Monday, December 31, 2012

Hudson Taylor- Chinese Scholar

By Mary Vee

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes

On a hot August day I made preparations for my eighth missionary journey. I'd already mentioned my decision to dress like the Chinese to ease the people's fears when I came to their city. They were not accustomed to foreigners visiting and tended to attack or shy away from European missionaries.

I found a local barber in Shanghai willing to help. He shaved my head, all except for a small patch of hair on the back. He dyed that portion of hair black then attached a long braided pigtail of black Chinese hair. To complete the look, a black ribbon was tied to the end in the same way all Chinese men wore their hair.

The barber stepped back, nodded, and smiled at his work. "You almost look Chinese."

I stood, not expecting the feel of the braid, and couldn't help tipping my head side to side causing the pigtail to sway. The barber bowed as I handed him money. I returned the bow exactly as he had done, keeping my eyes and back in the same position. 

The Lord had blessed me with funds from William Berger to rent a house with five rooms. How nice to have space to move about and study. I'd returned to my new house to change into the new Chinese clothes I bought yesterday. 

To see how the people would respond to my new look, I went for a walk in the city. Men and women treated as though I were no different than any other Chinese person! The plan worked, so far.

The next day, Dr. Parker met me at the dock for our missionary journey. "My man, I hardly recognized you. You look like a Chinese scholar." 

I bowed as the Chinese did and smiled. 

He and I set sail for Ningbo, where he had set up a new medical office. To keep the Chinese hair look, I also paid a barber to go along to take care of my new hairstyle.

We stopped at several cities along the way, sharing God's gift of salvation with the people and giving them Christian literature. Dr. Parker showed me his new office in Ningbo and asked, once again if I'd like to stay with his family. While staying with other Europeans took away some of my loneliness, I knew God wanted me to continue the work He sent me to do.

I left Dr. Parker and traveled to Hangzhou Bay in my boat. The people welcomed me without calling me names. They listened to my words about God with respect and didn't attack. Their response showed my change in appearance would further the ministry of Christ. 

Unfortunately, the Europeans living in the Shanghai settlement became upset. No other missionary dared to dress like the people. They wanted to stand apart. Many European merchants and missionaries laughed and scorned me. "You look like a fool. How dare you degrade the British name by dressing like a Chinese man? What will the Chinese think of us?"

Their gossiping did bother me. Europeans living in Shanghai accused me of not having the qualifications to be a missionary, that I wasn't ordained, had no church support and dressed like a Chinaman. I refused to allow their words to stop me. This is what God placed on my heart to do and I would see it through for the Glory of God.

J. Hudson Taylor

Do you have any questions?

Photo courtesy of

Research resources: J. Hudson Taylor, An Autobiography by J. Hudson Taylor; It is Not Death to Die, a new biography of Hudson Taylor by Jim Cromarty; Hudson Taylor Founder, China Inland Mission by Vance Christie; J. Hudson Taylor, A Man in Christ, by Roger Steer, and Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret by dr. & Mrs. Howard Taylor.

Happy New Year, 
and thank you for following Hudson Taylor's stories, 
Mary Vee

Saturday, December 29, 2012

David-The Sacrifice that Stopped a Plague

By Mary Vee
II Samuel 24

From David's Notes

The prophet Gad came to me again with a message. "Go build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite."

Photo courtesy of
I didn't ask any questions, I left right away for Araunah's house. 

He came out and greeted me, bowing his face low to the ground. "Why has my lord the king come to my home?"

"I have come to buy your threshing floor.  There I will build an altar to the Lord as He asked in order for the plague among our people may end."

He kept his head low and spoke again. "You may take the threshing floor and offer any sacrifice to Him. Look, I have oxen for burnt sacrifice and tools, and the yokes for wood. You make have all of this. With this I pray God will accept your sacrifice."

I shook my head. "No, I cannot accept these gifts. But, I will gladly buy it from you for a price. I cannot offer a sacrifice that costs me nothing."

We agreed on a price of fifty shekels of silver which I paid right then. After handing him the money I went up to the threshing floor, built and altar, and offered burnt and peace offerings to the Lord God of Israel.

Afterward the Lord was pleased and the plague stopped.

I became quite tired afterwards and went back to the palace to rest. My body was old and I felt sick. I felt a terrible chill throughout my body. The servants brought blankets and hot soup. Nothing warmed me enough. My advisors found a young woman to take care of me, cook food in my room, and bring me whatever I needed.

I knew my days would soon be over and a king would have to be named in my place. For now, I think I will sleep and talk about it again next time.

1.  What prophet brought God's message to David?
2.  What did God want David to do?
3.  Did David respond right away?
4.  What did Araunah want to give David?
5.  Did David accept Araunah's gift? Why or why not?
6.  What happened after David offered the sacrifice?
7.  David was very old. What did he need to do next?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

David-Greed and Pride

By Mary Vee
II Samuel 24

From David's Journal

I don't know why I did it. I shouldn't have.

I called Joab, the captain of my army. He met me in my chambers. "Joab, I want you to go throughout all the tribes of Israel, from the far north corner of Dan to the farthest south in Beersheba and count the people in our land."

photo courtesy of
Joab stood silent for a minute. He stoke his beard. "May the Lord your God multiply the people before your eyes as a blessing. Why would you want a census taken? The Lord has blessed us with enough fighting men."

"It is not your business," I answered. 

He didn't bother to argue any longer. He took the other captains with him and went about the land counting all the people of Israel.

After going through all the land, Joab and the other captains returned to Jerusalem. They were gone nine months and twenty days. Joab came to my chamber and reported the numbers he collected: Eight hundred thousand valiant men who could fight with a sword and five hundred thousand men from Judah.

The second the words fell from Joab's lips I knew I had sinned. My heart ached with guilt and forced me to go to the Lord and confess. "I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Oh God, please forgive me for I have been foolish."

The next morning the prophet Gad came to me with a message from the Lord. "My lord, God has spoken His judgement against you. He will allow you to choose one of three punishments: 1. seven years of famine will strike the land. 2. you will run from your enemies for three months while they attack you. 3. Three days of plague in the land. Which would you have me say is your choice?"

"This is terrible. Please let me fall into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are great. Do not let me fall into the hands of man like the first two choices would bring."

The prophet Gad took my answer to the Lord. I didn't know how to prepare the people for the next three days.

The Lord sent a plague upon Israel from the morning to the appointed time. From the north in Dan to the south in Beersheba seventy thousand men died. The angel stretched His hand over Jerusalem to destroy it, but the Lord stopped the destruction and told the angel to stop.

I cried to the Lord as the angel struck the people, "I am the one who sinned. I have done wickedly. These people of yours, what have they done against You?"

The Lord ended the plague.
1. What did David ask Joab to do?
2. Did Joab agreed with the command?
3. Did Joab carry out the order?
4. What happened?
5. What did God say?
6. Which punishment did David choose and why?
7. How did David show he was sorry?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Hudson Taylor-Living Among the People Like Jesus

Mary Vee

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes

I realize this is Christmas time for you readers. How timely that I tell you about my seventh missionary journey because seven is a number God uses so often. And this journey caused me to become more like Jesus.

My friend, John Burdon left with me on June 8th for Ningbo. We of course preached to every person along the way and gave New Testaments and Christian literature. 

We stopped in Zhapu for the night and explained we were travelers sharing God's love. Two families offered us lodging in their home. One family took John the other took me. I had a wonderful time living as the people of the land. I ate with chopsticks, slept of a straw bed, and spent the evening as they would. 

It occurred to me that I could feel comfortable wearing the same kind of clothes as the Chinese people, I certainly had mastered eating with chopsticks. The thought kept with me all night long and for days later. 

On all our previous missionary journeys, people along our way would first see our European clothes and become afraid. Only the rowdy men dared come near us. We wasted a lot of time explaining why we came. 

But if I were to wear Chinese clothes it might make a difference in how the people saw us. I also considered shaving my head, growing a pigtail, and living more like the Chinese. Hmmm. I would certainly blend in better.

John and I continued our journey to Ningbo the next morning. The port city had six or seven million Chinese, foreigners, and several missionary ministries, including a school for girls taught by the daughters of Rev. and Mrs. Samuel Dyer.

I was fascinated with all the city had to offer, including interesting new bugs for my collection. John and I relaxed and learned everything we could about the city. 

Two days later, an urgent message arrived for John stating his son had become seriously ill. We hurried back to Shanghai. Unfortunately his son didn't live. I stayed with John, comforting him.

Two months later, Dr. Parker, the missionary from Scotland who shared the same residence with me in Shanghai, received an invitation from the people in Ningbo to be their community surgeon. He accepted, which meant he and his family would move away.

Dr. Parker and I had rented the home from another missionary society. The society realized they needed the home and asked me to leave as well. I needed a new place to live.

The people of Ningbo had also invited me to work in their city. I prayed and didn't feel God leading me there. This proved to be the moment to blend in Chinese culture.

I bought some Chinese clothes then set aside all my European clothing. 

Dr. Parker asked my help with the move.  I dressed as a Chinese person, he as the European missionary. As we traveled I saw an immediate change in how the people welcomed us. Dr. Parker and I preached and gave medical help along the way.

I felt more like a missionary of God than ever before. 

God sent His Son, Jesus, whose birthday we celebrate at Christmas time, to live among us, teach us, and to provide the way of salvation. Jesus dressed and ate as those in his neighborhood. I ought to do the same as a sent one of God.

J. Hudson Taylor

Do you have any questions?

Photo courtesy of

Research resources: J. Hudson Taylor, An Autobiography by J. Hudson Taylor; It is Not Death to Die, a new biography of Hudson Taylor by Jim Cromarty; Hudson Taylor Founder, China Inland Mission by Vance Christie; J. Hudson Taylor, A Man in Christ, by Roger Steer, and Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret by dr. & Mrs. Howard Taylor.

Merry Christmas Everyone
Thank you for sharing J. Hudson Taylor's Missionary Adventures with me.
There is more to come!
Mary Vee

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Last Words of David

By Mary Vee
II Samuel 23

photo courtesy of

The last words of David are quite special. God's Word called David the son of Jesse, the man raised up on high, God's anointed, and was considered the sweet psalmist of Israel.

Here is what David said:

’s Spirit spoke through me,

    his words took shape on my tongue.
The God of Israel spoke to me,
    Israel’s Rock-Mountain said,
“Whoever governs fairly and well,
    who rules in the Fear-of-God,
Is like first light at daybreak
    without a cloud in the sky,
Like green grass carpeting earth,
    glistening under fresh rain.”
And this is just how my regime has been,
    for God guaranteed his covenant with me,
Spelled it out plainly
    and kept every promised word—
My entire salvation,
    my every desire.
But the devil’s henchmen are like thorns
    culled and piled as trash;
Better not try to touch them;
    keep your distance with a rake or hoe.
They’ll make a glorious bonfire!

The list of men who served under David reads better than a hall of fame list.

Josheb-Basshebeth killed 800 enemy soldiers at one time.
Eleazar fought the Philistines until his hand was weary and stuck to the shelf
Shammah stood his ground in the middle of a field, by himself, defending it and killing th e Philistines. 

During the battle against the Philistines, David stood in the stronghold, overlooking the Philistines. He swallowed and said, "Oh, I wish someone would give me a drink of the water from the well of Bethlehem, the one near the gate"

Josheb-Basshebeth, Eleazar, and Shammah looked at each other then crept out of the stronghold. They broke through the enemy lines, drew the bucket from the well, and poured water into a cup. They transported it safely back to the stronghold and  presented it to David.

David looked at the cup of water and the three mighty men. He considered the risk his men had taken to fulfill his selfish wish. His heart pounded and he lowered his head.  He dumped the water on the ground and said, "I can't. I can't accept this water. Not at the cost of my men who put their very blood in jeopardy to serve me a cup of water."  

1. What did the Spirit of the Lord say to David?
2. What great thing did Josheb-Bashebeth do?
3. What great thing did Eleazar do?
4. What great thing did Shammah do?
5. What did David wish for?
6. What did Josheb-Bashebeth, Eleazar, and Shammah do to surprise David?
7. Was David happy with their gift?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

David-Sings to the Lord, pt 2

By Mary Vee
II Samuel 22

Dear Reader, 

David sings a song to the Lord. It takes fifty one verses in the Bible. Because of its length it will be broken into two posts. As you read, you will see why God speaks so favorably of David. 
If you missed part one click here
Here is the second part of David's song, taken from The Message
image from

You stick by people who stick with you,
    you’re straight with people who’re straight with you,
You’re good to good people,
    you shrewdly work around the bad ones.
You take the side of the down-and-out,
    but the stuck-up you take down a peg.
 Suddenly, God, your light floods my path,
    God drives out the darkness.
I smash the bands of marauders,
    I vault the high fences.
What a God! His road
    stretches straight and smooth.
Every God-direction is road-tested.
    Everyone who runs toward him
Makes it.
 Is there any god like God?
    Are we not at bedrock?
Is not this the God who armed me well,
    then aimed me in the right direction?
Now I run like a deer;
    I’m king of the mountain.
He shows me how to fight;
    I can bend a bronze bow!
You protect me with salvation-armor;
    you touch me and I feel ten feet tall.
You cleared the ground under me
    so my footing was firm.
When I chased my enemies I caught them;
    I didn’t let go till they were dead men.
I nailed them; they were down for good;
    then I walked all over them.
You armed me well for this fight;
    you smashed the upstarts.
You made my enemies turn tail,
    and I wiped out the haters.
They cried “uncle”
    but Uncle didn’t come;
They yelled for God
    and got no for an answer.
I ground them to dust; they gusted in the wind.
    I threw them out, like garbage in the gutter.
You rescued me from a squabbling people;
    you made me a leader of nations.
People I’d never heard of served me;
    the moment they got wind of me they submitted.
They gave up; they came trembling from their hideouts.
 Live, God! Blessing to my Rock,
    my towering Salvation-God!
This God set things right for me
    and shut up the people who talked back.
He rescued me from enemy anger.
    You pulled me from the grip of upstarts,
You saved me from the bullies.
    That’s why I’m thanking you, God,
    all over the world.
That’s why I’m singing songs
    that rhyme your name.
God’s king takes the trophy;
    God’s chosen is beloved.
I mean David and all his children—

What did David say god did for him? and also will do for you?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Hudson Taylor-If Only Life Was Not Complicated

By Mary Vee

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes

If only...if only. I wish the missionary life only meant go to places where people had not heard about God's love, telling them the Gospel, helping them with their needs, and growing a church. 

photo courtesy of
Unfortunately, missionaries also have to work with mission boards, raising money, and oh, the paperwork for the people back home.

Yes, Dr. Parker and I still have not received the fund requested to set up a hospital, office, and school here in Shanghai. Our mission board decided not to fund works in port cities, only for inland work. 

To make matters worse, a magistrate from Jing Jiang reported to the British authorities that we had broken the law by venturing beyond the thirty mile restriction from treaty ports for foreigners. 

I continued to preach five to six times a day near Shanghai while living in the tiny house with two other families, Dr. Parker was one. All these problems and the return of summer sweltering heat wore on my body. I became quite ill. 

Still, the work must press on. I did not come here to lollygag. I rented a building near the south gate in Shanghai, and set up a school, chapel, and a place for Dr. Parker to provide medical services.

One evening, Dr. Parker sat with me in the kitchen. "My family and I will be leaving."

He paused. I hoped he didn't mean he was going back to England. He and his family had done well here in Shanghai. "Oh? Where will you go?"

"I have a letter from the merchants and citizens guaranteeing support to establish a hospital in Ningbo."

I must admit, I felt relief he wasn't giving up and going home. But on the other hand, I needed his help with the ministry in Shanghai. It was more than I could do alone with my poor health.

Without his rent money for the house I wouldn't be able to afford to stay there. The mission board wouldn't send the needed funds. The only thing I could do was to spend a long season of time in prayer.  God had closed another door. I needed to find where and what He wanted me to do next.

Please pray for me, that I will know His will. Oh, and if you could pray for my finances as well. I would like to plan my seventh missionary journey.

J. Hudson Taylor

Do you have any questions?

Photo courtesy of

Research resources: J. Hudson Taylor, An Autobiography by J. Hudson Taylor; It is Not Death to Die, a new biography of Hudson Taylor by Jim Cromarty; Hudson Taylor Founder, China Inland Mission by Vance Christie; J. Hudson Taylor, A Man in Christ, by Roger Steer, and Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret by dr. & Mrs. Howard Taylor.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

David Sings to the Lord

By Mary Vee
II Samuel 22

Dear Reader, 

David sings a song to the Lord. It takes fifty one verses in the Bible. Because of its length it will be broken into two posts. As you read, you will see why God speaks so favorably of David. 

Here is the first part of David's song, taken from The Message
image from

God is bedrock under my feet,
    the castle in which I live,
    my rescuing knight.
My God—the high crag
    where I run for dear life,
    hiding behind the boulders,
    safe in the granite hideout;
My mountaintop refuge,
    he saves me from ruthless men.
 I sing to God the Praise-Lofty,
    and find myself safe and saved.
 The waves of death crashed over me,
    devil waters rushed over me.
Hell’s ropes cinched me tight;
    death traps barred every exit.
 A hostile world! I called to God,
    to my God I cried out.
From his palace he heard me call;
    my cry brought me right into his presence—
    a private audience!
 Earth wobbled and lurched;
    the very heavens shook like leaves,
Quaked like aspen leaves
    because of his rage.
His nostrils flared, billowing smoke;
    his mouth spit fire.
Tongues of fire darted in and out;
    he lowered the sky.
He stepped down;
    under his feet an abyss opened up.
He rode a winged creature,
    swift on wind-wings.
He wrapped himself
    in a trenchcoat of black rain-cloud darkness.
But his cloud-brightness burst through,
    a grand comet of fireworks.
Then God thundered out of heaven;
    the High God gave a great shout.
God shot his arrows—pandemonium!
    He hurled his lightnings—a rout!
The secret sources of ocean were exposed,
    the hidden depths of earth lay uncovered
The moment God roared in protest,
    let loose his hurricane anger.
 But me he caught—reached all the way
    from sky to sea; he pulled me out
Of that ocean of hate, that enemy chaos,
    the void in which I was drowning.
They hit me when I was down,
    but God stuck by me.
He stood me up on a wide-open field;
    I stood there saved—surprised to be loved!
 God made my life complete
    when I placed all the pieces before him.
When I cleaned up my act,
    he gave me a fresh start.
Indeed, I’ve kept alert to God’s ways;
    I haven’t taken God for granted.
Every day I review the ways he works,
    I try not to miss a trick.
I feel put back together,
    and I’m watching my step.
God rewrote the text of my life
    when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.

The second half of the song will be given in the next post

1. What was David singing about?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

David-Giants in the Land

By Mary Vee
II Samuel 21

From David's Notes

photo courtesy of
the city of Gath.
The Philistines went to war against us, again. Some of their soldiers grew as tall as Goliath, one was Goliath's brother. Four wars happened one right after the other.

The first war: I went with my brothers down and fought against the Philistines. All right. I admit it. I no longer had a youthful body. My arms grew tired and I couldn't run as fast as the others. I needed to take a break before I fainted.

Ishbi-Benob stood tall as a giant. He carried a bronze spear weighing three hundred shekels. He ran toward me ready to attack. I would have died except the Lord sent Abishai to save me. Abishai struck the giant and killed him. 

The men gathered around me, very concerned. "My lord, you cannot come to battle with us any more. Stay at the castle and let us fight. We don't want the lamp of Israel to go out."

I had to admit it, they were right. My days of fighting were over.

The second war: The Philistines attacked at Gob. At this battle, I received a report stating Sibbechai killed the Philistine giant named Saph.

The third war: The Philistines attacked at Gob, again. Elhanan, from Bethlehem killed the brother of Goliath. His brother was a giant also, carrying a spear powerful like a weaver's beam.

The fourth war: The Philistines attacked at Gath. Among their soldiers was a tall man, a son of a giant, who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot. He mocked our army.  My nephew, Jonathan burst forward and killed the giant.

After the fourth battle we had peace, and I was glad . . . because I was, and am tired.

Here is a Psalm we sing. You call it Psalm 24

The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness,
The world and those who dwell therein.
 For He has founded it upon the seas,
And established it upon the waters.
 Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
Or who may stand in His holy place?
 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,
Nor sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive blessing from the Lord,
And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
 This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him,
Who seek Your face. Selah
 Lift up your heads, O you gates!
And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
 Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
The Lord mighty in battle.
 Lift up your heads, O you gates!
Lift up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
 Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
He is the King of glory. Selah
1. David fought in how many of these last four wars?
2. Why didn't he fight in all of them?
3.  What giant died in the first war?
4. What giant died in the second war?
5. What giant died in the third war?
6. What giant died in the fourth war?