----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Francis Harper
Francis Harper Message for 1/11/2019
Before choosing, we should always endeavor to determine God’s will in the matter. We know his will is always best for us. When we know his will and refuse to do it, we can expect to suffer the bitter consequences. “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man; but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 16:25).
The Lord will help us in our choosing. The fourteen year old Joseph Smith, Jr., was struggling with which church he should join, when he read these words of scripture: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering, for he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed . . . let not that man think he will receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:5-6). Joseph got an answer he least expected, and in a way he could never doubt; “Join none of them.” See Joseph Smith Tells His Own Story, Pages 5-6). We must pray in faith for his guidance.
Alma advised his son Helaman: “. . . counsel the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good: yea, when thou liest down at night, lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning, let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if you do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day” (Alma 17:69-70). Is there a greater promise? “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; Then they that are alive, shall be caught up together into the clouds . . . to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
All of us have experienced, or will experience, times in our lives when we have been, or will be faced with necessary choices which will profoundly affect our lives and the lives of our children in this life and in the life to come.
Some may be afraid to make these weighty choices for fear of making a poor choice. Those who do not exercise their freedom to choose the pathway of their lives as the Lord directs them, will be like a ship without a rudder that invariably drifts into trouble and wrecks!
We are living in perilous times but we do not need to fear with God at our right hand. Charles Derry, an ever faithful servant of God, wrote that Isaiah 41 had been a tower of strength to him. I can say the same. On 10-24-90, I read these comforting words of Isaiah; “Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee and have not cast thee away. Fear thou not; for I am with thee; be not dismayed; for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” (Isaiah 41:9-10). On the lower margin of the page of this text I wrote: I read this on a day I was down, 10-24-90. God has kept his word. He will help us all as we struggle with choosing the right way. John Oxenham’s poem seems appropriate:
To every man there openeth A Way, and Ways, and a Way.
And the High Soul climbs the High Way,
And the Low Soul gropes the Low,
And in between, on the misty flats, the rest drift to and fro.
But to every man there openeth A High Way, and a Low.
And every man decideth the way his soul shall go.
Remember: “Choosing second best is the first step toward moral decay” (A.W. Tozer).
My Love to All,
A Day for Choosing
“There has been a day of calling, but the time has come for a day of choosing” (Doctrine and Covenants 102:10-c). Elijah asked the Lord’s people: “How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow him. . .” (1 Kings 18:21). Joshua challenged his people: “Choose you this day whom ye will serve . . . but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).
It has been said, If we are negligent, and do not choose, we have already chosen! We are called to be decisive. Jesus said, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot; I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth”
Elijah’s message was “If the Lord be God, follow him; but if Baal [be God], then follow him” (1 Kings 18:21). Make a decision! Joshua’s counsel was “choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). Make a decision!
Choosing to follow the Lord and keeping his commandments is a life or death decision. In a final message to the children of Israel, Moses said: “See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes, and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply; and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. . . . I have set before you this day, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live; That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him; for he is thy life . . .” (Deuteronomy 30:15-16, 19-20).
These words of Moses were the inspired words of God. And he does not “alter the thing that is gone out of his lips” (Psalm 89:34). These words are still applicable to his people who are living on the earth in this new year; 2019.
Some of the final words of Moses were: “. . . I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands” (Deuteronomy 31:29). God’s people have often learned to obey by the things they have suffered! (Doctrine and Covenants 102:2-c).
“Therefore cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are “free to act for yourselves; to choose the way of everlasting death, or the way of eternal life. Wherefore my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved” (2 Nephi 7:40-42).
Choose Jesus. He is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). “Choose you this day whom ye will serve.” We tend to procrastinate. Choosing to follow Jesus with “full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy, and no deception before God, with real intent, . . .” (2 Nephi 13:16); should not be delayed a single day.