Monday, September 29, 2014

Hudson Taylor-How One Smile Changed a City

By Mary Vee
Year: April 1882 
Hudson Taylor: age 50

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes

Photo Courtesy
Fanny Clarke and her husband George had been missionaries in Dali, China for two years. They lived the farthest away of any of our missionaries. God certainly has given them a heart to work so far away from people they knew.

Some of the women had welcomed Fanny and listened to stories she told from the Bible. But, they didn't seem to understand how this God she spoke of could love them.

The women in the town constantly faced trouble. Many had been sold by their fathers to become slaves. 

Fanny tried to keep her husband and herself healthy to be able to continue their work. She taught the cook how to clean and prepare foods safely. Diseases like dysentery and typhoid seemed common in these small cities so far from a doctor.

The greatest need in China, right now, is for missionary doctors. 

We asked God to send willing women to go to the western areas of China and share the good news of God's love for them, and He has. These brave women have gone into the mountains and villages - to places where no other woman with white skin has gone. 

In the Chinese culture, male missionaries could not speak with the native women. The Chinese men in these rural areas had the power to prevent their wives and daughters from listening. So, we prayed for women missionaries to come to China and go with the men deep in the western areas of China.

God has blessed. Now the greatest need is for medical help. If the wife of a missionary gives birth to a baby and gets sick right away, or has problems with the birth, there may not be a doctor close enough to help her. Some missionaries lived more than a six day journey from the nearest doctor.

When Fanny gave birth to her little son in August, she became very sick. For six weeks she didn't get any better. She couldn't eat and was always thirsty. 

George tried everything he could to help her get well but nothing worked. Fanny kept getting sicker. In October, two months later, she and George both knew she would not live much longer. 

He told her what a faithful missionary she had been and how much she had helped him do his work. "Please don't flatter me," she said. "I am the least of all Christians. I feel I have done less than any woman in the Mission."

The little progress they had made may have seemed not important to her, but it was very important to God and to the women in the city. As she lay in her bed, ready to for Jesus to take her in her arms, she smiled and told a group of Chinese women who stood by her bedside, "I am happy. I get to go be with Jesus. He loves me so very much. He loves you, too. God's love is kind and gentle. He will not harm you or sell you into slavery. God will stand by you like a good father and protect you. Please, put your trust in Jesus."

The women told their friends. More women crowded into the small room to hear the words of Fanny and to see the smile on her face. They could not understand why she looked happy. They had never felt this way. 

Tears tumbled down the cheeks of the women standing around Fanny's sick bed. 

Late that night, Fanny turned to the Chinese nurse and said, "Take care of my little son."

Hundreds of women from the city came to see Fanny after she went to be with Jesus. They wanted to see her quiet, peaceful face. Never before had they seen a woman with such calm. Fanny looked like she was in a happy sleep. 

With all the terrible wickedness in the city, the women wondered how Fanny's face could look so content. Those who had heard Fanny's last words told women who hadn't heard her speak. Somehow, this missionary had taken away the pain of death and showed God's loving victory with the peaceful look on her face.

While George's heart hurt from missing Fanny, he saw what her words did for the women in Dali. 

Please pray for him as he continues the missionary work with his son.

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, September 27, 2014

Jeremiah-There is only One God

By Mary Vee
Jeremiah 1-3

From the Journals of the prophet Jeremiah

Photo Courtesy
King Josiah is currently the king of Judah. He is about twenty-one years old. 

I have been a prophet during the time of several kings. God trusts me with His message to take to the people. And as He commands, I, Jeremiah, obey and tell the people what He said.

God hasn't been happy with what the people are doing and what they aren't doing. These are the things that are bothering God:

"I remember how you once dedicated yourselves to me and showed you loved me. In the desert you followed my cloud in the day and the fire at night. Israel was one nation and holy to the Lord. Anyone who attacked you had disaster overtake them.

"What caused your fathers to walk away from me? What reason did they have to worship worthless idols that cannot speak or do anything. 

"I brought you into a land with rich soil ready to produce crops. But rather than stay with me you walked away and listened to the wicked priests who worshiped Baal. 

"There is no other nation that has turned away from their god-their false god, to worship one from another nation. You, Israel, have walked away from me-traded your faithfulness to Me, the One who has given and done so much for you-- to worship the gods of other nations. 

"Long ago you said you would not serve me. You say, 'I love foreign gods and must go after them.' Do you realize how foolish you are? You say to a piece of wood, 'You are my father.' Yet--when you are in trouble you say "Come and save us!'

"I say, Where then are your gods? Let them come save you. You, my people, have forgotten me, days without number.

"And now you say, 'I am innocent. God is not angry with me.' But you are wrong. I will bring a punishment on you because you have said, 'I have not sinned.'

"Egypt and Assyria will not save you. The rains will not come. Still you won't admit you have been wrong. You show a smile that is made of plastic and your hearts are as empty as the false idols you worship."

"Israel has done wrong, too. But as far as I am concerned, the faith that Israel does not have is better than the unfaithful people of Judah."

What the people need to do is say they are sorry and do what is right. God promises to forgive.

1. Who is king?
2. Who did God give this message to for the people?
3. Name the problems God said the people of Judah had.
4. Who did Judah go to for help instead of God?
5. Will they help Judah?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Jeremiah- God is With Us and Will Rescue Us

By Mary Vee
Jeremiah 1

From the Journals of the prophet Jeremiah

Photo Courtesy
King Josiah was now twenty-one years old. Last year he went throughout Jerusalem, Judah, Simeon, Manasseh, Ephraim, and even as far north as Naphtali destroying the idols and turning the people back to worshiping God.

But so many other kings before him had taught the men and women of Judah to turn from the very God who loved them. Even without the idols, the people didn't obey God.

My name is Jeremiah. My father, Hilkiah is one of the priests and we live in the territory given to the tribe of Benjamin. That means we live to the west and are on border Judah. 

I heard God speak to me one day. I didn't expect it. Even though my father is a priest, I had never heard the Lord speak to me like this before. 

God said to me, "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born I set you apart. I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."

My father had told me the story about Moses and when God first spoke to him from a burning bush. God gave Moses an important job. Moses said he didn't think he could do the job because he couldn't speak well. Wow. I completely understand. I have the same problem.

So I said to God, "Ah, Sovereign Lord, I do not know how to speak. I am only a child." I didn't mean in years, although I was young. What I meant was I didn't feel I knew enough about God's commands to do the job. The older men knew these things much better.

The Lord said to me, "Don't say, 'I am only a child.' You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Don't be afraid of them. I am with you and will rescue you."

God always knows what is in our heart and what we are thinking. Although, he told me to not be afraid, I still was on the inside. 

The Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said, "Now I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to tear down, to build and to plant."

God then said, "What do you see, Jeremiah?"

"I see the branch of an almond tree," I answered.

The Lord said, "You have seen correctly. I am watching to see that my word is done."

God then said, "What do you see?"

"I see a boiling pot, tilting away from the north," I answered.

The Lord said, "Disaster will come on the land from the north because of the wicked things my people do. Get ready. Stand up and say what I tell you to say. Don't be afraid of them, or I will put a punishment on you. I will protect you and help you stand against all the people in the land. You will stand against kings, officials, priests, and the people. They will fight against you but will not win.

"I am with you and will rescue you," said the Lord.

1. How old is king Josiah?
2. What are the people of Judah doing wrong?
3. Who did Jeremiah think of when God first asked him to be a prophet?
4. What did God tell Jeremiah?
5. What will Jeremiah's job be?
6. Who will protect Jeremiah?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Hudson Taylor-The Hurting Women in Western China

By Mary Vee
Year: April 1881 
Hudson Taylor: age 49

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes

Photo Courtesy
Sweet Fanny Clarke went with her husband, George to  Dali, the most western province of China to tell the people about God's love. They had become the missionaries who lived the farthest away from any other European person. Mail took seven months to reach them.

When they went to the house they'd bought to live in and set up their missionary work, they found squatters. Squatters are people who live in a home or apartment that they have not payed for. Squatters usually refuse to leave, mostly because they have no other home and cannot pay to go live anywhere else.

Fanny and her husband George needed someplace to live so they moved into their home and hoped the squatters would decide to leave on their own. The squatters had pigs, chickens, and their own children running through the yard and the house. There wasn't enough room for Fanny and George to invite people from the village to tell them about Jesus. Six months later the squatters finally left.

Next, Fanny needed to hire someone to help her cook and clean. There didn't seem to be any women available to work. In this city of Dali the men smoked drugs. This made them very wicked. The men sold their children for money to buy more drugs. Sometimes they even sold their wife to buy drugs. At last Fanny found a woman who wanted to hide from her husband. She brought her child to protect the little one and asked for a job.

Unfortunately, her husband found them. He came to the missionary house and took the woman's daughter. He sold her for drugs. There was nothing Fanny or George could do to stop him. This was the way in Dali. 

While their neighbor smoked drugs one day, he tried to kill his wife and child. Fortunately, George and Fanny and three other women stopped the man and saved the lives of the wife and child. George and Fanny spent most of their time trying to protect women and children.

Fanny said the city was like Sodom and Gomorrah, the wicked cities talked about in the Bible.

I have been praying that these men will be freed from the drugs so the city can heal. Only God knows if this can happen. Until then, George and Fanny will keep trying to help and tell the people of God's love.

Please pray for them.

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, September 20, 2014

Josiah-Smashing Idols

By Mary Vee
II Chronicles 34

From the Journals of the Josiah

Photo Courtesy

I turned sixteen at my birthday party, yesterday. For eight years I have ruled the people of Judah with the help of advisors. No one expected a kid to rule a kingdom.

At sixteen, though, I started to put the pieces together of what had been happening in our city. The prophet Zephaniah taught me about the history of our people. He told me stories of some amazing people like Moses, David, and my great grand father, Hezekiah. These men worshipped God and lived their lives honoring Him.

And think, I am related to all of these men. Wow. I'd like to be like them.

As I grew, Zephaniah taught me the commandments God wanted us to obey. I may have been a kid, but I could still see the people of Judah were not following God's laws, and this bothered me. 

Now that I could understand more of what Zephaniah said, he spent more time with me, teaching me about God's love, what He has done for us, and what we should do to worship God.

When I turned twenty-years-old, I couldn't take the idol worship any more. I understood how very wrong this was. How could the people do that to the very God who made them and loved them? I went throughout Judah and Jerusalem to the high places and ripped down the Asherah poles, destroyed the carved idols and the images made by our people.

Energy flowed through my muscles. I really enjoyed smashing those idols. I took the pieces and threw them over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. I got rid of the priests who worshipped the idols.

I didn't stop there. Something inside me bubbled, an energy to destroy more idols. Everyone needed to know God was the only one to be worshipped. I led the army north into Ephraim, Simeon, Manasseh and as far as Napthali in the far north and the ruins around them. I tore down every altar and Asherah pole I saw. 

My muscles grew stronger each day. When I saw an idol I took and crushed it to powder and cut to pieces all the incense altars throughout Israel. That's right. I even went into Israel to clean up the idol worship. 

I tell you, my insides were warm, like the sun shining in my heart. May the Great God, the Lord Almighty be the only one we worship. Praise God for His mercy and kindness to us.

1. What happened when Josiah turned sixteen?
2. Who taught Josiah the stories of great men of God?
3. Why did this mean so much to Josiah?
4. When Josiah turned twenty, what did he do?
5. How far did Josiah travel to do this job?
6. Why did Josiah feel good in the end?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Zephaniah-God Cares for His Own

By Mary Vee

From the Journals of the prophet Zephaniah

Photo Courtesy

My great-great grandfather, King Hezekiah ruled Judah. 

Since Hezekiah died we have had a lot of trouble here in Judah. 

When I was little, my father told me what had happened to our people long ago. He said, "After years of trouble and disobeying God while King Ahaz led us, we celebrated when his son, King Hezekiah took over the throne. 

"Your great-great-grandfather Hezekiah proved his love for God by tearing down the idols, opening the temple doors, and teaching the people to worship God as He had commanded."

He looked at me with a tear in his eye. "Yes, Hezekiah was a great king." He sighed. "Then his son, Manasseh ruled. Manasseh liked all the glory that came with being king. He wanted to please the nations all around us instead of the Almighty God. 

"He brought back all the idols. The people of Judah listened to him, setting aside all the good Hezekiah had taught them." He squeezed his eyes shut. "Terrible. Just terrible. The new children born in the country didn't know about God. They learned to worship these awful idols."

"Then what happened?" I asked him.

"Well, son, God did as He said He would. The people were punished. The Assyrian army came and took many of the rich and smart men, women, and children from Judah and made them slaves. We who are here are all that is left. 

"Manasseh cried out to God and said he was sorry. God heard his prayer and let him come back home. His son, Amon became king and did bad things like his father had done. There were and still are many of us who are afraid of the kings."

My father had taught me the stories of what had happened to our people, even from the days of Moses. I loved learning the wonderful things God did, but was very sad to hear about the bad things our people did.

Now that I'm older, I have the chance to tell others how God took care of us and about the good leaders we had like Moses, Joshua, David, Hezekiah, and others. 

Bad king Amon has since died and his son, eight-year-old Josiah has been crowned king. He is too young to make decisions right now. I have been appointed as an advisor for him. 

Recently, God gave me a message that I wrote down. 

The message is: because of the years of disobedience to God's Word, the people of Judah would be punished. The day of the Lord is coming. 

No matter what I said, many of the people didn't care. They didn't listen to me or God's message. They kept doing the bad things they enjoyed.

The punishment will come. They will see. But after a time, God said,
"The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you.
He will quiet you with his love.
He will rejoice over you with singing."

I especially liked delivering the last phrase. Just think, God will rejoice over us with singing. Isn't that good news?

I am wondering what young Josiah will do as king. Will he be a good king like Hezekiah or a bad king?

1. Who is Zephaniah?
2. Had the people of Judah obeyed God?
3. Why or why not?
4. Who is the new king?
5. How old is he?
6. Why is Zephaniah helping the king?
7. Did you know God sings?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Hudson Taylor-The Bible Stories Made a Difference

By Mary Vee
Year: April 1880 
Hudson Taylor: age 48

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes

Photo Courtesy
Mary Nicoll wrote me, telling the most amazing news.

Mary's days are long, her schedule busy. In the heat of the Chinese climate Mary sometimes fainted while telling groups of women about Jesus.

The women had come to love her gentle spirit and the Bible stories and wanted to help. Mary wrote me about one special older lady:

"One morning after I finished cleaning up our breakfast and prepared for my busy day, some men came to the door. They bowed and pointed to a chair. 'We have been asked to bring you to our master's house.'

"I recognized the chair and knew it came from a wealthy kind, older woman who lived in the city and had listened to many of the Bible stories.

"I accepted the gift, climbed into the chair, and closed the curtains around me to not be seen, as is the custom for women in China. The men lifted the chair and carried me to the older woman's house.

"I stepped down from the chair and followed the servants into the large home. The woman greeted me right away, 'Hello, Mary. Today you will have a different schedule."

"She didn't give me a chance to say no. In the Chinese culture I would have been impolite, and even insulting the sweet woman if I had said no thank you.

"I was shown to a room where there was a sofa. The woman sent all her servants away and pulled a chair close to me. 'Now, you will lay down and rest. You must have your health, you know.'

"Her tender and sweet voice touched my heart and eased the business away. She brought out her fan and swung it back and forth over my head, taking away the heat. I would never expect a wealthy woman to do this. 

"When I awoke, the woman brought a tray of food she had prepared while I slept. She sat with me and we ate together. What a wonderful conversation we had talking about families and our Savior.

"After the meal, the woman called for her servants to take me back to the mission. I felt so refreshed and rested, ready to do a full days work in the time left.

"This sweet woman gave me this gift more than once. There were even days when she sent a hot breakfast for George and I to eat, incase our cook didn't have time to make one for us.

"Our home came to be a place where people loved to visit, listen to the Bible stories and talk. I loved this job that God gave me. In this whole province of twenty million people, I was the only foreign woman. Praise God they accepted me."

This ended her letter. Being accepted is very important for missionaries. How else will they have a chance to tell people about the God who loves them? God knew Mary Nicoll had the right personality to do this work, so He gave her the desire to go. Now many Chinese women have found not only a female friend they can trust, but Jesus Christ who is their Savior.
I am very thankful God sent Mary Nicoll to be a missionary here in China.

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, September 13, 2014

The Fall and Rise of Kings

By Mary Vee
II Kings 21 and II Chronicles 33

From the Journals of Josiah

Photo Courtesy
My grandfather, King Manasseh died and was given an honorable burial in the gardens of Uzza. 

I'd heard about the terrible things he'd done when he first ruled Judah and his time as a prisoner in Babylon.

Grandfather saw what he'd done wrong and wept before God. He tried to undo the bad and show his change of heart by getting rid of the idols and telling the people of Judah to worship God like He had started to do, but a lot of the damage had been done. Men and women continued to worship in the high places.

When grandfather died, his son Amon became king of Judah. Apparently my father, King Amon, preferred the old days when everyone worshiped idols. During the time he ruled he never changed. He became angry and yelled. He worshiped all the old idols that Grandfather use to have.

My father didn't live very long. I don't know if the people weren't happy with him or if it was because he never seemed to love God or respect Him. He became king at twenty-two years old and only ruled two years.

I'll never forget the day when several of father's officials came into the palace pretending to want to talk with him about an important matter. They ganged up on him and killed him. 

I know my father didn't follow the laws of God and had been a bad king. I think I even understand why the officials ganged up on him. I am only eight years old and very confused.

The guards and citizens from the kingdom surrounded the officials and everyone else involved in my father's murder and killed them.

The priest held a huge ceremony before all the people to crown me king. 

1. How did Josiah know Manasseh?
2. Who became king after Manasseh?
3. What kind of a king was he? 
4. What happened to Josiah's father?
5. How old was Josiah?
6. Why did the priest have a huge ceremony before all the people?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Manasseh - Tried to Make Things Right

By Mary Vee
II Chronicles 33

From the Journals of Manasseh

Photo Courtesy
I will never forget how much it hurt when the soldiers beat me and dragged me on the long walk to Bablylon. When the Assyrians came in and captured the people of Jerusalem I felt terrible for them, even afraid. But when the soldiers found me in my hiding place and tied me with brass shackles, put a hook through my nose and dragged me away from my home everything became real.

I knew what caused all this trouble. The prophet Isaiah told us, but like the others I wouldn't listen. 

I made up my mind to walk away from the idols and advice from my frieda that took me away from the ways my father, King Hezekiah gave. I hurt the people of Jerusalem and had become a wicked king. I know what my father did and will now do those things that honor God myself...if I ever get back home.

God did hear my voice and my prayers. I meant every words of sorrow, and He knew I did. God let me go back home.

Before the attack by the Assyrians, I had let everything go. Judah seemed at peace. When reports came to me that the walls had crumbled in places and needed repair I ignored them. Who would attack us? We worshiped the gods of other nations and did whatever we could to show friendship to all the countries around us.

This is not what God wanted us to do. He wanted us to worship Him, and Him alone. We should have stood strong in the ways God taught in the Scriptures. But I didn't let the people. I can't help but sigh when I think back to the shameful things I did to men who refused to stop worshiping God.

I admit, I deserved the terrible treatment the Assyrians gave me.

To show my change of heart I set to work rebuilding the outer wall of Jerusalem, the City of David. I started west of the Gihon spring in the valley and kept rebuilding as far as the entrance of the Fish Gate and circled the hill of Ophel. I made sure the wall was not only stronger, but higher. The city had to be honored and kept safe. 

I ordered military commanders to protect all the fortified cities in Judah. We would become a strong nation again. Along with military strength we also needed to change our hearts. I got rid of the foreign gods and removed the images from the temple of the Lord. Next I took down the altars I had built on the temple hill and in Jerusalem and threw them outside of the city.

Once the idols and altars had been removed I fixed the altar of the Lord and offered a sacrifice to Him. I did this before all the people who remained in the city and ordered them to serve the Lord, the God of Israel. 

I knew there were men and women who still went to the high places where they use to worship the idols, but this time they went there to worship the Lord their God. That isn't so it?

Author's note-the answer to Manasseh's question is yes. God wants us to completely obey Him not just kinda obey Him. God had told the people to worship at the temple in Jerusalem.

1. Where did the soldiers take Manasseh?
2. Why did they take him there?
3. Manasseh remembered what ____________ had done.
4. As soon as Manasseh came back to his home he decided to repair the __________
5. Why was this repair so important?
6. What did Manasseh get rid of?
7. What did Manasseh order the people to do?
8. Can anyone be ordered to do this--really---in their heart?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Hudson Taylor-Mary Nicoll's Story

By Mary Vee
Year: April 1880 
Hudson Taylor: age 48

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes

Photo Courtesy
Mary Nicoll wrote me, telling the most amazing news.

She already told us about the scary ride to Chongqing where she and her husband George barely arrived after two ships sank then walking a long ways to their new home.

Only two months later, Mary was bursting with wonderful news. Here is what she told me:

"I am so amazed. First I started working to clean our new home and set things up for our work. I had to be careful to respect the customs of the women here. 

"I set up a place in the back part of the house for women to come and hear the Gospel. Each time I spoke I did better. Men came to the front of the house to listen to the Gospel. 

Word spread throughout the city, and many new people lined up to come listen to the Bible stories. Crowds of women looked in the windows and listened. Then when the group inside the house left, those listening at the windows came in to hear the story.

"Soon the women of the town showed they trusted me. They were willing to listen to this foreign woman tell the stories of the God who loves them. Rich women invited me to their homes and asked me to speak to their groups of friends. 

"This job could not have been done by a missionary man in this culture. I am so grateful to Hudson Taylor for teaching us and encouraging us to come to Chongqing.

"Summer days made the work very difficult. Standing for long hours to tell the stories made me tired. A few times I collapsed right in the middle of a sentence. I woke, embarrassed. Several women sat, fanning me to cool me off. 

"The work continued to get busier and busier. I'm grateful so many women want to hear about Jesus. But now I find I must get up at three in the morning to write letters back to those who have help us with finances and then continue with my duties.

"Sometimes I must get up in the middle of the night to help talk with young women who try to commit suicide.

"For two years, I worked without seeing another woman from the west.

"Please pray, asking God to give us the strength to work these long days."

I want to give Mary Nicoll a chance to finish her story. She will come back next week and tell more about women missionaries in China. I am very thankful God has sent her here.

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, September 6, 2014

Manasseh-From King to Slave in One Morning

By Mary Vee
II Chronicles 33

From the Journals of Manasseh

Photo Courtesy
The soldiers pushed and pulled me to walk faster. We had walked for days and my legs were tired.

My tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth and my nose stung from the hook the soldiers put through my nose.

They wouldn't talk to me. They didn't even talk to each other. There have been many times I had wished the people of Judah would leave me alone, even for five minutes. Now I wish I could be with them.

I didn't know how far we had to walk before we would get to Babylon. The nights were cold and no one gave me a blanket. I didn't have any servants. Instead, I had gone from king to slave in one morning.

With all the quiet, except when the soldiers yelled at me to walk faster, I thought about my dad, King Hezekiah, and his strong desire to get rid of all the idols. He spent a lot of time praying to God and he listened to the prophets. While Dad was alive, we did well. I see that now. 

Maybe he was right all along. 

We finally arrived in Babylon. Everything looked strange. The people spoke a different language and I couldn't understand them. They shoved me when I didn't understand where I needed to go. 

That night. My first night in Babylon. I finally understood. God had helped Judah so very much when my dad ruled, but let the Assyrians take us as prisoners when I led them away from worshiping God.

What have I done? I have ruined everything.

When at last the guards left me alone, tied in a prison cell, I called out to God and begged for His forgiveness. I had disobeyed the only true God who lives and had led the people away from HIm. I fell to the floor and wept. God deserved to be worshiped and offered what praise I could. I didn't have anything to give Him anymore--except my life and dedication.

Some time later a prophet told me God had heard my prayers. God listened to everything I said and saw I meant every word. 

I lost track of the days in prison, but one day a guard came to my cell. I didn't know if he planned to kill me or torture me. No matter what would happen I deserved it for what I had done. The guard spoke in my language! He said the king of Assyria had decided to let me return to Jerusalem and the kingdom.

I returned to the city and ran to the palace. I walked through every room then ran to the temple. There I sensed God's presence and knew the Lord is God. I had never sensed such a clean feeling in my heart before.

1. Where did the soldiers take Manasseh?
2. Why did they take him there?
3. What was the journey like for Manasseh?
4. What did Manasseh want to have back?
5. What did Manasseh do with the quiet time?
6. When Manasseh was thrown in jail, what did he do?
7. Who heard him?
8. What happened to Manasseh?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Manasseh-My Shame

By Mary Vee
II Chronicles 33

From the Journals of Manasseh

Photo Courtesy
I have  been walking for last several days. My feet hurt. As king of Judah I never thought such terrible things would happen to me.

My father, King Hezekiah, loved God with all his heart, soul, and mind. I thought he was crazy for devoting his life to God.

After my dad died, I listened to my friends instead of my father's advisors and the prophets. 

My father had spent his life getting rid of the idols throughout our country. My friends, though, said we needed to bring then all back. By telling the men, women, and children to worship the same gods as those countries around us, we would win the other country's favor and be safe.

I was young and didn't know what to do. I had never loved the God my father worshiped so I listened to my friends. We rebuilt all the gods. I had them placed everywhere even in the temple and the temple courts. The people seemed happy and willing to bow down to these gods. Everything seemed fine.

Until the prophet Isaiah walked through the streets yelling something about not bowing down to the idols. I didn't worry too much. No one listened to him.

Then one day the Assyrian army attacked.  They came like a swarm of bees out of no where. We had no warning to prepare. The soldiers shoved their way into Jerusalem and captured all the important people. The very people who had been used to riding in style and dressing in the best clothes now walked the streets with their hands and feet tied.  

I hid, but it didn't do any good. The army commanders searched the city until they found me. My friends, the soldiers, no one could save me. The Assyrians took me prisoner and put a hook in my nose. It hurt so much. They put bronze shackles on me. I couldn't hardly move but the Assyrian commanders made me walk. For days. With little food.

I was alone.

The guards yelled at me.

I hurt. Was hungry. Thirsty. 

I looked at the the last of Judah's land as the soldiers dragged me away. I honestly didn't think I would ever see it again. 

This was the first time I really cried and felt totally hopeless. Everything was lost. The people of Judah had become slaves. 

And as the king, I will probably be killed. 

1. Why did Manasseh's feet hurt?
2. Who was Manasseh's father?
3. What did Manasseh's father do with the idols?
4. What did Manasseh do with the idols?
5. What message did God give the people?
6. Did the people listen.
7. What happened to them?
8. What happened to Manasseh?

Monday, September 1, 2014

Hudson Taylor-The First Foreign Women in the Far West

By Mary Vee
Year: April 1880 
Hudson Taylor: age 48

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes

Photo Courtesy
Last time we left Mary, her husband George Nicoll, Emily, and her husband George Clarke in a terrible storm with only an umbrella. Their belongings and boxes of books from the Bible Society had been soaked and their boat had sunk to the riverbed.

Mary is here to tell you more of their adventure.

"Our husbands and the crew did manage to get the boat back to the surface and repair the hole. They finished shortly after the books and supplies had dried.

"We loaded everything back in the boat and continued up the river toward Chongqing. Everything seemed to go well and our spirits renewed. We prayed and held church services on the boat....until the hull hit something else. What, I'm not sure, but the bang nearly threw me off my feet.

Photo Courtesy
"Again the men shouted to Fanny and me to swim to shore while they rescued our luggage and the books. When they raised the boat this time, they saw the damage could not be fixed. We had to finish our journey on foot. In the mountains. With all our luggage and the eleven boxes of books.

"After crossing the last mountain, we looked down at the huge valley before us. In the center of all the greenery was Chongqing. What a beautiful sight. 

"Since the people were not used to seeing foreign women, we didn't want to cause any problems by walking into the city. We had learned that women should be hidden. Our husbands hired covered sedan chairs to carry us to the church. 

"I opened the curtain surrounding the chair and stepped out. My husband, George, took me to the apartment where he used to live as a bachelor. I hardly knew what to say. A ragged table-cloth, filthy and stained lay on top of the table. The furniture settled in odd ways. And the best part--behind the door, a week of dust had been swept into a pile as is the Chinese custom.

"Fanny and her husband left a week later to help in Guiyang, leaving me as the only foreign woman in this area. This should be interesting."

Please continue to pray for Fanny and George as they finish traveling to their new mission work. Also pray for Mary and her husband, George as they set up a new ministry for the women in Chongqing.

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