Echoes From the Campfire

It takes extreme measures, sometimes, to fit an extreme situation.”

                    –Elmer Kelton  (Captain’s Rangers)

        “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”
                    –2 Timothy 2:3 (NKJV)
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Just because things are going well doesn’t mean that God isn’t smiling down upon you.  “Good fortune doesn’t always mean that you’re living well, nor does bad fortune automatically mean you’re sinning.” (William Peterson)  No matter what, we have to face whatever life brings.  It doesn’t mean it’s from God or from the devil, sometimes it is just life.  David knew he was the anointed king, yet Saul was chasing him to kill him.  There was a reprieve, when Saul’s armies went to fight the Philistines, a battle in which Saul eventually died.  David still had to face the nation’s enemies.  One thing for sure–when a nation pleases God, things go well; but when a nation turns away from God, things fall apart.

       1 — O God, You have cast us off; You have broken us down; You have been displeased; Oh, restore us again!
       2 — You have made the earth tremble; You have broken it; heal its breaches, for it is shaking.
       3 — You have shown Your people hard things; You have made us drink the wine of confusion.
       4 — You have given a banner to those who fear You, that it may be displayed because of the truth.                  Selah
       5 — That Your beloved may be delivered, save with Your right hand, and hear me.
       6 — God has spoken in His holiness: “I will rejoice; I will divide Shechem and measure out the Valley of Succoth.
       7 — Gilead is Mine, and Manasseh is Mine; Ephraim also is the helmet for My head; Judah is My lawgiver.
       8 — Moab is My washpot; over Edom I will cast My shoe; Philistia, shout in triumph because of Me.”
       9 — Who will bring me to the strong city?  Who will lead me to Edom?
      10 — Is it not You, O God, who cast us off?  And You, O God, who did not go out with our armies?
      11 — Give us help from trouble, for the help of man is useless.
      12 — Through God we will do valiantly, for it is He who shall tread down our enemies.  (Psalm 60, NKJV)

       “The danger in success is dishonesty with self, others, or God.  You will substitute eternal accomplishments for internal peace.  What happens to you becomes more important than what happens in you.” (George O. Wood)  That is so true.  David alerts us in this Psalm to keep our eyes upon God.  We should continue to take inventory of ourselves.  Is God pleased with me?  Is God pleased with what I am doing?  Do not expect Him to smile down on you and pour out His blessings if we get caught up in our own security and in our own pleasure.  William Struther said, “So long as sight and reason find footing in matters, there is not place for faith and hope; the abundance of human help puts not grace to proof, but the strength of faith is in the absence of them all.”
       Even though God gives us talents, we should never get to the point of saying, “I did it all myself.”  What happens if the talent disappears?  Then there is also the inner man, the one kept hidden.  What are you doing to win those inward battles?  People may see you every day and you may do a good job hiding the inward struggles from them, but do you dare give them to the Lord and let Him fight for you, or will you still go on trying to do it in your own power–failing time and time again?  
       The first thing that must happen is to restore a right relationship with the Lord.  Then turn to Him with your problems.  Recognize that you are not an island in yourself, capable of solving all in your own wisdom, strength, and knowledge.  Do not ever get to the point where you think that hardship means that God is no longer with you or no longer cares for you.  The key is that we keep a right heart and right spirit in adversity or success.

                “Give us now relief from pain
                 Human aid is all in vain;
                 We, through God, shall yet prevail.”
                            –Hatfield

Coffee Percs

The morning cup of Café Nair is an integral part of the life of a Creole household. The Creoles hold as a physiological fact that this custom contributes to longevity, and point, day after day, to examples of old men and women of fourscore, and over, who attest to the powerful aid they have received through life from a good, fragrant cup of coffee in the early morning.”
                    –The Picayune Creole Cook Book (1901)

Mornin’ Pard, come on in and let’s have a cup of coffee.  Ahhh, a pleasure of life, to be sure.  Sorry that I seem serious this mornin’.  I know Saturdays are supposed to be light-hearted, a day of fun activity.   Hmmm, where did we come up with that idea?  Six days shall thou labor and the seventh we rest.  Ha, on the seventh most are out workin’ or partyin’ and not doin’ much thinkin’ of the Lord which we are supposed to be doin’ on the Lord’s Day.
       Take another drink; if’n it’s not too hot, take a deep, long one.  Times are serious; we need to be aware of what’s happenin’ around us.  For sure, I know two things:  the Lord is coming, and I believe soon; and with that, the ol’ devil is gettin’ ready to take over.  Now, don’t be gettin’ in a fuss, nor takin’ me wrong.  I don’t for a moment believe that this vaccine is the “mark of the Beast.”  However, that bein’ said, I do believe that the foundation is now bein’ laid for it to come on the land.
       Here, let me take a slurp before continuing.  I want to pass on to yuh somethin’ I read, and it ought to get the attention of all of us.  Prime Minister Johnson of the United Kingdom stated that people will not be able to buy or sell unless they have proof of takin’ the vaccine.  President Macron of France said the same thing and added people will not be able to have access to shopping areas without a vaccine passport.
       Whooeee, if that don’t get yur attention!  What is it that is said in Revelation, people who do not have the “mark” will not be able to buy or sell?   My mercy, if a foundation is not bein’ laid for the future, I don’t know what yuh’d call it.   With all that bein’ said, I’m sure glad yuh stopped by this mornin’ to partake of a cup of coffee with me.  Hope, despite what I’ve shared, it’ll put a smile on yur face and a whoop in yur gizzard.
       Yuh, just be ready.  I think the four riders of Death we see in Revelation are tightening their cinches and gettin’ ready to mount.
        Vaya con Dios.                                   

Echoes From the Campfire

Joy an’ happiness, whatever makes life worth livin’, is in you. No man can go forth to find what he hasn’t got within him.”
                    –Zane Grey  (Wanderer of the Wasteland)

        “And not only that, but we ourselves who have the Spirit as the firstfruits—we also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.”

                    –Romans 8:23(HCSB)
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There have been all kinds of stories going forth since the virus struck.  Everything from you have to get vaccinated, but it still won’t do any good to the doomsday prophets and wild prophecies.  I read one the other day, and it didn’t come from left field, but from way out in foul territory.  The thoughts were off-kilter and he had only one perspective.  I don’t think the person had ever read the Old Testament.
       However, he did make one good statement:  “Our politics should not determine our theology.”  I agree with that, but then more important is that our theology should determine our politics.  All that we do should be based on sound biblical theology.   Abortion on demand, transgendering and gay lifestyle, anarchy, and socialism were a few things he brought up, saying that Republicans and conservatives have left the Bible.  Interesting, I thought; it seems that the person does not have a very good insight into the person of God–His natural and moral attributes.  Love and mercy are “holy” attributes of God, but so are justice and wrath “holy” attributes of God.
       As I pondered what to write this morning, my thoughts went to a well-used devotional book I have.  God Is No Fool, by Lois A. Cheney.  It’s been a while since I’ve used something so today I thought I’d search out one of the devotions that came to mind.

               They say that God has infinite patience,
               And that is a great comfort.

               They say God is always there,
               And that is a deep satisfaction.

               They say that God will always take you back,
               And I get lazy in that certitude.

               They say that God never gives up,
               And I count on that.

               They say you can go away for years and years,
               And he’ll be there, waiting, when you come back.

               They say you can make mistake after mistake,
               And God will always forgive and forget.

               They say lots of things,
               These people who never read the Old Testament

               There comes a time,
               A definite, for sure time,
               When God turns around.

                I don’t believe God shed his skin
                When Christ brought in the New Testament;
                Christ showed us a new side of God,
                And it is truly wonderful.

               But he didn’t change God.
               God remains forever and ever
               And that God
               is
               no
               fool.

Remember, as in the days of Noah, Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot’s wife, and on I could go.  I could go on with other examples.  There comes a time when God says, “that is enough.”

Echoes From the Campfire

We’re facing lots of unknowns, and we’ll be stronger facing them together.”
                    –Ralph Compton  (The Goodnight Trail)

       “When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.”

                    –Romans 1:12 (NLT)
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                         “I surrender all,  
                          I surrender all,
                          All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
                          I surrender all.”
                                   –J.W. Van DeVenter

I imagine many of you know that chorus, and possibly have sung it.  Back in the “olden days” when hymns were sung, it was one of the main songs used for altar calls.  Hymns and altars, hmmm, a thing of the past, but that’s another topic.  Right now concentrate on those few words.  All–consecration!  I want to take time to look at this hymn and some words from F.B. Meyer on the idea of surrendering all, or consecration.

                         “All to Jesus I surrender,
                          All to Him I freely give;
                          I will ever love and trust Him,
                          In His service daily live.

                          All to Jesus I surrender,
                          Humbly at His feet I bow;
                          Worldly pleasure all forsaken,
                          Take me Jesus, take me now.”

“All!”  what does that mean?  What is giving ourselves to Jesus?  Meyer says that “Consecration is giving Jesus His own.  We are His by right, because He bought us with His blood.  But, alas!  He has not had His money’s worth!  He paid for all, and He had had but a fragment of our energy, time, and earnings.”  We have robbed Him.  We stay home from church and use the virus as an excuse, completely ignoring the words of Scripture.  We keep money to ourselves that rightly belongs to the Lord, and I’m not just talking about tithes, but “all” belongs to Him.  We are but stewards.
       A couple more stanzas:

                          “All to Jesus I surrender,
                           Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
                           Let me feel the Holy Spirit,
                           Truly know that Thou art mine.

                           All to Jesus I surrender,
                           Lord, I give myself to Thee;
                           Fill me with Thy love and power,
                           Let Thy blessing fall on me.”

“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.'” (John 14:23, NASB)  I don’t know if you have read this verse or not before, but look at it closely.  I know that Paul declares in Romans that nothing can separate us from the love of God. (Romans 8:39).  However, look closely at what Meyer calls manifested love.  “This doorway is very narrow, and the entrance is only possible for those who will lay aside weights as well as sins.  A weight is anything which, without being essentially wrong or hurtful to others, is yet a hindrance to ourselves.” (Meyer)  
       Do you have weights that need to be surrendered?  Are they holding you back from the best that the Lord has for you?  Notice that the verse in John deals with obedience, that means the giving of the will to God.  We cry to love Him, but do we love Him with our will?  With our emotions?  With our minds?  Are we consecrated enough that ALL belongs to Him?  

                         “All to Jesus I surrender,
                          Now I feel the sacred flame;
                          O the joy of full salvation,
                          Glory, glory to His name.”

Do you feel it?  The refiner’s fire; the sacred flame of the Holy Spirit burning deep within you.  It is vital in this day that we not live a wishy-washy, half-hearted Christian life, but one that is wholly acceptable to Him.  Repent of sins; give Him the weights that so easily beset you (Hebrews 12:1).