just a thought

aaronlinford

Rev. Aaron Linford

BEYOND MEASURE 

Of the ninefold fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22) it says, “Against such there is no law”. This puts these spiritual graces into a class all of their own. SCIENCE is confined to observation and measurement – Bunsen-burner, test-tube, microscope, telescope, and so on, all instruments to assess change or state. But the values that enrich life are more concerned with meaning, where quality is more important than quantity. 

In this bracket may be listed these spiritual “fruit” of our text. NO laws restrict their use, their growth, their depth; they are above computation. Take the first three manifestations of divine life.

Love – “the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge” (Eph 3:19). It has “breadth, length, depth and height”, but these extend to infinity.

Joy – to believers is “joy unspeakable and full of glory”

(1 Pet 1:8), an ineffable rapture that brings Heaven into our

experience.

Peace – “passeth all understanding” (Phil 4:7). We may not grasp its exquisite tranquillity with our minds, but we can feel its intense presence in our hearts, banishing worry and fear.

And so, although we value rationality, there are forces that are beyond (though not against) it. There are the things matter most.

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illustrations that light up life

ernest kitchen

Rev. E. Anderson

FOUR STEPS TO YOUR DREAM

 Years ago a young black child was growing up in Cleveland, in a home which he later described as “materially poor but spiritually rich.”

One day a famous athlete, Charlie Paddock, came to his school to speak to the students. At the time Paddock was considered “the fastest human being alive.” He told the children, “Listen! What do you want to be? You name it and then believe that God will help you be it.” That little boy decided that he too wanted to be the fastest human being on earth.

The boy went to his track coach and told him of his new dream. His coach told him, “It’s great to have a dream, but to attain your dream you must build a ladder to it. Here is the ladder to your dreams. The first rung is determination! And the second rung is dedication! The third rung is discipline! And the fourth rung is attitude!”

The result of all that motivation is that he went on to win four gold medals in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He won the 100 meter dash and broke the Olympic and world records for the 200 meter. His broad jump record lasted for twenty-four years. His name? Jesse Owens.

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healing testimony

ernest reading pose

Rev. E. Anderson

A GOLDEN GIFT

BJ Jensen

Isaiah answered, “This is the Lord’s, sign to you that the Lord will do what he lias promised” – 2 Kings 20:9

While my husband Doug and I were vacationing at a time-share resort in Alabama one summer, the chlorine in the pool sent us shopping for protective swim goggles. Fortunately, there was a small sporting goods store at a little strip mall ten miles away. Luckily, they had two pair, one for each of us. As we were leaving the store, I felt compelled to go into a little jewelry store at the other end of the mall.

It was highly unlikely for me to be drawn to that type of store because I hadn’t shopped in a real jewelry store since the long ago day we had purchased our wedding rings. Doug urged me to follow my whimsical impulse. It was totally out of character for him to want to shop, or to want me to shop. But, since we were on vacation, had no time constraints, and were on an adventure, we light-heartedly headed for the jewelry store.

Upon entering the quaint little shop, 1 was immediately attracted to a rotating display case that held gold earrings. I certainly didn’t need another pair of earrings. I couldn’t believe how I instantly spotted an adorable pair shaped like dolphins swimming in a circle. 1 smiled fondly remembering how our son Jay was always fascinated with dolphins, from the time he was a little boy to manhood. Sadness welled up in me as I contemplated the approaching anniversary of our beloved Jay’s death.

“Why would a store hundreds of miles from an ocean carry a pair of dolphin earrings?” I wondered out loud to Doug. Seemed like serendipity to me, so I rationalized why I wanted the dolphin earrings; they would be a fond reminder of Jay, or possibly a birthday present to myself. Maybe the earrings could be considered a reward for all the hard work I had been doing in physical therapy to recover from my recent serious back surgery. If those weren’t good enough reasons, I would simply purchase them as a vacation souvenir.

When the clerk showed us the pricey sales ticket, I quickly returned the unreasonably expensive gold dolphin earrings to the showcase and put the thought of purchasing them out of my mind. Doug was relieved.

Our mood returned to “we’re on vacation” and we realized we were wasting daylight and swimming time. We headed back to the pool to put our new goggles to good use.

A vigorous workout provided us with a peaceful rest that night. I was slowly awakening at dusk, in a blissful state of semi-conscious­ness, startled by a voice. It was a familiar voice that sounded like Jay. I strained my eyes, but couldn’t see where the voice was coming from.

“How ya’ doing, Mom?” The unmistakable greeting shocked me; that was the way Jay always greeted me when he came home for a visit. “I want you to know I’m really happy here,” the voice continued. “I want you to buy the dolphin earrings for your birthday.”

Jay’s voice persisted. “Use the money in my wallet in my brief­case behind the boxes in the workroom closet. Then, when you wear the dolphin earrings, you will be happy like I am.”

The voice was gone as suddenly as it had come. I felt discon­certed, confused, yet warmed by what had just transpired.

I was reluctant to tell Doug about this extraordinary encounter because I wasn’t quite sure myself what had happened. It was so pre­cious, yet too unbelievable to share.

I reasoned that he would attribute it to my understandable stress at this time of year. I made the firm decision not to tell him, and felt relieved.

And then, before I knew it, the tale of the unusual experience poured forth uncontrollably. Taken aback by the outpouring and obviously sceptical of my story, Doug carefully assessed the situa­tion with his trained legal mind and asked me very specific probing questions.

Satisfied that something miraculous had occurred, he calmly and assuredly said, “God often does amazing things in the lives of faithful followers to show them His love.”

My level-headed hubby reflected that the mysterious event might have been the delivery of a special love note from God and Jay.

Unbeknownst to me, Doug said he’d hidden Jay’s briefcase in the back of the closet soon after his death eight years ago, without looking inside it. Doug reminded me that at the time of Jay’s death, I was too inconsolable to deal with his belongings, so he put Jay’s property out of sight. The briefcase had long since been forgotten.

Then, my usually frugal hubby suggested an extravagant plan. He wanted us to go back to the jewelry store and purchase the dol­phin earrings with the understanding that if there were any money in Jay’s wallet, it would help offset the cost of the purchase. I felt loved and warmed by Doug’s thoughtful gesture.

That afternoon, the day before the anniversary of Jay’s death, we returned to the little strip mall jewelry store and made our golden purchase. Surprisingly, the next day, as I wore the beautiful earrings, I realized that for the first time in eight years I actually felt warmed, peaceful and happy on the anniversary date of Jay’s drowning.

When we returned to San Diego after our restful vacation, Doug and I headed straight for the workroom closet. There, behind some dusty old boxes, was the briefcase. We cautiously opened it together. Jay’s battered brown leather wallet was in there, inviting our visit. We opened the cash compartment and removed the money.

I held my breath as Doug counted out the bills.

The total of the cash equaled the exact purchase price of the shiny gold dolphin earrings! Instant tears of gratitude stung my eyes for my miraculous posthumous birthday gift from my son.

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