----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Francis Harper
Francis Harper Message for 2/8/2019
January 27, 1995, was the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the most infamous of the Nazi concentration camps of World War II. There were an estimated 1.5 million people exterminated at this place of death between 1940 – 1945. Auschwitz and the other concentration camps were designed as instruments of terror by the leaders of the Third Reich. The deaths were caused by exposure, starvation, beatings, electrocution, excessive hard labor, medical experimentation, gas chambers, and firing squads. This was a holocaust. We dare not forget how evil man can become in a nation whose leaders turn away from God, and when citizens blindly accept their leadership.
In the midst of that dark night of horrors, a man stepped forward to take another man’s punishment. There’s no greater love.
A sergeant, a tough professional soldier, had just been picked by the SS for one of the most cruel deaths at Auschwitz. He would be stripped of his clothing, and placed in an empty, underground cell, and left without food and water, until he died. The condemned man sobbed for his wife, and children. He was ignored by his captors.
Suddenly, another prisoner stepped forward, and offered to die for the sergeant. This was not a momentary impulse in the man who had just offered to die. This was his way of life. He had walked the way of the cross for many years. This man of God was Maximilian Kolbe, a Catholic priest; Saint of Auschwitz. Many years before he had accepted the invitation of Jesus, to come and die. His willingness to die, for someone else, was rooted deep within his personality. It was a very natural thing for him to do.
Later, the pardoned sergeant Gajownicezek said; “I could only try to thank him with my eyes. I was stunned, and could hardly grasp what was happening. The immensity of it: I, the condemned, am to live, and someone else has willingly and voluntarily offered to lay down his life for me, a stranger! Is this a dream, or reality? . . .”
Sergeant Gajownicezek had witnessed the love of God in a man. God’s love revealed in a man gives us hope. The Sgt. longed to thank his “Savior.” “I could only thank him with my eyes!”
In many ways we are like the condemned sergeant. We will spiritually die without our Savior. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22). How can we ever thank Him?
A few years ago, Iris and I attended the movie, Schindler’s List. One of the closing statements made by Oskar Schindler, who had saved many from the gas chambers of World War II, was, “I could have saved more.” This statement has haunted me to this day. I hope and pray that I will be privileged to bring many to the Lord.
Our task is not to save souls. Our job is to bring people to the Savior who saves to the uttermost: “. . . he is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:24).
Lord, save us! There’s no greater love than yours. Because of your love for us we want to accept the call to martyrdom, in life or in death, according to your will. Help us to become “partakers of your divine nature.” (2 Peter 1:6).
My Love to All,
PS. Donations to assist Elder Pushkal Gadel’s surgery expenses to date is $1,445.00.
No Greater Love
During this month dedicated to hearts and flowers, and expressions of love, we need to remember these words of Jesus; “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends, ye are my friends . . .” (John 15).
Jesus taught and demonstrated that the highest type of love is self sacrificing. Our lives should be a free-will offering in service to others. Jesus challenges us to enter the way of the cross. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). Sounds kind of stupid, doesn’t it? “. . . the preaching of the cross is to them that perish, foolishness! (1 Corinthians 1:18). Jesus explained; “whosoever will save his life, shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life . . . shall find it” (Matthew 16:25).
A famous martyr once said; “Jesus asks us to come and die.” This is His invitation: “Come and die!” Probably not many of us will have the opportunity to die for another person, or persons, but all of us can be a “living sacrifice.” The Apostle Paul wrote: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies, a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).
We have been called to take up the cross first borne by Jesus. We are called to love without limits as Jesus loved. Much of Christian preaching today is focused on what Jesus can do for us! We need to return to preaching the great commandments; To love God and neighbor.
It has been said, “there is only one way to say, “I love you,” but there are thousands of ways we can show others that we love them.
Paul said love is demonstrated by our patience, kindness and humility. Those filled with love are not easily offended when they are mistreated. They are quick to forgive.
The minds of those who love are not filled with evil surmising. They think of those things that are true, honest and just. Their hearts are pure. They rarely complain. They can see the good in others. Their lives are devoted to serving and alleviating the burdens of their brothers and sisters.
We are called to bear the burdens of others. “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). The burdens our neighbors are carrying may be physical, spiritual or emotional. Are we quick to observe the needs of those around us and ever-ready to offer immediate assistance?
During the night of April 15, 2004, I was blessed with a spiritual dream. I was in a hotel lobby in an unknown, foreign city. I was greeting some people who were sitting on a couch, one of whom was a taller man sitting in the middle. As I took his hand to greet him, I immediately sensed he was having a heart attack. I knew that he was dying.
I was panic-stricken! I tried to enlist someone to assist me, but the people seemed to ignore me, or could not understand what I was saying! I had difficulty finding a telephone to call an emergency medical team. When I did reach an operator, I did not know the name or location of the hotel, and no one seemed to be willing or able to help me! Finally, in desperation, I asked a lady at the desk to help me. Although we could not understand each other verbally, she somehow understood what was needed and quickly made the call.
When I turned to see how the sick man was doing, I was surprised to see that he was gone! I immediately began to search for him, and when I finally found him, he was being cared for by the most wonderful rescue team that I had ever witnessed. Their medical skills were enhanced by the great love and compassion they had for my unknown friend. He was feeling much better and appeared to be so happy and grateful that he had been saved from death! I rejoiced with him and with those who were so skillfully attending to his needs.
The Lord is calling for volunteers to serve on His rescue team.