Echoes From the Campfire

Vengeance is the devil’s justice.”
                    –Chad Cull  (The Devil’s Justice)

       “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.”

                    –Romans 12:19(NKJV)
What is that saying, “What goes around comes around.”  David is concerned about justice.  He is being unduly attacked, then he sees it amongst the people–the poor and those in depravity.  Where is justice?  We must remember that God is greatly concerned about justice.  He is more than just a God of love, He is a God of Justice.  David feels that he is being treated unfairly, but think of Jesus on the cross.  Was that fair?  But it was love…and it was justice.  
       Jesus once said that “the poor we have with us always.”  A pastor friend once told me that this is true, but not only of money.  Look around you–there are poor in faith, there are poor in sin, there are poor in depression, and on.  The poor are always there.  That does not excuse the choices they make, especially regarding Jesus Christ.  Let’s finished reading Psalm 69.

          22 — Let their table become a snare before them, and their well-being a trap.
          23 — Let their eyes be darkened, so that they do not see; and make their loins shake continually.
          24 — Pour out Your indignation upon them, and let Your wrathful anger take hold of them.
          25 — Let their dwelling place be desolate; let no one live in their tents.
          26 — For they persecute the ones You have struck, and talk of the grief of those You have wounded.
          27 — Add iniquity to their iniquity, and let them not come into Your righteousness.
          28 — Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.
          29 — But I am poor and sorrowful; let Your salvation, O God, set me up on high.
          30 — I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving.
          31 — This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bull, which has horns and hooves.
          32 — The humble shall see this and be glad; and you who seek God, your hearts shall live.
          33 — For the LORD hears the poor, and does not despise His prisoners.
          34 — Let heaven and earth praise Him, the seas and everything that moves in them.
          35 — For God will save Zion and build the cities of Judah, that they may dwell there and possess it.
          36 — Also, the descendants of His servants shall inherit it, and those who love His name shall dwell in it.  (NKJV)

Now that is some kind of vindictive prayer we read in the first part.  “Get them God!”, cries David.  David longed to see justice and retribution.  Notice David’s mood, especially in his prayer against his enemies, but then the mood changes in verse 30.  Instead of praying that God to get his enemies he begins to praise the Lord.  Oh, Lord help us to rest content in Your promises.
       Remember, justice was done on the cross.  We don’t see it done the way we may wish, but eternal justice was taken care of at cross.  The choice must be made.  Life goes on, but one day those who have not accepted Christ will see the wrath of God’s justice.  Now we should praise Him for all He has done for us.

                    “When we seek relief from a long-felt grief,
                    When oppressed by new temptations,
                    Lord, increase and perfect patience;
                    Show us that bright shore where we weep no more.”
                              –Nilolaus von Zinzendorf


Coffee Percs

Fire burned in the kitchen stove and the coffee pot was still warm. He lifted the pot and drank from it; and stood still.”

                        –Ernest Haycox  (Action By Night)
I’ve been waitin’ for yuh, Pard.  Throw yur spurs under the table, while I bring the coffee.  Careful now, yuh know the missus don’t want the floor all scratched up.  What d’ yuh think, Pard?  January’s almost over, only a sliver of it left.  Yuh been practicin’ yur good deeds and resolutions?  Here yuh go, filled right up to the brim.  Don’t yuh go spillin’ it none as I didn’t put it on a saucer.  Folks in olden times used to drink out of their saucer, reckoned it cooled the scaldiin’ coffee down some.  At least I gave yuh a cup, I’m not gonna force yuh to drink from the pot.
       Say, Pard, I read the other day that 82% of Gen. Z have had a traumatic experience.  Well, if they’re countin’ Biden and Harris bein’ elected I would say it would be 100%.  But, here’ my point.  What is a traumatic experience?  What Gen. Z calls one and you and I call one might be totally different.  Fact is I don’t think droppin’ a double-grande, mucho, vanilla-carmel Stabucks coffee a traumatic experience.  Now, stubbin’ yur toe in the middle of the night when yur raidin’ the icebox might hurt like the thunder, but it don’t rate as a traumatic experience.  Now if ol’ Miss Mable Brooks died, the spinster down the road, that most likely wouldn’t be traumatic either, for she don’t have no kinfolk.  Maybe for her cat.  For a snowflake or twinkie, bein’ told to get up an’ go to work might be a traumatic experience.
       Well, one thing for sure, is that they better be gettin’ ready, for the world’s gonna be tremblin’ soon.  If folks think this virus is bad, they need to read what is gonna happen in the Book of Revelation.  Why this ol’ bug will be minor compared to what will comin’ upon the earth.  That’s why we are lookin’ up, gettin’ ready now for that homecomin’.  This ol’ boy ain’t plannin’ on bein’ around for no Tribulation.  Yuh talk about a traumatic experience, well, sure enough, that time will have plenty of them.
       Ahhh, coffee’s good this mornin’, so yuh don’t have to rush off.  Yuh be watchful out there, now!  And if’n yuh don’t check yur cinch and yuh fall to the ground, well, the shaken yuh might bring could be a traumatic experience.
        Vaya con Dios.


Echoes From the Campfire

For it was our way to go onward; to go forward and to try to shape our world into something that would make our lives easier, even if more complicated. Our struggle was for time. Our leisure was bought from hardship, and we needed leisure to think, to dream, to create.”
                    –Louis L’Amour  (Bendigo Shafter)

       “Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ. Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terrible suffering.”
                    –Hebrews 10:32 (NLT)
I have read the verse below many, many times and have heard numerous sermons preached using it as a text.  Today, I want to concentrate on a couple of things from the verse.

                “Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us.”
                         –Hebrews 12:1 (Amplified)

       Who are these “great cloud of witnesses”?  I have heard that they were the departed saints looking down from heaven as if in a grandstand.  They are hollering, “Go, go, the finish line is just ahead.”  If a person falters or falls down, one of these witnesses will stand and shout, “Get up, get up, I made it, so can you.”  It may be Noah, or David, or one of the nameless saints in history.  Then I had a preacher friend tell me they could not be those in heaven.  He explained that there are no tears in heaven, no sorrow, and if someone from heaven were watching life back on earth there surely would be tears.  However, I might add, those in heaven are no longer looking with earthly eyes, but with the eyes of God and see things now from His perspective.
       Remember, this verse follows the great Hall of Faith chapter–Hebrews 11.  I like how the Amplified examines the “witnesses.”  They “who have” borne testimony to the truth.  Look back at Hebrews 11 for this verse rests on that great chapter.  We are following great examples.  They are our witnesses, they have given us a testimony.  These people, Moses, Abraham, and the others had to fight and struggle, they had to put their faith to the test.  “Their walk of faith was a great, great challenge” (Renner)  We have these individuals to give testimony to the fact that they made it, therefore, we can make it also.
       We are completely surrounded (compassed about) by these witnesses.  There are not hollering at us now, but we have their examples to follow.  I think one of the great travesties of our age is that we do not know about the great men and women of the faith.  We have several mentioned in Hebrews 11, but what of the others?  What of the saints in the 2nd century, the 10th century, or the 20th century?  Folks may know the name of Billy Graham, though it is beginning to fade, but few know of Charles Finney, Sam P. Jones, or R.A. Torrey?  We do a disservice to the present generation by not teaching them of the great people of faith and that includes those from the Bible.  By their faith they made it; by our faith we can as well.
       I remember hearing the great missionary Charles Greenaway say many times in his preaching, “We’re going to make it!  Some of us may not look like much, but we’re going to make it.  Some may crawl across that finish line, bruised, battered, torn, and scarred, but they’re going to make it.”  Friend, keep going forward.  Fight the good fight of faith–you’re going to make it.  You may get weary, you may be wounded in the fray, but you’re going to make it!
       Rick Renner gives clarification on this first part of Hebrews 12:1, “We are surrounded on every side with powerful examples of people who were challenged in their faith, yet who held fast to the Word of God.”  That’s why it is so important to guard the truth, to be alert, to learn and study, to grow in the faith so that your legacy will say to the next generations–I made it!


Echoes From the Campfire

This land was wild, and it could be cruel. It was not a place where you could travel without being constantly on guard. Dangers lurked everywhere. Only the hardy could survive here.”

                         –William Wayne Dicksion  (Sagebrush)

       “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”
                         –Revelation 12:11(NKJV)
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)

We saw where faith is passive.  We abide in Christ and we grow.  It is simple and profound; it is simply a matter of taking God at His word and trusting in Him.  But faith is also active.  Jesus is a prime example of faith.  He trusted His Father in everything even to raise Him from the dead.  For a minute let’s look at the reason that Jesus came into the world.

          1)  Because of the power of sin, the power of Satan, and the power of evil.  The perfect Son of God came to not only defeat Satan, but to break the bonds and power of sin.  Evil is abundant, but life in Christ is more abundant.  Evil does not have the victory, but through our faith each of us can have the victory.
          2)  Jesus was the only way in which we could be delivered from the world.  This world, as seen in the key verse, is under the power and control of the devil.  He is evil to the core.  All he does is evil.  It took Jesus to overcome the power of evil and the devil.
          3)  People are optimistic about this world.  In centuries past they made idols of gods, because they trusted more in wood and stone than in God Almighty.  Today they have changed idols; they now have wealth, prosperity and entertainment to worship.  The reason turn to these things is because man has never understood the nature of sin.  Sin is deadly, not to this life, but it brings about the second death.  Jesus broke the power of sin by taking all of the sin upon Himself.
          4)  When a person becomes a Christian they see through the world–they see the power and domination of sin that is there.  Elections won’t solve it, new thoughts of culture won’t solve it, no actions of man can solve it.  But the Christian knows that there is a solution and that is in Jesus.  Jesus overcame the world.  He, being tempted as man, conquered Satan, sin, and death.  We see the problems and the forces knowing our weaknesses, but that outlook now has changed when we look at Christ who overcame.

       As a Christian, being born-again, I belong to Christ.  Therefore, I am a sharer in His victory.  I can draw upon Him and from His power.  If I stumble, if I fail, if I falter I can go to him (1 John 1:9) and have the assurance that He is faithful and will cleanse me.

               “There is nothing, then, that so enables me to overcome as that deliverance from sin and failure, from that sense of despair that tends to overwhelm me when I feel I have gone down and cannot rise again.  The blood of Christ will cleanse me, and I rise up and go forward on my journey.”
                               –D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

  I now go through life victoriously.  I journey with my head held high and my feet secure as I walk in Christ.  I know that my journey will lead me to heaven and life eternal with Christ.  Ultimate joy and perfection awaits me.  This world is not my home; I’m heading toward life eternal.

               “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.”  
                              –Philippians 3:20-21 (NKJV)

               “This is how faith overcomes–I fly to Christ in utter helplessness, but I also work faith out.  I reason out the implication of believing that ‘Jesus is the Son of God’; and fortified by all these things I overcome and am enabled to overcome.  I triumph, and I find that the commandments of God are no longer ‘grievous.'”
                              –D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones