From: Francis Harper
From: Francis Harper 3/24/17
According to the prophecy of Amos: “In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst” (Amos 8:13).
Sadly, these prophetic words of Amos are being fulfilled in our day. As in the days of Isaiah, “. . . they trust in vanity [pride] and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity. Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity . . . truth is fallen in the street” (Isaiah 59:4,7,14).
We are losing our young people [the fair virgins and young men] by multiple millions each passing year. Where can we place the blame? What can we do to stem the tide?
I am a participant in a mentoring program at the local school. My mentee is a ten-year-old fourth grade boy. We meet for an hour each week for lunch. He was so tired yesterday he could hardly keep his eyes open. He told me he had played a video game until five o’clock in the morning. His parents are divorced. He lives with his mother and a surrogate father whom he describes as being “mean.” America has a parental problem.
I asked my youngest granddaughter if she knew of any high school classmates who had an interest in Jesus and the truth. She could not name even one! She described a popular basketball player who claims to be an atheist. She also mentioned that many in her class are from single-parent homes.
I have described some of what is going on in rural America. I suspect that conditions in urban schools are much the same, or worse. I have recently heard that disciplinary problems are also increasing in our school. I am sure disciplinary problems are increasing in schools throughout our nation.
President Donald J. Trump’s campaign slogan was “Make America Great Again.” America will never attain greatness again unless, or until, the vast majority of its citizens fully embrace Christianity again. America is a choice land “above all other lands preserved for a righteous people and whatsoever nation shall possess it, shall be free from bondage, and from captivity . . . if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ . . .” (Ether 1:29, 35).
Alexis de Tocqueville (1805 – 1859) was a famous French statesman, historian and philosopher. He wrote: “I sought for the key to the greatness and genius of America in her harbors . . .; in her fertile fields and boundless forests; in her rich mines and vast world commerce; in her public school system and institutions of learning. I sought for it in her democratic Congress and in her matchless Constitution.
“Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power.
“America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
My love to all,
One of the best signs of good health is a good appetite. This is just as true for us spiritually
as it is physically. A young man said to me, “I am hungry.” I asked him if he was hungry for meat
and potatoes. I knew he was speaking of another kind of hunger. He was hungering and thirsting
for truth. Jesus said, “And blessed are all they that do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for
they shall be filled with the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 5:8 IV; 5:6 KJV).
Many are on a starvation diet today and are not aware that they are starving spiritually.
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of
bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. And they shall wander from
sea to sea [from sea to shining sea], and from the north [and south] even to the east [and west],
they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it. In that day shall the
fair virgins and young men faint for thirst” Amos 8:11-13).
In our nation, we are blessed with a plentiful supply of food and water. I have been amazed
at the quantity, quality and variety of food available in our large food stores and warehouses. We
certainly do not have a famine of bread, or of water, in our land. Due to the abundance of food to
satisfy our physical appetites and a lack of self-discipline, we have an obesity problem.
While the inhabitants of our nation are being well-nourished physically, they are
experiencing a famine for spiritual food. This is a two-fold problem: 1) Those who have been
called to teach and preach the word are not fulfilling their calling. 2) The sheep and the lambs do
not have an appetite for the word. I believe the lack of appetite is the greater part of the problem.
We need to be reminded of the words of Jesus: “Man does not live by bread alone, but by
every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). We need to whet our
appetites for the nutritious words of God. The good counsel of Nephi should be heeded: “Feast
upon the words of Christ; for behold the words of Christ will tell you all things what [that] ye
should do” (2 Nephi 14:4). The word “feast” suggests more than a mere nibbling upon the
Even as we need to discipline ourselves against an over-indulgence of physical food, we
need to discipline ourselves to feast daily upon a portion of spiritual food. At a reunion years
ago, Apostle Arthur Oakman challenged the Saints: “If you will discipline yourselves to spend
fifteen minutes each day in studying the Scriptures, within a year you will be receiving the
ministry of angels.”
The Lord has provided an abundance of spiritual food for us. Jesus said, “I am the bread of
life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger . . . your father did eat manna in the wilderness, and
are dead. But I am the living bread which came down from heaven [the manna which came down
from heaven was a type and shadow of the coming of Jesus]; if any man eat of this bread, he
shall live forever” (John 6:35-51).
Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible, is in reality a song, expressing the psalmist’s
great joy and gratitude for the word of God. As we grow in spiritual maturity, reading the
Scriptures becomes a grand feast to our souls. As the psalmist proclaimed, “How sweet are thy
words unto my taste! Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth” (Psalm 119:103.
One hour with Jesus, a grand feast to my soul; His burdens are light and his yoke easily
borne; Though hardships and trials I may have to meet, The Spirit bears witness the end will be
sweet. From the hymn “One Hour With Jesus”, Hymns of the Restoration, #68 or The Hymnal, #397.
Above all, we need to develop an appetite for the presence of the Lord and his Holy Spirit.