------ Forwarded message -----
From: Francis Harper
Francis Harper Message for 9/14/2018
Most of us have encountered some difficult times in our lives. During some of these the situation may have appeared hopeless. But the truth is, for those who believe in God, there are no hopeless situations. “For with God nothing can be impossible” (Luke 1:37).
Before the pilgrims arrived in America, they faced almost certain death in a storm on the North Sea. During what appeared to be a hopeless predicament, this prayer was offered: O, Lord, we know that even now [in this hopeless circumstance] you can save us,” and He did!
During World War II, Eddie Rickenbacker and his crew of airmen crashed into the South Pacific. Their hopes for being rescued were not promising. They drifted for twenty-one days. They could have appropriately prayed the pilgrim’s prayer; “O, Lord, we know that even now you can save us.” They survived by drinking the salt-free water supplied by the occasional showers of rain. At one point in their ordeal a seagull landed on the head of one of the crew members. This bird nourished them and supplied bait utilized to catch fish which also provided nourishment.
I recently heard of the greatest sea disaster in the history of the US Navy. At 14 minutes past midnight on July 30, 1945, the USS Indianapolis was sunk. Of the 1196 seamen aboard, about 900 made it into the water in the 12 minutes before she sank. Only 317 of these survived. Most of the survivors were wearing the standard kapok life jacket around their necks to keep their heads above the salty ocean water. Shark attacks began with the first day and continued until the men were physically removed from the water. After almost five days of constant shark attacks, starvation, terrible thirst, suffering from exposure and their wounds, the men of the Indianapolis were finally rescued from the sea. One of the survivors by the name of Harrel lived to tell his story. As he abandoned the ship he prayed, “God, help me.” He kept his hope alive. Many lost their hope, drank the seawater and perished.
Whenever we are faced with what others would call a hopeless situation we must keep our hope alive because we know even if our mortal life or the lives of our loved ones end, we know life does not end in a cemetery. Our souls are immortal.
The song, It is Well With My Soul, was written by the very successful Christian lawyer Horatio Spafford. His only son died in 1871 at the age of four. In 1872, the great Chicago fire wiped out his vast estate, accumulated from a successful legal career. In 1873 he sent his wife and four daughters to Europe on the ill fated SS Ville du Havre. Since he had a lot of work to do, he planned to follow them later. The ship sank and he lost his four daughters with his wife being the only survivor. She sent him a famous telegram which simply read, “saved alone.”
On his return home, his law firm had burned and his insurance company refused to pay for his loss. They called it “an act of God.” He had lost nearly everything, but his soul: He wrote the well known hymn; It is Well With My Soul. “ . . . when sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul.”
My Love to All,
There is Hope
There’s a scarcity of hope in the minds of many today. Suicides, especially in the younger generation, are increasing. Those who study this problem say that nearly 20% of our youth have suicidal thoughts. Jesus said: “The thief [Satan] cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy; I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). There is hope!
“Then spake Jesus, saying, come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls; for my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:29-30 IV; 11:28-30 KJV).
Jesus invites all of us to come and be closely associated with him. He will help us bear the burdens of life. He said; “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). Far too often we try to carry life’s burdens without his help.
Jesus invites us to join him in the establishment of the kingdom of God. “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Romans 14:17). “And blessed are they who seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end, they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb” (1 Nephi 3:187-188). Becoming involved in this kingdom building enterprise gives our lives purpose and meaning and promises great rewards.
Our ultimate hope is to be worthy to dwell with the Lord and his people in his everlasting kingdom of righteousness, peace and joy. Jesus will return and fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah:
“. . . and the government shall be upon his shoulder . . . and of the increase of his government and peace there is no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9:6-7). The fulfillment of this prophecy is as sure as the sun shall rise tomorrow morning. Our hope for a place in the celestial glory of the Lord’s everlasting kingdom rests in our preparedness. He will help us in our preparation. He wants all of us to be there.
Paul wrote: “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1 Corinthians 15:20 IV; 15:19 KJV). If we have no hope beyond this mortal life which is so often filled with struggles, sufferings and sorrow, we would be most miserable. But we have the promise that Jesus will come to usher in his millennial kingdom, filled with unspeakable joy. For “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9, Isaiah 64:4).
I met Elder Tom Dooley at the North Dakota Reunion in August, 2003. He told me that he and his wife Angie had traveled to Mexico thirty-seven times in 37 years to do missionary work. Upon one occasion, after reading of the things God has prepared for those who love him, his wife Angie responded: “Tom, we better love Him a lot.” He is easy to love. He gives us hope.