----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Francis Harper
Francis Harper Message for 7/10/2020
The Lord Will Provide
Isaac asked his father, “. . . where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “My son, God will provide . . . a lamb . . .” (Genesis 22:9-10). This lamb was a type and shadow of the Lamb of God the Lord provided for all of mankind; the greatest of all that God has provided. “This God is the God we adore, our faithful unchangeable friend . . . Tis Jesus, the first and the last, whose Spirit will guide us safe home: we’ll praise him for all that is past, and trust him for all that’s to come” (Hymns of the Restoration #40).
During a recent telephone conversation with a friend, he suggested we close our fellowship with prayer. He offered to lead. He began by repeating The Lord’s Prayer and Psalm 23. I was blessed by this introduction to our time of prayer.
Jesus taught us to pray: “Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed by thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is done in heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And suffer us not to be led into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever, Amen” (Matthew 6:11-15 IV). So few words, yet so complete. What more do we need?
He continued: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever” (Psalm 23).
What beautiful soul-restoring words! They are an unsurpassed expression of faith and confidence in the Lord’s bountiful care for us all the days of our mortal lives and beyond. A child said it best: “The Lord is my shepherd, that’s all I need.”
The words of a hymn support the thoughts expressed in the shephard’s Psalm: “Why should this anxious load press down your weary mind? O seek your heavenly Father’s throne, and peace and comfort find. His bounty will provide; His saints securely dwell; that hand that bears creation up will guard his children well. His goodness stands approved, unchanged from day to day; I’ll drop my burden at his feet, and bear a song away” (Hymns of the Restoration #284).
Another hymn comes to mind: “O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, our shelter from the stormy blast and our eternal home” (Hymns of the Restoration #228).
Later, as I meditated upon the time of prayer spent with my brother in the gospel, I wondered about the length of time utilized in quoting these favorite scriptures. It took me only a few seconds more than one minute to read them.
David who wrote the immortal words of this psalm was well acquainted with the Shepherd. Because of this, his words written so long ago still speak with power and authority to us who are facing our own difficulties today.
An account has been told of an event at which two persons were asked to read Psalm 23. One of the individuals selected to read had been trained in reading scripts for broadcasting and theatrical programs. The other was an elderly man who had not been trained in public speaking. The program had been designed to illustrate the importance of being taught the art of conveying a message by reading it.
The person who had been trained in all the techniques of delivering a message to an audience read first. He received a good applause. Then the elderly man came slowly to the podium to read. When he finished he received a standing ovation. When asked to explain the difference in response to the readings, the moderator said, “the second reader knows the Shepherd!”
My assignment for Sunday, June 14, 2020, was to preside at the preaching service held at the Woodbine Restoration Branch. Usually before selecting hymns for a service I consult with the one who will be preaching. The hymns selected for the service should support the theme of the sermon.
Although we had not spoken to one another about the service, both of us had prayed for the Lord’s assistance. We were blessed. I selected two hymns: God Is My Strong Salvation, and God Will Take Care of You. Imagine my great pleasure during the sermon which was based upon the account of how God took care of the two thousand young soldiers led into battle by their commander, Helaman!
“Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death . . . yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt; God would deliver them” (Alma 26:56). They believed that God would take care of them and their faith was rewarded. After the battle, Helaman reported: “. . . behold, to my great joy, there had not one soul of them fallen to the earth; yea, and they had fought as if with the strength of God . . .” (Alma 26:65-67).
After the sermon, I said to the congregation; some may say it was a small thing that the hymns and sermon delivered the same message today. No, this is huge thing! This is a powerful witness that God will take care of us in all the difficulties we may encounter in the future. God has said: “My people will I preserve” (Doctrine and Covenants 36:12e). Our God is trustworthy.
One of my roommates at Iowa State was Hale Collins. His mother Camilla Holben Collins wrote a book titled In The Hollow of His Hand. On pages 23-27, Camilla shared her testimony of how the Lord provided for her family during the Great Depression. On a Saturday, after she had put the money they had pledged to the church, into the tithing envelope, her purse was empty. Then she remembered they needed milk, matches and some laundry soap. Payday was not until the next Wednesday! She was tempted to remove the money she had put in the envelope. But she and her six year old son decided to go to God with their problem. They prayed.
On Sunday morning, as they prepared for church, a neighbor came with six quarts of milk. Their cow was giving more milk than they could use so they wanted to share with them. Later on Sunday afternoon a missionary who was traveling through their city, stopped at their home for a couple of hours between trains. As he prepared to shave he began removing matches from his pockets and suitcase. There was enough to fill a small bowl. They wondered why he was carrying so many matches? They knew he did not smoke. The missionary left without the matches! Now all they needed was the laundry soap.
On Monday morning, wash day, the doorbell began to buzz. Camilla hesitated to open the door. Finally she relented. It was a man handing out free soap samples! Among the samples was a giant box of laundry soap. Without any questions he handed her the giant box of soap. After he left, Hale and his mother knelt and thanked God for providing the three things they needed.
The Dil Gurung family moved to Kathmandu, Nepal, in 2003. They suffered in poverty until Dil was given part time employment at the American Embassy. One morning Dil’s wife, Rebecca, told him they needed some meat, shampoo, and chocolate, she not knowing, he said, that my pockets were empty. That evening before leaving the embassy Dil’s employer asked him to wait, because she had prepared something for him and his family. She gave him a large, heavily loaded box, and taxi fare to get home.
When the box was opened, the couple found her shopping list had been filled with even more than she had asked! There were two large dressed chickens, a giant sized bottle of shampoo, and yes, among other items there was a chocolate bar! Dil wondered how his employer knew they needed two chickens; one for them and one for those who were providing for their two older, teenaged sons? I have often heard Dil say, “The Lord knows our needs.” (In the Shadows of the Himalaya’s pp 57-58)
I could hardly wait until Dil had finished sharing his testimony of how the Lord provided meat, shampoo and chocolate for their family, so I could tell him how God provided milk, matches and laundry soap for the Collins family in America many years ago.
These double witnesses give us proof and evidence that God is the same yesterday, today and forever, and he hears the prayers and knows the needs of his people no matter when or where they live in this beautiful world. By these miracles, we know the Lord will continue to provide for his people until his kingdom is established and every needful thing will be fully supplied.
My Love to All,
High Priest Francis Harper