Friday, January 12, 2018

Francis Harper Message for 1/12/2018

From: Francis Harper

Francis Harper Message for 1/12/2018

Dear Ones,

One of the hymns we often sing with the saints in our congregation is titled, Trust and Obey. These words could be our motto for 2018; our theme song. What a recipe it is for a happy new year!

Trust and Obey
When we walk with the Lord in the light of His word, What a glory
He sheds on our way! While we do His good will, He abides with
us still, And with all who will trust and obey.

Not a shadow can rise, Not a cloud in the skies, But His smile
quickly drives it away; Not a doubt nor a fear, Not a sigh nor a
tear Can abide while we trust and obey.

Not a burden we bear, Not a sorrow we share, But our toil He
doth richly repay; Not a grief nor a loss, Not a frown nor a cross,
But is blest if we trust and obey.

But we never can prove The delights of His love Until
all on the altar we lay, For the favor He shows, And the
joy he bestows, Are for them who will trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet We will sit at His feet, Or we’ll
walk by His side in the way; What He says we will do,
Where He sends we will go, Never fear, only trust and obey.

Refrain: Trust and obey, for there’s no other way To be
happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
Hymns of the Restoration, 371)

I was so impressed with this hymn as I prepared to lead the priesthood prayer service on Sunday morning, January 7, 2018, that I searched and found the account of its origin: “The evangelist Dwight Moody was conducting a series of meetings in Brocton, Massachusetts. One night a young person rose in a testimony meeting and said, ‘I am not quite sure – but I am going to trust, and I am going to obey!’ A listener jotted down this simple statement and sent it to a minister who wrote a poem using the words. Later it was sent to a musician who arranged the music.
We used the hymn in the priesthood prayer service. Then, without any prompting from me, the lady who led the early morning worship selected the same hymn to be sung by the congregation. Later, the elder who gave the Lord’s Supper message emphasized our need to trust the Lord as we face the uncertainties of the new year.
Another hymn comes to mind; “O’ God our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, Be thou our guard while troubles last and our eternal home” (Hymns of the Restoration, 228).
In God We Trust, our nation’s motto, is inscribed on every coin and denomination of currency minted and printed by the U.S. government. Although there has been some agitation to remove the motto from our money, hopefully it will never happen.
Some have mistakenly thought the words, In God We Trust on our money were indicating that our money is our god. This can happen. If and when it does, disaster is sure to follow. The souls of those who trust in riches will shrivel and die.
Jesus warned us not to trust in riches. He said: “…it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God…And he said unto them, It is impossible for them who trust in riches, to enter into the kingdom of God; but he who forsaketh the things which are of this world, it is possible with God, that he should enter in” (Luke 18:25-27).
Riches are not the problem. It is the trusting in riches, rather than trusting in God, that creates the problem. Money is not the root of all evil, it is the love of money we need to avoid. “For the love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10). Paul counseled: “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17).
Another hymn I love to sing with the saints, is “God will take care of You” by Fanny J Crosby. I especially enjoy singing the refrain, “Oh, what a Father, Redeemer and Friend!” After my many years of trusting in him I can say with confidence, “we can trust him for all” (Hymns of the Restoration, Hymn 289).
As we trust and obey, obedience is “our part of the bargain”. A scripture I have often heard my father quote is : “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams” (1 Samuel 15:22). In latter day revelation we read: “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say, but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise” (Doctrine and Covenants 81:3-b).

Love to All,
Francis Harper


The High Calling of God

The Apostle Paul wrote: “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ
Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). What is the mark? What is the prize?

The mark toward which we are called is Christ Jesus. Our calling as Christians is to become like
Him. This should be our foremost goal. Peter asked: “what manner of persons ought ye to be in holy
conduct and godliness, Looking unto, and preparing for the day of the coming of the Lord…? (2 Peter
3:11-12). Jesus answered Peter’s question: “Verily I say unto you, Even as I am” (3 Nephi 13:5). “Yea,
your joy shall be full, even as the Father hath given me fullness of joy; and ye shall be even as I am, and I am even as the Father; and the Father and I are one; (3 Nephi 13:22).

Even as he is?! Perhaps you are saying, it will never happen! But Jesus has prayed for us and his
prayers are always answered. He prayed: “I pray for them; I pray not for the world, but for them which
thou hast given me; for they are thine…Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall
believe on me through their word;” (John 17: 9-20). John wrote: “we know that, when he shall appear,
we shall be like him;…And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure”
(1 John 3:2-3).

God has promised: “I will raise up unto myself a pure people that will serve me in righteousness”
(Doctrine and Covenants 97:4). God keeps his word. We will become his pure people when we fully
yield ourselves to his will and purposes.

Paul was willing to suffer the loss of all worldly things to win the prize; to “win Christ”. So Jesus
is the mark and also the prize! Those who achieve Christ-likeness, not only receive the “prize” of being
with Jesus, there’s a threefold bonus!

1) They will come forth in the first resurrection (1 Thessalonians 4:16).
2) They will receive an invitation to the marriage supper (Revelation 19:9).
3) They will live and reign with the Lord in his kingdom a thousand years” (Revelation

Even as an earthly bride wants to be with her bridegroom, the Church of Jesus Christ will be filled with a great desire to be with her Bridegroom; willing to give up every worldly lust and pleasure to
be with him in his kingdom.

Jesus concluded his Sermon on the Mount with these words: “Wherefore, seek not for the things of this world but seek ye first to build up the kingdom of God, and to establish his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:38 I.V.; 6:33 KJV).

Most people today are afflicted with short-sightedness. They have not been blessed with an eternal perspective. “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are
foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians

We need the mind of Christ. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for
the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising [looking beyond] the shame, and is set
down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

Moses, the great prophet like Jesus [Deuteronomy 18:18], “when he was come to years of
discretion, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt” (Hebrews 11:24-26).

I recall some of the words of a hymn, “God of Grace and God of Glory…Grant us wisdom, Grant us courage for the facing of this hour,…Grant us wisdom, Grant us courage, for the living of these days…Grant us wisdom, Grant us courage, Lest we miss thy kingdom’s goal, lest we miss thy kingdom’s goal. Amen” (Hymns of the Saints, 419).

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