Coffee Percs

He stalked over to the fire, squatted down and poured himself a cup of hot coffee…  He blew on his coffee and took a sip.  It was hot and very strong.  He grimaced, ‘Man that coffee’s bad.’”  
              –B.S. Dunn  (Last Stand in Sanctuary)

Don’t yuh be a-frettin’, Pard.  My coffee is strong, but it’s not bad.  Yuh’ve been drinkin’ it for long enough, yuh should know.  It shore is nice to start a Saturday mornin’ talkin’ with yuh.  Good thing yur married, ah, but from the looks of yur face, which ain’t so purty, yuh wouldn’t have nothin’ to be worried about.
    Yuh do realize what day this is?  Why back in them hills–the Ozarks this is huntin’ day for all the single gals and widows.  Back in the day it used to be called Sadie Hawkins Day.  Why I can remember “Lil Abner” in those races runnin’ until “Daisy Mae” caught him.  In fact, I had my own experiences down yonder way, onct upon a time.  Thar was this brown-haired gal with green eyes that I caught starin’ at me once.  Well, that particular Sadie Hawkins Day she caught up with me–took me to the Bonanza and bought me a steak.  What she wasn’t countin’ on at the time she etched herself in my tiny little heart.  Yep, shore enough fact.
    Trouble is now, a it might be hard for a gal to find what she’s lookin’ fer.  I’ll tell yuh for a fact, some of them fellers out there shore are swell, and sometimes yuh can’t tell one for the other.  Days are shore a-changin’ my friend.  Don’t want to think on it much fer it riles the gizzard.
    Yep, thing are changin’.  Good thing we have the Bible and can lean on it durin’ rough times and know that the good Lord ain’t changin’ one extra little bit.  Nope, we can trust Him to ride the river with, for He is unchangin’–He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever!
    My, my I jist can’t believe we done drunk a whole pot of coffee.  See, I done told yuh that it wouldn’t be bad.  Well, if’n folks could drink enough of my coffee they wouldn’t be a-fearin’ no coronavirus.
    Yuh, be havin’ yurself a good week.  This is March, startin’ tomorrow, so cinch up tight that yuh don’t get blown out of yur saddle.

Echoes From the Campfire

If we ever become complacent, we’ve lost the battle.”
              –Stephen Bly  (Shadow of Legends)

    “You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked.”
              –2 Peter 3:17 (NKJV)
One more look at those who may be delusional.  Remember, it is “a belief or altered reality that is persistently held despite evidence or agreement to the contrary.”  One of Jesus’ parables was about a delusionary man found in Luke 16:19-31.  In fact, this man was the model of a fool.  “Only a fool fails to plan ahead for the inevitable.” (Gary Inrig)
    When reading this parable do not get caught up in the rich man’s life on earth, but look at what he wants Abraham to do.  He wants Lazarus to go back from the dead to warn his brothers.  The rich man, now in Hades, says that they would believe if they saw someone raised from the dead.  “Not so,” replied Abraham.  “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” (Luke 16:31, NIV)  In other words, if they will not believe the Word of God, they will not believe a miracle.
    Take a look at the following Scriptures and see where men continue to be delusional in the midst of miracles.  This is taken from Gary Inrig’s book, The Parables: Understanding What Jesus Meant.

         –At the Exodus, Israel is miraculously delivered from Egypt, sees God’s power in the desert, and yet persists in unbelief, so that God asks, “How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them?” (Num. 14:11)
         –Elijah and Elisha perform undeniable and evident miracles, yet the northern kingdom persists in its rebellion, resulting in God’s exile of the nation (cf. 1 Kings 18:16-46; 2 Kings 2:19-22).
         –The Lord’s miracles are met by unbelief and blasphemous denial of who He is (Matt 11:20-24).
         –The raising of Lazarus from the dead results in some believing (John 11:45), but only intensifies the unbelief and antagonism of the Jewish leaders (John 11:46-53; 12:10-11).
         –When the Jewish leaders admit that the apostle “have done an outstanding miracle” (Acts 4:16), they intensify their persecution.
         –The empty tomb does not lead the unbelieving to come in faith, but to concoct a false story, to explain away the resurrection of the Lord Jesus (Matt 28:11-15).

    People look at the Word of God and mock it, laugh at it, scorn it, and try to change it to fit their beliefs and actions.  “People are responsible for hearing and repenting before what God has said in the Word” (Inrig).  Yet they will choose to believe a lie.
    We must heed the warning of Peter, be steadfast, guard the truth, “do not be led away with the error of the wicked.”  “Our present relationship to God through His Word determines our eternal relationship with Him” (Inrig).

Echoes From the Campfire

Men will give up anything rather than what they want to believe.  And hate you for telling them there’s nothing to believe.  And even if you prove it to them, they’ll continue to believe, and hate you for proving them foolish.”
              –Louis L’Amour  (Over on the Dry Side)

    “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”
              –2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 (NKJV)
The time is coming, woe, it is already at hand.  People, including Christians are already giving themselves over to believe lies.  I used to wonder how the Antichrist could come to power.  I never doubted these verses in 2 Thessalonians, I just couldn’t conceive how it could be done.  How could people so blatantly turn away from the truth.  And now, it is happening right in front of us.  Wonder no longer!

         “And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie.”
              –2 Thessalonians 2:11 (NKJV)

    First, what is a delusion?  It has been defined as “a belief or altered reality held despite evidence or agreement to the contrary, generally in reference to a mental disorder.”  Notice that it will come from God and it would be “strong.”  People will believe what is contrary to the truth.  Read again Romans 1:18-2:9, keeping in mind what is going to happen just prior to the return of the Lord.  Look at verse 25, “who exchanged the truth of God for the lie.”  People are going to trade, barter off God’s truth, for a lie.  It sounds crazy, but it is happening now.  Because of this and its results, “…God gave them over to a debased mind…” (vs 28, NKJV)  Some versions use, “worthless minds,” while most of them use the term, “reprobate minds.”  These are people who cry for infanticide and abortion–they are debased, reprobates.
    “I don’t have faith in the current administration to keep the US safe from this growing pandemic,” so said a former student of mine.  A minor delusion, words not thoroughly thought through, but the person is taken up in it.  I’m not saying that this virus is not serious or that it cannot become worse.  Compare it right now with the flu; the deaths are not close to being comparable.  Pandemic?  That is yet to be seen.  But the thing that struck me is that he does not trust this administration, one that is trying to secure borders, yet he will trust an alternative administration that seeks to have “open borders.”  Delusion.
    There are people running for President who openly mock the Word of God, yet call themselves Christian.  One is married to a man and flaunts openly same-sex marriage saying that the Bible must be interpreted according to the culture of today.  Delusion!  One candidate says there will be no Christians serving in public office when he is President.  
    Who are these people that will send a “strong delusion” to?  Read just above in verses 9 and 10:  those who succumb to the working of Satan, those with unrighteous deception because they would not receive the truth.  Unrighteousness is calling truth a lie, and that a lie is the truth along with living a life not in accord with the Bible.  These people, those who are deluded, those who believe the lie will be “condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thessalonians 2:12, NKJV)
    The end is not yet, but only around the next bend in the road.  It’s coming, therefore, guard the truth.  Do not give into lies; do not be deceived.

P.S.  I like 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 in the Phillips translation so have included it.

     “To those involved in this dying world he [the lawless one] will come with evil’s undiluted power to deceive, for they have refused to love the truth which could have saved them. God sends upon them, therefore, the full force of evil’s delusion, so that they put their faith in an utter fraud and meet the inevitable judgment of all who have refused to believe the truth and who have made evil their play-fellow.”

Echoes From the Campfire

A man can learn anything he sets his mind to, if he wants it bad enough.  That’s the hitch, I supposed:  wantin’ to.”
              –Elmer Kelton  (The Man Who Rode Midnight)

    “Then he spoke to them all. ‘If anyone wants to follow in my footsteps, he must give up all right to himself, carry his cross every day and keep close behind me.'”
              –Luke 9:23 (Phillips)
Take a minute and look at how personal the following verse is.

         “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
                 –Galatians 2:20(NKJV)

The “I”s and “lives” are throughout this verse.  This past week I was reading and happened to come across something that I read sometime ago and wanted to use in the Echo but for some reason I forgot.  It is from a commentary from Romans by James M. Boice and Denise K. Loock concerning this verse in Galatians.

         “Dr. Boice referred to a second century recipe that described the process of making pickles because the recipe of the same Greek words Paul used in Romans 6:  The cucumbers were first dipped into boiling water (they died), and then they were immersed [made alive] in a vinegar solution.  The immersion produced a permanent change in the cucumber.
         The pickle example works for Galatians 2:20 just as well as it works for Romans 6.  If Paul had been talking to cucumbers instead of to the Galatians, he might have said something like this:  You are no longer cucumbers.  In fact, now that you have been boiled in the water and immersed in the spiced vinegar, you will never be cucumbers again.  You are now pickles.  Your outward appearance may seem the same, but your insides have been totally changed, permeated by the spiced vinegar.  Your cucumber days are over.  The spiced vinegar has produced a permanent change in you.
         Now I know that sounds a bit silly, but the point of my paraphrase is accurate.  Once we have been “immersed” in the precious blood of the Lamb of God, we are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).  We can’t go back to our former state any more than a pickle can climb out of its jar and return to the vegetable garden.  And even if the pickle could do that, it would not be able to re-attach itself to the cucumber vine.  It would simply rot on the ground.  What pickle would make that choice?  And why would any Christian want to return to his former lifestyle, either?”

I like that idea.  We are now permeated with the spiced vinegar of the Holy Spirit.  You are changed.  You now have a different use, a different flavor.  The plainness and bland flavor of the cucumber is gone, and now there is an explosion of flavor that comes from us because of the Holy Spirit.