Saturday, October 31, 2015

Daniel- North and South

By Mary Vee
Daniel 11


From Daniel's Journal



Photo Courtesy
My name is Daniel. I am still living in Babylon and in service to Cyrus king of Persia.

Many of my Hebrew brothers and their families traveled back to Jerusalem a short time ago. King Cyrus gave them permission. Ezra led the people. 

An angel came to speak to me after I'd seen a vision. I don't know if I had such a difficult time because I am older or because of the vision that scared me, or maybe both.


I said to the angel, "How can I speak with you? My strength is gone. I can hardly breathe."

The angel touched me again and gave me strength. "Don't be afraid Daniel for you are highly esteemed. Peace to you. Have peace and be strong."

Just like that my strength returned. I was able to focus on his words. "Speak, my lord."

"Do you know why I came to you?" He looked up and away for a brief moment. "Soon I will go back to fight the evil prince of Persia. When I go, the prince of Greece will come. Before I leave, I will tell you what is written in The Book of Truth. No one is helping me in this battle except Michael, your prince. Years ago I took my stand to protect him.

"I tell you the truth. Three more kings will appear in Persia. The one who comes after will be far richer than all the others. He will use his wealth to gain power and stir everyone up against the kingdom of Greece. At that time, a mighty king will appear. He will rule with great power and do as he pleases. Once he is established, his kingdom will be broken up and sent in all directions. His descendants will not take his thrown. His kingdom will not have the power he had. His kingdom will be given to others.

"The king of the South will become strong, but one of his commanders will overtake his thrown and have great power. Some years later these two men will work together. The daughter of the king of the South will marry the king of the North to make an alliance, but she will lose her power.

"A man from her family line will rise up to take her place. He will attack the forces of the king of the North and enter his kingdom. His armies will take the gold and valuables to Egypt. The two countries will stop fighting for a time.

"But that is not the end. The king of the North will rise up. He and his sons will march like a roaring flood to the kingdom of the South. The northern army will fail and the kingdom of the South will become full of pride and go about killing thousands.

"Again this is not the end. After several years pass, the army of the North will be so angry they will raise up an even bigger army.

"At that time many will rise up against the kingdom of the South. The armies of the South will be powerless to resist the kingdom of the North. The king of the North will attempt to take over every country but fail. He will return to the north and not be heard from again.

There is more. Rest. Then I will tell you more.

This story continues next time.
*********************************************************************************************
1.  Who is speaking to Daniel?
2.  Where is the information taken from?
3.  What kingdoms will battle?
4.  How will this affect the world?
5.  Why do you think the angel told Daniel something that would happen in the future?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Daniel- 21-day Battle of the Angels

By Mary Vee
Daniel 10

From Ezra's Journal



Photo Courtesy. The Angel Michael takes over the battle
My name is Daniel. I am still living in Babylon and in service to Cyrus king of Persia.

Many of my Hebrew brothers and their families traveled back to Jerusalem a short time ago. King Cyrus gave them permission. Ezra led the people. 

I suppose they have settled into their homes and gathered the materials to rebuild the temple. 

The Lord sent me a message in a vision. The message was so terrifying I ate no choice food, meat, or drank wine. I didn't use any lotions at all until three weeks went by. 

It was the twenty-fourth day of the first month when I stood on the bank of the great river, Tigris. A man stood next to me. He wore linen with a belt of the finest gold around his waist. His body was like chrysolite, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a huge crowd.

Other men were with me when I received the vision, but they did not see it. Even still, terror overwhelmed them and they ran away. 

I was left alone to watch this great vision. I had no strength. My legs hardly held me. I fell to the ground in fear. I heard the man speaking, and as I listened to him I fell into a deep sleep.

A hand touched me. He helped me up to my hands and knees. I couldn't stop shaking. 

The man said, "Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, think about the words I am about to tell you. Stand up."

I stood but didn't stop trembling.

"Don't be afraid Daniel. Since the first day you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard and I have come in response to them. 

"You were heard this time, too. I would have come sooner, but the evil of the Persian kingdom fought me for twenty-one days. Michael, one of the chief angels, came to help me get free. I have finally come to explain what will happen to your people in the future. This vision concerns a time yet to come.

This story continues next time.
*********************************************************************************************
1.  Who stood by Daniel.
2.  Where was Daniel.
3.  Who was king?
4.  Why did Daniel fall to the ground?
5.  Why did the angel Michael have to take over the battle.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Amy Carmichael-Hope for the Women

By Mary Vee
Year: January, 1899-1904 
Amy Carmichael: 30 years old


From Amy's Journal

Photo Courtesy
My name is Amy Carmichael. I am a missionary in India.

I have joined the Walkers in their ministry in Southern India.

Ponnammal is a girl who came to the mission requesting sanctuary. Since she was old enough to be considered an adult, we let her to stay. She spent hours studying and learning everything she could about God.


Ponnammal became my translator. I actually knew the language pretty well, but sometimes I still needed help. 

One day, Ponnammal and I rode to a small Hindu village. Children played outdoors. Other than the children, we didn't see many people. As we walked to the first hut, a woman came outside and yelled at the children, "Stay away from the missionaries. They are paid a lot of money if any of us listen to them." She waited for the last child to go inside then closed the door.

I had no idea where she got that idea. It simply wasn't true. 

Idols and shrines decorated the outside of each dwelling. Ponnammal and I stopped at the first hut and were thankful to be invited inside. A group of women sat on the floor, some weaving, some not. In the back, a cow lay swatting flies with its tail.

Ponnammal and I sat on the floor with the women. I shared with them about the God who loves them. After an hour of speaking, one woman said, "Our husbands decide our religion." Another said, "How can your words be true when they ask us to leave our caste to follow this Jesus. I could never do that."

So many Hindu women spoke of their dedication to their caste. I hardly knew how to help them. Ponnammal said, "These women must see for themselves that Jesus is worth leaving their caste."

She was right. I remembered Mr. Walker saying a potter who leaves his caste for Jesus will no longer be able to sell pots. No one will buy from him. Hindus must give up everything to accept Christ.

At the next home, women invited us inside. We told them about the God who loved them. Two younger women were so excited to hear more they said, "Please come back every day!" When I said we couldn't because many more women needed to hear about Jesus, the old woman said, "I cannot believe in your God. I am too old. What would I do? Where would I go if I break caste? Why didn't you come and tell us about Jesus years ago?"

I didn't know what to say. I wished I could have come sooner, I really did. I bowed my head  and prayed, asking God to send more missionaries to India.

The women at a third hut listened to me speak for an hour then asked about my hair and what oils I used. They weren't listening to what I said! Ponnammal and I left.

The children playing outside sat and listened to us talk about Jesus. Their sweet little minds ready to hear. 

Ponnammal said, "The women don't listen because their world is small. Her whole day is spent taking care of her family and talking with other women in her village. They don't think of tomorrow."

"But you did, Ponnammal," I said.

"Yes. That is why there is hope even for the women who can't see past today."



Resources used for this series:. 
Benge, Janet, and Geoff Benge. Amy Carmichael: Rescuer of Precious Gems. Seattle, WA: YWAM Pub., 1998. Print.
Davis, Rebecca Henry. With Daring Faith: A Biography of Amy Carmichael. Greenville, SC: Bob Jones UP, 1987. Print.
Dick, Lois Hoadley. Amy Carmichael: Let the Children Come. Chicago: Moody, 1984. Print.
Meloche, Renee Taft., and Bryan Pollard. Amy Carmichael: Rescuing the Children. Seattle, WA: YWAM Pub., 2002. Print.
Wellman, Sam. Amy Carmichael: A Life Abandoned to God. Uhrichville, OH: Barbour Pub., 1998. Print.



Don't forget to comment! 
Let Amy hear from you!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Ezra-The Day the Enemy Infiltrated

By Mary Vee
Ezra 4

From Ezra's Journal



Photo Courtesy
My name is Ezra. Our seventy years of captivity in Babylon has ended. King Cyrus gave us permission to return to Jerusalem. 

We've settled into our homes, offered sacrifices, and are moving forward to rebuild the temple of God. 

Behind our backs, our enemies met together and devised evil plots against us.

One day, our enemies asked to meet with Zerubbabel, the priest, and the heads of the families. They said, "Let us help you build because, like you, we are searching for your God and have been sacrificing to him since the time King Esarhaddon of Assyria brought us here."

They were lying. Oooo. They were lying. 

Zerrubabbel, Jeshua and the rest of the heads of the families of Israel said, "No. We don't want your help in building a temple to our God. We and our Hebrew brothers will build it for the Lord, the God of Israel, just as Cyrus, king of Persia, commanded us.

Our enemies left the meeting, but they were not defeated. Their plan was to destroy us by preventing the temple from being completed. 

These enemies brought their families and hung around Jerusalem. They spoke with Hebrews weaving doubtful thoughts into their minds. "If you continue building the temple, your enemies will band together and attack. This work you are doing will be destroyed by your enemies and you will be taken away as slaves again. Wouldn't you rather just leave everything as it is? You don't need the temple."

Our enemies then hired counselors to give input for the building plans. They tried to frustrate those working out the details. Wherever we turned our enemies stood talking with Hebrews, trying to convince them to stop building the temple.

For years we struggled throughout the reign of King Cyrus of Persia even to the reign of Darius, king of Persia.

This has become such a difficult task. Not one day of peace. 

We walked like a person stuck in a bog.

Our spirits fell.

Our energy zapped.

In truth, we were afraid.

I received word that Daniel, who still lived in Babylon as a slave, had another vision. One that showed all our struggles would have an end. One of victory.

Next time, Daniel will tell you about this vision. You'll want to read it. The message is for you, too.

*********************************************************************************************
1.  Who wanted to speak to the priest and heads of the Hebrew families?
2.  What did they want?
3.  What did the leaders say?
4.  What plot did they try next?
5.  How did the people of Jerusalem feel?
6.  What news did Ezra receive?




Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Ezra - In Truth, We Were Afraid

By Mary Vee
Ezra 3

From Ezra's Journal



Photo Courtesy
My name is Ezra. Our seventy years of captivity in Babylon has ended. King Cyrus gave us permission to return to Jerusalem. I have led those Hebrews who chose to return back to our homeland

We'd settled into our homes and already have spent seven months here. The time flew by so fast.

The day we agreed to meet in Jerusalem had come. Many families joined me on the road toward the temple. Their wagons and arms filled with sacrifices they'd planned to offer. 

A huge crowd formed outside the temple.The building had been burned years ago. There wasn't even a foundation. Our first plan, though, was not to clean the site. Before any steps to fix the temple were taken we wanted to thank our God who brought us out of the land of Babylonia back to our home. 

The priest built an altar for the God of Israel following the instructions in the Law of Moses. 

We should have been happy. Excited to honor our God in our homeland. In truth we were afraid.  

The walls around the city had been ruined. Any person, rebel, trouble maker, or army could enter. 

We were not strong. No one had a decent meal in a while. Our homes still needed repair. Businesses and crops didn't have a chance to get established. We didn't even have enough time to teach our children all they needed to learn. The ways of our God.

Have you walked somewhere and heard a noise? You didn't know who made it or exactly where the person was? That is how we felt.

Even with this fear in our hearts, the sacrifices continued, because that is what God wanted us to do. We started with the morning and evening sacrifices. Next we celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles with the required number of burnt offerings, the New Moon sacrifices, and all the sacrifices for the appointed sacred feasts of the Lord. Many of the families also brought freewill offerings for the Lord.

After the sacrifices, the people gave money to masons and carpenters to start building the foundation to the temple. Drink and oil was set aside and sent to the nations of Tyre an Sidon in payment for cedar logs. These logs floated by sea from Lebanon to Joppa as Cyrus, king of Persia, ordered. 

Temple jobs were assigned to the Levites.

The construction began.

I didn't count the days, but like the other Hebrews who watched, I sang praises to God each day while the workers laid the foundation. 

Photo Courtesy
On the day the work was finished, the priests dressed in their robes and carried trumpets. Levites carried cymbals and walked to their place. They led all the Hebrews who had returned from seventy years of captivity in Babylon in this song:

He is good. His love to Israel endures forever.

As we sang the last note, men, women and children shouted praises to the Lord. The foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. Praise God.

Suddenly, the voices changed. Many of the older priests, Levites, and family heads who had seen the former temple cried. They fell to their knees and covered their eyes. I did the same. The beautiful temple of God that once stood here had been burned by Nebuchadnezzar...and it was our fault. All our fault. We had sinned.

God warned us so many times--so many times to not worship idols. Jerusalem had been consumed with worshipping other idols. We listened to the countries around us.  I'm so sorry to say these idols had even been brought into the temple. Sigh. We were so wrong. So very wrong.

The younger Hebrews shouted for joy. They had never seen how magnificent a temple for the Lord could be.What it does to the heart and soul. At this second, though, they began to understand. 

The young people's shouts mixed with the weeping of the older Hebrews. The sound carried far beyond our borders. News traveled among our enemies: the exiles have returned and are building a temple for the Lord.

In truth, we were afraid.

*********************************************************************************************
1.  What did the people do first after the seven months of rest ended?
2.  What did the people do second?
3.  What were the people afraid of?
4.  What did the people sing?
5.  Why did the older men cry?
6.  Why did the younger men rejoice?
7.  Why were the people afraid?



Monday, October 19, 2015

Amy Carmichael-Paying the Jewel's Ransom

By Mary Vee
Year: January, 1899-1904 
Amy Carmichael: 30 years old


From Amy's Journal

Photo Courtesy
My name is Amy Carmichael. I am a missionary in India.

I have joined the Walkers in their ministry in South India.

In order to help the people of India, I need to understand their culture. Those who live in my village were Hindus.

I learned:
A Hindu father wanted sons. Many sons. Daughters held little value. At a father's funeral, the sons would be the ones who would pray for him. These prayers were suppose to help him have a better life after his death. The girls were not allowed to pray at the funerals.

If a person born to the lowest cast became ill or needed help, those in higher casts would not give him or her anything. No money. No medical treatment. No sympathy. This was expected.

Hindu families often owed a lot of money for things they bought. In their culture, the women were expected to wear a lot of jewelry. Expensive jewelry. Bracelets from their wrist to their elbow, necklaces, earrings, in their hair, and ankle bracelets. All this jewelry cost money. Lots of money.

A family might starve, but the females in the family would have jewelry.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote you about the time thieves stole the few pieces of jewelry I wore. Actually, I freely gave it to them when they told me to. Those thieves never bothered us again. In fact, they protected us when we traveled since we didn't have anything worth stealing. 

The Indian women traveling with me chose to sell their jewelry as well, not to keep the thieves away, but to use the money for God's work.

Because of the huge amount of money many Hindus owed for their jewelry, they took their baby girls to the temple and sold them into a terrible slave system. Not many people knew this was going on. It took me three years to find the answer for why these little girls ended up at the temple.

One day I dressed like the other women going to the temple. I listened and saw terrible things happen to these girls. To save them I waited outside the temple and watched for a family bringing an infant girl. 

"Let me take care of her, please." I said softly and holding my arms out to them.

"Why should we give her to you? We can sell her in the temple."

"How much would you be paid?"

They told me the amount. I gave them the money. "Now, give her to me." The family handed me the little girl and walked away counting their money. 

The other women from our mission sold their jewels, too. The money helped to ransom the freedom of more little girls. I brought each jewel to my home to take care of her. I gave them dolls, hugs, and fed them. Paperwork was done to let me adopt them. My family grew almost everyday. We listened for news and traveled many miles to the homes of little girls about to be taken to the temple. I offered to pay the ransom for the girl to protect her from the temple. Sometimes we succeeded, sometimes we didn't. If the baby passed through the temple doors we could no longer rescue her.

The little girls who came to live at the mission learned about God's love. They were given a chance to play, laugh, be loved, and be little girls.

Perhaps now you can see why I called them jewels the last time I wrote. Our jewels were used to pay for the freedom of these little jewels created by God.

The newspapers and the churches said I was telling false stories. I was taking the girls away from a wealthy life in the temple and there was nothing wrong with spending money on jewelry instead of buying food for a family.

One day a crowd gathered outside our mission compound demanding one of the girls. I held the little girl's hand and walked out to meet them. "That girl belongs to the temple. Her parents gave her to them," a woman shouted.

"Ask her to choose. She may go or stay. It is up to her."

The woman shouted to the girl, "Come with me, now. You must go back to the temple. You will have jewelry, dresses, and much more."

The girls eyes widened. She buried her face in my skirt. I pulled her away and told her to give an answer. "No. Please. Don't make me go. They are very cruel to the girls at the temple. I want to stay here."

The crowd went away. Another jewel saved. Praise God.


photo permission for reuse.
Resources used for this series:
Benge, Janet, and Geoff Benge. Amy Carmichael: Rescuer of Precious Gems. Seattle, WA: YWAM Pub., 1998. Print.
Davis, Rebecca Henry. With Daring Faith: A Biography of Amy Carmichael. Greenville, SC: Bob Jones UP, 1987. Print.
Dick, Lois Hoadley. Amy Carmichael: Let the Children Come. Chicago: Moody, 1984. Print.
Meloche, Renee Taft., and Bryan Pollard. Amy Carmichael: Rescuing the Children. Seattle, WA: YWAM Pub., 2002. Print.
Wellman, Sam. Amy Carmichael: A Life Abandoned to God. Uhrichville, OH: Barbour Pub., 1998. Print.



Don't forget to comment! 
Let Amy hear from you!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Ezra-Stolen Temple Pieces Taken Home

By Mary Vee
Ezra 1

From Ezra's Journal



Photo Courtesy King Cyrus returns what was stolen
I am here on the streets of what is now called Persia with many other of my Hebrew brothers and sisters. 

Many are packed and ready for the journey back home.


Yes, you read that right. Many. Not all. Some Hebrews didn't want to leave their home in Babylon. They'd grown up in this land, learned the language, had businesses, and felt settled. 

No one judged those who chose to stay. No one judged those who chose to leave.

Those of us who chose to take the long journey home were helped by our neighbors. They gave us goods, livestock and valuable gifts. Most of this will be used to dedicate the temple once it is restored. The rest will help us settle back into the city.

King Cyrus ordered the silver dishes, gold dishes, silver pans, gold bowls, matching silver bowls and other articles which Nebuchadnezzar had stolen from the temple in Jerusalem to be given to us. He asked us to return them to their rightful place.

In all 42,360 Hebrews, 7,337 servants, 200 singers, 736 horses, 245 mules, 435 camels and 6,720 donkeys set out on foot for Jerusalem.

We sang and bonded together as we'd never done before. 

God had blessed us.

We walked through fields, over mountains and around lakes. The days swept by as we neared Jerusalem. Then, one amazing morning, we saw the broken walls and ruined city. on the hill in front of us. We didn't weep in sorrow. No. We wept with joy. This was the City of David. The city God gave to us. The place where the temple was built.

My heart stirred, as I ran up the hill. No need to open the gates. They lay in ruins. But I didn't care. I was home. We were home. And we would rebuild.

The whole group went straight to the temple. Even in it's ruined state we rejoiced. Some of the heads of the families came forward and gave an offering toward the rebuilding of the house of God on its site. Altogether, they gave 61,000 drachmas of gold, 5,000 minas or about 3 tons of silver, and 100 priestly garments.

After our celebration, the people went to their homes. Some had lived in nearby towns. We agreed to give ourselves seven months to settle in, adjust to our new life before regathering back in Jerusalem to start the rebuilding.

That night I slept in my own bed, in my own house. Sure it was dirty. Broken items laid on the floor and broken furniture needed repairing. It was the best sleep I'd had in a very long time. 

Thank you, God. I am home.
*********************************************************************************************
1.  Where did this journey begin?
2.  Where were the people going?
3.  Why didn't all the Hebrews go home?
4.  What did King Cyrus give the Hebrews to take home?
5.  What did the heads of the families do when they saw the house of God?
6.  How long did the people take to get settled.
7.  What did they do then?



Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Ezra-Go or Stay? Which is Right?

By Mary Vee
Ezra 1


From Ezra's Journal



Photo Courtesy
I am here on the streets of what is now called Persia with many other of my Hebrew brothers and sisters.

The herald left after delivering his message. He had many other places to announce King Cyrus' words. 

During the seventy years we've lived here, we built homes, let our children marry, planted crops and started businesses. Many of the people learned the Babylonian language.

While so many of us were excited to go home. Some were not so sure.

Hebrew children had lived their entire lives here. Grandchildren had been born. The only information the young people had about about their homeland was nothing more than words. There were families who said they wanted to stay.

Some said they would have to start all over in Judah. Their homes would need repair. There would be a lot of work to restart their businesses. 

That was their head speaking. Their hearts said they wanted to go home. 

Men gathered and talked about their ideas and thoughts. Women did the same. Meetings were held where large groups came to discuss the benefits to going home or keeping the family business in Babylon.

So let me ask you. If your family actually came from another country. And it's quite possible that many readers really have. And your family built a new home in the new country. As kid of the house, you learned the new language quickly and helped your parents by translating for them. You understand the culture here. Maybe didn't learn about some of the Hebrew ways because the Babylonians wouldn't let you. 

Now someone is giving you an opportunity to go back to the country of your grandparents. Your heritage. You are being given money and supplies to get started. Which would you do? Go. Or stay.

*********************************************************************************************

Monday, October 12, 2015

Amy Carmichael-Fragile Jewels

By Mary Vee
Year: January, 1898 
Amy Carmichael: 29 years old


From Amy's Journal

Photo Courtesy
My name is Amy Carmichael. I am a missionary in India.

I have joined the Walkers in their ministry in South India.

In a village where one and sometimes two-room huts with no furniture except sleeping mats and a chest for storing grain, few women responded to our words about the God who loves them.

These women were kept in seclusion, hidden in an inner room with no windows.

I witnessed women working long hours at a spinning wheel or hand looms weaving fine cloth to make rugs, shawls, and carpets. 

There was an Indian deacon in the Christian church. His son married a lovely nineteen-year-old girl named Ponnammal.

Unfortunately the son suddenly died and the girl became a widow. His family and the people in the village blamed her for his death. This was only one of many superstitions Indian people believed, even the Indian Christians.

As a punishment, Ponnammal was not allowed to bathe or comb her hair. She could not wash her clothes and was not allowed to wear clean clothes.

The family made her the lowest person in the whole household.

She became so unhappy she sneaked out of the house one evening and ran to the well. She looked down at the cool water and considered letting herself down and never return to the surface. 

Someone came behind her in the dark and took her back into the house.

After a time, her in-laws let her go to church. They said they did this to keep up proper appearances and for no other reason. Ponnamai listened to the words of the preacher. He said, "There is One who can heal and forgive you. He cam bring new meaning to your life."

She asked Jesus to be her Savior.

Days passed. Ponnamai was given permission to leave her in-laws home. "You're no good to us. Go. Leave us. It was your sins in a previous life that caused the death of our son. We don't want anyone else from our family to perish because of you."

She walked to the mission compound where I worked and asked for refuge. We happily took her into our group. She joined the Starry Cluster women and helped us tell others about Jesus.

There are many jewels like Ponnamai, held deep in India. Some are prisoners. Some are wandering, lost, in need of help.

I can see now why God sent me to India. To find the lost jewels.



photo permission for reuse.
Resources used for this series:
Benge, Janet, and Geoff Benge. Amy Carmichael: Rescuer of Precious Gems. Seattle, WA: YWAM Pub., 1998. Print.
Davis, Rebecca Henry. With Daring Faith: A Biography of Amy Carmichael. Greenville, SC: Bob Jones UP, 1987. Print.
Dick, Lois Hoadley. Amy Carmichael: Let the Children Come. Chicago: Moody, 1984. Print.
Meloche, Renee Taft., and Bryan Pollard. Amy Carmichael: Rescuing the Children. Seattle, WA: YWAM Pub., 2002. Print.
Wellman, Sam. Amy Carmichael: A Life Abandoned to God. Uhrichville, OH: Barbour Pub., 1998. Print.



Don't forget to comment! 
Let Amy hear from you!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Cyrus-The Great Decree

By Mary Vee
Ezra 1


From Ezra's Journal



Photo Courtesy
I am here on the streets of what is now called Persia with many other of my Hebrew brothers and sisters. The cheering is so loud!

As you probably remember, we the people of Judah were taken captive to the land of Babylon. God had told Jeremiah we would be slaves for seventy years due to our disobedience to Him.The seventy years have ended!

The Babylonians who first captured us were conquered by the Medes. And now the Medes have been conquered  by the Persians. Cyrus is the king of Persia, and the ruler over us.

The Babylonians and Medes liked to take their prisoners away from their homeland and make them slaves in their country.

Cyrus, king of Persia, preferred to let the people live in their homeland and be under his power. He felt the people would not rise up against him that way and be easier to control.

The year is 539 BC and a herald has just read this decree from Cyrus:

"The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Anyone of his people among you--may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem. And the people of any place where survivors may now be living are to provide him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem."

We get to go home.

Imagine that.

We can go back to Judah, plow our fields, worship in the temple, do everything we use to do. I imagine we'll have to pay tribute to Cyrus, but going home is worth it.

We're going home.

*********************************************************************************************

1. Who first took the Hebrews from Judah?
2. Where were they taken?
3. Who conquered the Babylonians?
4. Who conquered the Medes?
5. Who is the new king?
6. Why did he make this decree?
7. What made the Hebrews from Judah so happy?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Daniel-What I Did in the Lion's Den

By Mary Vee
Daniel 6

From Daniel's Journal



Photo Courtesy
My name is Daniel, I am a prophet of God and am living in captivity in Babylon.

Yes, I am alive.

All because God spared my life.

This morning the rock rolled away from the opening of the den where I was held prisoner all night. 

The den wasn't empty. Several lions kept me company along with an amazing angel. 

The angel kept the lions away from me. I didn't sleep. No. I took advantage of the opportunity to speak with the angel. We sang praises to God..it was amazing. 

All night long we sang together, praising God. The lions sat there, they might have been humming along.

When the stone rolled away, sunlight and fresh air poured into the hole where I'd been. I looked behind me and didn't see the angel, yet the lions still stayed away from me.

The king called down to me. "Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve faithfully, been able to rescue you from the lions?"

Did you hear that? The king saw my faithfulness to God. 

I walked to the opening, but stayed down in the den. I called up to answer him, "O King live forever!" I laughed so delighted to tell him what had happened. "My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight." Then I became serious. "Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king."

King Darius leaped and laughed. He clapped his hands and ordered the guards to lift me out of the den. They brought me to him. He looked me over and slapped my arms. "You have no wounds. Anywhere. This is amazing."

Then he furrowed his brow. He turned away from me and faced his satraps and administrators. He yelled, "Take every man who falsely accused Daniel and throw them, their wives, and their children into the den.

The guards did as they were told. Before my accusers reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones. What a horrible sight.

That afternoon, King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and men of every language throughout the land:

"May you prosper greatly!
I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. 
For he is the living God and he endures forever. His kingdom will not be destroyed. His dominion will never end. He rescues and he saves. He performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions."

As for the rest of my story, I continued to serve King Darius while he was in power. When Cyrus the Persian took power and conquered Babylon, I found favor in his sight and served there until the first year of his reign.  

I was pretty old. The end of my story is not important. What matters is I found that serving God everyday even while in captivity brought joy and peace to my heart.

*********************************************************************************************

1. What did Daniel do all night in the den.
2. What did King Darius do as soon as the sun rose?
3. After seeing Daniel was not harmed, what did the king do to the ones who accused Daniel?
4. What did King Darius decree to the people?
5. Who ruled over the land after Darius?
6. What was most important to Daniel?

Monday, October 5, 2015

Amy Carmichael-A Girl's Plea for Sanctuary

By Mary Vee
Year: January, 1898 
Amy Carmichael: 29 years old


From Amy's Journal

Photo Courtesy
My name is Amy Carmichael. I am a missionary in India.

I have joined with the Walkers in their ministry. 

A small group of native women have chosen to work with me. I am so grateful for their help. We have called ourselves the Starry Cluster.

Women in India are expected to wear certain jewelry. While we traveled to share God's love with women in small villages, the Starry Cluster women noticed I didn't have any jewelry. "Your jewelry has been stolen!"

I didn't have money to buy new jewelry. To show their dedication to the mission, these women gave up their jewelry. For this they were respected by other Hindus.

Soon everyone knew we didn't have anything worth stealing. Thieves left us alone.

Early in 1898, during a Bible study, we heard a young girl crying out for help. She stood at the gate for our missionary bungalows.

We ran to see what she needed. 

"Please, you must help me. I need refuge." Her eyes were wide with fright. She looked to her left and right. "Please hurry. I need refuge."

We let her inside the gate. I walked close to her. She was only sixteen. "Tell us your problem."

"I went to a missionary school in Perungulam, not far from here, and was given a Bible. I read it on my own and asked questions. I asked Jesus to be my Savior. My family is very upset with me. I'm afraid they will kill me."

She was probably right. Mr. Walker told me the Indian people would not allow Christians to live at their home. Some parents became so angry they wanted to put the Christian family member to death.

Only a few minutes passed when we heard someone banging on the gate. The girl hid behind me. "Please save me," she cried.

A man yelled through the gate. "Give us our daughter. You have no right to keep her there.

Mr. Walker and we other missionaries refused to give her to them. We knew they would go to the authorities and demand to have their daughter returned.

Mr. Walker left right away to fill out the paperwork with the officials to allow the girl to have what is called sanctuary or protection in our mission compound. 

I learned as I watched him go through the process, that because she was considered old enough, she was considered independent and could choose to live with us. She was called a Jewel of Victory. Her parents had no legal power to force her to leave.

Unfortunately her parents could decide to take her back illegally--by kidnapping her.

This girl's parents decided to punish the mission school in Perungulam instead. They burned the building.

During this same year a second girl came to us asking for sanctuary. We helped this girl as well. Since she was old enough we didn't have any difficulties with the legal paperwork. She was called Jewel of Life.

I am so thankful God has saved these young girls.
.

photo permission for reuse.
Resources used for this series:
Benge, Janet, and Geoff Benge. Amy Carmichael: Rescuer of Precious Gems. Seattle, WA: YWAM Pub., 1998. Print.
Davis, Rebecca Henry. With Daring Faith: A Biography of Amy Carmichael. Greenville, SC: Bob Jones UP, 1987. Print.
Dick, Lois Hoadley. Amy Carmichael: Let the Children Come. Chicago: Moody, 1984. Print.
Meloche, Renee Taft., and Bryan Pollard. Amy Carmichael: Rescuing the Children. Seattle, WA: YWAM Pub., 2002. Print.
Wellman, Sam. Amy Carmichael: A Life Abandoned to God. Uhrichville, OH: Barbour Pub., 1998. Print.



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