Echoes From the Campfire

Each day is the start of something new that gives us the choice to decide what we want to make out of it.”
              –Duane Boehm  (Sun Over the Mountains)

    “By faith he [Moses] forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.”
              –Hebrews 11:27 (NKJV)
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I thought about saying that all want to live with a quiet heart.  But upon second thought, there are many who are antagonistic to Christ who want to continue to clamor and cause havoc.  But to those who want the quiet heart they must first have confidence in God.  They must believe who He is and that nothing happens apart from Him.  He does not cause everything, but He is totally in charge.
    In regard to our lives we need to understand that with God, nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37).  That is true for the believer as he walks through this world.  God is always watching, always working and at times He will provide miracles for us as we trust in Him.
    Despite the fall of man, despite the cursings that God has placed upon this earth; it still belongs to Him.  He is still the Savior of the world; He has not and will not turn His back upon it.  If you think that God has placed a curse upon you, that is not so.  Blessings and cursings come from our choices.  They depend upon how we live our lives in accordance to His plan, way, and standards; whether or not we live in obedience to Him.  Want a quiet heart?  Walk in obedience to the Lord.
    Nothing happens to you that He is not aware of or that He has allowed.  Have confidence in the words of Matthew,

         “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
                   –Matthew 10:29-31 (NKJV)

It is a slap in the face if you think that God does not care for you.  What are you, less than a sparrow?  To have a quiet heart in this world understand that God knows all about you.  In fact, like Job, some of the things that are happening in your life may be because of activity in the spirit world.  When we question what is going on that is the time to have faith in God.  Lloyd-Jones writes, “If you really believe in God, anything that may happen to you will drive you nearer to God and anything that drives you nearer to Him is a ‘good thing’ for you.”
    It is vital that we come to know Him.  That we truly know Him.  To do that means that we must be in His Word, we must understand Who He is and understand what His character is like.  A disciple is someone who spends time with the Teacher, an apprentice is someone who spends time with the Master.  As we develop a relationship we develop more trust.  Jesus is the guarantee of everything God has said.  “To believe God means an utter, implicit confidence in what He has said about Himself and in what He has said about what He will do.” (Lloyd-Jones)

         “So we may boldly say:  ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear.  What can man do to me?'”
                   –Hebrews 13:6 (NKJV)

    Have confidence in Him, rest in His arms for He cares for you.  Commit yourself to His care, place your life and your affairs in His hands, no matter the circumstance.

Echoes From the Campfire

One lives with trouble.  There is no need to think about a time without it, for it is always here.  A man grows strong by standing against the wind, and eternal peace would bring no happiness.  Man needs strife of some kind, something to struggle against.”
              –Louis L’Amour (Brionne)

    “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.”
              –John 4:23 (NKJV)
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         “Neither drouth, nor rain, nor blizzard disturbs the joy-juice in this ol’ gizzard!”
                           –unknown

You can add to that, liberalism, politics, riots, and other such stupidities and sundry things.
    It is not that I am not concerned, for I am very concerned about the state of this nation and the citizens of this country.  I am very concerned about the state of the church, and those who attend (or don’t attend).  However, those things are not going to wreck and destroy my joy, peace, and happiness.  We should be concerned about our nation and the times in which we live, but not to the point that the enemy is able to bring fear, dread, depression, and despair into our lives.
    There is a very often-quoted, yet misused verse in Jeremiah.  The thoughts of the Lord are of peace and not evil and to give us a future. (Jeremiah 29:11).  But read the whole chapter.  Do not take the verse out of context.  God’s thoughts are positive for Jeremiah and the nation of Israel, but first they had to spend time in captivity, time as slaves in Babylon.  The chapter tells us that we must seek Him, and when He is found He will bring them out of captivity.
    In these troublesome times, and they are troubling, there are some things that we are to do, that we MUST do.  No matter what happens in these times.  No matter what actions the extreme left takes against the church and believers there are some requisites for us.  

         “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
              –Matthew 5:13-16(NKJV)

You live in this place, shall I say, “in the now.”  You are here, January 2021, and this is where God expects you to live and operate, and function.  First, by being flavorful to those around you.  In the classroom, in the workplace, as you travel, to those you meet in the marketplace, in stores, at restaurants.  They should be able to “taste” and know that you are there and that you are a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, don’t act like them, don’t look like them, don’t talk like them, be separate and be flavorful.
    Second, don’t hide your light!  The Holy Spirit should be seen burning in you.  You are to be a warning as a lighthouse.  You are to be a beacon, to show the way.  You are to shine so that others have hope, and can look at your light and thus find the way.  You are no good if you hide the light that is within you.  In these times, how much more do those near you need a light to show them the way.
    There is one other Scripture I would leave with you today to ponder.  Contemplate it for it is one of those “hard” verses in the Bible.  I point you to Matthew 10:34:

         “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth.  I did not come to bring peace but a sword” (NKJV).

We live in a time when there is much fear, terror, and turmoil on the earth.  A time of pestilence, a time of hatred, a time of division.  Yet, in this recognize that this is the place and time where God has placed you.  Don’t compromise with the enemy, don’t be complacent, don’t fret or fear for your heavenly Father cares for you.  He will provide for you, He knows your thoughts and you next step.  This is the time and place in which He has placed you–love in it for the Lord!

Echoes From the Campfire

Sometimes it seems God forgets us, but I reckon that is not so.”
              –Zane Grey  (Fighting Caravans)

    “I love those who love me, And those who seek me diligently will find me.”
              –Proverbs 8:17 (NKJV)
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People in this world are so dissatisfied.  When they finally get what they think they want they find no real satisfaction in it; the joy in the object is fleeting.  Protestors on every hand, of every sort — Why?  Dissatisfaction and that comes from selfishness.  I want it.  I want it now!  I want it my way!  Then, perchance they get “it” and they find they are not satisfied with “it.”
    Believers, why is there so much dissatisfaction with them?  “To have a troubled heart means that you are not believing in God truly.” (Lloyd-Jones)  When we seek after righteousness the heart becomes calmer.  The men and women of faith faced much turmoil, yet in the midst of it they had joy, peace, and happiness.  If we continue to see those things in our life, we must not be believing in God.  We must not truly believe Who He is.  It may be also that we are not seeking after righteousness, and to do that we must believe in God.
    It is true, that unbelievers might have serious unrest in their heart and mind.  They want to satisfy themselves.  They want to be little gods, autonomous, right in their own eyes.  But they are never satisfied.  “’There is no peace,’ Says my God, ‘for the wicked.'” (Isaiah 57:21, NKJV).  No peace, no joy, no satisfaction; only fretting, desiring, lusting, seeking what they cannot ultimately find.
    People must accept God and His Word on its terms, not on their opinions or what they think He means.  “…There are no shortcuts once you begin to deal with God.  God demands something which is central from us; He demands a total allegiance.  You cannot take things out of the Gospel of Christ.  You must take the Gospel as it is without any modification or qualification.” (Lloyd-Jones)  You want to be blessed, have peace and joy, find happiness then start to seek after after God and His righteousness.
    Let me finish with some more from D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones.  Ponder these words and begin to seek God.

         “There is no start to God; He is life, He is everything, God the absolute and the eternal one, from everlasting to everlasting.  You cannot prove the being of God, you just take the revelation and you accept it; if you could prove it, it would mean that your mind is of necessity bigger than God Himself, so to believe in Him is to believe in His eternity.”

Echoes From the Campfire

For the fire and passion in him were pure and clean as the winds that sweep the hills.”
              –William MacLeod Raine  (Ridgeway of Montana)

    “He who earnestly seeks good finds favor, But trouble will come to him who seeks evil.
              –Proverbs 11:27 (NKJV)
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                             “Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel,
                              And his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:
                              ‘I am the First and I am the Last;
                              Besides Me there is no God.'”
                                    –Isaiah 44:6 (NKJV)

I wrote last week about the Lord telling us not to be afraid.  I used John 14:1, the first part but the second part says, “Believe in God, believe also in Me.”  That is part of our problem, do we really believe in God?  Perhaps a good study for the New Year would be a study in “Who God Is”.  
    We need to, first of all, believe in God.  Instead of looking at Him and focusing on Him we look for immediate solutions to our problems, we want our comfort and care rather than becoming closer to Him.  A good example, a person who is ill usually wants first of all for the pain to be taken care of; remove the symptoms of the disease first.  “Anything which merely gives us relief from the unpleasant symptoms…is not enough…what we should always be interested in, in every realm, is health.” (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones)
    This is true in the spiritual as well as in the physical.  In regard to sin, man wants to be rid of the remorse, the shame, and the guilt.  People would rather take a pill, “take one aspirin and call me in the morning” type of attitude than to deal with the real problem.  This is true of spiritual illness as well.  People will go to church, sing with gusto, maybe even go to the front and jump around a little, leave saying that they feel good, but it’s just a “spiritual aspirin.”
    A friend of mine has been writing on the Sermon on the Mount.  One verse has really spoken to me.  

         “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.”
                      –Matthew 5:6 (NASB)

Many people want happiness, joy, peace, and other things that are included in “blessings.”  However, they are missing the point — “hunger and thirst after righteousness.”  If these other things are your aim, then they will be fleeting or false or you may never find them.  Righteous should be our main aim.  “If you put righteousness as your main aim and if you become so concerned about righteousness and true living that you can be said to be hungering and thirsting after it…you will be filled with happiness; it is something that follows.” (Lloyd-Jones)  As my friend indicated, that is a prayer he has for his family; I have since made it a prayer–daily–for mine as well, that they “hunger and thirst after righteousness.”
    Now, go back to study God.  Look at what the Bible says about God.  Don’t give your opinion, especially if it contradicts the Word of God.  You want to have answers to your problems, your situations, your troubles, cares, and anxieties.  Begin to believe in God.  Recognize Who He is!  This is where it starts.  If you want a calm, quiet heart, it begins with believing in God.  Thirst for Him; thirst for righteousness.