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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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just a thought

aaronlinford

Rev. Aaron Linford
IS YOUR HEART IN IT?

Jesus accused the Pharisees of “lip-service”, and hurled at Isaiah’s caustic accusation: “This people…. honoureth with their lips; but their heart is far from me‘ – (Matt15:7-9).

It is not enough to “speak” religion, we must live it. Our whole heart must be in everything we do for God.
Mark Twain once told a preacher that he had got his sermon in a book at home. He later sent the indignant proclaimer a dictionary with the caption: “Words, words, nothing but words”. Our testimony to Christ must be sincere to be effective. Our words must convey our heart- thoughts and our depth-feelings. Not only our minds, but our hearts must be in them.
John puts it well. “Let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18). He advocates a holy pragmatism – the incarnation of doctrine into deeds.

And practical James links “faith” with “works” (James 2:14-17). It is not enough to say to the destitute and hungry, “Be warmed and filled”, we must do something about it. And if our hearts are right we will not be content with mere diction we will fulfil our word with action.
Vain worship puts litany before concern for others. He is nearest God’s heart who expresses love in activity and care.

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just a thought

aaronlinford

Rev. Aaron Linford
PEBBLE IN A POOL

I tossed a stone into a pond, and watched the ever- widening circles of ripples. Though weakened at every repeat reaction, they eventually reached the shore on all sides.

So with life. Who can tell the influence of “a good deed in a naughty world” (to use Shakespeare’s words)?

It cost a lot for Stephen to “earnestly contend for the faith” (Acts 6:3-14), but the word cast into the pool of Saul’s mind set up an ever-expanding series of events. Saul resisted at first the “wider Gospel” of salvation for all men, but the character and message of martyred Stephen would not let him rest. The revelation of Jesus “whom thou persecutest” (Acts 9:5) brought to an end those prickings of conscience in Saul’s total surrender to the Saviour.

But the message of Stephen persisted as Saul (now Paul) preached the same soul-saving message to Jew and Gentile alike.

The stone of truth cast into the life of Saul of Tarsus spread until Rome itself became the centre of his teaching. Cast in the stone; the pool will do the rest.

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aaronlinford

Rev. Aaron Linford
D I Y MORALITY

Modem philosophy spurns the idea of absolutes and makes each man a judge of his own attitudes and actions. In what is called “Situation Ethics”, the circumstance becomes the criterion of what is right or wrong.
But this “DO IT YOURSELF” concept is no new idea. They had it over 3,000 years ago, when “every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 19:1, 21:25). What social chaos resulted! What moral corruption! What God-forsaken people!

God had, years before, given them an order to live by. The Decalogue was a ten-word guide to ethical and spiritual stability. In their decline, the newly-established tribes of Jacob, neglected (almost rejected) these divine guide-lines to holiness and happiness. The outcome was almost national disintegration.
And upon this generation in our once Christian land will come decay – moral and social – as we become our own judges. We need the standards of the Bible to spur and sustain us. The principles made so clear by our Lord are the only way to personal and national stability and happiness.

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aaronlinford

Rev. A. Linford
STATISTICS

Statistics play a great part in modem life. Censuses, analyses, polls, graphs, charts fill an important role. But how much should such things play a part in church life, in the spiritual realm?

There is a place for statistics, as Acts 1:15 suggests: “the number of the names together were about 120″. Without this membership list we would not realise how greatly God did work with so few disciples. This evidence of organisation emphasises the need of “belongingness”. Free-lance Christianity is a misnomer. It is essential for a believer to be part of a fellowship.

But statistics must be kept in their place. ln the Authorised Version, this statement re numbers is in a parenthesis, that is, grammatically it is a verbal by-path. We love to count, but arithmetic is not the best criterion of God’s work.

Statistics do not say enough. They may appear scientific, but they do not reach beyond the countable, tangible elements. As Paul Toumier says in His, “A -Doctor’s Casebook”, “The sphere of science is that of quantitative. Meaning pertains to the realm of quality”.

God does not depend on numbers. As in Gideon’s case, where his army was reduced from 32,000 to 10,000 to 300, (Judges 7:2-7). One tenth of one percent – men with real faith – was enough to scatter the enemy.

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aaronlinford

Rev. Aaron Linford
HIGHWAY TO HEAVEN

“An highway shall be there, and a way’ Isaiah 35:8

An eighteenth-century military leader turned the rough track a highland glen into a firm highway. What was impassable in winter became an all-weather road. This beneficial act was commemorated in verse thus:-
‘Had you seen these roads afore they were made, You’d go down on your knees And bless General Wade”. .
Isaiah’s highway is fulfilled in the life and ministry of Him who said of Himself, “l am the WAY” (John 14:6), not to an earthly Zion, but to “the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Heb 12:22).

IT IS A SURE WAY. The simplest of believers cannot miss it.“Way-faring man, though fools, shall not err therein”.

IT IS A SAFE WAY. The ravenous beasts of evil, including the devil himself “as a roaring lion” will not impede our progress. When we walk with God we walk in safety.

IT IS A SACRED WAY. “The way of holiness”. Only the redeemed “the ransomed of the Lord” can tread it. lt leads to Glory – and we enjoy glory as we sing our way along.

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aaronlinford

Rev. Aaron Linford
BORROWED TOOLS

The incident of the lost axe-head recorded in 2 Kings 6:5 where the unfortunate “son of the prophets” cries out, “Alas master. For it was borrowed”, teaches us three things.

First, The principle of dependence. 0nly God is sell sufficient. We mortals depend on Him for being and becoming. But our emptiness attracts His fullness, for “Blessed are the destitute in spirit; for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matt 5:3).

Secondly, the principle of stewardship. If all our gifts are from God – time, talent, strength and ability – we are under stem obligation to use them wisely as faithful stewards. We owe all to our Creator; we should not only recognise this, but also respond by devoting ourselves to Him.

Thirdly, the principle of accountability. God’s gifts imply responsibility, and for this we must all eventually “stand before the Judgement Seat of Christ” to give an account. The righteous Judge will praise or punish, to our eternal gain or loss.

But what if we fail? The young enthusiast felt his loss and cried out, “Alas, Master”. And “whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved”. The Master was at hand, and on the confession of the loser, introduced a new element into the hopeless situation. As Elisha cast a branch into the turgid stream, so Christ in His cross. A miracle ensues; “the iron did swim”.

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aaronlinford

Rev. Aaron Linford

HAIR-CARE

‘The very hairs of your head are all numbered”, said Jesus (Matt 10:30). The infinite God cares for the infinitesimal – part of our being. Each hair is His concern.

God’s artistry. Each fine strand is a filament of perfection: each has its nerve, its muscle, its follicle, its lubricating oil and its colour-gland. What divine thought is packed into so small a space! The finest of dimensions is called “a hair’s breadth”. The three divisions of mankind can be traced to a cross-section of hair. Round-section, with a pithy centre – the Semitic races; flat-section frizzy hair, the Hamitic race; ovate-section, the Japhitic races (cf Gen 9:18). Bible history stamped on each human hair.

God’s arithmetic. God knows more about me than I do about myself. I can only guess my number of hairs, but the Lord marks each one, singly and numerically.

God’s attention. Mere mensuration is nothing to God, His counting is dynamic. He numbers because He cares, His knowledge is dynamic knowledge, not mere awareness, but deep concern – we are precious to Him, every hair of us.

But God’s attention to my affairs is not just “hairs”, it is also ‘heart”. The external and the internal facets of my life are the subject of His loving care. To Him I am not a bundle of parts, I am a whole person whom He loves.

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just a thought

aaronlinford

Rev. Aaron Linford

POTATO-GUN

One of the toys of my childhood was a “potato-gun”. It comprised of a small metal tube with a plunger. The tube -was dug into the soft flesh of the potato to collect an air- tight plug. In went the plunger, air pressure built up, and the plug was ejected with a “pop”. It was fun: but the soft missiles had little power.

So with criticism of the Bible. To those of us who believe that, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Tim 3:16), the attacks made upon its authenticity and reliability are like the pitiful shots from my “potato-gun”.

We welcome, and are indebted to, those textual critics whose labours have assured us a reliable text. And some higher criticism has enabled us to understand the Sacred Word. But there are those who, vaunting “a science falsely so called” approach the Scriptures with carnal half-baked philosophy. They join the “serpent” in casting doubt on God’s clear word.

The real source of their attack is anti-Godism, but their rationalistic armoury is impotent against the truth of God, which will ever prevail.

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just a thought

aaronlinford

Rev. Aaron Linford

MOUNTAIN-TOP EXPERIENCE

At the Transfiguration of our Lord (Matt 17:1-8), Peter, James and John (the favoured three) “beheld His glory” (John 1:14). They were thrilled: they never forgot it. Peter refers to it over 30 years later (2 Peter 1:17,18). His words, “Lord, it is good for us to be here”, reflect the common feeling of the select trio.

We no doubt feel the same when “Heaven comes down our souls to greet”. It is good to experience these exalted times, but the whole episode tells us three things,

YOU CAN’T BE ON TOP ALL THE TIME. The “black-letter” days far out-number the “red-letter” periods, but we thank God for those “glory” times that lighten our path and excite us to do more for God.

YOU DON’T NEED TO BE ON TOP ALL THE TIME. Canaan was “a land of hills and valleys” (Deut 11:11), so different from Egypt where the flat delta was fed by annual inundation of the Nile; here was seasonal “rain from Heaven”. To make progress in the Promised Land involved “ups and downs”. So with us: the “ups” of inspiration is followed by the “downs” of service. Hill and vale balance our lives.

YOU SHOULD NOT NEED TO BE ALWAYS ON TOP. If we truly absorb the “glory” we may fully enjoy the “grace” that enables us to move on in God.

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