry and thirsty at times." I wanted him to hear about some of the worst moments because they could happen again.

"You can say what you want, I won't change my mind. I truly want to learn more about this God. I want to study His ways and help where I can." He turned toward the door. "I am going to my home and get a few belongings. This afternoon I will be ready to train with you."

And he did. For five years we worked together. Crowds of people came to hear him speak. His love for God grew every day.

I would have never expected such an answer to prayer. But God--He knew Su Chuangting's heart and what a strong worker he would be for Him.




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.