Saturday, March 31, 2012

King Saul and the New Moon Festival

Jonathan’s Thoughts

The banquet hall had been set with all the requirements for the New Moon Festival. Great decorations, music, food. Three days of celebrating. 

I sat at my usual place near my father, King Saul. He sat with his back against the wall. His captain, Abner, joined us.

I especially liked the specialty foods served at these celebrations. I wish my friend David was here, though. We could have an eating contest, it’s the only time my father let us goof off during the festival. He probably wished he could join us. Glad I’m not king.

The music played while the servants brought the food. My father looked at David’s empty seat but didn’t say anything. He probably thought David was sick or unclean. Jus as well, I didn’t want to tell him David's excuse: he told me to say he went to his parents house to celebrate the New Moon.

The truth was, David hid in the fields or caves. He thinks my father, King Saul wanted to kill him.

On the second night of the New Moon Festival I arrived a little late on purpose. My father, of course, arrived early to be sociable. He sat at his place with his wall to the back and had a plate with pieces of already chewed food.

I stopped to talk to a few friends before taking my seat near the front. Not long after I sat, my father looked at David’s seat then at me. “Where's David?”

I cleared my throat. “David? He, um, asked permission to go to his father’s house for the annual sacrifice. He said his brother commanded him to go.”

I watched his face. How would he react? I didn’t have to wait long to see.

His face turned red as a burning sunrise. He pounded his fist on the table. “He did what? You let him go without my permission? How dare you. I knew you would be no good. Don’t you realize he's trying to steal the crown from you? Why I even call you son is beyond my understanding...”

The banquet hall became silent. All eyes turned to my father, their king. How embarrassing.

He continued shouting insults at me with few breaths in between his screams. His face grew redder like he'd explode. His arm dropped to his side near his spear. He picked it up, took aim, and threw it at me right in front of all those people!

Thanks be to God, he missed. 

That was it. I refused to sit at his table or eat any of the festival food. He may be my king but I will not let him insult my friend, a godly man who loves God. 

I ran out of the room to warn David.

1.  Why do you think King Saul sat with his back against the wall?
2.  Why didn't David come to the New Moon Festival?
3.  Where did David go?
4.  Why was Saul angry with his son Jonathan?
5.  Why did Jonathan protect David?   

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Jonathan's Plan to Save David

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 20

Jonathan’s Thoughts

David is my friend.

I had thought that all the problems between my father, king Saul, and my friend, David, had been worked out. 

Father recently said he wouldn’t kill David. He gave his word right in the very field where David and I stood three days ago.

We had met to talk in secret, away from my father.

“You must believe me,” I said to David. “Father will keep his word. You’re safe.”

But David shook his head. “No, Jonathan. King Saul told his servants to keep the threats against me a secret from you.”

Normally I’d believe my friend, but this time I wanted to believe my father. He gave his word.

David looked straight at my eyes. “Really? You believe him?" He smiled. “How can I convince you, Jonathan?”

I didn’t know. I didn’t want my friend killed of course, but I wanted him to stay at the palace with us.

“The New Moon celebration starts tonight,” David said. “Although I should be at your father’s table I’m going to hide. Watch what King Saul does when he realizes I am not there. If he misses me, tell him I asked permission to visit my family for their annual sacrifice.

“If your father says, ‘That’s fine’ you’ll know I am safe. But if he’s angry, you’ll know he has evil plans for me. In that case you may as well kill me rather than let your father.”

What was he saying? He actually thought I'd--. “No way. I would tell you if my father wanted to kill you. You know I’d protect you, David. Our friendship is strong.” 

We walked out to the field where I practice shooting arrows. It was a safe place to make plans. “The Lord is my witness,” I said, “You will hear the report about my father.  Meet me here in three days. I’ll come to this same place to practice shooting. If I say to my servant ‘Look the arrows are near, get them and come back.’ Then you are safe.

"But, if after I shoot I say, ‘The arrows are far, go quickly’ to my servant then you must run far for my father is hunting you."

He had to leave before anyone saw him. “Go my friend. In three days we will know the truth.”

I watched my friend run for the trees. I hope he’s wrong.

1.  What had King Saul promised his son Jonathan?
2.  Why did David and Jonathan meet?
3.  David said Jonathan was mistaken about what?
4. Where did they go to make their secret plans?
5. How could David prove to Jonathan what king Saul planned?
6. What signal did Jonathon plan to tell David to run?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Hudson Taylor-Boot Camp Training

By Mary Vee

Hudson Taylor's Thoughts

The decision had been made.

It was time to prepare to be a medical missionary in China.

This would be no easy task. I lived in London, I hadn't started medical school, I was physically out of shape to climb mountains and lead a rough life, and I had everything I needed.

Yes, having everything I needed was a problem, because I wouldn't have everything I need in China.

I thought about all I had, what I did with my day, what skills I had to give as a missionary in China. Needless to say, I didn't give myself a good report. I needed to get in physical shape, study, and learn a trade that would help the people.

So much to do. I needed to get busy, right away!

That very morning my boot camp training began I set time aside to:

Start an exercising program outside.
Replace my soft, comfortable feather bed with  a firm, tough mattress
Cut out all expensive foods and eat only enough to survive each day.
Give away any clothes I didn't absolutely need
Volunteer to teach Sunday School
Go to poor communities in my city to tell the people about Jesus.
Study a copy of the book of Luke and later a copy of Mark and Acts written in Chinese Mandarin,  comparing it to my
       English copy and teach myself over six hundred Chinese characters. I felt like a detective.
Continue teaching myself to read and write Chinese Mandarin
Get out of bed at 5am to study Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Chinese
Pray every day, throughout the day
Read magazine articles about other Chinese missionaries
Study the Bible

One year later I accepted a training position as the assistant to Dr. Robert Hardey, a leading physician, a surgeon, and a teacher at the school of medicine.

I found cheap housing, a tiny cottage located near a drain outside the city. By living alone in the poor area of town I could

Study without bothering anyone or anyone bothering me,
Visit the poor
Tell people about Jesus in the evenings,
Save money by eating any buying only what I truly needed to survive
Give the money I saved, which was most of my money to the poor

I didn't just do these things for a days or months. I practiced for a few years. I wanted to teach myself how to live as a missionary.

The less I spent on myself and the more I gave to others, made me feel happier that I've ever felt before. Seriously, every day I wanted to sing and laugh with Jesus. This was what I needed to do to serve Christ in China.

Have you ever had the feeling deep in your heart that you were doing the right thing? That is exactly how I felt.

Next week I'll tell you about the silver coin.

J. Hudson Taylor

What questions do you have?

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, March 24, 2012

Michal Helps David Escape

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 19

Michal's Thoughts

My father, king Saul, has been in a cranky mood. I suppose being a king is a tough job, but of late it seems no one can please him.

My husband, David, has done everything father asks. He goes to war against the Philistines. So many nights I lay awake wondering if he is alive or if some Philistine has killed him. Thanks be to God he is still alive.

When my husband is not at war he plays soothing music, such wonderful music for my father. Sometimes father's angry spirit is calmed, sometimes he gets angrier.

Ever since I've married David, father has threatened to kill him. Yesterday, he did it again. While David sat in father's chamber playing his music, he picked up his spear and threw it at David. If my husband didn't have such quick reflexes, he'd be dead.

David came home and told me what happened. In the early evening I went outside to dump some water. I heard a noise beyond the tree and looked harder. There were my father's soldiers, watching our house! I knew they would wait until early morning, sneak in our house and kill David.

I hurried inside. "David, there are soldiers camped outside our house. If you don't escape our home tonight, they will kill you before the sun rises."

He held me one more time, packed a few things then escaped out the back way. I needed to give him enough time to get far away. What could I do? I looked around the house and found one of the images I had kept and put it where David slept. I dressed it with David's clothes, put goat's hair on the head, and pulled the blankets over it to make it look like my husband sleeping.

Early the next morning the soldiers pounded on the door. "The king wants to see David."

"I am sorry, but he is sick. Please tell my father he will have to come later."

The soldiers left but returned a short while later. They pounded on the door again. "The king has ordered David to appear before him. We will carry him in his bed." They barged past me and stomped to our bedroom. "What is this? This is only an image. Where is David?"

"I do not know."

They grabbed my arm and dragged me to my father's chamber. The king scowled at me. "No daughter of mine defies me. Why did you let my enemy escape?"

I shook my head. I didn't know what to say. I blurted the first words that came to my mind. "He said to me, 'Let me escape. I don't want to kill you."

Father scowled and let me return to my home. He probably sent soldiers after my dear husband.

David has escaped, for now. I hope he is safe.

1.  Who is Michal's father?
2.  Who is Michal's husband?
3.  Who did Michal see outside her home?
4.  What did she do?
5.  Why did Saul want to see David?
6.  How did Michal fool the soldiers.
7.  How did God protect David?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Jonathan Pleads David's Case

Mary Vee
I Samuel 19

Jonathan's Thoughts

My dad has been the king of Israel, the first king chosen by God and the people of this land.

He use to be a fun person to be around and because of his bravery I felt proud to call him my dad.

Then he changed.

He offered a sacrifice by himself instead of waiting for the priest, he built monuments to himself, he didn't even take charge of the battle against Goliath. Nothing and no one pleased him. I didn't like watching him sit all day when others went to battle. Why was he so angry? Why wouldn't he get up and lead?

One day he called me to his chamber along with a few of his servants. He said, "I want you to kill David." 

David was my friend! I couldn't kill him, but I could warn him. I sneaked out of the castle and met with my friend. I said, "My father wants to kill you. He's put the order out for your death. Please find some place to hide here in the field. I'll bring my father out here and speak with him about you. Meet me afterwards."

He agreed. Later that day my father walked with me as I had asked. I stopped in the field where David hid. "Father, please don't have David killed. He hasn't done anything against you, in fact, he's done many things to honor your name. 

"Remember he took his own life in his hands when he fought Goliath. The Lord helped him save the entire army with one stone. You saw it and celebrated with us, remember? Why do you want to do hurt an innocent person who has helped you? Why do you want to kill him without a cause?"

I had hoped he'd listen to my words and change his mind. 

Standing in the fresh air seemed to do him good. He took a deep breath and looked at our beautiful countryside. He didn't say anything for a long time, but the look on his face was not one of anger.

After a while longer he stepped closer to me and put his hand on my shoulder. "Jonathan, my son, you are right. As the Lord lives, David will not be killed."

It was the best news ever. He's never changed his mind before. Surely God has helped him.

I couldn't wait to tell David. Later that afternoon I met with David in the hidden place and told him what my father said. "So, David, you need to come back to the King's house. If we leave now we can still eat supper with him at his table."

David looked at me almost as if he wasn't sure if I told the truth or not. Then he smiled. "Sure, Jonathan. I'd be happy and honored to go back to king Saul's table."

"And you'll play your music to calm him as you did before?"

David laughed. "Yes, yes, I'll play my music, if he wants me to. Now, are we going to get something to eat or not?"

David returned to all his duties as before. He sat at my father's table, played his music, and captained an army to battle the Philistines. All was well again. For now at least.

1.  List some of the things king Saul did that he should not have done.
2.  What did king Saul ask his servants and son Jonathan to do?
3.  Where did Jonathan go and what did he do? What plan did they make?
4.  What did Jonathan tell Saul in the field?
5.  What was Saul's answer?
6.  What did Jonathan do afterwards.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Hudson Taylor-The Book

By Mary Vee

How did I know God wanted me to be a missionary? In China?

It all started the day I couldn't go to church because of a terrible cold. I stayed in my room and prayed prayers, kind of like the Psalms, thanking God for my salvation, the beautiful creation, my food, housing, job, and my family. 

At the end of my prayer time I asked God to give me something to do so I could show my love and dedication for Him. Then a special feeling tingled through my blood. At that moment, I knew God had a job for me. As an older teenage, I didn't know what it would be, but God gave me a job.

My older sister, Amelia, and I had grown close as friends. She and I decided to stop going to evening church and instead went to the poorest parts of our city to share Christ. We took tracks and booklets about Jesus and walked to each home in every neighborhood telling the people about God's love. Of course, not everyone wanted to hear our words...still, I had started my work for God.

A few months later, Amelia left for a boarding school. Our Sunday evening work came to a stop. In exchange, and definitely not to my liking,  my mean cousin John came to work for my father. I had to share my room with him. 

He loved to go to parties and drink and especially liked to make fun of me when I wanted to spend time in prayer or studying the Bible. Because of his mocking, I felt bad about my choices. I didn't know if I should continue reading the Bible and praying or not.

Some nights I spent hours searching my heart and my thoughts--what did I want, who did I want to follow, what should I do. Day after day I wondered what my life meant.

During that time of thinking and searching, a thought came to me, I had work to do in China. I'm not sure if I knew God spoke to me at that time. It didn't matter. I had a goal, a purpose, something to do that I really wanted to do. And, yes, it would be a job showing God my love and thankfulness for what He had done for me.

China wouldn't be an easy country to live and work in as a missionary. Not many missionaries went there because the poor conditions, and it definitely was not open to hearing the Gospel. Hardly any books had been written about missions in China and each one was expensive. How would I learn?

One day, I discovered the Congregational minister in my own town happened to have a book about China. I went to him and asked to borrow the book. We talked about missions in China for a few minutes, then he said, "You can't go to China without money. Only in the days of Jesus could missionaries go without money. One day you will become wise and see."

Hah. Many years later in China I remembered what the minister said and decided I still had not become wise in his eyes because I still depended on God to supply the money I needed.

Back to the book. That night I sat on my bed reading the pages. When it grew dark I lit the candle and kept reading. On one page, a sentence popped out at me, "There is a great need for medical persons in China."

There. The answer. Medicine would be the way to get into China.

My family had been involved in medical work for years. I had worked with my father in his pharmacy and found the work interesting. At last! I knew what I would do.

I hope you too, have, or will see, what you can do for God.

Next week, Boot Camp training.

J. Hudson Taylor

What questions do you have?

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, March 17, 2012

Saul Gives David a Gift

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 18

Saul's Thoughts

I needed to do something. David had become very popular with the people. I think he might try to take my throne away from me.

It was shortly after I went to bed that I remembered my promise: whoever killed Goliath, the Philistine would be given my oldest daughter in marriage.

The next morning I called for David and said, "Here is my oldest daughter Merab. I will give her to you as a wife. Only, please, be a valiant soldier for me. Fight the Lord's battles."

I kept a serious face while giving the instructions, but what I really wanted was to be rid of him. If I could get David to fight more battles against the Philistines, then naturally, at some point, he would be killed. And by giving Merab as his wife, I knew she would distract his thinking on the battlefield. This should guarantee his death. 

I pushed Merab closer to him and smiled.

David bowed and spoke softly. "No, my king. I am no one special. I can't marry someone as important as a king's daughter. My father's family isn't important in Israel. No I don't have the right to become your son-in-law."

No matter what I said to assure him he could marry her, he turned down my offer. 

I needed a new plan. I called several of my servants. "Go to David and pretend to be his friend. Tell him this message secretly, 'The king is happy with you and all his servants love you. You should accept his offer and become the king's son-in-law.' When you say this to him, do what ever you need to make him believe you."

The servants came back to me and shook their heads. "We tried my lord. David said, 'Do you really think it is something simple to be a king's son-in-law when I am a poor and lowly man?' He doesn't think he has the right to marry her."

There had to be a way to win. I thought of another plan. "Go back to David and tell him, 'The king does not want a dowry. All you have to do is go to battle and kill one hundred Philistines and bring proof that you took vengeance on the king's enemies.'"

I knew that would be the perfect plan. David couldn't resist obeying my orders. Now David would die at the hands of the Philistines. I felt much better. The anger inside turned to joy. I felt like celebrating. Soon I'd be rid of David, the man deeply dedicated to God, and a bundle of problems for me.

But at the end of the day my servant announced David's had returned. Hah. He gave up. I knew he wasn't so powerful. Well, I supposed being a quitter was as good as being killed. I would have word spread throughout the country that David had walked away from a battlefield.

He walked into the throne room carrying something and bowed to me. He lay at my feet his proof of killing not one hundred but two hundred Philistines! 

My face burned with anger. Why didn't he die? How am I suppose to get rid of him?

I had no choice. I gave him my oldest daughter for his wife and hoped he'd still fall into the hands of the Philistines somehow, someway.

It bothers me that the spirit of Lord is with David and David obeys everything God says. I must put a stop to this.

1. Saul thought he could get rid of David in what two ways?
2. What gift did Saul give David?
3. What did David say?
4. Saul commanded David to bring him proof of killing 100 of their enemy. What did David do?
5. Why is Saul really angry with David?

picture courtesy of

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

David Chooses to Obey God

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 18

David's Thoughts

I don't know what I did wrong. 

I sat in my usual place playing my harp to sooth king Saul's spirit. He had been angry a lot lately. Each time he felt angry he sent for me to play my music. But this day turned out different. My music didn't please him.

Ever since I killed Goliath, Saul couldn't be pleased. He walked around mumbling something about the people loving me more than him. Yeah, right. He is the king, not me. He is the one God appointed as king at this time.

I must admit, I felt a little scared about playing for king Saul. He had the right to punish whomever he wanted. Still, I obeyed each time the servants sent for me. 

On this day, I had played two songs and started a third. Saul's face grew redder with each note. No one told me I should or could leave, so I stayed. His hand reached down for his spear. His fingers turned white from squeezing the weapon tight. 

Why did he pick up his spear?

I slowed the music to help calm him. It didn't work. His face turned redder. Saul slowly raised his spear. 

He aimed the spear at me! The rest happened so fast, I barely had time to react. His spear flew through the air toward me and he shouted, "I will pin you against the wall." My body jerked to the side like some invisible person had pushed me. I didn't need an order after that. I ran out of the room.

That night as I cared for the sheep in my father's fields, I thought about the day and wondered why my music upset king Saul, but couldn't think of a reason.

A few days later a servant called me to serve the king with music. I went, of course. Only a fool would not obey the king.

I sat in my usual place and played. Before I finished the first song, Saul grabbed his spear again. I didn't wait. I ran out of his chamber.

A couple of my friends said I should be mad at the king, try to pay him back, or sneak in and kill him. 

The prophet Samuel had anointed me as the next king, but only a few people knew. None of that mattered. I did not have the right to kill the king or pay him back for throwing a spear at me. God appointed Saul as the king and I will do everything necessary to protect, obey, and respect him.

The next day I received orders from Saul. "You shall server as captain of a thousand." What fantastic news. Although I would gladly serve my king any where he sent me, I preferred to be out in the action. 

I met many Israelites in between battles as we traveled from city to city. We sang and laughed together. I made many new friends. During this time, though, I didn't allow anyone around me to speak cruel about the king. I must defend the man God first appointed as king over Israel.

1. Why did David play his harp for king Saul?
2. Why was Saul angry with David?
3. What did Saul do one day while David played his music?
4. Who helped David to notice and move in time?
5. Was David angry with what Saul did?
6. When the servants called David to play for Saul again, did he go?
7. What happened the second time?
8. How did Saul get rid of David?
9. What did David teach the people around him?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hudson Taylor-The Day Jesus Came Into My Life

By Mary Vee

Hudson Taylor's Thoughts

I actually had a day off somewhere in my later teen years. Shocking, I know. But I suppose one day in a life time is good.

I didn't have to help father at the pharmacy, or do chores, or sit at the dining room table while my parents entertained guests, or--well, you get the picture. 

No one was home. I seriously could have the day all to myself. I wanted to dance and shout...Freedom! 

I didn't go totally crazy like jump on a bed or anything like that. I was much too old. 

I walked around the house looking for choices and happened into my father's library. I loved to read. Filling the day with a good book seemed like a good idea.

I scanned the spines for an intriguing title. Not one jumped out and said, "Pick me, pick me. I'm the book you want to read." 

In the corner next to the last shelf was a basket filled with pamphlets. I knew each one would start with an interesting story then switch to a sermon or some such lesson. I didn't want to read the last part, but I though a nice, short story would be fun to read. 

I browsed through the basket and found a fantastic story title about a coalman and his wife. Perfect. I curled up in the corner, right there on the floor and devoured the story. For some unknown reason, I didn't notice when the story ended and the sermon began until I stumble on these words: "The finished work of Christ." What strange words. Shouldn't the author have written, "The atoning or propitiatory work of Christ?" 

I didn't understand what the author meant. What was finished? I looked at the front of the pamphlet and back at the pages. And then as plain as the pain after stubbing your toe on a rock, I realized the meaning. Jesus died on the cross for my sins. Because He was perfect, his death became the only acceptable payment for my sin, or anyone's sins.

I set the pamphlet down and thought. If the work had been finished at the cross, there was nothing for me to do. All the good things I wanted to do to make God happy and earn my way to Heaven were no good! Jesus took my punishment, He did all the work.

I took a deep breath as though I stood on top of a mountain. It smelled good. Fresh. Sweet. My blood tingled through my veins as I kneeled to the floor. I needed to ask Jesus to be my Savior and to praise Him for what He did for me. And so the words flowed from my heart on that day:

Jesus, I have done many things wrong in my life. There are too many for me to list. You know what they are. And still, you chose to die on the cross for my sins. But you didn't stay dead. You became alive again and went to Heaven. Everything you did was make a way for people like me to go to heaven. There is nothing I can do but to accept your complete work as a gift. Please come live in my heart and teach me Your ways. Guide me to live a life that pleases You.

Many miles away, at a ladies meeting, my mother felt the need to go to a private room. She thought only of me and fell to her knees. She prayed for hours asking the Lord to save my soul. Then, in someway she could not explain, she knew her pray had been answered. She said she simply had a peace that let her know I had asked Christ into my heart.

Back at my house, days had passed before I told my sister I asked Jesus into my heart. "Promise not to tell Mom. I want to tell her myself." She agreed.

The night my mother came home I ran to the door excited to tell her my news. She walked in the house with a huge smile on her face. I didn't know why. Did she have good news? Did I look silly? I took a breath, but before one word fell from my mouth she hugged me and said, "I know. I have been bursting with joy with the good news you have to tell me."

Oh, now my sister was in big trouble. She must have told Mother. "Did Amelia tell you?"

Mother smiled and gave me another hug. "No, my son, God told me when I prayed with Him."

Not many days later, I learned my sister Amelia had prayed, asking God to help me want to ask Jesus into my heart for me a whole month. 

Not only did I accept the love of God that night, but I also learned the power of prayer when I heard about my mother's and sister's prayers.

My story continues next week. See you then.

J. Hudson Taylor

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, March 10, 2012

Saul Dislikes David

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 18

Saul's Thoughts

I couldn't decide what to do. 

Every day angry thoughts stormed into my head. I couldn't think straight. How was I suppose to do my work? 

I called for David because his harp playing soothed my soul. But this same David was the one people loved more than me. 

I heard the people's  songs and whispers. David was a great and might warrior--better than me. I balled my fist and let the rage take over me. Pounding. Again and again in my head.

I had done a lot for these people. They asked me to be their king, I didn't ask for the job. I led the army into battles against our enemies and still I have won. I am a mighty king. Yet the people only speak of David. 

There he sat in my chamber playing his music. It wasn't working, not one soothing note rang from his harp. It sounded like noise, clanging noise. My anger grew strong and powerful. I had to act.

There at my side was my spear. I wrapped my fingers around it and squeezed. I could get rid of this one who pleased God and the people. My hand squeezed tighter around the weapon and I raised it near my shoulders.

David looked up from his instrument at me. His eyes grew wide. He dropped his instrument and ran out of my chamber at the instant I threw my spear. Had he not noticed. The spear would have hit my target.

God may have spared him that time, but a few days later my anger grew again and I threw my spear at David. 

He fled before my weapon made contact. 

I heard the people whisper. I knew. The Lord was with David and not with me. I had to keep him out of my chamber, far away from my chamber. That day I made him captain of a thousand men and sent him to battle. Now we'll see what the people say when little David is away.

photos courtesy of

1. Why would Saul call David to his chamber?
2. What did the people say that made Saul angry?
3. What did David do that made Saul angry?
4. What did Saul decide to do?
5. What happened to David?
6. How did Saul get David to leave?
7. Why did the Lord's Spirit leave Saul but stay with David?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The People Love David More Than Me.

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 18

Saul's Thoughts

I must admit, that young David fellow did a good job killing the giant, Goliath. He had gumption coming into my tent chamber asking to fight that rude Philistine. David practically rebuked our own Israelite soldiers...and me for not trusting God to fight the giant.

I couldn't blame the other men. To lose meant the soldier not only would lose his life but also the entire Israelite army would have been doomed to slavery to the Philistines. That didn't bother David. He didn't look at what would happen if we lost. He only looked at the victory.

Since he proved himself a warrior, I kept the lad in the army for other battles. Victory became a part of our daily routine. David spent much of his free time singing songs to the Lord. He dedicated everything to God including the battles. Why, he acted almost fearless.

In all David's fearlessness, though, he never disobeyed my orders. I naturally placed him over the men of war. And even though he was younger and shorter, the men respected him. Even my servants came to respect him and obeyed any command he gave.

One day, as we returned after another battle with the Philistines, Israelite women gathered along the road to greet us. They cheered, danced, and sang. Some swung their tambourines with joy and others played different instruments. It was a great sight to see as we walked toward the city!

The closer I marched with the men, the better I could hear the words of their song:

"Saul has slain his thousands
And David his ten thousands"

Wait, what did they say? Did they say David killed ten thousands but I have only killed thousands? If they sang songs such as this, then soon they would want him king instead of me!


I shall watch this David who seems to want to take my throne from me. He may have the Lord close to him, but I still have my throne.

1.  What did Saul think of David at first?
2.  How did Saul reward David?
3. What did the other soldiers and servants think of David?
4. What happened one day after a battle with the Philistines?
5.  Why was Saul angry?
6. What did he think would happen?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Hudson Taylor-A boy

By Mary Vee

Hudson Taylor's Thoughts

I looked scrawny as a kid. I seemed to be a magnet for sick bugs. Unfortunately being sick didn't get me out of school.

My mother home-schooled me in the backroom of father's pharmacy business. We studied grammar, (mother made us correct all mistakes), reading, French, Latin, Bible,  and math. 

School wasn't too bad, I guess. Sometimes we went on field trips to study bugs, birds, and flowers. Well, I did try regular school for two years. It didn't work out well.

I helped Dad with his pharmacy work. Taking care of medicines was a big responsibility. If I put the wrong medicine in a package, or miscounted, or made some other mistake, the patient could become more sick. I worked hard to do my job correctly.

One of my favorite memories was Dad taking the time to pray with us.  He'd call us together each night and spend this special prayer time with us.

Like my great grandparents, Dad and Mom loved to have lots of people over. Preachers and Bible study friends came nearly everyday to discuss the Lord's work including missions in other countries. I didn't know why they talked about China all the time but they did.

When I turned fifteen, Dad suggested I get more training to help him in his business. A job opened up for a junior clerk at a bank. I could learn how to set up and take care of the patient's accounts,  write letters, and help where needed.

I thought it would be fun to be on my own. I learned the job quickly. My new coworkers took their paychecks and bought all kinds of great stuff. They didn't believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior and it showed. I had never been around people who swore all the time, as if swearing words should be used as regular words. Many of my new coworkers said they were Christians, yet they joined in the wild stories and swearing. 

I hadn't study my Bible enough to know what to say to them. After a while, the things they said wrong about God and Jesus  seemed right to me. The more I listened, the more I agreed with my new friends.

I couldn't tell right from wrong. 

I decided I needed to do good things to make up for whatever I did wrong. Lots of good deeds should impress God and make me a Christian, right? It didn't work. Almost every task I tried failed. I didn't feel like a Christian and all I ever did was make wrong choices.

That's when I decided I wasn't good enough to be a Christian. The only choice left for me would be to do what my co-workers did: go to parties, buy lots of things, and talk mean about Christians.

I made a lot of bad choices then...

And that is when God stepped in to help me. He let me have a terrible eye infection which prevented me from doing my work. I had to leave the job and my co-workers. 

Dad let me work with him in his pharmacy again. I didn't feel happy. Some days I just didn't want to go to work. I'd remember the things my coworkers said, and then a Bible verse. I was so confused. Dad didn't know how my coworkers acted at my last job. He became angry with me for my bad attitude.

In truth, I didn't know how to fix the problem. 

I learned later, I couldn't fix the problem. Only God could.  Once again, God stepped in to help me. Come back next week to read what God did for me.

J. Hudson Taylor

What questions do you have?

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, March 3, 2012

A New Friend

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 18

Jonathan's Thoughts

David had come to my father's chamber a few times before. My father is king Saul.

David was the one who brought his harp and played music to soothe my dad's angry temper. Before he came, Dad would would have angry fits. He stormed around yelling and screaming at everyone. Absolutely nothing would calm him down.

Each day he became worse until his servants found David, a harp player who tended sheep.

David didn't come every day. He had to return to care for his own father's sheep. Sometimes father would call for David at battlefields to play calming music, then he'd send him back home.

All in all, I didn't really know David other than the one who came to calm father's angry fits.

One day a giant Philistine challenged our army to a one-man fight. The winner could declare victory for his whole army. The man stood taller than anyone I'd seen. His armor weighed more than I could carry without a chariot's help. Not one man in my father's army volunteered to fight. Not even me. 

True, not long ago, my servant and I crept into a Philistine camp and with the help of God killed many of their soldiers, but this was different. If I lost this battle, the entire Israelite army would pay the price, not just me. 

After forty days of the giant's mocking our army, David happened along to bring food for his brothers. He listened to the giant's mockery and became angry. He caused such a fuss the soldiers took him to my father.

I watched his fury build, this person about the same age as me who played soothing music for my father. He talked about the lions and bears he'd killed with his bare hands and about God's power which would help him kill this giant, too. I found his spirit for God amazing. 

I laughed when father put his armor on David. Hah. It was like putting a lamb in a lion's skin. David had to take the armor off to fight, of course, he couldn't even walk! He didn't even want a spear or sword from father. I couldn't figure out how he planned to kill the giant.

David went out to the meeting place, yelled something about the Lord's power, took one of five stones from his shepherd's bag and whipped it at the giant. The giant fell dead. Just like that.

This is a person I wanted for a friend. This person lived for the Lord, no matter what came his way.

Our army chased the Philistines, conquering them then returned to camp. I went to David and gave him my robe, my armor...which fit him much better, my sword, bow, and belt. I said, "David, you are a person I want for a true friend." 

He smiled and said, "Yes, Jonathan. You are a person I want for a true friend as well."

I've wanted to have a best friend for a long time, and now I have one, David, son of Jesse.

1. What had David done for his father?
2. When had Jonathan seen David?
3. What happened the day David brought food for this brothers?
4. Why didn't Jonathan offer to fight Goliath?
5. Had Jonathan offered to fight when no one else would before? When?
6. Why did Jonathan want to be friends with David?
7. Who is Jonathan?

How about you? Tell about your best friend.

photo courtesy of visualbibleimages.