Wednesday, February 29, 2012

David Fights Goliath

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 17

David's Thoughts

King Saul gave me permission to go and fight Goliath!

I picked up my staff and walked, well, no...I guess I'd have to say I hurried to the stream that flowed through the Valley of Elah. Five smooth stones lay along the edge of the water. I picked them up. They felt good in my hand, the right shape, size, and weight. "Perfect." I dropped them into my shepherd's bag.

I was ready to fight. 

I walked to the meeting place and waited. Instead of knees trembling, great strength from God pumped into my muscles. I was determined to prove God to this wicked Philistine. 

Goliath stepped forward to the same place he had for the last forty days. He didn't seem unbeatable to me. Yes, he towered over me, he had great weapons, but he didn't have God.

Goliath squinted at me. He scanned the rest of the valley then returned his gaze at me. "You've got to be kidding me. Your army sent a boy? Am I a dog that you come to fight me with sticks?" 

He held his fist in the air and cursed his gods and David. "Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!"

That was it. I couldn't stand it another minute. This Philistine had gone to far. "You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel whom you have defied."

I took two steps closer to show I was not afraid. "This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand. I will strike you and take your head from you. This day I will give the bodies of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth so that all may know there is a God in Israel. Then all the assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord's and He will give you into our hands."

Goliath rolled his eyes and mocking laughed.

I reached into my bag and took out a stone. It cradled nice in my slingshot. My arm swung the sling around and around, gaining speed. At just the right moment...I released the stone and watched it sail through the air.

I didn't hope, or pray...I already knew God directed the stone's path. In an instant, the stone hit Goliath in his forehead. His eyes flashed wide and his mouth fell open. He wobbled forward and back then fell on his face to the earth. 

I realized I didn't have a sword to finish the job. There, Goliath's sword lay on the ground next to him. I sprinted to his wounded body, took his sword out of the  sheath and killed him by cutting off his head. 

The Philistine army had laughed as long as Goliath stood. But when I held his head in my hands they screamed like scared children and ran. The Israelite trumpet blew, signaling the soldiers to attack the Philistine army.

After the battle I carried Goliath's head and presented it to king Saul. He said, "Who's son are you?"

I lowered my head, "I am the son of your servant Jesse, the Bethlehemite."

pictures courtesy of

1. Where did David go after leaving king Saul's tent?
2. What did David look for?
3. Who came out to talk with David, and what did he say?
4. What did David to with the stone?
5. After Goliath fell, what did David do?
6. What did the trumpet signal?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Hudson Taylor-An Answer to Prayer

by Mary Vee

J. Hudson Taylor

Grandfather John took over the church the day great grandfather died.  The man worked night and day. 

He spent his day hours working in a factory and his night hours visiting people, passing out tracts, and preaching. If only I could have his energy.

Grandfather John married Mary. She also worked night and day, taking care of their home, visiting the sick and teaching Bible classes for the women. They loved serving the Lord there in Barnsley, England.

Although the people of their town had grown to accept the Taylor' church, trouble still managed to find them. One day, as John walked down the street, a man came to him and hit him. The angry man raised his fist and shouted, "That's for being a Jesus Christ follower!" 

John learned from his father to never fight back when men or women attacked him because one day that very person might see God's love in him.

John and Mary had eight children. With so many mouths to feed, they didn't have extra money for anything special. Their son James wanted to go to medical school but couldn't raise the funds.

James chose to study pharmacy instead. In those days people who wanted to learn a trade lived with someone who had that kind of a business. James studied with a Rotherhan pharmacist for seven years. 

The work was easy for him. He learned the trade quicker than most people. James even invented a fast way of writing notes. It was faster than the texting you do today!

James also liked to study the Bible. During his free evenings he went to nearby villages and told all the people about Jesus. 

Did I mention that James was my dad?

Shortly after James finished his pharmacy studies he opened his own business. Customers soon learned James told the truth and charged honest prices. In fact, he often gave poor people their medicine free. His business grew fast.

He worked hard to pay back the people who loaned him money to buy his business then he married Amelia. Amelia loved the Lord as much as James. She helped him with his pharmacy business and with the church. Deep in their hearts James and Amelia wanted to go to China as missionaries, but somehow the trip could not be arranged around the business.

Every night they prayed that God would give them a child, one who would want to go to China as a missionary.

I didn't know, but I became the answer to their prayer. In fact, to make sure God truly called me to go to China they waited to tell me until after I spent many years in China. I wondered why mother had that special smile on her face each time I came home for a visit. Huh. 

Now you know how God and China came to be important in my family. Next week I will start my story.

J. Hudson Taylor

Author's note: After reading the last Hudson Taylor post, a friend of mine said his great grandmother went to church every day in England to pray for all her children and her grandchildren. Today most of those grandchildren are serving God in a ministry. 

Each evening I pray for you who have read the posts on this site. May you come to know God's blessings.

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, February 25, 2012

Saul's Armor Didn't Fit David

By Mary Vee

From David's Journal

King Saul gave me permission to fight Goliath.

I wanted to run from his tent, load my sling and knock the giant dead right then and there. Unfortunately, King Saul didn't agree.

He called his servants to bring  his armor, helmet, coat of mail, and his sword. Did he plan to fight Goliath with me? I didn't understand. I thought only one man from each army could fight.

The servant returned a moment later with king Saul's battle gear and placed it before him. Saul pointed at me. "Put the armor on David."

Me? Wear the king's armor? I am only a shepherd. 

I didn't get a chance to say anything. The servants put the king's armor on me. The waist hung too low. I felt like a walking barrel. 

Next the servant set the king's bronze helmet on my head. It flopped over my eyes. How could I kill a giant if I couldn't see him?

Next the servant dressed me in the king's coat of mail. The web of chain pushed down on my shoulders. I couldn't lift my arms. If I couldn't lift my arms how would I move my sling shot?

Last the servant fastened the king's sword to the armor. It drag on the floor. King Saul sat back in his chair and nodded. "There, David, you are now ready to fight."

Seriously? This is ready to fight? I couldn't even take a step forward. He could have wrapped me up like a mummy and I'd look the same. I tried to bow before the king. "Um, my lord, I--" I tried to lift one knee. "I can't walk with your armor on me. See?" I tried to take another step.

If the soldiers from Israel saw me using king Saul's armor and sword, they'd think he gave me power they didn't have. All I wanted to do was to silence the giant who mocked us. King Saul had been appointed king over Israel by God. And I will honor God's appointment.

"My lord, your gracious gift is good. Please forgive me, but I am not ready to use your armor." I asked the servant to help me remove the armor. 

I bowed to king Saul. "To kill the giant, I need to fight the same way I fight bears and lions. The Lord will protect me."

King Saul looked at me for a long moment. I wish I knew his thoughts. After a while he nodded to me. "Go, David. May the Lord be with you."

I stepped outside the tent and took a deep breath. It smelled sweet, good. I looked at the sky and smiled because my whole insides burst with excitement. I would fight Goliath.


1.  What did Saul agree to let David do?
2. What gifts did Saul give David? (4)
3. What was wrong with each gift?
4.  What couldn't David do?
5. What did David ask of king Saul?
6.  What will David do?

picture courtesy of Christian Image Resource

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I Will Fight Goliath!

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 17

From David's Journal

I couldn't believe my eyes. The entire Israelite army--scared. No one wanted to fight Goliath. 

After I had talked with a few of the soldiers they walked away. I didn't know where they went. In truth, I was too frustrated. I paced back and forth in front of my brother's tent, which annoyed him. He said, "David, I told you to go home."

I couldn't. Something had to be done. I squeezed my hand into a tight fist. If only I could fight Goliath. I wasn't not afraid.

Two of the Israelite soldiers came to me only a moment after I said those words. "King Saul wants to see you."

Most people might be afraid to hear those words. I guess I was way to angry to be afraid. I pressed my way in front of the soldiers and stomped to King Saul's tent. They didn't need to escort me or force me to go. 

A soldier opened the tent and waved me inside. I bowed before the king. He sat in his chair with a sad face, like I'd seen him before. But today I would not play music for his sadness, nope, not today.   

He raised his eyes and looked at me. "What have you to say, David?"

"My lord, please don't let any man here lose hope because of the giant. I will go and fight with this Philistine."

He didn't answer right away. I'm not sure what he thought. Maybe he wondered if I should have the reward he promised. I didn't want the reward, I only wanted Israel to not lose respect. We were God's chosen people.

He shook his head. "Come now David. You can't fight the Philistine giant. You are only a boy, he is a man of war with years of experience. He has been trained as a warrior. No, I think not."

I bowed to him again. "My lord, your servant keeps his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after it and hit it until the lamb fell from it's mouth. As the creature rose to fight me, I caught it by the beard and killed it. I have killed both lion and bear."

I raised my eyes to the king to show my sincerity. "This heathen Philistine will end up like the lion and bears who have attacked my sheep since he has mocked the army of the living God."

I felt heat rise in my face from the anger boiling inside me. "The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine."

I took a few breaths to calm down. King Saul kept a close eye on me. He didn't smile or frown. I couldn't tell if he would give me permission to fight the giant or not. I wanted him to answer quickly. That giant couldn't be allowed to mock us again.

At last, Saul nodded. "Go, David. May the Lord be with you!"

Just like that! I had permission to fight the giant who mocked the Israelites. I wanted to shout and dance, but bowed my head. "Thank you."
1. What did David want to do? 
2. Where did the soldiers take David.
3. What did David say to King Saul?
4. What answer did Saul give the first time.
5. David explained why he was qualified to fight. What did he say?
6. What answer did Saul give the second time?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hudson Taylor-Fire, Mud, Dirty Pans

By Mary Vee

From J. Hudson Taylor's Journal

My great grandparents, James and Betty, frequently ran into weird problems. 

They loved the country life but had to move to the city after James had an accident. He managed to find a job in a linen warehouse rather quickly. 

As part of settling into their new community they looked for a church, one that believed Jesus Christ died for sins and also believed Christians should live their lives honoring Christ each day. Sadly, they couldn't find one.

Shortly after asking Jesus into his heart, great grandfather James chose to show his love for God by not attending the parties and drinking as he once enjoyed. He decided to spend his extra times doing things for God. Well, the people in his new neighborhood didn't like the idea. 

James and Betty decided to have church meetings in their own home. They really didn't want to be by themselves, they liked helping neighbors and men from his work. What could be better than to get together with friends, or help each other, or do fun things together that honored God? 

James and Betty invited everyone they knew or had met on the street to come to the church meeting in their home. Soon there were seven members. 

When the neighbors discovered men and women attended great grandfather's home church they became quite angry. They simply would not put up with these new people coming into their neighborhood and telling people about  Christ. Going to church once a week should be good enough for anyone.The rest of the week should be spent going to parties and drinking.

The neighbors soon realized James and Betty would not easily give up their home church. They met together and decided James and Betty could have their church as long as they stopped talking about living for God, reading the Bible everyday, you know, all that stuff. 

James shook his head at the suggestion. "No, we cannot stop giving our lives to Christ." He and Betty continued to read their Bible everyday, and held their church meetings. The neighbors and friends grew more angry.

One Sunday morning, James stood up to preach in his home church. The seven church members opened their Bibles and listened to his words. While they listened, one of the neighbors climbed up the side of the house, crawled across the roof to the chimney, and laid grass across the opening trapping the smoke inside the house. James and the church people ran outside coughing.

Another Sunday, the neighbors stood outside the house and banged pots and pans together. When no one ran outside to make them stop, they set fire to the front door. Some of the church men ran to get water and blankets to put out the fire. Each time a church member went outside to stop the fire, neighbors threw food and rocks at them.

One day, as great grandfather walked down the street, a lady stepped in front of him. In her hand was a dirty pan filled with grease and old food. She spread the mess from the pan all over the back of his coat. My grandfather didn't yell at her or do anything mean. He let her pass then finished walking home. 

Week after week the people of the city showed their unhappiness with James and Betty by their cruel acts. Each time James and Betty chose not yell or press charges, or fight. In fact, they prayed specifically for that person. "Kindness will win them," James use to day.

But the trouble didn't stop. A few days later, two men walking down the street pretended to listen to James's words about God. While one man talked with James, the other mixed mud and glass in his hand. When he finished, the first man grabbed James and held him down while the second man smeared glassy mud into James's eyes. 

James missed work for several days, which means he didn't earn any money for that time. Since James refused to tell the police what the men did to him, his boss pressed charges to get the money needed for James to pay bills and buy food.

The mean pranks grew worse for a few weeks. Still, James, Betty, and their church prayed for the people of the town asking God's forgiveness.  They continued to do acts of kindness for every man and woman in need.

One day the meanness stopped. The people of the town didn't grumble when James or Betty walked by. Men and women smiled back at James and Betty and greeted them with, "Hi" as they passed on the streets. At last their church meetings could be held in peace.  

Nine years later my great grandfather died. His son, John, took over the church meetings. 

I think it's pretty awesome how great grandfather and great grandmother showed their dedication to Christ. Maybe someday I can be like him.

Next week, I'll tell you about my grandfather. Heh, heh, he, too, did some pret-ty unusual things.

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, February 18, 2012

David Hears Goliath's Challenge

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 17

From David's Journal

My father sent a messenger to me this morning. I was working in the fields. "Come home, I have an errand for you." The messenger took over my job caring for the sheep and told me to hurry home. 

Father waited for me outside our home. He had a bundle in his hands. "David, I haven't seen your older brothers in forty days. Take this grain, and bread to them. Also take this cheese to their commander of thousands. Bring me something from your brothers to show me they are well. Now go, quickly."

"Yes, Father." I hurried off to the battlefield. It wasn't too far away. Still, Father was concerned and needed to hear my brothers were well. 

I crept close to the Valley of Elah, not knowing where the battle might have shifted, and searched for my brothers. Up ahead the Israelites stood in a line, ready for battle. King Saul stood in the middle. 

In order to be in the army, boys had to be a certain age. I was too young, but, I wanted to fight in the worse way. If only I could stand with our country's soldiers. Maybe I could sneak close and watch for a little while. I hurried to the supply person and left the food with him then ran to the battlefront.

The soldiers didn't look dirty, or have blood stains. It seemed they hadn't fought at all. How strange, forty days had passed. I crept closer to the battle line and found my brothers. Eliab, my oldest brother, glared at me. "David, what are you doing here?"

"I brought food from Father. it's back with the supply person."

"Fine, you delivered the food, now get back home." He pushed me behind him.

I opened my mouth to protest but stopped when some Philistine soldier started yelling at us. "...send a man to fight me. If he wins we will be your slaves. If I win, you shall be our slaves."

My brothers and all the Israelite army turn and ran from the battle line. Eliab grabbed my tunic and shoved me ahead of him. "Get back or that Philistine will think you want to fight him." He pushed me all the way back to his tent. 

Back at the camp, the soldiers paced. I couldn't believe my eyes. No one would fight? They talked about Goliath. They must have meant that Philistine soldier. So what if he's big? We have the Lord! 

The soldiers walked around the camp like scared little kids. They said, "King Saul says he will give riches to the man who volunteers to fight Goliath. He will even give his daughter in marriage and free his family's house from any taxes if he wins. Still, I'm not going to volunteer."

I couldn't believe my ears. These are soldiers of Israel, the chosen nation of God. They were afraid? I pushed my way into the conversation. "What is the matter with you? Who wouldn't want to fight and take away the shame of Israel brought about by this heathen Philistine."

The men shook their heads. "If you want to take him on, you can have all the reward from Saul."

Eliab yanked me back out of the crowd. "What are you doing here, David? Who's taking care of the sheep that you abandoned? You're so selfish for leaving Father's sheep unattended to come see the battle. Go on. Get back to the sheep where you belong."

That's it. Big brother or not, he went too far. "What have I done now. Didn't I speak only a word? What's your problem, Eliab?"

I walked over to another group of soldiers and asked them my question, "Who wouldn't want to fight and take away the shame of Israel brought about by this heathen Philistine? Someone must go fight him."

The second group answered the same way. No one wanted to get up and fight the giant and save the shame of the Israelites.

What was the matter with these men? We have but one life to live for God.

1. What was David doing when his father called him?
2. Where did his father send him and what did he ask him to do?
3. What was going on when David arrived?
4. What did Eliab do when he saw David there?
5. What did the Israelite soldiers do when Goliath spoke?
6. What did David do back at the camp?
7. Why was Eliab mad at David?

Photo courtesy of Christian Religious resources

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Goliath, The Philistine

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 17

From Eliab's (David's Older Brother) Journal

Our commander and king, Saul called us to war against the Philistines. He has led us to battle for years, fighting those who lived in the land that God had given to us.

He allowed us to take a break for a few days to rest. Now we're refreshed and quite ready for a battle. This morning we armed ourselves with battle gear, replenished our ammunition, sharpened blades, and rallied to a cause against the Philistines. We were ready to fight.

As the oldest of eight brothers, I wanted to tell my father I had fought in a victorious battle against our enemy. I couldn't wait. Maybe someday Israel will be the sole inhabitants of this land.

Two of my brothers were also in the army. Oh, and my littlest brother, David came to the battlefield occasionally to play his harp for king Saul then he returned to the sheep. David's not old enough to fight. I must admit, though, the squirt sure knows how to calm king Saul's anger with his music. 

One morning we marched to the mountain across from the Philistines, with the Valley of Elah between us. We set up our battle line and prepared to fight. But the Philistines did not march against us. Instead they sent one lone soldier named Goliath.

Goliath stood at the edge of the tree line. I'd never seen such a giant of a man before. He stood about nine feet tall, wore a helmet made of bronze, and his bronze coat of mail weighed 125 pounds. He wore bronze armor on his legs and carried a javelin of bronze on his back.

His spear impressed me the most. It was like a weaver's beam, the iron head weighed fifteen pounds, unbelievable. His armor bearer walked ahead of him and stopped when he did. 

The Philistine soldier shouted to us: "Why should two armies wage a battle? There you all stand ready to fight on your mountain, and we stand over here. I have a better idea. I stand here ready to fight one Israelite soldier. Let the two of us fight for the armies. If your soldier kills me, the Philistines will be your slaves. But if I kill him, you and all the Israelites will become our slaves."

He raised his spear in the air and shouted. "My name is Goliath. I challenge the ranks of Israel to send a man to fight me."

I looked at the soldier next to me. His eyes grew as wide as mine. No way did I want to fight that man. Not only would I die, but the entire Israelite nation would be doomed to slavery because of me.

Saul order us to stand down. He called a meeting of his captains. That night Goliath and his armor bearer walked to the same spot again and challenged our army to send one man to fight him. 

He made fun of us and called us cowards. I guess we were. So much depended on one man. Day and night Goliath walked out to the same place and offered his challenge...and his ridicules. Seriously, no one knew what to do. We sat in or tents, afraid to show our faces.

On the fortieth day, my little brother, David, showed up with bread and cheese sent from my father. I pulled him away from the battlefield. Dad would kill me if that squirt wandered in range of Goliath and somehow got killed. Little brothers, sheesh. 

1.  What army did Saul and the Israelites prepare to fight?
2.  Where was the battlefield?
3.  What did David do when he wasn't playing music to help Saul?
4.  Who came out to talk with the Israelites?
5.  What was his idea?
6.  What did the Israelites do?
7.  Why was David's older brother concerned when David brought food?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hudson Taylor-Stubborness

By Mary Vee

From J. Hudson Taylor's Journal

Great grandfather did not impress his new bride, not one bit.

He wouldn't go to the parties with their friends any more. He even stopped playing his fiddle at the county fairs. This business of him choosing to live a life totally for Christ made his new wife, Betty, angry. 

Great grandfather started going to special meetings at the neighbor's house. The group read the Bible and talked about what they learned. James played his fiddle and sang in their church services. Betty huffed. "What will our friends say when they see you, James?"

He made a decision to read the Bible with his family every night after dinner. Betty folded her arms, stuck her chin up and hurried away from the table. Dishes needed to be done, laundry had to be washed, certainly there was some chore she could do at that second. "There is no way I am going to sit down and listen to you read that Bible every night, James. I have too much work to do."

Betty usually stomped off and mumbled something about him embarrassing her. All her friends stayed away from the girl whose husband joined the Methodists.

But great grandfather was as stubborn as she. Each night he read the Scriptures real loud to insure she heard every word. When he finished, he prayed in the same loud voice. I don't think I would have wanted to be in that house at night!

Betty fought back by complaining just as loud. After several evenings of this battle, James closed his Bible and walked toward her. She stepped back until her heels hit the wall. James picked her up and carried her upstairs and sat her on the bed. 

James got on his knees and spoke softly. "Betty, I love you with my whole heart. You are the girl of my dreams and I am so glad you married me."

She looked at him and sighed. He gently took her hands and prayed. "God, I pray your mercy on Betty. Please touch her heart and save her from her sins. Open her eyes and give her the faith to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as her Savior."

Something happened that night to Betty. Apparently the Lord spoke to her heart and helped her to see the need for a Savior. While James slept, she prayed for God's forgiveness and asked Jesus into her heart.

After dinner, James brought out the Bible. This time, Betty didn't fuss or complain. She sat at the table and listened to the Words. When James closed the Bible and prayed, she held his hand and prayed with him. James turned to her and smiled. "I love you, Betty."

Betty squeezed his hand. "I love you, and God."

Their life didn't get easier. In fact, well, maybe I'll tell that story next time. 

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, February 11, 2012

I Get to Serve in King Saul's Court

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 16 and Psalm 23

From David's Journal

Each morning when I wake in the fields with my sheep all around, I feel like singing.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a guy who sits around singing love songs. Not!

The other day a bear came near my sheep. Without thinking for even a second, I armed my sling and attacked the roaring animal. That's my job. Taking care of my sheep. That night, I ate fresh cooked bear meat. It was mighty tasty.

My muscles get a work out everyday. The sheep wander away, fall into holes and get hurt, they even have to be led to watering holes. I tell you, it's a lot of work. But, I wouldn't give it up for anything. 

I live outside with my sheep, no tent living for me. Nope. I get to smell the fresh air, look at the crystal stars at night, lay in the fresh grass. Who could want more? 

At night, I play a harp. It soothes the sheep and helps them sleep. As I sing, words come to my mind that comfort my own heart. God has blessed me with the tunes and words simply by living in His creation. This is a good life.

One day, a couple of servants from Saul's court came to visit me. They sat on a rock and listened to my music. I think it eased their spirits as well because they smiled and waited for me to finish all the songs I knew. 

When I stopped singing, one said, "King Saul has need of you."

In truth I didn't want to leave the sheep, but when the king called someone to serve him, no questions were allowed. The person needed to do what he said. My father sent gifts like cheese, honey, and bread for me to take to the king the day then I left. 

The servants took me to the court. King Saul didn't seem happy at all, in fact, he looked angry.  He glanced my way and nodded for me to play. 

Hmmmm, which would be the best song to play? I thought of my sheep and how confused and upset they could be, just like king Saul looked right then. I decided to play several. One of the songs was:

 A Psalm of David

 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 
 He makes me lie down in green pastures. 
He leads me beside still waters.
 He restores my soul. 
He leads me in paths of righteousness 
   for his name's sake.

 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, 
   I will fear no evil, 
for you are with me; 
   your rod and your staff, 
   they comfort me.

 You prepare a table before me 
   in the presence of my enemies; 
you anoint my head with oil; 
   my cup overflows. 

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me 
all the days of my life, 
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD 

When I finished singing, I set my harp on my lap and looked at his face. 

I saw peace.

1.  Where did David live.
2.  What was his job? (Explain)
3.  What did he like about his job and where he lived?
4.  Who visited David? What did they do at the visit?
5.  What did the visitors ask David to do?
6.  Why did David go with them?
7.  What did David do for Saul? (explain)

Scripture from:
English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

picture courtesy of

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

King Saul Finds Peace With David's Music

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 16

From Saul's Journal

I couldn't put my finger on the problem. 

No matter what I tried, I couldn't think of a strategy even when I stooding right in the middle of the battle. My head swirled with crazy thoughts, and none of them useful.

My appetite had left. My servants tried their best to please me, I know they worked hard, but every time they brought a platter of my favorite foods my stomach churned and I felt sick. 

I wasn't sick. I just couldn't pull myself together. Something was wrong.

I got angry about everything. Yesterday, in the throne room, citizens lined up to petition me with a problem. Their hands twirled in worry circles and their eyes were red from crying. Before each person said a word, fire flew in my veins from my toes to my head. I leaped toward the person and shout something mean. 

Sigh. This was not what I should be doing.

Why did Samuel leave me? It's his fault I was plagued with problems. If he stayed by my side I would hear his instructions. 

I know...I shouldn't have offered the sacrifice at the battle with the Philistines. I should have waited for Samuel to arrive no matter how late the hour. 

And...okay, he's probably upset about the monument I made for myself after the battle against Agog. Shouldn't I be proud of my victory? If Samuel visited me like he use to, I'd feel better.

One morning my trusted servants said, "My lord, there's got to be a distressing spirit troubling you. If you command us to search for a man who is a skillful player on the harp, we will go."

Why? Nothing would help. 

There was no way to stop the angry feelings inside. It was like a monster pulling on my muscles and breathing fire all over my body. I don't know why I agreed, but I said, "Yes, find me a man who can play a harp well and bring him here."

The angry monster grew stronger that night. I couldn't sleep. I didn't know what to do. The next morning my servants stood before me. "My lord, we found the son of Jesse, the Bethlehemite. He's skillful in playing the harp, a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person...and the Lord is with him."

I shook my head and sighed. Could such a man ease the angry and confused feelings pounding in my head? I guess it wouldn't hurt to try. "Yes, bring him to me."

Later that day my servants returned with a young man. He brought gifts, a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine and a young goat. The gifts didn't make me any better. What I needed was to think clearly, to be motivated to fight, to make strong decisions.

Still, the young man did seem to be everything my servants said. Maybe his music would help. "Play  your harp."

I didn't think the music would help. He plucked a few strings and stopped for a moment. The tone rang in the room, a soothing crystal sound. It sounded like a sweet song from the birds perched in fruit trees.

I felt...yes, I felt the monster inside cowering back away. "Play more." His fingers glided along the strings like a master. The sound echoed off the walls and resonated to the ceiling and back to the floor.

My muscles relaxed. So much so, I nearly fell asleep. 

Such peaceful sound. My heart felt...dare I say, happy? This was the same peace I had felt only when Samuel stood by my side. My head cleared, allowing me to me think. 

I must admit, David's music brought such peace, sweet peace.

I sent word to his father, "Please let young David stay in my service, for he has found favor in my sight."

photo courtesy of

1. Why did Saul feel troubled?
2. Could he figure out what to do?
3. What did his servants suggest?
4. Describe David
5. What did David bring King Saul?
6. What happened when Saul listened to the music?
7. The music David played was not any ordinary music. Why was it special?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Hudson Taylor--It All Started the Day....

By Mary Vee

From J. Hudson Taylor's Journals

It seems to me that without my knowledge, I tend to act and speak like my relatives. My great grandfather, James Taylor, for one, knew how to get the attention of anyone standing around him.

He became the popular one in his school, at dances, and at parties in Barnsley England. I suppose if they had prom kings, he would have been chosen. Of course, he fell in love with the most popular girl at school, Betty Johnson. 

Between the two of them, they were invited to every party. Great grandfather knew all the dances and told jokes that made everyone laugh. 

During the daytime, great grandfather trained as a stone mason. He even did that well. It didn't take long before people came directly to him to do their mason work. 

On Sundays, great grandfather attended the Staincross Ridge Anglican Church. Like any other fine, up and coming citizen of the community he sang in the church choir to prove himself an upstanding Christian. He even came early to services to ring the bells.

The people from the Anglican Church were nothing like those who attended Charles, and John Wesley and George Whitefield's services, which were held out in some field. Why would thousands of men and women leave the Anglican Church of those days to follow the spiritual teachings of Wesley and Whitefield? Their lives changed in strange ways. They read the Bible a lot, like every day. Even great grandfather's neighbors changed.

He didn't want anything to do with the changes. His neighbors and the other followers were nothing more than religious crazy people. Men and women from the Anglican Church became angry at those who left their church and the social gatherings to spend time studying the Bible. They threw rocks, rotten eggs, and manure, and started fires to hurt followers of the Wesleys and Whitefields who had called themselves Methodists.

One day John Wesley visited great grandfather's neighbor. The man spoke loud enough to be heard across the yard and out at the barn. Great grandfather picked up the sheaves faster to ignore the man and his teachings. After all, there were more important events, like his own wedding that would take place later that day. 

He hurried to finish stacking wheat sheaves before getting ready for the big event. As he worked, though, his thoughts ran to something quite different.

Maybe words he'd overheard Wesley speak spilled into his memory. He didn't know but he couldn't push them away. The verse: As for me and my house we will serve the Lord Joshua 24:15 played again and again in his mind. He thought about the words. His heart and mind wouldn't let go. 

Finally, he dropped to his knees and prayed. "God this is what I want for my life. I want to surrender everything I have to you including my family."

He looked at the time and gasped. "I'm late!" He rushed into the house, changed clothes, and ran to the church. Poor Betty probably thought he changed his mind about getting married.

After the wedding and reception, great grandfather took his new wife home. He told her what happened in the barn that morning and the promise he made God. "Sweet Betty, my love, I don't want to go to the dances and parties anymore. I want to serve the Lord."

Betty pushed away from his arms. "No! This can't be true. Don't tell me I've married one of those Methodists!"

Well, great grandfather had a problem, now didn't he?

I will continue my story next week.

J. Hudson Taylor

Picture courtesy of

In the meantime, if you'd like a head start reading, here are a few well written books to check out.

J. Hudson Taylor, 
An Autobiography . 

J. Hudson Taylor, 
A Man in Christ
 by Roger Steer

It is Not Death To Die, 
A New Biography of Hudson Taylor 
by Jim Cromarty

Hudson Taylor, 
Founder, China Inland Mission,
 by Vance Christie 

 Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret
by, Dr. & Mrs. Howard Taylor