Wisdom’s Ways presented by the late Rev. A. Linford

                                                     

Rev. A. Linford

RUN SAFE

 

“When thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble”                                         Prov 4:10-13

 

When we walk in God’s way we not only benefit ourselves we also leave footprints to guide others. And so a track becomes a bridle path a bridle path a road, a road a highway. Let us consider seven propositions drawn from this passage.

 

An intelligent teacher makes a good pupil. “I have taught thee” – a wise teacher directs his pupil into wise ways, not only imparting facts but also inciting feeling for truth. “I have led thee” – this is true education, to educe, or lead out the potentialities latent in the one who is taught. One cannot lead unless is ahead; one cannot lead unless he practices the principles he inculcates; one cannot lead unless he makes the path attractive so that others are happy to follow

 

A good pupil listens well to the words of the wise, and profits thereby. “The years of thy life shall be many”, for the development of good habits and sound moral principles makes life worth living. He who walks in God’s way lives under the protection of the Almighty.

 

The words of the wise guide us in right paths. The word “path” means the furrow made by a wagon – here, it is God’s wagon of wisdom that leads to Glory. Some call it a rut, but God’s ruts are the highway to Heaven. Thus he guides us through the trackless ways of life to Himself.

 

Right paths extend and enhance our days. The road of wisdom gives room for godly activity: they walk widely who walk with God. We may run and not trip up for God removes the stumbling blocks.

 

Enhanced days enlarge our vision. The way of wisdom is bright with Heaven’s sunshine, the paths of righteousness are straight. As Andrew Maclaren puts it: “A crooked way is a long road, and an up-and-down road is a tiring road. Wisdom’s way is straight, level, and steadily approaches its aim”.

 

An enlarged vision preserves our going.  With clear sight we can look back, and praise God for leading us; we can look around, and thank God for blessing us; we can look forward and trust God for caring for us.

 

Preserved progress gives quality to life. “She is thy life”: wisdom gives depth to living, adding God’s dimension to our earthly existence.

 

PRAYER;  

Let me run safe in thy pathway, 0 Lord.

 

LONELINESS

 

Is it not remarkable that with all our modern means of communication there are still many lonely people around! And loneliness can be destructive of personality; loss of sympathetic contact with fellow-humans shrivels the soul, cramps the mind and starves the emotions.

 

There are different kinds of loneliness. There is self-inflicted loneliness. Some people are so selfish, testy or erratic that what friends they have are driven away. Such should remember the proverb: “He that hath friends should show himself friendly”. Then there is temperamental loneliness. Shy, retiring, introspective people often find adventures into friendship difficult. How a kindly, unsought attention is appreciated by those imprisoned in their own reticence! There is the loneliness of greatness, when a man is so far beyond his contemporaries as to create a fellowship-gap. Few of us suffer from this: Jesus must have done so. On the other hand, leadership loneliness is something many know. An officer must be apart; a manager is in a different category from his men; a pastor cannot confide in his flock. There is the loneliness of depression, when, like Elijah, we feel alone in a hostile world. Juniper trees still flourish: but God continues to be gracious.

 

Circumstantial loneliness is a hazard most of us face. God sometimes takes away our props to see if we can rely on Him alone. The first flight of a newly-fledged eagle must be a lonely, terrifying experience. There is also the loneliness of desertion. when friends let us down. “All men forsook me,” said Paul. When he needed them most, they were absent. There is vocational loneliness. “I called him alone,” said God of Abraham. And often our Christian calling cuts us off from the world into a loneliness of alienation and even persecution. There is a loneliness of old age, when one’s friends in Heaven far outnumber one’s friends on earth. But to such comes the assurance from God: “In your old age I shall still be the same, when your hair is grey I shall still support you” – Isaiah 46 :4. J.B.. Finally, there is God-forsaken loneliness. How lonely was King Saul! Mistrusted by men, forsaken by God, he was in a self-inflicted limbo. And what of Jesus, who, when offering His soul for our sins, cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” This cry of dereliction echoes the vast depths of suffering He bore for us.

 

But to all lonely people there is relief in fellowship with God:

 

Come, ye disconsolate, where’er ye languish,

Come to the mercy seat, fervently kneel.

Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish;

Earth has no sorrows that heaven cannot heal.

 

 

 

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Wisdom’s Ways presented by the late Rev. A Linford

                                             

Rev. A Linford, before his decease, was recognized as a good, great and interesting Bible teacher in the Assemblies of God Fellowship for many years. He was a well-loved Bible College lecturer and writer that bequeathed a tremendous amount of Biblical material in his generation. What a legacy he has left to be researched and brought forth to refresh our day! We shall be using such on this site: His writings from the book of Proverbs and also his Editorials that he wrote for the Redemption Tidings when he was its editor. I trust you will enjoy and appreciate his inspired teaching.

 

LEAN ON GOD; NOT ON SELF

 

“Trust in the Lord with all thy heart”  Proverbs 3: 5, 6

 

Solomon here touches on the dichotomy of human nature – heart and mind; the moral and the rational elements of our being. Man it tripartite, “spirit and soul and body” – 1Thessalonians 5: 23. Within the physical framework of our bodies dwells “spirit” – the hidden man of the heart -1 Peter 3: 4 – that embraces our spiritual susceptibilities, and “soul” that repository of thought and emotion. Together they form our inner man – the real me, here represented by “thy heart” and “thine own understanding.” They here stand in contrast; but they need not, for when we make God’s will our own, soul and spirit are one, thus making peace.

 

Wholehearted trust. To trust means to lean on somebody for support. To trust in the Lord is to cling to Him like a limpet to a rock. But it must be wholehearted trust, and undivided loyalty, a complete reliance on Him at all times, in all things, with all confidence. This trust is seen in the parallel phrase – “In all thy ways acknowledge Him”. To acknowledge God is to recognise His greatness and rejoice in His goodness. It is to know Him and to respond to Him. We acknowledge His wisdom by accepting it; we acknowledge His will be adopting it; we acknowledge His way by following it. “In all thy ways” means all the vicissitudes and variables of everyday living, the decisions and the deeds, the vocation and the avocation, “the goings out and comings in” that form our earthly existence. All things should come under His sway.

 

If we thus let God dominate our lives He will “direct our paths”, that is, “Make them straight” by pointing us in the right direction, by removing obstacles in the way and by strengthening our steps to reach the desired goal.

 

Wholesome self-distrust. Man’s understanding is fallible, wholly to lean on it can be disastrous. It is true that we must exercise our rational propensities, use discretion and employ good sense. But we need the under girding of the wisdom of God. The teaching of the Word of God establishes in us moral sense, an instinct for the right way, an inspiration to do good and shun evil. Self-interest, self-confidence, and self-conceit can lead us astray, but with God’s word to guide us, His strength to support us and His approval to encourage us, we can tread life’s path victoriously.

 

PRAYER:

I do not know the way to go; be Thou my guide today, 0 Lord.

 

THE APOCRYPHA

 

The publishing of the Apocrypha with the Old Testament Section of the New English Bible may have raised questions in the minds of some concerning the value, and perhaps the inspiration of these documents. The very term “Apocrypha” has been a puzzle to some. It means “hidden” though in what sense this is to be understood is not clear. The word should not be confused with “Apocalypse”, which means “unveiled”, and is often used of The Revelation.

 

The Apocrypha comprises 15 separate books that have come down to us from ancient Hebrew sources. They are comprised of ‘popular narrative, religious  history and philosophy, morality stories, poetic and didactic lyrics, wisdom literature, and apocalyptic” (Baker’s Dictionary of Theology, en BC). They were not regarded as canonical by the Jews, and so do not appear in the Hebrew Bible, although they are included in the Septuagint, the Greek version of Hebrew Scriptures, The earliest Latin Bibles (2nd century) were translated from the Greek and so included the Apocrypha, but Jerome’s Vulgate distin­guished between the libri canonici and the libri eccie­siastici, according the Apocrypha a secondary status. In 1548 the Council of Trent recognised the Apocrypha (except 1 and 2 Esdras and The Prayer of Manasses) as having unqualified canonical status, but the Reformers repudiated the whole Apocrypha, acknowledging as divinely inspired only those books that were in the canon of the Jews. Among Protestants the Apocrypha is little used, apart from the Anglican Church.

 

Is it of any use? Yes. Even Luther admitted that these books are “profitable and good to read”. They help to fill the gap between Old and New Testaments, both historically. in the thrilling story of the Maccabees, and ideologically in showing the trends of Hebrew thought. There are many beautiful literary passages in The Wisdom of Solomon and Ecclesiasticus. Much wisdom lies in these pages.

 

But the Apocrypha is not inspired as the Bible is inspired, and cannot thus claim to be “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness“. It contains obviously fictional elements, it reflects the influence of Greek philosophy, and some­times contradicts the canonical Scriptures.  Roman Catholics appeal to it to bolster their false teaching on salvation by works, prayers for the dead, and so on. Pagan ideas of the evil of matter and transmigration of souls also appear. No one should appeal to the Apocrypha to settle doctrinal issues. Though ancient, the Apocrypha is secular; though informative, it is not inspired; though interesting, it should be read with caution. It is not part of the Bible, nor ever was. It is Jewish literature that may, with discrimination, be read to profit.

 

Wisdom’s Ways provided by Rev. A. Linford

                                                      

Rev. A Linford, before his decease, was recognized as a good, great and interesting Bible teacher in the Assemblies of God Fellowship for many years. He was a well-loved Bible College lecturer and writer that bequeathed a tremendous amount of Biblical material in his generation. What a legacy he has left to be researched and brought forth to refresh our day! We shall be using such on this site: His writings from the book of Proverbs and also his Editorials that he wrote for the Redemption Tidings when he was its editor. I trust you will enjoy and appreciate his inspired teaching.

 

OPPORTUNITY

By the Rev. A. Linford

 

The word “opportunity” conjures up the picture of a ship standing by the harbour mouth waiting for high tide on which to sail in. If the captain waits too long he loses his chance to enter: he must drive his vessel forward on the rising water. Opportunities invite us to action, tempt us to embrace the propitious moment, offer an occasion for us to improve. They are fleeting; they may be few.

 

There is a tide in the affairs of men,

Which, taken at the flood. leads on to fortune:

Omitted, all the voyage of their life

Is bound in shallows and in miseries.

 

A wise man prepares for opportunities, his net is ever spread to catch the rare and fleeting butterfly; he discerns opportunities, he can see them looming where others only spy dim shapes in a fog of indecision; he even makes opportunities by nudging the elbow of providence. He has few regrets because he seldom misses a timely chance. He does not indulge in wishful thinking, he is too busy observing the times.

 

IF ONLY –

If only the sun would shine:

I’d plough my land,

I’d sow my seed,

I’d mend the door-post of the barn,

I’d lend a hand

To mow the mead,

I’d increase output on the farm:

If only the sun would shine.

 

If only I had the chance:

I’d church attend.

I’d witness clear.

I’d read my Bible every day;

I’d quarrels mend,

I’d spread good cheer,

I’d give more time to watch and pray If only I had the chance.

 

Opportunities are things to be made

You’ll never act

If you wait all day,

If you mope in your easy chair;

You must zeal contract.

You must rise and pray,

You must venture, do and dare. Opportunities are things to be made.

 

Paul calls upon us to “redeem the time” (Eph. 5:16), that is, save it from being lost. We may do this by making the most of every opportunity to do good. He values time most who impresses each passing moment with eternal significance.

 

 

 

GOD’S WISE WAYS

 

“For the Lord giveth wisdom” – Proverbs  2 :6-9

 

The seeker of wisdom soon discovers that God is more eager to impart than we are to imbibe. Wisdom here displays its seven-fold aspect.

 

Wisdom’s Source. “The Lord giveth wisdom”. He is “the only wise God” – 1 Tim 1:17 in the sense that all true wisdom originates in Him. He is the self-taught, the self-consistent and the light-irradiating God.

 

Wisdom’s Articulation. “Out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding”. He is omniscient and omnipercipient: nothing is beyond His ken, nothing is too deep for Him: He knows, He perceives. It is He that makes nature His mouthpiece – Psalm 19:11, prophets His messengers, and Saints His witnesses. God makes His wisdom known in many ways.

 

Wisdom’s Store. “He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous”. The ways of God are like a deep mine from which riches may be dug by those who love God. “Deep in unfathomable mines of never failing skill, He treasures us His grand designs and works His perfect will”. He is rich indeed who gathers from God’s workings and God’s word the truths of His being and His will.

 

Wisdom’s Defence. “He is buckler to them that walk uprightly”. The man of spiritual integrity is fertile in expedients against all the wiles of evil. The fiery darts of temptation are absorbed by his defensive force-field of faith. As we walk in God’s will we have a shield through which no evil can penetrate.

 

Wisdom’s Security “He   preserveth the way of His saints”. The devil may set ambushes in our path or put snares in our way, but wisdom directs our steps through his mine-fields of subtle and destructive ideologies into the safe and serene field of holy and happy activities.

 

Wisdom’s Exposition. “Then shalt thou understand…. ” What is right, what is just, what is equitable – all is made clear. To those who walk in God’s way the deep principles of stable and satisfactory living are inculcated firmly and surely. Life becomes meaningful and strong under wisdom’s guidance.

 

Wisdom’s Expression. “Yea, every good path”, the word “path” means the furrow made by a wagon. There are good ruts into which our wheels of life may safely run; spiritual habits that give steadiness and direction.  The good paths of daily prayer, regular scripture reading, consistent worship and sacrificial giving are all great helps in the personal expression of wisdom.

 

PRAYER:      Thy ways are wise. 0 Lord, may I daily follow them. Amen!