Echoes From the Campfire

Always do what you think is right.  Most times it will be so.  The other times we leave to God.”
              –Elmer Kelton  (The Way of the Coyote)

    “We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”
              –Romans 5:2  (HCSB)
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Let me ask a simple question as we finish looking and meditating on this portion of Psalm 33.  When you are at church and are singing “Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine…” sorry, we don’t sing the hymns anymore.  Think of a truly doctrinal worship song that you sing then ask yourself:  Do I really believe what I sing?
    The end of this Psalm, “We wait in hope for the LORD…”  Where is your hope?  Is your hope in your bank account, or the government, or the goodness of mankind?  If so, it is a failing and useless hope.  Our hope is and must be always in Him for His will must always be done.
    One reason there is so much hatred and unhappiness among people is that we have forsaken the Lord.  There is confusion, there is no moral absolute, but it is all based on the whims of man.  Don’t think for a moment that God is not watching; that He is not observing what is going on, not only in our country, but throughout the world.
    Listen!  Trust in the Lord.  Praise should flow from us and remember, it is through praise that we affirm the truth about God.  He is watching over His people.  Never forget the words of the prophet Malachi, “I the Lord do not change.” (3.6)  When people, society, culture is clamoring for their agenda do not forget that the Lord does not change, and whatever happens His “unfailing love rests upon us.”

    10 – The Lord frustrates the counsel of the nations; He thwarts the plans of the peoples.
    11 – The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation.
    12 – Happy is the nation whose God is Yahweh—the people He has chosen to be His own possession!
    13 – The Lord looks down from heaven; He observes everyone.
    14 – He gazes on all the inhabitants of the earth from His dwelling place.
    15 – He alone shapes their hearts; He considers all their works.
    16 – A king is not saved by a large army; a warrior will not be delivered by great strength.
    17 – The horse is a false hope for safety; it provides no escape by its great power.
    18 – Now the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him—those who depend on His faithful love
    19 – to deliver them from death and to keep them alive in famine.
    20 – We wait for Yahweh; He is our help and shield.
    21 – For our hearts rejoice in Him because we trust in His holy name.
    22 – May Your faithful love rest on us, Yahweh, for we put our hope in You.  (HCSB)

         “Praise the Lord!  for he is glorious;
          Never shall his promise fail.
          God hath made his saints victorious;
          Sin and death shall not prevail.”
                  –unknown

Coffee Percs

Cup of black, tonsil-searing, up-and-at-‘em juice in hand…lurched, as though still not quite awake.”
              –J. Lee Butts (And Kill Them All)

Yippi-ki-ti-yo, another day the Lord has given us.  Don’t forget to be thankin’ Him for it, Pard.  The day the Lord has made and given us along with some of my “go-get-’em” juice of hot, black, and strong coffee–what else could a person need?
    I hope you ain’t all in a dither over the commotion those bureaucrats are causin’ up in Washington.  Talk about confusion!  Read just a little about the goin’s on and you can understand my feelin’s toward most bureaucrats.  I know, yuh can’t lump them all in the same barrel, but my shucks, it’d come close.  
    Sip yur coffee and I’ll tell yuh somethin’.  Confusion comes right from the “father of lies; yep, the devil himself!  There’s no need to be confused, just go to the Book.  The Lord has spelled out how to live in the Bible.  If’n anyone tells you different it’s because they have an agenda and are fulfilling it for the father of lies, or they are just plain old confused.
    Don’t be a-listenin’ to the lies.  Why, I saw where someone from CNN completely made up a conversation between two senators.  Now is that isn’t in the footsteps of the devil, I don’t know what is.  A journalist makin’ up lies, how ’bout that!  Will he get fired?  Well, Pard, don’t hold yur breath over it.
    Like I was sayin’, enjoy yur coffee, follow the words of the Lord in the Bible, and you’ll make it all right.  That is if yuh don’t fall out of the saddle because yuh didn’t check yur cinch.

Echoes From the Campfire

Keep your eyes on the horizon and keep your .45 loaded and ready.”
              –Cliff Hudgins  (Viejo and the Ranger)

    “Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, And revive me in Your way.”
              –Psalm 119:37 (NKJV)
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The more I read from the saints that have gone on before, and the more I read from respectable Christian ministers today, the more I see that it is the quiet and still times that God works and ministers to the soul.  It is not the clamor of the drums, nor the busyness and hype that is needed but the calm soothing voice of the Holy Spirit.
    I’ve always enjoyed the serenity that I find in the mountains.  There is something about being in God’s great cathedral.  Some may say the ocean, or the desert, anywhere as long as there is the sound of quiet filling the air.  Sometimes there is the need to just get away and walk in God’s creation.
    Everyone takes and finds refuge in something.  For some it may be alcohol, or others gambling, others may seek the noise of the crowd or concert.  These are really not a refuge, but an escape.  There is a difference!  Life is such that no person is free from trouble.  “Responsibilities produce worry and tension.  Our tasks are often dangerous, monotonous, unpleasant.  People are sometimes difficult.  World conditions are disturbing and threatening.  Events occur daily to disturb and sadden our lives.  Death stalks our paths.” (Leonard S. Edmonds)  Do any of these fit your situation?  
    How do you escape?  Do you read, go to a concert or play, go to a movie?  Perhaps you gather with friends so you can gossip, ahem, I mean share your troubles and complaints.  Maybe there is a hobby that you seek out, or perhaps it is exercise that helps.  Often, way too often, we seek refuge in ways more harmful than helpful.
    Our refuge should be in Christ!  David writes, “In thee, O Lord, do I seek refuge.” (Psalm 31:1)  There are times when no other refuge is adequate.  Perhaps the ordinary troubles and anxieties of the day may be hidden in a hobby or friends, but there are those great tragedies when the only help is the Lord.  The times we live in are surely troubling and there is little that a person can do but turn to God.  He is our help, our strength, and our guide.
    Keep your eyes on the skies, and one day soon we’ll not only be telling troubles and toils goodbye, but we’ll be singing as we go upward to glory, “goodbye world, goodbye.”

Echoes From the Campfire

I defend them because I believe in what they believe.  I even believe in it more than they do.”
              –Luke Short  (Saddle By Starlight)

       “Vindicate me, O God, And plead my cause against an ungodly nation; Oh, deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man!”
              –Psalm 43:1 (NKJV)
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I have always been thankful for my wonderful heritage in the Assemblies of God.  I can remember back when I was a kid and someone would ask what church I went to and I would reply, “First Assembly of God”.  They would then most often respond, “What’s that?”  Of course, there would always be that one who would answer, “That’s those holy-rollers in the little white church on Mapleton.”  It has grown from a church that once might be deemed “from the other side of the tracks” to one of the largest denominations/fellowships in the world due largely to its dedication to evangelism and missionary effort.  With that in mind I came across an article published in the Pentecostal Evangel in 1973, written by Percy Brewster.  It would be good for churches and individuals to heed its information.
Trends:
 1)  “Being too sensitive to public opinion.”  
             Don’t try to adapt to the world’s culture and accept worldly values.
 2)  “Some accept the heritage of the past without a corresponding personal dedication.”
             This includes people who identify with Pentecostal tradition, “but whose spiritual life is far from where it should be.  They have form of godliness, but not the substance.”
 3)  “Weakening in the area of evangelism.”
       Evangelism is fulfilling the Great Commission.  When the church fails to do this it is committing “spiritual suicide.”  Yet this is now the popular opinion:  don’t cause waves… to each his own…
 4)  “Spend money on extravagant churches.”
        Be good stewards.  Do not take money from evangelism and missions to build a magnificent edifice.
 5)  “Don’t get caught up in the busyness of church work and committees.”
       Seek the lost, look to the needs of hungry souls.
 6)  “An unhealthy move to segregate the young and the old.”
       Oh, this is so true and becoming more and more the norm.  It is seen in all aspects of the church.  I read recently where a church is going to close its doors in August and reopen them in October and that no one over the age of sixty should attend.  
     Brewster writes, “the older people need the zeal and energy of the young, and the young need the balance of the older people’s wisdom and maturity.”
 7)  “An overemphasis on demon power.”
       Don’t blame all of the problems the church has and that you have upon demonic activity.  Some of it is due to individual neglect or stupidity, don’t give undue recognition to the devil.
 8)  “The tendency to tolerate and excuse sin.”
        The truth must be proclaimed, not compromised.  Do not shift opinions to accommodate human weakness, speak the truth.
 9)  “Don’t think that education can be a substitute for the call of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.”
       What has happened to the notion of a “calling”?  A person doesn’t become a pastor because of the prestige or the fame or the money.  He is called by God.  I have heard so many young people say that they would not leave a certain area.  But what if God’s calls them to?

    Brewster finished his article with the thought “theology trumps sociology.”  Housing developments, social welfare, education, etc. will never take the place of the truth as presented in the Bible.  Do not get caught up in the trends of the culture (i.e., political correctness, toleration at all cost).