Saturday, April 30, 2011

Crashing Walls

By Mary Vee
Joshua 6

Thoughts of an Israelite Spy

We marched around the city of Jericho a couple of days ago. Just one time. 

I was assigned to the rear guard, behind the priests. Our orders simply said: guard the rear, don't talk. That's all we did the first day--march--march--march around the city of Jericho.

The rest of the day we played games with our families, made our meals, laughed, and sang. This  was not what I expected for our first battle in the Promised Land.

On the second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth days we did the same thing--marched once around the city of Jericho then returned to the camp.  

While doing my duty, I looked way above my head to the top of the wall. Soldiers and citizens leaned over the edge staring down at us. Each day more people gathered to watch us march. I couldn't understand their words, but some screamed with angry voices, some sobbed and cried with fear, and a few mocked us. 

I was surprised they didn't throw anything down at us. No one dropped stones on our heads or shot arrows at us. Why didn't Jericho's army even try to defend itself?  Rahab, the woman who help my friend and I escape from the city soldiers, said Jericho's king and all the people were afraid of us. Then why didn't they attack from their city wall?

On the seventh day we awoke early and prepared to leave. We lined up and marched around  Jericho once, twice, three times. Old people children and women from the city squeezed in between soldiers on the city wall watch us march around. Some laughed, others shouted, but no one threw anything down at us.  

We continued our march a fourth, fifth, and sixth time around the city. The noise from the people on the wall grew as loud as a roar. We ignored them and followed commander Joshua in silence the seventh time around the city, as the he commanded.

As we completed the seventh march the priests stopped and faced the city walls. We did the same. The priests blew a long, loud blast  from their trumpet for all of Israelites to hear. That was the signal! I smiled at the guards next to me then shouted with them and all the other Israelites as loud as I could. We shouted until we couldn't shout any more.

The wall in front of me rumbled and cracked. I looked to the right and left and saw those walls split, too.The people on top of the city wall leaped off the wall toward the inside of the city. With a thunder and roar the entire city wall crumbled to the ground. A cloud of dust rose into the air. 

The Israelites knew their duty. Conquer the city!  My friend and I hurried to the place where a red chord hung, leaping over fallen bricks from the wall. We found the door to her home and yanked it open.  "Rahab?"

"My family and I are here, my Lord."

I held my hand out to her, like she did when she hid us. "Come. we'll take you to safety."

Once Rahab and her family reached safety, we joined other Israelites, and conquered the city of Jericho in the name of the Lord.


1.  How many times did the Israelites march around the city of Jericho all together?
          (hint, more than 7)
2.  What did Joshua command the soldiers to do while marching?
3.  What was the signal?
4.  What special job did the Israelite spies have assigned?
5.  Why was Rahab and her family saved?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

March On

By Mary Vee
Joshua 5 and 6

Joshua gazed over the hill at the city of Jericho.  No merchants or city folk went in or out of the city gate. And even though it was the middle of the day, the gate had been closed and locked.

He stepped closer to the road and saw a Man holding a sword in his hand standing on the other side. Joshua didn't recognize him. "Sir, are You for us or against us?"

The Man said, "I am the commander of the Lord's army."

Joshua gasped. "Oh, my Lord, I am Your servant."  He fell to the ground to worship Him. "What message does my Lord have for me?"

The commander looked down at Joshua's feet. "Take your sandals off. This is holy land."

Joshua pulled his sandals off then bowed in worship again.  The Lord turned toward Jericho and pointed. "I have given this city, its king, and their mighty men of valor to you. Here are your instructions:

1. Take all your warriors and march around the city of Jericho one time. Do this for six days.
2. Tell seven priests to carry seven trumpets made from rams horns and follow the warriors. 
3. Priests assigned to carry the ark are to march next in line followed by the remaining priests.
4. A smaller group of warriors shall march behind the priests to guard the rear.
5. On the seventh day, everyone is to march around the city of Jericho seven times.
6. After the seventh march on the seventh day, the priests are to make a long, loud blast with their trumpets as a signal for all Israelites.
7. Tell your people to shout when they hear the trumpet sound. After all this is finished, the city walls of Jericho will fall, allowing your army to enter."

The commander of the Lord's army said, "Do you understand?"

Joshua nodded. "Yes, my Lord." 

Joshua hurried back to the Israelite camp. "Gather around, everyone! The Lord just told me what we're to do." 

Messengers ran throughout the camp calling out:  "Hurry, go to the meeting place. Joshua has a message from the Lord."

Women and children ran behind the men to the meeting place. "The time has come!" They laughed and congratulated each other. "The Lord be praised. He promises to help us win the battle."

Joshua held up his hands to quiet the people. He waited until even the children hushed. "I have exciting news. Listen everyone to the Lord's words." He watched the people shush each other. "A few moments ago, the Lord gave me instructions for this battle. I know this message sounds weird, but we must do exactly as He said to win this battle." 

He looked at their excited faces and waited again for the people to listen.  He repeated the instructions from the Lord then said, "You must not say a word while marching. Only the priestly trumpets can make a sound. Everyone understand what to do?"

The people shouted "Yes" then raised their hands in praise to the Lord. "Praise the Lord, Halleluia."

Joshua smiled then waved them forward. "Let's go."

The story will continue next time.

1. Who did Joshua receive instructions from?
2. What were the instructions?
3. What did Joshua tell the people?
4. Were the people willing to obey.
5. Who promised to help the people? 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Even Missionaries Get Concerned or Scared

By Mary Vee

Gladys' Thoughts

photo courtesy of
I enjoyed being a foot inspector for the Mandarin--most of the time. I freed little girls from foot binding, and told villagers about Jesus. Sometimes I had to go to villages known for terrible crimes. I was thankful to have soldiers guard me for those visits.

When doing missionary work I could chose safe places to visit. But as a foot inspector, I had to go to every village, even scary ones.  The Mandarin told me to go to Yuan Tsun one day. Most people stayed away from there . 

My two body guards walked close to me as we entered the village gate. An innkeeper ran out to greet us, I think he wanted us to stay in his inn.  The soldiers bowed. One pointed to me and said, "Sir, Ai-weh-deh has come to inspect the little girl's feet."

The innkeeper shook his head. "It's late. Come, spend the night in my inn. You can inspect feet in the morning."

I had inspected feet in many villages before and learned never to wait. Most likely the innkeeper wanted to warn women to hide the girls. I bowed then raised my eyes to him. "No. I will inspect the girl's feet tonight. Tell the villagers I am coming to their homes at once."

My soldiers and I gave the innkeeper a head start then walked to the first home. The soldiers knocked. No one answered. I turned to the soldiers. "Tell the woman, if she doesn't open the door, I'll climb through the window."

The door opened a moment later. I walked into her dark home. Dust and dirt covered everything. "Let me see the girls." She bowed then left the room. She brought back a skinny little girl who looked like she hadn't eaten in days. Tears covered her sweet little face.

I reached out my arms. "Come here, child." I removed her bindings, washed her feet, cuddled and sang to her. The little girl giggled and wiped away her tears then she asked me to help the other girls in the home. I should have known this woman would hide more children. I set the little girl down and turned to the woman. "Bring the other girls to me, at once."

The woman put an evil smile on her face. "There are no more girls. She's not telling the truth."

Ah, huh. She thinks she can fool me.  I walked to the door and called the soldiers. "This woman is hiding girls."

The soldiers stepped inside. "We'll search at once, Ai-weh-deh."

The woman's eyes went wide. She ran into a back room and brought out three girls. "Here!"

Once their bindings had been removed and their feet washed, all four girls danced around the room. They repeated songs I sang to them and laughed. 

The woman bowed. She looked toward the door then back at the girls. "My name is Mrs. Ching. I hid the girls because I'm afraid. My master will beat me when he comes back home and sees the girls without their feet bound. He bought me as a slave. He bought these girls, also. He plans to sell them for a great price. You must help me. I'm scared. Please help me."

I didn't want to bind the girl's feet, and hurt them again. I also didn't want Mrs. Ching to be hurt by her master. I said a quick prayer. Then, God, in His great love for these girls and this woman, gave me an idea.

Come back next week to see how God's great idea.

Gladys Aylward

Saturday, April 23, 2011

God Stopped the Jordan River Flow

By Mary Vee
Joshua 3,4

Joshua' Thoughts

The spies' report couldn't have been better. The people of Jericho trembled whenever anyone said "Israel" or "the Israelite's God". I wanted to swim the Jordan river and attack today! Unfortunately, thousands of Israelites couldn't just hop across a river to get there.

We moved the camp closer to the beach then prepared to cross.  We organized supplies, cleaned our bodies and our clothes, and packed for the great adventure we'd waited for all these years.  

I appointed officers to go throughout the camp to see if anyone needed help or if any had questions. They also gave these instructions to the people from the Lord, "When you see the ark of the covenant and the priests holding it, follow them. Keep a space between the priests and you, this will help you know which way to walk."

Once they left, I gathered the priests together. "God has given new instructions. It's time to take up the ark of the covenant and cross the river Jordan. You will go before the people carrying the ark. When you come to the edge of the river, take a step into the water and watch what miracle God will do."

I must admit, a tear of joy formed as I watched the priests pick up the ark of the covenant and place the poles on their shoulders. They counted off and stepped together to balance the ark.

I looked back at the children of Israel. They were ready to go. Time for their next instruction. I climbed on a rock to help them hear and see me. "You're about to see and know that the living God is among you and that He will, without fail drive out the evil people in this land. Look. The ark is going before you into the Jordan.  As soon as the soles of priest's feet who are holding the ark touch the river, the waters of the Jordan will be cut off, both upstream and downstream."

We turned to watch the priests and the river.  They stopped for a moment at the water's edge, took a deep breath then step forward into the water. Instantly the water stopped upstream and downstream.  

The people raised their hands and shouted praises to our great God. The dark brown river sand turned light brown as it dried. A bridge of dry land stood before us, waiting for us to cross. 

Once the priests moved forward a signal sounded for the rest of us to follow.  Not one foot stuck in muck or sandal pulled off from grabby mud because the river bottom had dried completely.  Children danced across. Moms and dads laughed together. No one struggled with their belongings. The priests stood in the middle of the river holding the ark as we all passed them.

One man from each tribe took a large stone from the dry river bottom and carried it to the shore.

When the last person crossed the river, the priests carried the ark to the shore. Once their feet touched the beach, the Jordan river waters filled the land bridge.

I remember seeing God stop the waters of the Red Sea for us to cross on dry ground many years ago.  Now a new generation has seen God do the same miracle with the Jordan River.  

We are so blessed to have God take care of us.

Praise the Lord, the great God of heaven and earth.

1. What did Joshua want to do?
2. What river did the Israelites want to cross?
3. How did they get across the river?
4. Who did God want to go first into the water?
5. What did they carry?
6. Who took care of the Israelites?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Escape from Jericho

By Mary Vee
Joshua 2

Thoughts of an Israelite Spy

Screaming and shouting in the streets had stopped shortly before Rahab returned to the roof. Apparently she convinced the soldiers to look somewhere else for us. I'm not sure why she hid my friend and me, but I'm thankful.

She dragged stacks of flax from our hiding place and wiped the sweat from her forehead. "The guards left. You have time to escape if you go now."

She led us downstairs to a room with a window. Since her house had been built into the city wall, the window faced a valley outside the city. 

She uncoiled a rope and dragged it to the window. "Look, I know your God is the God of heaven above and earth below." She  sighed as a tear fell. "I beg you, please, spare my family. Reward my kindness to you today, my Lords. Spare my family and all they have. Please, deliver us from death."

What could I say? We didn't plan to spare anyone from Jericho. Then again Rahab did hide us from the soldiers and she planned to help us escape. "If no one, not you or anyone from your family, tells the king about us, we will save you and your family the day our army attacks."

She smiled. "Thank you, my Lord." She handed me the rope. "I'll lower both of you to the valley below, run to the mountains and hide for three days. The soldiers will stop looking for you after that time."

I wound the rope around my wrist and stepped toward the window. "Remeber, we'll only keep our promise to save you and your family if you keep our secret, and hang this same red rope in the window. Also, your family must stay inside this house. If any one leaves during the attack, we won't protect them."

She nodded. "I understand, your secret is safe. My family and I will be here as you said and this red chord will be in the window."

She tied the rope to the doorknob then lowered me down to the ground outside the city wall. My partner followed.

We search the area and saw no one. All the merchants had retuned to their homes since the city gate had closed. We dashed through shadows away from Jericho and up into the mountains. 

We set up camp in a secure place on a peak overlooking the city. Three days later we crept safely down the mountain, hiked back to the beach then swam the high waters of the Jordan River to our camp. 

Joshua, the Israelite leader, called us to his tent to report. "What did you find? Has the Lord blessed?"

"Yes, my lord, our journey went well. We sneaked into the city and listened to townspeople complain about the Israelites and their God. Some said the king and his soldiers feared our army. A woman named Rahab hid us from soldiers. She asked for protection and we agreed. I'm convinced the Lord has delivered all the land into our hands because the people of Jericho are afraid of us."

"You promised protection? I didn't plan to spare any one from Jericho." Joshua pushed his shoulders back and nodded. "All right. God has shown His will. We'll spare her, but you must take care of her and her family. Good work on this mission. We leave for the Jordan River shore tomorrow."

1. What did Rahab want the spies to promise?
2. What instructions did the spies give Rahab?
3. Where did Rahab tell the spies to hide for three days?
4. Did the spies plan to help anyone from the city?  Did Joshua?
5. Who planned to save Rahab and her family?  (If you need help with this question, email me, or leave a comment)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Ninepence Kidnapped?

By Mary Vee

Gladys Thoughts

photo courtesy of
I loved having Ninepence and Less as my children. They played with each other and helped do chores at the inn.  We laughed, played, and sang together. I can't begin to tell you the fun we had. I no longer felt lonely. 

God blessed me more than I could image. No really! Within a short period of time many more children with no parents joined our family. 

Although Less was younger he acted like an older brother toward Ninepence. Of all my children these two took care of each other as blood brother and sisters would.

Usually mothers taught children at home, but I couldn't,I still had to work at the inn and do foot inspecting. We needed a school in Yangcheng. The Mandarin permitted a teacher to come.

Five years after the school opened, Less told me about a stranger outside the school gate. A man pulled Ninepence away and talked with her several times that week. One time the man grabbed her and tried to take her away. Less told me he protected her, poor thing.

I went to the school to meet them the next day. Less saw me and pulled Ninepence's in my direction. He pointed toward the man. "That's him." The man glared like he wanted to hurt us. 

"Come children, Let's go home." Problems like this were difficult to solve in the Chinese culture. Rules and laws had to be obeyed for everything.  I went to the Mandarin for help. 

"Ai-we-dah," he said, " I would like to help but the man hasn't done anything wrong yet. I am willing to send a soldier to the school. Tell Ninepence to scream when the man approaches her. If she will do this the soldier will have proof to arrest the man."

Sure enough, the man stood outside the school gate the next day. The second she walked out of the school he grabbed Ninepence's arm and dragged her toward the bushes. Ninepence screamed and kicked. The soldiers ran after the man, pulled him away from the bush, and arrested him. 

The next day, the Mandarin called me to his office. "Ai-we-deh, the man was Nincepence's uncle. He wants to take her home. If you wish to keep her you will have to go to trial."

"But, honorable Mandarin, he only wants money. It I say the wrong thing at the trial, he will take her away from our home and sell her to people who don't love her."

He smiled. "Yes, Ai-we-deh, I know. I will help you. Remember I am the judge.  If I give a small nod, say, 'Yes' at the trial. If I shake my head a little, say, 'No.'"

My knees trembled at the trial. I watched Mandarin carefully and said yes when he nodded and no when he shook his head.  The man spoke at the trial, also. "She is my niece. I have the right to take her. She is my property." He glared and shook his fist at me.

God took control. The Mandarin asked questions to follow the laws. He also asked questions in a way that would help Ninepence stay with me. When everyone finished speaking, Mandarin hit the gong with a stick. "The decision has been made. Ninepence shall stay with Ai-we-deh."

The man bowed to the Mandarin then glared at me before leaving.

Once again, God showed his love by protecting Ninepence from her evil uncle, and by blessing me with her sweet smile a little longer.  Thank you, God.

Come back next week to read more, God had more adventures for me!

Gladys Aylward

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Quick, Hide

By Mary Vee
Joshua 2

Rahab's Thoughts

I've had many visitors come to my business, but none looked like the two men who stood in the doorway today.  Their clothes and hair didn't match the people of Jericho,

Maybe they thought they blended in, but I could tell these men came from another land.

I greeted them. Their pupils looked normal, but their eyes had grown wide, like something made them afraid or they needed to hide from someone.  Their breath ran in and out of their mouths. Someone must have been chasing them.  But who?

I peeked behind the two visitors and found three men running down the street searching to their left and right.  That's when I realized my guest must be Israelite spies! 

News traveled fast in Jericho. Our people knew the Israelites camped on the other side of the Jordan River. We also knew they might cross the river and attack our city any day. Their God protected them from enemies and helped them escape from the great Egyptian army.  Which means--Jericho couldn't win against their army. I didn't want to be on the loosing side.

I waved the two men inside, took them to a back room, and locked the door.  They looked hungry. "Here eat to refresh yourselves." They ate like hunted animals. "I've heard of your God's protection." They squinted and signaled something to each other. "You'll need His protection soon, I think. The king is sure to send his guards to search for you."

A clatter from outside interrupted me. I ran to the door and listened. "Quick, you must hide." I took them to the roof where I had flax drying.  "Hide under these flax bundles until those who search for you leave."

They crawled under the grain and let me cover them with thick bundles. I ran downstairs in time to hear pounding on the front door. "Yes, I'm coming. You can open the door yourself, you know."

Three guards pushed their way inside.  "Bring out the men who came into your house today.  They're spies who've come to harm Jericho."

I shrugged and nodded. "Many come into my business."

One of the guards glared. He grabbed my wrist and shouted. "You know who we mean. Go get them, now! They have come to spy out the whole land."

"Oh, I understand who you mean, now. Please forgive me" I jerked my arm away. "Yes, the men stopped here, but I didn't know where they were from. When the sun began to set, they left through the city gate before it closed."

The main guard squinted like he didn't believe me. I walked toward the door and pointed to the gate. "I don't know which way they went, but if you go after them right away you may catch them. Hurry."

They looked around the room then stomped toward the door. "She may be telling the truth. We better hurry before we loose the last specks of light." The guards ran toward the city gate and ordered it to be held open. Once the guards left the city, the gate closed for the night.

I ran back to the roof and yanked the flax off the spies. "I know the Lord has given this land to you. The people of Jericho are afraid. If I help you escape you must promise to spare me and all my family." I pushed my tangled hair off my face. "Do you promise?"

They stood and brushed flecks of flax from their clothes. "Yes, we promise. Our lives for your lives."

How will the spies escape?  Will they get caught outside the city gate?  Come back next week to read what happened next.

1. Who helped the two spies?
2. Who did the spies run from?
3. What people did the spies belong to?
4. Why were the people of Jericho afraid?
5. Why did Rahab want to help the spies?
6. Rahab lied to protect the spies. Will she be punished for lying?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sneaking into Jericho

By Mary Vee
Joshua 2

One of the Spies thoughts

This is the most exciting news! 

OK, usually I don't get this excited, but life has been on the BORING side lately. We've camped by the Jordan River for a long time waiting for the Lord to tell us we can move forward.  Waiting...waiting.

I see it. It's over there!  Across the river!  I see the shore of the Promised Land.  

Of course no Israelite would dare cross the river before the Lord says.  After all the bad choices already made, we've soft of learned to obey commands exactly as the Lord says...kind of. 

Are you ready? Here's my news: Joshua, our new leader called me and another soldier for a meeting this morning. He said, "I have a good report. The Lord has given us permission to go into the Promised Land. I want you two to cross the river, sneak into Jericho, and learn their defenses. You're to leave right away."

My partner and I swam across the deep, chilly waters of the Jordan then crept behind bushes, groves, and trees toward the outer wall of Jericho. 

We hid until many merchants from nearby farms crowded toward the city gate. They pushed carts filled with goods to sell. We slid in between two fishermen hauling their catch of the day and acted like we were part of their group. Once inside the gate we slipped through the city streets and alleys searching for information. 

We found small clumps of city people talking. Although we couldn't hear their words, they waved their arms as though angry and afraid. We tried to move about unnoticed but our clothes might have given us away. Three men walked in our direction. I signaled to the other spy to follow me inside a doorway to our right.

A woman came to the door. Her eyebrows pushed down on her face as she looked at our clothing. Something or someone must have moved behind us because she tipped her head to the side then whispered, "You're not from around here."

Of course we didn't want to tell her who we were. We stood there silently. 

"Come. You can hide in here." I looked back at the street and spied another man squinting in our direction. We had to move inside right away. She led us to a back room and closed the door. "You're Israelites."

We nodded. 

She held her finger to her lips. "We must be cautious. There is much fear in Jericho. If the king's soldiers find you, they'll kill you." She brought bread and drink then sat with us. "I've heard much about your people. Word around Jericho is that your God saved you in Egypt. Is that true?"

"Yes, and He's also done much more for us." 

She stepped back to the door and listened for a moment. "I think the men in the street have reported their suspicions. The king will send soldiers to search for you." She walked back toward us and looked at our faces for a moment.  "My name is Rahab. I believe you have a powerful God. Maybe we could help each other."

She cleared our food and drink then opened the door a little. "The soldiers will come soon. Follow me. I'll hide you on the roof until they leave."

We hurried after her. "The Lord bless you, Rahab. Thank you."

The adventure will continue next post.

1. What did the Lord give permission to the Israelites to do?
2. Who is Joshua?
3. What did Joshua tell the spies to do?
4. What happened in Jericho?
5. Who helped the spies?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Less is One More

By Mary Vee

Glady's Thoughts

photo courtesy of
Ninepence became my happiness. She giggled and danced around the inn as any little girl would. In the mornings I combed her hair and in the evenings she listened to the Bible stories with the muleteers. I thanked God for her everyday.  

One afternoon she ran into the courtyard of the inn, saw me working near the balcony, and called up to me. "Ai-weh-deh."

"Oh, Ninepence. Good that you're home. Dinner is nearly ready." I walked out and leaned on the bannister. She stayed standing in the same spot and looked at me with her beautiful dark eyes.  "You can play for a few more minutes, though. I'll call you when it's ready."

She bit her lower lip. "Ai-weh-deh, if I--if I ate only some of my dinner, would you do the same?"

I didn't know what she meant, but I wanted to give her a chance to ask her real question. "Well, I suppose. Yes. I would save some of my dinner."

She looked at the ground and shuffled her feet side to side. "Um, Ai-weh-deh, if I had food left over and you had food left over we could have enough food to give someone else, right?"

I see. She wanted to give someone a meal. What a sweet idea. "Yes. We would. Who did you have in mind?"

She swayed her shoulders and raised her lovely eyebrows. "There is a little boy at the gate of our inn. He hasn't eaten in several days."

I couldn't help but laugh with joy. My sweet Ninepence wanted to help another hungry child. "Yes. Of course. Bring him in for dinner."

She tipped her head back and shined a happy smile as wide as her little face. "Thank you!" I watched her run toward the gate then drag a boy into the court. He must have been eight years old and he wore only rags that barely hung on his body. 

His face showed he must have been starved, but he ate each tiny chopstick full of food as though grateful for each tiny grain that entered his mouth.  I had him bathe after supper then gave him fresh clothes. Ninepence decided to call him "Less" because she ate less to give him a meal.

At bedtime Less told us what happened to him. Robbers came to his village and killed all the men. They took the women and children away. His mother became sick as they walked. She fell to the road and cried for help. The robbers left her and Less behind. Later that day she died. Less didn't know what to do. Some muleteers gave him a ride to Yangcheng a few days ago. Now he needed a home. 

I looked at Ninepence. She gave me a twinkle smile that said, "Can he stay?"

How could I resist? "Yes. He can stay, Ninepence." I tucked my new son under a blanket and kissed him good night. 

He wrapped his thin arms around my neck and said, "Thank you, Ai-weh-dah."

Less gave me one more blessing from God.

Thanks for stopping by today. Come back next week to hear more.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Moses Sees the Promised Land

By Mary Vee
Numbers 27: 12-23 and Deuteronomy 31-32

Moses Thoughts

This morning the Lord told me to go up to Mount Nebo to see the Promised Land.

I've known for a while I wouldn't be allowed to cross the Jordan River because I sinned. God--the Almighty God said in His mercy I coud see the land before my last breath.

He's always let me speak my thoughts to Him, so I asked, "Lord, please choose a man from the children of Israel to lead them and go before them and to keep them from wandering around like sheep without a shepherd." 

He answered, "Take Joshua, the son of Nun, with you and lay your hand on him; he is a man filled with the Spirit. Present him to Eleazar the priest and all the Israelites in a ceremony to show he is the new leader I've chosen."

I asked one of the workers to bring Joshua to me and to call all the people to the meeting place. Joshua arrived a little while later. "What do you need, Moses?"

"We're going to a meeting. Are you ready?"

"Well, yes, but--"

I didn't feel like answering his questions yet. We hurried to the meeting place and waited a few minutes for late comers before I spoke. "My people, I'm 120 years old today. I'm no longer able to lead you. Here we are camped on the Jordan River and I can't cross over with you."

"The Lord you God will go before you. He'll destroy the nations and let you possess the land. Joshua will be your new leader. You'll see the Lord hand your enemies over to you. Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them, for the Lord your God will go with you. He won't leave you or give up on you."

I called Joshua to stand next to me. "Joshua, be strong and of good courage, for you must go with these people to the land which the Lord has promised to their fathers. The Lord will be with you. He will not leave you, do not be afraid or dismayed."

I turned to the priest and gave them the law. "Read this to the people every seven years to teach the children God's laws and to fear the Lord your God."

Joshua and I the walked to the Tabernacle where the Lord gave me a song to teach the people. I wrote down the words and taught them as He said. 

Once the people knew the song well, I raised my staff to speak. "Set your hearts on all the words I've taught you today. Teach your children to be do these commands. By these words you will live longer days in the land God has promised."

I looked at all the people standing before me and remembered our journey. The Lord said, "Moses, it's time to go."

I turned back to the people and blessed the tribes one last time then followed the Lord up Mount Nebo. He helped me see far to the northern tip of the Promised land, to the far west where the Great Sea lies, and to the southern edges. 

He said to me, "This is the land which I promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I have helped you to see it with your own eyes, but you will not go there."

I am so thankful for my God, the great God of Heaven, because He let me see the Promised Land even though I sinned. He gave me health and strength to serve Him all these years. He never left me, nor gave up on me. He showed His love for me every day. I have been blessed.

--And, my friend, He will do the same for you.

1. Who is Moses?
2. Who did God choose to be the new leader.
3. What did God ask Moses to teach the people in today's story?
4. What did the priest have to do every seven years and why?
5. What mountain did Moses climb?
6. What did he see?
7. Who was with him?
8. Why did he go there?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Importance of Helping Family

By Mary Vee
Numbers 32: 

I am from the tribe of Reuben...

The Israelite families camped on the east side of the Jordan River, waiting for the Lord to say when we should cross into the Promised Land.

Father and mother talked about the good land where we camped with others from the Reuben clan. The pastures fed our cattle and the soil had a dark, rich color. Families from the tribe of Gad agreed. Someone said, "Too bad we can't stay here."

A few days later, Moses announced a command from the Lord. "One thousand men from each tribe of Israel must arm themselves for war. We will attack the Midianites to punish them. Choose your men now and prepare for battle."

Of course I volunteered!  Twelve thousand soldiers set out the next morning to conquer the Midianites. The Lord helped us defeat one city after another throughout their country with amazing speed, including all five kings. I'll never forget the excitement of winning a battle. 
We brought back animals, gold, silver, clothes, and servants and gave it all to Moses. He and Eleazar, the priest, divided everything among the people in the camp and gave the Lord's portion to the priests.

The captains gathered some of their rewards and brought their gifts to Moses. "We have taken a count of the men who went to war.  Not one man from our command is missing. Therefore we have brought this offering to the Lord."  

Moses and Eleazar accepted the gold a placed it in the tabernacle as a memorial for the children of Israel before the Lord. 

After supper, families from my tribe of Reuben joined families from the tribe of Gad.  We laughed and slapped each other on the back while telling stories of the Lord's victory. Someone shouted, "Now that we conquered the land, couldn't we live here instead of the Promised Land?"

The heads of the families thought about the idea for a while then decided to ask Moses for permission to live here.

The next morning Moses' balled his fist and shook it at the family leaders. "You only ask because you don't want to fight. A great punishment will fall on the Israelite camp and it will be your fault. You expect us to fight for the land you want, but you won't help us."

When he paused to pace a few steps, the family leaders cleared their throats. "Moses, we want to build places for our animals, wives and children, but we ourselves promise to be armed and ready to go first in the army. We will fight until the Promised Land is taken. We promise not to return home until every Israelite tribe has received their land. You're our brothers. We want to help."

Moses took a deep breath then stroke his beard. He walked close to the leaders and pointed to them. "If you do as you said, fight in the front of the army until the Lord drives out His enemies and the land is taken over, then you may return blameless and own this land.  But, I warn you. If you don't keep your word, you will answer to God.

"Really, Moses? This land can be ours? Thank you. Thank you! As you have said we will do." I ran with the leaders back to our tents and told all the tribe members the good news: this land would be our home.


1. What did the tribe of Reuben and Gad not want to go into the Promised land?
2. Who did the Israelites go to battle against?
3. Who really won the battles?
4. What did the family leaders from Reuben and Gad ask Moses?
5. Why did Moses get angry?
6. What did the families from Reuben and Gad promise to do?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Five Chinese Coins

By Mary Vee

Glady's Thoughts

photo courtesy of
I kept my promise with the prisoners. I visited them often and told them Bible stories. 

One day, the Mandarin surprised me by granting permission  to take the men outside the prison walls for a church service. The prisoners stared at the mountains, trees, and village in the distance as they listened to God's Word. Tears drip down their faces. When they returned to the prison they bowed and said, "Thank you, Ai-weh-deh. You have shown us great kindness."

It sure felt good to see their happy faces. Perhaps some will ask Jesus into their heart.

I spent most of my time in nearby villages. Actually, the Mandarin paid me to inspect the little girl's feet to make sure they grew strong. When I finished his work, I played with the children and told Bible stories. We sang songs and laughed until I had to leave. 

I loved the Chinese people more each day, but I didn't like some of the things they did. When I returned from the mountain villages last week, I decided to talk with the Mandarin about a few  problems.

I walked through the center of Yang Cheng toward his office, practicing what I would say to him. On the side of the street sat a woman  wearing silver earrings and shiny necklaces. A small child cuddled next to her. The poor thing sat in the hot sun with dirty, torn clothes, and she had a swollen belly. She must have been starved.

I said, "You should cover the child's head to protect it from the heat or it will die."

The woman shrugged. "I don't care. I can get another child whenever I want. You can have her for two shillings."

This woman buys and sells children!  "I don't have two shillings." I didn't want her to think I approved of selling children. Maybe the Mandarin can help put a stop to selling children.

I continued to the Mandarin's office and waitied to see him. The door opened when the gong rang. We said our greetings to each other then he let me speak. "Mandarin, I saw a woman selling a child in town. How can we protect the children?"

He sighed. "Ai-weh-deh, I cannot help where there is no law. Goverment works slow. You must be patient. Walk on the other side of the road and do not look at the child."

As I walked back through the Yang Cheng, I saw the woman again. My heart cried for the child next to her. I reached into my pocket and pulled out five Chinese coins which was about ninepence in English money. "Here. This is all I have."

She shoved the sad girl toward me. "Take the child, she's yours." 

The poor thing cried. I sang to her and held her close all the way to the inn. She gobbled the food I gave as if she hadn't eaten in days, maybe weeks. When she felt better and seemed ready to trust me, I gave her a bath, fresh clothes, and a place to sleep.

She didn't have a name as far as I could tell. I decided to call her Ninepence. She cried and hid for many months.  Ninepence didn't believe she had a real home, food, clothes, and someone who loved her.

Then--one day--I saw her smile.

My sweet Ninepence, a gift from God.

Come back next week to hear what else God did for me and the people of China.