just a thought

aaronlinford

Rev. Aaron Linford
TO LET!

Our Lord spoke of an unclean spirit leaving a man to wander. It returns, finds the “house empty, swept and garnished”, and reoccupies its former abode with “seven other spirits more wicked than himself” (Matt 12:43-45). The first lesson is that mere reformation is not enough, only generation, whereby the Holy Spirit enters the life, can secure the soul.

Another lesson. The devil rushes into every vacated area of human life unless it is occupied by spiritual good.

Beware those who talk of “emptying the mind of all thought or emotion”. This is the basic element of transcendental meditation. The result? Evil powers take over, the vacuum is filled. But Christian Meditation is filling the mind “My meditation of Him shall be sweet” (Ps 104:34) and the mind, being inspired with adoration for Jesus will resolve itself to worship. The door is thus bolted against evil. ‘Looking unto Jesus” (Heb 12:2) is a safely-lock the combination of which Satan will never know. Our hearts are safe from evil.

And a vital aid to this is to “meditate in God’s law day and light” (Ps 1:2). Thus “the counsel of the ungodly can have no place, for the mind and heart are filled with thoughts of God. Any stray thought are brought under captivity to Christ” (2 Cor 10:5). Our mind is “Not to let”.

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just a thought

aaronlinford

Rev. Aaron Linford
WHAT A WASTE

When Mary of Bethany poured a flask of expensive ointment on the feet of Jesus, His disciples were shocked. “To what purpose is this waste”? they said (Matt 26:8). But John gives us another angle to this event. He points out that Judas Iscariot, who led the protest, had himself embezzled the apostolic funds. Critics should beware lest their own defects crush their criticisms.
“Waste”? Much depends on your system of values. There are times where money doesn’t matter. Woe to those whose only reckoning is in terms of cash. What did it matter that the equivalent of a year’s wages was expended; this was an act of adoration, and who can measure worship by wealth!

“Waste”? It happened that Mary saw more deeply than the rest: she knew that crucifixion was near, and anointed her Lord beforehand for His burial. Nicodemus loaded expensive spices on the dead body of Jesus, she gave Him her best while He was still alive. lt was a memorable act.

‘Waste”? Even today the world cannot understand the life- style of lovers of the Lord Jesus. Dr Albert Schweitzer achieved greatness as theologian, philosopher, musician and doctor. When he went to Lamberene in darkest Africa the world of science bemoaned his loss, his talents buried in an outlandish place. But he chose to minister to neglected nobodies. The world could not understand, but Jesus did, and this noble missionary stands high in the list of those who loved the Lord more than wealth, fame orsuccess.

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just a thought

aaronlinford

Rev. Aaron Linford
CAUSE AND EFFECT

When Jesus quieted the tempest in Mark 4:37-41, a “great became a “great calm”. More than that, His words both cause and effect – “He rebuked the wind and said unto the sea, “Peace, be still”.” The waves could not subside until the winds were subdued. It is good to know our Lord can not only deal with results, but also banish reasons for those results.

Have you ever noticed in John’s First Epistle how he deals sin” and “sins”? That inbuilt principle dominant in nature is “sin”; the effects of yielding to this “law in
These single acts of failure to do God’s will must be confessed to be forgiven. But the sin-principle itself can be purged by “the blood of Jesus Christ . Entire sanctification is therefore possible as we “walk in the light of God”.

So in both realms of nature and grace our Lord can deal with both effect and cause. He not only can wipe away the cob-webs of evil, He can kill the spider that spins them.

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just a thought

aaronlinford

Rev. Aaron Linford
THE BED OF PROCRUSTES

This man was a legendary robber who fitted his victims to a bed by stretching them or cutting them to size by lopping off their feet.

We have their mental and moral counterparts today. From a mind-set fixed to rigid ideas, they cut every notion to their static concepts. There is no elasticity, no give, no bend in their philosophy. All must fit their “bed”, or else be trimmed to size.
But this is no new attitude. Peter spoke of those who “wrested…scripture to their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16). They twist and distort God’s word to fit their own prejudices or whims. What is to an honest reader plain truth, to them is mystic meaning. By subtle (though often obvious) distortion they reduce divine directions to esoteric mysteries, holy writ becomes to them cryptic hieroglyphics.

God meant His word to be understood, a ministrant of grace and help to simple faith. But some use what was intended to expound truth and torture it by squeezing into set philosophical moulds. Peter says that such are “unlearned” that is mentally incompetent, and “unstable”, that is morally weak and unbalanced. Avoid them!

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just a thought

 

aaronlinford

Rev. Aaron Linford

“THE COMPLEAT ANGLER”

This English classic by Isaac Walton is not only a literary wonder, it is also a guide to the skills and joys of angling.

But the words of Jesus to Peter put fishing into a higher order: “Follow Me, and l will make you fishers of men” (Matt 4:19). Three aspects of this piscatorial art are here emphasised.

First, fishing is the transportation of a creature from one environment to another. In the natural sphere it is death to the fish, in the spiritual sphere it is life on a higher plane.

Secondly, fishing is the art of persuading fish to accept the luring bait. Excepting trawling, fish are caught individually. Spiritual angling is making the Gospel so attractive that sinful men “take the hook” and are netted into the Church.

Thirdly, as in the case of Isaac Walton, so in the spiritual realm fishing is learned by imitating the expert. “Follow Me”, said Jesus. His masterly way of winning souls is an example to us all. With one or with many our Lord’s approach with compassion and wisdom teaches us much about this great ministry. Lovers of Jesus and lovers of men will likewise endeavour to take people alive for God.

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just a thought

aaronlinford

Rev. Aaron Linford

A PRODIGAL REFLECTS

In the incomparable story of “The Prodigal Son” (Luke 15:11-32), the turning point of the wastrel’s restoration occurred when “‘he came to himself”. Up to then he had been “beside himself”, for sin is a form of moral madness. Mind you, it took a dreadful toll of shame and loss to bring him there; but now, hungry and lonely, sitting by the pig-troughs, he reflects on his condition.

The man I was. The once despised home is looked back on as now desirable. He had had his fling; it had flung him into depression and despair. Far from the home he had fled, he was now homesick, longing for lost benefits.

The man I am. He was not only spent up, he was also ashamed. He had gambled – and lost. Now wretched, despised, abandoned, far away from the father who loved him. He had messed up his life, missed its purpose: he was a sinner.

The man I might have been. “If only” is a sad complaint. A little more patience, and concern for others would have saved him from loss, and given him space to mature.

The man l still can be. He went home – blessed turning point. His gracious father restored to him the full status of sonship. Prodigals may still return and find in God a loving Father.

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just a thought

aaronlinford

Rev. Aaron Linford
HARVEST HOME

One of the surest things in nature is the link between “seedtime and Harvest” (Gen 8:22). Given the right conditions, what we sow we shall reap.

And this is true in the spiritual realm. This divine law is operative in grace as well as nature; “for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal 6:7-9). Three principles are seen in harvest laws.

First, you reap IF you sow. The law of harvest calls for activity. The sluggard who neglects to sow will not gather any grain (Prov 20:4).

Secondly, you reap WHAT you sow. “Sow to the flesh – reap corruption, sow to the spirit – reap life everlasting”. “Well-doing” augurs a harvest of well-being: but evil spawns evil.

Thirdly, you reap MORE than you sow. Scatter wheat on prepared ground and it will reproduce itself up to a hundred-fold. What benefits are heaped on those who benefit others, but what sorrow springs from those who sow hatred. Sow well: reap well.

And so, “Let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not”. Harvest-home is blessed when we sow good.

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aaronlinfordRev. Aaron Linford
THE MISSING VIRTUE

The Seven Cardinal Virtues of Christian theology cover the essential points of effective living. Possess them, practice them – and we draw near the perfection Jesus spoke of (Matt 5:48).

Think of them: Faith, Hope, Love, Justice, Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude. Best of all, do them. They will become soul-anchors in the turbulent seas of temptation, as well as a banner of truth and light in a world of falsehood and darkness.

But as I went over them again in my mind, l felt something was missing – the missing virtue; HUMOUR. Is this the “salt” of (Col 4:6) that seasons our behaviour?
Job illustrates this concept thus – “Is there any taste in the white of an egg”? The albumen may be nourishing, but it is insipid. But he had already given the answer: “Can that which is unsavoury be eaten without salt” (Job 6:6).

And so with life. A touch of humour (especially holy glee) can make the tasteless repetitions of ordinary living to have an acceptable and enjoyable aspect. A pinch of humour adds piquancy to living.

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just a thought

aaronlinford
Rev. Aaron Linford
WHO RUNS THE CHURCH?

“The Church is subject unto Christ” Eph 5:24

Who runs the church? ”I”, said the Pastor, “I am the master. l run the church”.

Who runs the Church? “I”, said the deacon, “Don’t think I’ll weaken. I run the church”.

Who runs the church? Said the man in the pew, “Let me tell you, I run the church”.

Who runs the church? All these are wrong. This is the right: When Pastor and deacon And men in the pew Are simply just channels For God to flow through – GOD RUNS THE CHURCH.

The Church of Jesus Christ must ever be subject to the guidance of His Spirit and His Word. And this subjection will show itself in “a meek and quiet spirit” that is ever available to needy service, yet never seeking to be dominant

Our Lord became servant of all: we reflect His nature when we too are ready to minister to others – saint or sinner – in order to do them good and lead them closer to God. Let Him run our lives – and the church.

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just a thought

aaronlinford

Rev. Aaron Linford
HOLY HABITS

Jesus followed the religious customs of His day (Luke 2141,42), making Himself subject to God – established tradition.

He also exercised the holy habits of attendance at the House of God (Luke 2:16) and of prayer (Luke 22:39). The beloved Luke, whose Gospel reveals Jesus as THE SON OF MAN shows how our Lord, while subject to the limitations of humanity, yet maintained His spirituality by the scriptures, by prayer and by fellowship – three vital elements of true Christianity.

We need the daily intake of “the sincere milk of the Word” (1 Peter 2:2) to sustain us; the daily exercise of prayer to strengthen us; the regular meeting with God’s people to encourage and enlarge us.

The persistent act will soon become a habit, and such holy habits are not mere “religious ruts”, they are “means of grace” that minister to us and by which we minister to others.

To know the Bible is to know more of God; to “pray without ceasing” is to draw closer to God; “not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together” (Heb 10:25) is to enjoy fellowship with those who love God as we do. Let us develop holy habits: they are good for us.

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