- ----- Forwarded Message -----From: Francis HarperFrancis Harper Message for 7/3/2020Dear Lord, Heal Our Land“O’ God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come” (Hymns of the Restoration #228).As we celebrate the 244th anniversary of our nation’s birth I recall the story of a little boy who came to his teacher to tell her that he loved her. His teacher was pleased, but she asked the boy if he knew where she was hurting. He said, “No, but I love you.” She then told him that if he really loved her he would know where she was hurting and would try to help her. Similarly, if we truly love our country, we would know where she is hurting and would be asking, “What can I do for my country?”The words spoken by President John F. Kennedy in his Inaugural Address have never been more timely: “And so my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”Our nation is hurting today. We as a nation are sick. The symptoms of our sickness are many. We are a nation with many misplaced priorities. We have become “lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:4). Our pleasure seeking has led to the many magnificent sports palaces and complexes and the ridiculous sums being paid to our professional athletes and their coaches. We should be embarrassed by the countless hours spent in watching the contests of the competing teams.Calling our nation The United States of America has become a mockery. Have we forgotten the words “United we stand, divided we fall?” We need to “look unto the rock from whence ye were hewn” (Isaiah 51:17). Our children need to be taught of those who built the foundations of our country. They were people who diligently prayed and faithfully read God’s word and lived by it. I love to sing America The Beautiful, which speaks of her “spacious skies, purple mountain majesties and amber waves of grain.” Best of all I love singing the thoughtful words of prayer, “God mend thine every flaw, and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea.”I recall traveling across our country one summer and marveling at its productive beauty which moved me to tears of gratitude; saying aloud to those with me; “How dare we ever desecrate this beautiful land in any way!”I remember telling a young couple who had asked me to preside at their wedding that the best thing they could do for their community and country was to establish a strong relationship and if they were blessed with children, “to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
We have a promise in the Scriptures that we need to claim: “If my people which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin[s], and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).Remember the city of Sodom would have been spared if only ten righteous could have been found in it. (Genesis 18:40 IV; 18:32 KJV). We need to get on our knees and pray for our country again, even as the founding fathers, such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and many others, have prayed in former years. We can be the patriots our nation needs at this perilous time.This week as we celebrate the birth of our nation, I sincerely ask you to join me, and many others, in praying for a re-birth of our nation. Dear God, Heal our Land.+++++++++++++++++++++++++++Dear Ones,We celebrate the birth of our country on July 4 each year because it was on July 4, 1776, in the old State House in Philadelphia, that a group of men gathered for the purpose of declaring the thirteen colonies, that they represented, to be free and independent from the British Empire. These men would be guilty of high treason against their government if they signed the declaration that was lying on the table before them. Their lives were at stake. If the proposed War of Revolution failed they would no doubt be hanged. There were many impassioned speeches. Some of the delegates were hesitant to sign the document. In the letters of Thomas Jefferson, which are preserved in the Library of Congress, there is an account of an interesting incident that occurred during this portentous session.This was a top secret meeting. The delegates could be severely punished just for being there. The door had been locked and a guard posted. According to Jefferson, it was late in the afternoon and the talk was about axes, scaffolds, and the gibbet, when suddenly a strong, bold voice sounded: “Gibbet! They may stretch our necks on all the gibbets in the land; they may turn every rock into a scaffold; every tree into a gallows; every home into a grave; and yet the words on that parchment lying before us will never die! They may pour our blood on a thousand scaffolds, and yet from every drop of our blood a new champion of freedom will be born! The British King may blot out the stars of heaven, but he cannot blot out the words of truth written on the document that lies before us!”“The words of this declaration will live in this world long after our bones have turned to dust. Sign that parchment! Sign, if the next moment the gibbets rope is around your neck! Sign, if the next minute this hall rings with the clash of falling axes! Sign as men, as husbands, as fathers, brothers, sign your names to the parchment or be accursed forever! Sign, and not only for yourselves, but for all ages, for that parchment will become the text book of freedom, the Bible of the rights of man forever.“It is truth, your own hearts witness it. God proclaims it. Look at this strange band of exiles and outcasts, suddenly transformed into a people: a handful of men, weak in army, but mighty in faith in an Almighty God; look at your recent achievements, your Bunker Hill, your Lexington, and then tell me, if you can, that God has not intended that America be free!”The unknown speaker returned to his seat. The delegates, carried away by his enthusiasm, rushed forward to sign the parchment. John Hancock scarcely had time to pen his bold signature before the quill was grasped by another, and another until it was done. The delegates had all signed the Declaration of Independence.The delegates then turned to express their gratitude to the unknown speaker for his inspiring words. He was not there. Who was this strange man who seemed to speak with divine authority, whose solemn words had given courage to the doubters?Unfortunately, no one knows. His name was not recorded; none of those present knew him. How he had entered into the locked and guarded room is not known, nor is there any record of the manner of his departure. No one claimed to have seen him before and there is no mention of him later. Only his imperishable speech bears witness of his presence there on that first 4th of July.Is there any doubt that Almighty God has made us and continues to preserve us as a nation? When we recognize our many individual, as well national sins; we ask, “How long will He continue to bless us and uphold us?” Surely His long-suffering and patience is being sorely tired! We are already beginning to see evidences that the sword of His divine justice is falling upon us. Heaven help us to amend our ways before it is too late!My Love to All,High Priest Francis Harper