Monday, April 30, 2012

Hudson Taylor- A Dead Man Can't Be a Missionary

By Mary Vee

Hudson Taylor's Thoughts

My instructor told me "Go home, take care of any details. You will be a dead man very soon."

He meant it. He saw no hope for  me.

While examining a body of a man who died from a horrible fever, I didn't realize a poke from a needle the night before had not healed. The deadly germ entered my body and worked quickly.

To save the cost of a ride to my home, I chose to walk the eight miles. I didn't get far before my legs felt like soggy noodles. I had to spend the money on a horse drawn buggy or die in the street. 

My landlady saw me stumble to my apartment. She sent a servant to help. 

I tried desperately to focus every thought on helping the people of China. I simply had to get well. God could hardly send a dead man as a missionary to China.

The servant opened the door and helped me sit on the sofa. She asked, "Can I get you anything?"

"Yes, a basin of warm water and my medical bag."

The poor woman hurried about as if her deeds could keep me alive. Maybe they did. While she ran about my apartment, I told her about God's love. I sputtered out the who plan of Salvation. I couldn't help it.

She brought the basin to me. "There, there, now, Mr. Taylor. You just lie there and feel better. Don't be fussing about God's love now."

"You don't understand. I need," I struggled to take a deep breath, "I need to tell you about God's love."

She wiped her hands in her apron. "Very well, then. I will listen if you'll calm yourself."

I searched through my bag for a scalpel. "God loves you deeply. Your sins, the wrong things you have done in your life, have kept you from going to heaven." 

Her brows furrowed. "Then how can I go to heaven?"

My hand trembled as I washed my wound and the scalpel in preparation for the next step. While I worked I told her more. 

"God sent his Son, Jesus, to teach us what to do. He was and is the only one who has live a perfect life. Jesus chose to take the punishment for our sins. No one else could pay the price because no one else lived a perfect life. He died for me, and He died for you. God says in His Word that whoever believes in Jesus as God's Son and accepts His gift of salvation, will go to heaven."

I took the knife and sliced open the area of my finger where the pin had poked and squeeze with all my strength to bleed out the poisoned blood. It hurt terribly. I screamed from the pain and fainted. 

When I awoke, I found myself in bed, Uncle Benjamin sitting in the chair next to me, and a doctor speaking with him. The doctor shook his head. "I'm sorry, Hudson. Your fever is beyond what medicine can do."

Come back next week to see what happened.

J. Hudson Taylor

Do you have 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, April 28, 2012

David Escapes from Keilah

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 23

Thoughts from One of David's Men

I met with my friend last night. He chose to stay in service to the king, but his sympathies, his heart remains with David. 

He gave me this message, "Report my words to David as soon as possible. Earlier this evening, Saul discovered David went to Keilah. He also knows Abiathar, the priest took an ephod with him." 

He looked around to be sure no one could hear. "Saul had that look in his eyes. You know, the wild one. He said, 'God has delivered David into my hand. That foolish David shut himself in a fortified city with gates and bars. He will never escape Keilah now. Muwahahaha.'  Go quickly and tell David to leave at once. Saul has ordered his soldiers to war. They are to march to Keilah and attack David and his men."

I ran as though my life depended on it and reported the message to David at once. 

David called his leaders together and had me repeat the message. "Men," he said, "I need to ask God what we should do. Our lives are at risk. Bring Abiathar the priest to me and make sure he has his ephod."

When Abiathar arrived, David said, "O Lord God of Israel, Your servant has heard news of Saul coming to Keilah to destroy the city because of me. Will the men of Keilah turn me over to Saul? Will Saul really come here? O Lord God of Israel, I pray, tell Your servant what to do."

The Lord spoke to David saying, "Saul will come to Keilah."

David asked, "Will the men of Keilah turn me and my men over to Saul?"

The Lord answered, "They will deliver you over to Saul."

David turned back to his men. "We need to leave, at once. The people of Keilah will turn us over to Saul. Gather your things, now."

We knew how to clean a camp in quick time. David led the six hundred of us out of the city. He didn't have a destination in mind. We simply wandered the wilderness staying in strongholds hidden in the mountains. 

News of Saul's location arrived daily from his spies. David always knew where to hide to keep everyone safe. We grew to trust him and his decisions. 

1.  What did the spy tell David's man?
2.  What did David decide to do first?
3.  Then who did he call and what did the person need to bring?
4.  What did David ask God?
5.  What answer did God give?
6. Based on God's answers, what did David do?
7.  What was most important to David when he decided where to hide?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Philistines Attacked the City of Keilah!

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 22

Thoughts from One of David's Men

David assigned several scouts to find news and bring him word. We were to report trouble and any movement from King Saul. 

I happened to search the area of Keilah and found the Philistines had captured the city. This band of Philistines must have had great strength and mighty weapons because Keilah had a thick wall around the city and iron gates to prevent anyone from attacking.

I ran back to the caves and requested to speak to our captain. 

David had great respect for his men. Whenever any of us had a need or wished to speak with him he always listened. He invited me to join him at once. I bowed. "The Philistines are fighting against Keilah and they are robbing the threshing floors."

I, along with the other men, waited for instructions. David never blurted orders, he asked God first what he should do. He went away from the group and prayed. A while later David returned and called a meeting. "The Lord said, go and attack the Philistines and save Keilah."

One of the men stepped forward. "I think I speak for everyone. We're afraid. Saul can send a huge army against us. We'll have even more trouble if we go to Keilah to fight the armies of the Philistines."

David, our great leader, kept his face relaxed. He nodded his understanding of our concerns. "Tell you what I'll do. I will go to the Lord again, let him know we feel outnumbered and are lacking weapons and see what He says."

The men agreed. David went off and spoke with the Lord again. God said, "Go down to Keilah for I will deliver the Philistines into your hand."

We didn't need to be told again. Our fathers told great stories of God's power during battle. 

Six hundred men left the caves where we hid from King Saul. We moved as camouflaged soldiers, quiet, almost invisible. The city of Keilah was built in an open area between mountains. We hid behind rocks and look down on the city to assess the situation. From there David and a few men made a battle plan. 

We had our instructions. The only way into the city would be to follow the Philistines who had already broken through. No battle cry was to be  sounded. David said, "Quietly attack the men at the rear and move forward until all Philistines killed."

This battle would not be one of strength and modern weapons, but surprise.  Our captain reminded us the battle belonged to the Lord and He would protect us. 

We moved forward, undetected, following the battle plan first killing the Philistines in the back of their group then the remaining Philistines. We took our enemies'  livestock as reward.

The people of Keilah celebrated in the streets singing and dancing their freedom. Our captain hushed the crowds and led a cheer of praise to the Almighty God of Israel.

Praise the Lord for His goodness and mercy, for His power and protection. Praise the Lord.

1. What city needed help?
2. Who attacked them?
3. What did the men hiding with David say?
4. How did David help the men understand what to do?
5. What did the men hiding with David say the second time?
6. How many men did David have for this battle?
7. How did the battle end?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hudson Taylor-The Power of a Tiny Cut

By Mary Vee

J. Hudson Taylor's Thoughts

I went home after hearing the ship worker had run away and not honored his promise to send money for his wife. I loaned her the money and now would not be repaid.

My stomach grumbled. Since there wasn't a single coin in my pocket, I chose to ignore it and worked to prepare for my classes the next day. Every few evenings I sewed sheets of paper together to take notes on for class lectures. While I sewed I prayed. Talking to God kept my mind off of food. In truth, I was very hungry.

As the needle pushed in and through the sheets, I imagined life as a missionary in China, what the country looked like, what I would say to the people. I pushed and pulled the needle through thick pages practicing Scripture verses.

At one point the needle refused to push through the sheets. I set my first finger on the top sheet and pressed through from the bottom page with my thumb. After a hearty shove the needed popped through and pricked my finger. I hardly thought about the matter and kept working.

The next morning I took my newly sewn notebook and a half loaf of bread to the hospital.

One of my classes schedule for that day was dissection. The other students and I examined the insides of bodies to learn where, what, and why God put things there. The body given to us that day had experienced a deadly fever. So deadly, the professor said the powerful germ could still attack any of us through a simple cut in our skin.

The instructor refused to allow any student in the dissection room who had a cut. He asked us several times. "Do you have a cut. If, so, stay out of that room." We checked each other to insure no one entering the room had a cut.

I knew I didn't have a cut, and no one found any on my skin. I entered the dissection room with a few other students and participated in the dissection. We saw how the fever attacked the body. A terrible disease, indeed.

After class we visited the wards to check on patients. At lunch time I suddenly became sick. Quite sick. Since I rarely became ill, I hardly knew what to do. I sat in a room by myself and drank a class of cool water. After a short time I felt better and rejoined the students. But during the afternoon lectures, my energy left. I couldn't hold my pencil, or focus on the instructor's words.

A searing pain ran through my arm and down my right side. I left the lecture and went to the dissection room to pack my tools to go home. The demonstrator turned to me. "Why are you here, now?"

I rubbed sweat from my forehead. "I don't know what's happening to me. I can't focus, I have no energy, I feel awful."

He became quite angry. "The answer is clear. While dissection you became careless and cut yourself, and you knew this body had a malignant fever."

"No, please. I took great care to not cut myself. I know I didn't."

The surgeon shook his head. "You must have a cut!" He grabbed my hands and searched every inch but didn't find one.

Then I remembered the needle poke from the night before. "Excuse me, Sir, could a needle prick from last night still be unclosed this morning?"

He lowered his head. "Most likely. I recommend you get a taxi and go home as fast as you can. Take care of any will or other papers you have, because you will be a dead man very soon."

The only thought in my mind was: how could I be a missionary in China if I died right then? None of this new disease made sense to me.

Come back next week to read what happened.

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, April 21, 2012

Doeg, the Traitor

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 22

Thoughts from a Servant of King Saul

Doeg the traitor reported Ahimelech to King Saul. He said Ahimelech helped David by giving him food, a weapon, and by asking God for new direction for David.

King Saul burst into anger and ordered his troops to bring Ahimelech to him.

When Ahimelech and his whole family arrived, he went before the king and said David had been a loyal servant for King Saul. Ahimelech said David didn't do anything wrong and neither had he.

King Saul stared at Ahimelech with a look of disbelief. He stood with his spear tightly held in his hand. "David loyal? For this, priest, you shall surely die. You and all your father's house."

I looked at all the priests who came with Ahimelech from Nob. Eighty-five men in all. Saul had ordered all of them killed because David received help from Ahimelech.

Saul paced as if plotting his next move. He turned to the troops and yelled, "Kill all the priests of the Lord because they chose to help David and because they knew when he ran away and yet, didn't tell me."

The troops looked at each other and raised their eyebrows. None of them moved. Not one would lift a weapon or a hand to kill the priests of the Lord.

Doeg looked at the king. Saul's anger burned again. He raised his fist and started screaming about David. Doeg grabbed a sword and killed every single priests standing in our presence. All eighty-five. When he finished killing them, he glanced to his left and right as if looking for someone else to kill.

He ran to Ahimilech's home city, Nob and killed the men women, children, oxen, donkeys, and sheep with his sword.

What he did was wrong. Yet none of us stopped him because we would have been killed by him too.

I couldn't stay in King Saul's service any longer. I tracked down David's hiding place and begged his forgiveness. I asked to join his troops. David hugged me and welcomed me into the group.

A little while later, Abiathar, one of Ahimelech's sons, managed to escape. He came to David's hiding place. Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the Lord's priests."

David shook his head and looked at the ground. "I knew that day, when Doeg the Edomite was in Gath that he would tell Saul. His eyes showed he was a traitor."

He set his hands on Abiathar's shoulders. "These killings are my fault. I have caused the death of all the persons in your father's house. Please, stay with me. Don't be afraid. The man who seeks my life seeks  your life as well. But, with will be safe.

After hearing this news, the Lord gave David this Psalm:

Psalm 52
The End of the Wicked and the Peace of the Godly

To the Chief Musician. A Contemplation[a] of David when Doeg the Edomite went and told Saul, and said to him, “David has gone to the house of Ahimelech.”

Why do you boast in evil, O mighty man?
The goodness of God endures continually.
Your tongue devises destruction,
Like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.
You love evil more than good,
Lying rather than speaking righteousness. Selah
You love all devouring words,
You deceitful tongue.
God shall likewise destroy you forever;
He shall take you away, and pluck you out of your dwelling place,
And uproot you from the land of the living. Selah
The righteous also shall see and fear,
And shall laugh at him, saying,
“Here is the man who did not make God his strength,
But trusted in the abundance of his riches,
And strengthened himself in his wickedness.”
But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God;
I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever.
I will praise You forever,
Because You have done it;
And in the presence of Your saints
I will wait on Your name, for it is good.

1.  How many priests came from Nob.
2. What did the traitor Doeg do to the priests?
3.  What did he do next in the city of Nob?
4.  Who escaped?
5. Where did he go?
6. What did he tell David
7. What did David say?

Two of our readers sent this photo:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Evil Doeg, Turns the Priest In

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 22

Thoughts from a Servant of King Saul

I have served King Saul for many years. I will remain loyal to him and obey him since he is my king...whether I agree with him or not.

King Saul had searched the countryside for David. He had troops looking in bushes, in homes, and stables. He received a report recently stating David's hiding place had been found. Saul camped in Gibeah under a tamarisk tree. He sat there with a spear in his hand ready at all times to kill David.

He called his troops for a meeting. "Listen up, you Benjamites. Do you think David, son of Jesse, will give each of you fields and vineyards and make you all captains of thousands or hundreds? Clearly all of you have banded together against me. Not one of you told me my son made a covenant with David. Not one of you feels sorry for me or has reported my son turned my troops against me, or that David lies in wait to kill me at this instant."

Doeg the Edomite stepped forward. He had been appointed head over the servants. He bowed before the king. "My lord. Begging your pardon. I have information."

King Saul leaned forward. "Finally, a trustworthy servant. Tell me your information."

Doeg bowed again. "I saw David escaping to Nob and he met with Ahimelech, the priest. During their visit, Ahimelech prayed to the Lord for David, gave him and his men food and drink, and..." Doeg lowered his voice and looked at the other men then back at King Saul. "Ahimelech gave him the sword of Goliath, the Philistine."

The troops looked at each other with wide eyes and shook their heads. King Saul's fingers wrapped tighter around his spear. I had hoped he wouldn't throw it at anyone. Saw stood up, took a deep breath and squinted his eyes. He growled. "Send for Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father's house.  At once!"

A group of troops left right away.

A while later they returned with Ahimelech and eighty-four men from his father's house. He bowed before the king and said, "Here I am, my lord."

Saul moved his lips side to side. His face grew redder each second he didn't speak. Finally he folded his arms and spoke. "Tell me, Ahimelech, Why have you conspired with David against me? I understand you gave him bread, a sword, and asked God directions for him. All this was done to help David rise against me, to lie in wait on this very day."

"My lord," Ahimelech said. "Is there any one of your men as faithful to you as David? He is your son-in-law. he has faithfully done everything you've commanded and has been honorable in your house. While he lived in your house did I ask God's His will for his life? No way! I am innocent of these charges."

Come back next to see what happens to Ahimelech. (Hint Doeg is going to do something)

1. What report did King Saul receive in Gibeah?
2. What tribe were the troops from?
3. Here is a bonus one for you, the answer is not in this story, what tribe is Saul from?
4. What terrible act did Saul accuse his troops?
5. What traitor stepped forward? What did he say?
6.  Who all did Saul send for?
7.  What did Ahimilech say?

photo courtesy of

Bonus today:
A few readers sent in their photo.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Hudson Taylor-The Ship Worker's Promise

By Mary Vee

Hudson Taylor's Thoughts

God has shown me twice He would provide for my needs. That I could trust Him.

But before I left for China, I still wanted to know if God would provide all my needs without my asking anyone other than Him for food, a bed, and the strength to do His will.

One day I received a letter from my father offering to pay all my housing costs in London while I attended medical school. He really didn't have any extra money to give, but he wanted to help. A day or so later I received a letter from the Committee of Chinese Evangelism Society. They too wanted to help pay my living expenses while I went medical school.

What a wonderful surprise. 

I wrote my father and the committee back and told each one I would pray about their gift. In my father's note I told him about the committee's idea, and I did the same for the committee. 

I prayed for a couple of days, wanting to make sure my decision would be exactly what God had in mind.

During the prayer, it occurred to me, by turning down both gifts I would have to trust God to supply whatever I needed. The more I prayed, the more I knew this was what God wanted me to do.

I wrote my father, thanking him for his gift, but God had not led me to accept his help. And then I wrote the committee and told them the same message. Each would think I had accepted the other's gift. Neither would know I had put my needs completely in God's care. And neither would feel bad that I didn't have any way to support myself other than trusting in God.

In my heart, I understood God wanted to show me He would always take care of me in China.

I didn't receive a large amount of money in an envelope or in any other mysterious way. Life became a struggle. Many days I had no food.

My cousin shared an apartment with me. The money he paid for rent helped me to buy some food and pay rent. I also learned to survive with little food, mostly bread, apples, and water and I walked the eight miles each day to get to my classes at the hospital. 

One day a woman in my apartment building asked me to pick up her husband's pay. Normally his pay would be put in the bank for him and a fee would be charged. By picking up the money the couple could save money. As a ship worker who needed to stay on board, he couldn't pick up the money. The woman knocked on my door one morning. "The landlady wants the rent today. I don't know what to do. My husband won't receive his pay until this afternoon." I gave her my food money knowing that after school I could pick up the money from the shipping clerk.

When I arrived to pick up the money the clerk told me the ship worker had run away to search for gold. Hmm, I thought. The lady would not be able to give me the money back for food and I won't have the allowance. Well, God. This will be a wonderful moment to see Your answer to this problem.

I walked away humming a song that came to mind. Not one worry popped in my mind. I knew, I simply knew God would take care of me. 

You'll have to come back next week to see what happened next.

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, April 14, 2012

David-A Friend to the Needy

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 22

David's Thoughts


Without realizing it, I had risked the lives of everyone with me. Without God's help, the Philistine king of Gath would have killed us all, right there in his court.

After  the king had us thrown out of the city, I led the men northeast, back toward my family's home and hid in the caves of Adullam. 

Somehow my family heard the news of our hiding place. Maybe one of the men saw my need to see my family, crept away, and told them. 

My brothers and all my father's house came to visit me. I hugged each one tight and long. When would I see them again? Would King Saul punish them because of me? Each member, a treasure, each one my family. They stayed with us in the cave.

As the days trickled by more people came to stay in the cave with us. Some were poor, others scared, and others unhappy. All left their homes and came to hide in the caves of Adullam with us.

I greeted each one with a hug and a soft word. I didn't have money to give, but what I had, a confidence in God's protection, I gave. The number hiding in the caves grew to four hundred men. This did not count the women with us.

With so many people coming to the caves to hide, word was bound to get to King Saul about our location. I needed to move my family to safety...out of the country. I called the people together. "My family is in danger, I am leaving tomorrow to take them out of the country. I plan to take them to Moab."

One of the men stood. "We will go with you and protect your family on the journey. You, David, are our captain." 

Before he sat again, the others rose with him. "We will all go with you, Captain."

I led the people to Moab and asked to speak with the king. He agreed to see me. I asked him, "My lord, please let my father and mother come here with you until I know what God will do for me." The king agreed to let my family live in Moab. 

God took care of my family in Moab while I fled King Saul and his army. Praise Him for His mercy and goodness.

Along the way, a prophet found me. He said, "David you must not stay here. Go to the land of Judah." 

Once again, God gave me direction. I didn't need to know why he wanted me to leave. I obeyed the prophet's words immediately because I had learned God used people to take care of me.

photo courtesy of

1.  Where did David take his followers?
2.  Who came to visit him?
3.  Who else came to hide with him?
4.  How did David greet/take care of them?
5.  What did David do for his family?
6.  What did the King of Moab say?
7.  Who else brought David a message?
8.  What did David know for sure?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

David-Crazy Man Who Saved His Men

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 21

David's Thoughts

Hiding from King Saul took a lot of work. Well, to hide from one man is not work, but to hide from every loyalist or bounty hunter meant watching any movement or shadow anywhere I went.

I led the men who followed me from Nob, a city not far from King Saul's palace, southwest, toward the Great Sea. We came to the Philistine city of Gath and hoped to hide there.

We hurried into the city and breathed a sigh of relief, until one the king's servants spotted us and took us to the royal court. King Achish greeted us. 

It seemed safe to ask his permission to stay in Gath...until a servant spoke up. "Isn't this David, the king of the land? The Israelites sing and dance to these words: Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands."

Poof. Just like that, King Achish's face turned from welcoming us to anger. What if he ordered all of us killed? Sweat poured down my neck and my eyes flickered about looking for any exit. What could I do? What could save the men who came with me?

A crazy idea popped in my head. If I acted like an insane man, Achish would hate the horrid sight and order me out of his court right away. Should I? Hmmm. 

The king raised his hand, ready to make a command. I needed to act fast.

I forced my eyes to grow wide like a madman and let my hands shake as if I couldn't control them. I looked down at my hands as if they'd become some strange thing hooked on the end of my arms. What were these things? From the look on the king's face my plan had worked thus far. 

I hobbled to the gate, pretending not to know how to use my legs. I curved my fingers against the gate and dragged my nails along the surface. Faster and faster I scratched wildly with both hands. My ears begged me to stop, but I refused, for the sake of my men.

I worked up a mouth full of spit and let it drool down on my beard and scratched some more on the gate. I added grunting sounds and flicked my head to the left and right. 

Achish pointed at me but yelled at his servants. "Look, you see the man is insane. why did you bring him to me? Do you really think I needed a madman in my court bad enough for you to find this fellow to play the part in my presence? Do you expect me to let this man into my house? What's the matter with you?"

The servants bowed to the king then ran toward me. They grabbed my arms and dragged me and my men out of the city. They threw me to the ground and shouted, "Stay away. We don't need madmen here!"

I led my men to a nearby wood to rest. I plopped on the ground and shook my head in disbelief. "I hope I never have to do that again." Everyone with me laughed and joked about the madman.

During this time God gave me two psalms for comfort. Maybe they will comfort you when trouble or scary times come:

Prayer for Relief from Tormentors
To the Chief Musician A Michtam of David when the Philistines captured him in Gath.

Psalm 56
Be merciful to me, O God, for man would swallow me up;
Fighting all day he oppresses me.
My enemies would hound me all day,
For there are many who fight against me, O Most High.
Whenever I am afraid,
I will trust in You.
In God (I will praise His word),
In God I have put my trust;
I will not fear.
What can flesh do to me?
All day they twist my words;
All their thoughts are against me for evil.
They gather together,
They hide, they mark my steps,
When they lie in wait for my life.
Shall they escape by iniquity?
In anger cast down the peoples, O God!
You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they not in Your book?
When I cry out to You,
Then my enemies will turn back;
This I know, because God is for me.
10 In God (I will praise His word),
In the Lord (I will praise His word),
11 In God I have put my trust;
I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
12 Vows made to You are binding upon me, O God;
I will render praises to You,
13 For You have delivered my soul from death.
Have You not kept my feet from falling,
That I may walk before God
In the light of the living?

A Psalm of David when he pretended madness before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he departed.

Psalm 34

I will bless the Lord at all times;

His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make its boast in the Lord;
The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together.
I sought the Lord, and He heard me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces were not ashamed.
This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him,
And saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel[a] of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him,
And delivers them.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints!
There is no want to those who fear Him.
10 The young lions lack and suffer hunger;
But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.
11 Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 Who is the man who desires life,
And loves many days, that he may see good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil,
And your lips from speaking deceit.
14 Depart from evil and do good;
Seek peace and pursue it.
15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their cry.
16 The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
To cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears,
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the Lord delivers him out of them all.
20 He guards all his bones;
Not one of them is broken.
21 Evil shall slay the wicked,
And those who hate the righteous shall be condemned.
22 The Lord redeems the soul of His servants,
And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.
Psalms taken from NKJV. Photo courtesy of

1. Who was David hiding from?
2. After he went to Nob where did he go?
3. What people lived there?
4. What did the servants tell the king about David?
5. What did David think the king would do?
6. How did David solve the problem. Describe what he did.
7. David could have signaled his men to fight, he could have done many other things as well. Do you think any other idea would have worked in this situation? Who do you think gave him the idea?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Hudson Taylor-God Provided

By Mary Vee

Thoughts from J. Hudson Taylor

Last time I visited, I wrote about God's gift of a gold coin. The story did not end there.

The good doctor still forgot to pay me.

I used the coin to buy only what food I needed that week. My stomach never felt full, in fact, it growled many times. If I only had to care for myself, I could have waited a longer time to be paid. But I needed to give the landlady rent. She needed to buy food and pay her bills as well.

Doubts popped into my head. Should I remind to good doctor to pay me? Would that show a complete trust in God to take care of my needs? The answer was clear. No. Wait on the Lord.

Every spare moment I had that Thursday and Friday I knelt and prayed, asking God to remind the kind doctor to pay me.  I went to work, choosing not to say anything about the money to him.

Saturday evening I stood at the stove, mixing and heating a medicine that needed constant care. We had both worked hard that day. The doctor plopped down in his chair and let his head flop back. "Mmm, this feels good to relax." His arms fell on the rest and he closed his eyes. 

I kept stirring the mixture, watching the color and thickness. The only sounds in the room came from my pan. It seemed the good doctor fell asleep. I happened to turn at the same instant he popped forward on his chair. It surprised me and nearly caused me to drop the spoon in the mixture.

"Hudson, don't I owe you pay?"

God answered! I didn't want the smile to jump on my face but I couldn't stop it. Tonight, yes, tonight the money for rent and food will be in my hand. "Yes, Doctor, the pay is over due." I answered without facing him. I didn't want him to feel bad.

He leaned back in his chair. "I'm sorry, Hudson. I wish you had reminded me sooner."

My stomach growled.

He shook his head. "I sent all the moneys received from the patients to the bank today. I don't have anything to give you." author's note: people could not get their money out of the bank as easily back in Hudson's time.

I didn't know what to say. Anger bubbled in my head. It wasn't the good doctor's fault. It wasn't God's. It wasn't mine. Still, I just didn't know what to do. Fortunately the mixture I stirred needed to be removed from the heat. I took it into the next room and huffed.

The doctor went home for supper a few minutes later. I cleaned up the office then fell to my knees and prayed. "God, You are the Provider. All this has happened to show me You will take care of me in Your time." My stomach growled again and a picture of my landlady came to mind. "Lord, please find a way for the good doctor to give me my pay."  

I stayed for a few hours praying for God's help, then stood to turn off the light and go home. By leaving this late, I could let myself into my apartment and not bother the landlady. As I stepped out the office I heard someone laughed in the courtyard. The good doctor. Why did he come back to the office?

"Hudson, be a good assistant and fetch my ledger. One of our wealthy patients stopped by my house to pay his bill. The man paid in cash! Imagine him stopping by at this hour."

I brought him the ledger and recorded the patient's payment. The doctor opened his safe and set some of the money inside. He handed the rest to me. "Here, I don't have change for you, but take this for your pay. I'll give you the rest next week."

My jaw fell open. I looked at the money in my hand and then at the good doctor. "Thank you. Thank you."

I took a deep breath and sighed. 

God, the Great Provider, took care of me. And if He chose to take care of me here, in London, He would take care of me in China. I felt one step closer to becoming a missionary in China.

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, April 7, 2012

The Best Place to Hide

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 20

David's Thoughts

I tried to make peace with King Saul. I tried to show my loyalty to him but he wouldn't listen. My only choice, escape or die.

If I knew what I did wrong, how I offended the king, I would have tried to fix it.

My best fried, Jonathan warned me of his father plans. Deep down in my heart I already knew, but Jonathan didn't. When King Saul screamed his threats to kill me in front of all the people at the festival, Jonathan stormed out of the banquet hall. The next morning, he met me in the practice field and told me the news. It was a goodbye to our friendship that meant forever.

Several soldiers fled the city with me. On the way to Nob, they pledged their allegiance, promising to fight for me against the king. While I appreciated their thoughts, I didn't want any harm to come to the king. My first job: teach the soldiers to honor the king God had chosen for our country at this time, no matter what the king did or said.

Nob seemed like the perfect place to hide. This was the home of the priest, Ahimelech.

We ran most of the way, dodging between shadows, never knowing if a loyalist for King Saul hid behind a bush ready to attack. Once in Nob, we searched for the priest's house. He must have known trouble followed us because his eyes widened and he pressed his hands against his his face. "What are you doing here, David. Why are you alone?"

As a captain in the king's army, I would normally only march through this area with soldiers ready to do battle.  Ahimelech took one look behind me and saw I didn't have my troops.

My men and I hadn't eaten in a long time. "Ahimelech, I need your help. Do you have any bread? We're hungry."

He shook his head. "There isn't any regular bread for me to share." He looked behind me and around us to see if anyone else could hear. "There is..." he whispered softer, "holy bread, if the men with you have kept themselves clean."

We'd been running for three days. My men wouldn't have had any time to get into trouble. "My men and I are clean, Ahimelech. Could we have the bread?"

He brought us five loaves. I broke off a piece for myself then gave the rest to my men. "Thank you. Could I ask one more favor?  The task I have is really important. In fact I hurried away from the city so fast I forgot my spear and sword. Do you happen to have a weapon I could use?"

"I have but one." Ahimelech pointed to a cloth behind the ephod. "There is the sword of Goliath, the Philistine. The one you killed in the Valley of Elah. This is all I have to offer."

I went to the cloth, unwrapped the sword of Goliath and held it high in the air. What a magnificent sword! "Thank you. Ahimelech. This will help me succeed in my task."

I didn't know at that time, that Doeg, an Edomite who worked for King Saul, happened to be there that same day. But that is another story yet to come.

1.  Who warned David and why?
2.  Where did David go?
3.  What did David ask from the priest?
4.  What did the priest give David?
5.  David needed something else. What did he ask for?
6.  What did the priest give David?
7.  Both times David asked the priest for something, he received something better. Why did that happen?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Jonathan Signals Danger

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 20

Jonathan's Thoughts

I couldn't warn David last night after I left the New Moon Festival.

He would have hidden in some random cave in the dark. No one would be able to see him, well, except God, of course.

I waited until this morning as we'd planned. Didn't bother to eat a morning meal. David had to be warned right away.

Down by the stables, I found my servant sleeping. "Get up lad. Fetch my arrows and bow."

He rubbed the sleep from his eyes, ran to my weapons, and grabbed them. He soon caught up with me. I pointed to the field where David and I last met. "We'll go over there for my morning practice."

Once in place, I scanned the trees in the distance. No sign of David. Didn't matter. He probably found a place to hide among the brush before I woke this morning.

I took my bow and an arrow from the servant. "Be ready to fetch the arrows, lad." He nodded.

The arrow slipped into the notch and I pulled back. "Go. Run."  The little guy ran as if his next meal sat on a rock in the field.

I released the arrow and watched it soar high above the young servant's head. I shouted, "Go, the arrow is beyond you. Hurry, don't wait."  He ran and gathered all the arrows and brought them back to me.

"Well done. Take my bow and the arrows back to the city."  He bowed and took the weapons.

I sat in the field and picked a blade of grass, waiting for David to join me. Once the boy had left the field my friend poked his head up from a bush on the south side of the field. To keep his secret I walked toward the place I saw him as though on a daily stroll.

There he waited, behind the bushes. My friend bowed three times and greeted me with a hug. Tears fell from his eyes. I could see in his eyes, he knew what I would say. My father would not rest until he'd killed David. We would not be able to laugh, play, or share secrets together any more. He would have to hide...from the king

I put my hands on his shoulders, "Go in peace. We've made our promises to protect each other whenever possible." I looked down for a moment. I didn't want' to lose my best friend, but he needed to go, right away. Loneliness crept into my heart.

He shook his head and let a tear fall. "I will protect your family, Jonathan. I promise."

Then David left.

Others might have become angry when they learned the king wanted to kill them. Such a person probably would promised to kill the king. But not my friend, David. He loved God too much to let anger win.

I walked back to the city, to my home, to my room and wished I could see my friend David again.

Image from

1.  Why did Jonathan warn David as soon as he left the festival?
2.  What did Jonathan want to do first thing the next morning?
3.  Who did he take with him?
4.  Where did they go?
5.  Who did Jonathan look for in the distance?
6.  Why did Jonathan shoot the arrows so far?
7.  After the servant boy left, who came out of hiding?
8.  What did David and Jonathan say to each other?