Echoes From the Campfire

Black or white, right is right and wrong is wrong.  It doesn’t make any difference.”
              –Elmer Kelton  (Badger Boy)

    “He will not be afraid of evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.”
              –Psalm 112:7 (NKJV)
         “The spiritual leanness of so many Christians today is a direct result of getting into the flesh–trying to do kingdom work in our own power, with worldly methods.  Our values are becoming perverted.”
                   –David Wilkerson

Look around at those proclaiming “cancel culture” and see what is truly happening.  I am convinced that much of what is being said is to line the pockets of those already rich.  Find out who is making the money and you’ll find out who is pulling the strings.  
    Who does it benefit to change “culture”?  We should be concerned, yet we should be able to keep our sense of direction.  We are heaven bound.  Our values, our morality are based in the Word of God.  To live in this pagan, apostate, and foolish world we must dwell in the Word, we must have it etched deeply in our hearts.  I read a great article/sermon by David Wilkerson from which the above quotation is taken, he went on to say, “I confess to you that it has taken years for me to live only for eternal values.”
    I believe there are those especially called by God to preach the gospel and build the kingdom.  Wilkerson, Moody, Nee, Spurgeon, Graham and so many others.  However!  All of us are called to be a light where we are, whether in school, at church, on the job, at the ball park, anywhere and everywhere.  We must seek Him more and more each day if we are to survive in this evil world that is under the control of the “evil one.”
    Before going to sleep every night I pray that the Holy Spirit will give me a “midnight hymn.”  That is to say if I wake up during the night the words of a hymn will be in my mind, and there when I get up in the morning.  At the very beginning of the week I heard this in those early morning hours when I wakened.

         “Deeper, deeper in the love of Jesus
          Daily let me go;
          Higher, higher in the school of wisdom,
          More of grace to know.”

Those words were penned by C.P. Jones and are so very true for the hour in which we live.  Daily to go deeper in Jesus.  Daily to grow in grace.

         “Deeper, deeper! blessed Holy Spirit,
          Take me deeper still,
          Till my life is wholly lost in Jesus,
          And His perfect will.

It may take a lifetime, and most likely will to get deeper in Jesus.  That is the job of the Holy Spirit to take us deeper and He yearns to do so.  What keeps Him from doing so is our self-centeredness and our self-interest.  We need to let go of our life and be wholly lost in Jesus and follow His perfect will which we can find in the Bible.  Let the Holy Spirit take you deeper.

         “Deeper, deeper! tho’ it cost hard trials,
          Deeper let me go!
          Rooted in the holy love of Jesus,
          Let me fruitful grow.

          Deeper, higher, ev’ry day in Jesus,
          Till all conflict past,
          Finds me conqu’ror, and in His own image
          Perfected at last.”

Do not shun the trials and the troubles that come.  Let the Holy Spirit use them to develop you in Christ.  It may be a pestilence, a pandemic, a storm, suffering, or other things that are forced upon you.  The key is to stay in God’s Word and to seek Him in everything you do.  Perfection?  Not in this life, but one day–one day we shall see Him face to face and we shall be like Him.

                   “O deeper yet, I pray,
                    And higher ev’ry day,
                    And wiser, blessed Lord,
                    In Thy precious, holy word.”

We are to live by eternal values, not the values of a “woke culture.”  We are to go deeper into the Word of God, not listen to the voices of puppets and entertainers.  Take me deeper, O Lord, I pray and then lift me up into the heights of Your love.

Echoes From the Campfire

The lure of the trail led him on.  There was always another bend, always another projecting rock around which he wished to see.”
              –Louis L’Amour  (Fallon)

    “Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other.”
              –Titus 3:3 (NLT)
How to Live in a Pagan, Apostate, and Foolish World

Key Verse:  “We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”  –1 John 5:19 (NASB)

I am going to dwell just a bit on loving the brethren, meaning all that are in the Church.  First of all John says that he gives no new commandment and then some added guidelines.  See, we need each other in this evil world.  There are times to pick up a weaker Christian, there might be times when you need guidance along the way and comfort.  Yes, for sure, there may be a time to walk alone, and true, we each have to walk our own road with the Holy Spirit only as our guide, but still we are to love our brothers and sisters in Christ.
    First a little side thought.  For some reason the more enlightened church has dropped those respectful titles.  I believe we have lost something by doing it.  We are of the family of God, and therefore we are “brothers and sisters” to each other.  Too formal, I don’t think so.  It is showing relationship.  If we fail to love them, we interrupt or fellowship with God.

         “Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard. 8 On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining. 9 The one who says that he is in the Light and yet hates his brother or sister is in the darkness until now. 10 The one who loves his brother and sister remains in the Light, and there is nothing in him to cause stumbling. 11 But the one who hates his brother or sister is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”
                   –1 John 2:7-11 (NASB)

    The words of Leviticus 19:18 and John 13:34 were never truly possible until Christ.  Only through Christ are we able to really love our neighbor and forgive others.  Darkness has passed and we are living in the Light.  Unbelievers dwell in the realm of darkness; unbelievers eyes have been darkened, they are used to darkness.  However, the Christian is not the person they used to be.  The test of Light is in response to this commandment.  There must be love to be in the realm of light.  Despite defects in others we press on in loving them.

         “Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the Light of the world; the one who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.'”
                   –John 8:12 (NASB)

    Once we were unloving people, once we walked in the darkness, but now we have the Light.  The world controls those who are in darkness.  Unless drawn by the Light those in the world hide from it.  “The world hides itself; there is a superficial charm and manner, there is a superficial culture and chivalry that would hide this.” (Lloyd-Jones)  They claim to be “woke” more enlightened that those in the Church.  Their culture is better and not bigoted or racist.  They are controlled by this outlook.  Lloyd-Jones refers to this as a tragedy, “The tragedy of the nonChristian is that he is not master of himself or in control of himself; he is governed by his surroundings and circumstances.”  He is a victim of the darkness, and is under the control of the “evil one.” (1 John 5:19)
    Those in the darkness are blind; they do not understand the gospel.  They are blind to their eternal destiny for they are not looking for the heavenly city.  Many will mock that they prefer hell, for all their friends will be there.  The devil covers their eyes.  Therefore, we as Christians have an obligation to love those of the family of God so that our light might shine to those in darkness.
    As we love others, especially those of the faith, we find real purpose governing our lives.  Our eyes are open making it harder to stumble.  Oh, stumble we might; falter is possible, but we have the promise of 1 John 1:9 and can go to our heavenly Father.  Our journey is not one of continual falling, stumbling, and tripping for we are now walking in the Light.  Because of that we have a duty to not cause others to trip or stumble, but to draw out the best in them.

Echoes From the Campfire

You can talk directly to the Lord any time you want to.  He’s always listenin’.”
              –Elmer Kelton  (Badger Boy)

    “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.'”
              –1 Corinthians 15:33 (NASB)
How to Live in a Pagan, Apostate, and Foolish World

Key Verse:  “We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”  –1 John 5:19 (NASB)

I want to discuss the idea of doctrine/theology a little more.  We cannot face the evils of this world without a strong theological base.  Our doctrine must be sound; it must be biblical.  Today, people do not relish the thought of theology or the preaching of doctrine.  There are two basic reasons for this:  1) it requires that we think; 2) it makes us responsible.  That is one of the reasons why hymns are rarely sung–they teach doctrine and the knowledge of doctrine makes a person responsible.  In fact, “You cannot speak about Christianity…without being doctrinal.” (Lloyd-Jones)
    To be honest, there is no such thing as an irreligious person.  Even an atheist has a doctrine.  The Christian states, “In the beginning God…” while the atheist says, “In the beginning no God…”  That is a statement of theology.  To refute doctrine is to refuse to believe in the teachings of the New Testament–it is insulting to God.  D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones states, “My sense of obedience to God compels me to discover as far as I can what He means by them [doctrines].”  Remember, and this is absolutely true, “If your doctrine is wrong, your life will be wrong.” (Lloyd-Jones)
    It is important that we first discover truth and understand what the Scriptures have to say.  People clamor, “do” but on what basis, I ask?  If practical theology precedes doctrinal theology then doctrines will be introduced to match practice that do not necessarily line up with God’s Word.
    In saying the above, we must keep in mind that doctrine is not passive.  There is the need to be involved in life with the proper knowledge of the Scripture.  We need to be careful of false doctrines, of heresy, and currently the theology of universalism.
    We are to live life; we are to live the life.  The application of living is always the outcome of doctrine.  For example, which is the river?  The water or the source?  Do we know things about God, or do we know Him?  There should be a personal acquaintance with Him for we are in Him, and He is in us (and this is not pantheism).  Test your experiences for not all experiences are true.  The real test of life is not experiences, though they may have their purpose, but how you live your life!  Keep His commandments!  “Love always manifests itself by doing what the object of its love desires.” (Lloyd-Jones)
    Failure?  It happens, but then turn to 1 John 1:9 and 1 John 2:1-2.  We have an Advocate.  In fact, we could not even begin to approach God without Christ.  Jesus understands our infirmities; He is the propitiation for He is both the high priest and the offering.

         “He is not only the propitiating sacrifice, but the propitiation itself; everything that is necessary to reconcile the sinner with God is in Jesus Christ.  He is prophet, He is priest, He is king.  He is sacrifice; it is His blood that has been shed and presented, and He has purified the heavenly tabernacle; it is all in Him.”
                   –D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

So when you see the evil around you know that Jesus is there to take care of you for He is your Advocate and He became your propitiation.  We can be well-pleasing in His sight.  Go out and live.

The Saga of Miles Forrest

Stepping into in the door of the courtroom I faced the black-eyed bore of a .38 caliber Smith and Wesson.  I knew that Queens carried a fancy gun of .38 caliber but it’s different viewing it when the action end is pointing at you.  Queens was sitting behind the Judge’s bench.  My attention then went to the prosecutor’s desk where Stanley Offut was on top of it on his hands and knees; Judge Klaser was standing on top of him with a rope around his neck.
    This was not a good situation.  Offut was already wobbling, and the Judge was a rather well-rounded man; I didn’t know how much longer before Offut collapsed.
    “Queens, it doesn’t have to be this way,” I pleaded.  
    A laugh came from him; a laugh I had heard many times before.  It was the laughter from Hades itself, the mocking laugh of the Pale Rider.  “My party, my way, and I welcome you friend, Miles.”
    “First of all, I ain’t your friend!  Second, you won’t get out of this building alive!” I exclaimed moving so that Offut and the Judge were not blocking my view of Queens.
    He was waving his gun around, when he said, “I get two of you this way,” he paused, then continued, “Offut just got in the way, plus I heard he was backing you.”  His face turned angry, “I’m not giving up this badge.  This is going to be my town.  As soon as I get rid of you and the Judge, I’ll take care of that Sheriff.”
    My mind was whirling, and I was silently praying that the Lord would show me a way.  I tried not to show my nervousness, but it was hard not to.  I wanted to try for my gun and it seemed that Queens was taunting me into trying.
    In a shaky voice Offut cried out, “Miles, do something!  I can’t hold out much longer.”
    Not a sound had come from the Judge.  The rope was tight around his neck and was up around the rafter and tied to the door of the Judge’s chamber.  If I didn’t do something quick he might strangle before Offut collapsed and he was hung.  I moved another step to my right and turned my body slightly.
    Queens was smiling and humming some tune I didn’t recognize.  “Tell me the name of that song and we’ll sing it at your burial,” I remarked.
    His face went stone sober, no expression whatsoever.  He stood then sneered.  “All right, Mr. High-and-Mighty, I’ll give you a chance!”
    He holstered his gun, and I didn’t hesitate.  I drew my gun and shot.  I knew that he had pulled his and that I was falling.
    My eyes opened and I was laying on the other desk in the courtroom.  Doc Jones was bandaging up my head.  I tried to move my hand and felt that it was gripped tight; I looked to see who was holding it and found Molly standing there a grim look on her face that now turned to a smile.
    I tried to shake my head but Doc grabbed me by the chin, “Stay still!” he ordered.  I planned on doing just that for even that little movement make my head hurt.
    “The Judge?” I asked feebly.
    A voice answered from not too far away.  “I’m fine, so is Stanley.”
    “Whew, that was close,” came the words from Charlie Gold.  “As soon as I heard the shots, I came running and broke through the window,” he paused.  “I saw Queens lying on the floor, blood pouring from him.  The shot must have scared Stanley for he collapsed, and I saw the Judge hanging.  When I saw the rope tied to the door, I opened it and it gave enough slack for the Judge to fall on Stanley.  Miles, it was close.”
    “Help me sit him up,” commanded Doc Jones.  “Faint?  Dizzy?” he prodded.  “Well, say something!”
    “Doc, give me a chance,” I said then looked toward where Queens had been standing.  Parker was already there with some men to remove Queens’ body.  “What happened to him?”
    Paul Parker, the undertaker, came by me and placed his hand on my shoulder.  “Your bullet caught him right in the jugular notch above the breastbone.  He didn’t last long.”
    “Hmpf, long enough to almost kill you,” muttered Doc.  “His bullet plowed a nice groove alongside your head.  A fraction of an inch and your brains would have been splattered.  All I can say is that you won’t be wearing a hat for a spell.”
    “Doc,” I replied, “a fraction of an inch the other way and he would have missed altogether.”