Saturday, June 30, 2012

News of Saul's Death in David's Camp

By Mary Vee
II Samuel 1

David's Thoughts

Mount Gilboa, site of Saul's last battle
We had returned to our homes with our wives and children. The Amalekites now know the consequences of burning our city and kidnapping our wives and children. 


My men were exhausted after the battle, they needed a break. A time to heal and be with their families. I must admit, I enjoyed watching the men play with their families and fixing their homes. Such happiness.

Three days after we returned to our homes in Ziklag a messenger arrived. He looked terrible. His clothes were torn and he had dust on his head. The men brought him to me, saying he had urgent news.

I invited him into my home. He immediately fell to the ground in respect.

I said, "Where did you come from?"

He answered, "I escaped from the camp of Israel."

"How did the battle go? Please tell me all you know."

"The soldiers fled from the battle, many...injured or dead. Saul, Jonathan, and the other sons,...I'm sorry to say are all dead."

I didn't know if I could trust this stranger's word. He didn't look like an Israelite. Maybe he wanted to trick me into going with him. "How do you know that Saul, Jonathan, and his other sons are dead?"

"I, uh, happened, by chance, to be on Mount Gilboa where the Israelite soldiers camped. I found Saul, leaning on his spear. I looked in every direction and saw Philistine chariots and horsemen chasing after him. 

"Saul turned to me. His frightened face showed he knew the Philistines would soon reach him. He called to me, 'Who are you?' I said, 'I am an Amalekite.' He said to me, 'Please stand over me and kill me. I can't stand the pain any longer, yet my life continues.' He looked back toward the approaching Philistines and shouted, 'Hurry!'

"I stood over him and killed him, because I was sure he could not live after he had fallen. I took his crown and the kingly bracelet and brought them here to you, my lord."

The agony of Saul's death hit me like a fierce wind. I grabbed hold of my clothes and ripped them, and at the same time released a cry from deep in heart. All the men from my army did the same. Our cries of agony filled the air. The king of Israel had died.

We wept all that day, refusing to eat anything. All we did was mourn our loss of Saul, Jonathan, and his other sons, also for the people of the Lord and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.

Late that night I called the man back to speak with me. He had acted a bit suspicious. Maybe he wanted to receive a reward for killing the king. "Where are you from?"

"I am an Amalekite."

My men raised their eyebrows. Did we not just attack a band of Amalekites for burning our city and kidnapping our wives and children? He definitely was not to be trusted.

"How was it you weren't afraid to kill the Lord's anointed?"

The man didn't answer. Fine with me. I turned to the young men in my army and ordered them to execute the Amalekite for killing the king of Israel, the Lord's anointed. 

He had no right.

Photo courtesy of

1. Who had attacked the Ziklag, the city where David, his men, and their families lived?
2.  What did the messenger tell David?
3.  Who killed Saul?
4.  Who all did David and his men morn for?
5. Where was the messenger from?
6. Why did David think that was suspicious?
7. What did David do and why?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Honorable Men from Jabesh

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 31

An Israelite Soldier

The Philistines were too strong for us.

We couldn't match their weapons or their numbers. What would you do if a swam of bees flew toward you. Run? Precisely. 

We hid, far enough away to be safe, but close enough to watch the Philistines do their worst. Those evil men went into our homes, stole our animals, clothes, and anything they could touch. They cooked with our pots, ate from our plates, killed our animals for food. 

That night the Philistines drank their fill of wine and danced around fires, mocking us. My anger boiled because they not only mocked us, they mocked our God.

The next day the Philistines searched the fallen Israelite soldiers, taking whatever pleased them. When they found the bodies of Saul, our beloved king, and his sons, Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchishua they...cut off Saul and his son's heads and stole their armor. 

Word spread like wild fire to all the Philistine cities telling their wicked people to shout from the temple of their idols so that all would know: The Israelite king was dead.

Our spies watched the Philistine lords set Saul's armor inside the temple of the Ashtoreths. Why? My king's armor in the temple of an idol? A temple that does not worship God?

They didn't stop there. 

Oh, no.

The Philistines took Saul and his son's bodies and hooked them to the wall of Beth Shan for all their people to mock, and spit on. 

Enough. No more.

I and the other men from Jabesh Gilead rose up like a mighty stealth army unified to restore the honor of our king. We traveled all night. Absolutely nothing would stop our mission. We sneaked behind enemy lines  to the place where Saul and his son's bodies hung.

The Philistines may think they are mighty, but we had God on our side.

We tenderly took down the bodies of our beloved king and his sons and carried them back to Jabesh Gilead to give them an honorable burial under the tamarisk tree. 

We were so overcome with grief, every man banned together and fasted for seven days to morn and honor the memory of the first king of Israel, a man chosen by God.

The tear stains you find on this journal, were unavoidable...

image courtesy of

1. What made the Philistine too strong for this battle?
2. What did the surviving Israelite soldiers do?
3. What did the Philistine soldiers do to the cities?
4. What did the Philistine soldiers do to the slain soldiers?
5. What did the Philistine soldiers do the Saul and his sons?
6. The men of Jabesh were __________ and chose to _________
7. Why did the men of Jabesh fast for seven days?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hudson Taylor-Hurricane Claims Victory

By Mary Vee

J. Hudson Taylor's Thoughts

The hurricane continued to rage for a week. Waves slapped the deck and winds threw the ship side to side. 

The captain stayed his post shouting orders to raise and lower sails, fighting a mighty battle against the wind. To loose would be to let the ship smash to bits against the coastal rocks of Wales. 

The ship drifted within inches of the rocks, refusing to obey the captain's orders. We were on a collision course. 

I went below to my cabin to pray and sing hymns. The Lord saved Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the fire and Daniel from the lions den. He didn't have to, and all four men went into their situation knowing God could choose to save or take them home to heaven.

I wrote my name and address on a piece of paper and stuffed it into my pocket should the ship crash. I also tied a bundle of my clothing and other things together to help any survivors. After another prayer time, I returned to the main deck and asked the captain about the lifeboats.

The captain shouted above the wind to me, "They'll never last in this hurricane. Tell me, Taylor, what about your calling to serve the Lord in China?"

"Captain, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else than here, on this ship, at this time. I strongly expect to reach China, but if, for some reason, I don't, I am confidant my Master would say it was well that I had obeyed his command to go."

He ordered the sails shifted to catch westerlies and carry us out to sea, but the attempt failed. The winds blasted against the spar which held the foresail. Every crew member's eyes watched if it would snap throwing the weight of the ship off balance, possibly plunging us into the sea. 

Thanks be to God, it held.

But the hurricane claimed that victory, shoving us closer to the rocks. Our fate seemed secure.

The captain pulled from his great experiences and ordered the sails shifted in the opposite direction, to take us back to the Liverpool dock.

It worked! The ship shifted away from the rocky coast. Our lives had been spared for another day.

A few minutes later the captain checked the compass. He tapped the surface. "The wind has shifted two points! Looks like we'll fight our way out of the bay, after all." 

The barometer continued to rise which meant the rains would slow, but the winds continued to shove the Dumfries around. The captain controlled a ship like a cowboy riding an unbroken horse.

A few days later the wind rested. God had spared us. Only a few sailors needed any medical treatment from me; I was the ship doctor. 

Praise God for his protection.

The journey continues next week.

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, June 23, 2012

Death of a King

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 31

Saul's Armor Bearer's Journal

The moment Saul called the army together I knew we didn't stand a chance.

He wanted to get instructions from Samuel, but Samuel had just died. 

Saul wanted to get instructions from God, God didn't answer His prayer like Samuel had warned. 

Saul finally went to a medium for instruction. Apparently he spoke with Samuel somehow while meeting with the medium, and learned he and his sons would die in the battle.

It was too late to change anything. Saul had walked away from God.

The Philistines lined up like fruit flies on rotting fruit. The army grew by the minute. Seemed like soldiers came out of cracks in the earth and hidden caves. We formed our army on Mt. Gilboa, overlooking our enemy. If only Saul had continued to follow the Lord's commands we would have had His protection.

I chose to follow my king into battle, carrying his armor, as I should, even if death strikes me.

The battle started shortly after. The Philistines came strong and sure, wielding their weapons, sharpened and new. We had hardly anything to fight with. A while ago the Philistines had robbed our blacksmiths of their sharpening tools. They could not do their work. If we needed a plow sharpened we had to go to the Philistines and pay them. 

Now in time of battle, what did we have? No blessing, no weapons, and a leader who had chosen not to follow God's commands.

We were doomed.

Israelite troops fled the scene by the thousands. Many still fell to the Philistine sword. The best Philistine soldiers hunted Saul and his sons, Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchishua. Despite their warrior skills, they became trapped behind battle lines. I tried to help, but failed.

An arrow hit Saul, wounding him severely. Saul looked up at me and coughed a deathly sound. "Draw your sword and thrust it through me. Don't let a dog of a Philistine come and have the victory of sending me to my death. They will first abuse my body before killing me."

I couldn't stand the pain in his eyes, but I also could not be the one to end his life. He was my king! "I--I can't!" 

Saul mustered the last of his strength, grabbed his sword and thrust it into his own body. "I will not die at the hand of a Philistine."

News traveled to my part of the battlefield stating Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchisua had also been killed by the Philistines.

What a terrible day. A day of disgrace.

I am writing down these events before I do what is honorable. My king, the one whom I have served by carrying his armor, has died in battle, therefore so shall I.

I will end my life in the same way. May God have mercy on all our souls.

1.  Who attacked the Israelites?
2.  Who was the commander of the Israelites?
3.  What had Samuel warned Saul?
4.  What happened to the Israelite soldiers?
5.  What happened to Saul's sons?
6.  What happened to Saul?
7.  What happened to the armor bearer, and why?
8.  Throughout this story the armor bearer told why these things happened. What was the reason?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Do We HAVE to Share?

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 30

David's Thoughts

We saved the Egyptian slave who had been left in a field to starve. 

A group of Amalekites had taken him as slave, but when he became ill, they tossed him aside like garbage.

This same group of Amalekites waited until we left our city, robbed everything they could, and kidnapped our wives and children. The cowards. They didn't attempt to fight us, the men...the soldiers. No they had to pick on our helpless families. 

After we fed the Egyptian, he agreed to show us where the Amalekites went if we promised not to turn him back over to the Amalekites. No problem. I had plans, directed by God, to conquer the cowards.

He took us to a hill where we could see the invaders camped. My men and I crouched low and watched the Amalekites party. Dancing. Drinking. Eating. They had our animals, and yes I saw our wives and children. Ooooo, I couldn't wait to get them.

I called my men together and discussed our plan of attack. We had to be careful. None of our families could get injured in our rescue. We crept to their camp in the shadows of the evening and attacked.

The battle lasted from twilight to evening of the next day. Not a man among them escaped except four hundred young men who escaped by camel. We chose not to chase them. 

Instead, we searched and found our wives...and our children...huddled in corners. We hugged them, and squeezed them, and held them. We cried. They cried.

Our families were safe in our arms.

We packed the things stolen by the Amalekites, everything. Not even a cooking pot remained missing. 

The older boys helped gather our flocks and herds. With our families, our stolen items, and our herds, we left for home.

As we approached the Brook Besor, the two hundred men who had been left behind to rest and get well came out to meet us. I greeted them as always. All my men deserved to be treated special. They ran to their wives and children weeping and hugging and squeezing them.

It seems there are always a few jealous people in every group. I had a few men who sacrificed their lives in the Amalekite battle bitten by the jealous bug. They banned together and came to me saying, "David, these men who stayed behind with the supplies didn't fight. Because they didn't sacrifice their lives like we did we will not give them anything we recovered except their wives and children."

Okay. I could see why they felt that way, but it was wrong. Those men didn't feel well. Didn't we just help the Egyptian man who had been tossed away? 

This called for a kind understanding voice. "My brothers, these things won't profit you. Isn't the one who stays back and guards our supplies just as important as the man who goes to battle? What good can it be to win a battle but lose our supplies? We will share, and share alike. We need each other."

From that day forward I made it a law that all men involved in a battle share.

1. Who did David save?
2. How did this person help David in return?
3. Who did David and his men fight and why?
4. How long did the battle win?
5. Not all of David's men fought in this battle. How did the soldiers treat the men who stayed behind with the supplies? What did they ask David?
6. What did David answer. 
7. What was the new law David made?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Hudson Taylor-Hurricane!

By Mary Vee

J. Hudson Taylor's Thoughts

Solid ground. 

That's it. I had stood on nothing but solid ground my whole life. My feet, nor my stomach, or my head felt rocking about on a small sailing vessel with only three sails was the best idea.

Once a missing crew member finally stepped on board and the captain recovered from a night of drinking, sails unfurled to catch the wind and whisked us from Liverpool, England toward China. I went below hoping to sleep through the first hours of swashing left...and right...and, oh, my stomach did not care for the movement.

I hadn't slept more than a few moments before being slammed into the cabin wall. The lantern over my head swayed like a sped-up pendulum. I checked my watch. We couldn't be far. How could a storm blast into this channel?

My body fell to the right against the wall and the left against the other wall as I tried to escape my cabin. I grabbed the ladder baring white knuckles to keep my footings and climbed up to the main deck. 

The captain made eye contact with me. He called out an order. "Get that man a rain slicker." One of the ship hands hurried to a chest nailed to the deck and pulled out a coat. I wrapped it around me and tied the hood in place.

Wind speeds increased as sands fell in the hour glass. For three days the crew fought the storm without a break except to change shifts. On Saturday the winds slowed and the sky cleared. We had only inched forward a little in the Irish Channel. 

The captain raised the sails to move us out of the channel and into the sea. That night, though the barometer dropped, which meant guaranteed rain. The crew prepared for the worst, and good that they had because that night the winds increased like they had been released from a starting gate. 

The ship faced the sea without moving. Think of a tall bully with his/her hand on a short person's forehead. No matter how hard the short person pushes forward he/she ends up taking five steps back. Yes, well, the wind played the bully part pushing our small sailing craft, Dumfries, backwards toward the coast of Wales.

The anemometer, a measurement of wind speed, indicated the storm had increased to hurricane proportions. The crew worked every second insuring the sails wouldn't tip too far toward the water and sink us.

The captain stayed watch every moment, shouting orders to adjust sails in one direction or another to move us forward. The bully wind laughed in our faces and pushed the ship closer to rocks off the coast of wales.

My stomach couldn't take the movement any longer. I went below and tried to rest. By two o'clock in the afternoon I fought my way back to the main deck. The sight scared me.

Yes, I believed God is always in control, and I believed He called me to go to China. Still, the sight before my eyes scared me. Rolling waves foamed like a mad dog, sucking us deep into the ocean before lifting us high on the next wave to boast it's next kill. I am but a lowly human!

I stood by the captain in fear. He shouted, "Unless God helps us, there is no hope."

It took my breath away.

J. Hudson Taylor

Phew! Come back next time to read more about the hurricane. 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.

These readers let me post their picture. :).

Saturday, June 16, 2012

David-Hunting The Murderers

Mary Vee
I Samuel 30

David's Thoughts

We escaped the Philistine army, truly by the grace of God. Achish requested we serve with his unit in the Philistine army in the battle against the Israelites. 

We were in a terrible situation. 

Achish believed we wanted to serve the Philistines and seemed truly sad that he had to send us back to his city, Ziklag where we'd made our home.

He didn't know we only hid there, we had no intentions of serving the Philistines. Kill them, yes, help them, no.

We walked for three days back to our city. At the hill overlooking the town we stopped, frozen in our steps. The entire city had been burned.

The men and I ran furiously to the city gate. Did the invaders kill our wives and children? If they did, revenge would be the only solution. We searched through the rubble and found no bodies. That news seemed good, but we didn't know where our families were. Did they escape? Did some invading army capture them?

We lifted our voices and wept as never before. All we loved had been taken. Our homes destroyed. My men turned against me. Their sorrow robbed them of all their senses.They grabbed stones and flung them at me, I'm sure they would have killed me if I hadn't acted right away. 

Oh God my strength, my hope, give me words to say, Your will to be done at this time. Let me, oh blessed Lord, serve you by helping these men in a time of great sadness.

I called for Abiathar the priest. "Please bring the ephod here to me." He returned a few moments later with it. 

With the ephod there, I asked the Lord, "Should I go after the army that attacked our homes and families? Should I overtake them?"

The Lord God answered, "Yes. Go  after the attacking army. You will overtake them and without fail recover all your families."

The six hundred men with me returned to the Brook Besor where we'd left some of our army guarding supplies. Two hundred of them had become too weary to move. I allowed them to stay with the supplies as well. The remaining four hundred went with me to overtake our enemy and rescue our families. 

After we traveled a ways we found an Egyptian man in the field. The poor man had not eaten in three days. We gave him bread, figs, raisins, and drink. I sat by him. "Who do you belong to and where are you from?"

"I am an Egyptian taken as a slave for the Amalekites. When I became sick, my master left me in this field. We invaded the southern area of Judah, and Caleb, and we burned Ziklag to the ground."

I handed him more to drink. "Do you feel well enough to take us to this army?"

"If you promise not to hurt me or to hand me over to my former master, I will take you to them."

I handed him more fruit. "I agree."

I waited for him to gain his strength then prepared for our journey.

Come back next time read what happens.


1.  What did David and his men discover when they returned to their homes at Ziklag?
2.  What was their greatest concern?
3.  Who blamed David and why?
4.  David left some of his men to rest, how many men did he take with him?
5.  Who did David meet in a field.
6. What did the man's owner do to him?
7.  What did David do for him?
8. What did David need from the man?
9.  What did David promise the man?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Saul Hears Terrible News

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 28

Saul's Thoughts

Yes. I told the soldiers to remove all mediums, people who talk to dead people. 

Yes. I tried to speak with the Lord and received no answer. The prophet Samuel told me this would happen because I didn't obey the Lord's commands. Still. I needed answers.

I had hoped a prophet would come to me and say he heard a message sent by God in a dream. Even that didn't work.

I needed to know what to do. A zillion Philistine soldiers camped in the valley over the hill. My spies confirm the Philistines planned to take out our army.

I chose to disguise myself and visit one of the mediums in hiding. She refused to help, because of my law. I rubbed my hands over her fire and said, "I promise, as the Lord lives, you won't be punished. I need your help...tonight."

She squinted her eyes as if looking close to see who I was. She didn't act like she recognized me. "All right, pay me my money and tell me who you want bought up."

I nodded to my guard to give her the money. "I want to see Samuel."

"Samuel?, the prophet Samuel? All right."  She said her mysterious words and moved her hands in a form of a dance. Her movements and sayings must not normally bring any real dead people, but this time it worked. She fell backwards when Samuel appeared. She sure looked angry. She pointed her finger and screamed, "Liar! You are Saul!"

I held my hands palm up to reassure her. "Don't be afraid. What did you see?"

She backed away from us again. Her hands trembled and her voice quivered. "I--I saw a spirit coming up out of the earth." 

"It's okay. What did the spirit look like?"

"It...looked like an old man and he is wearing a coat."

I knew the spirit must be Samuel. I lowered my face to the ground and bowed low.

A voice came from the spirit saying, "Why have you disturbed me by bring me up?"

"Samuel," I said, "I am deeply upset for the Philistines have come to war against me, and God left me. He doesn't answer me anymore. I haven't heard from any prophets or received any dreams. How else will I know what to do. I had to call you to find out what to do."

Samuel said, "Why do yo ask me? The Lord departed from you and became your enemy. He did this on His own as He told me He would. The Lord has torn the kingdom from your hands, Saul, and gave it to your neighbor, David. 

"Had you obeyed the Lord's commands with Amalek things might have been different. Instead you will be punished. You and the Israelite army with you will be given to the hands of the Philistines. Tomorrow you and your sons will be with me."

I fell flat on my face unable to move. Samuel's message repeated over and over in my mind. I had lost everything.

The woman offered me a piece of bread, and a meal to strengthen me before I left. I refused at first, but my servants and the woman convinced me I needed to eat something before traveling back to my army.

We left late that night. I thought about Samuel's words and shook. He said tomorrow I would be with him. No! What have I done?

1.  Why did Saul go to a medium for help?
2.  Who did he want to talk to?
3.  Did that person come?
4.  Why was the medium afraid?
5.  What did Saul ask?
6.  What did the person answer?
7.  What will happen to Saul and his sons tomorrow?

picture courtesy of

Monday, June 11, 2012

Hudson Taylor-Goodbye England

By Mary Vee

J. Hudson Taylor's Thoughts

After all the years of preparation, medical training, and praying, the day to leave England finally came. I couldn't believe it.

Well, I believed it would come since God gave me the desire, but then I became deathly sick, struggled to pay bills, and, what am I saying, all this has already been told and I am rambling.

Days before my departure surgical tools, medicines, and other medical equipment had been delivered to my cabin on the stern of the Dumfries. I went to the dock several times the week before set sal and felt torn. England had been my home, yet China held my dreams to serve the Lord. I couldn't help but breathe in the English air deep into my lungs and sear the memory into my mind. I didn't know what God had in store for me, whether I'd die at sea, at the hands of robbers, starve, or return to England one day.

This I did know, I would press forward, come what may, and trust the Lord for each day.

My parents came a week early to send me off. Unfortunately due to a shipping delay, my father had to leave before we set sail. He had spent a few days with me, praying, and reading the Word before boarding a train for home. I hoped I get to see him again.

On September 19, 1853 members of the Chinese Evangelisation Society joined my mother and me in the cabin which would be my home for the next six months. We sang hymns, read Scriptures, and prayed. Truly this was a worship I would remember. The members gave me their blessings and went ashore.

My mother stayed behind me in the cabin. She reached down to the bed and smoothed the wrinkles in the blanket left by those who sat there a moment before. Mom looked up at me and put on one of those I'll miss you, son smiles. 

This was the woman who prayed for hours until she knew God had shown me the way to his salvation. She has been my rock, my support, my prayer warrior, and my encourager, yet she held her chin strong. "Hudson, you must take care of your health. Without health you won't be able to complete the task God has given."

What would a farewell be without the last mom advice? I rolled my eyes and laughed. "I will." The look on her face showed she had much more to say, but would allow her twenty-one year old son to walk his own journey.

We prayed together one last time before I helped her up to the main deck. She walked down the gangplank as a woman of grace and over to an area where friends and family shouted last farewells.

The Dumfries pulled away from the dock opening a seam of water between the dock and us. I ran to the ratlines, climbed to a high point, and waved my hat in the air. The breeze blew threw my hair. "Bye!"

I eyed my mother running along the dock and waving her handkerchief. She stopped at the end and contained herself no longer. The cry of her mother's heart overpowered all sounds. It was at that moment that I had a better understanding of God so loved the world and his ache when His children walk away from Him.

I am off to China. Goodbye England.

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, June 9, 2012

Saul Looks for Help in all the Wrong Places

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 28

From Saul's Journal

I had never seen such a vast army. The Philistines must have called every available soldier alive and a few more. From on top the mountain they looked like an invasion of insects, numerous, endless, ready to conquer our land. We didn't stand a chance.

I ordered every Israelite soldier to prepare for battle. We gathered at Mt.Gilboa and looked down at our enemy. We may have had the height advantage, but they had unbelievable numbers and superior weapons. 

My hands shook and my heart beat hard enough to burst from my chest. I had no idea what to do. The prophet Samuel had recently died. I couldn't go to him. I forced all the spiritists out of the land a while ago. I couldn't go to any of them. Who could I ask for help?

I wore a rut pacing and still couldn't decide what to do.

I even tried asking the Lord. I went off by myself and asked God what to do. Did He have a battle plan or instructions to save us? But I received no answer from Him. Neither did anyone come forward to report receiving word from God in a dream. He didn't even send a prophet to speak to me. 

What could I do? We were as good as dead.

Then I had an idea. I called one of my servants, "Find me a woman who is a medium. One who is known for her work in speaking with dead people. There must be at least one hiding in the country. Find her. I want to ask her a few questions."

The servant said, "I happen to know of a woman who is a medium. She lives in En Dor."

"Good, good." 

I ordered two soldiers to go with me. We traveled along the base of Mt. Gilboa past the Philistine camp and turned towards the Hill of Moreh, careful to remain out of the sight of the Philistines. En Dor was on the other side of the hill.

I had changed my clothes and wore a disguise to prevent anyone from recognizing me as the king. That night we entered the city and found the woman's home.

"Come in weary travelers," she said. 

Her home looked like any other home. Nothing special like I'd expect to find in a medium's home. "Please conduct a seance for me. I will tell you which dead person I want to speak to."

"I can't do that, sir. You know what Saul did. All mediums and spiritist have been banned from the country. Are you trying to get me in trouble. Maybe you're laying a trap to get me killed. No way. I won't do it." She folded her arms and pointed to the door.

Now what should I do? Maybe I can get her to change her mind.

Come back next week to read what happened.

1. Why was Saul worried?
2. Who had the better position for a battle?
3.  Who had more men?
4. Saul was mad because who was dead and therefore couldn't help him?
5. Saul asked God for directions, why didn't God answer (email me if you get stuck with this question. The answer isn't in this story.
6. Saul risked his life to visit someone. Who did he want to see? 
7. What did he want her to do?

Author's note: Once again Saul tries to solve problems his own way. If only he chose to obey God he'd find the answers he needed.

picture courtesy of

Friday, June 8, 2012

Celebrating! Three Years of Bible Stories

Celebrating Three Years 
of Bible/Missionary Stories

Stepping into the lives of those who lived long ago,
 yet have so much to share today.

Bible Stories Posted Wednesdays and Saturdays

What did Noah's sons pass the time while on the ark? Did they pull the tiger's tail, slide down bales of hay, or tickle the giraffe's throat? 
How did Abraham, an old man, rescue his nephew, Lot, from the five wicked kings? How did he gather an army so fast and win a battle two other kings lost? 
Did Jacob weep when he finally found Joseph not only alive but also a powerful man in Egypt? What was Jacob's side of the story? 
Why did Boaz redeem Ruth? She wasn't an Israelite. She came from Moab. Why did he let her gleam in his fields for free?

Come read their stories. 
Look at the labels in the right column to find a Bible story.

Is the Missionary life easy? 
No one believed Gladys Aylward could learn Chinese at age thirty. Why would a woman want to travel by herself across the land of Russia during a time of war? Who would take a hundred children over a mountain for a fifteen day journey to save their lives?  Read Gladys Aylward's exciting series.  Click on Gladys Aylward in the column to the right

Want to play a Bible Game?

Click on the Bible Games tab at the top. Games are sorted by type: mazes, word search, dot to dot, crossword puzzles, and etc. Have some fun.

Summertime or after school boredom hit?

Click on the tips and fun ideas tab. Here are some money saving ideas. How to go to summer camp at home. How to be a super hero. Making friends. Make your own vacation to a foreign country while in your pajamas, and many more.

What's next?

Every Wednesday and Saturday new Bible stories continue to be posted. Step into the days of David, Solomon, and a host of other people who tell their stories in the Old Testament.

Every Monday a new missionary story is posted. At this time, step into J. Hudson Taylor's journey to China.

Let others know you read these Bible stories by becoming a follower. 
Click "Join this Site" in the column to the right.

This site is perfect for families, homeschoolers, Christian Schools, Sunday Schools, individuals who want to read about the lives of real people recorded in God's Word, and many more.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

David Fight With the Philistines? NOT

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 28

David's Thoughts

Saul thought my men and I hid from him in the Philistines city of Ziklag. Achish, a Philistine king thought I raided Israelite cities for revenge. Both men wrong, both men mislead by my men and I that we might protect the Promised Land.

One day the Philistines gathered a huge army to fight the Israelites. Achish called me into his royal chambers and said, "Good to see you this morning, David. I've seen the work of you and your men. I'm planning on you going with us to battle against the Israelites."

This was not an invitation I expected from him. He didn't threaten me or force my men to fight with his army. No. For some strange reason, he believed I wanted to avenge myself and kill the Israelite king. He came up with the idea on his own. 

I bowed and answered, "My lord, you know what your servant can do."

He clapped his hands together, quite pleased with himself. As far as he knew, an Israelite warrior agreed to fight for his side. "Perfect. I will make you one of my chief guardians forever."

All the Philistine armies gathered for the battle and made camp in Shunem. The next morning, Philistine princes inspected each army. My men and I stood in the last group with king Achish, guarding him as he asked. 

The soldiers lined up at attention, proud, prepared for battle. The princes grunted or nodded as they walked past each man. Even though several princes did the inspection it took a long time before they reached Achish's army due to the large number of soldiers. 

My men and I copied the stance of the Philistines around us. Still, no mater what we did, we didn't look like Philistines. Anyone could figure that out. The prince inspected the men before us then stopped. He came close to my eyes and grumbled. "What are these Hebrews doing here?"

"Don't worry, David, I'll handle this." Achish pushed his way toward the prince and bowed. "Can't you see this is David, the servant of Saul king of Israel? You know he's been with me for years. To this very day I have found no fault in him. You do know he defected to me." Achish laughed. "Their best fighter came over to our side."

The prince scowled. "How can you allow a Hebrew in this battle? I don't care if he defected. Get him and his men out of here and make them go back to the homes you gave them. The last thing we need is a Hebrew spy."

Achish scowled, practically moved his hands into a begging position. "No, he has proven himself. This a powerful warrior. We need him."

The prince lunged toward Achish, screaming. "And what will you do if David turns against us and takes our very heads back to Saul to restore his place in Israel? Isn't this the David the people sang:

'Saul has slain his thousands,
And David his ten thousands?'

"No. I stand firm. He may not be a part of this battle."

Achish called me to his side. He had a fatherly sadness. "I'm sorry. You've been upright in your service to me. All you do is good in my sight. Since the day you came I haven't found evil in you. Nevertheless, the lords do not approve. You must return to your homes in peace. I can't afford to displease the lords of the Philistines."

I had no intention of getting my men or I killed fighting for the Philistines but I needed Achish to think I had been offended. I bowed my head. "What have I done? What have you found wrong in your servant that has prevented me from fighting against your enemies today?"

Achish paced a few steps. He seemed torn between the Philistine lord and me. "In my eyes you're as good as an angel of God, but I don't have the power to allow you to fight in this battle. The princes of the Philistines have said you can't go. Here, stay the night in the camp then pack and return to your homes in the morning."

God sent the Philistine lords to reject my men and I, and I'm glad. His order safely removed us from fighting with the Philistine army. Come back to read what happened next with this battle. 

1.  What did Saul think? Why had Saul tried to kill David?
2.  What did Achish think? Who did Achish think David and his men raided?
3.  What did Achish ask David to do?
4.  Why did the prince get angry?
5.  Why did Achish defend David?

Even in the eyes of the enemy, David showed his loyalty to God.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Hudson Taylor-Chinese Doors Open

By Mary Vee

J. Hudson Taylor's Thoughts 

I wanted to finish my surgical training right away, it was my door into China. Oh, how I longed to serve God on the mission field.

At that time, China allowed very few people into their country. Foreigners, people who weren't Chinese, had come into the country bringing changes. The government didn't like it and forced the foreigners to leave. The same government made many new rules which some of the Chinese people did not like. 

Not many missionaries could get permission to enter China. Many men and women longed to help the Chinese people and tell them about Jesus but couldn't get there. However, I learned that medical people were desperately needed and were the only ones allowed into the country. In a short while, I'd finish my training and leave for China as planned.

At the same time news reports reached London about the Taiping Rebellion.  A Chinese man gathered an army to fight against the Chinese government. He wanted to let foreigners come into the country, bring new products and ideas, and get rid of the government officials who cheated and robbed the people. Many Chinese died in the rebellion.

Although sad news for those who died, the rebellion also opened the door for some missionaries to enter China. 

I think God wanted to check to see if I would truly go to China. One day, the Chinese Evangelization Society asked me to come to their office. They offered to pay my school bills if I agreed to become an officer of the Royal College of Surgeons. What a tempting offer! My bills would be paid, I could have an important position, and I could help many people. I felt honored, of course, but knew God wanted me to go to China.

The rebellion actually helped my situation. I could get papers approved to go to China even before graduation. If I waited, the door into China might close. Should I finish medical school and risk not going to China or leave right away? So many decisions.

God let me know what to do. I had to go. Right then.

I went to the CES office and asked to speak with Charles Bird. "I need to go to China while the door is open."

"Come in, Taylor. It just so happens I had finished a letter to the committee only a moment ago, requesting they consider your application to go to China immediately. Now, what's this you say about leaving right away?" He laughed and slapped me on the back. "I say, we need a dedicated man such as yourself in China and I believe your heart is in the right place. I'll send your application to the proper person."

Three weeks later I received a letter from the Society granting me permission to leave for China right away.

Just like that. Years of preparation and poof, paperwork, finances, everything I needed was thrown together and approval granted for me to go to China. Had the rebellion not happened at that time, missionaries like myself would have never entered the country....maybe ever.

I'm off to China!

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.