Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Forbidden Day

By Mary Vee
John 5



From John's Journal 

Photo by Mary Vee
Jerusalem
My name is John. I am a disciple of Jesus. I am here with other disciples, so they may add something to what I share today. 

We just left the pool of Bethesda and walked toward the temple. This is the Sabbath. A day when so much is forbidden. I say this because none of this would have happened on another day. 

Who dictates what is forbidden on the Sabbath? Mostly the priests, pharisees, and Rabbis. 

Scriptures tell us to rest and remember this day or set aside our regular routine and treat this day special, one to honor God. The leaders of the temple have made the requirements for what is acceptable to do on this day ridiculous. To disagree with them is to make them angry and we don't want to make them angry, they get mean. 

Jesus, only moments ago healed a man who hadn't been able to walk for thirty-eight years. Jesus told him he should pick up his mat, which meant he wouldn't have to come sit by this healing pool anymore, and walk, which meant he could work and care for himself. 

The leaders who saw the man carrying the mat questioned him, asking who told him to carry his mat. I have a sneaky feeling they didn't even notice this man could walk, or realize Jesus had healed this man. The leaders searched for Jesus ready to accuse him of violating the Sabbath.

They stopped Jesus in a court and said, "What right have you to tell that man he could carry anything on the Sabbath? This violates the Sabbath laws."

Now, most people would step back, maybe look at the ground when these leaders yelled and accused them of violating the law. Not Jesus. He looked them square in the eyes and said, "My Father is always at work, even to this day, so I am working, too."

The leader's faces turned red. Their eyes narrowed. They talked among each other and weren't quiet about it at all. They discussed ways to officially accuse Jesus of what he did and get rid of him. "He isn't just breaking the sacred laws for the Sabbath, he says God is his father, you know what that means. He thinks he is equal to God." 

"Blasphemy," another one said.

They hadn't spoken directly to Jesus, but we all heard them. 

Jesus said, "The truth is this, everything the Son does is because he sees his Father do them. The Father loves the Son and doesn't hide anything from him. And the things you haven't seen yet will be beyond your understanding. You will be amazed. See, the Father can give life to the dead. The Son also gives life to whomever he chooses.

"The Father doesn't judge, instead he has given all judgement to the Son. The reason he has done this is to bring honor to the Son just as honor is given to the Father. So, anyone who doesn't honor the Son, does not honor the Father who sent him.

"I'm speaking the truth. Eternal life belongs to whoever listens to what I say and believes in the One who sent Me. These are the ones who have nothing to fear judgement because they have crossed over from being dead to being alive.

"I'm telling the truth. A day is coming, in fact it is here, when the voice of the living Son of God will crack open death's dominion and those who hear will live. See, the Father radiates life and energizes the Son of God with the same life giving power to judge all creation.

"Don't be amazed at this because there is coming a time when all who are buried and have lived long ago will hear his voice and rise up. Those who have done good will rise to live and those who have done evil will be raised up and sent to their punishment."

The conversation didn't end here. And the debate was interesting, especially hearing Jesus outwit the Pharisees. 

I'll tell you more about that next time.






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.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Jonathan Goforth-Grumpy Became Grandfatherly

By Mary Vee
Year: October 1894
Jonathan Goforth-45 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. 

The other missionaries from my group went with me to Chang-san's village. I wanted to visit with his father, the man who beat him and threatened to kill him. We left Chang-san back at my home for his protection.

After spending most of the day in his village and waiting for Mr. Chang to respond to my message, I decided to go to his home. When I arrived, he was gone.

The others in his community said he heard a foreigner was coming to speak with him. He ran away and was in hiding. 

Well, there was no way he would return while I was still there. Still, the others from the small community were curious. I took the opportunity to sit down with them and tell them about the living God who loves them. They listened to all I had to say and asked questions. When I finished, I went back to the others.

We traveled back to our homes together at the end of the day. 

Some days later, a messenger sent word saying the villagers told Chang-san's father what I had preached. He became curious about the living God. The one who would love him. He calmed down and said he wanted his son to come back home. I didn't know if he could be trusted or no, so I asked Mr. Ho to go with the boy to protect him.

When the boy went back to his father's home, his father saw him. Mr. Chang picked up an iron tool and lunged, ready to attack his son. Mr. Ho leaped in front of the boy and grabbed the iron tool like a warrior. He held it tight in his grip, refusing to let go. He told Mr. Change he would not release the weapon until a promise was given not to harm the boy. 

Mr. Chang at long last agreed and put the weapon down. A promise was very sacred to these people. Mr. Ho knew he could trust Mr. Chang to keep his words.

Missionaries took turns going back to Chang-san's village. They preached and answered the people's questions. In time, many of the people put their trust in God. Real changes happened in their lives and others saw. More villagers joined those who believed, but not Mr. Chang.

Soon, Mr. Chang was the only one in his village who had not believed in God. He saw how his neighbors changed. How they became kind and giving. How they worshiped God.

Mr. Chang finally changed his mind and put his trust in a God who truly loved him. One he could talk to. One who listened. One who loved him. He received a copy of God's word in his own language. Mr. Chang read from the Scriptures every day. What a change his faith in God made in his life.

He changed so much that the little children in the village stopped calling him Fury. They weren't afraid to talk to him. He became like a grandfather to them.


This is not the end of Chang-san's story. 

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, August 12, 2017

News Flash! More Than One Healed At The Pool of Bethesda

By Mary Vee
John 5



From John's Journal 

Photo by Mary Vee
Sign outside the area of the Pool of Bethesda
My name is John. I am a disciple of Jesus. I am here with other disciples, so they may add something to what I share today. 

We left Galilee and walked to Jerusalem. I say we walked "up" to Jerusalem, even though we headed south, because the city is up on a hill.

This was a time of feast. The Passover. And as expected, we went to Jerusalem for the celebration. A time to remember how God protected, guided, and cared for the Israelites through the escape from Egypt long ago.


We were near the Sheep Gate, at the pool of Bethesda, there is a map of the city below.

Photo by Mary Vee
The ruins of the Pool of Bethesda 
This is a rather large pool surrounded by five colonnades. There is also a picture of a colonnade below. So the pool was really big.

People who were very sick, injured, blind, those who had all kinds of physical problems came here to the pool each day. They would lie by the water. If they could not get to this place, friends or family might bring them there. 

The came to this pool because when the water stirred, the first one in the water was healed.



The Sheep Gate from
today's story is near the top.
Map by Mary Vee
We walked with Jesus to the pool. He stopped and spoke with a man who said he had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. Jesus said to him, "Do you want to get well?"

We were all quite surprised with the question. Of course he wanted to get well or he wouldn't be there. Later we learned what Jesus really meant by that question.

The man answered, "Sir, I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. When ever I try, someone gets down into the water before me."

Jesus said, "Get up. Pick up your mat and walk."

We stood behind Jesus, but could still see the man. Right before our eyes he stood. His ankles were strong, no wobbling at all. His legs did not buckle. He stood straight and looked as surprised as we were. Then he bent over and picked up his mat like Jesus told him to and walked away. He seemed to be too stunned to say anything.

Photo by Mary Vee
A colonnade in Jerash, Jordan
This happened on a Sabbath. There are many rules about what a man can and cannot do on a Sabbath. Some Jews stopped the man who had been healed. They said to him, "you know this is the Sabbath, right? And that the law strictly forbids you to carry your mat?"

The man who was healed pointed toward Jesus. "He made me well. He told me to pick up my mat and walk."

The Jews said, "Who is this person who said you should pick up a mat and walk?"

He looked back toward the pool and searched the crowd. "I don't see him any more."

Later, we saw the man at the temple. Jesus said to him, "See, you are well, again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you."

The man nodded then hurried away. He went straight to the Jews who spoke with him earlier. "That man who healed me was Jesus."

They left him and hurried through the crowd, searching for Jesus to speak with him. They didn't look happy at all. Actually, they looked like they wanted to get after him for violating their idea of the Sabbath law.

I'll tell you more about that next time.





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.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A Duel With the Pharisees

By Mary Vee
Mark 2; Luke 5, Matthew 9



From Mark's Journal 

Photo by Mary Vee
I am standing on the shore of
The Sea of Galilee at Capernaum
These rock served a great purpose,
They helped amplify Jesus' voice when
he spoke to the large crowds.
My name is Mark. I am a disciple of Jesus. I am here with other disciples, so they may add something to what I share today. The most recent disciple to join us is Levi. 

This is what happened after Jesus said to Levi, "Follow Me."

Levi left his tax collection table, leaving people standing around him, and walked toward Jesus. He spent some time with us listening to Jesus. We welcomed Levi.

That night, Levi invited us to a great banquet for Jesus at his house. A large crowd of tax collectors and others came too. There was a lot of food, plenty for everyone.

The men laughed and enjoyed themselves.

In truth, we other disciples saw that Levi wanted his friends to meet and hear Jesus speak. He became a missionary before the rest of us!

At the far end of the table, a group of Pharisees grumbled. These men had studied the Law of Moses most of their lives. They were very smart and had become the teachers for the people. 

Some of the rules the Pharisees practiced though, were ones they had made up, taking the Law of Moses to stricter levels that God wanted. Tonight, a few of us disciples heard them grumbling, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and 'sinners'?"

From the sound of their voices and the look on their faces, anyone could see that the reason for their question was to stir trouble.

When Jesus heard them ask the question He said, "it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. You should go and learn what these words from the Old Testament mean: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' I have not come to rescue the righteous, but the sinners."

Well that didn't make the Pharisees very happy. These were witty men. They were quick to say back to Jesus, "John's disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but your disciples go on eating and drinking. What do you have to say about that?"

Jesus didn't even stop to ponder an answer. He said, "Can you make the guests of the groom go without eating while he is with them? The time will come when the groom will be taken from them. In those days the guests will fast."

The Pharisees didn't have a response to that.

Jesus then told them a parable. A parable is like a little story with a very special meaning. He said, "No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment and the patch from the new material will not match the old fabric. 

"No one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins. The wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. No one wants new wine after drinking the old wine. The guest will say, 'The old wine is better.'"

The Pharisees left after the banquet. They were angry about being challenged, especially since they could not think of anything good to say in the end. 

I have a feeling we are going to see a lot of the Pharisees. They won't let this challenge go without saying more.

On the other hand, Jesus, well, He has a Spirit in Him that shows in every word and deed He does. Listening to Him is not like listening to the Pharisees spouting off facts. Listening to Jesus is like...well, like listening to the Truth.


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.



Monday, August 7, 2017

Jonathan Goforth-They Came Because of the Music

By Mary Vee
Year: October 1894
Jonathan Goforth-45 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. 

Sometimes, though, the men and women who trust in Jesus suffer. Their families reject them even to the point of throwing them out of their home or killing them.

This is what happened to Chang-san. He is a university student who came to one of our church services because he heard the music. He stayed and listened to me preach. He came back several times, asking many questions. One day he said he wanted to believe in Jesus.

He went to his home to tell his father about the living God. That they didn't need to pray to idols who could not speak and offered only punishments. His father dragged him out to the village center and beat him. When Chang-san refused to stop believing in the living God his father went in his house to get an ax to kill his son. 

The villagers helped Chang-san escape. He came directly to my house and asked what he should do.

Last night Chang-san stayed at my home. I told him I would gather all the mission workers in the area and ask their help.

I did as I said, and the meeting was set for later in the morning in my study. We sat in a circle facing each other. Chang-san told them the same things he told me about his faith in Jesus and what his father said and did.

Many suggestions were given. In the end we formed a plan that everyone agreed would be the best choice. We would all go to Chang-san's village. The other missionaries would preach in the streets to anyone who would listen. While they did, I would visit Chang-san's father and speak with him about his son.

The next morning, we thought it would be best for Chang-san to stay at my house, for his safety. 

We travelled to his village and were surprised not to be treated with the customary courtesies given to visitors. Usually a chair is brought for a traveler. A cup of water. But none of this or any other greeting happened. We decided to continue with the plan by setting up a place to preach. Curious children stopped and listened for a short time. A few dogs ran through the area. Not one man or woman came to hear us, though.

I paid a boy to take a message to Chang-san's father, asking him to come visit. He did not send back a reply.

Well, the preaching wasn't getting anyone's attention. The other missionaries and I talked about what we could do next. "Let's sing hymns and see if that will get some interest," one said. So, we sang a quick tempo of "Jesus Loves Me." What a wonderful surprise happened next. The people came in small groups, then more came. They sat down in the area where we met. 

One man was so interested, he carried a table and set it down near us. We put our Bibles there. Another man brought us benches to sit on. A woman brought us tea. The area was full of villagers sitting and listening. Once we had their attention we began preaching again. And the people stayed!

All of this was wonderful, except we came to speak to Chang-san's father and to find a way to help the boy return home. By three o'clock his father had still not answered my note. I refused to wait any longer. My job was to visit the father, and that was what I would do. 

I left the other missionaries and walked down the road toward Chang-san's father's home.

This is not the end of Chang-san's story. 

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, August 5, 2017

The Tax Collector Who Left His Money Table

By Mary Vee
Mark 2; Luke 5, Matthew 9



From Mark's Journal 

Photo by Mary Vee
I am standing on the shore of
The Sea of Galilee at Capernaum
These rock served a great purpose,
They helped amplify Jesus' voice when
he spoke to the large crowds.
My name is Mark. I am a disciple of Jesus. I am here with other disciples, so they may add something today. 

This morning, as every other one, Jesus started the day knowing exactly where He wanted to go and what He wanted to do. There were no questions or floundering. Jesus had a plan. Sometimes He told us ahead of time. Sometimes He didn't. But He always had a plan and nothing seemed to surprise HIm.

Shortly after breakfast, we walked with him down to the shore of the Sea of Galilee. There were fishermen around and crowds gathered to buy fresh fish. They looked over and saw Jesus. 

People pointed. They said His name.

It didn't take long for the crowd to leave the market and  come to hear Jesus speak. His reputation for healing the sick and speaking words that had an authority they'd not heard from the priests had spread in this area. 

They liked to hear Him speak and were willing to listen to Him talk about God's teachings for hours.

Jesus walked along the shore that morning, and turned toward a man sitting at a table off to the side. His name was Levi and he was a tax collector. In our time, tax collectors were not thought of very highly. They tended to take more than the tax that was due from the people. 

If a person didn't pay what the tax collector demanded, he or she could be put into slavery. The tax collectors became very rich. Levi was no exception.

Levi sat at his table when Jesus looked his way. Jesus called out to him, "Follow me."

I smile because I remember when Jesus said the same words to me a while ago. I understood what happened in Levi's mind the moment he heard Jesus say that. 

Levi had seen and heard about Jesus. He may have been curious but not enough to leave his work and devote his days listening to Jesus' teaching. But when Jesus said, "Follow Me," there was a sense of this is the right thing to do going on in our heads. Without a speck of doubt I knew, and he probably did too, the certainty that Jesus was a man who was worthy of following.

I wasn't surprised at all when Levi stood and left his tables. He walked down to the shore and joined Jesus' and His followers on the shore.

What he did next was unbelievable. Come back to read what happened.



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.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Matthew- Four of the Best Friends

By Mary Vee
Matthew 9; Mark 2; Luke 5



From Matthew's Journal 

Photo by Mary Vee
Remains of the synagogue in Capernaum
The area has several rooms and is quite large.
My name is Matthew. I am a disciple of Jesus. I am here with other disciples, so they may add something today. 

Jesus told us this morning we would go back to Capernaum. We followed him there. Several of the disciples had grown up here and were very happy to return.

Again, the word spread that Jesus was going to Capernaum long before we even reached the city. We barely made it into a home where He planned to speak to the crowds. 

The people quieted when Jesus began to preach. The quiet was so good. He taught may new and amazing things. Teachings that tell us how God wants us to live and how we should worship HIm. 

More men and women came. They pressed closer, trying to hear Jesus speak. No one could move in or out of the home where He stood. 

We didn't know at the time, but four friends brought a man they cared about deeply. He was paralyzed. They carried their friend a distance on a stretcher hoping to get close enough to Jesus.

As they came closer they asked the men and women in the crowd to let them through. No one did. The friends tried from different angles hoping to find some kind person to let them through.

Meanwhile on the inside Jesus continued to teach. There were also the Scribes standing close to him. Their squinty eyes said they wanted to find evidence to prove Jesus wrong. 

Back outside where the four friends carried their friend, they decided to give up. Not completely. They wanted to find another way to get close to Jesus. Our homes have roofs that we use for gardens, eating, some people even put bedrooms up there. The roofs are flat and have a parapet, that is a small wall that lets a person know they are near the edge. 

The four friends carried their friend to the roof using the stairs along the outside of the house. They carefully walked him to the roof, taking care to not let him fall off the stretcher. On top, they began to pull away the roof tiles.

Back inside the home, Jesus and all the people near him look up and watched the roof tiles move. The Scribes who stood inside couldn't believe their eyes. Actually, they became too upset to speak. 

Jesus, though, welcomed the men. They lowered their friend down. Slowly. Releasing inches of rope at the same time until their friend lay on the floor near Jesus. 

Jesus looked at the man and then his four friends on the roof. He saw proof of their faith and turned to the man, "Son, your sins are forgiven."

The Scribes who saw the whole thing whispered to one another, "Why does this man talk like that? He is blaspheming God. Who can forgive sins but God alone?"

Jesus told us that He knew in his spirit, right then, that this was what they were thinking. He said, "Why are you thinking this? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven or to say 'Get up, take your mat and walk'? 

"So you will know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins..." Jesus turned to the paralytic man and said, "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home." The man got up, took his mat, and walked out in full view of everyone there. 

The people who watched this happen whispered and talked with each other. They praised God saying, "We have never seen anything like this!"

The paralyzed man walked away.

Jesus didn't hide the healing of the paralytic. He showed the people and had written for us what God did for this man. 

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.