Character Qualities

Commands of Christ

Basic Life Principles

On July 8, 1741, a visiting minister from Northampton, Massachusetts, was scheduled to preach in a Connecticut village church. While not particularly famous or popular, he was known to be an honest servant of the Lord who relied upon the power of the Holy Spirit.
A rescue ship drifted slowly toward the rocky coastline. This particular area was known to be at “the end of the earth.” Long feared by sailors for its violent storms, hidden rocks, and savage natives, this desolate region of rocky islands is known as Tierra de Fuego. It is located off the coast of Patagonia, the southernmost tip of the mainland of South America. The mission of the rescue ship was a desperate one: to locate and assist seven missionaries who had come to bring the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ to these desolate islands.
John Williams would be the instrument of God to open the islands of the South Pacific to mission work. The first island upon which Williams and his wife labored was the beautiful island of Tahiti, in what is now French Polynesia. A small mission work had already been founded there, and the young couple learned how to operate a mission station among cannibals.
Many of us recognize the inspiring title of this famous book of selected Scripture meditations: My Utmost for His Highest. However, fewer people are familiar with the life of the man who made these words his testimony. Although Oswald Chambers lived to be only forty-three years old, his life after his conversion at age fifteen was characterized by a desire to love the Lord with all his heart, soul, and might.
The young missionary eagerly awaited the arrival of his bride. For months Henry Martyn had been expecting his beloved Lydia to make the journey from England to take up residence with him at Danapur, on the banks of the Ganges River in northeast India. Week after week passed as he waited for his bride.
Contentment does not come naturally to the selfish heart of man. Neither did it come naturally to the Apostle Paul. In a letter to the Philippians, he testified that it was through hardships and adversity that he had “learned to be content” (Philippians 4:11). We too must learn contentment through the daily experiences of our lives.
Barnabas never wrote a book, although some scholars suggest that he may have been the writer of the Book of Hebrews. No record exists of Barnabas ever preaching a sermon. Nor, as far as the record goes, did Barnabas ever pastor a church or have a solo ministry of any kind. Rather, he is always linked with others and found humbly in the background. However, Barnabas is important not for what he did but rather for those whom he influenced. There are times when influence is stronger than power or position. In fact, in a very real way, influence is power, and Barnabas had the power of encouragement, the power of example, and the ability to give gifts to the Church—gifts that would keep on giving.
The Lord Jesus Christ was the ultimate keeper of the eighth commandment: “Thou shalt not steal” (Exodus 20:13). He came into this world to give, not to take. Leaving the glories of Heaven, Jesus willingly entered our world of sin and suffering. He took nothing from this world; yet, He gave everything to redeem it. “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich” (II Corinthians 8:9).
Titus stands as a splendid example of a young convert to Christianity who learned quickly to “adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour” (Titus 2:10) by living a pure life in an impure world. Every temptation faced by young men in our own increasingly godless society was faced by Titus as he walked the streets of Corinth and traveled throughout the island of Crete.
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?
If we were to visit the streets of any major city in England at the turn of the nineteenth century, we would be witness to a sad and pitiable sight. Roving bands of orphaned children begged and stole their way through life. Often they were dressed in rags, with little to wear and nothing to eat. One German-born pastor and his wife could not simply pass by while orphans died by the hundreds in the streets.
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. […]
Every year on March 17, millions of people all over the world wear green and eat traditional Irish dishes, such as corned beef and cabbage. Almost everyone in Western Civilization has heard the name Saint Patrick, but very few know the remarkable story of his life and testimony. The story of Saint Patrick has become surrounded by a dense fog of legends and traditions. But behind these legends is the life of a very real man who preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Ireland more than fifteen hundred years ago. Patrick was born around A.D. 389 in Scotland to a Christian family. His father was a deacon at a church founded by early missionaries to the British Isles. Patrick was known in his early youth as a little boy with a tender heart and warm disposition. His mother was a pious lady who endeavored to lead her son in the paths of righteousness. The boy deeply loved his parents and eagerly listened to their Gospel teachings. But a tragedy befell the family before Patrick had personally accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior. When Patrick was sixteen years old, he was playing near the sea with two of his sisters. While […]
John the Apostle enjoyed a close relationship with the Lord Jesus. At the Last Supper, he was reclining at the table next to Jesus. Later, of all of the disciples, he was the only one specifically mentioned as being present at the Crucifixion. After Christ’s resurrection, it was John who identified Him on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
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.
If Joseph asked you why God allowed him to be sold into slavery by his own brothers; to be torn from his family and home; to be falsely accused by the wife of his Egyptian master, to whom he had been loyal and devoted; and to be unjustly imprisoned and ignored, how might you answer?
Seven-year-old William Bradford stood over the grave of his mother in the little village of Austerfield in the hills of Yorkshire, England. Having previously lost his father when he was a baby, young William was now alone in the world. Few would have supposed that this orphaned boy would amount to anything.
While teaching English in faraway Japan, the twenty-three-year-old American professor sat at his desk one day, intently writing a letter to his mother. Howard Walter wanted to encourage her with the vision statement he had written for his life. His mother had influenced him greatly by the habits of dependability and service she had instilled in him as a young child. Weeks later in America, his mother eagerly opened his letter. Enclosed was his poem of three stanzas, titled “My Creed.” She rejoiced as she read the poem which stated her son’s strong convictions! The proud mother promptly sent a copy of her son’s poem to Harper’s Magazine. “My Creed” was published in the May 1909 issue. I would be true, for there are those who trust me;I would be pure, for there are those who care.I would be strong, for there is much to suffer;I would be brave, for there is much to dare. Who was the young man behind these penned affirmations? Howard Walter was born in 1883. He graduated from Princeton University, then journeyed to Tokyo to teach English at Waseda University. Fulfilling his one-year commitment there, Mr. Walter came home, attended seminary, and afterward served as […]
More than 100 years ago, northern India was a very superstitious region. Following a great revival in Wales, Welsh missionaries journeyed to the Assam area in northeast India to bring the Gospel to tribes of idol-worshipping headhunters. In one village, one of those fierce headhunters listened to a missionary, and his heart grasped the Good News of Christ. Not only did he believe, but his wife and two sons also became Christians. As the redeemed man eagerly shared his newfound faith with other villagers, they, too, became believers!  The changes among his people infuriated the village chief. Summoning all the villagers, the chief angrily addressed the first convert among the tribe: “Renounce your faith, or be killed!” Moved by the Holy Spirit, the man replied: “I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back.” The incensed chief next ordered his archers to kill the man’s young sons. Then he harshly demanded, “Will you deny your faith? You have lost both your children. You will lose your wife, too.” The man solemnly spoke: “Though no one joins me, still I will follow.No turning back.” Furious, the chief then ordered the man’s wife be killed. Within minutes, she joined her two sons […]
Believers know that God’s Word is living and active and able to pierce men’s hearts. While the Holy Spirit uses His Word to convict men of sin, righteousness, and judgment, He sometimes uses other means as well. Such was the case of Edward Perronet’s hymn, “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name.”  Several hundred years ago, India was an unreached land, filled with unknown dangers. Yet, missionaries bravely ventured into its depths to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In cities, priests and temple leaders of the demonic religions put up fierce opposition. In the wild, the tribes of headhunters dwelt in spiritual darkness, threatening those who would come near. Still, missionaries continued to travel to this pagan country, hoping to bring the Good News. Reverend E. P. Scott was one such brave missionary. After ministering in India for seven years in the villages, he one day encountered a tribesman from the wild. The Holy Spirit filled the missionary’s heart to go to the man’s tribe. When Reverend Scott announced his decision to visit the savage tribe, his friends begged him not to go. However, he knew he must. After several days of strenuous hiking, Reverend Scott suddenly found himself […]