John Harper – Hero of the Titanic

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Almost everyone has heard of the sinking of the Titanic, but few know the name of the man who would become known as the hero of the Titanic, John Harper. His last words before he drown in the ocean that fateful night were, “Believe on the Name of the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.”

The sinking of the Titanic was not the first incident where Harper risked death by drowning. When he was two and a half, he fell into a well and almost drown, but his mother saved him in time. At age twenty-six, he was swept downstream by a reverse current and almost drown. At thirty-two, he was stuck on a ship in the Mediterranean that sprang a leak. But the Titanic would be the last danger of drowning he would face.

Harper was born to Christian parents in Scotland in 1872. He was saved at thirteen and began preaching to his village by the age of seventeen. In early adulthood, he worked at a mill to support himself while he continued to preach. At one point, E.A. Carter of the London Baptist Pioneer Mission heard Parker and took him to London to mentor him. In 1896, Harper started his own church with 25 members. Within thirteen years, it had grown to 500 members. It is now called the Harper Memorial Baptist Church in his honor. During this time, Harper married, but his wife died of complications after giving birth to their daughter Annie known as Nana.

In 1912, John Harper was invited to speak at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and boarded the Titanic with his daughter Nina and his niece Jessie W. Leitch who was brought along to care for Nana while he was ministering. He put six-year-old Nana to bed that evening not knowing the danger that lie ahead.

At 11:40 pm, the Titanic hit an iceberg. Harper went to see what happened and found out the ship was in trouble. He wrapped Nina in a blanket and directed her and Jessie to lifeboat #11. Although he could have joined them in the lifeboat since he was Nina’s only living parent, there was no indication he even considered it. He kissed Nina goodbye, and according to documentation, flares went off revealing the tears on his face. A well known photograph of the second class promenade, in which a young girl is seen holding her father’s hand, is believed by many to show young Nina Harper and her father.

What happened next is well documented by a few of the survivors. As the ship lurched, he ran through the deck shouting, “Women, children, and unsaved into the lifeboats!” The ship broke apart, and Harper along with many others jumped into the ocean. At this point, he had a lifevest on. In the frigid water, he swam frantically to people dying of hypothermia and led them to Christ. At one point, he swam to a young man and asked him if he would accept Jesus as his Savior. The young man said, “No”. Harper gave the man his life vest telling him that he needed it more.

Later Harper swam back to the young man and led him to Christ. The man then saw Harper succumb to the waters.  The reason we know this story is because the young man was one of the few survivor snatched from the icy waters that night.

Harper’s orphan daughter was raised by her uncle and aunt and lived until 1985. She married a preacher and had two children. She didn’t remember much about that night, and her family discouraged anyone talking about the Titanic with her, but Jessie Leitch says they were about a mile away when they saw the ship sink.

Although the story is not told by Hollywood, John Harper was a true hero who gave his life so that others might be saved both that night and for eternity.

Keep Your Focus

by Carole Brown

In one of my recent devotionals I read recently, the topic was on endurance, and the way to endure was to focus. 

A runner must focus on the goal. He wants to finish his race which means he must tone his body and build his strength to endure to the end. If/when he finishes, he will have the satisfaction of gaining an earthly reward: greenery wreaths, plaques, money or ribbons.

But a Christian, to finish his race, must focus on Christ/God. Keeping our attention on him will make the hindrances seem less frightening. Focusing on God keeps our perspectives in line and correct. We want to finish our race knowing our reward will be the words: Well done, my good and faithful servant.  We know it is a never-ending, permanent, and glorious reward well sought after and certainly well worth striving for. 

Let us remember:

  • Know ye that they who run in an earthly race runs to receive a prize, but only one obtains it? But every man that strives for mastery in this heavenly race must be temperate in all things so that we all might obtain an incorruptible crown.  (paraphrased from KJV: I Corinthians 9:24-25)

racer run free

Run! Focus! Win!

How do you keep your focus on God?

 

The Modern Missionary Movement Started in Colonial Times

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

America is well known for the modern missionary movement. The missionary movement is credited with starting in the mid 1800s during the Second Great Awakening, but it really began with a 100 year prayer movement in colonial times. The people who started this movement were called the Moravians.

In 1727, a group of Moravians in Saxony started a round the clock prayer meeting that lasted 110 years. By 1737, Moravians had settled in Savannah, Georgia to share the Gospel. At this time, they met John Wesley, from the first Great Awakening and had a profound impact on his ministry.

In 1741, the Moravians moved to an estate owned by John Whitfield, another preacher from the Great Awakening, and started ministering to the Delaware Indians in the region. They established the towns of Bethlehem and Nazareth in Pennsylvania and moved throughout the colonies sharing the Gospel wherever they went.

Schoenbrunn Village

By 1772, the Delaware were being pushed into Ohio, and the Moravians followed them. They set up two villages there, one in Schoenbrunn and one in Gnadenhutten. They risked great dangers, not only from the other tribes, but from the British forces once the Revolutionary War began. The British accused the Moravians of informing the colonialist about troop movements, a charge that was mostly true.

The Moravians finally abandoned their villages to move on to avoid clashes with the British. That fall, a group of converted Delaware returned to Gnadenhutten to harvest their crops. They were massacred by American soldiers who mistakenly thought they were raiders.

There aren’t that many Moravian in the United States today although there are clusters of congregations in Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia. There are also some areas in Canada with large Moravian populations. Moravians in America moved on to evangelize other parts of the world. The largest groups of Moravians now live in East Africa and the Caribbean. They left their mark on America though through their missionary endeavors and paved the way for other missionaries.

10 Signs a Great Awakening has come to America

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

I, like many of you, am praying for another great awakening to sweep over the United States. Revivals have broken out. One is happening in my local church, but we need God to send a great awakening to this land once again. Based on revivals and great awakenings in history, here are ten things we could expect if our prayers are answered in no particular order.

1. The culture will change. Movies will mostly be clean entertainment because those will be the most profitable. Sports games, movie theaters, and other entertainment venues will begin to shut down on Sundays. It wouldn’t be profitable for them to stay open since most people will be in church. People will have no problem praying for each other or talking about God in public.

It will affect elections, laws, the government, the news media, education, and the entertainment industry. People will get married instead of living together. They will have babies after getting married. Race relations will improve drastically. The crime rate will go down. Morality will become the norm. Some won’t like it, but everything will change.

2. Wild manifestations will appear, some of God and some because of emotional excitement. Miracles and healing will become commonplace. Outbursts of joy will cause laughter. Being drunk in the Spirit will occur often. People will be “slain in the Spirit, dance, and shake. Strange things will happen. Sarah Edwards, Great Awakening Jonathan Edwards’ wife, called it “being swallowed up in God.

Some preachers and church members will lament that the services are out of order and declare this is not of God. Some people will be reacting to the emotionalism, but that’s all right. It’s easier to correct someone out of order than to bring the dead to life. The churches that don’t put God in a box will be the ones that grow that fastest. Things will get messy at times, but God will have it under control.

3. People will spontaneously meet in homes during the week for prayer and worship meetings and Bible studies. There will still be organized small groups, but meetings will also spring up organically. Every time people meet, they’ll end up praying, talking about God’s Word, and worshipping.

4. Youth and children will be a major part of the Awakening and will have Bible studies and prayer meeting in school whether they were allowed or not. They will also tell their friends about Jesus and lead many of them to Christ even if they get in trouble for it.

5. People will do radical things like give all their money to the poor, decide to become missionaries, or start street preaching outside of bars. Most churches will invite homeless people and the poor to come to their churches and they will feed them and provide services.

6. The Name of Christ will be glorified and the gifts of the Holy Spirit will be emphasized. No one will pretend everyone is going to Heaven. They will preach Christ crucified, risen, and coming again. This will be verified by the baptism, gifts, and multiple fillings of the Holy Spirit.

7. An intense wave of persecution would hit because those who are resisting God will become angry. While some are coming to God in record numbers, others will do everything they can to stop it. Some of this persecution will come from the church.

Glowing Bible with Cross on Brown Backround8. False doctrines will rise up to try to deceive. The real church will immerse themselves in the Word to rightly divide the Word of God and will be led by the Holy Spirit.

9. Churches will balance the Word of God with the Spirit of God. An intense interest in the Bible will accompany a great move of God’s Spirit and a deep spirit of intercessory prayer and worship.

10. God will require a greater surrender and yielding to Him in ways we might not like. We will learn what it means to yield to Him.

He Killed a Chicken

by Carole Brown

dog i'm sorry free

  • He didn’t mean to.
  • He’s only a dog.
  • He won’t do it again.
  • It couldn’t be him; he’s too nice.

dog-shepherd running free

Our grandson’s adopted dog from the pound IS a great dog. Friendly, playful, patient when Jonathan gets a little too rough, he seems the perfect dog for a child. But he has one flaw. Anytime he gets lose, he takes off. He knows you’re calling him, can offer treats, and knows his best friend (as Jonathan tells him) is calling, but looks at you and moves on to explore some more. It’s only when he’s tired of his “exploits” that he returns home.

chicken hen free

The problem with his last escapade–which wasn’t only in exploring the local area–he killed a neighbor’s chicken.

Now I could say “He didn’t mean to,” or “He’s just a dog.” I could even deceive myself into believing “He won’t do it again.” And lying to myself in thinking he’ll never do such a thing again won’t work, because I’m pretty sure he will–if he gets the chance.

Are we any better than the disobedient, wanting-to-be-free pet dog that has a mind of its own?

How often do we push the boundaries in our personal lives? Especially knowing that God’s Word instructs us to “flee” from evil, to avoid the appearance of it. How often are we tempted to do what everyone else is doing when we know God doesn’t want us to do it?

evil smiley face free

  • Is gossiping okay when the other person is in the wrong?
  • Is it okay to cheat a little, specially when it’s an important test we need to pass for that advance we’ve been seeking?
  • Is it okay to “give that rude person who crowded the checkout lane, a piece of our mind? After all, they need to learn, that’s NOT the right way to act.
  • Is it okay to lie to when put on the spot?

Or should we “hoe the line,” be the example, set the stage–for goodness and right and God’s way?

Given, none of us are above mistakes. Given that the Bible encourages us to strive for the right, the just, the good, to be obedient and choose holiness, then shouldn’t we avoid the excuses that are conveniently there for us?

  • I didn’t mean to
  • I’m just human
  • I won’t do it again
  • I really didn’t want to; but it was necessarysmiley happy free

 

 

Don’t get caught in the easy way. Be strong for the right, for God and for yourself. You’ll be glad you did.

10 Things to Do When Life Overwhelms You

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Everyone is busy these days, but there are times in our lives a major event happens that completely overwhelms and swallows our lives for a season. Whether it be an injury or illness, a major family event, a emotional crisis, a move or major life change, or a crisis at work, these changes can swallow up our lives and leave us feeling drained.

I am currently going through one of these seasons. My elderly mom has moved to another state, and I’m helping with the move. At the same time, my husband and I are building a new house in that state. My daughter is going through a major life event. If that’s not enough, I also have a summer children’s revival schedule going on and have a deadline with my publisher. My next book is due October 1st. So, I understand what you are going through.

Here are ten things to help you, and me, when life becomes overwhelming.

Remember this is a season. Sometimes taking a breath and regaining our perspective can help immensely. This major crisis is not the new normal for your life. You will get through it.

Keep your eyes on Jesus. Peter was walking on water when he kept his eyes on Jesus, but when he focused on the waves and the storm, he sank. The larger the waves, the greater our focus needs to be on the One who commands the wind and the waves. One way to do this is to print out copies of a verse you’re holding onto and put in visible places everywhere.

Exercise: Before you say you don’t have time, I’m not telling you to spend hours at the gym, but even some exercise, like a brisk walk around the block, is beneficial. Exercise has been proven to defeat depression, offer mental clarity, and increase your energy. These are benefits you need during overwhelming times in your life.

Make a To Do List. Write down EVERYTHING you need to do. Then decide what you have to do now and what can wait. You are in crisis mode right now. You can’t do the things that can wait. You’ll get to those things after the crisis is over. For now, do only what you have to do.

Ask for help. This is hard to do, but it is essential to survive this season of your life. Friends, adult children, and your church may be able to help you with certain tasks. Also, if you can hire some temporary extra help to do daily tasks, do so. Housekeeping, laundry services, and delivery services are well worth the cost during overwhelming seasons.

Don’t take on any new projects. Even if its a project you want to do, say no. You’re no doesn’t have to be permanent, but for now, you can’t agree to do anything.

Take time for Self Care. Self care is what you do to make yourself feel better. You might enjoy reading a book, watching a movies, or doing a fun event. Whatever makes you feel good inside is something you need to take time to do. If you don’t have self care no matter how busy you are, you will end up burning out.

Get away from the situation. Sometimes getting away from a situation, even for a couple of hours, can help you feel refreshed.

Talk to a Friend. Venting to someone who will listen is vital during these overwhelming times. A good friend will let you vent when you need to, but when you are going into self-pity, she will encourage you out of it.

Be filled with the Spirit of God. The joy of the Lord is your strength, so go to the source of your strength to help you through this. Pray constantly asking God for strength, peace, and joy and allowing Him to fill you with His Spirit. Put you hand on your head and pray for yourself. This is last on the list, but it is the most important step to take.

How Camp Meetings Ushered in the Second Great Awakening

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

The year was 1800. Within the last 30 years, the United States had become a nation, adopted a Constitution.  Within the last year, it had elected its second president, John Adams. An unusual church service in Red River, Kentucky near the border of Tennessee ushered in a move of God called the Second Great Awakening that would sweep the nation for years to come.

A series of meetings was organized in June by Presbyterian minister James
McGready, and many Presbyterian and Methodists ministers took part. Because
many other congregations located along Muddy River and Gasper River planned to
attend, it was decided the meeting would be held outside near the Red River
Meeting House. This was the first “camp meeting” reportedly held in the United
States.

The services were well attending and were like many revival meetings of the time. On the last day of services, as William Hodge was preaching, a woman stood and started shouting praises to God. Soon others joined her. The service ended, but nobody was willing to leave. Mr. Hodge, according to an account by Methodist minister, John McGee, “felt such a power come on him that he quit his seat and sat down in the floor of the pulpit.” At that point McGee began to tremble, and the congregation started weeping. Revival broke out as people started shouting, and the floor was covered with those who had been slain in the Spirit (an occurrence where people are overwhelmed by God and can no longer stand).

A letter from McGready described the service.

“In June, the sacrament was administered at Red River. This was the greatest time we had ever seen before. On Monday multitudes were struck down under awful conviction; the cries of the distressed filled the whole house. There you might see profane swearers, and sabbath breakers pricked to the heart, and crying out, ‘what shall we do to be saved?’ There frolicers, and dancers crying for mercy. There you might see little children of ten, eleven and twelve years of age, praying and crying for redemption, in the blood of Jesus, in agonies of distress. During this sacrament, and until the Tuesday following, ten persons we believe, were savingly brought home to Christ.”

After the Red River Camp Meeting, other meetings were held where people would travel long distances and camp at the site. Camp Meetings spread throughout Kentucky, Tennessee, and Southern Ohio in what became known as the Revival of 1800. McGready travelled well into October where even bad weather didn’t keep people away.

Rankin House

John Rankin also started camp meetings into Tennessee and North Carolina with many of the same results. Later he settled in Ripley, Ohio where he conducted an underground railroad station from his house. He claimed over 1,000 escaped slaves that made their way to freedom went through his home.

In 1801, Methodist preacher Barton Stone attended one of the camp meetings near Red River. He decided to organize his own camp meeting in Cane Ridge, Kentucky in 1801. 20,000 people attended, and again, revival broke out. Over the next year, more than 10,000 people visited Cane Ridge services where unusual moves of God were reported.

One feature of these camp meeting revivals was the presence and conversion of blacks, many of whom were slaves. Women, children, and blacks were also allowed to participate as exhorters, lay people who preached impromptu sermons encouraging others.