Monday, April 29, 2013

Hudson Taylor- I Resign!

By Mary Vee


From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes



Even Christians can get frustrated. Yes. It's true. Jesus had moments like these. I feel like turning over some money tables.

What is my problem? Well . . .
In my past letters to you, I mentioned the Chinese Evangelistic Society, my sending missionary agency, had not sent the agreed upon monthly support. They haven't since the day I first arrived in China. Sometimes I received one third the needed monthly funds, other times I received none. Promises unkept.

I am happy to go wherever God sends me, and live with what God gives me, whether I have plenty or little, but the mission made a commitment to send support for this work. 

The postman handed me a letter from CES when I returned to Shanghai, yesterday. I had high hopes there would be money inside. I barely had enough to pay my bills and didn't have anything left for food. I looked inside the envelope and found a letter, no more. Once again I would have to lean on the gracious help from missionaries of other agencies to buy food.

The letter from the head of CES stated three more missionaries from the agency would arrive in China. Three more? The organization had to borrow funds to send the pittance for the missionaries already here. How could they promise to support three more missionaries?

I don't believe going in debt is wise, and I definitely don't believe CES should go into debt. God is not poor. If the mission did not receive enough funds to support the missionaries, then maybe God has a message. And the answer is not borrowing money. 

This was the last straw in my mind. For three years I have lacked the promised funds to do the work CES sent me to do. God has given me a desire to travel deeper into China, where other missionaries have not been able to go. He has given me many ideas for evangelism, all I have not been able to do because of travel restrictions. 

The time has come to break the bind between CES and myself. I will trust the God who owns cattle on a thousand hills, the one who will provide what I need to do the job He asks me to do. I went to my rented room, sat down at a desk, and penned a letter to CES. 

I resign as a missionary from your organization. If you find it in your heart to send funds to me for my missionary work, I will consider them a gift from God.

I slid the letter into an envelope and took it to the post office. Later that afternoon, I had a chat with John, a fellow missionary who came to Shanghai with me from Ningbo. He, too, came to China as a missionary for CES. We talked about the letter I sent and the three new missionaries on their way.

John sat back in his chair and nodded. "I agree with you completely, Taylor. So much so I will draft my own letter telling CES. I resign, too. Let's start a new project."

We both received word back from CES weeks later. They agreed to release us from the agency and gave us God's blessings. We also were given access to those who gave our support. We planned to send them newsletters filled with information about the work.

I know my great God will provide.

I feel a great burden lifted. Now only God is in charge over my time here in China. John and I can move forward with plans to go deeper into China and tell men and women God loves them.

Please pray for us as we venture out on our own.


J. Hudson Taylor
Missionary to China
Blessed by God

Do you have any questions?


Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

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. &and Mrs. Howard Taylor.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Jeroboam-Consequences

By Mary Vee
I Kings 13


From A Man of God's Notes

God spoke to me today, telling me to go to the city of Bethel. There I would find an altar that Jeroboam, the king of Israel, built. 

I put on my sandals, took my walking stick, and journeyed from Judah the few miles to Bethel. Jeroboam made the altar easy to find, it was huge. Many Israelites stood in line, waiting to offer their sacrifices. 

Why they didn't go the short distance to Jerusalem and offer their sacrifice at the temple as they should have, I don't know. But these are the disobedient ones. They followed Jeroboam and made him their king instead of staying loyal to Rehoboam, the grandson of David.

I walked past the line, confident in my steps, right up to the altar where Jeroboam stood offering his sacrifice. The words God gave me flowed from my mouth, "O altar, altar! This is what the Lord says: 'A son named Josiah will be born to the house of David. On you he will sacrifice the priests of the high places who now make offerings here, and human bones will be burned on you.'"

Jeroboam's brows furrowed, his eyes squinted, and his face turned angry red. He knew he had done wrong by appointing anyone he pleased to serve as a priest. Not one Levite was chosen. The people would have priests who didn't truly worship God.

I refused to be afraid. I had to continue saying the words God gave, no matter what Jeroboam did or said. "This is the sign the Lord has declared: the altar will be split apart and the ashes on it will be poured out."

Jeroboam drew in a deep breath and lunged his arm toward me and screamed, "Seize him!"

Before our eyes, Jeroboam's hand shriveled up. He couldn't move it at all. A loud rumble came from the altar. The rocks split apart and the ashes from the sacrifice poured out.  Exactly as the Word given to me by the Lord said.

Jeroboam's eyes grew wide. He stared at his hand then looked at the altar and back at his hand. His body shook with fear and anger. "You, man of God. Intercede with the Lord your God and pray for me that my hand may be restored."

I did as he asked. The Lord chose to restore the king's hand as it was moments later.

Jeroboam seemed quite concerned and still a bit frightened. He invited me to go with him to his home and to eat a meal. He also promised to give me a gift in return for helping him.

"No," I said. "Even if you were to give me half of all your possessions I would not go with you. Nor would I eat bread or drink water here. I was commanded by the word of the Lord not to eat bread or drink water or return on the same road. And I will do as the Lord says."

I walked away from Jeroboam, using a different path as the Lord commanded. After traveling a short ways I took a break and sat under an oak tree. While sitting there an old prophet from Bethel approached me, riding a donkey. He said, "Are you the man of God who came from Judah?"

"I am."

"Please come home with me and eat."

I shook my head and said, "I cannot go with you, nor can I eat bread or drink water with you in this place. I have been told by the word of the Lord not to do these things."

He smiled and held a hand out to me. "I, too, am a prophet, as you are. An angel said to me by the word of the Lord: 'Bring him back with you to your house so that he may eat bread and drink water."

I didn't feel well at the time and thought God had given new instructions to this man for me. I went with him to his home and ate a wonderful meal.

But while we sat at the table, God spoke to the old prophet sitting across from me. He suddenly cried out, "This is what the Lord says: 'You have defied my word and have not kept my command. You came back and ate bread and drank water in the place where I told you not to do those things.'" He leaned forward and said, "Therefore you will die and not be buried with your fathers."

After the meal, the old prophet saddled his donkey for me. I thanked him for the food and rode away, thinking about the words he said at the meal. He was right. I had gone back, but I believed his words the first time when he said God told him to invite me.

As I rode, a lion suddenly burst from the bushes....

***************
1. What do you think happened next?
2. Let's look at the beginning of the story. What did God ask this prophet to do?
3. What did Jeroboam do when he heard the message from the prophet?
4. What happened to Jeroboam and to the altar?
5. Jeroboam invited the prophet to stay for a meal, did he? Why or why not?
6. Who else invited the prophet to stay for a meal. Did the prophet go or not?
7. What did the prophet do wrong?


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Jeroboam-The Evil Deceiver

By Mary Vee
I Kings 12 and II Chronicles 11

From A Levite's Journal

These words I am about to write can cost me my life. If you find this, please think of God's commands to His people before you are tempted to turn it over to King Jeroboam.

Jeroboam seemed to be a man after God's heart. He won our sympathy when Solomon's son, King Rehoboam, ordered an increase in labor demands. The people walked away from Rehoboam, even though he was the blessed King David's grandson. We/they were wrong.

David's descendants were to rule over Israel. No matter if good or bad, God said David's descendants would rule...end of discussion.

And now, Rehoboam, David's grandson is hiding in Jerusalem where the only tribe, Judah, has honored God's commands and remain under his rule.

As for Jeroboam, that wicked king deceived the rest of the tribes into making him king over them. I heard him talking to one of his advisors yesterday. He said, "The people will want to go to the temple in Jerusalem to offer their sacrifices to God. If they go to there, the will be in the territory of that King Rehoboam. I simply can't have that."

His advisor said, "I agree. What do you want to do?"

"We'll construct a god. We'll make two and put one in each corner of the country. We can point out how convenient it is for the people to offer their sacrifices. Yes. That should solve the problem. Have the laborers craft me two golden calfs. Quickly! Let's get this done, now."

The advisor hurried out of the king's chambers and put a rush on king Jeroboam's request. By the end of the afternoon, two golden calves were present to king Jeroboam. He smiled a wicked smile and called a meeting of all the Israelites.

"My people. Going to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices is such a long journey for you. I have made these two golden calves. One will be placed in Bethel, in the south and the other in Dan, in the north.  Go to these places to offer your sacrifices and worship your god."

The people gladly did as he said. They said it was much easier to go a short distance to offer their sacrifices. As a Levite, it didn't take any thinking at all to know this displeased God. My anger burned.

Jeroboam them built shrines in high places and appointed priests from all sorts of people even though they were not Levites! To insure the people would not go to Jerusalem for feasts and festivals, he created new ones. He offered the first sacrifices on these new altars.

Enough was enough. I refuse to give my allegiance to Jeroboam. Solomon's son, Rehoboam may be wicked, but at least he is from the line of David. I joined the other Levites, leaving our pastureland and property behind to journey to Jerusalem and live under the rule of Rehoboam.

We were not the only ones to see the truth. There were many from each tribe of Israel who decided to stay true to seeking the will of the Lord, the God of Israel. They journeyed with us to Jerusalem and offered their sacrifices to the Lord, the God of their fathers where God told us to. 

They joined us in supporting king Rehoboam, Solomon's son and lived in Jerusalem under Rehoboam's rule.

There simply is a time to stand up and do what is right, no matter what. 

I am proud to be among those who left Jeroboam and set my allegiance to king Rehoboam, the grandson of David, blessed by God.

*******************************
picture courtesy of visualbiblealive.com

1. Who is the evil king?
2. What did he do that was wrong?
3. Who was the blessed king of Israel?
4. Who is Rehoboam?
5. Why were the Levites angry?
6. What did they do?
7. What kind of people joined them?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Hudson Taylor-The Proposal

By Mary Vee

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes


The Cantonese continued to threaten the lives of foreigners. Dr. Parker, John Jones, and I became concerned for the missionary work in Ningbo. The fear in our hearts for the women and children with us in the hospital ministry grew. Someone had to stay with the work to help the Chinese. Someone had to take the missionary women and children to safety.

Since the hospital ministry was under Dr. Parker's care, he chose to stay. Miss Aldersey, head teacher, also refused to leave the Ningbo missionary school. On January 25, 1857, I escorted Dr. Parker's wife, children, John Jones and his family, and Mrs. Gough and her children away from the mission. We stepped aboard the Japan and were thankful for a safe journey to Shanghai.

Fortunately, the missionary agency, who once allowed me to rent their home in Shanghai, offered to take care of our group until we could return to Ningbo. John Jones and I helped settle the women and children into sleeping quarters before helping others.

The winter became harsh, especially with the war raging. Thousands fled to Shanghai hoping to find shelter and food. We took what food we could to the poor starving souls lining the streets. They had no money for food, clothes, or shelter. Many slept out in the open next to others who had starved to death.

We searched the streets for others in need of care and came upon the remnants of a war-torn house. Inside, beggars, diseased, and starved Chinese men and women packed each room. The food we brought didn't go very far. Still, we shared God's love in any way we could. I'm not sure how much they heard with their stomach so hungry.

One day I received a letter from my missionary friend, William Burns. He was the one who went to Swatow with me to tell the drug dealers about God's love. Burns stated he had an opportunity to come help with the ministry. He decided to go to Ningbo and join the other CES missionaries. His goal was the like mine: set up a base for missionary journeys to the interior villages. 

Rejoining Burns in Ningbo would be an excellent idea. Burns and I got along well, we could begin taking missionary trips to Chinese villages deep inland, and I could see Maria, the missionary school teacher working under Miss Aldersey direction. Dear sweet, Maria. Not one day went by when I hadn't thought of her. As a secret between you and me, I would love to marry the girl.

I gathered my courage and sent her a letter, telling her of my deep love and desire to marry her. 

Sadly, a letter came a few days later. Miss Aldersey, the head teacher, insisted she write me immediately and end any hope of a marriage. But Maria managed to include a few sentences, squeezed inside paragraphs, indicating she truly cared for me. 

Miss Aldersey became determined to help Maria stay focused with the calling God gave her and not waste it on an insignificant, unimportant person like me. Miss Aldersey's anger grew stronger against our marriage, causing the dispute to be taken to the whole missionary community.

Sigh.

If I could get back to Ningbo, maybe I could change Miss Aldersey's mind. I am a somebody, following the calling of God. At my current age of twenty-five, I am old enough to know I am in love with Maria and desperately want to marry her.

I chose to pray for God's help to change Miss Aldersey's mind.


J. Hudson Taylor
Missionary to China
Blessed by God

Do you have any questions?


Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

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. &and Mrs. Howard Taylor.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Rehoboam-My Father's Enemy Has Returned

By Mary Vee
I kings 12, II Chronicles 10

From Jeroboam's Journal

A messenger pounded on my door and asked for permission to deliver a message right away. Living in Egypt where I escaped King Solomon, I rarely received messages. This news intrigued me. I allowed the messenger into my chamber.  "King Solomon has died. His son, Rehoboam has been crowned king."

"What interesting news. You may go." 

Once the messenger left, I called for my servants. "Pack everything, we will journey to Israel."

I couldn't wait to return. Perhaps Solomon's son will reason with my men and me. We settled into our new homes and requested to go before the newly crowned king, Rehoboam. He allowed us to bring our concerns to his throne, which seemed like a good sign.

My men and I stood before his throne and when given permission to speak, I said, "Your father put a heavy burden on us. The labor is more than we can endure. If you will but lighten the harsh labor and the heavy burden he placed on us, we will serve you."

King Rehoboam sat silent for a moment then said, "Go away for three days and then come back to me." This made sense. Although we'd hope for his compassion right away, we respected his choice to consider what he would do. So we left, as he asked.

We had a friend who worked in King's Rehoboam's house. He brought us news whenever he heard anything. King Rehoboam consulted the elders who served his father, Solomon. He asked for their advise regarding our situation.

They answered him, "If you will ease these people's burden as they have asked, they will always be your servants."

Apparently Rehoboam didn't like their advice. He called together a group of friends who grew up with him and served in his court. At their meeting he asked them for their advice regarding our situation.

They answered him, "Tell these people who have asked to have their burden eased, your father may have given them a heavy burden, but you will make it even heavier. My father beat you with whips to make you work, I will beat you with scorpions.

Three days later my men and I returned to Rehoboam's chambers for his answer. The king said he made his decision. He said, "My father beat you with whips to make you work, I will beat you with scorpions."

Imagine that. He didn't listen to us. We would have been willing to serve him, we only wanted to suffer less torment. I rallied the people and turned everyone against King Rehoboam, son of Solomon since he only wanted to be a cruel tyrant. Only Judah remained loyal to David's throne and his grandson, Rehoboam.

King Rehoboam sent out his captain in charge of forced labor. The people of Israel stoned him to death. When news of the rioting reached the palace, King Rehoboam climbed into his chariot and escaped to Jerusalem, which is in Judah. This was the only place he found safety.

The people of Israel gathered together and asked me, Jeroboam, son of Nebat, to be king. King of Israel. I accepted. Rehoboam remained king of Judah.

********************************
photo courtesy of visualbibleslive.com

1. Why was Jeroboam in Egypt?
2. Why did he come back to Israel?
3. What did he ask King Rehoboam?
4. Who did Rehoboam first ask advice? 
5. Who did Rehoboam ask advice next?
6. What did Rehoboam decide to do?
7. What happened afterwards?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Solomon-The Death of the Wisest Man

By Mary Vee
I Kings 11 and II Chronicles 9


From Rehoboam's Journals


My father, king Solomon, has been called the wisest man who ever lived. He understood scientific and historical facts, could out-reason any philosopher from his day, and well, he knew more than I think he knew. Fortunately for us, he wrote many of his thoughts and kept them in the official library.

As a child, I wanted for nothing. We must have been the richest nation in all the world. Dignitaries from everywhere came to visit, leaving expensive gifts of gold, spices, and perfumes. My father did not keep this wealth to himself or our family, he shared it with the entire nation. The spender of our streets caused visitors to marvel.

When the Queen of Sheba arrived, I ran to the window and watched a long caravan, filled with gifts, stop at the palace. I had never seen such an important person. But then I didn't realize my own father, king Solomon, ranked even higher in the queen's mind. 

Tutors and wealth surrounded me. 

Father brought many wives and concubines to the palace. It became a small city by itself. He honored their wishes by raising statues to their idols. Services were held to worship each. I hardly knew which one to truly worship. I rarely spoke with my father, his duties kept him quite busy.

After forty years of service to the country, the mournful day came when wise king Solomon, my dad, breathed his last . . . and I was next in line to become king.

We cared for my father's body honoring him as a king should be with a grand ceremony. Many attended the funeral service, and the lamenting, oh, the sound that carried throughout the land. It was then that I felt the pressure of my new position. How could I ever match what my father did, or what his father did? The people loved them both.

The council felt the importance of crowning me king right away to keep the peace and provide leadership. 

As is customary for men who are to be crowned king in Israel, I traveled to Shechem to join all the Israelites who went ahead of me to the coronation. The prophets, dignitaries, and other official prepared for the ceremony. 

I looked in their eyes and saw sadness and concern. I felt the same way. How could I ever rule Israel. I didn't know what to do. My father had once prayed and sincerely worshiped the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but over the years spent so much time with his wives and their gods that I became confused who to worship. Who do I pray to? Who do I ask for help?

I, Rehoboam, son of Solomon, am king of Israel and am overwhelmed with my new job.

**************************
photo courtesy of visualbiblealive.com

1. What had Solomon been called?
2.  Who is Rehoboam?
3. What was Rehoboam's childhood like?
4. What happened to Solomon?
5. Why was Rehoboam afraid?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Hudson Taylor-People Who Didn't Like Each Other

By Mary Vee

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes



I have recently learned that I am held in low regard by other missionaries. One said I "was a nobody, had no academic standing and was not ordained. To make matters worse," they continued, I "wore Chinese clothes."

I am guilty of all, except the nobody statement. It's true I left England shortly before completing my medical degree and I had not been ordained as a minister. I chose to dress as a Chinese man to blend in with the people and to give them a reason to listen to my messages.

To show me their disapproval, the other English missionaries rarely invited me to speak in their churches. Their words made me consider a trip back to England to complete training and to get the necessary certifications.

But then I spoke with John. He too served in Ningbo and became a close friend. We went out on several adventures preaching to the Chinese. "Hudson," he said, "If you go back to England there will be a void. We need someone with your knowledge, determination, and strength."

His words of encouragement helped. I stayed and worked with him all the more. As we walked one day he said he too had not received the missionary support from our agency. John said, "CES has borrowed the little money sent to us." He and his family barely survived on the meager funds.

This does not sound like a ministry with God's blessings. The situation required much prayer.

During this time, England and China did not get along. The Cantonese people grew especially angry with all foreigners promising to kill any they found. One baker put arsenic in loaves of bread sold only to foreigners. Several died, over four hundred became sick. 

With the discovery of the plans to kill all foreigners, several escaped to Shanghai where some safety could be expected. I offered to escort the school teachers but they refused to leave.

The danger for attack on our lives grew so great Dr. Parker and other missionaries sent their families to Shanghai. Those who stayed kept all their special belongings in junks, harbored and ready to leave at a moment's notice.

The Cantonese's anger towards the foreigners grew. They held a meeting to determine the best way to kill all of the foreigners in Ningbo. "It would work best to attack when there is a large group. Any who are missing from the meeting could be hunted down and killed."

"Yes," said another from the meeting. "They all gather on Sunday to worship their God."

The others in the meeting agreed this would work. They arranged the details and set their plans in motion. 

One of the servants at the meeting had a friend who worked as a servant for a missionary family. He didn't want his friend hurt. He hurried to his friend and warned him to stop working for the missionary. Before the faithful servant left he told the missionary family of the plan.

We didn't know exactly what would happen, but felt confident the Cantonese, a powerful group of people with a lot of rage at this time, would carry out their plan.

Please pray for us this week and come back next week to see what happened.


J. Hudson Taylor
Missionary to China
Blessed by God

Do you have any questions?


Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

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. &and Mrs. Howard Taylor.



Saturday, April 13, 2013

Solomon-Hey, All You Young People

By Mary Vee
Ecclesiastes 11


From Solomon's Journal of Wisdom



I'd like to speak with the young people:

Light is sweet and I know it makes you happy to see and be out in the sun.
Be sure to enjoy all the years you may have, no matter how many that may be.

But remember the many days of darkness. Everything to come will be meaningless.

Young men, be happy while you are young.  Let your heart give you joy while you are young.

Follow the ways of your heart and what you see, but remember, God will bring judgement for these things.

Remember your Creator in the days of your youth. The one who has been here long before your troubles came.

The years will come when you will say, "These things give me no pleasure, why do I have them?"

In your old age, your body will no longer serve you so well. You muscles will become slack, your grip weaken, your joints stiffen.

You won't be able to come and go as you please. 

The hum, familiar sounds of your house, will fade away. The bird songs will wake you and you'll be unable to go for hikes to the mountains. Even a walk down the street will be dangerous. Your hair will turn snowy white adorning a fragile body too skinny to support your weight. Yes, you have but one life and at the end you will go to your eternal rest while your friends plan your funeral.

Life is lovely while it lasts, but is soon over. Life is precious and beautiful, but will end. The body will be put in the same ground as it came from and the spirit will return to God who first breathed it.

And the last and final words I have is this: 

Fear God and do what He tells you.

And that's it, your whole duty. 

For God will bring everything that we do out into the open and judge it according to its hidden intent, whether it’s good or evil.


*************
photo courtesy of visualbiblealive.com

1. Solomon is talking to what group of people?
2. What is he saying will happen to them later?
3. What were Solomon's last words on this subject? 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Solomon-There is a time

By Mary Vee
Ecclesiastes 3


From Solomon's Notes

I walked the city streets, not skipping any. Dangerous, wealthy, common, every street. I watched my people and listened.

Here is what I learned: God made mankind upright, but men have gone in search of many schemes.

Who then is like the wise man? Who knows how to explain things.Wisdom brightens a man's face and changes its hard appearance. 


A few children ran down the street, playing. An old man sat outside his home watching. From this I learned:


There is a time to be born and a time to die.







Farther down the street I saw a farmer harvesting in his field and I learned:

There is a time to plant and a time to uproot.










And then I saw a woman drinking medicine given to her by a younger person. One of my guards offered to help. From this I learned:

There is a time to kill and a time to heal.





All through the city I watched and learned. These are my conclusions:




There is a time to tear down and a time to build.





There is a time to weep and a time to laugh.








There is a time to mourn and a time to dance.











There is a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them.







There is a time to embrace and a time to refrain.












There is a time to search and a time to give up.








There is a time to keep and a time to throw away.









There is a time to tear and a time to mend.








There is a time to be silent and a time to speak.









There is a time to love and a time to hate











There is a time for war and a time for peace.










All of these photos are courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Monday, April 8, 2013

Hudson Taylor-Searching for God's Direction

By Mary Vee


From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes



Like you, I often wonder where my next step should be. I thought I should take my belongings to Ningbo and purchase medical supplies but the low river waters prevented the ship from getting me there. During that journey, thieves took all my belongings. Only God could and did provide a way back to Shanghai.

I felt defeated. Time wasted.

But, in hindsight, seeing what happened next I am again reminded that trials are truly a tool, a means of direction or lesson for us. When I reached Shanghai I learned I had mail from England containing substantially more funds than the value of my stolen belongings. And with this money I could purchase more medical supplies and transportation to show the Chinese the love of God than I first thought.

Praise the Almighty God who knows all things.

Now that I had money in hand, I needed to know what to do. I could return to Swatow and continue the work with my friend Burns. No, that would be foolish because I still needed to purchase the medical supplies. Right. That settled it. I would sail back up the river to Ningbo and buy medical supplies from my missionary friend Dr. Parker.

Two weeks passed before the river waters had risen allowing ships to sail up the river again. I boarded a ship and journeyed to Ningbo. A Chinese man named Peter boarded the ship with me. Apparently he had written Dr. Parker and asked him to come work with him. My friend agreed. 

As I spoke with Peter on the ship's deck, I realized the man had not accepted Jesus as his savior. We spent the first day talking. I told him what Jesus had done for him and he seemed to understand but never made an outward sign of believing in God.

The next day I spent my usual morning time in my cabin studying the Word and praying. My time, however, was interrupted by a loud splash and a loud cry for help. I hurried up the ladder and crossed the deck to the position. 

Workers from the ship leaned over the boat rail and helplessly turned to each other. 

"Peter!" I pushed through the gathered men and leaned over the side. Peter had fallen overboard and disappeared in the water. A strong wind shoved our boat away from Peter's position. Something had to be done quickly. I lowered the sail to slow the boat and leaped into the freezing waters.

"Peter! Peter!" I searched the waters plunging into the muddy river and surfacing for quick breaths before diving again. I couldn't find him. When I surfaced, I saw a fishing boat with a dragnet. It could be used to find Peter.

"Please," I called. "Please drag your net over this spot to save a man. He's drowning!"

The fishermen looked at me as though I asked for a million dollars. "We can't. If we stop we will lose money."

I waved my arms at them and frantically pleaded. "Please. You can save his life. I can pay you more money than you will make fishing. Please, help me." 

"How much will you pay?"

We haggled back and forth, wasting precious time. At last they agreed to help. They paddled their boat ever so slowly to my position. Nothing I said made them go faster. They let down their nets and in less than one minute Peter's body rose to the surface.

His lifeless body lay covered in muck. It may not be too late. I swam to the net and immediately tried to resuscitate him. My heart pounded, I worked fast and used all the medical training I knew, but nothing helped. Peter . . . was gone.

I gave the fishermen their money. Later I thought about the whole incident. Those fishermen alone had the guilt for Peter's death. Had they come sooner, he could have been saved.

And then I thought of us who choose not to go here or go there to tell others about the saving power of Jesus Christ because it isn't convenient. How my heart ached.

Late in October, 1856, I arrived in Ningbo. Broken, yet willing to serve God alongside my friend Dr. Parker.



J. Hudson Taylor
Missionary to China
Blessed by God

Do you have any questions?


Photo courtesy of visualbiblealive.com

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, April 6, 2013

Solomon-Walked Among His People and Saw...

By Mary Vee
Ecclesiastes


From Solomon's Notes


I went for a walk among my people. I didn't stay away from any neighborhood, in fact I wanted to go to the poorest and to the neighborhoods where the evil ones lived.

There I saw the tears of men and women who are abused and have no one to comfort them. From this I realized the dead are happier because no one can hurt them, but those who aren't yet born are even better off because they have not seen the evil that is done.

I also saw that all work or great achievement was done only to impress others. One neighbor wants to show off to another. How ridiculous. They are only chasing after the wind. Will this one achievement last? It is much better to have one handful of peace than to work so hard for nothing.

And then I saw a man. He didn't have anyone to support. No wife, no child, no brother. Yet he work and bought many things. He never rested. And why? Why? 

Two are better than one. If this man had a wife, a family to share his work with he would have someone who could help him up when he falls, and someone to keep him warm. If he had a friend he would have someone who could help protect him and he could help protect the other. Why did this man work so hard to gain so much for himself?

At the temple I saw those who made great promises. But once they had to do what they said they cried out, "I didn't mean it." There words meant nothing. They made a promise to God at the temple and did not keep their word. Don't they realize who God is? God is in heaven and we are on earth. The person who teats God with folly will receive their reward, one they won't want. We must have respect and fear of the Almighty.

The poor have nothing, giving what little they have to those over them. Those men, in turn must give what they have to those over them. Everyone takes from the one under them.

Those who love money never have enough. They are never satisfied. The more they get, the more they want. And what good is it? The owner can walk about his wealth and look at it. Then what?

The worker who gives the wealthy man his money sleeps well at night weather he eats little or a big meal. But the wealthy man lays awake at night worrying about his wealth.

We are born with nothing and die taking nothing.

And then I realized it is good and right for a man to eat and drink and to find satisfaction in his work during the few days of life God has given him, for this is our duty.

AND when God gives any man wealth and enables him to enjoy it, he should because it is a gift from God. God will keep this person occupied with great happiness deep in his heart.

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photo courtesy of visualbiblealive.com

1. Solomon walked among the people and saw the tears. He realized _____
2. Solomon saw a rich man who didn't have any family and thought _________
3. Solomon saw the rich man is actually miserable because _________
4. In the end, Solomon realizes that when God gives a man wealth it is _________



Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Solomon-Chasing After the Wind

By Mary Vee
Ecclesiastes 1,2


From Solomon's Thoughts


I, as teacher of Israel in Jerusalem, dedicated my time to study and exploration of all things done under heaven. What a tremendous task. Because of God's gift of wisdom to me I have seen  all the things done under the sun and have concluded this: they are meaningless, like chasing the wind.

Thing that are twisted cannot be straightened.
What someone doesn't have, cannot be counted.

I thought to myself, "From my studies and the gift God has given me I have learned and gained wisdom, more than any of the great thinkers who have ruled over Jerusalem before me. I've experienced not only knowing something but what to do." 

So I took the great wisdom I had gained and went about applying it, speaking as a great man. But,I also tried acting like one with madness and doing ridiculous things. And do you know what I learned? Both are like chasing the wind.

The more wisdom I discover, the more sorrow I feel. And the more knowledge I gain, the more grief floods my soul. 

I wanted something to make me happy. 

I thought, surely I could use my wisdom to find happiness. But it didn't work. 

I tried laughter, wine, doing foolish things. I wanted to see what other men could do to find a sense of fulfillment during our short lives.

I tried filling my minutes with important projects. I built houses and planted vineyards. Gardens, parks, with all kinds of fruits trees in them. I made reservoirs to water huge groves of trees. I bought many slaves, owned many herds ad flocks. My treasury of silver and gold increased. I had singers devoted to entertaining me.

In all I added to my possessions, my wisdom never left.

I didn't keep anything from myself.
Anything my heart wanted I bought.
My heart was happy with the work I did
This was the only reward for my work.

And then I went out and looked at all that was built under my direction and saw everything was meaningless. Like chasing after the wind. Nothing was gained because all of these things could be destroyed.

And I hated it. I hated everything we made, all the possession I gained because they won't be mine. Some day I will die and my son will have them. So what good has it been for me to work to gain these things? My son won't be able to keep them either. When he dies someone else will get them.

Who knows if my son will be wise or a fool and take care of the family wealth in a wise way. These things I have worked so hard to get.  It is all meaningless.

Because a person may work hard to own many things and then give it to someone who has done nothing and therefore doesn't care about those same things.

A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. And even this must be from the hand of God. For without His help we cannot eat or find enjoyment. 

To the person who pleases God, God gives wisdom, knowledge, and happiness. But to the sinner, He gives the task of gathering and storing wealth to give to the one who pleases God. This is nothing more than chasing after the wind.


author's note: Solomon is troubled and trying to figure things out. Please come back and read the rest of Solomon's thinking to hear the complete story.

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photo courtesy of visualbiblealive.com

1. What did God give Solomon?
2. What is Solomon concerned about in today's story?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Hudson Taylor-Three School Teachers

By Mary Vee


From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes


God blessed abundantly. 

I didn't know it at first. I had lost everything, and returned to Shanghai penniless. I went straight to the post office hoping for a letter from home and found instead mail with money from my supporters. I was so excited. 

I waited two weeks for the water to rise in the river before setting sail on my fourteenth missionary journey. I tried again, to reach my friend, Dr. Parker's clinic in Ningbo. This time the ship sailed all the way to my destination, with no problems.

I am in awe. What God did, was allow my few belongings to be taken away which forced me to go back to Shanghai where he had mail waiting containing more money than I had in the first place. Enough to replace my belongings and buy the needed medical supplies. Wow!

Once in Ningbo, I went to Dr. Parker's new hospital. He seemed surprised to see me.

"Taylor, you look positively Chinese." He hadn't seen me since I shaved my head except one braid down my back and switched to wearing the same clothes worn by the Chinese people.

He told me his ministry had served nine thousand patients in twelve months. He also allowed other missionaries to come there and preach to the people. God had blessed the hospital and the work to make Ningbo as important to new missionaries as Shanghai!

Apparently three school teachers came from England to teach illiterate Chinese how to read. As the people learned how to read their language, they could read the Bible and learn about God. 

Miss Aldersey seemed in charge of the two younger women with her, Maria and Burella Dyer. She had quite a commanding spirit and earned a reputation among the people of Ningbo as a tyrant.

About the same time, a few minor earthquakes frightened the citizens. They thought Miss Aldersey caused them as a punishment for their wrong doings. The word passed among the Chinese saying she walked the city wall just before the sun rose and carried with her a bottle of magic that made the earth shake. I'm quite surprised they did not burn her for showing signs of being a witch.

What they didn't understand was Miss Aldersey went for her walk at this time every morning and took along her medicine for the frequent headaches. 

As for me, in the few weeks I stayed to help my friend, Dr. Parker, I found no person more devoted to her calling from God than Miss Aldersey. It is important to look at a person's heart, instead of hearing their words.

During the seven weeks I stayed in Ningbo, I managed to stir Miss Aldersey's words of scorn when Maria, the teacher who worked with her, and I showed an interest in each other. No matter, I have much work to do for God, preaching to local villages and giving out Christian literature with a fellow missionary John Jones.

I must admit, I enjoyed meeting Maria, an English woman who chose to leave her home to come to China and tell the people about God's love. I am happy God led me to Ningbo.



J. Hudson Taylor
Missionary to China
Blessed by God

Do you have any questions?


Photo courtesy of freeditigalphotos.net

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.