Monday, March 31, 2014

Hudson Taylor-The Confidence of a New Christian

By Mary Vee
Year: March 1872 
Hudson Taylor: age 40

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes

Photo Courtesy

After Ning told his wife, his confidence soared. Her decision to accept Christ made him very happy and gave him the courage to tell his neighbors.

As a scholar and very learned man of Confucianism from the university, men from the city had respected Ning for his words in the past. Each time he'd go out to the marketplace or other gathering places in the city, a group of listeners could be found standing near him.

Once he shared what he had learned about God the people began to back away. 

"What was he talking about?" they'd say.

But the strong and compelling words spoken from Ning made sense to many people. Soon more and more gathered around Ning as he preached the Good News about God's love.

There were those who didn't like the changed Ning. These men went to the mayor of the city to complain. The mayor went to the university and complained to the chancellor. "Don't worry," the chancellor said, "I will take care of this problem and bring him to reason."

He called Ning into his office. "Ning, you really must stop the preaching about the Christian God."

Even as the hours flew by that day, the chancellor could not convince Ning to change his mind. Ning's new love for God had taken over his life.

Ning's powerful words drew many Chinese to the church he started, including Lao Kuen. The one man everyone feared. Lao had been the terror of the neighborhood hurting anyone, even family members.

God gave Ning the words to say. There was no other explanation why Lao listened and changed his ways. He asked Jesus to be his Savior and became a faithful follower of the one true God.

Even a local man who had owned a gambling business listened to Ning's message of God's love. The gambling owner closed his business, cleaned up the building, and gave it to Ning to use for a church. The businessman used his own money to whitewash and completely clean the building before giving it free to Ning to use as a place of worship of the one true God.

This story of Ning, lasting several posts, had all come to be because of Mr. Stevenson's strong desire to serve Christ in China. God used one Englishman to bring many Chinese into His family.

Although I wasn't in China at the time, I wept each time Mr. Stevenson sent an update of the work. I couldn't wait until matters would be settled here, and I was healthy enough to return to my beloved China and rejoin in the mission work there.

Praise God for His blessings.

J. Hudson Taylor
Missionary to China--Inland China!
So Very Blessed by God 

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, March 29, 2014

Jonah-Flying Out of the Fish's Mouth

Mary Vee
Jonah 2

From the Jonah's Journal

Photo Courtesy

I woke. Still in the great fish. Nothing had changed. I didn't want to be here any longer and needed God's help to get me out. From my calculations I've been here for three days.

I raised my hands and prayed to God:

“I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble,
    and he answered me.
I called to you from the land of the dead,
    and Lord, you heard me!
 You threw me into the ocean depths,
    and I sank down to the heart of the sea.
The mighty waters engulfed me;
    I was buried beneath your wild and stormy waves.
 Then I said, ‘O Lord, you have driven me from your presence.
    Yet I will look once more toward your holy Temple.’
 “I sank beneath the waves,
    and the waters closed over me.
    Seaweed wrapped itself around my head.
 I sank down to the very roots of the mountains.
    I was imprisoned in the earth,
    whose gates lock shut forever.
But you, O Lord my God,
    snatched me from the jaws of death!
 As my life was slipping away,
    I remembered the Lord.
And my earnest prayer went out to you
    in your holy Temple.
 Those who worship false gods
    turn their backs on all God’s mercies.
 But I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise,
    and I will fulfill all my vows.
    For my salvation comes from the Lord alone.”

The fish shook. 

Whatever I sat on moved, first back then forward, then back and like a bird I flew out of the fish's mouth into the air. I flung my arms trying to balance myself before crashing. I landed on the soft sands of the beach. Warm. Bright.

The sun tickled my eyes to open. I took a deep breath and smelled fresh air. God had rescued me.

1. What did Jonah finally decide to do?
2. Who was the only one who could help him?
3. Tell some things Jonah said in his prayer?
4. What do you think it felt like to be spat out of the fish?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Jonah-Inside the Whale

By Mary Vee
Jonah 2

From Jonah's Smelly Journal

I awoke in the most unusual place.

It was dark and there were weird gurgling noises. I didn't recognize anything. Was I dead?

I reached out and touched something gooey. Whatever I sat on moved with me like a squishy pillow.

Air flowed, moving in and out like something around me was breathing. Could it be that I was inside the great fish?

"Hello? Is anyone here?" My voice didn't travel far. The sounds muted shortly after I said them. 

How did I get here? I sat up and tried to remember what happened to me. Oh, yes. I bought a ticket and boarded a ship for Tarshish. Shortly after leaving dock a great storm stirred the sea and threatened the ship. The crew threw me overboard to save their lives. I sank deep into the water until a great fish swallowed me.

I tried to remember being swallowed then decided I might be better off not knowing. 

How long had I been in the great fish? 

My stomach growled. I had no way to find food and wondered which would be worse, drowning or starving.

I thought about what God asked me to do a few days ago. I still didn't want to go to Ninevah, and definitely didn't want to tell the Ninevites how they could be spared from a great punishment. They were a cruel people and deserved the punishment. 

Still, if God asked me to do something, I really ought to do it. Who was I to tell God what to do? 

I was sorry for saying no to God and didn't know how to undo my bad choice. There didn't seem any way to survive now.

I leaned back and fell asleep.

When I awoke I hoped being swallowed by the great fish had been nothing more than a crazy dream. I opened my eyes and couldn't see very much. The darkness seemed a blessing. I didn't want to see what the inside of a fish looked like, too many half eaten creatures and guts. Ew.

I had nothing to do except think. Scriptures and the message God gave to me mostly filled my mind. After a while I decided I would ask God to help me get out of the fish. He is the Almighty. The one who created both the fish and me. Surely He could get me out.

I took one more nap to give my body time to heal from the injuries I received on the ship. Then I'd ask Him for help.

1. What do you imagine the place looked like where Jonah slept?
2. What had happened to Jonah?
3. What was Jonah sorry about?
4. What did Jonah decide to do?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Hudson Taylor-Ning's Confession

By Mary Vee
Year: February 1872 
Hudson Taylor: age 40

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes

Photo Courtesy
Ning, once a great scholar of Confucianism,  knew he had to tell his wife about his change of heart. He didn't know what she would do. Technically she could report him to the authorities and have him arrested.

He met her in the kitchen that night. "After the children are in bed I would like to speak with you."

She nodded and finished her work. Later, when they were alone, she sat across from him at the table.

He looked at her, not knowing how to form the words he had to say. She sat there silently, patiently waiting for him to speak. After a time she said, "Did you want to tell me something?"

He took a deep breath and opened his mouth. The words flowed, unplanned but exactly what he would have wanted to say. He told her about the New Testament and the God who sent His Son to save them from their sins. He told her about God's love. 

Her eyes widened as she listened closely. It seemed she wanted to know more, so he continued to share what he'd learned from the New Testament and the conversation he had with John Stevenson.

When he stopped talking she said, "Have you really found the One? I have searched for Him for so long, wanting to know who helped me years ago when I cried out."

She wrapped her hands around her tea cup and closed her eyes for a moment. "I was only a girl when the Taiping rebels came to my village. They stormed through, setting businesses and homes on fire. They came into my home and killed my parents then stormed through our rooms breaking things. I ran to the wardrobe and cried in my thoughts, pleading silently for help. 

"'Oh heavenly Grandfather, help me,'" I cried. I knew the temple gods could not save me. The rebels destroyed them. I crouched into a small ball into the corner of the wardrobe and stayed silent. Although they mostly destroyed the room, the rebels never saw me. None but the true and living God could have saved me.

"Ever since that day I have searched for the living God. The one who saved me from the rebels."

Ning had never heard this story. His heart rejoiced at her words. "This same living God has come to save you from more than the rebels. He wants to give us both life forever with Him."

They talked through most of the night, sharing the words Ning had learned from the New Testament.

And now, my wife, we must choose whether to tell others in our city. 

Ning found the strength to tell his wife and to take a stand for what he now believed. But now he must face the village. A place where Christians were beaten and thrown in jail. Would he risk this?

J. Hudson Taylor
Missionary to China--Inland China!
So Very Blessed by God 

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, March 22, 2014

Jonah-I Can't Swim!

By Mary Vee
Jonah 1,2

From the Very Drenched Journal Notes of Jonah

Photo Courtesy
The captain pleaded with me to answer his question, "What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?'

This was all my fault. Had I listened to God in the first place, the ship and the crew would not have had this trouble. I'm not suppose to be on the ship. The only answer would be for me to leave the ship. I sighed.  "You need to pick me up and throw me into the sea. Then it will become calm. I know it's my fault that this great storm has come upon you."

The captain shook his head. "We can't throw you off! You're a paying passenger."  He turned to his crew. "Man the oars and row toward land."

The crew scrambled to their positions and pulled the oars with all their strength. The captain called a beat to keep them rowing but the wind fought them. The harder they rowed the farther from land the sea pushed them. They worked the oars past the midday hour. 

I couldn't believe that the waves could grow taller and lift the boat, but they did. If the captain didn't throw me overboard soon the entire crew and ship would perish. He wouldn't listen to my pleas, though.

Finally, the captain looked up at the skies and saw no relief from the storm. The crew cried out, "Lord please don't let us die for taking this man's life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man. For you. O Lord, have done as you pleased."

The captain and crew said they were sorry. Their eyes saddened and their eyebrows lowered. Two of the crew picked me up and tossed me as far as they could away from the boat, preventing me from bouncing against the hull. 

The instant I hit the water the waves calmed and I sank deeper into the dark waters. 

I didn't know how to swim. My clothing weighed me down, deeper into the water. I didn't know how long I would be able to hold my breath. I'd never been under water before. I opened my eyes and watched the fish swim around me. 

But soon the air left my lungs and I knew I would drown. 

My head pounded and my chest hurt. I pushed with my arms but didn't go very far. Suddenly a large fish, bigger than the waves that hit the ship, swam toward me. This was my end. Would it hurt to be eaten by a fish?


1. What did the captain want to know?
2. When Jonah answered him, did the captain do as Jonah said?
3. What did the captain order his crew to do?
4. After a while the captain gave up. The crew said what to God?
5. What did the crew do to Jonah?
6. Why didn't they want to do this?
7. What happened when Jonah hit the water?
8. Why did Jonah sink?
9. What did Jonah see at the end?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Jonah-The Terrifying Storm

By Mary Vee
Jonah 1

From the Wet Journals of Jonah

The captain of the ship dragged me from my cabin to the deck and ordered me to cry out to my God to save the ship. 

I could barely hear him over the blistering wind. Waves towered above my head and slapped the deck with a great force. The masts groaned, moving side to side, and threatened to snap in two at any moment. 

Only a storm of great doom could create such fear in the hearts of an experienced crew. The men searched the ship for more cargo to toss over the side to lighten the ship. A few were sent up the ratlines to pull in the sails. These were the ones who suffered the greatest risk to their lives. If the mast snapped while they were aloft, they would fall into the sea and be sucked to the depths.

The work never ceased. The wind loosened ropes and unfurled sails. 

The crew banded together and cried out to their own gods, pleading for mercy. They fell to their knees and continued to shout to their gods.

Nothing helped.

The rain and the sea took no break, but continued to slap the ship and us. I grabbed onto the rail for balance, but soon found myself thrown against the other side and nearly cast overboard. My arms ached from banging against the rail and my clothes were completely soaked.

One of the crew pulled me to a somewhat safe place where the other crew had gathered in a circle. "Take a place over here." One brought out lots and held them in his hand. "We'll see who the cause of this trouble is." 

The lots were tossed on the deck and pointed to me. 

"Tell us," one crew member said to me, "who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What do you do Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?"

I didn't waste any time answering him. The man was scared and ready to act. "I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land."

Every man's eyes widened with more fear. "What have you done?"

I'd already told them I'd run away from the Lord, but hadn't told them why.

A wave, larger than we had seen so far towered above the ship. The men looked up and cried out in fear. " What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?"

I couldn't answer right then, the wind pushed us against each other, and the ship tipped. 

You'll have to come back next time to see what happens. Hold on to the rail until then!

1. What scared the crew?
2. What did the captain order Jonah to do?
3. What are some things the crew did to save the ship.
4. What did the crew call Jonah over to do with them.
5. Who did the lots fall on?
6. What did the sailors ask Jonah to tell them?
7. Jonah had already told them he had run away from ___________

Monday, March 17, 2014

Hudson Taylor-Ning's New Testament

By Mary Vee
Year: February 1872 
Hudson Taylor: age 40

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes

Photo Courtesy
The night after John Stevenson gave Ning a New Testament, Ning walked to his home thinking about John's words. The missionary had impressed him.

Ning waited until his wife was busy. He went to his room alone and picked up the New Testament that he'd left resting on his desk. He turned if over and laughed. "How could an intelligent person believe that a few words spoken to an unknown Being, who might or might not exist, could turn a boring book into an interesting one? He laughed. How could the words in this little book expect to change anyone's outlook on life?

He set the book down and paced in his room. The conversation with John floated through his mind again. "If you earnestly ask the God of Heaven to give you His Holy Spirit to understand, this book will become a new book to you and will soon mean more than any other book in the whole world."

Ning picked up the book again and whispered. "O God, if there be a God, save my soul, if I have a soul. Give me your Holy Spirit, and help me understand this book."

He sat on his reading mat and opened to the first page. He read the words and soon found himself intrigued by message found on the pages. He had no idea of the time, nor did he care. His mind hungered to read more.

He heard the door to the room open more than once and knew his wife must have come to check on him. One time she said, "The hour is late. Aren't you coming to bed?"

"Do not wait for me. I have important things to do here."

He kept reading long into the night and even after going to sleep he felt his heart drawn to the read more of the special words. He became aware of the Holy Spirit working in his soul, drawing him closer to an understanding of the words.

He didn't want to tell anyone about the book and how the words changed his life. He knew Christians were despised and forced to leave their relatives. As he walked the streets the next days, his thoughts reviewed the words from the New Testament. He never thought it would be possible, but God's Words became real to him.

Could he trust anyone with his secret? His family could starve if others found out.

Next week, we'll see what Ning decides to do.

J. Hudson Taylor
Missionary to China--Inland China!
So Very Blessed by God 

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, March 15, 2014

King Jeroboam II and Jonah

By Mary Vee
II Kings 13, Jonah

From Jonah's Journal

Israel has a new king, his name is Jeroboam II. Amaziah is still king of Judah. Neither king has guided their people to worship the Lord. 

To protect my own life, I have kept somewhat silent about the sins of these kings.

One day, as I went about my work, I heard a message from the Lord. He said, "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me."

Now the city of Nineveh is not only great, but they have a mighty army. The people of Israel and Judah have not wanted anything to do with them. We have actually feared the day they will try to conquer us. I don't like them and can't see why God would want to help them.

Nineveh is to the east. I packed a few things and hurried to the Great Sea. By going west, I hoped to get out of this task God had given me. I chose to go to Tarshish and hide. To get there I needed passage on a ship. I kept walking west to the city of Joppa where I found the shipyard. At the ticked office I asked when the next ship would sail for Tarshish. 

"There is one leaving shortly." The man said.

"Good." I paid him the money for a ticket, grab my belongings and boarded the boat. The captain and crew greeted me. I went straight to my cabin below deck, lit the lantern, and locked the door. The room was small and smelled, but I didn't care. Anything seemed better than going to Nineveh.

The bed had a thin mat and felt like a board. I laid down and closed my eyes, hoping to pass the time, but couldn't sleep. Soon the ship rocked back and forth. Finally we'd set sail. 

The rocking movement increased. It seemed a storm must be pushing the boat around. I laid down on my bed again, this time I fell asleep. A sweet, deep sleep where no one would bother me. 

Suddenly, the door to my cabin banged open. I opened my eyes in time to see the captain rushing toward me. His face was red with anger and his clothes soaking wet.

"How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god!" He grabbed me and forced me to stand. "Maybe he will take notice of us, and we will not perish."

He brought me on deck with the others. The wind and rain nearly threw me over the edge. The crew ran about the deck tossing things over the side and securing the ropes. 

Huge waves splashed over the sides onto the deck, soaking my clothes. 

I knew right away what caused the storm.

Jonah will tell what happens next time.


1. Who is the new king of Isreal? Is he a good king?
2. What job did Jonah have?
3. What did God ask Jonah to do?
4. Why didn't Jonah want to do the job?
5. Why did Jonah want to go to Tarshis?
6. What did he need in Joppa?
7. What happened to the ship?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Pompous Amaziah, King of Judah

By Mary Vee
II Kings 14, II Chronicles 25

From the scrolls of Jehoash, King of Israel

Photo Courtesy- Beth Shemesh
Everyone had heard about the amazing defeat of the Edomites by king Amaziah and the army from Judah. God helped them with their battle, but Amaziah took all the credit.

We'd also heard that Amaziah brought back the idols from the Edomites and set them up for the people to worship. It's not for me to get after him, but I don't think this was a wise choice. Even the prophets came to Amaziah, asking him to stop worshiping the idols from Edom. He told them to go away and leave him alone.

The prophets warned Amaziah that God would destroy him because he didn't listen to their counsel.

Amaziah became quite confident after winning the battle with Edomite. He met with his advisers then sent me a message to come fight him.

I didn't want to fight him. We had no reason to. I called my scribe and had this message sent: "A thistle in Lebanon sent a message to a cedar in Lebanon, 'Give your daughter to my son in marriage.' Then a wild beast in Lebanon came along and trampled the thistle underfoot. You say to yourself that you have defeated Edom and now you are arrogant and proud. Stay home. Why cause trouble and caused your own downfall and that of Judah also?"

The messenger returned to me reporting Amaziah wouldn't listen. I'm not surprised. God wouldn't be pleased with him causing the people of Judah to worship the gods of Edom. 

I called my officers together and set up a battle plan. If war was what he really wanted. War he shall have.

We marched our armies to Beth Shemesh in Judah. We surrounded Amaziah's army and watched them flee to their homes in fear. I captured Amaziah, king of Judah and brought him to Jerusalem. 

My army broke down the walls of Jerusalem from the Ephraim Gate to the Corner Gate--a section about six hundred feet long. I took all the gold, silver, and all the articles found in the temple of God that had been in the care of Obed-Edom, together with the palace treasures and hostages and brought them back to Samaria.

I didn't kill king Amaziah, despite his threat. In fact, time passed, and as I lay on my death bed, Amaziah, king of Judah still lived.


1.  Why was king Amaziah so proud?
2.  Did he have a right to be proud for what happened?
3.  What did Amaziah want Jehoash, king of Israel to do?
4.  What answer did Jehoash give Amaziah?
5.  Did Amaziah agree?
6.  Jehoash gave him and did what?
7.  Who won?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Hudson Taylor-Ning, The Confucianist

By Mary Vee
Year: February 1872 
Hudson Taylor: age 40

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes

Photo Courtesy
Not long after Jennie and I married, troubles popped up with the mission in England and China like chickenpox. 

While I continue to work on unraveling these issues, I will tell you about Ning, a scholarly gentleman who was a Confucianist. 

John Stevenson, one of our missionaries who stayed in China, devoted himself to prayer and the Lord's work. He prayed mostly for God to open the eyes of the Chinese people to see His love. 

One day, in Sheng Xian, John met Ning, quite by accident.

Ning avoided the church services and anything to do with the Christian religion, but he had a curiosity about the Western sciences. He studied the books and had many questions. He decided to go to the missionary house to see if someone there might answer his questions.

John welcomed Ning into the mission home and agreed to listen to his questions. Fortunately, John understood the topic and answered everything Ning asked. 

Before the conversation ended, John asked Ning, "Do you have the books of the Christian religion in your library?"

Ning answered, "Yes, but I don't think they are as interesting as the books on science."

John continued the conversation, trying to help Ning understand the existence of God and the purpose of prayer. Nothing he said, though, made sense to Ning.

John looked around the room and thought for a moment. God sparked an idea in his mind. The intellectual answers were not helping. John needed a simpler example, one that would fit Ning's cultural understandings.

John said, "Water and fire are very different elements. They can never mix. Water puts out fire and fire makes water evaporate. Yet look here at the kettle my servant has brought. The water has been raised to a boil by the fire, ready to make you a cup of tea.

"You say God does not exist, and even if He did, He would not listen to our prayers." John handed Ning a New Testament. "If you go home tonight and earnestly ask the God who lives in Heaven to give you the Holy Spirit to help you understand the words in this New Testament, this book will become a new book for you and will soon mean more to you than any other book in the world. Go ahead. Test my words. Whether you pray for yourself or not I will pray for you."

Next week, we'll see if Ning chose to read the New Testament and what happened if he did.

J. Hudson Taylor
Missionary to China--Inland China!
So Very Blessed by God 

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, March 8, 2014

Three Times-Just as Elisha Said

by Mary Vee
II Kings 13

From the scrolls of Jehoash, king of Israel

Photo Courtesy
The raiders from Aram are driving me crazy. Ben-Hadad, king of the Arameans has tormented us longer than we can endure. 

I went to Elisha recently. The prophet lay on his death bed, still willing to tell me what to do. He told me to shoot an arrow out the window. I did as he said. Elisha gave the blessing that we would defeat Ben-Hadad at the next battle. 

One battle does not win a war, though. Elisha asked me to strike my bundle of arrows on the ground, I did as he said, three times. Elisha grew red with anger. He asked my why I hadn't hit the ground more. He then said the Israelites would only win three more battles against Ben-Hadad.

I wish I had hit the ground more.

I returned to my palace and prepared for the battles. 

The next morning, a few citizens stood in line to bring their issue to my attention. The tall one in the group spoke for them. 

"As you know, my lord, Moabite raiders enter Israel during the spring."

"Yes, I know. Tell me what happened."

"We were burying a man yesterday." He looked at the others in his group then turned back to to me. "We saw a group of Moabite raiders sneaking behind some bushes near where we were burying our friend. You know how cruel they've been. The Moabites don't take prisoners. They torture their victims then kill them." He cowered back a little. His friends encouraged him to keep speaking. "Elisha's tomb was right there. We tossed our dead friend into Elisha's tomb and planned to run away. But the moment our friend's body touched Elisha's bones--our friend came to life. He stood right in front of our eyes!"

I found his story a bit difficult to believe even if their friend had touched the prophet Elisha. "Have you any proof of this?" I asked.

The group of men pushed one of their company forward. "I am he, my lord."

At that moment I remembered Elisha's words, declaring we would win the next three battles against Ben-Hadad. I dismissed everyone and called for my officers. "Gather your troops. We are going to war. We will no longer remain under the tyranny of Ben-Hadad. Have your men ready to march first thing in the morning."

The next day we marched to three cities which had been captured by Ben-Hadad's cruel army. Before each battle, I gathered the soldiers together and reminded them the cities belonged to us and, according to Elisha, the Lord said he would give the cities back to us. 

Fired up and ready for battle we faced Ben-Hadad's men and won all three battles, reclaiming Israelite cities as ours.

Just as Elisha said.

1. What king caused trouble for the Israelites?
2. What happened to the citizens who tried to bury their friend?
3. What had Elisha told King Jehoash about the battles?
4. Who did the cities first belong to?
5. Who had captured the cities?
6. Who said Jehoash could have the cities back?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Amaziah, Trusting God

by Mary Vee
II Kings 14, II Chronicles 25

From Amaziah, king of Judah's Scrolls

My father, king Joash, had been assassinated by his officers. Upon his death I was crowned king.

I loved my dad very much. There was a time when he followed the ways of God closely. He taught me his love for God despite the choices he made to follow Baal towards the end of his life. 

His officers may have felt they were doing good, but I, in good conscience, could not allow them to go unpunished for killing the king, my beloved father.

For my first act of business as king, I ordered my guards to take those officers responsible for murdering my father and put them to death. 

For my second act of business as king, and one who chose to follow the commands of the God of our fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, I chose not to execute the officer's sons. For it is written in the Book of the Law of Moses: "Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers. Each is to die for his own sins."

I will not worship Baal, and will seek to do what pleases God. Some things, like removing the high places where people offered sacrifices and burned incense were difficult to take away from the people. I didn't want to cause a riot. As the new king, I needed the support of the people.

A time of war was quickly on us. I called the people of Judah together and assigned them according to their families to commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds. Those twenty years old or more numbered three hundred thousand men ready for military service.

To be sure I had enough fighting soldiers, I also hired a hundred thousand fighting men from Israel and paid them in advance a hundred talents of silver.

A man of God came to the palace and requested to speak with me before we set out for war. I agreed to a meeting.

"O King," he said, "these troops from Israel must not march with you, for the Lord is not with Israel. Not with any of them. Even if you go and fight courageously in battle, God will overthrow you before the enemy. God has the power to help you or to overthrow you."

I couldn't help but think about all the money I had already paid to the Israelite soldiers. "But what about the money I paid the Israelite troops?"

The man of God said, "The Lord can give you much more than that."

I looked into his eyes and saw sincerity. With that, I dismissed the Israelite troops, sending them home.  The men were really angry about not being able to fight. At least they went home with money in their pocket.

Now I am very excited to see how God plans to help us win this battle without the hundred thousand fighting soldiers from Israel.

1. Who was Amaziah's father?
2. What job did Amaziah do first?  Why?
3. What job did Amaziah do second? Why?
4. With war upon Judah, Amaziah hired soldiers from ___________ to help.
5. A man of God came to Amaziah and told him ___________?
6. What did Amaziah decide to do with the hired soldiers?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Hudson Taylor- She Said I Do!

By Mary Vee
Year: February 1871 
Hudson Taylor: age 39

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes

James and Elizabeth Meadows, Jennie Faulding, little Charlie, and I boarded a boat to sail back to England.

Jennie busied herself right away caring for Elizabeth's medical needs and watching my little Charlie. Two-year-olds possess such energy! 

The greater task was insuring Charlie's curiosity did put him in danger. Twice we had to pull him away from the ship's rail.

There are so many benefits to sailing. Not as a career, but for travel. Like so many others missionaries in our group, I had been quite ill for some time and found shaking the bug nearly impossible. The sickness zapped my strength.

Standing here on the deck of the Ava and looking into the wind, I closed my eyes and drank in the fresh salt air. The sun warmed my skin. I didn't have any meetings to attend, no patients to see, no churches to preach to, only time to rest. 

For the first time in two years I laughed at the silly antics of my son. Then, too, I couldn't help but laugh at Jennie's attempts to still the boy's wild tendencies. Hah, she couldn't finish a whole cup of tea before the rascal pulled her away for some entertainment. 

During the first month and a half of our journey, I watch Jennie care for young Charlie with a mother's heart. She helped Elizabeth with her medical needs with such compassion. In between my studies I found myself searching for her, wondering what she was doing.

Then I noticed she was doing the same thing. She happened to appear in the same room or on deck shortly after I arrived. She looked my way and offered smiles. 

I didn't know how I would continue my work without my first wife, sweet Maria, by my side. I needed the help of a companion who would comfort me, support me with words, and desire the work in China. 

While leaning on the rail one moonlit night, I heard someone walking toward me. I turned and saw Jennie. She held her shawl close and leaned on the rail. "We're halfway. Almost home in England. Almost away from home in China."

I smiled. "This journey is like a cool glass of water in the desert. I didn't know how badly I needed the rest."

"Me either."

Before we knew it, the sun glowed in the east. We'd talk all night!

I spent the next few days talking to God about Jennie and how she would be a great help to me. My heart stirred each time I saw her and she didn't shy away when I held her hand. "I care for you, deeply, Jennie. But you must know Maria will always hold a special place in my heart."

He lips moved to a glowing smile. "I wouldn't want it any other way. Maria was a very special person who should always be remembered."

I wrapped my arms around her. "My life is demanding and I need to serve the Lord in China."

She raised her chin then rested her head on my shoulders. "Good, because my life is demanding and I need to serve the Lord in China."

Her words seemed the answer to my prayers. "Will you marry me, Jennie?"

"I thought you'd never ask. Of course I will, J. Hudson Taylor." 

Before I could officially marry her, I needed to get permission from her parents. I wrote the letter first thing the next morning and sent it from the next place we docked.

Please pray that the rest of our journey is safe, and pray for the twenty-five missionaries with their eighteen children and forty-five Chinese workers who remain scattered around inland China to carry on the work.

J. Hudson Taylor
Missionary to China--Inland China!
So Very Blessed by God 

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, March 1, 2014

Elisha-His Last Duty

by Mary Vee
II Kings13

From Elisha's Assistant's Journal

Photo Courtesy
I have been assisting the prophet Elisha as he grew older. I see that he has food, take care of his needs, and go with him when he has duties to perform.

Elisha has become quite ill in his old age. He spends more time in bed than ever before.

Jehoash, king of Israel came to the door, yesterday. "I heard Elisha is ill. I'd like to see him."

I showed him to Elisha's bed chamber and stepped back. I didn't leave the room in case either of the men needed something.

King Jehoash ran to Elisha's bedside and wept. "My father! My father! What should I do? The army of Aram is heavy upon us. We will all die. Tell me what to do."

Elisha opened his eyes and spoke. "Get a bow and some arrows."

King Jehoash left the room and returned with the bow and arrows. He kneeled at Elisha's bedside and said, "Look I have done as you asked."

Elisha said, "Take the bow in your hands." 

King Jehoash remained by the bedside but picked up the bow. Elisha put his hands on the king's hands and said, "Open the east window."

The king slid his hands away from Elisha's, walked to the window, and opened it.

Elisha softly said, "Shoot an arrow."

As the king obeyed, Elisha said, "The Lord's arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Aram! You will completely destroy the Arameans at the battle of Aphek."

The king smiled and returned to Elisha's bedside. Elisha said, "Take up your remaining arrows."

Jehoash obeyed and waited for the next instruction. 

Elisha said, "Strike the ground."

Jehoash picked up the arrows and struck the ground three times and stopped. 

Elisah's face turned red with anger. "You should have struck the ground five or six times. Then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroy his army. But now you will defeat it only three times."

King Jehoash closed his eyes and sighed. I helped him to leave the room.

As the sun set that day, Elisha closed his eyes and breathed his last breath ending his life here. 

I know, though, that one day I shall see him in heaven.


1. Who came to visit Elisha?
2. What problem did the king have?
3. What did Elisha tell him to do with the bow?
4. What did Elisha tell him to do with the arrows?
5. What battle did Elisha say the king would win?
6. What did the king do wrong?
7. What happened later that day to Elisha?