Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Elijah and Elisha

By Mary Vee
I Kings 19

From Elisha's Notes

I'd grown up on a farm and enjoyed working the fields. I owned my own equipment, my oxen and yoke and everything else necessary to do the job, I won't make a boring list for you.

On this day, I was working in a field with twelve others. Each of us plowing our portion, twenty four oxen preparing a large field to be seeded in all. The sun bore down on our backs making the work a sweaty job. I didn't mind. I loved the smell of the earth.

I drove my oxen along the edge of the field and saw out of the corner of my eye a man walking toward me. I stopped my oxen and turned. 

The prophet Elijah had a reputation among all of us. Even if we hadn't seen his face before, we would instantly recognize him. This man challenged queen Jezebel's prophets to a battle and won. He delivered messages from God and stilled the rain from the land for three years. If only I had the same measure of Spirit from God as he. 

Elijah walked to me, removed his cloak and placed it on my shoulders. He didn't have to say a word, I knew what the symbol meant. I had been called to work with him. What an honor. "Please, Elijah, let me kiss my father and mother good-by and then I will come with you."

Elijah shrugged and said, "Go ahead. I won't keep you."

I drove my oxen home. Knowing I needed to get rid of everything I owned to follow in the steps of Elijah and serve the almighty God, I burned my plowing equipment. With the fire I put fresh meat from my two oxen. There was a lot of food. I gave meat away to everyone in the village. It was a feast. The people wished me well and said good bye.

I left the village with Elijah's cloak and a portion of the food to searched for him. He hadn't gone far. I'm not sure why he didn't join our celebration, he certainly was welcome. Still, I wanted him to have food so I gave him what I brought and then we walked together. 

To walk alongside such a man of God like Elijah and to hear the words God had given him was better than to eat the best meal served at a king's table. I feel so blessed and excited for the days ahead.

photo courtesy of

1.  What type of work did Elisha do?
2.  Who came to visit Elisha?
3.  What did the person give Elisha?
4.  What did this person want Elisha to do?
5.  Elisha asked permission to __________
6.  Elisha share __________ with the people in the village.
7.  After the celebration Elisha _________________.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Hudson Taylor-Translation Difficulties

By Mary Vee
Year: July, 1862 
Hudson Taylor: age 30

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes

I was sent back to England to recuperate from an illness which nearly took my life. I am not the kind of person who is good at resting. Maria, my wife, gave up forcing me to stay in bed.

I had hoped that the English air, a roof over my head, and food on my table would do the job. I had work to do!

Since I planned to return to China, I knew it would be really important for me to complete my medical studies. I didn't have much left to do to be certified as a doctor. 

I applied to the medical school, requesting to finish my surgical program. They accepted me right away. After completing the coursework and exams I took extra training to learn how to be a midwife, (helping women have their babies). So many babies died while being born in China. Maybe I could help save not only the baby's lives but their mother's too.

I passed the exams and became certified for both surgery and midwifery. My first patient was my wife, Maria, who gave birth to my son Frederick Howard on November 23rd.

Once my medical training ended, I devoted my entire day to translating the hymnal and New Testament into the Ningbo language. The Religious Tract Society agreed to publish the hymnal and the Bible Society agreed to fund the New Testament translation.

A friend of mine, Rev. Frederick Gough,  had been a missionary with us in Ningbo. He happened to be home in England at the time and agreed to help me with the translation.

Here is where the problems began. I wanted to get the work done as soon as possible. This way we could have the New Testaments printed out and packed to take back with us when we returned to China.

Rev. Gough, wanted to assure the translation was accurate in every way which took a long time. The Ningbo language doesn't use letters like we do. They have different markings for different sounds and words. Rev. Gough wanted to be sure we chose the correct marking for each word and he also wanted to be sure the translation matched the Greek original. It took forever to do all the checks and rechecks. 

I started a day with translations and then found work undone with the checks. I began to feel like we would never be able to get back to China with the translations.

Rev. Gough and I received more than one notice from the Bible Society saying they wanted to stop funding the project because it was taking too long. 

I agreed.

But Rev. Gough walked to their offices each time we received the letters and spoke with the board, explaining the importance of the accuracy of the translation. He returned each time with a smile on his face and said, "They will continue the funding."

This year sailed by so fast. So much has happened. I completed and passed school and the exams and I worked on the Ningbo translations, working long hours. I'm exhausted. 

I posted a big map of China on my wall to encourage me to complete the translation. I looked at it every day, longing to tell the people who lived in Inland China, far away from the ocean.

With the map before me I work extra long and work hard to please Rev. Gough with the translations. Wouldn't it be wonderful if Maria, Grace, Frederick, and I could return to China next year? Oh, I hope so.

Please pray that we finish the New Testament soon and accurately. We are very excited to return to China.

J. Hudson Taylor
Missionary to China home, in England
Blessed by God

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. &and Mrs. Howard Taylor.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Elijah, God Spoke in a Still Small Voice

By Mary Vee
I Kings 19

From Elijah's Scrolls

The bread and water given to me from the angel and the sleep I had restored my strength to push forward and walk forty days and forty nights until I reached Horeb, the mountain of God.

There I found cool air and a cave to sleep in for the night.

The next morning I awoke to a voice. "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

I realized immediately it was the Lord speaking so I answered, "I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left and now they are trying to kill me too."

My legs could barely hold me. I wanted to hide in the cave forever and not speak to anyone. 

The Lord said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for I am about to pass by."

Outside the cave a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks. But the Lord was not in the wind.

An earthquake shook the ground, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.

As the earthquake stopped, fire burst into the air, but the Lord was not in the fire. 

When the fire ceased, I heard a gentle whisper. A whispered that frightened me. I pulled my cloak over my face and walked out to the mouth of the cave. There I heard the same voice saying, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

I kept the cloak over my head and repeated my answer, "I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too."

The Lord said," Go back the way you came, and go the the Desert of Damascus. When you get there:

1. Anoint Hazael king over Aram. 
2. Also anoint Jehu, son of Nimshi king over Israel, and 
3. Anoint Elisha, son of Shaphat to succeed you as prophet. 

Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death all who escape the sword of Jehu. Yet, I have reserved seven thousand in Israel--all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him."

I hurried back into the cave, grabbed my staff and left right away, as the Lord commanded.

Photo courtesy of

1. Where did Elijah go?
2. What did God ask him?
3. What did God say when Elijah told Him he was the only one left?
4. The Lord was not in the __________, ___________, or the ____________
5. The Lord spoke with a ________________
6. God told Elijah to anoint ___________, _____________, and ___________

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Ahab-Elijah Runs for His Life

By Mary Vee
I Kings 18

From Elijah's Notes

A messenger from Jezebel found me and presented her message. She said she would kill me by this time tomorrow. 

I admit, I was afraid.

That woman was vicious. I didn't wait for the messenger to leave my hiding place. I grabbed my cloak, staff, and ran out the door. My servant kept up with me as we ran to Beersheba in Judah. I took a quick break to catch my breath and drink some water.

Beersheba would not be a good place for me to hide either. I had but one choice. Flee to the desert. I told my servant to stay in Beersheba where he could find food, water, and shelter, and not to follow me. 

From there I journeyed, running most of the time into the desert. I came to a broom tree. My legs could carry me no farther. I didn't have the strength to search for food or water. All I could do was sit under the tree and pray. "Lord, I have had enough. Please, take my life. I am no better than my ancestors."

I remember falling over and not caring about the hard ground where my head rested. For a time, that was all I remembered.

I felt someone touching me. I opened my eyes and found an angel standing over me. He said, "Get up and eat." 

I didn't want to. More sleep seemed like the better idea, but my heart told me to obey the angel. I looked around and there, by my head, was a cake of bread baked over hot coals and a jar of water. It looked and smelled delicious. I grabbed the bread, stuffed it into my mouth, and barely chewed before swallowing then took the water and poured it into my mouth so fast it dripped down my face. It tasted cool, refreshing, and moistened my lips.

I could do no more. I'm sorry to say I didn't even say thank you for the food. I lay back down and fell asleep.

I don't know how much time passed, but the same angel woke me again. He said, "Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you."

I sat up and ate the bread and drank all the water. This time my strength returned enough to let me stand. The only reason for the angel to give urgent instructions was to get me moving for my safety. I picked up my staff and cloak and continued my journey in the desert.

God has done so much for me. He put in Jezebel's heart to send a messenger instead of a band of soldiers. He gave me strength to run to Beersheba and find a safe place for my servant. He helped me journey to a place where I could sleep safely under a tree. He sent an angel to give me food and drink two times. And now he has sent me on my way to hide from Jezebel.

Praise be to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob for He has protected me.

photo courtesy of

1. What did the messenger tell Elijah? Who sent the messenger?
2. Who is Jezebel and why was Elijah afraid of her?
3. Where did Elijah take his servant for safety?
4. Where did Elijah find a broom tree?
5. Who woke Elijah and served him fresh baked bread and water?
6. What did the angel tell Elijah the second time?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Hudson Taylor-Walking the Streets of London in Chinese Clothes

By Mary Vee
Year: July, 1861 
Hudson Taylor: age 29

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes

The ship landed in England. Maria, baby Grace, my friend, Wang Laedjun, and I boarded the first train to my parents home. I never felt happier to set my feet on firm dry ground. 

We walked from the station to the house, Wang carrying baby Grace for us. As a reminder, the only reason Maria and I returned to London was to regain our strength after contracting serious illnesses. We fully intend to return to China.

I suppose we looked like quite the odd parade walking the streets of London with one Chinese man carrying an English baby dressed in simple clothes, Maria wearing her missionary dress, and I in Chinese clothing with my hair shaved and one braid falling down my back. What can I say, I never expected to come back to London and had long ago given away my English clothes.

We came to the sidewalk before my parents house and watched the door fling open before we'd even knocked. "Hudson! Oh and this must be Maria. Hello, dear! And, oh, come look everyone, baby Grace is here!" 

Fortunately, Grace enjoyed being handed from one person to another. She giggled at the attention and silly noises made by the adults. "Hudson, this baby's clothes are not fitting for a Taylor." I didn't have chance to say a word before mother whisked the little one upstairs to most likely dress her in clothes fitting a Taylor.

Maria received much the same welcome, having been escorted to the upper level to refresh herself and to put on a proper lady's dress. 

"Dr. Parker told us you were coming. We have everything prepared. I gather you are very tired. I see you have a guest. What is his name?"

"This is Wang. He came to help me continue our work. We plan to translate a hymnal and a New Testament into his language, Ningbo."

Wang bowed. The whole household, even Louisa smiled and warmly welcomed Wang into the house.

I'm sure everything seemed quite strange to Wang, but to me the smells and sights stirred my heart. It sure was nice to come home for a visit. Due to the difference in time and our poor health, Wang, Maria and I slept late into the next day.  As for baby Grace, well, I didn't need to worry about her in a household that hadn't seen a baby for a while.

After we rest, Wang and I plan go to the mission, meet the gracious Mr. Berger, the man who sent money to China for our support, and thank him. We will also search for supporters for the Ningbo hymnal and New Testament. Imagine returning to China with a hymnal and New Testament in a language the people can read. I am so excited.

I never would have planned this trip home, but God knew of the need for translation and sent us here. Praise be to God, the one who knows what we need before we ask.

J. Hudson Taylor
Missionary to China home, in England
Blessed by God

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. &and Mrs. Howard Taylor.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Ahab-Elijah-Jezebel's Vicious Threat

By Mary Vee
I Kings 18, 19

Journal Entry from Jezebel' Messenger

I had a job in the palace. I kind of liked it. 

Several years ago, Ahab assigned me to work for his wife, Jezebel. Basically, I did a little cleaning around her palace until she called me to deliver a message. We didn't have cell phones, or texting. I guess you could say I was the text messenger. 

Where ever and to whom ever she wanted a message delivered to, I got the job. It kept me in shape and let me visit interesting places.

Of late Jezebel has not been in a good mood. She was angry at the prophet Elijah. 

I'd never risk telling her my opinion, but I can write it here. I saw the challenge Elijah gave to the prophets of Baal. All day I watched, waiting for Baal to set the sacrifice on fire and prove to Elijah he was wrong. But Baal didn't. Elijah prepared his sacrifice, and to make the challenge more difficult, he poured water over the entire altar. One prayer. That was all it took. One prayer from him. My heart still pumps hard when I recall the scene. A blaze of fire poured down from heaven and burned every part of the sacrifice, including the altar. It took my breath away.

Jezebel is the one who insisted we, the people of Israel, worship Baal. To please her, Ahab set up Baal temples. It all made sense. We could see the statues and honestly felt the words of the prophets of Baal rang true. After a while, few questioned if Baal was real--until Elijah's challenge. 

Following the challenge all the people of Israel confessed the truth of the Almighty God of Israel. The same day rain fell on the land. We hadn't had rain for a several years. God blessed our confession with rain. We didn't deserve it, but He did it. How could we have ever doubted the God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?

Jezebel still believed in her Baal. I hadn't seen her face turn such a crimson angry red before. She'd been made at others, but never this angry. She called me into her chambers. One look at her face let me know her wrath would soon fall on some soul.

"Messenger." She paced and huffed with each breath. "Go to the prophet Elijah and tell him this message: 'May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not kill you as you have killed my prophets serving Baal.'"

I bowed in respect to her after she finished speaking and hurried out of the room. A messenger's job did not allow for breaks, meals, or walking. I had to find the prophet Elijah quickly and give him Jezebel's message.

I asked a few people on the way if they knew where Elijah might be staying. When I found the home, I knocked on the door. "Elijah?"

The door opened. "Yes?"

"I am Jezebel's messenger. She sent me with these words." I told him her message she sent.

I have never seen a prophet of God frightened before that day. He hurried to the back room and gathered his walking stick and coat. He didn't even say good bye.

Since I'd delivered the message I returned to Jezebel's palace, waited for my next assignment, and hoped Elijah would find a good place to hide.

photo courtesy of

1. Describe the job of a messenger.
2. Who insisted the people worship Baal?
3. Who agreed and had the Baal temples built?
4. After the challenge, Jezebel became angry. What message did she want to give Elijah.
5. Did Elijah believe her? How do you know?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ahab- Elijah-Ran Faster Than a Chariot

By Mary Vee
I Kings 18,19

From Elijah's Journal

At last. So many people from Israel had been tricked into believing and worshiping Baal. The  worse offenders had to be the prophets of Baal. How dare they trick the people, convincing them with their lies and tales about a god with no power, a god who did not exist.

The only justice was their death. I ordered the people to capture the prophets of Baal. "Don't let anyone get away!" After the magnificent show of God's power, the Israelites were more than happy to comply. They tied all 400 prophets and forced them to walk to the Kishon Valley. There all those tale tellers were killed. 

I walked to king Ahab, the one who honored the prophets of Baal's lies. "Go, eat and drink for there is the sound of a heavy rain."

He didn't say a word or mock me. Not this time. He too saw the power of God come down with fire and burn the sacrifice and all the water and stones. Instead, he went and ate as I told him.

I climbed to the top of Carmel, and bent down to the ground. I pressed my head against my knees and said to my servant, "Go and look toward the sea."

His footsteps faded as he walked to the edge. He shouted back to me, "There is nothing there."

I asked him to look again. And again he said he saw nothing in the sky.

I kept asking, seven times in all, until my servant's report changed. The last time he said, "A cloud as small as a man's hand is rising from the sea."

"Go tell Ahab to hitch his chariot and hurry away before the rain stops him."

While my servant was on the errand, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, and a heavy rain roared toward us.

I felt a sudden burst of energy in my legs and knew I needed to hurry. I tucked my coat into my belt and ran down the path. I didn't think about my steps and how fast my legs moved until I found myself catching up to Ahab's chariot and passing him. I ran through the city gates of Jezreel ahead of Ahab.

Let me catch my breath. I tell you what happen next time.

photo courtesy of

1.  What happened to the prophets of Baal?
2.  What did Elijah tell Ahab would happen?
3.  Where did Elijah go?
4.  At that place he told his servant to ____________
5.  How many times did he tell his servant to do the same thing?
6.  What amazing thing did Elijah do?
7. What powerful even happened so fast and powerful that Ahab had to hurry for shelter?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Hudson Taylor-Rolling Seas and Angry Captains

By Mary Vee
Year: July, 1860 
Hudson Taylor: age 28

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes

I don't suppose I'ld ever make a good sailor. How can a person live his or her life on a ship with all the rocking and storms and rats and other problems? A ship life is not for me.

Maria, baby Grace, my Chinese friend, Wang Laedjun and I have been aboard the Jubilee for one month, now. We have three more months before docking in England. 

Dear sweet Grace was cutting her first teeth and having a difficult time. She cried, wailing at times. Captain Jones saw her on deck and ordered us to keep her quiet. Poor Maria was forced to stay with our little girl below deck.

Sleeping in a room with bed bugs didn't help us endure the journey. The tiny creatures make terrible guests.

It wasn't long before Maria became ill with dysentery. Between her illness and mine, Wang had to care for baby Grace. I'd learned a special remedy to ease this disease from Dr. Parker. It required a special food in our diet, but Captain Jones gruffly told me to leave him alone.

I took a candle and a tin cup to cook arrowroot in our cabin. Sometimes the candle didn't heat the water hot enough. When this happened, I wadded little pieces of paper in the lamp and set the tin cup over the flame. The arrowroot tea worked wonders for Maria, in time.

The captain had a grumpy personality. He probably didn't like having passengers on his ship, but needed to put up with the inconvenience to pay his bills. His poor wife stayed in the cabin near us and visited often. The captain never had a moment to share with her.  

I spoke with the first mate and immediately saw his strong faith in Christ. He knew how to get along with the captain, which worked out well for us. When I asked him for permission to hold church services on Sunday, quite surprisingly, he gave me approval. 

My Sundays have long been spent totally devoted to God. After each church service I typically spent time studying the Scriptures, singing hymns, and praising God for all He has done. 

Shortly after we set sail away from China, a Chinese boat pulled near to our ship offering to sell fresh apples. The captain asked me to translate. "I'm sorry, captain, but I cannot. This is Sunday, a day I devote to praise and worship."

"But can't you take a few moments to translate?"

"No. I am sorry. I have never broken this commitment to God." The captain never forgave me for this and reminded me with his gruff treatment for the rest of the journey.

There was one other passenger on board. A lady who'd lost her mind had been tied to the mast on several occassions. Without any obvious cause the captain ordered her to be beaten. There was nothing anyone could do to help this woman. 

The days on a ship blended into one another, I don't know how the sailors kept the calendar in their mind. During free time, I spoke with the crew sharing and studying the Scriptures or translating hymns with Wang. 

One day as Wang sat next to me translating hymns an idea came to me. We could work together to translate the New Testament into the Ningbo language.

To help Maria with her illness she and I often spoke of landing in England and seeing our families. The hope of a family celebration helped us survive the long four months on the sea.

November 20th didn't seem as cold and rainy as I remembered when I left England. The ship docked on English soil and our baggage delivered to the dock. I helped Maria, who had fully recovered from her illness, baby Grace, and Wang down the plank and headed for the train. Our excitement strengthened us for the last part of the journey home.

We discovered exciting news just after landing. Maria was pregnant! The Lord will bless us with a second child.

Wang, Maria, and I spent long hours praying, asking God to send five new missionaries to replace me in Ningbo. Not that I did the work of five, but there is plenty of work for five and even five additional workers. Will you pray too?\

J. Hudson Taylor
Missionary to China heading home to England
Blessed by God

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. &and Mrs. Howard Taylor.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Ahab-Elijah Mocks the Prophets of Baal

By Mary Vee
I Kings 18

From Elijah's Journals

The challenge began.

The people leaned forward and watched the prophets and me. The prophets of Baal would attempt to prove Baal was God. When they finished, I would have my chance to prove the Lord is God.

The prophets of Baal prepared the bull they had chosen and set the meat on the altar without using any fire. They cried out to the name of Baal from morning till noon. "O Baal, answer us!" 

I thought they looked silly crying out to something that did't exist, but, hey, it was what they wanted to do. After noon passed, the prophets looked a bit worried. They danced around the altar crying louder. Their throats became dry and scratchy, yet they continued to shout.

I couldn't help myself. I had to say something. I cupped my hands around my mouth and said, "Shout louder! Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or on a trip. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened."

I chuckled softly to myself as the prophets of Baal shouted louder. They became desperate enough to cut themselves to get Baal's attention. Their blood flowed down their arms. The afternoon passed and the prophets continued calling on Baal. The sun moved to the evening sky and still they cried out.

Baal had not responded.

No one answered the prophets of Baal.

No one paid attention to all their dancing, shouting, and pleas.

It was time for them to rest.

I raised my hands and said to all the people, "Come here to me." The crowds turned and faced me. Before their eyes the broken altar of God, which had been destroyed by Baal worshipers, was repaired by the workers. 

I took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob and built an altar. Next, I dug a trench around it large enough to hold plenty of water. Then I arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces of meat and laid it on the wood. I stepped back and said, "Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood."

The workers did as I asked. "Do it again," I said. The workers shrugged and followed my instructions. People in the crowd nudged each other and smiled. The water filled most of the trench and soaked the wood and meat.  "Do it a third time," I ordered the workers. They gladly did it the third time and snickered.

The water ran down around the altar. Every part of the altar, including the wood and trench dripped and overflowed with water.

The usual appointed time for evening sacrifice came. I stepped forward for all to hear. "O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, O Lord, so these people will know that you, O Lord are God, and that you are turning their hearts back to you again.

As I spoke the last word of my prayer, fire fell from heaven and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.

The people gasped and fell to the ground crying "The Lord--he is God! The Lord--he is God!"

photo courtesy of

1. What did the prophets try to prove?
2. What all did they do to prove they were right?
3. What did Elijah do to show the people nothing could stop God?
4. What happened to the Elijah's sacrifice?
5. What did the people do when they saw what God did?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Ahab- The Proof is in the Fire

By Mary Vee
I Kings 18

From Elijah's Journals

I sent Obadiah with a message to king Ahab to meet me. Obadiah was afraid to repeat my words to the king, thinking Ahab would kill him. I reassured him of his safety and sent him on his way.

It wasn't too long before Ahab and his guards came over the hill. He saw me from a distance and called out, "Is that you, you troubler of Israel?"

It wasn't the best greeting I've had. "I have not made trouble for Israel," I replied. "But you and your father's family have. You've abandoned the Lord's commands to worship the Baals."

He smirked at me. 

The Lord commanded me to show proof of His almighty power. Despite all the bad we do, God constantly chooses to show His love to us in whatever way best communicates the message. Ahab didn't deserve the proof I was about to offer. Still, I had to follow God's commands.

"Ahab, summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. Bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah who eat at Jezebel's table."

Ahab folded his arms and squinted. "I am intrigued with what you are about to do. Remember, Elijah, I have you surrounded, so no tricks."

I didn't bother to answer him. He ordered his soldiers to send my message throughout Israel. When they left, I walked to Mount Carmel and waited for the people to arrive. The prophets, too, were assembled. 

I stood on a high platform and raised my hands to gain the attention of all who came. They silenced and looked at me with curiosity. "How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him." 

The people stood still, not saying a word.

How disappointing. After all God had done for them, given to them,and the protection he provided daily. I sighed. "I am the only one of the Lord's prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. I propose a challenge. Get two bulls for us. Let the prophets of Baal chose one for themselves. The prophets are to cut the meat into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. 

"I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood, but not set fire to it. Then you prophets of Baal, call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire--he is God."

The people looked at each other and nodded. "This is a good idea. Go ahead."

Come back next time to see what happens to the sacrifices.

photo courtesy of

1.  Who was afraid to speak to the king?
2.  Ahab called Elijah a _____________
3.  Elijah wanted to prove what to the people and to Ahab? __________
4.  Who all did Elijah invited to Mt. Carmel?
5.  What challenge did Elijah offer?
6.  Did the people agree that this was a good idea? 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Hudson Taylor-Roller Coasters and Sharp Turns

By Mary Vee
Year: 1860 
Hudson Taylor: age 28

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes

The New Year brought exciting events. My wife, Maria; co-laborer, John; and I rose early and stayed up late daily doing the work God had called us to do. And the blessings poured in.

Taking over the hospital for Dr. Parker (who took his family home to Scotland after his wife died), had been exciting, and, in truth, tiring. I didn't have the medical qualifications to do all he did, but I tried my best. My nearly completed medical school training and common sense were my skills.  

The news I am bursting to tell you is the tremendous response to the Gospel in China. I have heard from other missionaries of the revivals in North America and Europe and of course this excited my soul. But the revivals have not stopped there. 

Here in China men and women are listening to the Gospel and turning away from their idol worships. Not one or two, but many have claimed Jesus as their savior. Absolutely nothing can stir the soul of a servant of God more than to witness a decision to follow Christ.

At the beginning of this year, the church, which John and I started, had twenty-one members. By February, twelve new souls wished to be baptized. Isn't that fantastic?

Most of the patients who came to the hospital are wounded citizens from the rebel fighting. One young man had been shot in the neck. An injury leading to death. We worked using the skills God had blessed and prayed over him as the days went by. We told him how much God loves him. And in time, the young man survived his injury completely. This is not the end of his story. Days later, the young man responded to the message of God's love. He turned from worshiping Baal and gave his heart totally to Christ.

Another man brought to the hospital had suffered horrible injuries to his legs. I didn't think he would live. I tried everything I knew but had to amputate both legs to stop the infection. Even then, he should not have lived. Yet God heard our prayers and saved the man's life, bringing him to full recovery. Those in the city saw the successful work of our missionary hospital and came to hear the messages about God.

I preached to the crowds of people several times each day in addition to my hospital work and loved the ministry, but it drained me physically. Maria, John and I were constantly exposed to the deadly diseases plaguing this city. We tried to stay healthy and prayed that God would keep us strong.

The long hours and exposure to disease wore on my health. Each day my illness bound me to my bed longer until I couldn't get up. A Chinese doctor came to me and advised I return home until I recovered. He said I may never recover, which means I may not be able to come back to China.

This news did not help me find a motivation to rest. I had prepared for a lifetime to work in China, knowing for a fact that God wanted me to live here and tell the Chinese people about the Truth about His love. I could barely breathe or hold back my broken heart.

On July 19, 1860 Maria and I reluctantly boarded the Jubilee with our belongings and waved goodbye to our beloved Chinese friends. William Berger, the one who had supported my work, sent the money for our boat passage to England. 

The only blessing I could find on the long journey on the sea was my fellowship with Wang Lae-djun, a Chinese Christian who volunteered to go with me to England. We plan to translate hymns and other books into Chinese on the days my health allows.

Oh, dear God. Please don't let this be the end of my time in China. I love you and want to return to the work you sent me to do.

Please pray that the Lord will send missionaries to help with the work so I may rest and heal in peace. 

J. Hudson Taylor
Missionary to China
Blessed by God

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. &and Mrs. Howard Taylor.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Ahab-Obadiah Afraid to Go Before the King

By Mary Vee
I Kings 18

From Obadiah's, Keeper of King Ahab's Palace, Journal

I have served king Ahab of Israel for some time. He selected me to be in charge of his palace. 

Despite the king's choice to worship other gods, I could not follow in his path. I didn't worship Baal or the Asheroth poles or any of the other gods brought into Israel. My work kept me busy and gave me an excuse to not participate in worshipping those new gods. 

My heart has been devoted to the Lord. When queen Jezebel started killing the Lord's prophets, I sneaked out and gathered a hundred prophets and took them to two caves. Fifty hid in one and fifty in the other. I've worked hard to take them food and water whenever possible, the king's spies roamed everywhere.

One day a servant reported to Ahab the horses and mules had eaten the last of the grass in the nearby fields. Ahab turned to me and said, "Go through the land to all the springs and valleys. Maybe we can find some grass to keep the horses and mules alive. I'd rather not kill any of our animals."

We divided the search area. Ahab went one direction and I went in the other.

As  was walking, I met the prophet Elijah. Of course I recognized him right away and bowed all the way to the ground. "Is it really you, my lord Elijah?"

"Yes," he replied. "Go tell your master, 'Elijah is here.'"

How could he expect me to do that? To take such a message before the king would guarantee my death. "Elijah, as surely as the Lord your God lives, there is not a nation or kingdom where my master has not sent someone to look for you. Whenever a nation or kingdom claimed you were not there he made them promise they could not find you.

"And now you expect me to go before Ahab and say, 'Elijah is here?' What if the Spirit of the Lord carries you to another place when I leave? If I tell Ahab you are here and he doesn't find you, he will kill me. 

"I have worshiped the Lord since I was young. Didn't you hear what I did while Jezebel was killing the prophets of the Lord? I hid a hundred of the Lord's prophets in two caves, fifty in each, and supplied them with food and water. And after doing this, you expect me to go to my master to deliver your message? He will kill me."

Elijah nodded. "Obadiah, listen to me. As the Lord Almighty lives, whom I serve, you can know for sure I will present myself to Ahab today."

This story will continue next time.

1. Who is Obadiah? What is his job?
2. Who is Ahab?
3. What did Obadiah put in the cave? Why did he do that?
4. King Ahab asked Obadiah to go about the country and look for ___________?
5. While he looked Obadiah met ________________
6. What did Elijah tell Obadiah to do?
7. Did Obadiah want to do the job? Why or Why not?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Ahab-Elijah Aches For the Widow's Son

By Mary Vee
I Kings 17

From The Widow's Journal

I have an unusual house guest. He is the prophet Elijah.

Not to long ago, I went to the city gate to gather sticks to make a fire. I had enough flour and oil to make one last cake of bread for my son and I to share. After that, I knew we would starve to death.

While gathering the sticks, the prophet called to me. I didn't know he was a prophet at the time. He asked me to give him some bread. I told him I didn't have any to give. He asked me to make the cake I planned then give him the first portion. God would supply the rest of her need after that.

Something in my heart urged me to trust him. I invited him to my house, made the food and gave him the first portion. As I cleaned up the mess, I picked up the flour and oil jars and nearly dropped them. They both were full! 

Everything happened just as the prophet said!

I gave him a room on the upper level and invited him to stay as long as he needed. Maybe his presence alone kept the jars full. I wasn't sure.

Many days went by. The prophet Elijah had his own work to do but always ate his morning and evening meal with my son and I.

One day my son spiked a fever. His sickness worsened quickly. I did everything I normally did, gave him liquids, kept him warm. Nothing worked. Each day he grew closer to death until one afternoon while the prophet Elijah was away, my son died.

How could this happen? I trusted God and did all that He said. I cared for the prophet, giving him a bed and food. How my heart ached. I wailed until there were no more tears to shed.

That evening the prophet came home. I didn't have food prepared. He immediately held his hands out to me as if understanding I had a problem and asked, "What happened?"

I told him about my son. And then--I couldn't stop myself. I yelled at the prophet. All the emotions in my soul boiled up and spilled out. "What do you have against me? Did you have to come to my house to remind me of all the things I've done wrong and kill my son?"

He looked around the room. "Where is he?"

I pointed to the place where my son lay.

The prophet ran to the room and scooped up my boy. He carried my son to the room upstairs and closed the door. I stood in the hall and listened. The prophet cried out to his God, "Oh, Lord, my God, why has tragedy come upon this poor widow I am staying with. Why did he have to die?"

I heard movement then the prophet cried out again, "O Lord, My God, let this boy's life return to him!"

More sounds came from the room. The prophet whispered, "Thank you."

Thank you? For what? 

The door opened. There stood the prophet, holding my son. My boy, breathed softly in the prophet's arms. I stepped to the side and followed the prophet down the stairs to the main floor. The prophet tenderly laid my son on his bed. He said, "Look, your son is alive!"

I hardly knew what to say. I ran to my boy and hugged him. "Thank you. Thank you." I wiped tears from my face. "Before this time, I wasn't sure why the flour and oil jars never emptied. But today, you have shown me what a true man of God you are and that the words you speak are truth."

He left me alone to be with my son. Before the sun set I made cakes of bread for the three of us. We ate together after offering a special thanks to God for saving my son.

photo courtesy of

1. Who was the house guest?
2. What did Elijah want from the woman when he first met her?
3. What happened when the woman gave Elijah what he asked?
4. Some time later the woman's _______ grew sick and died.
5. What did Elijah do when he heard the news?
6. Why did the woman change her mind about the prophet's words?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Hudson Taylor-A Missionary Plan Divised

By Mary Vee
Year: 1859 
Hudson Taylor: age 27

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes

With the signing of the treaty, missionaries had the freedom to share the love of God to inland China. They packed their bags and set out to the villages far away.

John, my co-laborer, and I felt differently.

Of course I have always had a burning in my soul to take the message of God's love to the people living in the high regions and far away valleys away from the ports. I didn't think it was right to have every missionary abandon the work in the port cities, however.

Since Dr. Parker returned to Scotland with his children, his help has been missed. I've written letters to family and friends asking if they know anyone filled with a burning heart to serve God in China. So far, no one has responded.

Until the Lord sends missionaries to help, John and I met nightly devising a plan to combine our projects. Our plan: 

Share God's love with the people in Ningbo.
Baptise those who accept Christ's gift of salvation
Teach the Scriptures to those who have been baptized
Train those who have been taught to be national missionaries
Raise up a trained group of workers to take over the Ningbo church.

John and I worked long hours, he mostly at the mission, I at the hospital. Before the year ended, several Chinese committed their lives to Christ and were baptized.

One elderly man who placed his faith in Christ grew terribly ill from bronchitis. Every time he spoke, it took a great effort. He whispered to me, "I want to go see Jesus."

I put my hand on his frail shoulder. "You can go when you are ready. God loves you and doesn't want you to suffer. Your patience will show your love for God. Can you do this?"

He strained to take another breath. "I want to be near him."

"He is always with you, my friend. Try to rest."

He closed his eyes and said, "Yes, I know he is with me."

The next day was Sunday. Since the elderly man couldn't go to church, we gathered at his bedside and held services. I read Psalm 23 to him.

One of the Christian nationals stood by the elderly man's bed and asked, "What do you want, Elder Brother?"

The sick man said, "I want to see Jesus." And with those words he fell asleep and never woke again. 

Sickness grew rampant in Ningbo. Cholera, Typhoid, hepatitis took many lives. As the year drew to an end, I too became horribly ill.

Please pray that the Lord will send missionaries to help with the work so I may take a rest and heal. 

J. Hudson Taylor
Missionary to China
Blessed by God

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. &and Mrs. Howard Taylor.