Saturday, June 29, 2013

Ahab-Elijah Visits a Widow

By Mary Vee
I Kings 17

From the Prophet Elijah's Journal

The Lord told me to hide in a ravine by a brook. He sent a raven to bring me food twice a day. I quite enjoyed the peaceful setting and the visits from my bird friend. 

No rain has fallen on the land since I delivered the message from the Lord to king Ahab. All he had to do was say he was sorry and destroy the false idols, but he wouldn't. 

The edge of the brook waters narrowed with each day until one day I woke and found it dry. I found no reason to be concerned. If the Almighty God took care of me by hiding me, giving me water, and food from a raven, then he would continue to do so, maybe in a new way.

I worshiped the Lord that same morning as I always did, singing praises to Him and reciting words from Moses. During this time, the Lord spoke to me. "Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food."

I picked up my satchel and walked west to Zarephath, which is on the shore of the Great Sea. 

After walking such a distance, I almost felt faint with hunger and thirst. I saw a woman at the town gate gathering sticks. She had to be the person God wanted me to find. I called to her, "Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?"

She nodded and turned to get the water. As she walked I remembered to ask her for food, too. "Excuse me, Please bring me a piece of bread, too."

She stopped and turned with sadness on her face. "As surely as the Lord your God lives, I don't have any bread--only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it--and die."

The poor woman. 

Still, the Lord commanded me to come here and said she would give me food. Somehow God will supply the food for her to give me. 

I held my hand out to her. "Don't be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son." 

Her slumped shoulders showed how hopeless she felt. The poor woman must be very hungry, too. She needed words of encouragement. "This is the what the Lord, the God of Israel says: 'The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord gives rain on the land."

She didn't say anything but stood straighter as if armed with courage. She led me to her home and walked to her kitchen. I talked with her son while she made the bread. Her eyes widened with surprise when she looked at her flour jar after pouring enough to make our bread. "Look! The jar isn't empty." She laughed with delight when the same thing happened to the jar of oil. "Thank you. Not only can I give you bread, but my son and I will have food, too."

Just as God had said, we had something to eat every day for the three of us. The jar of flour never emptied during this time. Neither had the jar of oil.

God takes care of His people.

photo courtesy of

1. After the brook dried, the Lord told Elijah to go to Zarephath. Why?
2. The widow said she didn't have bread to share. How would she get flour and oil?
3. Did the widow do as Elijah said?
4. What happened to the jar of oil and the jar of flour?
5. How did this happen?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ahab-Elijah's Warning

By Mary Vee
I Kings I6-21

From the Prophet Elijah's Journal

Ahab became the king of Israel when his father Omri died. He married a woman named Jezebel who worshiped idols. 

Jezebel convinced king Ahab to do terrible things. To please her he worshiped and served Baal, he built a Baal temple and an altar for worship. Worse than all of this he lead the people of Israel to do the same thing.

A new generation of people lived in Israel. These men and women did not remember the time when God sent Moses to Egypt to free His people, the lessons our people learned in the desert, and our final homecoming to the promise land. Our king has failed to lead the people to worship God. 

We have failed to pass these events on to our children, to teach them the ways of God. 

The new generation has followed their king by worshiping Baal and other kings belonging to the people forced out of this land. Hardly anyone listens when I speak of God.

It came as no surprise to me when the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob said, "Go to Ahab and give him my message."

The time had come for punishment or change.

I went to the palace of the king and requested to speak with him. As the doors opened, I saw the king seated at his throne with Jezebel nearby. Seeing her did not bring fear to my veins, but it did remind me this would not be an easy task.

"Elijah, what message have you for me."

I bowed in respect and spoke the words God said. "As the Lord, the God of Israel lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word."

Ahab tipped his head as if waiting for me to say more. God didn't give me any other words. The message was clear. Since Ahab didn't say anything, I left his chamber and returned to my work.

The word of the Lord came to me again. He said, "Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. There is good water in the brook for you to drink and I have ordered the ravens to bring you food."

I immediately packed a few things and set out for the ravine. Nothing would stop me.  Such a message meant only one thing. Ahab and Jezebel wanted to kill me. The Lord chose to hide me in a place where I would have water in a time of no rain. 

The water tasted delicious. I set up a camp by the water. A short while later a raven flew near to me. He had bread in his beak. Rather than eating it or taking it to his young ones, he dropped the bread on the ground and flew off. He returned a short time later with meat in his beak. 

The raven became my daily reminder of God's love. In he flew each morning and evening with my bread and meat. I had not seen such a thing before. God blesses us in unexpected ways.

Would it be so hard for Ahab to see God's blessings. He only had to say he was sorry and rid the country of the false gods. 

But he didn't.

The days crept by. I watched the brook slowly dry up. The people of the land must be terribly thirsty and the crops have surely died. There will be famine soon. 

I am confident though, since the Lord cared for me by sending me to this brook, He will provide a new source of water. If God sent me food from a raven, what will he do next? I can't wait to see. 

photo courtesy of

1. Who is king of Israel?
2. Why did the king worship Baal?
3. The king taught the new generation of Israelites to worship Baal. What had the people forgotten?
4. The Lord told Elijah this message to give to king Ahab ______________.
5. Why did the Lord tell Elijah to hide?
6. Where did the Lord send Elijah?
7. Who brought Elijah food?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Hudson Taylor-Call Upon Me

By Mary Vee
Year: 1859 
Hudson Taylor: age 27

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes

My dear wife, Maria became deathly ill. I watched her eyes darken and her temples sink. As a medical person I knew the signs. If God did not intervene, I would lose her. 

I spent long hours praying and caring for her in addition to my mission duties. One afternoon I looked at her frail body. An idea for treatment came to me. Before administering anything that might be dangerous, I ran to Dr. Parker's home, two miles away to ask his opinion.

I prayed with every step for God's healing mercies for my sweet Maria. Once at Dr. Parkers home, I explained the idea. "Yes," he said. "Proceed." As I ran home, I prayed and soon sensed a peace, one that let me know God would spare her life. I ran to her room ready to administer the treatment. 

But she had changed since I had left. Her skin color and eyes looked much better. The recovery process began. Praise God.

Spring and early summer kept us busy with missionary work, addressing the continuing war issues, and lack of financial support. Maria spent much of her time near home preparing for the birth of our second child due in July. Her safety became a big issue for me.

My boat remained docked at the river, ready for escape should our lives be threatened. You may recall I had used the boat last year to help missionaries escape violence against foreigners. Although a treaty had been signed, threats of harm became more real every day. And the danger not only affected missionaries, but also Chinese christians. 

The first of July, Dr. Parker, recommended Maria come stay at the hospital to protect her from the war's violent outburst. Sunday, July 31, Maria gave birth to our first daughter, Grace Dyer. I must admit, she was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen.

Because of the constant wars, fresh water became difficult to find. Diseases had plenty of opportunity to attack the people. One day Dr. Parker's wife became sick with cholera and died within hours. The poor man. He asked me to take over the hospital while he took his five children back to Scotland. 

Of course I agreed. I set to work right away trying my best. Dr. Parker left me with enough money to pay one month's salary to hospital workers. After one month, I hardly knew what to do. I didn't have a missionary income other than what might be sent with the Lord's leading.

Several of us met together and prayed for money to arrive soon. And yes, I meant within a day or so. The hospital cook informed me she opened the last bag of rice. God knew we would have this problem a month ago when someone had to send the funds we needed today. I am confident prayers can still be asked for help in this way.

The next day an envelope arrived. I opened it and found more than the amount of money needed for bills. Not much more, but enough to completely take care of paying for hospital workers, rent, and food. 

You may think that the envelope would have come even if we hadn't gathered together and prayed. True, there are times God helps us when we don't ask--and times He chooses not to. I wouldn't want to take the chance. I much prefer to ask. 

Why am I continually surprised at the blessings God gives? I don't know. Here I am twenty-seven years old. I have a wife who survived a deathly illness, a beautiful new baby girl, and the needed finances to continue the ministry for the time. 

This verse came to me as an answer: "Call upon Me in the day of trouble. I will deliver you, and you will glorify Me." Psalm 50:15.

Please pray for Maria and me, that we may be a witness to the people in China.

J. Hudson Taylor
Missionary to China
Blessed by God

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. &and Mrs. Howard Taylor.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Jehoshaphat-Taught the People

By Mary Vee
I Kings 22 and II Chronicles 17

From A Priest's Journal

So much can be said about a person's actions.

Especially a leader.

Jehoshaphat, king of Judah not only had a heart devoted to God, but he also wanted the people living in Judah to live as God commanded. Of course the men and women saw his example. They needed more, though. 

In the third year of Jehoshaphat's reign he sent his officials: Ben-Hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel, and Michaiah, also certain Levites: Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah, Tobijah, and Tob-Adonijah with these priests: Elishama and Jehoram throughout the country. 

Their job? Teach the Book of the Law of the Lord to all the people in every town of Judah.

In time all the countries around Judah became fearful of the Lord. They saw what the Lord did for Judah while Jehoshaphat's example drew the people close to God. Not one country threatened war against Judah during this time.

Some Philistines brought Jehoshaphat gifts including silver to show their respect for Jehoshaphat and Judah's dedication to God. Even the Arabs brought him flocks: seven thousand seven hundred rams, and seven thousand seven hundred goats. 

Our king, Jehoshaphat became powerful. He used the gifts to build forts and store cities in Judah keeping large supplies in the towns of Judah. No one needed anything. He also paid for experienced fighting men in Jerusalem. Those who protected the king numbered one million, one hundred sixty thousand men!  

One day, Ahab, the king of Israel, asked Jehoshaphat, "Will you go with me to fight against Ramoth Gilead?"

Jehoshaphat answered, "I am as you are, my people are your people, my horses are your horses. First, before I agree to help, you must ask God if we should."

Before I can continue this story, I need to tell you about Ahab, the king of Israel.

Ahab did not love God. He didn't worship Him. And ... wait, this is a big story to tell. Come back next time to read how God sent a starving prophet using a raven, and find out what happened to a king who listened the queen who did not love God.


1.  Jehoshaphat knew showing the people of Judah how to obey God was important, but not enough. What did Jehoshaphat do?
2.  Jehoshaphat sent his officials, the __________, and the _______ to every town in Judah.
3.  What were these men suppose to teach the people?
4. What happened to Judah while Jehoshaphat ruled?
5. Who brought Judah gifts?
6. Who asked Jehoshaphat to help him?
7. What did Jehoshaphat say Ahab had to do first?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Jehoshaphat-Proved His Devoted Heart to God

By Mary Vee
I Kings 15, II Chronicles 20

From a Priest's Journal

It doesn't take much to be able to tell a dedicated heart for God, for me anyway. As a priest I get to see what many people do when others aren't looking. The proof is in their daily actions and goals.

King Asa died a sad death. He could have asked God to heal his feet, but he didn't. I'm not saying that I know for sure if God's plan included Asa's healing at that time. He simply didn't even ask, and so the infection spread and he died.

His son, Jehoshaphat, bless his heart, loved God and wanted with all his heart to finish the job his father started. 

After Jehoshaphat became king, he went throughout the country to removed any new gods put up by the people, the high places where the people worshipped other gods, and the Asherah poles in all Judah.

He followed the teachings of his father Asa: how to do what was right in the eyes of the Lord and to keep God's commands. He became a great example to the people of Judah, showing them how a devoted heart to God should act. 

Unfortunately in the area of Edom, there was no king at the time. If only the Edomites could have had Jehoshaphat to teach them. They worshipped false gods rather than the Almighty God of their fathers before them, the God who loved them.

I am in wonder how the Edomites could not see the good Jehoshaphat has brought to Judah. 

Jehoshaphat stationed troops in all the fortified cities of Judah and in Ephraim and built forts for them.

This is a man whom the Lord clearly was with because in his early years, Jehoshaphat walked in the ways of his great, great, great grandfather, David, had followed.

Unlike the king of Israel, Jehoshaphat did not talk to the Baal gods but asked the Almighty God his questions. After hearing the answer, he followed God's instructions exactly as God said. 

The people of Judah loved their king and showed it by bringing him rich gifts. He had great wealth and was given honor from his people. 

Yes, this was the kind of king I wish could forever reign in Judah. A man whose heart was devoted to the ways of the Lord and proved it by removing all the false gods.

What else did Jehoshaphat do during his reign to prove his devoted heart to God? Come back next time and see.

Photo courtesy of

1.  What didn't Asa, king of Judah do?
2.  What happened to him?
3.  Who is Jehoshaphat?
4.  How did Jehoshaphat prove his devoted heart to God?
5. Who didn't have a king at this time?
6.  What happened different in that country?
7.  While Jehoshaphat was king, Judah would have been a great place or scary place to live.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Hudson Taylor-Good Day Memories Help During Trials

By Mary Vee
Taylor's age: 26 -years-old
date: January 20-August 1858

from J. Hudson Taylor's Journals

After our wedding in January, Maria and I moved for a short time away from the missionary compound in Ningbo and set up our own home. Maria, unfortunately came down with typhoid fever. The poor thing became so terribly ill, I thought I would lose her.

We moved to the shared home with doctor Parker, where I once lived, to provide her with the medical treatment she needed. Not long afterwards, I too came down with the fever. 

How I hated the days resting when I knew what work needed to be done.

The Lord graced us with restored health not long afterwards, about the time we learned the exciting news that Maria was going to have a child. 

With our heath restored we moved to the attic apartment I once lived in on  Bridge Street. This prime location helped us work close to our home. I wrote home to my mother asking her to send anything she felt would turn our house into a home. She sent silverware, a tablecloth, cooking pans, and glasses.

Maria still had days when she felt ill. I wrote my mother again and asked her to send a bed. Sleeping on the bamboo slats didn't help her condition. She not only sent the bed but also a cookbook, which, I must admit, improved our meals.

My friend John Burdon had also married during this time. He married Maria's older sister, Burella, and moved to Shanghai to continue the ministry there. He seemed so very happy. His first wife had died in China, but Burella filled the loneliness he had felt. They set up their ministry and worked to share God's love with the people.

June brought wonderful changes to the country. The Treaty of Tietsin was signed ending the war with England and China. Before the treaty we, as foreigners, could only go to big port cities. Now, praise God, we are free to travel to ten new port cities and the entire Yangtze River area.

At last, we can take the good news of God's love to people who live in inland China. I am so excited to go!

In August of this year I received a letter from my friend, John. 

The news broke our hearts.

Burella became ill with cholera and died. 

I can hardly write the words. Maria has been devastated by the news of her sister's death. 

October came and brought more trials. Our baby was born prematurely and died.

I am wiping away the tears shed for my baby as I write. How cruel life can be at times. 

How thankful I am for the days when God blesses us with good day memories to strengthen us for the days of trial which come. I know I am strengthen with hardship, but like Jesus, I still weep and long for the days of laughter and peace.

Please pray for Maria and I, that we may be a witness to the people in China.

J. Hudson Taylor
Missionary to China
Blessed by God

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. &and Mrs. Howard Taylor.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Asa-Did Not Ask God For Help

By Mary Vee
I Kings 15, II Chronicles 16

From the Royal Physician's Records

The kingdom of Judah has continued to be ruled by a son of David on the throne. I don't mean a real son of David. This is the way we say a son or grandson or great grandson. It saves time and words to use this short way of speaking.

Years ago ten tribes of Israel broke away from us. They chose their own king to rule them. I guess I could see their reason for doing this, a tiny bit. At the time, Solomon's son Rehoboam did some mean things. But he was young and didn't know any better. As he grew older he became a much better king. Unfortunately the ten tribes had already left us. 

Rehoboam's son, Abijah became king when his father died and Asa became king when his father, Abijah died. 

Those of us living in Judah saw how Asa pleased the Lord when he first became king. As time went by he made some bad choices. When the prophet Hanani spoke with Asa about the bad choice Asa became angry. Life became pretty hard here in Judah after that conversation.

I think Asa knew he did wrong but couldn't admit it. He treated the people in our kingdom cruelly. We all tried to stay away from him as much as possible. 

But one day he became ill. A disease attacked his feet. It was so bad he couldn't walk.

His officials called me in to examine his feet. I tried. I really did. I used every method I knew to ease his pain and to cure the disease.

I heard someone mention to him to ask for God's help. Asa, shook his head. I saw his squinty angry eyes and the determination in his heart not to ask for God's help. 

His feet became worse, sending the disease deeper into his body. For two long years, we physicians worked to save his life, but failed.

Asa had prepared a tomb for himself ahead of time. It had been carved in the City of David. Despite his cruel behavior at the end, the people mourned for him. So many tears shed and weeping throughout Judah for a king who showed his dedication to God when he first reigned.

We placed Asa's body on a special stand and covered it with the best spices and various blended perfumes.

During the funeral a huge fire blazed in Asa's honor. 

I wiped away tears myself, because even though Asa had some bad times where he didn't ask God for help, he had good times in the beginning when he did. He took away idols and helped us worship God.

Our relatives in the tribes living in Israel haven't had this. The kings of Israel have led their people away from God and toward idol worship.

God, please help us to remember you. Help our new king to ask you for help.

photo courtesy of

1.  Asa knew he did wrong but _____________
2.  One day Asa had a disease affect his ____________
3.  Asa chose to call for _____________ to help.
4.  Could the physician's help Asa?
5.  What did someone ask Asa to do?
6.  Did Asa follow the instructions?
7.  How did the people respond when Asa died?

author's note...have you noticed that for many of the kings, the Bible simply tells us a new king was crowned. We don't hear about the honor given to them at a funeral. But we did for Asa.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Ahab- Moved to Samaria

by Mary Vee
I Kings 16

A Servant's Notes 

Last time I left wrote, I announced Omri had been crowned king after defeating Tibni.

He didn't like the palace in Tirzah, used by the previous kings. He bought the hill of Samaria from Shemer for two talents of silver and built a city there and a palace for himself. He named his city Samaria after Shemer.

Omri proved to be a bad king, even though he had been the favored one to be crowned, and had experience as commander of the army before becoming king. He turned out to be no better than Baasha, Elah, and Zimri, the kings who ruled Israel before him.

Omri not only proved to be a bad king, but he also sinned more than all of the kings before him. He lead the people further away from worshiping God. 

How could anyone living in Israel remember God with the leadership we have had?

After twelve years of ruling Israel, Omri died. His son, Ahab was crowned the next day. He, too, chose to rule Israel from the family palace in Samaria. 

Omri taught his son how to be not only a bad king but  a terribly wicked man

Ahab's father gave him Jezebel, a princess from Sidon, as a wife instead of an Israelite woman. 

We who held to our belief in God saw the wickedness in Ahab. While kings before him wanted the attention of the people for themselves, Ahab's only interest seemed to be in the gods from other nations. His wife, Jezebel urged him to do evil, and to please her he did as she asked. 

Ahab brought in the idols from the Amorites. 

He began to serve Baal and worship him. 

He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal built in Samaria.

He made Asherah poles for the Israelites to worship the false god.

We are doomed. King Ahab has brought disgrace upon the Israelite people by forcing the people to worship false gods instead of the one true, living, God of Israel.

Oh, please pray for us. Pray that God will send someone to save us.

photo courtesy of

1. Where did Omri move the ruling place for Israel?
2. Omri bought a hill from ___________. 
3. He built a city there and named it ____________ after __________
4. After Omri died, his son _____________ became king of Israel.
5. Ahab was considered an evil king. Name four things Ahab did wrong.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Hudson Taylor- She Said...I Do :)

By Mary Vee
January 1858, age 25

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes

Visiting a foreign country is exciting. Tourists go to major sites, take lots of photos, and rest in quiet places like a cafe or lake. 

Missionaries find traveling to foreign countries exciting, too. We learn the language and find ways to blend in with the people. We find housing and learn the ways of the culture. Once the people accept us, we share the good news of Jesus' love.

Whether a missionary brings their family or joins with other missionaries for celebrations, loneliness inevitably sets in. A longing for people who speak our language and do things like we do. (Tea time for example). 

I have longed for several years to have a wife, someone I could share the ministry God called me to. Someone who also felt called to be a missionary in China. Someone I could talk to at night and know they care about me and let me care about them.

And then I found her. Maria, a school teacher called to serve in China. The head teacher responsible for her care did not approve of our courtship. Even after several discussions, the head teacher did not agree. Maria and I wrote to her parents seeking their permission to wed. Some time later, a letter was received, granting her parents permission as long as we waited until Maria turned 21.

Four days after Maria's birthday, she and I married. I dressed in the finest Chinese clothes from my closet and Maria wore a grey silk gown with a wedding veil.

The head teacher did not attend the wedding. 

Maria, myself and our guests enjoyed a wonderful reception at Mr.and Mrs. Way's home. What a fun time we all had.

Maria and I moved into a spacious attic. It was the perfect first home. We only had to walk downstairs to go to work. I continued my preaching and practicing medicine, Maria taught in the school which we opened in the same building.

I had often dreamed about the wonderful life of marriage. "Oh, to be married to the one you do love, and love most tenderly and devotedly...that is bliss beyond the power of words to express or imagination to conceive. There is no disappointment there. And every day as it shows more of the mind of your Beloved, when you have such a treasure as mine, makes you only more proud, more happy, more humbly thankful to the Giver of all good for the best of earthly gifts."

The wedding didn't take away the problems we would face. It did, however, give us someone who would help us face our problems. God blessed me with the wife of my dreams.

Please pray for Maria and I, that we may be a witness to the people in China.

J. Hudson Taylor
Missionary to China
Blessed by God

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. &and Mrs. Howard Taylor.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Baasha- Assassination of the King

By Mary Vee
I King 16

From A Servant-Eye Witness to 
The Battle of the Kings in Israel

The palace has been in quite a turmoil of late.  

Life hasn't been good in Israel for a long time. 

When Baasha became king, he wanted everyone to take notice of him. To keep the Israelites focused on their king instead of spending long periods of time worshiping God, he devised different ways for the people to worship. He told  everyone God wouldn't mind.

Men from the tribes of Simeon, Manessah, and Ephraim didn't agree. They moved to Judah, and continued worshiping God and going to the temple in Israel. They did not want to be ruled by a bad king who lead the people away from God's commands.

To make a long story short, Jehu the prophet visited Baasha and gave him a message from the Lord. God said he would punish all of Baasha's family for their sins. Baasha never said he was sorry.

Days after Jehu brought his message, Baasha was assassinated.

Elah, Baasha's son immediately became king. He chose to live in the palace in Tirzah. Elah reigned Israel for two years. He too did a terrible job at ruling the people by not leading them to follow God's commands. One night, when he spent time drinking wine at the house of the man in charge of the palace someone came into the room.

Zimri, a high official in Elah's army sneaked into the room where Elah sat. He struck down Elah and killed him.

Zimri crowned himself king of Israel. He immediately led a full rebellion throughout the land searching for family members of Baasha and killing every male, whether a relative or friend. This brought to pass, God's word spoken against Baasha because the sins he committed and caused Israel to commit. Zimri was not a good king. He also did not lead the people to follow God's commands.

But when the Israelites who had not joined the rebellion heard what Zimri did, they chose Omri to be their king instead of Zimri. Omri and his soldiers attacked Tirzah and the palace where Zimri ruled. 

News reached Zimri reporting the city had been overtaken by Omri and his army. There seemed nothing left for Zimri to do. He feared for his life. Zimri ran to the citadel, his fortress on high ground in the back of the palace. Omri soldiers marching closer stomping throughout the palace looking for Zimri.  

Zimri did not want to die in the hands of Omri or his soldiers. He started a fire in the fortress, setting the whole palace ablaze. And there he died.

The Israelites became divided, some wanting Omri to be their king and others wanting Tibni instead. Omri's army and followers proved stronger than Tibni during a battle to determine the king. Tibni died. Omri became king. He was a bad king because he did not lead the people to follow God's commands.

Let me put this easier for you to understand:
Baasha ruled as king of Israel for 24 years.
Elah, Baasha's son ruled as king of Israel for 2 years
Zimri, an official in the palace ruled as king of Israel for one week
Omri, commander of the army ruled as king of Israel for 12 years. 

I'm glad I am a servant and not a king in Israel!

photo courtesy of

1. What kingdom had the problems talked about in today's post? __________
2. Why was Baasha punished?
3. Why did Zimri become king when he wasn't Baasha's son?
4. Who did Omri fight to win the job as king of Israel?
5. Was Baasha a good king?
6. Was Elah a good king?
7. Was Zimri a good king?
8. Was Omri a good king?
9. What one thing did all of these kings do wrong?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Baasha-Prophet Jehu Warns of the Future

By Mary Vee
I Kings 16

From the Prophet Jehu's Scrolls

Baasha, King of Israel has been a terrible king. He has influenced the ten tribes of Israel to walk away from God's commands.

Recently Baasha became angry when men from the tribes of Simeon, Ephraim, and Manesseh left the area and moved to Judah, where Asa was king. The new residents served Asa, built homes there, and worshiped the Lord in the temple at Jerusalem. 

Baasha became concerned others might choose to leave his kingdom and move to Judah.

He ordered a fortress to be built outside of Jerusalem and named it Ramah. He planned to attach Jerusalem and kill Asa. Unfortunately for him, king Asa paid the king of Damascus to break his treaty with king Baasha. 

Troops from Damascus attacked Israelite cities and villages. When word of the distraction reached king Baasha, he left the fortress in Ramah and went back home to stop the war. 

The Lord spoke to me about the whole situation. He was angered at Baasha's choice to lead the people of Israel away from worshiping in Jerusalem and for teaching the people to not follow His commands. The Lord commanded me to deliver a message to Baasha telling his what would be his punishment.

I obeyed and left the same day, journeying to Baasha's palace and requested an audience.  

Baasha sat back on his throne. "Yes? Speak, prophet."

I answered him "I come with a message from the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Lord has said, 'I lifted you up from the dust ad made you leader of my people Israel, but you walked in the ways of Jeroboam and caused my people Israel to sin and to provoke me to anger by their sins. I am about to consume you and your house, and I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat. Dogs will eat those belonging to you, Baasha, who die in the city, and the birds of the air will feed on those who die in the country.'"

Baasha could have changed. Said he was sorry and asked forgiveness. But he didn't. 

So, the punishment happened, the way God said.

If only Baasha had said he was sorry and changed his ways.

photo courtesy of

1. Baasha was king of ______________
2. Asa was king of _________________
3. Men from these tribes left their homes to worship God in Judah: ____________, _____________, _______________
4. _______________ became jealous when the men moved away from his kingdom.
5. ________________ built a fortress to attack Judah.
6. When __________ attacked the Israelite cities, ___________ gave up and went home to protect his people.
7. A prophet named _________ to Baasha that God would punish him for teaching the people of Israel not to worship Him. 
8. What didn't Baasha do?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Hudson Taylor-Understanding God's Will

By Mary Vee
Autumn, 1857

From J. Hudson Taylor's Journals

As I continued to wait to hear if permission was granted for me to marry Maria, John and I worked tirelessly at serving the Lord.

We saw many needs in this war-torn country not only physical, but also spiritual. How we wished to share the truth that the great God who made these men, women, and children also loved them.

As I mentioned previously in a post, we set up food lines to feed the starving and then spoke the words of Jesus to them. Each day more people came to eat and stay to listen to our message.

We'd spent all we had and even sold what few personal possessions we owned to purchase more food. So many mouths to feed. I shook my head wanting desperately to help them, but not having the means.

A missionary friend, Rev. John Quarterman from America, died of small pox in our hospital. His family didn't have money for his burial cost and neither did we. I had to destroy the clothes I wore while taking care of him to prevent the spread of disease but I didn't have any other clothes because I had given away everything I had to those in need. 

I prayed for God's help. The same day, a box I had long forgotten about arrived at my door. It contained clothes I had left in Swatow. Only God could have planned the timing. Had it arrived sooner, I would have given the clothes away before I had this need.

We ran out of oil for the lamps and food to feed the hungry. We and our families became like the people we tried to help, hungry and penniless. 

This was the breaking moment. The time when John and I realized we were trying to do more than the assigned work God had given us. How can we help the poor if we, too, become poor?

We didn't want to be rich or even well off, but we shouldn't have given away all that we had. One of the missionaries from a different agency felt sorry for us and bought food. I don't believe Jesus wanted us to cause this situation. That money should have been spent for the work God called them to do.  Like Jesus said, "There will always be the poor." Adding to the problem didn't solve the problem.

I expected the mail to come in a week and knew in my heart God would send funds. How we would survive until it arrived was still a mystery. We completely ran out of money the Monday before. A whole week ahead of time. 

Quite surprisingly, the mail arrived early. I know, my trust in God should have prepared me for the early delivery and even more so for the money sent from William Berger, our faithful supplier. Still, I believe God takes delight in the smiles on our faces when He gives us gifts.

John and I learned to increase our helping programs for the poor when we had extra money and decrease when we had less. This way God decided what would be done.

God's way is right and true. And while our hearts may lead us to help or do, it may not be what God wants. There may be another person who is suppose to do the job and perhaps have the blessing or learn from the experience.

My job is to do what God asks me to do with a willing heart.

And so I've learned yet another lesson. I am twenty-five-years old and feel like I've learned so much.

I praise God for His goodness and mercy especially when I make foolish choices.

Please pray for the people in China that they may hear the good news of God's love.

J. Hudson Taylor
Missionary to China
Blessed by God

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. &and Mrs. Howard Taylor.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Asa- A Good King Who Made a Bad Choice

By Mary Vee
I Kings 15, II Chronicles 15

From Asa's Scrolls

I had reigned over the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and those from the tribes of Simeon, Manasseh, and Ephraim who joined with us for fifteen years. 

During this time my grandmother, Maacah, served as queen mother. She made a repulsive Asherah pole. Why she went against my wishes I don't understand. She knew my feelings on the subject. To prevent her from leading others astray I took away her title and cut the pole down, broke it up and burned it in the Kidron Valley.

The people living in Judah needed to know my serious commitment to God and his commandments.

I had reigned for thirty-five years before war came.

Baasha, king of the other tribes in Israel, continually stirred up battles between us. He became quite angry when men from the tribes he ruled left and came to live in Judah under my rule. Baasha sent an army to fortify Ramah to prevent anyone else from coming or going to Judah.

I knew we could not defeat him by ourselves. His army was so big.. 

I took all the silver and gold from the treasuries of the Lord's temple and from my own palace treasuries and sent it all with a few of my officials to Ben-Hadad who was ruling in Damascus.  I sent this message with my gift: "I have sent this great gift of silver and gold for you. Let's make a treaty between us. Break off your treaty with Baasha, king of Israel and join with Judah."

Ben-Hadad agreed and sent his armies to fight against the towns of Israel. He conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel Beth Maacah and all Kinnereth, in addition to Naphtali.

When Baasha heard the news, he stopped building his forces against Judah and retreated.

Once a messenger reported to me that Baasha had fled, I commanded everyone from Judah, no one would be exempt, to go the the site where Baasha set up a fortress and to knock down the structure. I ordered all the building supplies taken from the fortress to be used to build up the cities of Geba and Mizpah.

Everything seemed to go well. I thought I had done a good job as king of Judah. My plan stopped Baasha.

But....a visitor came to see me after the work had finished. Hanani the prophet asked to speak with me. I of course allowed him in to my court. Surely he came to congratulate me.

He said, "Because you relied on help from Ben-Hadad, king of Aram and not on the Lord your God, the army of Aram has escaped from your hands. Didn't you fight the mighty armies of Cushites and Libyans with the help of the Lord and win? The eyes of the Lord go throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war."

His message angered me. How dare he say I did wrong? How dare he blame me for future wars. I ordered my guards to throw him in prison. And I must admit, my anger continued to rage so that I put citizens in prison too. 

I had to, didn't I? If I didn't punish the people severely they would think the prophet was right.

author's should not have punished the people for his wrong choice.


1. All seemed to go well for Asa. He first took away the title of queen mother from __________ because she _________.
2. He welcomed men from these tribes who wanted to leave the rule of Israel: ______________, ________________, and ______________.
3. Baasha, king of Israel became angry and decided to __________.
4. Asa, king of Judah made a quick decision. He gathered all the ________ and ________ from the temple and his palace and sent it to _________.
5. King Asa wanted Hadad to help him _______________
6. Did Hadad agree? If so what did he do?
7. Who visited Asa after the battle? What message did he bring?