a writing by James Stephen Thompson

The Final Fathom

Acts 27: 27-41 When the fourteenth night had come, while we were being driven across the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors suspected they were approaching some land. They took soundings and found the water was twenty fathoms deep; when they had sailed a little farther they took soundings again and found it was fifteen fathoms deep. Because they were afraid that we would run aground on the rocky coast, they threw out four anchors from the stern and wished for day to appear. Then when the sailors tried to escape from the ship and were lowering the ship’s boat into the sea, pretending that they were going to put out anchors from the bow, Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.” Then the soldiers cut the ropes of the ship’s boat and let it drift away. As day was about to dawn, Paul urged them all to take some food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day you have been in suspense and have gone without food; you have eaten nothing. Therefore I urge you to take some food, for this is important for your survival. For not one of you will lose a hair from his head.” After he said this, Paul took bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all, broke it, and began to eat. So all of them were encouraged and took food themselves. (We were in all two hundred seventy-six persons on the ship.) When they had eaten enough to be satisfied, they lightened the ship by throwing the wheat into the sea. When day came, they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach, where they decided to run the ship aground if they could. So they slipped the anchors and left them in the sea, at the same time loosening the linkage that bound the steering oars together. Then they hoisted the foresail to the wind and steered toward the beach. But they encountered a patch of crosscurrents and ran the ship aground; the bow stuck fast and could not be moved, but the stern was being broken up by the force of the waves.

From where is that the words are delivered? Being what I am and my interests in summer sport, I certainly have been glued to my television screen, start to finish during the 2018 Commonwealth Games and more recently, the marathons covered along the route of the Australian Gold Coast. To me, very interesting and artistic scenes of Australia covered whilst I myself, sat relaxed within an armchair within the lounge of my, perhaps today, well decorated home both indoors and out also. As stated previously, it had been during the Christmas Holiday, I had forced myself after making a recovery one way, into making a further struggle so to battle my way through all that was required, before the Christmas period was over.

It was all so interesting to myself, I suppose following almost forty years of continuous practical body function with the NHS, and now so as to observe the changes before the passing of the new year 2018. Praise God I myself had managed to cover what it had been I had intended from the beginning, to have had sorted and redecorated within the given time. Something however that had not reached its intended grade, was the more or less undersized area of garden at the front of the home. I certainly had meanwhile, spoken with one of my gardeners the previous Autumn, all whilst having the overgrown trees within the rear area of land pruned, of when during the Easter period he could be of help within the land at the front where all growth together with their routes, had now been removed and all that did now appear, was an empty patch of soil beside a delivery of large boulders.

It had been over the Winter period, and much I do believe to the frustration of neighbours who thought that they knew me well, the front patch of soil, remained empty through aid of a thready black sheet held in position by average rockery stones so as to naturally, prevent light from entering, and therefore hold back the growth of pest plants. My neighbours were not pleased, although I must add that I am strongly informed by my Saviour Jesus, of when the time has arrived to proceed on with action, the effects of depression through seasonal affective disorder has gone. The first day of the British summer time it certainly was, when the summer weather throughout the country appeared, and whilst a number of neighbours made progress outdoors. My own main challenge being to transfer 3” or 4” of soil from the front to the rear garden so as to lower the level that was framed by paving. It was after reaching as intended when bag after bag of pebbles was to be a delight to rip open and throw onto the lining so to fill all areas of the gained empty space. The digging of soil in need to be removed had been achieved, and naturally there was now space to fill.

All the work was to my surprise, soon seen to and this day the area of land for an example of appearance, was closely representing the BBC studio scene of water and variety of grasses, during the Commonwealth Games. Maybe I am being Spiritually informed of the name; ‘Gold Coast’ to be the name of my finalized corner plot of land. Five reasonably large boulders somewhat; 2’x2’x2’, through kind assistance from my next-door neighbour, had soon been placed in prompt position upon the corner plot of land. It had been a further reading I had come across, that had brought further ideas to mind of the appearance of the art:

“When Stumbling Blocks Can Become Stepping Stones, then these stones that the builder rejects can equally become chief corner stones!”

It had been my intention since the previous autumn, to have all of the front scene completed before the day of Pentecost 2018 had arrived. Of course we all know through what we read of the day of Pentecost, fire came down upon the disciples who all then all, began to speak out in tongues. I hasten to add here that help had been required shifting the boulders, through such female management back in the days of the NHS who would have so often, had me so much overworking. The consequence for the past three years, believed to be being a trapped nerve within my left arm that does still bring pain. Hence; today I am unable to forget the NHS management, who did it so does seem, not show any understanding of the language of their rules and regulations at all. Also, ask of any assistance at an NHS chemist, and all I can be informed of is; that I shall have to cope with the pain. I could see plainly by from a few different prospects, things certainly were reaching their final fathom! Refer to the Lord, for nothing unto Him is impossible to fathom. Luke 1:37 “For with God nothing shall be impossible.”

Here we are taken back to the Gold Coast of Australia during the recent mens marathon, and the situation Scotlands; Callam Hawkins was beginning to reach through determination within such a humid atmosphere, to continue on so to complete his run. It must have been when at the point of attempting to keep balance and run into his final fathom when, naturally, viewers were able to focus upon the scenes of his health situation, yet we were unable to judge his health situation. None of us, could have known exactly how he must have been feeling at that stage, and so close to his ending. Through my own physical activity during the years now past, I am sure I would have had a much closer idea than even my NHS management, who I am ashamed to admit, would have simply remained seated at their desks in conversation, should help have been required. They suffered through lack of knowledge and therefore ability to enable any one of them to continue on in assisting. It would only be those, such as Jesus, who have been through with it all, who shall have that required knowledge. The comment from the commentator who had been through with the experience, was not at all very pleased by the pace of progress to assist. He stated the words that have remained in my mind word for word, for throughout my forty years of excess over work, the time does arrive when the body shall say; no, no more!”

Perhaps physical activity within the NHS that is. Yet even today, that is if my bank account can accept, I shall soon become involved with yet further physical activities whilst on my front patch of garden. Today the boulders do stand on the dock of the bay, which does overlook a redeemed beech of pebbles, before which comes the fresh bed of blue and white ground cover plants. A path of sand so to keep watch for the appearance of fresh footsteps either, whilst within or seated on the rocks that I would name either; The Gold Coast or otherwise; The Cornerstone.

From the news headlines we have all been receiving recently representing scenes of a total wreck along a reasonable number of seashores, it does so seem as if this particular reading does now have its part to play. Reports of scenes of materials such as plastics left lying upon the seashore where, it shall naturally remain for it does not and therefore shall not, deteriorate. Are situations with time, improving or getting yet more tough so to solve? Salvation, is not possible with men. Men, women, any person at all, can in no way save themselves! As said in Luke 18:26-27 “And they that heard it said, who then can be saved? And he said, the things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” Our Lord mentions this in each gospel, showing that most certainly it is impossible with men, that they save themselves. This is why it is said in Psalm 49:6-9 “They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever: That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption.” No amount of money meantime can bring ‘a person’ salvation. No amount of good works can bring a person salvation either, because of a truth, our righteousness in the eyes of God, as compared to the one who is righteous, our wholeness would be simply represented as filthy rags! Not to mention, that if we were to make ONE, single mistake afterwards, our goodness or fairness will not be remembered because our sin will taint it, and there is no forgiveness of sins outside of Christ. It is impossible to get salvation on our own means. Instead “He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto God the Lord belong the issues from death.” Psalm 68:20 Salvation belongs to the Lord, It is from Him and Him alone that we can receive such a blessed thing!

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