Character Qualities

Commands of Christ

Basic Life Principles

Can we say with confidence that Christianity is true and that all other religions are false? Our society today professes that such a view is extremely bigoted and fanatically arrogant. The social elite assure us that there are “many ways to God” and that different religions across the world are all different cultural manifestations of the same inner quest of man for the divine—that all religions are merely different paths to the same goal.
When I come up against a difficult problem, I throw all my weight against it. I say, “I’m tough, I’m tough.” Sometimes, when I give it everything I have, I find that problems give way. But there are those times when every ounce of strength I can muster, every bit of creativity at my disposal, every talent I can apply leaves me helpless with my problem.
A captivating “read-aloud” nature story introduces the character quality of Persuasiveness, followed by a story from the pages of Scripture! Character Sketches is designed to be a tool that fathers can use to teach their children basic concepts of Scripture that are also illustrated in the world of nature.
Who was Dr. Moon, the bold proclaimer of truth on Treasure Island? Irwin Moon was born in Grand Junction, Colorado on November 3, 1907. The scientific age was dawning. The Wright brothers had recently flown their gravity-defying invention—the airplane—at Kitty Hawk. Internal combustion engines were powering automobiles in a bid to replace horses and mules. Young Irwin had an early hunger to be a scientist and take part in this fascinating new world.
The ninth commandment says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour” (Exodus 20:16). As noted previously, this commandment is about far more than a prohibition against lying. It not only calls us to cease from lying, but the commandment calls us to a positive affirmation of walking in the light, speaking the truth, and presenting a Godly testimony to a skeptical world.
There is one “impossible” task God especially wants you to join Him in doing. The time is now, and the task is eternal. God is not willing that any should perish. Are we?
As we look at the sixth commandment in the full light of New Testament revelation, we see many rich and glorious ways that we as Christ’s disciples can and should uphold life. Not only does the sixth commandment call for us not to kill, but in that commandment we are also called to love and protect physical life here on earth.
In the Gospel record, we meet a man who was much like us in many ways. He was a working man; in his case, he was an ordinary fisherman from Galilee. He struggled with pride, anger, and self-confidence. But his life was transformed by the Lord Jesus Christ, and God was able to use him mightily, even after his many failures. This man’s testimony can be an encouragement to us all. Let’s look at one particular moment in his life.
Aniwa is a small atoll, a coral island, in the modern state of Vanuatu in the South Pacific. In the 1800s when this biographical sketch takes place, the island chain was called the New Hebrides. Aniwa is one of the smallest inhabited islands in the group. The island’s total land mass only covers 3 square miles. Unlike some of the mountainous islands in the chain, Aniwa is very flat. The inhabitants who lived on this tropical island were in bondage to ignorance, superstition, and fear. As cannibals, they killed and ate their enemies. They worshipped gods carved of wood and stone. The people also practiced witchcraft and were subject to the power of their “sacred men.” Because the island was small and it lacked abundant rainfall, the inhabitants suffered from a shortage of fresh water. When tropical rains did come, the water drained quickly into the sea. No springs, lakes, or freshwater creeks were to be found on the entire island. The few places where rainwater collected became stagnant pools infested with parasites. Many of the islanders suffered from a parasitic disease known as elephantiasis or Barbados leg. The malady made the sufferer’s legs and feet swell to enormous proportions. […]
Moses asked the Lord a significant question in Exodus 3:13: “Behold, when I... shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?” Moses was asking for the source of his authority. The answer Moses received was simple yet profound: “I AM THAT I AM” (Exodus 3:14).
From his earliest boyhood memories, Stanley Tam set his priorities toward making money. He grew up on a small farm near Lima, Ohio, and he helped his parents milk the cows and plant potatoes. However, his ambitions lay far beyond the humble circumstances of his upbringing. In his spare moments he would speculate about how to get rich, as many young boys do.
Alfred had become king at a desperate time. Parts of the country, such as East Anglia & Kent, had fallen to the Vikings. London was in the hands of the same cruel invaders. Another Viking army was marching from Reading. It seemed that the two invading forces advancing on both sides of Alfred would squeeze Wessex into submission and place the entire kingdom under tribute.
In the growing darkness, Lake Erie’s waves crashed against the shore near Cleveland, Ohio. The lighthouse keeper was responsible to keep the beacon at the top of the structure lit. He also would light a row of smaller oil lanterns along the shoreline to guide ships into the channel toward the harbor’s safe haven. With each nearing storm, the lighthouse keeper would painstakingly go from lantern to lantern, filling and lighting each one. Despite the great beacon, without the smaller lights to lead the ship through the narrow passageway, the vessel would wreck upon the rocks.  One particular evening the lighthouse keeper did not light the shoreline lanterns. During the night, a violent storm arose. Amidst the turbulent waves and howling winds, a ship’s captain tensed. His old pilot gripped the helm. As the pilot struggled to steer, the captain anxiously peered into the darkness.  “Are you sure this is Cleveland?” he asked the pilot. “Quite sure, sir,” replied the pilot, gripping the wheel.  “But where are the lower lights?” questionedthe captain. “They are out, sir,” was the terse, despairing reply.  One last question remained. Finally, the captain asked, “Can you make it?”  “We must sir, or we’ll perish.”  Determinedly, […]
Few people knew that William Borden was a millionaire. As the manager of much wealth, he still chose to dress nicely but simply. Meanwhile, he quietly wrote checks to Bible societies and mission works that amounted to thousands of dollars, but his gifts were always given in secret.
The soloist’s voice filled the huge canopy. He possessed a rare, magnificent talent that moved his listeners to tears. Mr. William Kirkpatrick, the tent revival’s songleader, appreciated the man’s skillful vocal presentation. Yet he was burdened for the soloist’s soul. Every evening after presenting the special music, the man would leave, not remaining to hear the evangelistic messages. Mr. Kirkpatrick’s concern for the soloist’s salvation was so great that he began praying and asking the Lord to give him a song with words that would touch the singer’s heart! The soloist was so gifted—how much more glorious if he could sing about God from his heart? Mr. Kirkpatrick continued to petition God for this man’s life. While praying for the soloist, words suddenly came to Mr. Kirkpatrick. Eagerly, the songleader wrote this refrain: Coming home, coming home,Nevermore to roam.Open wide Thine arms of love,Lord, I’m coming home. Following those inspired words, more quickly came. Mr. Kirkpatrick swiftly jotted down verse after verse. Finally pausing, he saw he had written four stanzas! Thrilled with God’s answer to prayer, he quickly concluded writing the new hymn for the soloist to sing. That evening, how fervently Mr. Kirkpatrick must have prayed as the […]
For years, Charles Wesley determined to zealously serve God. In college he and his brother started a “Holy Club,” whose members fasted and did good deeds. The brothers also sailed from England across the ocean to evangelize the Native Americans in the New World. Yet, for all their goodwill and charity at home and abroad, the two young men were lost, lacking the true Answer for their souls. They needed God’s forgiveness. Charles Wesley began to understand forgiveness when homeward bound from a missionary jour-ney. Aboard ship he met Mr. Thomas Bray, whom Mr. Wesley described as “a poor, innocent mechanic who knows nothing but Christ.” Upon arriving in England, Mr. Wesley also met Mr. Bray’s sister who also shared with him about Christ and salvation. Other believers soon entered his circle of friends. According to his personal diary, on Pentecost Sunday, May 20, 1738, the young man finally understood forgiveness and salvation, and gave his life to Christ. Mr. Wesley wrote, “I now found myself at peace with God, and rejoiced in hope of loving Christ.” Finally at peace with God, Mr. Wesley’s Christian work now sprang from a grateful heart. He joined his brother, John, who also was […]
In times past, tent meetings usually lasted an entire week and were filled both with Christians seeking inspiration and unsaved folks who were simply curious. Amid flapping canvasses, fervent preaching, and uplifting hymns, lives were changed. Such was the setting in Mountain Lake Park, Maryland, in 1898. After an especially moving sermon by the famous evangelist L. H. Baker, many people responded, some timidly and some quickly, by repenting and receiving Christ. Among them was a refined, upper-class woman. Kneeling at the altar, she tried to pray but was obviously struggling inwardly. Accepting Christ by simple faith was foreign to her. She wanted to do something more to merit salvation. Mrs. Leila Morris, one of the Christian women praying with those at the altar, saw the lady’s inner turmoil. Quietly she slipped an arm over the woman’s shoulder and prayed for her. “Just now your doubting give o’er,” Mrs. Morris gently encouraged her. Dr. H. L. Gilmour, the camp meeting song leader, also seeing and hearing the lady’s conflict, softly urged the woman, “Just now reject Him no more!” The evangelist Mr. Baker, drawn to the spiritual battle, earnestly pressed the woman, “Just now throw open the door!” “Let Jesus […]
The seated workmen listened attentively to the small blind woman speaking at the front of the room. Breaking suddenly from her discourse, Fanny Crosby pleaded, “If there is a dear boy here tonight who has perchance wandered away from his mother’s home and his mother’s teaching, would he please come to me at the end of the service?” Afterward, a youth of about eighteen approached. “Did you mean me?” he asked. “I promised my mother to meet her in heaven, but the way I’ve been living, I don’t think that will be possible now.” Fanny Crosby prayed with the young man. Then, with great joy he stood, exclaiming, “Now I can meet my mother in heaven, for I have found her God!” With this encounter fresh on her mind, Fanny Crosby considered a request she had recently received. A friend and composer, Mr. William Doane, had asked her to write a hymn about “rescuing the perishing.” The song’s purpose would be to exhort believers to reach out to neglected people in their own localities. She wrote the words that evening and gave them to Mr. Doane the next morning. He composed the tune by the end of the day.   […]
The light breeze wafted over the seaside town of Brighton, England. Flowers bloomed in the early May sunlight. However, inside one home the scene was not so calm and peaceful! The guest at the family dinner table, an evangelist from Switzerland, was asking some startling questions: “Are you a Christian? Have you experienced Christ?” His kind yet direct questions particularly offended one of his hosts. The thirty-three-year-old daughter, Charlotte Elliott, quickly replied that her salvation was not his concern! Miss Elliott had enjoyed a happy childhood. Her artistic talent had been developed extensively during her young adult years. However, as she had neared her thirtieth birthday, her health began to fail. Now, three years later, she was an invalid. Her poor health depressed and embittered her. How dare this guest, Dr. Malan, confront her about her spiritual health! “You are tired of yourself, aren’t you?” Dr. Malan persisted gently. “You are holding to your hate and anger because you have nothing else in the world to cling to. Consequently, you have become sour, bitter, and resentful.”  The family quietly slipped from the room, leaving the two to continue their discussion. God’s Spirit was moving in Miss Elliott’s resistant heart. Finally, […]
Leaning forward so as not to miss a single word, Reverend Charles Luther listened intently. The visiting evangelist shared about a dying young man’s confession. In Christian service only a month before his death, the young man’s last words had been a lament: “No, I am not afraid; Jesus saves me now. But oh! must I go, and empty-handed?”  The dying man knew he would have joy in Jesus’ presence, and yet he also was sorrowful because he had not led others to Jesus. Inspired by the heartbreaking testimony, Reverend Luther wrote a poem that considered the sadness of meeting Jesus empty-handed.  Not at death I shrink nor falter,For my Savior saves me now;But to meet Him empty-handed,Tho’t of that now clouds my brow. Once the poem was completed, Reverend Luther gave it to George C. Stebbins, an American Gospel hymn writer and composer. Mr. Stebbins composed music for the words, and the poem became the hymn titled “Must I Go, and Empty-Handed?”  The story does not end there! About fifteen years later, a reckless, sinful man stumbled upon a city mission meeting in England. While others were singing the third verse of this hymn, the man was convicted as […]