Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Jael Did God's Will

By Mary Vee
Judges 4

Jael's Thoughts

This is part two of my story, click here to read part one.

My husband, Heber, had not returned from his business, yet. When I walked out back to stir our dinner, which busily bubbled over the fire, a servant came to me to report we had a visitor.  I looked at the pot and felt good about making a little extra food this time.

I had been a traveler before and had received a meal and a place to sleep from kind strangers. Perhaps I could help someone in need.  I wiped my hands and hurried to greet the visitor. To my surprise, Sisera, commander of the Canaanite army stood before me. 

His eyes flashed like a scared hunted animal. I invited him into our tent for shade as was the custom. He cowered and whipped his head to the right and left as if looking for someone before entering the tent. Once inside our home he sighed and wiped the sweat from his forehead. 

My husband had made a peace agreement with Jabin, the king of Canaan. Jabin captured the Israelites, tortured them and made them slaves.  He and his commander, Sisera, bragged to my husband about what they had done.  Heber didn't seem to mind. He made a peace agreement with king Jabin to spied on the Israelite's which allowed us to live on Jabin's land peaceably.

I didn't like the news king Jabin and Sisera told about the Israelite slaves. The Israelite's became family to us when their leader, Moses, married a daughter from our family. 

Seeing Sisera afraid made me realize the power of Israelite God.

Sisera stumbled to one of our mats, laid down, and asked for something to drink. I brought him a drink and covered him with a blanket. 

Sisera snored into a deep sleep. 

While he rested, I cleaned my home. As I swept, I noticed an extra tent peg laying on the ground. I picked it up and had a idea come to me. I could help the Israelites!

I chose a hammer out of the pile of tools and tip toed back to the mat where Sisera slept. Slowly I knelt, placed the tent peg over his head, raised the hammer and hit the peg with all my strength.  

Just like that, Sisera stopped snoring.

A moment later a servant called from outside the tent. "Another visitor. Barak, commander of the Israelite army is here."

I ran out to meet him and said, "Come. I will show you the man you're looking for." 

He raised his sword to protect himself and followed me into the tent.  Barak's eyes fell to the floor where Sisera lay. He gasped. "Just as Deborah the judge prophesied. Sisera has fallen to the hand of a woman." 

Commander Barak called his men in to take Sisera away. He accepted a cup of water before leaving.


1. Why did Sisera visit Jael and her husband?
2. Why didn't Jael like Sisera?
3. Jael's husband made a ____________ agreement with Jabin, king of Canaan.
4. What did the king of Jabin do to the Israelites?
5. Why did this bother Jael?
6. What did Jael do?

If you missed part one of the story, be sure to go back and read it to find clues to today's answers.  for part one, click here

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Children Must Escape!

By Mary Vee

photo courtesy
Every village surrounding Yang Cheng desperately needed help of any kind: medical, food, comfort. I had plenty to do.

I answered the call for help from the mission in Tsehchow. We made a hospital for wounded soldiers and villagers. My heart ached for these men, women, and children. War didn't play fair. So many people needed care and to hear about God's love.

David Davies, the missions director took his family to a safe coastal city. By the time he returned to the mission, Japanese soldiers had marched within a mile of the city gate. He sneaked ahead into the city and hurried to the mission to help me.

That night a Chinese soldier delivered a message from the general. Ai-weh-dah, you must leave. The Japanese have posted reward posters for you. He lowered his head and sighed. I realized the message he delivered spoke the truth about my dangerous situation.

I burned every important document, it took most of the night. Before the sun poked a ray of light, I grabbed my Bible and ran to the city gate to be the first one to leave, (the city gate was locked when the sun went down and opened when the sun came up. No one could leave or enter when the door was locked.)

The gatekeeper knew me well. "Ai-weh-dah, you don't want to go through this gate. Look through the peep whole."

I leaned close to the door and looked through the hole. A unit of Japanese soldiers stood several yards away!  The gatekeeper shook his head. "I must open the door in a few moments."

I bowed to him, said, "Thank you," then bolted to the other side of the city.  Only one gate led in or out of the city, the front entrance. But at the backside, an opening had been made to carry dead people out to a cemetery.  I ran like a fox fleeing hounds through the city, dodging people and ignoring any questions shouted at me.  

I watched a gatekeeper open the door to the cemetery from a distance and pushed for the opening with every ounce of strength I could find. Out into the open cemetery, I skittered around grave stones towards the moat.  

At the time, I didn't realize Japanese soldiers could see the cemetery from the road by the front gate. 

Gunfire popped. 

I ran faster toward the moat, hoping to sink underwater for a moment's rest. Just before I touched the grassy shore a bullet hit my shoulder and pushed me into the water.  Fiery pain flamed through my back and arms. 

I took a deep breath and forced myself to swim to the other side. The soldiers shouted and sprayed bullets that few over my head. My warm coat, now soaked and too heavy, slowed me down.  I slipped it off and scooted like a jackrabbit into the field a few feet away where
God's tall grains of wheat protected me. 

I snaked backwards through the field to avoid breaking stalks and leaving a trail. Somewhere between the grains I collapsed.

I don't know how long I'd slept, seconds maybe hours. The sun rested near the horizon which meant the city gate would soon close, with the Japanese inside.  I waited for the sunset then burst through and out the field toward Yang Cheng. 

Hours later I reached my home, the Inn of the Eighth Happiness and found my children. One hundred lovable faces giggled and laughed when they saw me. The fire in my shoulder reminded me the Japanese army would come here too. Someone had to take these children to safety. Their only chance to survive the Japanese invasion would be to escape.

Only one route could provide a successful escape: over the mountains, through enemy territory, and across the Yellow River. I volunteered to take them...with God's help.

Our journey starts next week.

See you then,

Gladys Aylward

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Jael's Visitor

By Mary Vee
Judges 4 

Jael's Thoughts

I had most of my chores done for the day. Supper had nearly finished cooking over a fire outside. I expected Heber, my husband to come home soon.

We'd moved to the land of Canaan not long ago.  Heber got into some fight with his family, the Kenites, and decided we should leave. I missed my family, but knew I would find new friends. 

Jabin, king of Canaan didn't seem to mind us living in his land. Heber spoke with him a few times, helped with a few things, and made a peace agreement. We found the land good for crops and pastureland.

I heard Jabin captured the Israelites and made them slaves. This bothered me. I mean, we're family. Their great leader, Moses, married a daughter from one of our Kenite families. I'd seen Jabin's taskmasters beat and scream at the Israelites. It broke my heart.

One of our servants came to me late this morning, "Mistress, the Israelites waged war against Jabin's commander, Sisera and his army this morning."

I gasped. "They did what? Oh, dear, the Lord be with them."

Later another servant delivered an update. "The Lord has fought for the Israelites. They're winning the battle."

"Wonderful news!"  My heart flittered. I couldn't help but think about the battle. If king Jabin and his task masters had been kind to the Israelites maybe the battle wouldn't have been important to me. But he wasn't kind.

I finished preparing the meal then did a few more chores. A servant came to me again. "Mistress, Sisera, the commander for king Jabin wishes to speak with you. He's over there."

I went out to meet him. Sweat poured down his face caking dirt to his skin. His garment had tears and he bled from scrapes. He smacked his lips as if in need of water. "Jael, I need to rest." 

I bowed to him. "Come. I'll give you drink. Don't be afraid."

Sisera followed me into the tent. He fell onto the mat completely exhausted. I grabbed a blanket and draped it over him. He forced his eyes to open. "Please give me some water to drink."

I reached for a jug of milk. "I have something better. It will refresh your thirst and give you strength." 

He drank as a man dying of thirst then said, "Stand at the door and if anyone comes and asks if a man is in here, say, 'No."'

I didn't say anything. I put the jug away and finished cleaning as quietly as possible.

His eyes closed moments later.  Soon he snored.  

I looked at him.This evil man tortured distant family members, the Israelites. He bragged about his strength and power over them. And now, he expected me to hide him in my tent?

I thought for a little while. Then a strange idea came to me.....

Come read what happens next time.

1. Why did Jael and her husband move to Canaan?
2. Who was king?
3. This king captured the ________________ and made them slaves.
4. His commander, ___________ tortured the slaves.
5. God helped the Israelites conquer _______________ army, but ______________ escaped.
6. ______________ wanted to hide in ___________ tent.
7. She gave him _____________ to drink.
8. What did he ask her to do?
9. What do you think her strange idea is?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Barak's Reward

By Mary Vee
Judges 4

Commander Barak's Thoughts

Twenty long years of slavery

I'd waited twenty years for freedom.  The Lord chose me to command the Israelite army against our captors.

Jabin, that cruel king of Canaan, would lose once and for all. We'd have our freedom back.  How did I know? The Lord gave us permission to attack Jabin's commander, Sisera, and his army with nine hundred iron chariots. Hah! With the Lord in charge, Sisera didn't stand a chance.  

I led ten thousand men down the mountain path to the valley where Sisera's army sat like purring lions calling to us to come to dinner. To bad they didn't know they'd change into scaredy cats. Hah, hah! We had the Lord on our side.

Although I knew God would help us conquer the army, I wondered if I'd give the right commands. I'd always known what to do in battles before, but this time--well, I had doubts.  Would I send the men to the left when they should go right. What if a small band of Sisera's men looped behind us to set up a trap? I needed to be sure.

God chose judges to help us. He gave them our instructions. He chose Deborah to judge the Israelites the whole time nasty king Jabin held us captive.  Each day she sat under a tree and listened to people's problems then gave a judgment. 

The day she said, "God wants you to lead a battle against Sisera," I agreed to command, only if she went;I wanted to ask her God's plan during the battle. She grew angry, "Then you'll have no glory in this battle. Sisera will die at the hands of a woman."

I should have trusted God. 

I commanded my men to attack. They raised their weapons and pressed forward. Before my eyes Sisera's great army fell like raindrops tumbling from large buckets. My men didn't have to work at all. Sisera's iron chariots proved worthless. His best fighters held their swords like little boys. 

How? Why? Only the Lord could have won this battle for us.

I should have trusted God.

We pushed toward the back ranks of their army. To my right I noticed Sisera in his finest military dress leap off his invincible iron chariot and run.  His officer called out, "Retreat!" Their army ran away.

Hah! Scaredy cats. No way would I let them escape. God said He'd help us conquer Sisera's army, and conquer we would. We chased them a long way, tracking every soldier into woods, valleys, behind rocks, and ridges. Not one escaped--

--Except Sisera.

I looked everywhere.

I sent everyone of my men out to find him. 

How did he escape?

I went to Deborah and asked. "Where is Sisera?"

She took a deep breath and shook her head, "I told you. Since you insisted I come along instead of leading the battle as God said, a woman would receive the glory."

I wiped sweat from my forehead and sighed. 

Come back next time to read what happened to Sisera.

1.  Where is Sisera?
2.  Is he dead?
3.  Why didn't God let Commander Barak capture Sisera?
4.  Barak insisted _________ had to come to the battle before he agreed to command.
5.  Why did he choose her?
6. What did you learn from this story?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Death of a City/Birth of a Soul

by Mary Vee

Gladys Aylward's Thoughts

photo courtesy of
The heartbeat stopped.

Japanese soldiers bombed, stole, and ruined our hopes to save our Yang Cheng. 

Still, we walked back to piles of broken wall and roof and stared at what use to be our homes. We searched for anything worth saving, a pot, a picture, clothes. I helped tired men and women pick up heavy boards to rescue buried family treasures. Mandarin, the leader of Yang Cheng, also returned from his hiding place to help our people. Everyone needed help, yet no one thought only of themselves.

As the sun set that night, Mandarin came to the home where I worked. "Ai-weh-deh, I am giving a dinner tomorrow and want you to attend."

I bowed. "Mandarin, you are kind, but I need to help the people. Who knows when soldiers will return."

He shook his head then waved his arm from side to side. "There's plenty to be done to give a life time of work. One dinner will not make a difference."

What could I say? I bowed again. "Thank you, Mandarin. I am honored to attend."

The next night I cleaned as much dirt off my clothes as possible. Most of the water had been saved for drinking or cooking; no one dared waste a drop to clean clothes. I walked to the meeting place and immediately smelled delicious food. My stomach growled, demanding to be fed.

The elders stood together, waiting for Mandarin's signal to be seated. He showed each one to their seat then he directed me to the empty chair near the front. I looked at the place of honor and stood frozen. Why would he give me the highest ranking guest seat?

During the meal he gave no clues. 

After we finished eating, Mandarin clapped his hands once. Every eye looked at him. "I have a few things to say. First, I will be leaving Yang Cheng soon. I see our city can no longer be saved. The villagers will build new homes and plant new fields away from here.  We must do the same." He scooped up his cup with both hands and sipped tea.

The elders nodded and waited for him to speak again.

Mandarin looked at each one of us. "I have seen Ai-weh-dah's work since the first day she came to Yang Cheng. She left her English family and home to come live with us--learn our language and customs--and become one of us."

He pointed to me. "This woman told stories of her God, gave a home to our lost children, nursed our wounded, and calmed the angry hearts of our prisoners."

I didn't understand why he honored me this way. He'd never spoken without a reason.

He turned to me and smiled. "Ai-weh dah, you have shown faithfulness to your God and to the people of Yang Cheng. I would like to know and worship your God as you do. Will you help me?"

The elders of the village looked at me, waiting for an answer. 

I tried to speak but couldn't. He surprised me. He truly wanted to worship God, the true God. And he showed his faith by telling the village elders at this dinner. That was the first and only time in my life when my happiness couldn't find words to say.

Mandarin smiled. "Rest tonight, Ai-weh-dah. You can teach me how to believe in God tomorrow."

The next day, I told Mandarin about God's love and how He sent His one and only Son to take the punishment for ours sins by dying on the cross. I showed Mandarin Bible verses and taught him about God for hours. He listened and asked questions.

I had always hoped Mandarin would ask Jesus into His heart. That day, my prayers were answered.

Come back to read what happened next.

Gladys Ayward

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Heber the Tattletale-Spy

By Mary Vee
Judges 4

Deborah's Thoughts

For twenty years Commander Sisera pounded the Israelites with orders, demands, heavy punishments. That man simply was out of control. 

King Jabin, our captor, appointed Sisera as commander and gave him permission to do whatever he wanted to us. Sisera stole our food, took our belongings, and tortured us in the name of the king. We were hungry, tired, and cranky. I had had enough.

The Lord made me judge over Israel during this time. He told me how to help the Israelites and He gave instructions to His people through me. 

Recently, He gave orders to prepare for battle against Sisera's army. After twenty years of suffering, I couldn't wait to deliver a call for battle. The Lord chose Commander Barak from the tribe of Naphtali to lead. 

Barak didn't think he could do the job. After a long conversation, Barak agreed to command our troops, if and only if I went along. He completed his military preparations then waited for a go signal from God.

A day later, the Lord said to me, "Heber the Kenite is angry with his family. He moved his wife, children, and possessions to Canaan and made peace with King Jabin. To earn money and favor with the king, Heber has spied on you Israelites. He saw Barak prepare his army for battle and reported the information to Commander Sisera. Hurry. Go to battle at once. Sisera has gathered nine hundred chariots of iron and called his army to attack Barak."

A Kenite tattled on us? 

The father-in-law of Moses belonged to the Kenite family. We were family. How could Heber do such a wicked thing? Did money and favors with a king, especially a rotten king like Jabin, mean that much to him?

I didn't waste any time. We had to go to battle immediately. I met with Barak right away. "Hurry! This is the day the Lord will help you conquer Sisera. God already started His work."

Barak signaled the troops to battle. Within a flash the men gathered together with their weapons in hand. He turned to me and waited. When I caught up to him, he led the army down the mountain path to the valley.

Heber may have been a sneaky-spy and a tattletale, but his evil plan won't stand against the Israelites. No siree.  God promised a victory. He will conquer Sisera and his iron chariots.

Next week-the battle

1.  Who was the commander against the Israelites?
2.  How did he know the Israelites wanted to attack?
3.  Who is Heber?
4.  Why did he move to Canaan?
5.  Why did he help King Jabin and his commander, Sisera?
6.  How did the Israelites find out Heber tattled?
7.  What did Deborah do as soon as she heard the news?
8.  Who do you think will win?
9.  What did you learn from this story?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


By Mary Vee
 Judges 4

Deborah's Thoughts

If you held a contest to choose a cruel, mean, nasty king, Jabin, king of Canaan would win. He conquered our land and made us slaves.

Sure, we the people of Israel had disobeyed God big time and deserved to be slaves, but Jabin took his job too far.  Jabin had nine hundred chariots made of strong iron and evil soldiers who loved to torture any Israelite at any time. 

I want you to know God never left us. The Lord chose me to judge the people while He waited and waited for the Israelites to cry out for help. 

Each day I sat under a palm tree in the mountains of Ephraim and answered questions, listened to problems, and made judgments for the people of Israel.  God always told me what to say. 

After twenty years of slavery, harsh work, beatings, lack of food or water the Israelites finally decided to ask God for help.  I had no idea why we waited so long.

One morning, God said, "I will deliver the children of Israel from wicked King Jabin. Send for commander Barak from the tribe of Naphtali."

The next day Barak walked up the mountain path to meet me. "Deborah, do you have a message for me?"

"Yes, Barak. The Lord commands our army to go to Mount Tabor. Take ten thousand men from the sons of Naphtali and Zebulun with you. There you'll find Sisera, commander of Jabin's army. He'll have iron chariots and a great army down at the River Kishon. The Lord will help you conquer Sisera's army."

He looked at the ground and swooshed his foot in the dirt. Before King Jabin captured our people and forced us into slavery, Barak had been a great commander. He looked at me and shook his head. "I--" 

Barak sighed. "Deborah, what you ask, what the Lord asks is great.  If you'll go with me, then I will lead this battle."  His shoulders drooped low.  

Unbelievable. One of our best commanders didn't believe the Lord would help him slam our enemy. Didn't he remember the stories our father's told us, how God conquered Jericho by knocking down the city walls, how the Lord created the perfect sneak attack in the battle of Ai, and all the other great battles God won for us? What was the matter with him?

Barak pushed his fingers through his hair and looked over the mountainside at the valley below. "If you won't go with me, then I won't lead our men into a possible losing battle."

Losing battle?  No way. God would be with him--how could Barak speak such words--he--he'd win this battle because God would fight for him!  

I rolled my eyes and huffed. "Fine. I'll go. The Lord would have walked with you every step of the way and showed you His great power. But no. You want a woman to go with you."

Barak held his hands toward me as if pleading. "I--you must try to understand. I don't need a woman with me to fight the battle, I need you. God speaks to you. With a prophetess by my side, I'll know what to do against the mighty Sisera."

I rolled my eyes. "Face it, Barak. You made a big mistake. God led Joshua, Ehud, and countless other Israelites into battle and delivered the victory. You want God plus a prophetess."

He stood taller and looked into my eyes. "Will you go?"

"Yes. But know this, Barak, the Lord won't give you the victory. He'll give the conquest of Jabin's commander, Sisera, to a woman. Everyone will hear the words: 'A woman killed the mighty commander, Sisera.'"

I stood to walk with him down the mountain.

Disappointed in him. 

Confident God would bring the victory anyway.

The battle against wicked kind Jabin continues next time.

1. What was Deborah's job?
2. Who was the wicked King Jabin?
3. Why were the Israelites his slaves?
4. Who was Sisera?
5. Why was commander Barak afraid to fight Sisera?
6. What did Barak ask Deborah to do?
7. Why was Deborah disappointed?

Monday, June 13, 2011

God Gave Me the Courage of a Lion

By Mary Vee

Gladys Aylward's Thoughts

photo courtesy of
I peaked from behind the gravestone where I hid for about ten minutes.  Japanese soldiers continued to pelt our Chinese military with bullets.  If you want to read how I got into this mess, click here

I'd prayed for an escape idea from God.  Actually, my real prayer request asked Him to end the battle and send the two armies away.  

God had a different idea. He showed the only solution: creep behind the Japanese fighters to the field beyond them. I supposed it wouldn't have made any difference if one soldier saw me and killed me in my escape or if one discovered me hiding behind the gravestone and shot me. Either way I would have been dead. I decided to follow God's idea.

I glanced around the corner again. The blasts from bullets and explosions would cover up any sound I'd make and the Japanese soldiers kept an eagle watch on their their enemy. They wouldn't notice me if I sneaked behind their feet, maybe.  

I held my breath and crouched.  The war sounds grew louder. Go now, Gladys. I sprang from my hiding place and ran between the Japanese soldiers and the edge of the mountain, all the way to the field and hid in the two foot tall wheat plants.

The roar of the battle softened as I caught my breath, When the noise grew too loud to bear, I crawled through the field, keeping low under the tops of the grain. I had to keep moving as far away from my home as possible.  No time for sorrow. I had to get away from enemy lines.

A narrow edge bordered the edge of the mountain on the other side of the field. I followed it to the main trail leading west where my friends waited for me in a tiny village called Ben Chai Chuang. The trail wove down the mountain to the bottom of the gorge where I stepped onto the dry river bottom. In the summer time the river flowed freely over the path.  

I walked a distance until the sun left little light. The trail forked with one path leading up and the other continuing along the river bed. I didn't know which to chose. I prayed, "Dear Lord, let me know the safe way to travel."

Since God didn't typically send messages on a wall, as he did for the prophet Daniel, I asked for a sign, like Gideon had.  I stood in the middle of the two paths and said, "Lord, let me face the correct path." I twirled around and around like a little girl learning ballet then stopped and opened my eyes.  My feet touched the upper path.

With few rays of light left, I hurried up the path to a ledge high above the riverbed and rested. Voices from beneath me caught my attention. I curled down close to the ground, pulled myself close to the edge, and squinted to see through the darkness below. Several units of Japanese soldiers marched along the very path I didn't take!  

I laid my head on the ground, heaved a sign of relief, and gazed at the starry sky. "Thank you, God. Thank you for protecting me."

Come back next week to read what happened next.

Gladys Aylward

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Left-Handed Warrior Wins

By Mary Vee
Judges 3

Ehud, the left handed Warrior's Thoughts

The Israelite elders packed food and animals to be delivered to the wicked king of Moab, the one who kept us in slavery. 

My job: take the monthly payment to the king of Moab. 

We'd lived as slaves to the king of Moab for eighteen years. Our land, our food, our lives belonged to him. At long last, the Israelites cried to God for help.

One day, God gave me the perfect idea to end our slavery. Today was the day to carry out His plan.

I dressed in my best tunic, as a representative who visited a king would, and journeyed to the palace in Jericho. The king had grown fat during these eighteen years while we starved. His wide belly and legs wouldn't let him walk far and forced him to spend most of his time in his bedchamber.

Can you imagine a king allowing a slave to enter his bedchamber?  

The gatekeeper saw me leading the carts toward the city and opened the gate. He ordered a guard to escort me to the king's bedchamber then another guard to take the carts.

"Your Majesty, the representative from the Israelites is here."

He grunted like a pig as he sat up in bed. "Send him in."

I stepped forward and bowed. "Your Majesty, I brought the payment due."

He yawned. "I hope the food is better than last time. The meat did not taste well. No, not at all."

I couldn't force myself to look at his fat face another minute, so I looked to the floor. "I'm sorry. We seek to please your lordship with our best."

He groaned then burped. "Yes, yes. You may take your leave, now."

The guard grabbed my arm and turned me toward the door. I pressed my foot to the floor. "Your Majesty, I have a message from God for you."

He clapped his heavy hands together and smiled. "A message? Well, then, you may stay. Everyone else leave at once."

When the room emptied, except for the king and me, he smiled. "What is your message?"

I stepped closer to him. "God's message is--" I looked into his eyes and reached under my tunic with my left hand then whisked my double-edged dagger and shoved it deep into his belly. His fat flopped over the blade and shoved on my hand off the handle.

Before the soldiers returned, I left the blade, ran to the bedchamber door and locked it to make the guards think the king needed privacy to go to the bathroom then escaped through the porch. 

When I arrived back at home, I blew the signal trumpet in the mountains for all the children of Israel to hear. All our soldiers met me in the secret place within moments. "Follow me, for the Lord has delivered your enemies, the Moabites into your hands."

I led them to the end of the Jordan river to prevent any Moabite soldier from escaping. With the Lord's help we fought the rest of the day to free the Promised land of the Moabites.

That night all of Israel worshiped the Lord before returning to our homes--not the caves we hid in to this day, but our homes. Thank you God.

1. What did the children of Israel do that was right?
2. What is the left-handed warrior's name?
3. Why did he visit the Moabite king?
4. What did he have hidden?
5. What did he do with it?
6. What was his escape plan?
7. Why did the Lord help the Israelites?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Left-Handed Warrior Will Fight

By Mary Vee
Judges 3

Ehud, the left-handed warrior's thoughts

As far back as I can remember I've been a slave to the king of Moab and have been forced to live with my parents in a tiny cave.  The children of Israel came to conquer and take the Promised Land years ago, but somewhere along the way we lost everything.

My father told me about the days of Joshua and the great victories God gave to Grandpa and our other soldiers. 

A lot of good that did those of us living here today. All I have is a corner of a cold, moldy cave to sleep and eat any crumbs I find.

I must admit, we as a nation did a lot of bad things after Joshua died. Many Israelites worshipped Baal and Asherah instead of  the Lord. We didn't keep His commands and well, we chose those gods over the Lord. That's when the Mesopotamians came here, stole our land, forced us to live in caves, and made us their slaves.

For eight long years we served their king, Cushan-Rishathaim. Yeah, it took that long to realize we needed the Lord's help!  

When we cried out to God, He came to our rescue right away. He didn't have to. We didn't deserve His help since we turned away from Him. The Lord chose Othniel to lead and judge our nation. God was with us the whole time--patiently waiting for us to apologize and ask for His help.

After forty years, the children of Israel turned from God to worship other Baal and other gods again. No, I guess we didn't learn our lesson. The king of Moab marched into the Promised land with his army, stole everything, made us live in caves, and made us his slaves. Again.

For the last miserable eighteen years I've lived in this stinky, dark cave searching for scraps of food while giving everything our family grows to the king of Moab. That lazy king has grown fat with our food while we starve. 

God gave us the Promise Land to worship Him not to grow food for the king of Moab or become Moabite slave. 

Well, I won't do it another day. 

No, sir. I won't. 

From this day forward, I will lead whoever will join me and serve the Lord.

Last night the Israelite elders asked me to take this month's payment to the king of Moab.  Each Israelite family had to give food and animals for the payment. 

This morning God gave me a great idea. I sent this messengers to all our fighting men: "Prepare. When I return from delivering the payment to the king of Moab, we will attack and regain our land. The Lord will be with us. He has heard our cry for help and will deliver us from this slavery."

I put on my best tunic and left.

Come back next time to read what happened to the fat king of Moab. 

1. Where did Ehud and the other Israelites live? Why did they live there?
2. Who conquered the Israelites this time?
3. Why had they been made slaves?
4. What did God want them to do?
5. What does God want us to do when we sin?  (Hint: I John 1:9)
6. What does God promise? (Hint: Joshua 1:5)
7. What did Ehud decide to do? Who gave him the idea? 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Trapped Like a Scared Rabbit

 By Mary Vee

Gladys Aylward's Thoughts

photo courtesy of
Forty men, women, and children moved into what remained of the Inn of the Eighth Happiness with me. They'd lost their homes and family members in the recent bomb attacks and needed a place to lay their heads. 

We didn't have much, but we survived one day at a time.  

We hoped to rebuild homes and businesses in Yang Cheng someday after the war ended. Until then, we watched and listened for the next attack. Thank God we did, because a new unit of Japanese soldiers swarmed into our city like hornets a few days later. 

Families fled to nearby villages to escape. Arm in arm the people in my care scurried on foot for a hours to Bei Chai Chuang, a tiny village snuggled on the backside of a mountain. No road or trail led to the village. Had I not been foot inspector, I'd have never known it existed.

Farmers and store owners from Bei Chai Chuang kept working as though nothing had happened. They fed us, gave us a place to sleep, and welcomed us as family. Armed with the skills of a sly warrior, each man from the village watched and listened as he worked for signs of any Japanese soldiers who might come near.  

A week later a messenger came. "The Japanese have left Yang Cheng." 

The news didn't mean we could return safely. I thought about an important object I left at the inn. A long time ago, I put the deed to the inn in a metal box and buried it in the middle of the court.  With the bombing and other fighting, I realized the box could be discovered. I took a chance and sneaked back to Yang Cheng, leaving the forty people safely behind.

Once at the inn I ran to the kitchen and grabbed a bowl for digging. The sun stood over me like a spotlight as I worked. Only God could protect me from being seen.  

The crusty, dry earth refused to move. Itchy sweat dripped down my neck. I didn't want to lose time scratching my neck or to look about for soldiers or strangers who might find me. I shoved the bowl harder into the ground and broke a piece of ground free. Inch by inch the dirt gave way until the bowl clanked against the metal box.  

My shoulders shivered; not from uncovering the box, but because I sensed someone--somewhere watched me. I glanced toward the gate. Dressed in rags, the old man who delivered water to the village leaned against the stones and stared back.  He was a thief, and I didn't like him.

He huffed. "You better leave, right away. The Japanese are back."

I didn't believe him. "Why should I go? So you can steal from the inn? I can sleep here."

"Our people who came back to check on their homes have hidden behind locked doors. You should too."

I didn't get a chance to speak. An explosion blasted from the other side of Yang Cheng. He'd told the truth! 

How would I escape back to Bei Chai Chuang? I slid from one shadow to another through the city to the west gate. Big mistake. From a hidden doorway I could see Japanese soldiers on the ground shooting at Chinese soldiers positioned on top of the city wall.  

Trapped like a scared rabbit.

I ran like the wind back through the city to the eastern gate and found more Japanese soldiers. They too faced the west wall. 

I ran outside the gate to the cemetery and hid behind a grave stone to ask God for direction. 

Guns and grenades exploded around me. To my left Japanese soldiers attacked Chinese, to my right the edge of the mountain. How would God save me this time?

Come back next week to read what happened next.

Gladys Aylward 

Saturday, June 4, 2011


By Mary Vee
Joshua 22

The Youngest Reubenite Soldier's Thoughts

I'd finally experienced a true victory. The Israelite army challenged the king of Jerusalem with his united armies, as the Lord commanded us to--and won!

My tribe, the Reubenite's, volunteered to stand in the front ranks. I learned from my uncles how to use any available object as a weapon and how to spy out the enemy. 

If you asked me which battle pumped the most energy into my bones I wouldn't know which to choose: the Lord crashing Jericho's walls to the ground, the Lord's flush out soldiers and attack battle plan against Ai, or the Lord's blistering thundercloud blasting hail on the King of Jerusalem's army. Could you choose?

With the Lord's instructions, Joshua led our army through the Promised Land. We conquered hundreds of cities in the Lord's Name and never got tired. The Lord made us swift like eagles and strong as lions. 

Joshua had lived a long life. He grew too old to lead the battles. 

Many more battles needed to be fought, but Joshua needed a break. The Lord showed us how to divide the Promised land for each tribe and to continue fighting the battles. My tribe, and two other tribes had permission to cross back over the river Jordan to our land. 

We said goodbye to our cousins and left for the river.  On the beach, the leaders looked across the waters and sighed. "What will the next generations say about our families? Will they turn away from us and say, 'There they live on the other side of the Jordan; they have nothing to do with the Lord God of Israel?' 

"Let's build an altar to show all Israelites on the west side of the River Jordan our love and devotion to the Lord God of Israel."  We worked all day to finish.

Unfortunately the other tribes thought we wanted to make a new god to worship. They came after us to start a battle. When they arrived, the leaders yelled, "You'll ruin everything! How can you make a god after what the Lord has done for us?"

We fell on our faces and wept. "You don't understand. We only wanted future generations to know we're still part of Israel and we promise our obedience to the Lord even though we live on the other side of the river. This altar shows our love for God."

Our cousins dropped their weapons and hugged us as brothers. Now, that was scary.

1. Have you done something you meant to be good then found yourself in trouble?
2. What did you do?
3. What did the men from the three tribes do when the other tribes yelled?
4. How did the story end?
5. Who helped these Israelite cousins understand each other?