Monday, July 30, 2012

Hudson Taylor- We Thought We Knew

By Mary Vee

J. Hudson Taylor's Journal

After five and a half months of sailing, one might think this missionary land lover would be ecstatic about getting off the ship.

It would have been true if I had understood what the people said and could figure out where to go.

I roamed through Shanghai's city streets, searching for the British Consulate. What I needed was the English post office housed inside. I expected a letter with money for my rent.  

Someone gave me simple directions to find the building. Yeah, right. Simple for a Chinese person. 

As I walked down several streets, I suddenly realized I didn't know anything! Not even one clue how to survive in this city. All those years of reading every available book about China and studying the language meant nothing on this day. The people of Shanghai spoke a different dialect, so different I couldn't understand one word.

At last I found a building with the British flag and was relieved to hear English spoken. Yes, you can say, duh. But had you walked with me through the city, you would have been amazed as well. I found the British Consulate post office not far from the main doors. No one attended the counter at the moment. I went to another office. "Can you tell me where the postal person is?"

"I'm sorry. The office has closed for the day. You'll have to come back tomorrow."

Not good. I needed to remove my baggage from the ship right away. I had no money, no food, and no place to store my belongings. 

I did have the letter of introduction to the man I didn't know. At least I had a place to start.

I set off for the man's home, hoping he could help me find a place to sleep even for one night. When I arrived, though, a servant told me all the missionaries fled from the gunfire. The war forced many people into hiding. Only one man, a Dr William Lockhart, stayed to help the wounded. He was a surgeon.

"You are welcome to stay in my home until you find lodging," he said.

I felt bad about accepting his gift. Dr. Lockhart came to China with a different mission organization. I didn't want to use their facility. 

Unless I accepted his gift, though, I'd have to sit on the side of the street and guard my belongings all night, hoping the money I needed would be at the post office in the morning.

I chose to accept his gift. "Thank you."

In the next few days, Dr. Lockhart told me prices increased because of the war. My rent money would not be enough. 

Before I left for China the mission board met with me to figure out how much money I would need to be a missionary. We didn't know the war increased prices way beyond the living allotment. 

Other organizations gave their Chinese missionaries money for rent, medical, food, and a little more for living expenses. My clothes had tears and looked old. I wouldn't be able to pay rent or buy food even when the money arrived. Would any one want to hear me share the good news of Jesus when I looked like a homeless foreigner?

I didn't know what to do. 

I wrote the mission and explained the problem. Until I receive an answer, I will have to accept Dr. Lockhart's generosity and help him in his work as much as I can in return.

I am thankful, Lord for the money you are about to send me..

J. Hudson Taylor

Do you have any questions?

Photo courtesy of

Research resources: J. Hudson Taylor, An Autobiography by J. Hudson Taylor; It is Not Death to Die, a new biography of Hudson Taylor by Jim Cromarty; Hudson Taylor Founder, China Inland Mission by Vance Christie; J. Hudson Taylor, A Man in Christ, by Roger Steer, and Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret by dr. & Mrs. Howard Taylor.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

David Demands Obedience

By Mary Vee
II Samuel 3

David's Journal

I have no problem teaching one of my men who is out of line what he should have done. I also will punish accordingly.

This time, the man I placed as captain over my men did something bad. If I had let it go, the whole kingdom would have plunged into a revolt and we would have lost everything.

Yeah, it was that bad.

What did he do? 

First, his name is Joab. Joab was angry with Abner for killing his brother during a battle. Abner had given Joab's youngest brother fair warning to stand back and to call off his attempt to kill, but his brother refused. Abner defended himself when Joab's little brother attacked. Unfortunately his younger brother died.

Second, Joab discovered Abner had visited our camp and wanted to make peace. Without my knowledge, Joab sneaked out of the camp with a group of men to hunt Abner. He tricked Abner into returning to my camp where he and his brother killed him.

Third, Joab's other brother is the same man who tried to kill Saul the day he and I sneaked into their camp. I prevented him from killing king Saul and taught him we should respect those God has placed in authority over us. Apparently he forgot the lesson.

Abner was the captain of king Saul's armies. People thought highly of him because of his high position. They might riot, kill each other, destroy property. What a mess.

My goal: 
Mourn the death of Abner, a man who served God's chosen people
Punish Joab for attacking and killing Abner, especially without God's permission.
Restore peace to the Israelites.

I hurried to the scene after hearing what had happened. I pronounced a curse on Joab and all his family. Then I ordered Joab and everyone with him to, "Tear your clothes, put on burlap, and mourn for Abner." 

It seemed he saw I meant business. He did as I said. I, too, walked in the procession carrying Abner to his grave, mourning the life taken from him. I mourned with all the people at the grave and sang this song at his graveside: 

“Should Abner have died as fools die?
Your hands were not bound;
    your feet were not chained.
No, you were murdered—
    the victim of a wicked plot.”

Overcome with grief, I refused to eat even though the people begged me to join them in a meal. I could not. This man should not have been killed. I refused to eat until the sun went down, spending my time in mourning instead.

The people saw my heart and understood I had nothing to do with Abner's murder. We were spared riots.

Two of the official stood near me. They didn't seem to understand the situation. I said, "Don't you realized that a great commander has fallen in Israel today? And even though I am the anointed king, these two men, Joab and Abishai are too strong for me to control. May the Lord repay them for the evil they have done.

I have left their punishment in God's hands.

1. Who did David speak with?
2. What had this man done wrong?
3. Why was his sin so great?
4. What did David tell him to do?
5. What did David do for Abner?
6. Who was Abner?
7. What did David want for the country?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Joab's Revenge

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 2

Joab's Journal

I captain some of David's army. At times, I even captain the whole army depending on the situation. 

Yesterday, some of the men went with me to raid a Philistine village. We did well. It took extra time to haul all we'd plunder back to our homes, but we didn't mind. I couldn't wait to show David.

We arrived back in Hebron in the early evening. Seconds later a crowd gathered to see what we brought. It felt pretty good to tell how we conquered the Philistines. After a few minutes, I left the men to finish telling our stories and went straight to give a report to David.

"David, my men and I have returned. Our mission was a success and we brought back plenty of plunder for everyone."

"Very good. I'll have to see your success." He walked with me out to the carts. "You missed a visit from Abner."

"Abner? Here?"

"Yes, he is upset with Ish-Bosheth and is determined to help put me on the throne of all Israel."

"And you believed him?" David is a great leader and warrior. I couldn't believe he would let a  snake like Abner into the camp much less make an agreement with him. "You let him get away? You should know he only came to spy on what you have and what you plan to do."

My heart pounded with anger. How could the commander I so deeply respected allow the very man who put someone else on the throne, and the same man who killed my brother come in to this camp. The place I call home.

David had ended the war between Abner and his men a while ago. He had also forgiven him for killing my brother, but I had not.

Furry seethed in my veins. I met with several of our soldiers and gathered a group to helm me hunt down Abner. I sent a team ahead with a message pretending to be from David: Please return at once.

The rest of the men and I caught up with Abner at Sirah. We pretended David wanted to meet with him again in Hebron. 

But, before news reached anyone of Abner's return, my other brother, Abashai, and I pulled Abner aside at the gate of Hebron. "Please come over here. I wish to tell you important news before we see David."

He walk with us. Abashai and I took the opportunity to kill Abner by stabbing him in the stomach. The work was finished. He had now paid the price for killing our youngest brother.

David heard the news and came at once. He faced the crowds that came with him. His eyes weighed heavy with disappointment. I thought he'd be happy. This was the last person standing in the way of his throne.

Instead he said, 
“I vow by the Lord that I and my kingdom are forever innocent of this crime against Abner son of Ner. Joab and his family are the guilty ones. May the family of Joab be cursed in every generation with a man who has open sores or leprosy or who walks on crutches or dies by the sword or begs for food!”

Cursed? But I had helped. I took out the man who stood in our way. He should be thankful. 

I don't understand. 

1. Where had Joab gone?
2. What good news did Joab bring David?
3. Who had visited while Joab was gone?
4. Why was Joab upset (2 reasons)
5. What did Joab decide to do?
6. Did David know?
7. Why was this revenge wrong?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Hudson Taylor-Trouble in Shanghai

By Mary Vee

Hudson Taylor's Journal

After five months of sailing, we finally docked in Shanghai.

Absolutely nothing seemed familiar to me. I could have stepped onto another planet and felt the same amount of familiarity. 

In a way I expected this, even spent years preparing for the differences in climate, terrain, buildings, plants, customs, and food in China. I quickly learned reading about a country is a whole lot different than going there.

But maybe I could find a way to help you understand. 

Think of the foods you usually eat. Now, pretend you're standing in your kitchen in December. Close your eyes. Can you smell the foods normally cooking at that time? Perhaps you can see the fire in the fireplace, feel the warmth from a furnace, smell a Christmas tree, see presents under a tree in your mind. Maybe you see a manorrah, and a dreidel for Hanakkuk or something else. The pictures you see, the smells floating through your mind, the feelings you feel represent December for you. 

Now picture a feast welcoming you to Mars, or under the ocean, or the desert, or some place you haven't a clue what it really is like because you've only read about it. What would the food smell like? In the desert you might find Bedouin people and a camel, in the ocean you might find divers, on Mars, who knows? What would you eat? What would you say to the people who live there?

The point is, we can read about people who live in a place we have never been, but until we find a real connection, it is very hard to understand what life is like where they live. 

I met an English missionary who went to China. He told me what he saw. I didn't meet any Chinese people who grew up in China and then moved to England.

What I thought would be in Shanghai, and what I saw were two different things.

When the Dumfries docked at Shanghai I felt lost. I looked different than the people, I couldn't understand what they said, the food smelled different, nothing looked like England.

This seemed pretty bad until an Englishman met our ship and report trouble. He said a rebellion had risen against the government. Thousands of Imperial army soldiers were sent to fight the rebellion. They had surrounded Shanghai and had it under siege which meant people couldn't escape to get supplies. 

He said most of the housing had been taken by the rebellion. The few places left cost a fortune, money I didn't have. There was little food left in the city.

I didn't know what to do. I had three letters to introduce me to people who could help me find a place to rest. I went to the British Consul and learned the first man, the one I trusted most, had died only days before. The second man fled to America. The third man, I hardly knew. He was my last choice to use only in case of emergency. 

I had to find the third man, or . . . or I wasn't sure what I would do.

J. Hudson Taylor

Do you have any questions?

Photo courtesy of

Research resources: J. Hudson Taylor, An Autobiography by J. Hudson Taylor; It is Not Death to Die, a new biography of Hudson Taylor by Jim Cromarty; Hudson Taylor Founder, China Inland Mission by Vance Christie; J. Hudson Taylor, A Man in Christ, by Roger Steer, and Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret by dr. & Mrs. Howard Taylor.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Abner Switches Sides

By Mary Vee
II Samuel 3

Abner's Thoughts

I thought I had done the right thing. Ish-Bosheth was Saul's son and had the right to be crowned king upon his father's death. 

One day, though, after I help him become king of Israel, Ish-Bosheth accused me of something I had not done. It was something big, and if he worked hard to make the people of Israel believe him, I could be killed. 

How ungrateful.

I had put up with a lot from him. As a king he could do good or bad and get away with it. In truth, though, my loyalty only reached so far. The day he falsely accused me was the day I left his palace.

I made sure he knew he made a bad choice, screaming every word. "Am I a dog's head on Judah's side? To this very day I have been loyal to Saul and his house. I didn't hand you over to David, and I could have done it at any time. With all my loyalty you have the gull to accuse me of something this big? Something I never did?

"You have lost my loyalty, Ish-Bosheth. I am going to get David on the throne of Israel as the Lord decreed." 

I didn't care that my throat hurt from screaming. That ungrateful son of Saul did not deserve to be king of Israel.

Ish-Bosheth cowered back like a scared mouse. He didn't speak to me again. A wise choice on his part.

I sent a messenger with the following to word to David. I now agree you should be king. Make an agreement with me and I will help put you on the throne of Israel.

David sent a message back. I will agree under one condition. Saul took my wife from me. Bring my wife with you and I will make the arrangements with you as you asked.

I went before the elders of Israel and held a meeting. "For some time you have wanted David to be king over Israel and I have fought you. I have changed my mind. The Lord said He would rescue us from the Philistines with David's hand. We need to put David on the throne."

I then went to the Benjamites, the tribe Saul, our first king and now his son, king Ish-Bosheth also came from. I reminded them of the Lord's promise to rescue us with David's hand. I spoke kindly of king Saul, but recommended we put David on the throne. They agreed to help.

After these meetings, I went to Hebron to speak with David. I presented him with his wife. He prepared a great feast for my men and me. The next day I spoke with David "If you will let me go, I will prepare a coronation before all Israel to set you on the throne. I am no longer a servant of king Ish-Bosheth."

David agreed and gave me a farewell hug. "It is good to be on the same side, Abner. Now Israel can be one, as God intended."

I admit I made a mistake. The Lord appointed David as next king, not Ish-Bosheth. At least the wrong could still be changed and the Lord's will be done.

photo courtesy of

1. Abner left ___________ to go to ______________
2. Why did Abner switch sides?
3. David agreed under what conditions?
4. Once David agreed, who did Abner speak to first.
5. Who did Abner speak to second? Why them and no other tribe?
6. How did David greet Abner, who had been his enemy for years?
7. What did Abner want to leave to do?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Ish-Bosheth Crowned King Instead of David

By Mary Vee
II Samuel 2

A Spy in Saul's Camp Reports

Abner had taken charge. Most of the men didn't mind. He was, after all the captain of Saul's army.

He knew that David had been chosen by God as Israel's next king, but he also knew one of Saul's sons still lived. Abner gathered the people of Mahamaim together and crowned Saul's son Ish-Bosheth king.

Most likely Ish-Bosheth also knew David had been chosen to be the next king, but greed gets into the hearts of men. At age forty, he agreed to be crowned king of Israel. He quite enjoyed the ceremony.

Abner and the army under him led the royal party southwest to Gibeon.

In the meantime, David's men heard the news and sent an army, led by Joab, to meet them. At the pool in Gibeon, Abner, Ish-Bosheth and their army sat on one side of the water and David's men, sat on the other. The distance was close enough for them to speak to each other.

Abner spoke first. "Why should our armies fight? Choose twelve of your men to fight, and we'll chose twelve of ours. The winner represents his army."

Joab agreed. 

Both sides chose twelve men. The opponents lined up against each other and because of their great fighting skills, no one won. All twenty four men died in a short time. Since no one remained alive to claim victory for his side, the armies chose to go to war.

Saul fought to have Ish-Bosheth in charge of all Israel. David's men fought to have David the official king of all Israel. 

The battle was fierce, but David's men took the advantage. When Abner realized his army suffered, he turned and ran from the battle. 

Joab's brother, Asahel could run like the swiftest animal. He chased Abner, keeping his eyes held firm on his enemy's every turn.

Abner looked back as he continued to run. "Is that you Asahel?"

"It is."

The men kept running, jetting to the right and left. Abner couldn't loose Asahel not matter how hard he tried. "Asahel, stop chasing me. I don't want to kill you. How could I look your brother, Joab in the face if you died?"

"Very funny, Abner. Maybe you should be more worried about what might be said when I kill you."

"Fine. I'm tired of running." Abner suddenly stopped and jabbed the butt of his spear into Asahel. Joab's brother fell dead.

Abner saw Joab and David's army closing in on his position. He fled as fast as he could. Joab, his other brother, and the rest of his army continued chase.

Abner his surviving men stopped running at the top of a hill. He called down to Joab and David's army. "When is the bloodshed going to stop? How long is it going to take for you to order your men to stand down?"

Joab called back. 'If you had not asked us to stop we would not have done so. We would have chased you until morning if necessary." He blew his trumpet signaling David's men to stop the chase.

Abner took Isb-osheth back to Manhamain, the place he had been crowned king. David's men returned to their home in Hebron.

The war had ended . . . for now.


1. Who was Abner? What job did he have?
2. Who did Abner crown king of Israel?
3. What happened at the pool of Gibeon?
4. Joab's little brother, Asahel, could run how fast?
5. What happened to Joab's brother?
6. David's men had been winning the battle. How did the battle end?
7. Why did Joab stop fighting?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Hudson Taylor-Learning the Strange and Interesting

By Mary Vee

From J. Hudson Taylor's Journals

You never quite know when unusual information can come in handy.

After five months of sloshing back and forth, learning to keep food in my stomach instead of adding it to the sea with the next wave, I became quite bored. I could jog the small deck, climb the ladder down into the dark deck below and talk to a few rats, sit in my cabin and watch the picture on the wall sway, or I could distract myself by learning something new.

I chose the latter.

I had gone to medical school and was days short of graduation when the opportunity to leave for China fell into my hands. I learned the information from the books and teachers, but I wanted to learn more about medicine.

The poor crew members became my guinea pigs. "I must practice," I told them. If any had a sliver, cut, or felt sick I came to help and offered to do more. I even removed an abscessed tooth from the steward. I became quite the expert after five months and the men soon learned to only complain when they really had a medical problem.

One day the cat died. Poor thing. Before burying the cat in the sea, I practice some surgical procedures and learned some amazing things. The crew brought me fish and birds that had died. I became intrigued with God's masterful creations and how they looked and worked on the inside.

At night I laid on the deck floor watching the most amazing star show. The stars are quite different in the southern hemisphere from those I saw in England. The crew taught me names of the stars and shapes, like the southern cross that helped guide the ship.

Back in my cabin I studied books about China, math,astronomy, medicine, chemistry, and magnetism. God had put me in school for over five months and gave me nothing to do but to study or be bored.

To break the boredom for the crew I taught the captain how to play a concertina. The second mate played a flute. To pass the time when the wind refused to blow we pulled out the instruments and had a fun sing time.

My absolute favorite lessons came at sunset. God painted colors in the tropical sunset sky that I had not seen before. The only sounds I heard came from fluttering sails, fish dancing to the surface, or birds flapping their wings. This peaceful scene drew me close to God.

I thought I sailed on a ship for a little more than five months to get to China. God had a different plan. He put me in an amazing school.

J. Hudson Taylor

Do you have any questions?

Photo link will take you to more information about stars in the southern hemisphere.

Research resources: J. Hudson Taylor, An Autobiography by J. Hudson Taylor; It is Not Death to Die, a new biography of Hudson Taylor by Jim Cromarty; Hudson Taylor Founder, China Inland Mission by Vance Christie; J. Hudson Taylor, A Man in Christ, by Roger Steer, and Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret by dr. & Mrs. Howard Taylor.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

David Honors His Valiant Brothers

By Mary Vee
II Samuel 2

David's Thoughts

The celebration in my honor as the new king of Judah continued for days.

Saul, the king of Israel had been killed in battle, and God allowed my men and I to return to Judah. Once the elders of Judah heard we'd returned, they gathered and anointed me king of Judah. 

During the dancing and singing a man from Judah came to me with important news.

He bowed. "My lord, I didn't know if you'd heard this news."

"Yes, go on."

"It was the men of Jabesh Gilead who buried Saul. First, they gathered together, allowing any man who wished to go on the dangerous mission. They went behind enemy lines to the Philistine city where Saul and his son's bodies hung in horrible display, cut down the bodies, and carried them safely to Jabesh.

"The bodies were laid to rest under the same tree Saul had spent meditating many days. It seemed the fitting burial place. The men then mourned deeply for a time."

He was right, I had not known my brothers from Jabesh had risked their lives to honor Saul and his sons. Especially Jonathan. I had to speak with them at once.

"Go to Jabesh and deliver this message to those very men:

You are blessed of the Lord, for you have shown this kindness to your lord, to Saul, and have buried him. and now may the Lord show kindness and truth to you. I also will repay you this kindness, because you have done this thing. Because of your deed, may your hands be strengthened, and be valiant. Your master Saul is dead, and now the house of Judah has anointed me king over them.

Once the messenger left, I stopped the music. "Listen everyone. I have great news about the mighty men of Jabesh, our brothers. Let me tell you what they did!"  I repeated the whole story.

Hardly before I finished the last word a new celebration broke out to honor our brothers from Jabesh who sacrificed their lives to honor their king.

1. Why did the people celebrate in the beginning?
2. What news did the man tell David?
3. Why did the news please David?
4.  David's message to the men of Jabesh told them three things: he wanted to honor them, their master _____________ was dead, ____________ had anointed __________ king over them.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

David's First Words After He Went Home

By Mary Vee
Psalm 18

From David's Journal

Following Saul's death and a time of mourning God told my men and I to move back to Judah.  This was a great moment. Why? Because we had be running from Saul and his army for years. 

We missed the Hebrew music, fun, games, traditions, and community. Of course we did as many of those things on our own as we could, but...well, there's just no place like home.

I hardly knew what to do. Every moment of the past few years had been spent running from Saul or finding creative ways to protect our people from the Philistines. Oh, those Philistines, don't get me started on the time we spent living in their country. Grrr

The first morning back in Hebron of Judah God gave me these words for a Psalm. I wrote them to the Chief Musician and signed them: A Psalm of David, the servant of the Lord who spoke to the Lord the words of this song on the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.

Here are those words - Psalm 18

   How I love you, Lord!
      You are my defender.

 2 The Lord is my protector;
      he is my strong fortress.
   My God is my protection,
      and with him I am safe.
   He protects me like a shield;
      he defends me and keeps me safe.
 3 I call to the Lord,
      and he saves me from my enemies.
   Praise the Lord!

 4 The danger of death was all around me;
      the waves of destruction rolled over me.
 5 The danger of death was around me,
      and the grave set its trap for me.
 6 In my trouble I called to the Lord;
      I called to my God for help.
   In his temple he heard my voice;
      he listened to my cry for help.

 7 Then the earth trembled and shook;
      the foundations of the mountains rocked and quivered,
      because God was angry.
 8 Smoke poured out of his nostrils,
      a consuming flame and burning coals from his mouth.
 9 He tore the sky open and came down
      with a dark cloud under his feet.
 10 He flew swiftly on his winged creature;[b]
      he traveled on the wings of the wind.
 11 He covered himself with darkness;
      thick clouds, full of water, surrounded him.
 12 Hailstones and flashes of fire
      came from the lightning before him
      and broke through the dark clouds.

 13 Then the Lord thundered from the sky;
      and the voice of the Most High was heard.[c]
 14 He shot his arrows and scattered his enemies;
      with flashes of lightning he sent them running.
 15 The floor of the ocean was laid bare,
      and the foundations of the earth were uncovered,
   when you rebuked your enemies, Lord,
      and roared at them in anger.

 16 The Lord reached down from above and took hold of me;
      he pulled me out of the deep waters.
 17 He rescued me from my powerful enemies
      and from all those who hate me—
      they were too strong for me.
 18 When I was in trouble, they attacked me,
      but the Lord protected me.
 19 He helped me out of danger;
      he saved me because he was pleased with me.

 20 The Lord rewards me because I do what is right;
      he blesses me because I am innocent.
 21 I have obeyed the law of the Lord;
      I have not turned away from my God.
 22 I have observed all his laws;
      I have not disobeyed his commands.
 23 He knows that I am faultless,
      that I have kept myself from doing wrong.
 24 And so he rewards me because I do what is right,
      because he knows that I am innocent.

 25 O Lord, you are faithful to those who are faithful to you;
      completely good to those who are perfect.
 26 You are pure to those who are pure,
      but hostile to those who are wicked.
 27 You save those who are humble,
      but you humble those who are proud.

 28 O Lord, you give me light;
      you dispel my darkness.
 29 You give me strength to attack my enemies
      and power to overcome their defenses.

 30 This God—how perfect are his deeds!
      How dependable his words!
   He is like a shield
      for all who seek his protection.
 31 The Lord alone is God;
      God alone is our defense.
 32 He is the God who makes me strong,
      who makes my pathway safe.
 33 He makes me sure-footed as a deer;
      he keeps me safe on the mountains.
 34 He trains me for battle,
      so that I can use the strongest bow.

 35 O Lord, you protect me and save me;
      your care has made me great,
      and your power has kept me safe.
 36 You have kept me from being captured,
      and I have never fallen.
 37 I pursue my enemies and catch them;
      I do not stop until I destroy them.
 38 I strike them down, and they cannot rise;
      they lie defeated before me.
 39 You give me strength for the battle
      and victory over my enemies.
 40 You make my enemies run from me;
      I destroy those who hate me.
 41 They cry for help, but no one saves them;
      they call to the Lord, but he does not answer.
 42 I crush them, so that they become like dust
      which the wind blows away.
   I trample on them like mud in the streets.

 43 You saved me from a rebellious people
      and made me ruler over the nations;
      people I did not know have now become my subjects.
 44 Foreigners bow before me;
      when they hear me, they obey.
 45 They lose their courage
      and come trembling from their fortresses.

 46 The Lord lives! Praise my defender!
      Proclaim the greatness of the God who saves me.
 47 He gives me victory over my enemies;
      he subdues the nations under me
    48 and saves me from my foes.

   O Lord, you give me victory over my enemies
      and protect me from violent people.
 49 And so I praise you among the nations;
      I sing praises to you.

 50 God gives great victories to his king;
      he shows constant love to the one he has chosen,
      to David and his descendants forever.
Good News Translation (GNT)
Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

1.  In this Psalm David is happy about what?
2.  What had happened that cause David to sing this song to God?
3.  Why did David write this song to the Chief Musician? 

Each Psalm was written at a specific time and a result of a certain experience, yet we can use each Psalm for specific reasons in our own lives. God designed His Word to be used by anyone at anytime to worship Him.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Hudson Taylor--Sunken Troubles

By Mary Vee

Hudson Taylor's Thoughts

We continued to sail toward Africa, with periodic problems.

I now understand why the journey by sea from England to China took months. The wind. Should a breeze fail to fill the sail, the ship sat like a child, refusing to move.

We lost a lot of time near the equator waiting for even a puff of wind then sailed swiftly around the Cape of Good Hope of Africa and on to the Archipelago where we slowed again. Eventually our ship, the Dumfries,  captured enough wind to transport us to the northern coast of Papua, New Guinea.

It was a Sunday morning during a church service I held on deck when the next problem poked up  its ugly head. The captain left his seat several times and walked to the rail, He stared at the sea for a few minutes then returned to his seat. I didn't understand the problem.

After services I went to him. "You seem concerned."

"The Dumfries could tolerate sitting in the sea waiting for a wind to tickle the sails, but she cannot survive a demanding drift." He walked to the rail and pointed in the direction of the coast. "Between sunset and sunrise these last few days, the wind has touched the sails, no more. It's kept the ship from sliding toward the coast, somewhat."

"What do you mean, somewhat?"

"Each day the drift carries us closer to land than the wind pushed us away. We're losing position with this four knot current and are doomed to hit sunken reefs before the this evening's breeze comes."

He didn't stand around.The captain usually had a new idea. After lunch he sent all available crew members into the long boats to tug the bow away from the current's course. The men used every bit of muscle and failed.

After hours of trying, the captain ordered the long boats stowed. He shook his head while staring out at the sea. "We've done everything possible. Now we wait for what is to come."

I looked at the sea with him. I don't know why I didn't think of this before, but an idea popped into my head. "There is something we can do. There are four Christians on board. Lets each go to our own cabins and ask God to bring a wind, immediately."

"Agreed. You set it up, I'll head to my cabin."  His words may have said yes, but his face and shoulders didn't show he believed it would do any good.

"I will, Captain."

I spoke with the other three Christians. Each man went to his cabin and closed the door to pray alone. After only a few minutes, I sensed God's decision to send the saving wind. Why stay in my cabin? I wanted to watch God at work. I went up on deck and asked the first officer to lower the sails for the coming breeze.

He looked at me as if I had gone crazy. "What good is that? There isn't a breeze."

"Well, I and three other men, including the captain have been praying for the needed wind, so please drop the sails. We can't loose any time with the reefs close by."

"I'd rather see a wind then hear of it!" As the words tumbled out his mouth he glanced up at the royal sails. 

I looked with him. The corner of the sail moved. "See! The breeze is coming. Lower the sails."

He rolled his eyes. "Its only a cat's paw." A cat's paw is a puff of wind.

"What does that matter? Let the sails down to capture any wind coming our way."

He finally saw the logic and ordered sails to be lowered. The crew's running on the deck captured the captain's attention. He appeared on deck in seconds to see what had happened. He gazed up at the sails filling with wind. Moments later the ship moved at six or seven knots an hour away from the reefs.

Since I'd never sailed before, I hadn't fully realized the dangers of no wind for a ship. This has shown me to pray for every need...even a puff of wind.

J. Hudson Taylor
Missionary on My Way to China

Do you have any questions?

Photo courtesy of

Research resources: J. Hudson Taylor, An Autobiography by J. Hudson Taylor; It is Not Death to Die, a new biography of Hudson Taylor by Jim Cromarty; Hudson Taylor Founder, China Inland Mission by Vance Christie; J. Hudson Taylor, A Man in Christ, by Roger Steer, and Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret by dr. & Mrs. Howard Taylor.