REMEMBERING C.S. LEWIS

 

C. S. Lewis II

C. S. Lewis. Image: butterfunk.com.

 

Clive Staples Lewis was born November 29, 1898.  I posted a biography of him five years ago today.

The 1400-word overview covers seven major points of his life under the headings, “Teen Athiest,” “The Fox Hunt,” “New Purpose,” “Waging War,” Narnia and Christianity,” “Joy and Grief,” and “Remembered in Bronze.”

Read the post  here.

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LILLIAN TRASHER

Born SEPTEMBER 27, 1887

Sacrificial missionary service has a way of inspiring people the world over. Just mention the name Lillian Trasher, known as “Mother of the Nile.”

LillianTrasher

Lillian Trasher  [PD-1923]

The church of God (Cleaveland, Tennessee) includes her in their history. The Assemblies of God claims her as one of their pioneer missionaries. The Episcopal Church calendar honors Lillian’s years of service on December 19 of each year. In Egypt, where Lillian gave over 50 years of her life, she’s esteemed for starting that country’s first orphanage, which continues operating today.

Lillian died on December 17, 1961, but her influence continues. A Muslim man once said of her, “I believe that when she dies, in spite of the fact she is a woman and a Christian, God will take her directly to paradise.”

No Regrets

The initial spark of Lillian’s journey to help children in Egypt began when she was only a child herself. At age nine, she knelt beside a log in a forest and prayed, “Lord, if ever I can do anything for you, just let me know and I will do it.” A few years later, she joined the staff of a faith-based orphanage in North Carolina.

As a young woman in her early twenties, Lillian became engaged. She anticipated her future as a pastor’s wife. Then, while attending a missionary service Lillian sensed God’s call to serve overseas. As a pastor’s wife or as a single missionary, she would be in a position to change lives, but which should it be? Her heart was divided. Ten days before her wedding, Lillian broke the engagement.

Years later, a friend asked if she ever regretted her life-changing decision. She answered, “When I think of Tom, if I had married him, what would have happened to all these children?”

Serving God By Faith 

Assiut_Manflout_Road_طريق_أسيوط_منفلوط_-_panoramio.jpg Photo by the Hypatia Foundation.

Assiut Egypt

A missionary couple invited her to work at an orphanage in Assiut, Egypt. Opening her Bible on board ship before it embarked, Lillian saw Acts 7:34- “ I have seen, I have seen the affliction of my people which is in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning, and am come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send thee into Egypt.” Lillian stepped onto Egyptian soil for the first time in autumn of 1910.

Three months later she answered a call to the bedside of a dying mother. The mother requested that Lillian take her baby and raise it. That child became the first resident of Lillian’s own orphanage.

The number of children under her care grew. She’d gained invaluable skills at the North Carolina orphanage where she’d worked. She’d also learned to live by faith in God’s daily provision. In the early years, a few gifts from donors came in. Lillian also rode a donkey to solicit help from local supporters.

No Orphans in God’s Family

God takes care of His own. The orphanage survived the first world war. Afterwards, however, an anti-English fervor led to rioting. Lillian wisely returned to America. Her itineration to churches raised the profile of the orphanage and helpful amounts of financial support. In 1920, she returned to Egypt to continue her life’s work.

In 1935, Lillian stated, “He has never failed me all these years and we are being fed like the sparrows, who have no barns or storerooms. Seven hundred little ones. We are still looking to the Lord for our hourly needs. Oh! He is such a wonderful Saviour!”

The orphanage faced a cholera outbreak in 1947. But no child died.

God continued blessing Lillian—one of His children—as she continued caring for orphans according to His word (James 1:27). By 1960, over 1,000 children resided at the ever-growing campus. In 1961, Lillian celebrated the orphanage’s 50th anniversary.

Lillian Trasher in 1951 with babies at the orphanage.

Lillian with babies in the orphanage nursey.

Since 1961

Lillian died in Egypt in December of 1961. She was buried in the orphanage cemetery.  She once said, “I’d rather do this work than anything else in the world–taking care of babies in Egypt.”

Today, the Lillian Trasher Orphanage is a 12-acre campus. It houses 650 children (and widows) and is led by a couple who grew up in the orphanage. Since its beginning, it has welcomed over 25,000 children.

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LET ME KNOW:  How has Lillian’s story informed, encouraged, or otherwise helped you? I welcome your comments.

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Further resources–

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JOHN HUNT’S 205th BIRTHDAY

 

John Hunt

John Hunt (1812-1848)

He’s one of many pioneer missionaries whose service for God is rarely recalled. John Hunt served in Fiji in the nineteenth-century. The violent culture that he and his wife Hannah ministered to promoted cannibalism.

No matter what he faced, John remained true to a favorite scripture passage— “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (I Timothy 2:3-4, NKJV).

John and Hannah suffered personal losses along the way but remained committed to introducing the gospel to those who needed it. Here are three highlights of John’s unwavering service to Fiji–

  • Translating the New Testament into the Fijian language.
  • Witnessing a spiritual awakening that turned repentant cannibals into Christians who loved their enemies.
  • Leading the queen of the island of Viwa to embrace Christianity.

Read the complete post of inspiring anecdotes here.

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3 NEW MAY MINI-BIOS

AUDREY MIEIR (born May 12, 1916)

Audrey Mieir

A 1973 album cover

December 25 fell on a Sunday that year. Inside a small, California church, children in bathrobes acted out the Christmas story. An organist softly accompanied them with carols. A solemn reverence filled the air. The pastor stood to his feet, raised his hands, and declared, “His name is wonderful!”

Hearing the reference to Isaiah 9:6 in that atmosphere moved Audrey Mieir to open her Bible and begin jotting down phrases. What she penned that night became a worship song sung in churches year round.

Expanding on the words of Isaiah, Audrey’s lyrics include, “He’s the great Shepherd, the Rock of all ages, Almighty God is He. Bow down before Him, Love and adore Him, His name is Wonderful, Jesus my Lord.”

Years before, the vivacious Leechburg, Pennsylvania native had moved to Los Angeles, California. There she joined the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. The former church pianist began conducting choirs. In the 1950s she worked with evangelist/composer, Phil Kerr. Then became the music director for Rex Humbard’s Cathedral of Tomorrow television program.

Audrey wrote a handful of other songs that were well accepted. One of them, “To be Used of God,” describes Audrey’s life’s goal: “To be used of God, to sing, to speak, to pray. To be used of God to show someone the way. I long so much to feel the touch of His consuming fire. To be used of God is my desire.”

Audrey recorded with the Manna Music company. She died in 1996.

Resources—-(songs by Audrey Mieir on YouTube)————–

` “His Name is Wonderful”   `To Be Used of God”   `  “It Matters to Him About You

Bibliography————————————————————————————————————–

  • Davis, Paul. Inspirational Hymn and Song Stories of the Twentieth Century. Greenville, SC: Ambassador Publications, 2001
  • Terry, Lindsey. I Could Sing of Your Love Forever. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2008.
  • “Manna Music: ‘Audrey Mieir'” 2016,  http://mannamusicinc.com/writers-songs/audrey-mieir.html.

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ROBERT MURRAY McCHEYNE (born May 21, 1813)

Robert Murray McCheyne

Robert Murray McCheyne

In 1836, the northwest area of Dundee, Scotland had a reputation for sinfulness. One man described that part of the city as “given to idolatry and hardness of heart.” But that would change. The man who made the statement—Robert Murray McCheyne—began to pastor there on November 24, 1836.

He wasn’t always serious about God. But his older brother David was. Robert highly respected David’s Christianity. He later cited the day his brother died as the turning point in his conversion.

At St. Peter’s Church in Dundee, Robert thrust himself fully into pastoring the community. In Sunday services, he oversaw vigorous singing and brought the Bible to life in descriptive, down to earth preaching. He led his congregation to reach outside the church walls. He also developed a thorough Bible reading plan for his parishioners that is still used today.

The secret of Robert’s success was a consistently strong devotional life. It helped him raise his congregation’s spiritual level and prepare them for a special visitation of God’s presence. Robert was visiting Israel when it happened. His church became the epicenter of a spiritual awakening in Scotland. Afterward, he traveled and spoke on the topic of spiritual renewal.

Robert contracted Typhus during a ministry visit and died in 1843 at the age of 30. Below are a few of his statements that reveal the depth of his devotional life.

Beginning the day with prayer: “I feel it is far better, to begin with God–to see His face first, to get my soul near Him before it is near another.”

Preparing to preach: “Get your texts from God–your thoughts, your words, from God.”

Serving God: “It is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus.”

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` Here are additional resources about Robert Murray McCheyne.

Bibliography————————————————————————————————————–

  • Larsen, Timothy, ed. Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2003.
  • Wiersbe, Warren. 50 People Every Christian Should Know: Learning from the Giants of the Faith. Baker Books: Grand Rapids, MI, 2009.

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PETER MARSHALL (born May 27, 1902)

Peter_Marshall

Peter Marshall

There was no trace of light that night from moon nor stars. On that coal black evening, 22-year-old Peter Marshall took a shortcut across the moors, trying to avoid a limestone quarry. Rising above the sound of a slight wind, he heard a voice call his name. Peter paused and asked who it was. Only the wind answered. So Peter continued. He again heard in a compelling tone, “Peter!” This time in stopping, he stumbled to the ground. He felt around before standing to discover that the mysterious voice had prevented him from falling to his death into the quarry.

Peter spent his life trying to understand God’s voice and to make it clear to others. He moved from his native Scotland to the United States in 1927. After graduating from seminary, he pastored churches in Georgia where his preaching filled the pews. While leading Westminister Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, he met and married Catherine Wood.

As Catherine Marshall, she would later write her husband’s biography, A Man Called Peter and books containing his sermons and prayers. They moved to New York, then to Washington D.C. where Peter pastored large congregations, also serving as the U.S. Senate Chaplain from 1945-1947. He became famous for his prayers that opened sessions of the Senate.

Peter died from a heart attack on January 4, 1949.

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` You can hear audio versions of a few of Peter’s sermons  (in his strong Scottish accent) at Sermonaudio.com.

` Find clips and the full-length Hollywood movie of A Man Called Peter on YouTube.

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  • Larsen, Timothy, ed. Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2003.
  • Marshall, Catherine. A Man Called Peter. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 1951.

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HUDSON TAYLOR ARRIVES IN CHINA

hudson-taylor-older-pd-1923

     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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QUOTES BY ALEXANDER WHYTE ON HIS 180TH BIRTHDAY

alexander-whyte-ii

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 AND LOT

“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.”

CHOICES

“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.”

DRAWING CLOSER TO GOD

“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.”

GRACE

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

PETER

“”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

“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.”

REPUTATION

“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-

https://lights4god.wordpress.com/2013/01/13/alexander-whyte/. 

 

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3 MEMORABLE, FEMALE MISSIONARIES BORN IN DECEMBER

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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