Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Compass Star

By Mary Vee
Matthew 2



From Luke's Notes


Photo Courtesy
I and at least two of my colleagues set out on a journey. It was a journey of curiosity. 

We saw a star when studying the night sky. It was brighter than any other and it was new. We talked about the strange occurrence and decided there had to be some meaning behind it.

As men who enjoy studying and thinking we considered what the meaning might be. We all came to the conclusion that a new king had been born. Not just any king. This king deserved the greatest of honors.

We assumed the star not only told us about the new king but also where he was born. We packed for a long journey, not knowing where we would end or how long we would be gone. Included with our supplies were gifts for this special king. So we set out across plains, mountains, rivers, dessert, following the star as it led us westward. 

We arrived in Judea, unsure where to go next. To gather information, we went to the capital city of Jerusalem to speak with wise men from there. We asked to speak with their king, Herod. He agreed to meet with us.

He sat in his chambers and invited us to join him. He ordered his servants to bring drink. "So tell me, why have you come?"

"We are from the eastern regions. There we saw a new star in the sky. Our studies lead us to believe a new king has been born. We followed the star this far and are not sure where to go next. Perhaps you or your wisemen know? We are anxious to get back to our journey to find the King of the Jews."

"If you would give me some time to consult with my advisors, I'm sure we can find an answer for you." He called his servant. "Take these men to the court and make them comfortable."

The servant bowed.

We waited at least a day. From the whisperings in the court, news of the reason for our visit spread to all the people in the city quickly.

The king finally invited us back to his chambers. His advisors were in the room with him. "Come, sit with me. I believe we have the answer you seek."

We sat and waited for the information. "What time did this star appear?"

I answered, "Shortly before we left our homes in the east."

"Yes. That matches with what we have discovered. I have spoken with my advisors. They say you should go to Bethlehem to find the king you seek."

"Thank you. We appreciate your help." We bowed and stood to leave.

"But wait," the king stood. "Once you have found the king, stop back and tell me where you found him. I would like to go and worship him."

We bowed again. Once we reached the road, the star appeared again, leading us toward Bethlehem, like Herod said. It wasn't a long journey. We arrived before nightfall. We followed the star searching for the right home. When the star stopped, we looked at each other.

"This is the place!!" I'm sure the other wise men were as happy as I was. We sprang off our animals and laughed. We have found him! We announced ourselves at that home and asked to see the young child. We were led to a room where the child sat with his mother. She told us her name was Mary and the child's name, Jesus.

We were overcome with understanding that this child would be a king who would make a big difference in the world. We bowed before him and worshipped the child. After a time we brought out the gifts for him and presented them to him. We brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

I would not have given up that journey for anything in the world. Inside I was leaping. That night I barely slept. Neither did the others. We all had the same dream. An angel spoke to us saying we should return home a different way and not stop by to visit Herod, nor tell him about the baby.

And so we did. We left early that morning and went a different direction, avoiding Herod and his army.

When we returned home, we told our families and everyone we knew about the child named Jesus who would be King of the Jews.


Come back for 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

Jewish History.org
*Jewish Virtual Library.org

Monday, March 20, 2017

Jonathan Goforth-The Burnt Feather

By Mary Vee
Year: December 1900
Jonathan Goforth-41 years old


Jonathan Goforth's Journal


My name is Jonathan Goforth. My wife, Rosalind and I are missionaries in China. 

I knew we had to leave the city we had worked so hard to set up a mission in. Changte was our home. If we didn't leave, my family would be killed by the Boxers. I didn't know which way to take them.

began packing only items we absolutely needed. As I set a few items in a box, Rosalind came in the room. "Did you hear there was a messenger in the city?" Mrs. Cheng, the Chines woman who came to help Rosalind teach women about Jesus had heard the news and reported it to Rosalind.

I said, "No, did she say anything else?"

She spoke softly. "Yes. She said he had a burnt feather in his cap. He also had the emblem of the empress dowager."

This was the worst news we could receive. The burnt feather meant the message was life or death. With all that had been happening to rid the country of foreigners, the message most likely meant the governor was told to find all the foreigners in the city, maybe even the whole province, and kill them.

I couldn't sleep that night. I tossed and turned debating whether to stay with the Chinese Christians in Changte or help my family escape. The new Christians were strong  They told me not to stay. They said they were so grateful for us bringing the Gospel. The government may allow them to live since they were Chinese, but Jonathan and his family would certainly be killed. I had to agree. 

I planned to take the route south to Fancheng and even made the arrangements. The more I thought about the plan, though, the more I had this feeling inside that this was not a good choice. I should take my family west, loop around then go to Fancheng. This route would add two weeks to our journey, traveling with only oxen and carts. But I found no peace in taking the shorter southern route.

The clock stroke four am. The time had come to escape. God be with us. Protect us.

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, March 18, 2017

Anna's Reward

By Mary Vee
Luke 2



From Luke's Notes


Photo Courtesy-Concordia Lutheran Conference
My name is Anna. I am a prophetess, a daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher. 

I am not a young woman, by no means. My eyes don't see as well as they used to but I can still walk.

I was married when a young woman. Very young. My husband died after seven years of marriage. Eighty four years have passed since his death. You've probably done the math and realized I am about 105 years old.

God has blessed me over the years. The greatest blessing came on this day I'm about to tell you. 

I was in the Temple day and night. I found my comfort fasting and praying from sun up through the night to sun up the next morning. On this day, I had just given thanks to God for His blessings and care and went walking about the Temple. 

There were men and women in the Temple court. I really enjoyed walking up to them and starting conversations. I didn't know if some happened to be lonely, needed an uplifting word or some advise. I learned about the needs of many people this way. These were the people I talked with God about during the night hours. My life couldn't have been better. 

Perhaps it was because of my constant time in the Temple that God allowed me to be in the same place as Mary and Joseph when they presented their baby whose name was Jesus. Being there, and quickly understanding who this baby was, I couldn't help but give thanks to God out loud for this child who had come to save the world. I told every person I saw about the boy Jesus who had been brought to the Temple. "He is the one will redeem us!"

Those in the Temple listened with great interest because Israel desperately needed to be redeemed. What only some understood was that this baby IS the Messiah He IS God's son.

Thanks be to God. He has not only given me long life, but guided my steps to be in this place at this time to see His son, the Messiah and be able to tell others what I witnessed.


Come back for 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

Jewish History.org
*Jewish Virtual Library.org

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Simeon's Last Wish

By Mary Vee
Luke 2



From Luke's Notes


Photo Courtesy-Concordia Lutheran Conference
My name is Joseph. Eight days have passed since Mary had her baby. We didn't have much to offer the child more than love. This child was a special one, a baby sent from God. 

Both Mary and I had been told by God's messengers, the angels, that she would have a baby and we were to call him Jesus.

As is tradition when a boy baby is born, we took the baby to the Temple to offer the purification sacrifices as is told in the Law of Moses. I was to bring a pair of doves or two young pigeons. The baby's name would also be recorded at that time.

Mary held the little one, and he laid quietly in her arms.

While at the temple we saw Simeon. I knew of him, he was a righteous and devout man of God. Simeon was old and sat at the Temple waiting for the nation Israel to be consoled. As we walked into the temple courts, I saw him walking too. 

The elderly man moved slowly toward us. It seemed he wanted to speak with us, and I was right. When he came near he said, "If I may, please let me hold the child."

Mary gently handed Jesus to him.

He looked at the child's eyes and smiled in such a loving way. "The Holy Spirit told me that I would not die before I had seen the Lord's Christ." A tear slipped from his eye and he sighed.  "Sovereign Lord," he looked up to the sky, "as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel."

I didn't know what to say. I though about what the angel said to me and what Mary said the angel said to her. Now Simeon said the message again. This little boy is the Christ, the one who was to come and save us. Jesus is the one.

Simeon looked up at Mary who stood next to me. He said, "This child will bring the falling and rising of many in Israel. He will be a sign that will be spoken against. The thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. A sword will pierce your own soul too."

He swallowed and closed his eyes for a moment. He handed Jesus back to Mary then placed a wrinkled hand softly on the boy's head.

God has sent His Son, and He lay in Mary's arms. 

Come back for 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

Jewish History.org
*Jewish Virtual Library.org

Monday, March 13, 2017

Jonathan Goforth-Flee South, Norther Route Cut By Boxers

By Mary Vee
Year: December 1900
Jonathan Goforth-41 years old


Jonathan Goforth's Journal


My name is Jonathan Goforth. My wife, Rosalind and I are missionaries in China. 

A new century was about to begin. Many Chinese didn't like westerners bringing scientific advances, religion, politics, and anything else not originally Chinese. China was not doing well and the people felt frustrated. 

Too many countries wanted to bring their view to China. Countries like Japan, Russia, Italy, France, United States, and others. Each wanting to say what should happen in China. The countries met together and made plans of how they could divide up the country and have a say in how the people should live. In each of these provinces, the country in charge would have a say in the trade of goods, take most of the profits,and give little back to the Chinese people.

A secret society was formed to protect China from the foreigners. The society was called the League of Righteous and Harmonious Fists, which was simply called Boxers. The society was not kind in insisting all foreigners should leave. They roamed about the the eastern parts of China hunting down and killing missionaries and traders. They burned down the foreigners buildings.

Missionaries who chose to stay took their lives in their own hands. Leaving their home or the city they worked in became very dangerous. Thieves and murderors waited outside the city ready to attack. One by one important services that we and others counted on had been cut off. No mail. Food delivery slowed so much citizens became hungry, just like us. 

The rains had stopped, creating a drought. We couldn't grow our own food. The people cried out to their gods. 

Life really was difficult to survive. My daughter, Florence became very ill and died. I tried to carry on and be an encouragement for Rosalind and our other children. But everything happened at once.

A few days after we buried sweet little Florence, a messenger came to my home in the middle of the night. With the thieves and murderers on the road, he risked his life to deliver the message.  "I have word from the American consul in Chefoo."

"Thank you." I opened the note dated three weeks ago. It said: Flee south. Northern route cut off by Boxers."

I didn't know if the southern route was still safe or not. Three whole weeks had passed since he wrote this note. Maybe we should go east or west. I didn't know what to do. Right there, I fell to my knees and prayed. So many people depended on what choice I made. I needed God's guidance. "Please, Lord. Show me the way."


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, March 11, 2017

We Searched for The Baby in the Manger

By Mary Vee
Luke 2



From Luke's Notes of the Shepherds


Photo courtesy
The most amazing visitor came to our camp a short time ago. I am a shepherd and several other men work with me.

Not far from Bethlehem, we finished our day's work. We corralled the sheep and sat around talking. Sometimes we sang. We didn't carry a tune well, but the sheep liked it.

The stars were really bright and the sky black. Once the night fire blazed an amazing visitor arrived. It was an angel!

I told the story of what the angel said to us last time, you can scroll down and read what happened. I will never forget this visitor.

Anyway, I am walking, a bit out of breath while telling you this story. The other shepherds and I are walking down a hill. No I'm not out of shape. I'm out of breath because of my excitement. The angel told us to visit a very special person.

The angel said a baby had been born tonight. There might have been more than one baby born this evening but not many in Bethlehem. That will narrow the search. The angel also said the baby had been wrapped in swaddling clothes and was laying in a manger. 

Any baby born tonight will be in swaddling clothes. That is a cloth wrapped around the baby to make if feel secure and keep it warm. 

The big clue will be the manger. Babies are usually born at home, in a house. The only way this baby was in a manger would be if the mother was not at home. So she is one of the travelers for the census.

Second this traveling mother would have had her baby in an inn had they arrived in time to get a room. So the next clue is she is someone who arrived this evening. Now we should be able to find this very special baby.

You might wonder, why would a group of shepherds leave the comforts of the open air, on a hill, and walk into the craziness that goes on in the city? All my life I'd heard about the Messiah that would come some day. I and my brothers have looked forward to that day. The the angel said this newborn baby was not just any baby. This baby is the Messiah, Christ, the Lord.

Once the angels left us, the other shepherds and I said to each other, "Let's go down to Bethlehem and see the baby which the Lord told us about."

We hurried through the streets, knocking on every inn along the way asking, "Was a baby born here tonight?" The innkeepers thought we were crazy and they wrinkled up their noses saying we smelled. Okay, so we were shepherds, we couldn't help it.

Finally, one innkeeper answered, "A man and wife arrived a little bit ago. The woman was in labor. I sent them to the stables. You can find them there."

We hurried around the back to a cave-like stable. Hardly a place to give birth. There in the trough, where the animals eat, was a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. The mother and father looked at us. "An angel came appeared a little while ago and told us a baby had been born in the city of David. The baby is the Savior. He is Christ the Lord. The angel said we could find him wrapped in swaddling clothes and laying in a manger." 

We knelt at the manger and praised God. The mother said her name was Mary and the father said his name was Joseph. To think, I was looking at the Messiah. We spoke softly like we do to our sheep, so not to wake the little one.

After our visit we hurried through the streets telling everyone what we had seen and heard that night. The angel who visited us on the hill. The angel's message. The thousands of angels who came and sang praises to God. The baby who is Christ the Lord.

I and the other shepherds returned to the sheep singing, laughing, and praising God for all the things we had heard and seen. 

The sheep were safe and all there.

Everything was just as the angel said it would be. 

And my heart is racing for joy.

The Messiah is here.

Come back for 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

Jewish History.org
*Jewish Virtual Library.org