Wednesday, May 30, 2012

David Honors But Doesn't Trust Saul

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 26

David's Thoughts

Abishai slid like a shadow between the soldier's laying fast asleep and handed me the spear and jug of water. "As you asked, Commander, David. I would rather have killed your enemy."

I respected him for obeying my orders despite his desires. We moved outside the camp to a safe distance on the top of a hill, far from Saul and his army. I found a place where we could look down on Saul's camp. What a sight.

The sleeping mats spanned the valley before us, each with a man laying still in sleep. Had the Philistines come to this valley our king and his best men would be killed. Not one stayed awake to guard the camp...or the king of Israel.

I cupped my hands around my mouth and called out "Abner. Are you there?"

Abner scrambled to his feet and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. He turned to my position, scanning the countryside to see who spoke. He raised his spear and puffed his chest out. "Who are you calling out to the king?"

The army soldiers leaped to their feet with their weapons poised. Those around Saul knitted a wall of protection with their bodies. A little too late, fellas. 

They had no clue we stood next to the king only a few moments before. "Abner, Are you a man? And who is your equal in Israel? Why haven't you guarded your lord the king? While you slept someone came in to kill your lord the king. You have failed at your job.

"As the lord lives, Abner, you deserve to die because you didn't guard your master, the Lord's anointed. Go, search by the king's bed for his spear and water jug."

Saul pushed the soldiers guarding him to the side and stepped forward. He shaded his eyes and looked up at the hill where I stood. "Is that your voice, my son David?"

"Yes, my lord, O king." I bowed. "Why does my king chase after me? What evil have I done? If the Lord has stirred your spirit to come after me, let him accept a sacrifice. If however, the people have sent you, let them be cursed before the Lord for they have driven me away from the Lord's inheritance. 

"Don't take my life, for you have come out to seek a flea, as when one huts a small bird in the mountains."

Saul stood there, not saying or doing anything. The morning birds fluttered to the sky gathering in clusters and swirling. He rubbed the back of his neck then looked my way. "David, I have sinned. Please come back with me. I promise not to harm you any more, for my life was precious in your eyes this day. Indeed, I have played the fool and erred exceedingly."

I don't know if he spoke the truth this time, but i needed to forgive him, yet again. "Send one of the young men to get your spear. May the Lord reward the righteousness and faithfulness of every man, for He delivered you into my hand today, but I chose not to kill the Lord's anointed. 

"And since your life was valued much this day in my eyes, so let my life be valued in your eyes and deliver me from this tribulation."

"May you be blessed, my son David. You will do great things and prevail in our land." Saul held his arms up toward me. 

Maybe he meant his words, I don't know. I chose not go back with him to find out.


1. What did Abishai take?
2. Where did David and Abishai go after they left the camp?
3. Who is Abner?
4. What did David say to Abner?
5. Who stepped forward to speak?
6. What did Saul decide to do?
7. What should Saul have been doing?
8. What did David ask of Saul? 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Hudson Taylor- Witnessing to the Grouchy, Old Man

By Mary Vee

J. Hudson Taylor's Thoughts

Toward the end of my medical training, a grouchy, old man had been transferred to me as a patient. He had a serious infection in his foot. The poor man didn't realize the illness that went along with the infection would soon take his life. 

The man didn't believe in God, and he made it quite clear he wanted to hear nothing about God. 

I wanted to be a testimony to the fellow. This could be a challenge.

The first day I met with him, I dressed his wound with great care, watching to cause as little pain as possible. I might have said a word or two about his foot before I left. The man seemed nice. He didn't complain, anyway.

The next two days I did the same thing: dressed the wound, say a few cordial words, leave.

Each day I prayed before entering his room, asking for God's mercy on the man's life and for  the right words to say  at the right time. 

On the fourth day, the man squeezed a small smile at me when I entered the room. He didn't fuss when I changed his bandages, in fact, he became quite pleasant. I took his actions as a sign too speak with him about what would happen after he died and the marvelous gift of life from Christ.

Well, this didn't go over very well. The old man became grouchy again, rolled away from me, and refused to speak. 

I thought of him all day long and prayed for his soul with all my heart. "Please Lord, don't take him before I can share your love with him."

The next day he rolled away the instant I walked in the door. I changed his bandage which relieved his pain, and chose to say a few words about Jesus and His love. The man wouldn't even grunt or complain. He made sure I knew to leave right away.

For quite some time, we followed a routine: I prayed before our meeting then walked into his room, he turned away, I changed his dressing and said a few words about Jesus and His love, he ignored me, I walked away.

After a while the routine became tiresome.  Maybe he would be like the ones Jesus talked about: if they wouldn't listen, shake off your sandal and walk away. But I didn't want to. With all my heart I wanted to tell this man about Jesus and His love. Then again...

One day, I decided to go in his room, change his wound and leave. No words. Just give him what he wanted. I prayed as usual, walked into his room, changed his dressings then walked to the door. The man turned toward me with a surprised look. 

How could I not speak with a man in need of Christ? Tears dripped down my cheeks. I walked to his bed. "Friend, whether you want to hear what is on my heart or not, I must pray for you."

He shrugged. "Very well, if it will make you feel better. Go ahead."

I didn't waste a second. I fell to my knees and prayed out loud the words flooding into my heart. Since the man didn't say a word, I got up and left.

After that day, the grouchy man seemed to changed. God had touched his heart. He stopped turning away from me when I talked about Jesus' love. 

And a few days later, the grouchy man asked Jesus into his heart.

He told me about the times he refused to go in a church, it had been forty years. He didn't even go for his wife's funeral. 

But the day he asked Jesus into his heart, the grouchy man found peace, kind words, a smile, and a joy worth dancing for if it weren't for his disease. 

I often think back to that man to remind myself, never give up, never stop witnessing.

J. Hudson Taylor
Missionary to China--soon!

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, May 26, 2012

Wait-Don't Kill Saul

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 26

David’s Thoughts

The Ziphites caused trouble again. Apparently their spies reported my hiding place in the Wilderness of Ziph to Saul. That was the second time they did this to me. Saul must be paying a high reward for information.

I sent a couple of my own spies to confirm the report. Sure enough, Saul went back on his promise to stop hunting me.  He and three thousand men were camped nearby.

I led my men to an area overlooking his camp. It was later in the evening but a few sunrays let us watch the army settle down for the night. Saul slept in the middle surrounded by his three thousand-manned army and guarded by Abner, the commander.

I signaled two of my men, Ahimilech a Hitite, and Abishai to come near. “I’m going down to Saul’s camp. Who will go with me?”

Abishai spoke up right away. “I’ll go.”

I didn’t have a plan. I know, a commander should always have a plan. The problem was I had refused to kill Saul, God’s anointed first king of Israel, yet I felt the urge to sneak into his camp.

Abishai and I crept passed the first set of guards and found Saul snoring in the center of the group with his spear stuck in the ground near his head. Abner and all the army snored loud enough to not hear a lion's roar.

Unbelievable. Not one soldier awake to guard the king.

Abishai rolled his eyes. “This is going to be easier than I thought. God delivered your enemy into your hand. Please let me take the spear next to his head and ram it right through him into the ground. I won’t need to strike a second time.”

“No. Don’t kill him. Who can reach out and kill God’s anointed and remain guiltless in the sight of God?”

Abishai didn’t like it. 

I had a good army; they were trained to protect our land from the enemy. Not one was afraid. Still, it was my duty to lead them to wise and right choices as God directed. 

“This isn't what God wants us to do. Be patient, Abishai, the Lord will strike him with some disease, or his day to die will come, or he will die in battle. But I will not be the one to take his life."

Abishai’s frustration covered his face. He needed something to do. “I have an idea. Get the spear and the jug of water that are near his head. We’ll carry them outside of his camp.”

Abishai acted like a little kids with a new toy. He moved between the sleeping soldiers as a shadow, yanked the spear out of the ground, and grabbed the jug. We escaped outside the camp, totally unnoticed by any soldier.

Saul had surrounded himself with an army he trusted. What would have happened if someone other than me had come into his camp?

If only He had kept his trust in God. The Lord protects his own, and his guard is never down.

Come back next week to read what Saul did.


Photo courtesy of

1. Who had tattled.
2. Where did David lead his men after he heard the report.
3. Who went with David to spy in Saul's camp?
4. What did David and the spy see?
5.  What did the spy want to do?
6. Who stopped him and why?
7. What could Saul have done to prevent the problem?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Abigail Marries David

By  Mary Vee
I Samuel 25

Abigail's Thoughts

My husband has brought terror upon our household. I am tormented with what could happen to our home, our servants, our lives. 

David, the man we all knew to be anointed as future king of Israel, protected, shared his food, and included our shepherds in his group. I didn't know it at the time, but I do now. Yesterday, one of those shepherds came to me and reported Nabal, that wicked husband of mine, refused to give David and his men food when they asked. 


I gathered what I could, my blessed servants ran with me from one storehouse to another stuffing food into satchels and loading them on the donkeys. To buy me needed time to finish packing enough food for all of David's men, I sent servants ahead with a message for David to please wait for me.

We hurried the donkeys, yet taking care to not spill any food. I'd hope Nabal couldn't see me, if he did, he'd start a fight and get us all killed. I prayed I wasn't too late to undo the evil he has done. To prevent Nabal from discovering us, we travelled along the shadows of a hill. 

As I expected, David was furious. I slid off my donkey and feel to the ground before him and begged his mercy for our household. My words seemed to appease his spirit. Once he calmed, I showed him the gift of food. The idea worked. He allowed his men to accept the food, each one thanked me as though I saved their lives. I asked David to remember my deed.

Our lives may have been spared that time, but would they be spared the next moment Nabal refused to help someone? David assured me our household would be left in peace and then granted me permission to leave.

I didn't go home. I couldn't. 

I needed to speak with Nabal.

I found him hosting a big feast with many guest, the man and all those with him were drunk. I would be a fool to speak to him when he couldn't think clearly. I spent time with others at the festival and waited until morning to speak with that scoundrel, Nabal.

After the sun rose and my husband awoke, I told him about my errand and David's forgiveness. My husband stared at me as if in shock. He pressed his hand to his chest, his eyes widened as if in pain. He couldn't seem to speak.

I used every remedies I'd learned from my mother to help Nabal get well, but nothing worked. He died ten days later. 

A messenger came to me when my mourning time had ended. "My lady, I have a message for you from David."


"He has heard the news of Nabal's death and thinks of your safety. He asks me to bring you to him. He...wishes to marry you."

My heart was blessed. The Almighty took care of my needs even before I asked. I felt humbled and wanted to sing and dance before the Lord. I bowed to the messenger. "Here I am, the maidservant to your master, ready to wash the feet of his servants." 

I hurried to pack a few things, called five maidservants to go with me, and left what use to be my home. The messenger took me to David's camp. 

I didn't have to wait, David walked toward me from his tent and greeted me with such a caring tenderness. "Abigail, you are a woman who has proven her love for God by caring for your household when your husband would not,  I am happy to see you here."

"Thank you, my lord."

"Abigail, because of your faithfulness and act of kindness, will you join us and let me care for your needs. Will you...marry me?"

I bowed my head. "Yes, my lord. I would be honored."

That day I became David's wife. He was quit a different husband from Nabal. 

God has blessed me far more than I could have ever asked.


1.  What did Nabal do?
2.  How did Abigail save her household?
3.  After David forgave them what did Abigail to?
4.  What was Nabal doing?
5.  What happened to Nabal?
6.  Who punished Nabal?
7.  How did God reward Abigail for her faithfulness to her household?

photo courtesy of

Monday, May 21, 2012

Hudson Taylor-Speaking the Truth Becomes a Testimony

By Mary Vee

J. Hudson Taylor's Thoughts

On my way home from the shipyard, I stopped off to pay the rent for the sailor's wife. The remaining coins in my pocket repaid the debt the sailor owed me. 

The journey to the shipyard and my errand exausted me. Perhaps, this once, I would treat myself to a ride on the omnibus instead of walking home. I suppose I went to my apartment, because when I woke the next morning, I didn't remember laying on my bed, closing my eyes, or a moment of sleep. Time had lunged forward.

The rest obvioulsy helped because I finally had enough energy to do something. 

I thought about my plans and what I would do next. I needed to... I took a piece of paper and jotted anything that came to mind: pack bag, buy train ticket, visit doctor who cared for me, and pay bill. That was a good start.

I walked to the surgeon's office to pay my bill. Yes, I remembered Uncle Benjamin planned to pay my medical expenses. However, money jingled in my pocket and the debt was mine. I should pay.

I knocked on his office door. "Doctor, may I have a word with you?"

"Taylor? You are up and about? Good show. Yes. Yes. Come inside and have a seat. Let me get you something to drink." He handed me a glass. "Drink up my boy then tell me what dragged you here."

"I've come to settle my bill."

"You cannot. I've spoken with your uncle and settled the matter with him."

I emptied the glass and set it on the table. The drink helped me gather my thoughts. "Yes, but I have recently been repaid and have my own money to clear my account."

"Its quite out of the question, my boy. As a worker in the medical profession, I have made a strict policy to never charge medical students. Putting food on your table taxes your last penny, I'll wager."

"But, I--"

"Here now, let me check your ledger." He opened the file cabinet and pulled out a card. "If you are quite bent on paying your bill, I'll let you pay for the medications. I understand the need to own up to one's bills. Eight shillings should do the trick."

I pulled out of my pocket the eight shillings and handed it to him. "Are you sure? You have bills, too."

"Oh, yes. Quite sure."

I counted the money remaining in my hand. Amazing!  "Look, Doctor, God has blessed me with the exact amount needed for a ticket to the country."

He looked over his glasses and frowned. Clearly my conclusion didn't make sense to him. "Could I speak freely with you, Doctor? I want to tell you what God has done for me."

He seemed a little annoyed, and interested only to the point it would make me feel better. 

"I owe my life to God and his kind care. I wish, earnestly so, that you might also partake of the same precious faith I have come to enjoy. Let me tell you my story:

"While it is true I moved to London to become a doctor, I really came to gain skills to be a medical missionary in China. To train my body and pocketbook for the hardships to come in China, I turned down money from both my father and the mission society, forcing myself to become completely dependent upon the mercies of God.

"Yesterday, I had no funds to go to the country as you prescribed, yet today I hold in my hand the precise funds needed to purchase a ticket. I told no one of my need. As I sat on the sofa thinking of your prescription, I prayed for a mean to purchase the ticket. God spoke to me, saying I should go to the shipyard."

"The shipyard? Why, the walk should have killed you, man! You didn't go did you?"

"I thought the idea unreasonable as well and decided my illness gave me the ridiculous idea. Yet after I dozed on the sofa I came to the clear conclusion God wanted me to go to the shipyard to see if the sailor would repay his debt. The walk was not easy."

"I should say not. you should have called a friend for help. I assume you chose to turn back."

"Yes. Well. I didn't want to share the need at the time and felt a desire to show my faith in God's commands by not turning back. Once I arrived, the matter became clear to the paymaster and he gave me the funds as the sailor arranged. I stopped off to pay his wife's rent then went home to rest. Today I brought the remaining funds to you." I held the money left from my pocket out to him. "See? The exact amount for a train ticket to the country remains in my hand."

His head fell forward. The man looked ill or consumed with a heart wrenching thought. He sat like that for a few moments then raised his eyes. "I would give all the world for a faith like yours."

He didn't ask Jesus into his heart at that time. When I returned from the country I learned he actually became ill and went to the countryside to heal. I never found out what became of him.

When I think back to my conversation with the doctor, I can't help but see God's timing and direction for me to tell him about my faith. I can only hope I will see him someday again, in heaven.

Now that would make me happy. Really happy.

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, May 19, 2012

Abigail Saves Her Household

By Mary Vee
I Samuel

The Shepherd/Servant's Thoughts

Abigail ordered me to run ahead and tell David she would come speak to him. She needed me to buy her time.

I chose two servants known to be fast runners and led them in the direction I last saw him. We hid in the shadow of a hill where wicked Nabal would not see us and waited for David and his men to arrive. 

He stopped his march after recognizing me. "Yes. What news have you, servant of Nabal."

"I am also a servant for his wife, Abigail, my lord. She is coming to speak with you. She sent me ahead to beg you, please hold your attack until she arrives."

David looked behind me then back at my eyes. "You gained my trust while we worked side by side with the sheep." He signaled his men to hold back. "All right. She may have a short time to get here. If she does not come soon, we will attack Nabal's household."

"Thank you, my lord." I had no concerns. I knew she would come. Abigail had proven her kindness and willingness to protect her family many times.

I watched the fields and after a short time, saw her in the distance. She kept under the shadow of the hill. If Nabal saw her, he might attack. She and the servants with her pulled donkeys ladened with food supplies chosen for David and his men.

David signaled his men to move toward her. Abigail slid off her donkey and bowed low to the ground. "My lord, please forgive my husband."

David shoved his hands on his hips. "I have protected all this." He pointed to the land around him. "All our work, now done in vain. We took nothing belonging to Nabal and yet he has repaid me evil for good. May God do so and more to my enemy if I let one male servant of his survive the night."

Abigail groaned. "Oh, my lord, please put the sin on me. And please let you maidservant speak to you and may you hear my words."

She waited for his permission to speak then continued. "Please pay no attention to the scoundrel, Nabal. His name, meaning folly, fits him. But I did not see the young men whom you sent. Since the Lord has held you back from bloodshed to avenge yourselves until I could speak with you, please reconsider your plan. 

"And now, accept this present which your maidservant has brought you. Give it to the young men who follow you, my lord. Please forgive the sins of your maidservant for surely the Lord will reward your house since you fight His battles and evil is not found in you.

"Even though a man seeks your life, yet God protects you. The Lord shall reward you for all the good you've done, for you will rule Israel. And now, please spare yourself grief for shedding blood without cause. When the Lord deals well with you, then remember me."

David looked at her for a few minutes. His face soften and resumed normal color. He reached out to her and helped her stand. "Blessed is the Lord God of Israel who sent you this day to meet me. And blessed is your advice, and blessed are you, because you have kept me from shedding blood and from avenging myself with my own hand.

"Truly the Lord has kept me back from hurting your household to give you opportunity to rush out to meet me. You have saved the lives of your servants, Nabal's servants. Thank you for this gift of food. 

"And now, please, go in peace to your house. I will respect you, your family, and your servants."

I walked with Abigail and the others back to her house. Truly this woman has won the blessings of the Almighty God.

1. Who did the servant rush to meet?
2. What message did he give?
3. What did David say?
4. Who came next and what did the person bring?
5. What message did she give David. 
6. Who took the blame for the sin? Who actually sinned?
7. What did David decide?

photo courtesy of

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Abigail, Kind Sweet Abigail

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 25

The Shepherd/Servant's Thoughts

After David heard the news about Nabal, he became angrier than a lion who had his food stolen. Everyone knew Nabal deserved any wrath David spilled on him, especially those of us who are Nabal's servants. The problems is, his wife didn't deserve the trouble. 

Abigail was a woman of good understanding and she was beautiful. She had worked hard to please her husband and kept their house clean. She took care of all chores at the house while Nabal was off shearing the sheep and she never stirred trouble. The whole countryside knew what a lovely woman Abigail was both inside and out.

David's temper flashed when he heard what Nabal said. Even though I knew him only a short time, I could tell David would gather his men, their weapons, and punish Nabal for the evil words he said. 

I needed to warn Abigail. I took the short cut which ran through open fields, taking my life in my hands. If Nabal saw me, he'd find something to punish me for. It didn't matter. Abigail needed time to solve the problem.

When I arrived, Abigail had a basket of laundry in her arms. I ran to her and caught my breath. "I have terrible news for you."

"Here, sit down, and catch your breath then tell me your news."

"Forgive me, it can't wait." 

She handed me a cup of water, anyway while keeping her eyes on me. Her soft heart showed even in trouble times. I gulped the water then told her the news. "Abigail, David sent messengers from the wilderness to greet our master, but Nabal treated them harshly. 

"David and his men were very good to us. They never took anything of ours, and they protected us as long as we stayed near them in the fields. They were a wall to us both night and day keeping any enemy away...all the time we took care of the sheep. Please, think about what you will do because David has determined  to fight our master and his household. Nabal is such a scoundrel to bring this trouble on us."

"Oh, dear." She grabbed the fabric from her dress which dragged against the ground  and ran to the servants. 

I followed to help where I could. She called out orders to servants as she ran. " I need two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep dressed to eat, five seahs of roasted grain, one hundred clusters of raising, and two hundred cakes of figs. Quickly."

While the servants ran to pack the food she hurried to the donkeys. "Help me get them ready." We untied the stubborn beasts and coaxed them out to the yard. She wiped sweat from her brown and kept working. "I'll stay here and load the donkeys. Take two servants with you and go before me. When you meet David tell him I am coming behind you. Breathe no word to Nabal."

"Yes, my lady." 

I waved to two other servants known to be fast runners and led them in the direction David would probably come.

Picture courtesy of  

1.  How did the servant describe Abigail?
2.  Why did the servant leave David and the other shepherds?
3.  What did he tell Abigail?
4.  What did she do?
5.  What job did the servant have?
6.  Why did she want someone to do that job?
7.  Why, do you think, did God include this story in the Bible?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Hudson Taylor-The Lord is My Sustainer

By Mary Vee

J. Hudson Taylor's Thoughts

Several weeks of torment dragged by, leaving the fever to do its worse to my body. Thanks be to God my faithful attendants, cousin Tom and Uncle Benjamin, never left me alone.

Their prayers and constant attention to my needs gave me strength. When at last I asked for help down the stairs to sit on the living room sofa, both men leaped to my side. One walked in front of me down the stairs and the other to my side. "Take it easy, there Hudson. Can't have you falling, you know."

I plopped onto the sofa, leaned my head back, and thanked God for a few minutes away from the bed. The doctor happened to visit that day and seemed quite pleased to find me sitting in the parlor. "Hudson, you've found your way down the stairs! Good show."

"Yes. Tom and Uncle Benjamin helped me." It took way too much energy to say those few words. I closed my eyes.

"Well, lad, I'm surprised you made it down even with Tom's help. Rest a few more days until sitting gets easier. When you're ready, pack your bags and head for the country. The fresh air will quicken the healing. Rest there until your strength and health returns. Mark my word, if you return to work too soon, the fever will gain strength and you'll possibly die."

I had no money to pay for a trip to the country. Once again I asked God what to do. After my prayer, I felt the Lord leading me to go to the shipyard to ask the clerk about the worker who ran away without paying the money he owed me.

"But, Lord, I can't go. The shipyard is two miles away and I barely walked down the stairs. I can't pay for a taxi. It isn't you speaking to my heart, is it? My illness is tricking me."

I fell asleep in the middle of my prayer. When I awoke, I knew in my heart God wanted me to go to the shipyard. How I would get there, I didn't know. I asked God for strength for the journey and faith He would take care of me. 

After the prayer, I sent my servant upstairs to fetch my walking stick and hat  then set out for the shipyard. Every few steps I stopped to lean on the walking stick and force air into my lungs. In town I stopped and looked inside each shop window while resting. On I pressed. One step at a time. I held onto a burning desire to obey God and rest in His promise to help me complete the journey to the shipyard.

What should have taken thirty minutes dragged into several hours. In truth, I didn't care. My feet would not stop until I completed the journey. 

The clerk's office was located up a set of stairs. Workers climbed up and down creating quite a traffic jam. No way could I climb with that wild flow of men when I didn't have the strength to climb one step. 

I sat on the first step and leaned against the rail. No one stopped to help. The men had work to do, I fully understood. I prayed again to God to help me climb the stairs and also reminded Him He needed to get me back home. 

After a rest, a modicum of strength pulsed through my body. I pulled myself to a standing position, grabbed the rail, and pulled myself to the top of the stairs. The shipping office stood only a few feet away. The same clerk manned the office as did the last time. He seemed to recognize me. "Sir, are you well? Do you need me to call for assistance?"

"I have suffered a serious illness. Thank you for your kindness, though. The doctor has ordered me to rest in the country, but before I went, I wanted to check to see if any news or mistake had been discovered about the worker who ran off to the gold diggings."

"Yes, as a matter of fact I do have news. Apparently two seamen had the same name. One ran off, the other is still on board earning a wage. The man you seek is on board. It would be wise for you to take 1/2 his salary again to his wife. Less temptation for him to spend it unwisely, you know."

He wrote something on a log, rummaged around in a drawer, then handed me the money. The amount repaid me for what I had loaned his wife and provided enough for her next rent! He closed his book and set a lunch box on the counter. "And now, please, you appear too ill to climb down the stairs. Come share my lunch and rest before going home."

The Lord blessed me with strength for the journey, money to buy a ticket to the country, good Samaritans in my path to help me, and, once again shown me I would one day go to China.

Thanks be to the Lord God, my Comforter, my Sustainer.

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, May 12, 2012

David's Bad Week

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 25

David's Thoughts

This hasn't been one of the best weeks. 


My friend and spiritual leader, the one whom God sent to anoint me as future leader of Israel, has died. The prophet Samuel, truly a man of God, now rests in the everlasting arms of God. I will miss him.


My men and I traveled to Maon to hide from Saul. Wherever the Lord sent us, we looked for ways to help the people who lived in the area. A few shepherds who worked for Nabal joined us for fellowship. We protected the shepherds and their sheep, let them join in our evening fun, even eat with us. They fit in quite nicely with my men, laughing and working together.

One day we ran out of food. 

Since we had helped Nabal's shepherds, I sent ten messengers to Nabal to ask for food or whatever he could spare. 

Apparently Nabal was shearing his sheep when my men arrived. He allowed them to speak to him. They said, "Greetings in the name of our commander, David. Peace be to you, peace to your house, and peace to all that you have. 

"Our commander has heard you have shearers. Your shepherds were with us, and we did not hurt them, nor was anything missing from them all the while they were in Carmel. Please, ask your men and they will tell you. David asks that you let his men who protected your shepherds find favor in  your eyes, for we come on a feast day. Please give whatever you can spare to your servants and to your son David."

Nabal said to my messengers, " Who is David, and who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants who break away, each one from his master. You expect me to take my bread, water, and meat that I have killed for my shearers and give it to men when I don't know where they are from?"

The nerve of Nabal! He, a man of great wealth couldn't share food with those who had protected his land, who risked their lives that his sheep could prosper? Unbelievable.

I paced for a few minutes. No. I could not tolerate such disrespect even for one minute.

I picked up my sword and raised it high. "Every man, take up your sword. We will fight Nabal tonight."  Two hundred men were chosen to protect our supplies and four hundred followed me to war against the man who treated my messengers wickedly and wouldn't share with those who helped him. 

P.S. At the time, I didn't know one of Nabal's servants left my camp and ran to Nabal's wife, Abigal, to warn her.

Come back next week to read about the war against Nabal.

1. Where did David go?
2. Who did he and his men help? What did they do?
3.  When David ran out of food what did he do?
4. Who is Nabal?
5.  Why did Nabal say no?
6. When the messengers told David the message, what did he do?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

David Could Have Killed Saul in the Cave

Mary Vee
I Samuel 24

David's Thoughts

Two spies returned from patrol. "Commander David, Saul has returned from his battle against the Philistines. He's in the Wilderness of En Gedi."

"Here? He's here?"

"Yes, and he has three thousand men with him."

This will be a challenge. We had no time to hide. I went off by myself to pray. "I don't see how we can escape, Lord. Tell me what to do, Lord. Should we flee. If so, then where?" The Lord gave no word to move. 

My men crowded toward the back of the cave behind a rock shelf. No one looking inside the cave would see them. "Listen up everyone, I've received no instruction from the Lord to flee. Who knows, maybe by moving Saul will capture us. Stay in the recesses for now."

It wasn't more than a minute later when Saul's voice echoed from the opening of the cave. "Give me privacy for a time."

One of my men whispered, "He's in the cave!"

I held my figure to my lips to hush him. All the men sat frozen to prevent any noises. I crept closer to watch what Saul did. He relieved himself then took a nap. 

One of the men pushed his way toward me. "This is your chance. The Lord has sent Saul to the cave for you. Go. Kill your enemy."

I crept close to Saul. He snored in his deep sleep. I unsheathed my knife and cut a corner of his robe.

I looked at the knife in one hand and the piece of Saul's robe in the other. What had I done! The evidence of my guilt rested in my hand. I had cut the robe of God's anointed king. I couldn't find my breath.  I had no right to dishonor the king. My heart saddened.

I crept back to the recesses and felt miserable. My men huddled closer. Their faces filled with rage. "Why didn't you kill him? He's right there! God brought him right here to you. What kind of a commander are you, anyway?"

"I couldn't kill him and I won't. That man is the king of Israel, appointed by God. What right have I to kill him? And what right have you to kill him?" 

The men backed away and sulked.

We waited for Saul to wake and walk out to his men. He joined them outside the cave and shouted, "Have the scouts report David's location to me at once."

I couldn't wait. My men followed me to the mouth of the cave where Saul could see us. "My lord the king!"

Saul whipped around as if a ghost called to him.

I bowed before him and said, "Why do you listen to the words of men who say I have come to harm you? Look, this day your eyes have seen that the Lord delivered you into my hand in the cave, and someone urged me to kill you. But I chose not to. I reminded the men you are king, appointed by God."

I raised the corner of the kings robe in the air. "See the corner of your robe in my hand?  I cut this piece from your robe while you rested in the cave and chose not to kill you. My king, I do not have evil or rebellion against you or your kingdom. I have not sinned against you. Yet you hunt my life to take it from me. 

"Let the Lord judge between you and me. Let Him avenge. My hand shall not be against you. As the proverb of the ancient says, 'Wickedness proceeds from the wicked.' I shall not be wicked against you. 

"Who are you chasing, my king? A dead dog? A flea? Therefore, let the Lord be judge between you and me. Let Him see and plead my case and deliver me out of your hand."

Saul called to me. "Is that your voice, my son David?" Then I heard him weep.

Saul said, "You are more righteous than I. You have rewarded me with good when I rewarded you evil.  You have shown me this day how you treated me well, for when the Lord delivered me into your hands, you did not kill me. When a man finds his enemy does he let him get away?

"David, my son, may the Lord reward you with good for what you've done to me this day. For I now know you shall surely be king and the kingdom of Israel will be in your hands.

"Promise me, David, before the Lord that you will not cut off my descendants after me, and that you will not destroy my name from my father's house."

I remained bowed before Saul and said, "I promise." I didn't stand until he left. 

Saul ordered his men to return to the city. 

In truth, I've learned not to trust Saul even after the promise he made. My men and I chose to remain hidden in a place I can't tell you. I don't want you to accidentally tell Saul.

I wrote a psalm while hiding in the caves. When you read it, you may recognize portions for I hear new music has been written to these words God has given us.

Psalm 57 
Prayer for Safety from Enemies

    Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful,
      because I come to you for safety.
   In the shadow of your wings I find protection
      until the raging storms are over.

 2 I call to God, the Most High,
      to God, who supplies my every need.
 3 He will answer from heaven and save me;
      he will defeat my oppressors.
      God will show me his constant love and faithfulness.

 4 I am surrounded by enemies,
      who are like lions hungry for human flesh.
   Their teeth are like spears and arrows;
      their tongues are like sharp swords.

 5 Show your greatness in the sky, O God,
      and your glory over all the earth.

 6 My enemies have spread a net to catch me;
      I am overcome with distress.
   They dug a pit in my path,
      but fell into it themselves.

 7 I have complete confidence, O God;
      I will sing and praise you!
 8 Wake up, my soul!
      Wake up, my harp and lyre!
      I will wake up the sun.
 9 I will thank you, O Lord, among the nations.
      I will praise you among the peoples.

 10 Your constant love reaches the heavens;
      your faithfulness touches the skies.
 11 Show your greatness in the sky, O God,
      and your glory over all the earth.

  1. Psalm 57:1 HEBREW TITLE: A psalm by David, after he fled from Saul in the cave.
1.  What did David do when the spies told him Saul was near?
2.  What did David order his men to do?
3.  Who came in the cave?
4.  What did David do?
5.  What did David's men tell David to do?
6.  How did David feel about what he did?
7.  When Saul left what did David do?
8.  Why did David write Psalm 57?
9.  How can this Psalm help you?

Resource: and

Monday, May 7, 2012

Hudson Taylor-Jesus At My Side

By Mary Vee

J. Hudson Taylor's Thoughts

A deadly fever had captured and strangled life from me. I woke, not knowing where I lay, at first. Blurred images focused after a while and I saw my room and Uncle Benjamin sitting next to me.

"Hudson, oh boy, there you are. I see you've chose to wake. Good show. I've called the doctor-"

"No Uncle." I felt awful. My head pounded and I found no strength to lift a finger. That I opened my eyes amazed even me. "Uncle, I have no money for a doctor." There was no cure anyway. Why spend money on a doctor who could do no more than make death comfortable.

Uncle Benjamin puffed on his pipe and watched me for a few moments. He knew the seriousness of the fever. Others had died. Two medical students who happened to be next to me in the classroom with the infectious dead body had already died. He puffed again. "My dear lad, you shall receive the necessary medical treatment. I will care for the bill."


"I'll hear nothing more about it."

And he didn't. Because I had no strength to fight. The next time I woke Uncle Benjamin's personal doctor stood in the room packing his medical bag. He must have examined me as I slept. "Now there Hudson, you obviously know the seriousness of this fever."

I didn't have the strength to answer so I nodded. 

"Yes. Well, it seems that those who have led a life of drinking beer and that sort of thing, have been buried shortly after this wretched fever attacked their body. The same will happen to you. However, if you have led a moderate life, you may pull through."

I wished for the strength to show my happiness. But I didn't. As the clock ticked another second, my body grew weaker. Uncle Benjamin set his pipe on the table. "Doctor, Hudson tells me he has never touched beer and has kept a strict diet of brown bread and water."

The doctor nodded. "Good. Quite good. Now, however, your diet must change radically. You'll need strength to fight the fever. You must eat meats and drink a class of wine each day for the calories."

Meats and wine were expensive. I didn't have money for luxurious foods nor the ability to get to the store to buy them. Uncle Benjamin patted my shoulder as if knowing my concerns. "I will see to Hudson's provisions. He will have plenty of meat and wine. Thank you doctor."

I could stay awake no longer. If any dream stumbled through my thoughts, I have no memory.

In the days to come, an attendant woke me several times and stuffed my mouth with the doctor's prescribed foods. It neither tasted good nor bad. I couldn't savor the richness or the delicious flavors normally found in expensive foods. The whole affair seemed annoying to me. I begged the attendant to let me sleep for I didn't want to wake or eat. He, of course, didn't listen. 

I couldn't tell if my heath improved any time he woke me.

What I did know was that I hadn't died...yet. And that the great God Almighty had sent my uncle to care for me. 

I also knew how it felt to have every ounce of energy drained from the body by an illness. It saddened me to lay in a bed hour upon hour until day turned into week, unable to do anything. No strength to sit, speak, listen, or worse of all, pray. I couldn't even talk with my God to ask Him for strength, to pray for those I love, or hear His voice.

I only slept and wondered if I would see His face soon.

J. Hudson Taylor

Author's note: Hudson will realize, in future days, that God, Himself sat near his bed, breathing life into his body to keep it alive while it healed.

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.