Echoes From the Campfire

It was always that way.  He could always find a purpose, a reason for pushing through one more day, one more week.”
              –Stephen Bly  (Hard Winter At Broken Arrow)

    “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
              –1 Corinthians 15:58 (NKJV)
There is so much hatred today.  In fact, more than I’ve ever seen in my lifetime.  It is one thing to dislike someone or to not agree with their ideas, but to make outrights lies, accusations and threats is beyond proper bounds.  President Bush was severely attacked for his faith, more so than any President before him.  Vice-President Pence is lambasted continually for his faith.  I wonder, I just wonder, has the nation turned that far from God that they do no longer want His blessings?  I came across the following this week while reading.  It was a call to prayer by President Lincoln, not long after the battles of Vicksburg and Gettysburg (July 15, 1863).

         “I invite the people of the United States…to invoke the influence of His Holy Spirit…to guide the counsels of the government with wisdom adequate to so great a national emergency, and to visit with tender care and consolation throughout the length and breadth of our land all those who, through the vicissitudes of marches, voyages, battles, and sieges have been brought to suffer in mind, body, or estate, and finally to lead the whole nation through the paths of repentance and submission to the Divine will back to the perfect enjoyment of union and internal peace.” (Terry Tuley, Battlefields of Blessing:  The Civil War)

    Where is the seeking of God’s guidance?  How far have the people slid away?  I read where Mariano Rivera, the great pitcher and Hall of Famer, now a pastor, was called a racist for his support of Israel.  Get that – a black preacher, being called a racist for supporting the nation of Israel.  He stood his ground.  
I also came across a portion of an article by Horatius Bonar (1808-1889) a great minister, poet, author, and hymnodist of the 19th century from Scotland.  This is worth pondering over and over.  God’s Way of Holiness:  “Little” Things, is the title and below is an edited version.

         “With many of us the Christian life has not gone on to maturity.  ‘Ye did run well, who did hinder you?’  Ours has been a work well begun, but left unfinished; a battle boldly entered on, but only half fought out.  Is not thus Christ dishonored?  Is not His gospel misrepresented, His cross denied, His works slighted, His example set at nought?
         “…But a holy life is made up of a multitude of small things.  It is the little things of the hour, and not the great things of the age, that fill up a life like that of Paul and John, like that of Rutherford or Brainerd….  The true symbols of a holy life are the little constant sunbeam, not the lightning.  The avoidance of little evils, little sins, little inconsistencies, little weaknesses, little follies, little indiscretions and imprudencies, little indulgences of self and of the flesh–the avoidance of such little things as these goes far to make up at least the negative beauty of a holy life.  Add to this list other littles:  little equivocations or aberrations from high integrity, little touches of shabbiness and meanness, little indifferences to the feelings or wishes of others, little outbreaks of temper, or crossness, or selfishness, or vanity.
         “In their place we should give attention to the little duties of the day and hour, in public transactions or private dealings, or family arrangements; to little words, and looks, and tones; little benevolences, or forbearances, or tendernesses; little self-denials and self-restraints; little plans of quiet kindness for others.  These are the active developments of a holy life, the rich and divine mosaics of which it is composed…
         “It is of small things that a great life is made up.” (They Walked With God)

    People talk about doing “great things” for the Lord and they cannot even keep the “little things” together.  Our job is to be squared away, trained, studied, prepared doing the everyday “little things” in case God needs to call on us for a greater duty.  History, and people, might judge you on one or two major things that happen in your life, but it is important to realize that one event does not make a life.  Is David to be judged on his slaying of Goliath or his sin with Bathsheba, or the everyday things that made him a man after God’s heart?

Echoes From the Campfire

When a man believes in a thing strongly enough, there is a price too high to pay.  There is a point where compromise costs him too much.”
              –Elmer Kelton  (The Time It Never Rained)

    “Then you shall again discern Between the righteous and the wicked, Between one who serves God And one who does not serve Him.”
              –Malachi 3:18 (NKJV)
Complacency, compromise, and outright rejection is becoming prevalent in our society and in our relationship to God.  God cries, “what do I have to do to find a people who will fully trust me?” (see Numbers 14:10-11).  After all the miracles and God with them day-by-day, the people still murmured and complained and doubted.
    The writer of Hebrews said this, “Watch out, brothers, so that there won’t be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that departs from the living God.”  (Hebrews 3:12, HCSB)  The church, and that is speaking in generalities, is more interested in being entertained than developing a heart of faith.  One reason is that there is the thought out there that faith is instantaneous, however, in reality faith may take a lifetime.  The term for faith in the Old Testament is actually faithfulness.  Being faithful should be a lifestyle of trusting in God, not a fulfillment of a random wish or fancy.
    Part of the duty in this last days, these days of terror and turmoil, is to build each other up.  That is not done by a few half-hearted bless you brothers.  Daily we are to be an encourager so that others will not develop a hard heart.  Look again at Hebrews 3:13-15(HCSB):

         “But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception.  For we have become companions of the Messiah if we hold firmly until the end the reality that we had at the start.  As it is said:  Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

    Therefore, in these days in which we now live let the reality of seeing Him make you prudent.  This current season of testing may end, but our battle against the flesh and the devil never end.  Do not become complacent!  Do not compromise with the world!  You need to prepare for new battles.  You need to do away with compromises and distractions that render your faith ineffective.
    The year is half-way over.  Maybe it is time to make or recall resolutions that were made at the beginning of the year.  Maybe it is time to get rid of compromise and the cloak of complacency.  Here are three suggestions for resolutions by Carlos Murphy for the person who sees themselves drifting into Hebrews 3.

         1)  Do not seek your comfort, but His glory.  There is a shaking that is beginning to happen.  The complacent and compromising man will be swept away.  Remember that God is ever dealing with the earth.
         2)  Place your eyes squarely on God.  Attention focused on the world will only cause grief and faintheartedness.
         3)  Resolve new allegiance to God.  Do not let other “things” become your master.  Do not seek to please men.  Be as the Apostle Paul, “For me, to live is Christ…” (Philippians 1:21, NIV).

    This is a time of choosing for the church.  This is a time to stand and after having done all, to continue to stand–no matter what.  “We are not promised the world will get better; only that He will never leave us.  Do not drop your sword or take off your armor in these days of sorrows!” (Carlos Murphy)
(Thanks to thoughts of David Wilkerson and Carlos Murphy)

Echoes From the Campfire

But sometimes those brains get us to thinking down the wrong trails  When a brain starts a person to thinking they can do what they want because it’s what they want no matter who it hurts…well it just gets me steamed.”
              –Lou Bradshaw  (Cain…Just Cain)

    “Also the hand of God was on Judah to give them singleness of heart to obey the command of the king and the leaders, at the word of the Lord.”
              –2 Chronicles 30:12 (NKJV)
I read an argument the other day, and it sort of irked me for two reasons.  The first one was that it had no business being discussed/argued on the site where it was posted.  The second was that the people who were arguing really didn’t have a very good grasp of the Scriptures.
    We are not to be dabbling in the things of the world.  We are not to depart from the commandments of the Lord, and to do that we must be in His Word, studying and meditating upon it so that we know His commandments.  Why do some choose to walk in darkness, when we have the light?  That’s one reason I cannot understand why the sophisticated, enlightened, modern church chooses to turn down the light during the song service to bring in darkness.  There is no darkness in Christ.
    Perhaps my favorite book in the New Testament is 1 John.  There is so much in that book that instructs us how to live in this current age.  We live in an evil, dark world.  It is tainted by sin, but in the midst of that we are children of the Light, therefore, we should be walking in it.

          “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.  If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
                   –1 John 1:5-7 (NKJV)

We cannot have fellowship with the Lord if we walk in darkness.  To walk in darkness is to have fellowship with the world.  We are to abhor anything and everything that is displeasing to God.  We are to hold every form of hypocrisy in detestation.  A few years back a person in our church and I had a disagreement about Jesus.  He was saying that Jesus was born with a sin-nature.  (There we go, not knowing proper doctrine again).  I said, no, he was born as Adam, without the sin nature for His father was God.  He said can we then agree to disagree; to which I again replied, no, not when it comes to doctrine.
    We are to walk through this world in the light of the Holy Spirit.  Our minds should be fixed on Him, and our hearts dedicated to Him.  Our every step should be guided by the blessed Holy Spirit.  Legalism?  Most assuredly not.  I like what H. Maurice Lednicky said, “What is too often defined as legalism is nothing more than carnality refusing to be crucified.”  There are those who are legalistic, that is noted in the Word, but too much of the time those that scream that you are being legalistic are those who are feeding their carnality.  They have compromised and have become friends with the world.

The Saga of Miles Forrest

Marta seemed to be doing better since Molly stood in for her.  She was back to her normal self, singing something in Spanish as she went through the day doing her work.  Emelda seemed to enjoy cooking and was doing a fine job so Molly agreed with Marta to let her stay on.
    I had just come in from riding Star.  He doesn’t get ridden enough and was getting fat.  We went up the canyon road for a few miles, then ran back down.  With that thoroughbred blood in him, he liked to run, in fact, he needed to run.  He was not the horse for the mountain like Hawk, but there would be few that could match him running out on the plains.
    It was mid-morning and there were no customers in the diner.  “Senor Miles,” perked up Marta.  “Come sit, I will get you some coffee.”
    Well, there was something that was hard to refuse.  I eased down in my regular spot, resting the Greener back against the wall as Marta came with a cup of coffee.
    “Sit down, Marta, join me,” I requested.  She hesitated, looked around the room and since there was nobody there she picked up a cup from the counter and joined me.
    “Where’s Molly?” I asked.
    “She back in the kitchen, making some pies for the lunch crowd.  She be out in a minute or two,” came Marta’s reply.
    “So, Marta, how are you feelin’?” I asked in concern.
    “Oh, I doing fine; I no hurt.”
    “No, I mean up here,” pointing at my head.
    There was a puzzled look for a moment, the a smile.  “Si, my head no longer hurts.  I’m okay.”
    I wiped my hand down over my moustache, then pulled on the left side.  “I mean, emotionally.  Do you still forget?”
    She held her cup with both hands and brought it up to take a sip.  Slowly she lowered it.  “No, I no forget.  I understand how important it is to remember, even the bad things of life.  El Senor,” she said looking up, “has a purpose in everything.  I am beginning to understand.”
    Well, I couldn’t argue with that.  I often pondered when I couldn’t understand something or why something was happening the thought, “His wonders to perform.”
    It was good to sit with her for a spell.  Molly had the pies out of the oven and was letting them cool.  I planned on lingering long enough to get a piece.  She came out, poured a cup of coffee and joined us.
    Marta started to get up when Molly put her hand on Marta’s arm.  “No need to get up.  Stay, that lunch crowd will be here in a little while, rest while you can.”
    We were having a nice time, chatting about this and that.  It was good to see Marta smile again.  I looked up as I heard the door open and three gentlemen walked in–the city council.  They came straight toward our table and just stood there.  I picked up my cup, took a sip and nodded at them.  
    Finally, Martin Olson, appointed councilman and saloon owner, spoke up.  “Forrest, why are you sitting here?” he snapped.
    Smiling at them I replied, “Drinkin’ coffee, and hopin’ for a piece of pie.”
    With that, Marta jumped up.  “Senors, coffee?”
    “No!” snapped Olson again.  John Newsome shook his head.
    Wilson Foster, supposedly the chairman of the council, gave Marta a smile.  “I’d be obliged.”
    “We want to talk with you!” bellowed Olson.  
    Staring at him I said, “Well, why don’t you start talkin’ and quite bellerin’?”
    “Alone!” he said, giving Molly a sneer.
    Molly started to push her chair back, when I placed my hand on her arm.  “This is her establishment, along with Marta, so they have the right to sit here.  Plus, you might as well understand this, I don’t hide things from Molly.”
    He was grumbling, but Wilson pulled out a chair and sat with Newsome following his example.  That meant if Olson was to join us he would have to retrieve a chair from an a-joining table.  He huffed some more, then turned and jerked a chair from the table behind him.
    After he plumped himself down in the chair, he started again.  “What are you doing about those bank robbers?”
    I took a sip, more to annoy him than anything.  “As I said, they haven’t broken a federal law.  Sheriff Gold should be back in today.”
    “That was Sam Fooy, and his bunch!” exclaimed Olson.
    “May I ask, how you know it was Fooy?  Do you know him?” I asked.
    He belched out a curse.  I slammed my cup down on the table.  “I will tell you this once, to refrain from using that kind of language here.  You have ladies present!”
    Olson turned to Molly and gave her a forced apology.
    “What about Marta?”
    Looking over at her, he sneered.  “She’s only a Mex…”
    The next thing he knew was the feeling of a coffee cup smashing against his jaw.  I couldn’t see that he was armed, but I stood wanting to give him a good thumping, but to his credit he turned to Marta and spoke a soft apology.  Then he stood, ready to leave.  “I’ll be writing the governor about you!” Then stormed off.
    I sat back down, and Wilson spoke up.  “Why do you antagonize him so, Miles?”
    They were in the process of standing when Molly piped up, “Gentlemen, why don’t you stay for a piece of pie?”
    “Well, I don’t think…” Newsome started to say, he was clearly agitated by what just took place.
    “Come on, Mr. Newsome,” encouraged Molly.
    Both of them slid back into their chairs and Marta hurried off to get each of them a piece of pie.
    “Don’t forget one for me,” I hollered as she ran into the kitchen.