J. Hudson Taylor  (1832-1905)

On March 1, 1854, a driven young missionary set foot in Shanghai, China for the first time. For the next half-century, Hudson Taylor would demonstrate God’s love for the Chinese. Here are a few high points of his devoted life.

  • He became a Christian after reading a gospel tract.
  • In China, he identified with those he ministered to by dressing in local apparel.
  • He worked as a medical missionary.
  • He founded China Inland Mission and recruited other workers to join him.
  • The first 20 years of CIM were an uphill climb, but the next 20 years reaped rich rewards.
  • He influenced the call of other missionaries, most notably,  C. T. Studd and Amy Carmichael.
  • When he died in 1905, CIM consisted of 825 individual missionaries, serving in over 300 posts throughout China.

For the fuller story of Hudson Taylor’s life dedicated to reaching China, read here.


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Alexander Whyte         (1837-1921)

The Scottish preacher was one of the most eloquent of his day. Nobody preached about Bible characters with the flare that Alexander did. Here are a few quotes from Alexander Whyte about the people and the principles of scripture.



“Abraham was the father of the faithful. And Lot was the father of all such as are scarcely saved.”

BOAZ AND RUTH (and the Church)

“A happy pair, with a romantic history behind them, and with a future before them that it had not entered into their sweetest dreams to dream. With all that, it is not at all to be wondered at that the Church of Christ, with such a dash of romance and mysticism in her heart, should have seen in Ruth’s husband, Boaz, a far-off figure of her own husband, Jesus Christ.”


“What a man chooses, and how a man chooses when opportunities and alternatives and choices are put before him–nothing more surely discovers (reveals)a man than that.”


“Such surprises of providence, such opportunities of making ourselves a new heart, are occurring continually. Sometimes it has been at a time of sorrow, and sometimes at a time of joy and gladness.”


“But grace has only one direction that it can take. Grace always flows down.”


“”Just think what all must have been in Peter’s mind as he stood up in Solomon’s porch to preach the Pentecost sermon… You may be sure that it was as much to himself as to the murderers of the Prince of Life that Peter went on that day to preach and say, ‘Repent, therefore, that your sins may be blotted out; since God hath sent His Son to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.”


“Prayer is a rising up and a drawing near to God in mind and in heart, and in spirit.”

“Prayer is the only way to amend your life: and without prayer, it will never be mended.”


“Our reputation is our first and our chief regard in what we do. At any rate, when I watch the working of my own heart in this matter and then write honestly out of my own heart, this is what I am compelled to write: I am Jonah.”

You can read Alexander Whyte’s Lights4God biography here- 


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Lights 4 God

The faith commitments of three young women born between 1840 and 1867, each in December, eventually led to the transformation of thousands of lives in China, Africa, and India.

Lottie Moon (Born DECEMBER 12, 1840)

Lottie Moon  [PD-1923] Lottie Moon (1840-1912) [PD-1923] Lottie’s name became synonymous with foreign missions for an entire denomination.

The Southern belle, born on a Virginia plantation, gave up plenty to serve God. She didn’t submit her life to God until in college. Afterwards she served as a school teacher in Kentucky and Georgia. Hearing a sermon from John 4:35 about the fields being “white already to harvest” persuaded Lottie that God had called her to the mission field.

Lottie arrived in China in 1873. It was a far cry from the comforts of home. She befriended those around her by wearing Chinese clothing and baking cookies for all who visited her. She won converts. A few. Then many.

She suggested to the home missions board that an annual Christmastime offering be received for missionaries. They liked and implemented her…

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At 50,000 Views— Top 5 L4G Posts

The Lights-4-God blog: short biographies of Christians God greatly used who’ve gone to their reward. That idea grew to be the stories of 77 men and women who were mostly missionaries, hymn writers, authors, and business leaders. At the recent 50,000 view mark, these are the five individuals whose stories were most often sought out and read.

piano-keyboard#1  IRA STANPHILL (1914-1993)

The hymn writer/evangelist Ira Stanphill wrote songs of hope. From “Room at the Cross” (the promise of salvation to those who accept it) to “Mansion Over the Hilltop”  (the glories of Heaven’s future residence for Christians), Ira’s lyrics draw us into Biblical truth.

In 2014, Ira Stanphill would have turned 100. That year the Ira post received almost twice as many views as the second most read L4G bio. I asked readers to choose their favorite Stanphill hymn (results here ). Someone wrote a Wikipedia article on Ira that linked to my post via the story behind “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow.” That year, 330 individuals followed that link to L4G (others continue to).  Ira’s story keeps inspiring year after year.

Read the Ira Stanphill post here.


head-of-christ#2 WARNER SALLMAN (1892-1968)

The painting The Head of Christ became an iconic image of Jesus in the 20th century while selling over 500 million copies. I describe Warner’s journey as an artist and how his most famous painting came to be so famous. Two of his other well-loved paintings appear in the post.

Warner Press Incorporated owns the rights to the paintings. Upon reading the L4G bio of Mr. Sallman, Warner Press posted it on their blog. That drew more interested viewers.

Read the Warner Sallman post here.


john-flew-a-curtiss-c-46-commando-us-pd#3 JOHN W. PETERSON (1921-2006)

As a teenager, John W. Peterson walked away from an accident that totaled the family car. As an adult, he survived World War II as a pilot. He later wrote the song “It Took a Miracle.” Other songs he penned, “Heaven Came Down” and “Springs of Living Water,” tell of the wonder of spiritual salvation and the Christian life.

The post relates stories about three of John’s six songs mentioned in the post. John became an even, more dynamic force in Christian music by branching out into music publishing and writing church cantatas.

Read the John W. Peterson post here.


olympic_flag5#4 ERIC LIDDELL (1902-1945)

The month Eric’s post received almost 600 views, I knew it had caught on. It highlights the moments in Eric’s athletic career that mattered and tells of his service for God after winning Olympic gold. The post includes a link to the Youtube video of Eric’s actual Olympic win and to a clip from the movie, Chariots of Fire.

Eric’s win is also celebrated in a very short post, “90 Years Ago: Eric Won Gold” which you can read here. He’s mentioned with other outstanding Christians in “Lights for God in World War II” and “5 Missionary Heroes Who Served China.”

Read the Eric Liddell post here.


colgate_clock_jersey_city_1_of_2_3157735699#5 WILLIAM COLGATE (1783-1857)

A dozen of the 77 L4G bios are Christian leaders born in the 1700s. Businessman William Colgate is the most read of those twelve posts. He’s also the oldest person whose name is associated with a business or a brand to be featured in a post.

The man who was also a driving force behind the American Bible Society has continued month after month to draw high numbers of viewers.

Read the William Colgate post here.


To discover the other 72 Christian bios I’ve written, I suggest you start here.


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william-carey-pd-usaToday is the birthday of William Carey, “The Father of Modern Missions.”

At first, his superiors wouldn’t confirm his call. Nor the need to send missionaries at all. Driven to spread the gospel overseas, William preached and wrote about it until his peers formed a missions board. They sent William and another man to India.

It wasn’t easy. There were personal losses on the road to winning souls for God. He invested his last 42 years in India, opening the door to the great missionary century of the 1800s.

Learn more of the William Carey story here.

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The 2016 summer Olympics in Rio begin this week. Here’s a repost to celebrate the Christian convictions of Eric Liddell 92 years ago at the Paris Olympics. 

Lights 4 God

Born JANUARY 16, 1902

The gun went off. The runners launched forward on the track. Someone tripped Scotland’s favorite sprinter. Eric Liddell lunged onto the grass.

Image: courtesy of The Eric Liddell

Up to that moment in 1923, the Triangular International Contests (featuring England, Ireland and Scotland) had proved a winning venue for Eric. He served as Scotland’s champion in the 110 -meter and 220-meter races. Then he landed on the ground in the 440 race. Seconds passed. He caught his breath and sprang back onto the track. In nothing short of a miraculous recovery, Eric passed the other runners, breaking the finish line tape. He’d fallen to the ground, gasping for air, but he still won the race.


Eric was born in China to missionaries from Scotland. When he was five, they took Eric and his brother (a year older) back to Scotland to begin their formal education. Both…

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Eliza Hewitt’s 165th birthday

Eliza Hewitt (1851-1920)

Eliza Hewitt (1851-1920)

Eliza graduated class valedictorian and became a school teacher. She also dedicated her life to learning about God and writing poems about her faith. Others added music to her words, turning “Sunshine in My Soul,” “When We All Get to Heaven,” and others into hymns.

She also wrote Sunday School literature and poems for children. Eliza never married.

To learn more about Eliza’s songs and what she did in 1905 to honor her friend Fanny Crosby’s 85th birthday, read here.


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