Character

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A true story of the Titanic


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John Harper was born to a pair of solid Christian parents on May 29th, 1872. It was on the last Sunday of March 1886, when he was thirteen years of age that he received Jesus as the Lord of his life. He never knew what it was to “sow his wild oats.” He began to preach about four years later at the ripe old ago of 17 years by going down to the streets of his village and pouring out his soul in earnest entreaty for men to be reconciled to God.

As John Harper’s life unfolded, one thing was apparent: he was consumed by the Word of God. When asked by various ministers what his doctrine consisted of, he was known to reply, “The word of God!” After five or six years of toiling on street corners preaching the gospel and working in the mill during the day, Harper was taken in by E. A. Carter of Baptist Pioneer Mission in London, England. This set Harper free to devote his whole time and energy to the work so dear to his heart.

Soon, John Harper started his own church in September of 1896. (Now known as the Harper Memorial Church.) This church which John Harper had started with just 25 members, had grown to over 500 members when he left 13 years later. During this time he had gotten married; God did bless John Harper with a beautiful little girl named Nana.

Ironically, John Harper almost drowned several times during his life. When he was two and a half years of age, he almost drowned when he fell into a well but was resuscitated by his mother. At the age of twenty-six, he was swept out to sea by a reverse current and barely survived, and at thirty-two he faced death on a leaking ship in the Mediterranean. Perhaps, God used these experiences to prepare this servant for what he faced next!

It was the night of April 14, 1912. The RMS Titanic sailed swiftly on the bitterly cold ocean waters heading unknowingly into the pages of history. On board this luxurious ocean liner were many rich and famous people. At the time of the ship’s launch, it was the world’s largest man-made moveable object. At 11:40 PM on that fateful night, an iceberg scraped the ship’s starboard side, showering the decks with ice and ripping open six watertight compartments. The sea poured in.

On board the ship that night were John Harper and his much-beloved six-year-old daughter, Nana. According to documented reports, as soon as it was apparent that the ship was going to sink, John Harper immediately took his daughter to a lifeboat. It is reasonable to assume that this widowed preacher could have easily gotten on board this boat to safety; however, it never seems to have crossed his mind. He bent down and kissed his precious little girl; looking into her eyes he told her that she would see him someday. The flares going off in the dark sky above reflected the tears on his face as he turned and headed towards the crowd of desperate humanity on the sinking ocean liner.

As the rear of the huge ship began to lurch upwards, it was reported that Harper was seen making his way up the deck yelling, “Women, children, and unsaved into the lifeboats!” It was only minutes later that the Titanic began to rumble deep within. Most people thought it was an explosion; actually the gargantuan ship was literally breaking in half.

At this point, many people jumped off the decks and into the icy, dark waters below. John Harper was one of these people.

That night 1528 people went into the frigid waters. John Harper was seen swimming frantically to people in the water leading them to Jesus before the hypothermia became fatal. Mr. Harper swam up to one young man who had climbed up on a piece of debris.

Harper asked him between breaths, “Are you saved?” The young man replied that he was not. Harper then tried to lead him to Christ only to have the young man who was near shock, reply “No.”

John Harper then took off his life jacket and threw it to the man and said, “Here then, you need this more than I do,” and swam away to other people. A few minutes later Harper swam back to the young man and succeeded in leading him to salvation.

Of the 1528 people that went into the water that night, six were rescued by the lifeboats. One of them was this young man on the debris. Four years later, at a survivors meeting, this young man stood up and in tears recounted how that after John Harper had led him to Christ, Mr. Harper had tried to swim back to help other people, yet because of the intense cold, had grown too weak to swim. His last words before going under in the frigid waters were, “Believe on the Name of the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.”

Does Hollywood remember this man? No. Oh well, no matter.

This servant of God did what he had to do. While other people were trying to buy their way onto the lifeboats and selfishly trying to save their own lives, John Harper gave up his life so that others could be saved.

Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. – John 15:13.

John Harper was truly the hero of the Titanic!

 

Sources for this article: "The Titanic's Last Hero" by Moody Press 1997

 

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Some helpful Bible verses for situations


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Afraid of circumstances

  • Mark 4:35-41
  • Romans 8:28
  • Isaiah 41:10 & 13
  • Psalms 139:8-10

Afraid of people (see also ‘Bullied’)

  • Psalms 56:9-11
  • Psalms 62:5-8
  • Psalms 27:1-3

Afraid of persecution

  • Matthew 5:11, 12
  • Hebrews 13:6-8

Afraid of the future

  • Matthew 6:25-34
  • Psalms 23
  • Psalms 55:22

Angry with people

  • Ephesians 4:29-32
  • James 1:19, 20
  • Colossians 3:12-14
  • 1 John 2:9-11

Anxious (see ‘Worried’)

Apathetic or complacent

  • John 3:17, 18, 35, 36
  • Revelation 3:15-18
  • Romans 3:22-24
  • Romans 6:23

Away from home

  • Proverbs 3:1-7
  • Psalms 91
  • Psalms 121

Bereaved (see ‘Coping with a death’)

Bitter or critical

  • Matthew 7:1-5
  • Matthew 6:14, 15
  • Hebrews 12:14, 15
  • Ephesians 4:32

Blaming God

  • Job 22:21
  • 2 Samuel 22:31
  • Jeremiah 29:11
  • Proverbs 19:3

Broken-hearted

  • Psalms 34:17, 18
  • Psalms 147:3

Bullied (see also ‘Afraid of people’)

  • Psalms 91:9-16
  • Joshua 1:9
  • Psalms 37:7-9

Choosing a career

  • Proverbs 16:3, 9
  • Romans 12:1, 2
  • Psalms 37:3-7

Conscious of sin

  • 1 John 1:5-10
  • Romans 6:23
  • Psalms 25:4-11
  • Psalms 51

Considering marriage

  • Matthew 19:4-6
  • Ephesians 5:22-33
  • Hebrews 13:4

Contemplating revenge

  • Romans 12:17-19
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:15

Coping with death (bereaved)

  • 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
  • Romans 8:38, 39
  • John 3:15, 16
  • John 14:1-4

Coping with failure

  • Hebrews 4:14-16
  • Psalms 73:26

Desperate (at your wits end)

  • Psalms 62:5-8
  • Psalms 55:22
  • 2 Corinthians 1:8-11

Distressed or troubled

  • 2 Corinthians 4:8, 9, 16-18
  • Psalms 9:9, 10
  • Romans 8:28-39
  • 2 Corinthians 1:3, 4

Doubting (see ‘Faith is weak’ and ‘Sceptical’)

  • Mark 9:17-24
  • John 20:24-31
  • John 4:50
  • 1 Corinthians 1:18-25

Envious (see also ‘Jealous’)

  • Galatians 5:22-26
  • James 3:13-16
  • Philippians 4:12, 13

Facing death

  • John 3:16
  • John 14:1-3
  • Psalms 23:4
  • 2 Timothy 4:6-8

Faith is weak (see also ‘Doubting’ and ‘Sceptical’)

  • Luke 12:22-31
  • John 14:13, 14
  • Hebrews 11
  • Matthew 8:5-13

Far from God

  • Psalms 145:17-20
  • James 4:7-10
  • Acts 17:22-28

Feeling hurt

  • 1 Peter 5:7
  • Psalms 27:13, 14
  • Hebrews 12:2, 3

Feeling inadequate

  • 1 Corinthians 1:20-31
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9, 10
  • Philippians 4:12, 13
  • Isaiah 40:28-31

Feeling lost or unwanted

  • Psalms 107:4-9
  • Luke 15:11-24
  • Luke 19:10
  • Hebrews 13:5, 6

Feeling self-righteous

  • Luke 18:9-14
  • Ephesians 2:8, 9
  • Romans 3:9-12, 21-24
  • Titus 3:3-7

Friends fail

  • 2 Timothy 4:16-18
  • Luke 17:3, 4
  • Psalms 34:18, 19
  • Deuteronomy 33:27

Ill or in pain

  • James 5:14-16
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9, 10
  • Psalms 103:1-5

In danger or threatened (see also ‘Bullied’)

  • Psalms 27:1
  • Mark 4:35-41
  • Proverbs 18:10
  • 1 Peter 3:13-17

Insulted

  • Proverbs 12:16
  • Romans 15:3, 4
  • 1 Peter 2:23

Intimidated

  • Proverbs 29:25
  • Joshua 1:9
  • Psalms 3:1-3
  • Psalms 71:1-3

Jealous (see also ‘Envious’)

  • 1 Timothy 6:6-10
  • Matthew 6:33
  • 1 John 2:15-17

Lonely

  • Psalms 23
  • Deuteronomy 31:8
  • Hebrews 13:5

Looking for a job/made redundant

  • Philippians 4:11-13
  • Proverbs 16:3, 9
  • Isaiah 48:17
  • Jeremiah 29:11

Needing comfort

  • Psalms 34:18, 19
  • 2 Corinthians 1:3, 4

Needing guidance

  • Proverbs 3:5, 6
  • Romans 12:1, 2
  • James 1:5-8
  • Psalms 32:8-10

Needing peace

  • John 14:27
  • Philippians 4:4-9
  • Romans 5:1-5
  • Isaiah 26:3, 4

Newly retired

  • Proverbs 16:3
  • Matthew 6:25-34
  • Philippians 4:12
  • Isaiah 46:4

Praying

  • 1 John 5:14, 15
  • John 14:12-14
  • Luke 11:1-13
  • Psalms 66:16-20

Resentful (see also ‘Bitter or critical’)

  • 2 Timothy 2:22-24
  • Proverbs 3:11, 12

Sceptical (see also ‘Doubting’ and ‘Faith is weak’)

  • Luke 24:36-49
  • John 6:35-40
  • John 10:25-30

Sleepless

  • Matthew 11:28-30
  • 1 Peter 5:6, 7
  • Proverbs 3:21-26:5
  • Psalms 4:8

Stressed (see also ‘Worried’)

  • Matthew 6:25-27, 34
  • 1 Peter 5:7
  • John 14:1
  • Isaiah 40:31

Tempted to: (see separate section below)

Thankful

  • Psalms 100
  • 2 Corinthians 9:10-12 & 15
  • Colossians 3:15
  • Colossians 2:6, 7

Unemployed (see ‘Looking for a job/made redundant’)

Weary

  • Matthew 11:28-30
  • 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
  • Philippians 4:13
  • Isaiah 40:28-31

Witnessing

  • Acts 1:8
  • 1 Peter 3:15
  • Matthew 10:32, 33
  • Romans 10:8-10

Worried (see also ‘Stressed’)

  • Philippians 4:6, 7
  • Nahum 1:7
  • Psalms 46
  • Isaiah 43:1-3

Tempted to …

Commit suicide

  • 1 Corinthians 10:13
  • 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20
  • Psalms 34:6
  • Psalms 31:9, 10, 14-16

Divorce

  • Mark 10:1-12
  • Romans 7:1-3
  • Malachi 2:15, 16

Drink abuse

  • Ephesians 5:18
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8
  • 1 Corinthians 10:12, 13, 31
  • Proverbs 20:1

Drug abuse

  • 2 Peter 2:19
  • Romans 13:13, 14
  • Proverbs 25:28
  • Proverbs 14:12

Lie

  • Proverbs 6:16-19
  • Proverbs 19:9
  • Ephesians 4:22-25
  • Revelation 21:8

Sexual immorality

  • Galatians 5:19-24
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
  • 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10

Steal

  • Exodus 20:15
  • Romans 13:8-10
  • Ephesians 4:28
    Hebrews 13:5