Friday, April 7, 2017

Who Am I ? - from Francis Harper

From: Francis Harper

Who Am I?

Dear Ones,
When a person is blessed by the presence of the Holy Spirit and they see themselves as the Lord sees them, they often respond with words expressing their shame and embarrassment. They are brought low, into the depths of humility. Isaiah wrote, “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord . . . Then said I, woe is me! For I am undone [heart-broken]; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King; the Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 6:1,5).
Paul responded to the revelation of himself with these words: “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:26).
When Peter witnessed their nets being filled with so many fish that both of their ships began to sink, “he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5:8). In the Lord’s presence, Peter recognized his sinfulness and unworthiness.
Being brought to their knees before the Lord in recognition of their sinful natures was the first step in the redemption of Isaiah, Paul and Peter. It is the necessary, initial step for all who want to become his disciple.
Nephi wrote: “Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel [Jesus]: and he employeth no servant there [only Jesus is qualified to judge us]; And there is none other way, save [except] it be by the gate, for he cannot be deceived; for the Lord God is his name. And whoso knocketh, to him, will he open; and the wise, and the learned, and they that are rich, who are puffed up [in pride] because of their learning, and their wisdom, and their riches; yea, they are they whom he despiseth; and save [unless] they shall cast these things away [the pride in their learning, wisdom and riches] and consider themselves fools [poverty stricken and unlearned] before God, and come down in the depths of humility, he will not open unto them” (2 Nephi 6:81-84).
The phrase “depths of humility” is unique to The Book of Mormon. “The depths of humility” is an excellent way to describe the level of humility needed to qualify persons for entrance into the Lord’s eternal kingdom. Being humbled to the depths of humility happens to those who experience the presence of the Lord. In his presence we become aware of our sinfulness. This awareness causes us to have a penitent heart and a contrite spirit. David discovered, “a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise,” and he was forgiven. See Psalm 51:17.
Alma wrote of some people who were compelled to be humble by the afflictions they suffered. “And now as I said unto you, that because ye were compelled to be humble, ye were blessed, do ye not suppose that they are more blessed who truly humble themselves . . . without being compelled to be humble” (Alma 16:136-137).
Where are we on the scale of humility? Alma preached, “Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently humble? Behold are ye stripped of pride? I say unto you, If ye are not, ye are not prepared to meet God. Behold ye must prepare quickly . . .” (Alma 3:48, 50-51).

My love to all,
Francis Harper


Who Am I?

Jesus asked his disciples,Whom do men say I, the Son of Man, am? And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; some say Elias; and others Jeremias; or one of the prophets. He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar Jona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto thee, but my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 16:14-18 IV; 16:13-17 KJV).
Only God knows who I am. My neighbors, friends and enemies [I hope they are few in number] will have differing opinions as to who I am. I have some inkling of who I really am, but that may be slightly prejudicial in my favor. The knowledge of who we really are must be revealed by our Father in heaven.

We need to know who we are. We need to have an accurate appraisal of ourselves. Joseph Smith wrote: “. . . after I had retired to my bed for the night, I betook myself to prayer and supplication to Almighty God for forgiveness of all my sins and follies, and also for a manifestation to me, that I might know of my state and standing before him . . .” We need to know our state and standing before God. Without this knowledge, how can we make the necessary adjustments and amendments in our lives,
enabling us to become good and faithful servants of the Lord?

We occasionally think of ourselves “more highly than he [we] ought to think” (Romans 12:3).
At other times we may loathe ourselves, due to the accusations of Satan; “the accuser of our brethren” (Revelation 12:10). We need to call upon the Lord to help us escape these deceptions, either of which can make us ineffective servants of the Lord.

The Lord rescued Elijah from the depths of despair. I have often wondered how Elijah could have been so quickly depressed, even requesting death for himself, after witnessing the fire of God fall from heaven and consume the water-soaked sacrifice?

See 1 Kings 18:30-39. Within a very short period of time, after his life was threatened by the wicked Queen Jezebel, Elijah was sitting under a Juniper tree, requesting that he might die! Later, while he was lodged in a cave feeling sorry for himself, the Lord spoke to him in a still, small voice: “What doest thou here, Elijah?” (1 Kings, 19:9, 13).

We need to invite the ministry of the Holy Spirit to come and deliver us from any vestige of pride that may be present in us.
When even a particle of pride remains in us, we cannot love as it is required by the great commandments. See Matthew 22:35-39
IV; 22:36-40 KJV.

In the presence of the Holy Spirit we catch a glimpse of who we really are. We begin to see ourselves as God sees us. We need to be awakened to a “lively sense” of our guilt in the eyes of the Lord (Mosiah 1:83). This awakening will cause us to cry out as David: “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness; according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity and cleanse me from my sin ... create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me” (Psalm 51:1-2, 10-11).

“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy on him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7).​

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