Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Delilah's Evil Plan Part 2

By Mary Vee
Judges 16

From Delilah's Journal

Samson went out into my village for the day. 

While he did his errands I sneaked to the house of one of the Philistine lords and told him what Samson said. "If we bind him with seven fresh bowstrings, not yet dried, then he'll become weak like any other man."

The man nodded. "You'll have the bowstrings before noon. Once you've tied him up shout a signal for us to come. We'll hide in your house before he arrives." Then he shut the door.

At noon, a messenger brought the fresh strings. I hid them in the kitchen. Samson arrived at my house at dinner time. I cooked one of his favorite meals. He ate three extra portions then yawned. 

I smoothed his hair to make it flow down the outside of his chair. "Close your eyes and rest, Samson."

He yawned and closed his eyes. Moments later he snored. I made a sound with a dish to test if he slept deeply. He didn't move.  

I pulled the seven fresh bowstrings out from the hiding place and used them to tie him to the chair. When I finished, I tested the strength of my knots.  Perfect!

I stepped back from him and shouted, "The Philistines are attacking you, Samson!"  

He bolted to a standing position snapping the bowstrings like yarn when it touched fire. The strings fell to the floor. 

Samson looked at the floor and laughed. He held his stomach and laughed some more. "My dear, Delilah. You tied me with these little pieces of yarn?" He sat down and laughed again. "Aww, don't cry." 

I didn't know what to do.  What would the Philistine lords do to me?  Tears flowed down my cheeks. I couldn't stop sobbing. "You've mocked me, Samson. How could you lie to me?" I wiped my face with my sleeve but couldn't stop sobbing. "Please, dear Samson, tell me, what could bind you?"

He laughed once more then cleared his throat. "All right, my dear. I'll tell you. If they bind me securely with new ropes that have never been used, then I will become as weak as any other man."

He yawned. "Enough of these games."

When Samson left. the Philistine lords crept out of the house. "Well bring you new ropes at noon tomorrow. Let's hope they work, for your sake."

I closed the door behind them.

Come back to read what happens next.

1. Who is Delilah?
2. Who wanted to hurt Samson?
3. What did the Philistine lords bring to Delilah? Why?
4. Where did the Philistine lords hide? Why?
5. What happened when Delilah shouted, "The Philistines are attacking you, Samson!"
6. What question did Delilah ask when Samson laughed? Why?
7. Why did the Philistines want to hurt Samson?

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Screaming Train

By Mary Vee

Gladys Aylward's Thoughts

photo courtesy of
Describing a train to a child who has never seen or heard one is like giving instructions to a blind person how to tie his shoes.

The judge who set us free told me about a no cost refugee train that could take us to Siam. The children had to be ready to board first thing in the morning. My job: prepare one hundred children for the trip.

I called the boys and girls together.  "Tomorrow you won't have to walk to the mountains." 

Smiles burst on their faces. "Yeah! But, how will we get to Siam, Ai-weh-deh?"

"Does anyone know what a train is?" I looked at faces ranging from three-years-old to sixteen-years-old. The older ones had heard about trains, but didn't really know what they were. There were no trains in Yang Cheng or anywhere near.

I bent my elbows and pushed my arms next to my waist then moved my elbows in a circle next to my body.  "Chooooooo.  Chooooooo!"  Giggles sprang into the air.  "Chooooooo.  Choooooo. This is the sound of a train. It has wheels that go round and round like this." I moved my elbows in a circle again and took baby tapping steps in a straight line.

"We'll ride with other refuges in big boxes. The wheels will move the boxes toward Siam."  The little ones ran next to me.  "Line up behind me like a long crocodile and copy me."  The rest of the children jumped to their feet to join in the train game.  We played pretend train until bedtime.

"Children, we need to go to sleep early to be ready for the train first thing in the morning.  The conductor won't let any dirty faces or hands sit on the train. You must show me your clean hands and faces before we walk to the platform."

The children jumped like kangaroos to the water. "We'll wash all the dirt away."

After morning breakfast I blew my whistle to call the children. Using the older children as helpers I put the boys and girls into three groups. "We must watch for each other. Stay with your group."

We marched in three squirmy crocodile lines to the train platform and saw the train had not yet arrived. I looked down the track and watched a black engine racing toward us. "Here comes the train."

At first the children hopped and skipped. But as the train drew closer and the sound grew louder their happiness sank to fear.  The train rumbled on the tracks, the whistle screamed, the boxes clanked, and the children fled holding their hands over their ears.

Boys and girls scampered behind rocks and trees. Some ran back to the village and hid in the mission. The train came to a stop then released a loud pshshshshshs.

"Children, come back!"  Those frightened little ones didn't know what to do. I first searched for the older boys and girls then sent them to find the little ones. We found girls hiding in cupboards in the mission and boys hiding behind chairs. They hid in hay bales in the field and behind trees. Fortunately the conductor waited until we found the last little one.

I drew each child close to give them a hug. "You're OK. We need to make a crocodile line and go to the train. I will stay with you the whole time."  I blew the whistle to start our walk again. "Let's sing a song to help us march." We sang one of their favorite Bible songs until we reached the platform.

I looked at the long train car with no seats before us.  "We'll stay together in this train box. There should have plenty of room." The older boys and girls helped the younger children onto the train as I counted them. 

One hour later, the train pulled away from the platform. I was thankful we could ride a train. We had walked for nearly a month over mountains and valleys. A rest would be good. 

We should arrive at Siam soon. The children will have schools, clothes, and food, and a warm place to sleep. Thank you Jesus.

Gladys Aylward

P.S.  Come back next week to read about the fire on the train.

Photo courtesy of Bible Visual Images

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Delilah's Evil Plan

By Mary Vee
Judges 16

From Delilah's Journal

Not long ago a strong Hebrew man named Samson came to my village. He visited often.

Everyone knew about Samson. He had the strength to lift a city gate from its hinge and carry it away. Most of the men stayed away from Samson, because of his strength yet none of them knew where Samson's strength came from.
One day Samson asked me to marry him. When other Philistines in my village heard the news they held a meeting and told me to come. 

The men pounded their fists on a table and shook their heads. One said, "We can't let Samson marry her. That Hebrew will live right here in our village. No telling what he'll do to us." 

Another stood. "We've all heard him say his God made him judge over Israel to conquer us. We Philistines aren't safe.  I say let's capture him before he can capture us."

The rest of the men shouted, "Yeah. Tie him up and make him do our work!"

The leader turned to me.  "Delilah, you must help us." 

I laughed. "What do you expect me to do? I'm not stronger than any of you."

He shook his head. "No. But you can learn where he gets his strength.  Once we know the source of his strength, we can take it away."  

The other men laughed and raised their hands. "Can you imagine? Samson as weak as a little puppy?  We'll tie him up and force him to do all our work!" They cheered together.

The leader turned to me again. "You must help us, Delilah. If you'll find the source of Samson's strength we'll each pay you eleven hundred pieces of silver."

They stared at me, waiting for my answer. I didn't know how I would get Samson to tell me the source of his strength, but for eleven hundred pieces of silver I was willing to try. "All right. I'll ask him. I won't promise you an answer--but I'll ask."

The men cheered. "Delilah. Delilah the one who will conquer Samson."

After supper I gave Samson a drink and pulled a stool close to him to rest his feet. He smiled and laid his head back to rest.

Now was my chance to ask. "Um, Samson. I have a question."

He took a sip of his drink. "Yes?"

"Samson, you're stronger than any other man I know. Please. Will you tell me where your great strength lies? What could possibly bind you to overpower your strength?"

He stroke his beard and thought for a moment. "Well, dear Delilah, if someone bound me with seven fresh bowstrings, not yet dried, then I would become weak like any other man." He took another sip of his drink. "But have no fear, I won't loose my strength."

The next day I reported Samson's answer to the leaders.

Come back next week, Wednesday to read more of this story.

1. Was Delilah a Philistine or a Hebrew?
2. Why were the men of this Philistine village afraid of Samson?
3. What did they do when they heard Samson wanted to marry Delilah?
4. What was their plan?
5. How much did they offer to pay Delilah?
6. Did she agree?
7. Who gave Samson his strength?
8. Why--what was Samson's job?
9. What did you learn from this story?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Samson Outsmarts the Philistines

By Mary Vee

Samson's Thoughts

I'm not sure why I liked to visit Philistine cities. With all the trouble they've given the Israelites you'd think I'd learn to stay away.  But I didn't.  One day I went to Gaza and met Delilah. 

I went to her house for dinner. That night, though, I heard odd rustling sounds outside the window. At first I thought the wind blew bush branches, but then a pshwa, shewee, shewoo noise sounded. Sure seemed like whispering to me. 

Hmmmmmmm. Had to be Philistines. Question was, how many Philistines tried to hide outside that window? I glance at Delilah. She didn't seem to hear the sounds. Odd. That noise was not my imagination. Philistines were outside the window.

A little while later a pshwa, shewee, shewoo noise came from the other side of the house. And a few birds took off from a nearby tree, like something spooked them. The house had to be surrounded by Philistines looking to kill me.

I needed a plan.

Since the men outside hadn't blasted through the door they'd probably planned to attack in the morning. If I left in the middle of the night I could surprise those Philistines with my own plan.

At midnight, I saw Delilah sound asleep then sneaked to the door. Once outside, I glanced around and didn't see anyone. I listened for a moment. Sure enough soldier snores came from all around the house. I was right, they planned to attack me in the morning. Hah, they fell asleep at their post!

I crept through the line of men and walked to the city gate. 

Since the sun had gone down, the city gate had been closed. I pressed my hand on the thick doors and the posts.  At that moment, a brilliant idea popped into my mind. I could pull the door off the hinge and remove the posts. Yes. The Philistines couldn't hold me prisoner.

With God's strength, I yanked the doors off their hinge then set them on the ground. Next I pulled the posts out of their anchors, bar and all.

I hoisted the doors and posts to my shoulders and hiked to the top of the hill which faced Hebron.  So much for the Philistine's sneak plan. Hah.  

1.  Why did Samson go to Gaza?
2.  Who did he meet there?
3.  What happened while he visited a home?
4.  What did Samson do at midnight?
5.  How did Samson get out of the city?
6.  Who gave Samson his strength.

Photo courtesy of

Monday, August 22, 2011


By Mary Vee

Gladys' Thoughts

photo courtesy of
The older children helped me rouse the younger ones early in the morning. "Hurry children. You need to eat and then go with me to speak with a judge."

"Why, Ai-weh-deh?"

One of the older children stooped down and  spoke to all the little ones. "A police officer thinks we didn't cross the Yellow River."

"But, we did!"

I took their empty bowls and gave them to the cook. "I know, children. We need to tell the judge about the soldier who helped us cross the river."

One of my five-year-old boys ran to me and hugged my legs. "I want to lead. I'll tell the judge about our boat rides."  Soon all the other children joined him.

"If you're ready, let's go." The children flocked out the door ahead of me and marched--not ran--marched like little soldiers to the Mandarin's office.

Police officers stood outside the door. "Your children can not go in this building."

I nodded. "All right, children. Stay here while I speak with the Mandarin."

They groaned and pouted. "We want to help." "Let us talk to the Mandarin." "Please let us go inside."

"Sixpence, you and the older children need to care for the little ones. I should be back shortly."

The police officer led me into the Mandarin's chambers. "Yes, Officer, what is her offense?"

The inspector bowed to the Mandarin. "Oh great Mandarin. This woman says she crossed the Yellow River. I say she did not."

I bowed t the Mandarin. "I crossed the river. How else could I have helped 100 children to get here from Yang Cheng?"

The inspector picked up a scroll and handed it to me. "Read this."

The document stated by order of the National Army no one could cross the Yellow River. The date showed five days before.  "Oh, I see. Now I know why we couldn't find a boat back at the river. Well, I'm telling you we crossed the Yellow River. An officer called for a boat which took us across."

The inspector squinted and grabbed the scroll from my hands. "You see, Great Mandarin! She's guilty by her own words."

I pressed my hands on my hips. "The Japanese were coming! I had to get the children to safety!"

The children shouted through the windows, "Let her go." " Let Ai-weh-dah go." They repeated these words over and over.

The Mandarin nodded, which meant no one else could speak. "Inspector, I'd don't think this is a big crime. She wanted to help her children, and she did."

He turned to me. "If you can quiet your children I can tell you about my idea."

I bowed then ran outside. "Shhhhh children. Everything is fine. I need a few more minutes. Please wait over by that tree."

I hurried back to my place before the Mandarin and bowed. He lowered then raised his head. "Every morning, a train leaves our village and travels to Siam."

"Thank you , Mandarin. But, we have no tickets."

He smiled. "All seats on the train are for refugees. The trip is free."

My eyes must have grown three times wide. "Free?" 

"Yes. tomorrow morning take your children to the train station. You may go."

I bowed. "Thank you, great Mandarin."  I walked backward to the door as was the custom. Before reaching the door, I peeked at the Inspector. His mouth had fallen open and his eyes popped wide.

Once outside the building I gathered the children. "Guess what children. We're free! The Mandarin said we could go."

"Yeah! We love you Ai-weh-deh."

"I love all of you, too. Let's go. We have a big day tomorrow."

The children had never seen or heard a train before. I wonder how they will react.
 Come next week to find out.


Picture compliment of Bible Visual Images

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Samson Used the Jawbone of a Donkey as a Weapon

By Mary Vee
Judges 15

Samson's Thoughts

My Israelite brothers treated me like a superhero. "Samson killed a lion. Samson ripped a city gate from the hinges and carried it to the top of a hill. Samson--Samson--Samson."

Tired, disappointed, and wanting to get away from the Philistines after what they did to my wife and her father I walked into a remote area to be by myself. I camped in the cleft of the rock at Etam to get out of the hot sun.

For several days I rested in that quiet place until brothers from the tribe of Judah came looking for me. What ever they wanted had to be important. Three thousand of them crowded by the cleft.

"Samson, Samson! We want to talk to you. Get out here."

I peeked out from behind a rock. "What? What's going on?"

They came closer to me. "Samson, you're in so much trouble. Why did you do it? The Philistines are mad, burning mad. They're ready to kill us. You know the Philistines rule over us.  If we don't serve them, they'll destroy our homes and crops."

I shook my head and huffed. "I only did to them what they did to me."

"You can't do whatever you want, Samson. I don't care how strong you are, you're one man. Only one man. The Philistines will make our lives worse because of you." They opened their hands to show ropes. "We've come to arrest you and take you to the Philistines."

I wanted them to think they could tie me up.  I nodded. "OK. I'll go. But, promise you won't kill me."

The men nodded. "We won't.  Trust me, though, you won't be able to escape once we've tied you up. We'll give you to the Philistines to make them happy. It's the only way to keep our families safe. You gotta understand." 

I understood. The Philistines scared them. But they didn't scare me. I held out my arms and let them tie me with the new ropes.

My Israelite brothers escorted me back toward Judah. Before we reached the city gates, the Philistines ran toward me screaming something. I couldn't understand their words. Let's just say they weren't happy.

The closer the Philistines came the more God's strength flowed to my muscles. The new ropes turned into soggy threads and fell from my arms. I glanced down at the ground and found a jawbone from a donkey. Perfect!

I picked up the jawbone, took a fighting stance, and whipped it at each Philistine who dared to come near me. I killed a thousand of their men in a flash! Sweat poured down my face and neck like water flowing into a brook.  After the last Philistine fell to the ground, I dropped the jawbone and sighed.

I was hot and my mouth felt like a sandstorm had blasted through.  No water in sight. Not even a puddle. I leaned against a tree and moaned. "God, You gave me this victory over the Philistines and now You're gonna let me die of thirst?"  

Before I blinked my eyes, the ground next to my foot shook. A crack formed then a wide gap. Bubbles floated to the top and spilled off to the side followed by a stream of cool water. "Yes! Thank you, Lord." I pressed my face to the water and slurped a refreshing drink. It tasted delicious. I drank until I could drink no more. "Thank you, Lord."

God chose me judge Israel for twenty years during the time of the Philistines. Each time I needed strength to conquer a group of Philistines, God gave me what I needed. 

I wasn't a super hero. Just someone used by God to do His will.

1.  Who came to arrest Samson?
2.  Why did they want to arrest him?
3.  What did they bring to tie up Samson?
4.  Did it work?
5.  What happened when the Philistines saw Samson?
6.  Who gave Samson the strength to judge the Philistines?
7.  How long dd God let Samson judge Israel?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Samson's Fox Fire

By Mary Vee
Judges 15

Samson's Thoughts

I missed my wife. 

I'd stayed at my father's house until the wheat had been harvested. We finished our work early, which made me glad;  I could finally go see my wife. 

I took a young goat as a gift for her father.  When I arrived, he opened the door and gasped. "Samson, why are you here? I didn't expect to see you again."

I held the goat out toward him. "I want to see my wife. Please accept my gift."

He shook his head. "You can't see her. I let another man marry her while you were gone. Now, Samson, don't be angry. You can marry her younger sister."

I took a deep breath and squinted at him. "You won't let me see my wife? You'll be sorry. This time you Philistines have gone too far."

I set the goat down and stomped away.  Why did I trust the people from this village? God said to conquer the Philistines and with His strength, I will--mark my word. 

The further I walked the more anger boiled in my veins. I slammed my fists together. I need a plan.

In a field not far away, I found foxes hiding in their dens. Immediately a great idea came to me. I could use the foxes to conquer the Philistines! 

 It didn't take long to capture 300 foxes.  

Next, I made one hundred fifty torches. 

I pulled two of the foxes out of the group, turned them back to back, tied a torch between their tails, and lit it. The animals bolted away from me toward the fields. They turned right, then left, trying to escape each other. Everywhere they ran, fires sparked setting the ripe wheat on fire. By the time I released the rest of the foxes, fires blazed from every field destroying all the Philistine crops.

Their grain, shocks, vineyards, and olive groves burned to the ground.

The next day, I went to my wife's home. She and her father had been killed by the Philistines.

Apparently the Philistines thought they could stop me.

Oh, were they wrong.

God gave me strength to conquer them all right. I found the men who took the lives of my wife and her father, killed them--then went home.

I still like visiting the Philistine villages. And yes, I'll visit them again. But not for a few days.

For the next twenty years, God gave me super strength to conquer the Philistines and judge Israel. 


1.  Why did Samson take a gift to his wife's father?
2.  What did his wife's father say?
3.  How did Samson punish the Philistines the first time?
4.  After Samson heard what the Philistines did to his wife and her father, what did he do?
5.  What did God give Samson?  Why?

The Bible says, God appointed Samson to punish other nations.

Photo courtesy of Christian Image Resources

Monday, August 15, 2011

Glady's and Her Children Arrested

By Mary Vee

Gladys Thoughts

photo courtesy of
For the first time in many days the children and I woke with full stomachs thanks to the people at the last village.

After our meal we hiked until evening to get as far away from Japanese soldiers as possible. We slept in a field under a dark sky dotted with sparkling stars. I'm happy to say the children sprang to life as if we had first left Yang Cheng. Food and sleep. How comforting.

Finally, our troubles are behind us.

The next village we came to was Mien Chih. The city had suffered from bombings. Most buildings had been destroyed. An old woman greeted us. "There isn't anything to share here. You should go to the refuge center in the old temple."  She pointed the way then patted a few of the wee children on the heads.

The old temple had huge pots of warm food ready for any refuge who came along. Once again, the children and I filled our stomachs.  God had blessed us. Two large meals in two days. A safe place to rest. Truly our troubles are behind us.

After the children ate, they ran outside to play.  I leaned forward and rubbed my feet. How much further, Lord? 

Other refugees had gathered in the large room to eat and talk about their experiences. I closed my eyes and listened to several of their conversations. 

An inspector and several police men stormed through the door. They searched the room then walked toward me.  The inspector came close to me, planted his feet with authority, and folded his arms. "You say you crossed the Yellow River? I have heard this report from others. Did you cross the river?"

I nodded. "Yes."

He huffed. "Then you are under arrest."

"Why? What have I done wrong?"

He rolled his eyes. "You said you crossed the Yellow River. That's impossible. Did you cross alone?"

One of us was confused.   "I crossed the river with the children you saw playing outside."

He took a step forward. "No one can cross the river with the Japanese soldiers near."

I turned my hands up and shrugged. "A Chinese soldier called for a boat to take us across."

"Impossible." He said. "You couldn't have met or had help from a Chinese soldier. No one is allowed to cross the river. You are under arrest."

I shrugged again. "Well, I wasn't going to wait for the Japanese to capture or kill us. If you arrest me, you will have to arrest my children, too. They crossed the river with me."

Sweat dripped down the fat inspector's face. "These children are in your care?"

"Yes. Tell you what. Tomorrow morning I'll go to the police station with you." I laughed. "You don't think I would try to escape with 100 children?"

The inspector growled and stomped out of the room. "If you're not here in the morning, I will hunt you down."

Next week: our trial

See you then.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Samson's Riddle

By Mary Vee
Judges 14

Samson's Thoughts

A few days after I killed the lion (you can read the story here. )  I went back to see the lion's body.

A swarm of bees had buried their hive deep between the bones. Rich, golden honey had dripped out. I grabbed a branch from a tree and waved it over the hive. The bees zapped from their home and swarmed to a flowering bush. While they were gone, I dipped my hand inside and scooped out honey. 

Fresh, warm honey.  Gooey. Delicious.

I gave some to my parents, but I didn't tell them about killing the lion.

A few days later I married a girl from a nearby village. Following the wedding, I gave a banquet for her family and the rest of her village. All the Philistine men came. Yes, the girl was a Philistine.

On the first night of the banquet I wanted to have some fun. I asked the Philistine men, "Do you want to hear a riddle? If you can correctly solve and explain it to me before the seventh day of this banquet ends, I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothes. but, if you can't explain the riddle to me, you'll have to give me thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothes."

The Philistine men looked at each other and whispered then turned to me. "Okay, tell us your riddle."

This is the riddle I told:  

Out of the eater came something to eat,
and out of the strong cam something sweet.

They scratched their beards and whispered to each other. No one knew the answer.

For seven days I watched the Philistines work on the riddle. but couldn't find the answer. Each night after our wedding, my wife came to me and cried. "You don't love me. You told the men from my family a riddle yet you didn't tell me the answer!" 

I laughed."Dear wife, I haven't told my parents the answer either." She cried and cried. I couldn't get any sleep. After several days I couldn't stand the noise any longer. I told her the answer to the riddle.

That night I went to the banquet. It was the seventh night. I looked at the Philistine men and smiled. "So, do you have the answer to my riddle?"

The nodded and smiled back. "Yes.  What is sweet____. Honey is the answer.  What is strong___. Lion is the answer."

Those tricky Philistine men. They must have found out the answer from my wife. Anger boiled from my toes to my head.  The great strength God gave me for the lion flowed into my muscles. I went to Ashkelon and killed thirty Philistines, took their clothing, and gave it to the men who answered the riddle.

I didn't want to be around those Philistines any more so I went back to my parent's house.  My wife stayed with her Philistine family.

1.  What did Samson find in the lion's body?
2.  Why did Samson have a banquet?  Who came?
3.  What did Samson tell his guests?
4.  What did Samson want them to give him?
5.  Why did Samson tell his wife the answer?  
Samson didn't know the men from the village talked to his wife and promised to burn her family's house if she didn't tell them answer.
6. What did Samson do when he heard the Philistine men's correct answer?

God gave Samson the strength to conquer the Philistines

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Samson Kills the Lion

By Mary Vee
 Judges 14

Samson's Thoughts

Did you ever feel like you were different from everyone else?  I did.

My parents never cut my hair and wouldn't let me have many foods or drinks my friends had.

One day my father called me out to the field to help him. He finally told me about the day an angel gave him special instructions for my care. Apparently an Angel of the Lord spoke with mom and him before I was born.

As I grew older, I heard my parents and other adults talk about the Philistines. They'd conquered many of our villages forty years ago and have treated the survivors like slaves. Several of my friends still can't find enough food and their houses have been destroyed.

I knew I should have stayed away from the Philistine villages, but I couldn't. I wanted to know who they were, how they dressed, and what they did. When I had free time I walked to one of their villages not far from my home.

On the way there I found a fig tree at the top of a hill. It'd been a while since I'd eaten and a treat would taste good.  

When I reached for an extra large fig on an upper branch, I saw an animal dart from a bush just beyond a tree in the field. It crouched as if stalking something. The creature picked up speed, as it crossed the field. One section of sparse grain let me see the animal's body. the golden tail and mane ruffled in the wind. 

No problem. That lion is down there and I'm up here. I plucked several figs and stuffed them into my mouth before checking if the fruit was ripe. Yuck. Nasty. Bitter taste. I spit those disgusting figs out in a flash.

I looked around for something to get rid of the bad taste. A small distance away stood a large fig tree with ripe, juicy figs hanging from every branch. Perfect. My stomach growled, begging for food.

I walked to the second fig tree, reached out, and grabbed a fig. That's when I heard something breathing.  Huffing and puffing close to me. I whipped around and saw the lion running towards me. My heart blasted blood into every cell in my body. I didn't have a moment to think or to find a weapon. 

Then, something different happened. My muscles automatically tightened ready to do battle. A surge of energy sprang from somewhere, I didn't know where. I didn't know why the lion's fangs didn't scare me. A voice told me, "Don't be afraid." It must have been God.

The lion roared, ready to attack, then increased speed. His extended claws flew toward my face ready to rip me from my bones. I didn't breathe.

My hands flew into defense position until the lion fell forward to the ground. My hands and arms attacked with a speed and power as if I had killed thousands of lions. 

When the creature stopped, I stepped back and stared at it. 

How did it happen?

I held my hands out then tipped them over. Where did the strength and speed come from?

I tipped my head back to take a deep breath and saw the vast sky above. Then I knew. God gave me my strength.


1.  How did Samson know he was different from his friends?
2.  What group of people forced the Israelites to become slaves?
3.  What animal surprised Samson.
4.  What happened when the lion attacked?
5.  What did Samson learn?
6.  Why did God give Samson this? (hint:  think of the Philistines)

Photo courtesy of Christian Image Source 

Monday, August 8, 2011

When People Share...

By Mary Vee

Glady's  Thoughts

photo courtesy of
The children and I waved good bye to the soldiers who helped us across the river then continued up the road.  

After a few boring days trapped on the wrong side of the river, the boys and girls were more than happy to walk a a little further.

The officer told me there would be a village two to three miles past the river. Once the children realized they would finally have food they sprang ahead. I could barely keep up with them!

When the first house came into view, I called the children together. "I know you're hungry and want to hurry to the homes, but we must be kind. The villagers don't know how far we've traveled. Use your best manners, and wait for me to speak to them first. Let's give them a reason to want to know Jesus, OK?"

I don't know how these children foundd twinkly smiles after all they'd been through, but they did.  

The village elder met us at the gate. I think he must have been a grandfather because he opened his arms wide and hugged as many children as would fit, then he went to another group. Every child received a hug and a welcome from him.  

He split the children into small groups and assigned them to houses in the village. Each family made a huge meal for their young guests. The village elder invited me to his home where he, too, serve a large meal. 

I sat at his table and marveled at the food. He sipped some tea. "Many refugees have come through our village seeking a safe place to live. I don't know how, but we've had enough to share with each person who has visited, including your children."

I bowed. "The Lord has blessed you with extra food. And you have chosen to give it to those in need. Thank you for sharing with the children and me. We haven't had full stomachs for many days."

The village elder nodded. "Yes, I understand. We've heard the same story from each person traveling through our village."

A moment later several of my children ran from one home to the next. They shouted, "What did you get to eat?" 

One answered, "bingsies", another answered "mientiao", another answered "rice cakes". 

I waited until all the children came out to play in the streets to make sure each had eaten their fill. I must admit, it was nice to have a full stomach again. 

I bowed to the elder. "Thank you for sharing with us. The people of your village have been most gracious." I faced the window. "Look at the children. They haven't had energy to play for days. Because you shared your food, they will be able to continue the journey to safety."

He smiled the same kind of twinkly smile I'd seen on my children.  

I called the children together to continue our journey. We bowed to the villager. "Thank you."

           So many faces we'd never seen before--most likely will never see again. 

                     Yet God gave them extra to share with us.

                                When people are willing to share--God shows His Love though them.

That night we slept on our mats in a field. We looked at the stars and sang Bible songs until we fell asleep.

Thank you, Jesus.


P.S.  God continued to give us opportunities to see Him work.
Next week I'll tell you about the policeman who wanted to arrest all the children.

**the food in the picture is from a restaurant in Beijing, China. thank you to Visual Bible Alive, once again for another wonderful photo from China.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Samson's Dad

By Mary Vee
Judges 13

Manoah's Thoughts

My wife and I live in the northern area of Israel. I'm from the tribe of Dan. We don't have any children. I had always hoped the Almighty would give us a child, sure would be nice to have a son. But these things are in the hands of the Lord.

One night when I came home from my work something unusual happened. 

My wife set the food on the table. She had an odd look on her face, like she wanted to tell me something but didn't know what to say. I decided to wait until she could speak.

After a few minutes she said, "A Man of God visited me today. He looked like an Angel of God--very awesome." she took a deep breath. "I can't find the words to describe Him.  I didn't think to ask where He was from and He didn't tell me His name.

She pressed her hands together. "He spoke to me, Manoah."

She looked out the window and thought for a moment. I tried to imagine what the Angel of God looked like. What would I do if I had met Him? I had to admit, I didn't know.

She smiled and faced me. "He knew we didn't have any children."

Her smile told me the rest of her news would be good.  I sat forward waiting to hear more.

Her eyes closed for a moment. "He said we would have a baby. A boy. He also told me not to drink any wine, or anything like it. Oh, and I am not to eat any unclean animal because this baby will be a Nazarite to God from the first day he is in my womb to the day he dies."

I jumped from my chair. "The Angel said our son will be used by God? This is wonderful news. I have so many questions!"

I ran outside and looked up at the heavens. "O my Lord, please let the Man of God whom You sent come to us again and teach us what we shall do for the child who will be born."

I could barely sleep that night. A few days later my wife ran out to greet me. Her news must have been important for her to run so wildly. "Manoah!" She cried. "Remember the Angel of God I told you about the other day? Well, He just not appeared to me!"

Praise God. He answered my prayer.  "Show me."

I followed her to the Man. I didn't know what to say. First, I caught my breath. "Are You the Man who spoke to this woman?"

He nodded. "I am."

"What should we do for the boy You've promised. What work will he do?"

The Angel of the Lord said, "The most important instruction I have for your wife is be careful. She may not eat anything that comes from the vine, nor drink wine or anything like it. She also may not eat anything unclean. She needs to obey all my commands."

To think, the Lord God chose us to have a special baby boy!  I wondered what he would be like. I wondered what God wanted him to do. Until I could find out, I decided to follow all the Angel of the Lord's instructions.

1.  Why did the Angel of the Lord visit Manoah's wife?
2.  What did he tell her to do?
3.  Who did she first tell her news?
4.  After he heard the news what did Manoah do?
5.  Who visited Manoah?
6.  What did He tell Manoah to do?
7.  What kind of father do you think Manoah will be?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Tree Parable

By Mary Vee
Judges 9

Jotham, the youngest son of Gideon told this parable
to the people of Shechem:

One day a group of trees decided to meet to talk talking about their problems. They shouted, whined and complained.  After several hours, one tree suggested, "Lets appoint a king to rule over us. If we had a king, he could solve our problems." 

The other trees clapped their leaves together. "Great idea! Let's ask Olive to be our king."

Not one of those trees remembered the great Lord God who created every root, trunk, branch, and leaf. 

The leaders of the trees wandered up the hill to speak with Olive.  "We need a king to rule over us. Will you be our king?"

Olive rolled his branches. "Seriously? You want me to stop making olives which are pressed into oil and used to honor God and men and go to sway over sway over trees?  I think not!"

The leaders of the trees lumbered back to the meeting. "He said, 'No.'"

The trees grumbled for a few minutes until one suggested, "Lets ask Fig to be our king."

Once again, not one of those trees remembered the great Lord God who created every root, trunk, branch, and leaf. 

The leaders hiked up the mountain to speak with Fig. "We need a king to rule over us. Please be our king and solve our problems."

Fig smiled and shook his trunk in his usual kind way. "I couldn't stop making sweet figs to be your king. What would the people eat instead of my good fruit?" His branches shook as he gently laughed. "I am not your king."

The leaders of the trees shuffled back to the meeting. "He said, 'No.'"

The trees twiddled their branches for a few minutes until one suggested, "Lets ask Vine to be our king."

Once again, not one of those trees remembered the great Lord God who created every root, trunk, branch, and leaf. 

The leaders of the trees proudly paraded through the valley to speak with Vine. "We need a king to rule over us. You must be our king."

Vine crept toward the tree trunks and wound himself around their trunks. He looked into their knothole eyes. "You want me to stop making juicy grapes which cheers both God and men to sway over you trees?" The vine squeezed a little tighter. "No way."

The leaders tugged free of the vine then trudged back to the meeting. "He said, "No.'"

The trees at the meeting wrung their branches. "Who is left to ask?"

One tree answered, "Let's all go to ask Bramble to be out king."  The trees clapped their leaves to the great idea.

Sadly, not one of those trees remembered the great Lord God who created every root, trunk, branch, and leaf. 

The trees hiked through the swamps to speak with Bramble. "You must come and reign over us!"

Bramble snickered. "If in truth you anoint me as king over you then come and take shelter in my shade. But if not, let fire come to burn all trees."

The trees chose their king.

1. Why did the trees want a king?
2. Why did Olive tree say, "No"?
3. Why did Fig tree say, "No"?
4. Why did Vine say, "No"?
5. Who did the trees forget and as a result didn't want for their king? 
6. What did the trees choose?

One of Gideon's sons, Abimelech, decided he wanted to be king. He managed to kill all of his brothers except Jotham. He convinced the people of Shechem to make him king. Jotham used this parable to let them know they did not choose wisely.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Crossing the Yellow River

By Mary Vee

Gladys Aylward's Thoughts

photo courtesy of
I'd learned long ago to put my full trust in God. He'd always helped me. 

There have been times though, when God let me struggle through difficult times. I didn't know which would happen on this day. But I knew God loved us.

The children had grown tired of their games along the shore of the Yellow River. The older boys said they couldn't find any more food in the nearby abandoned houses. 

After Sualan, one of the older boys, and I prayed for a miracle we waited for God to answer. He had such faith.

Sualan gathered the children together in a circle. We sang songs and told stories to make them laugh. In the middle of a song, one of the children pointed behind me, "A soldier!"  

I whipped my head around and sighed when I saw his Chinese uniform. Thank you Lord.

The young soldier didn't walk far before the little ones sprang toward him. They tugged on his uniform and laughed.  "Ai-weh-dah! A soldier. Come."

The officer walked close to our camp. He stared at my face then frowned. "You're a foreigner."

"Yes, I am."

"What are you doing here with all these children?"

"I'm taking them to Siam where they'll be safe."

"This river is closed, you can't be here."

"I think I realize that, officer. If I had a way to cross the river, I wouldn't be here."

He huffed. "The Japanese are near. Don't you understand the war will soon be here? Who's in charge of these children?"

"I am, Officer. We're trying to escape the war by crossing the river."

He stared at me for a few minutes. Maybe he thought I was a spy! I chose to stand still and keep silent, as an officer would expect a woman in China to do.  He looked at the children. They giggled and played. They didn't act like children who HAD to stay with me, like prisoners. Rather their happy faces showed they belonged to me.  He must have decided I told the truth. "All right. I will help you."

He whistled a high pitched signal. Someone from across the river whistled back. The officer folded his arms and turned to me. "Crossing the river is dangerous. If Japanese planes attack, I can't stop them. But once you get across, you will find a village where people can give you food."

I glanced at Sualan. He smiled and nodded back. "See, Ai-weh-deh? God answered!"

"Yes, He sure did."

One boat made three trips to take all of us across the river. The officer called his soldiers to help load the last group of children into the boat, but he stayed by me. Maybe he was surprised a foreigner would help one hundred children flee a battlefield. He held my arm to steady me as I climbed into the boat. "You look ill. You should see the doctor in the village."

I bowed. "Thank you. But I must first get the children to Siam, then I will visit a doctor."

We watched the skies. No Japanese airplanes had buzzed over the river the whole time it took for the three boat trips. The soldiers in the boat seemed surprised. 

One looked at the sky, "Planes have flown over this part of the river nearly every hour. I wonder why none came while we took the children across."

Well, I knew why. God had answered our prayer. God also showed Sualan He would answer his prayers.

Come back again next week.

Gladys Aylward