Monday, October 31, 2016

Jonathan Goforth-The Ugly Truth

By Mary Vee
Year: summer 1888
Jonathan Goforth-29 years old

Jonathan Goforth's Journal

Photo Courtesy
My name is Jonathan Goforth. I've opened every one of my tellings to you with "I will be a missionary to China some day." Guess what? Today is the day.

Hand in hand with my beautiful new wife, Rosalind, we journeyed from Toronto by land to Vancouver, Canada to meet our ship.

I must admit, we were both shocked to see the town had a horrible fire the day before we'd arrived. Smoke. Cinders. Most of Vancouver had suffered. Only a few hotels survived and every available room had been booked.

I didn't know what to do. We needed a place to sleep for the night. Rosalind and I walked to the docks and looked at the boat, the S.S. Parthia that would take us to China. She seemed sea worthy. Fresh paint. Pleasant crew. I can't lie, excitement burst inside of me. 

The captain left his cabin and stepped onto the deck. "Are you the passengers heading for China?"

"Yes. This is my wife Rosalind and I am Jonathan. Jonathan Goforth."

He easily rocked with the boat, never losing his balance. Of course he would, he'd sailed many times before. I squeezed Rosalind's hand. "Would you mind, terribly, if we were to sleep the night on board? All the hotel rooms have been booked."

He extended his hand to us. "Of course. Come aboard."

He escorted us below deck and to our room. I had booked a small cabin, we wouldn't need more for this journey. 

The next morning we climbed the ladder to the deck and watched the casting off. We didn't want a big ceremony from our friends. It was hard enough to leave the only land we'd known. I was nervous yet incredibly excited. Of course, my sweet Rosalind said the perfect words as the boat left the dock, "Let's win ten thousand Chinese souls to please our Lord." She is going to be an amazing companion.

Within an hour, a nightmare began. The ship tossed and rocked with the ocean waves. We grabbed for anything stationary and still lost our balance. I wondered how this ship would respond in a storm. No. Actually, I didn't want to think about that. 

Rosalind's face turned pale. Her eyes told the story. She excused herself to go below. An hour later I checked on her only to see that she couldn't get up from the bed. We guessed it was our lack of sea legs. Surely all first time voyages felt this way. Right?

The days dragged by. We couldn't sleep at night. I understand you have medication to settle your stomachs for voyages in your day. I so wished we had something like that.

The S.S. Parthia rocked back and forth, back and forth, up and down, side to side, over and over for fourteen straight days. Just writing this is stirring my stomach. While talking with one of the crew members I learned the ugly truth. 

This vessel had been used as a cargo ship for twenty-five years. As the Parthia aged she gathered a reputation for rolling, pitching and heaving to the point no one would book passage on her. 

So it wasn't just us.

Unwilling to get rid of the ship, the owners needed to book passengers. So the captain had her repainted and renamed. Sly. Very sly.

But, we survived.

Jonathan has many stories to share. Come back each Monday to find out what happened next.

Resources Used for This Series
Being, Janet, and Geoff Benge. Jonathan Goforth: An Open Door in China. Seattle. WA: YWAM Pub., 2001.Print
Doyle, G. Wright. Builders of the Chinese Church: Pioneer Protestant Missionaries and Chinese Church Leaders. Eugene Oregon: Pickwick Pub, 2015. Print.
Goforth, Jonathan, and Rosaline Goforth, Miracle Lives of China, London" Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1931, Print.
Goforth, Jonathan. "By My Spirit" Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1942. Print
Goforth, Rosalind. Climbing; Memories of a Missionary's Wife. Chicago: Moody Pub, n.d. Print
Goforth, Rosalind, How I Know God Answers Prayers; The Personal Testimony of One Life-time, New York: Harper & Brothers, 1921. Print
Goforth, Rosalind. Jonathan Goforth. Minneapolis, MN: Bethan House, 1986. Print
Goforth, Rosalind, How God Answers Prayer: The Mighty Miracles of God from the Mission Field of Jonathan Goforth. USA: Revival, 2016. Print Original copyright not stated.
Jackson, Dave, and Neta Jackson. Mask of the Wolf Boy: Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 1999. Print.
McCleary, Walter. An Hour with Jonathan Goforth: A Biography. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1938. Print.
Meloche, Renee Taft., and Bryan Pollard. Jonathan Goforth: Never Give up. Seattle, WA: YWAM, 2004. Print.


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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Nehemiah-A Covenant for A New Generation

By Mary Vee
Nehemiah 9

From Nehemiah's Journal

Photo Courtesy
My name is Nehemiah. I had been a servant in Babylon for a long time.

Since that time, I traveled to Jerusalem, oversaw the rebuilding of the walls, took care of a few bullies, and am now working with the prophet Ezra to train the people in the Law of Moses. 

Last time I wrote the Levites said the first part of their prayer. The people are still standing listening: 

"But then our fathers mutinied, rebelled against you, threw out your laws and killed your prophets, the very prophets who tried to get them back on your side—
And then things went from bad to worse.
You turned them over to their enemies, who made life rough for them.
But when they called out for help in their troubles 
You listened from heaven and in keeping with your bottomless compassion 
You gave them deliverers who saved them from the cruel abuse of their enemies.
But as soon as they had it easy again they were right back at it—more evil.
So you turned away and left them again to their fate, to the enemies who came right back.
They cried out to you again. In your great compassion you heard and helped them again.
This went on over and over and over.

You warned them to return to your Revelation, they responded with haughty arrogance:
They flouted your commands, spurned your rules—the very words by which men and women live!
They set their jaws in defiance, they turned their backs on you and didn’t listen.
You put up with them year after year and warned them by your spirit through your prophets.
But when they refused to listen you abandoned them to foreigners.
Still, because of your great compassion You didn’t make a total end to them.
You didn’t walk out and leave them for good.
Yes, you are a God of grace and compassion.

And now, our God, the great God, God majestic and awesome, loyal in covenant and love, don’t treat lightly the trouble that has come to us, to our kings and princes, our priests and prophets, our ancestors, and all your people from the time of the Assyrian kings right down to today.
You are not to blame for all that has come down on us.
You did everything right. We did everything wrong.
None of our kings, princes, priests, or ancestors followed your Revelation.
They ignored your commands, dismissed the warnings you gave them.
Even when they had their own kingdom and were enjoying your generous goodness, living in that spacious and fertile land that you spread out before them, 
they didn’t serve you or turn their backs on the practice of evil.

And here we are, slaves again today. And here’s the land you gave our ancestors so they could eat well and enjoy a good life, and now look at us—no better than slaves on this land.
Its wonderful crops go to the kings you placed over us because of our sins.
They act like they own our bodies and do whatever they like with our cattle.

We’re in deep trouble.
“Because of all this we are drawing up a binding pledge, a sealed document signed by our princes, our Levites, and our priests.”

When the Levites finished this prayer for all the people the leaders signed the document.

Come back next time to see what happens.

sources: New International Version, New King James Version, The Message (MSG)
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Nehemiah-Despite All We've Done Wrong, God Loves Us

By Mary Vee
Nehemiah 9

From Nehemiah's Journal

Photo Courtesy
My name is Nehemiah. I had been a servant in Babylon for a long time. I was cupbearer to the king, which means I sampled his food and drink to make sure it wasn't poisoned.

Since that time, I traveled to Jerusalem, oversaw the rebuilding of the walls, took care of a few bullies, and am now working with the prophet Ezra to train the people in the Law of Moses. 

Because this is the seventh month, we are celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles by living in tents. This helps us remember what our fathers lived through when they escaped Egypt.

The Levites are leading us in a time of prayer, praise, and confession to the God who loves us. This is worth your reading. The words show: no matter how many times we fail, God will always be with us, take care of us, and love us. Here is the first part of what the Levite leaders said:

"Stand up and praise the Lord your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting.

Blessed be your glorious name, exalted above all blessing and praise!
You’re the one, God, you alone.
You made the heavens, the heavens of heavens, 
and all angels the earth and everything on it, the seas and everything in them.
You keep them all alive. Heaven’s angels worship you!
You’re the one, God, the God who chose Abram 
and brought him from Ur of the Chaldees and changed his name to Abraham.
You found his heart to be steady and true to you and signed a covenant with him,
a covenant to give him the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, and the Amorites,
The Perizzites, Jebusites, and Girgashites,—to give it to his descendants.
And you kept your word because you are righteous.
You saw the anguish of our parents in Egypt. You heard their cries at the Red Sea.You amazed Pharaoh, his servants, and the people of his land with wonders and miracle-signs.
You knew their bullying arrogance against your people. 
You made a name for yourself that lasts to this day.
You split the sea before them. They crossed through and never got their feet wet.
You pitched their pursuers into the deep. They sank like a rock in the storm-tossed sea.
By day you led them with a Pillar of Cloud, 
and by night with a Pillar of Fire to show them the way they were to travel.
You came down onto Mount Sinai. You spoke to them out of heaven.
You gave them instructions on how to live well, true teaching, sound rules and commands.
You introduced them to your Holy Sabbath. 
Through your servant Moses you decreed commands, rules, and instruction.
You gave bread from heaven for their hunger. You sent water from the rock for their thirst.
You told them to enter and take the land, which you promised to give them.
But they, our ancestors, were arrogant. Bullheaded. They wouldn’t obey your commands.
They turned a deaf ear, they refused to remember the miracles you had done for them.
They turned stubborn, got it into their heads to return to their Egyptian slavery.
And you, a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, incredibly patient, with tons of love—
You didn’t dump them. Yes, even when they cast a sculpted calf and said, “This is your god who brought you out of Egypt,” and continued from bad to worse,
You in your amazing compassion didn’t walk off and leave them in the desert.
The Pillar of Cloud didn’t leave them. Daily it continued to show them their route.
The Pillar of Fire did the same by night, showed them the right way to go.
You gave them your good Spirit to teach them to live wisely.
You never stinted with your manna, gave them plenty of water to drink.
You supported them forty years in that desert. They had everything they needed.
Their clothes didn’t wear out and their feet never blistered.
You gave them kingdoms and peoples, establishing generous boundaries.
They took over the country of Sihon king of Heshbon and the country of Og king of Bashan.
You multiplied children for them, rivaling the stars in the night skies, and you brought them into the land that you promised their ancestors they would get and own."

Come back next time to see what happens.

sources: New International Version, New King James Version, The Message (MSG)
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson