Echoes From the Campfire

Like so many, he wants something for nothing.  But nothing comes free.  One way or another, everything must be paid for.”
              –Elmer Kelton  (Texas Standoff)

    “For He says: ‘In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.’ Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
              –2 Corinthians 6:2 (NKJV)
Isaac Charles Parker was one of the most renown members of the court system in our history.  He acquired the moniker, the “Hanging Judge.”  His court was extremely busy with over 13,480 cases in his time on the bench over Indian Territory (Oklahoma).  Judge Parker sentenced 160 of these to death with 79 of them being executed; the others had the sentences either commuted, pardoned, or died in prison.
    I will not go into any cases or the character of the Judge here, that is for another time.  He was a fair man, yet firm in regard to the law.  He stated, “I do not desire to hang you men.  It is the law.”  He declared the law determined the fate of the men after they were convicted of their deeds.
    The Law is harsh and has the distinct purpose of guiding lives.  Its purpose is to dictate boundaries and provide safety for the citizens.  The Law of God is very similar.  No one can keep it and its purpose is to show us that we sin.  Man is a transgressor of God’s law, therefore what are we to do?  Throw ourselves on the mercy of the court, for we cannot do that with the law.  The law points out our transgressions–guilty as charged.  The verdict is death.
    Paul declares, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23, NKJV) and therefore, “the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23, NKJV).  There you have it again, the verdict is death.  What can we do?  Is there no hope?  Ah, but there is; there is eternal life.  Continue with Romans 6:23, “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
    The purpose of the Law is then to show us that we are sinners and that there is the verdict of death looming over us, except for the sacrifice that we have been provided through Jesus Christ.  Right now there is an escape from the death sentence and that is to accept Jesus Christ as Savior.  Recognize your guilt, repent, and ask for His forgiveness.  He was given by the “Judge” for this occasion–to redeem us from the sentence of death.
    How many people refuse the pardon offered by a judge?  How many of those in Judge Parker’s court said, “hang me!  I deserve to die!”  How many of them would refuse to accept, if the judge said, I give you grace; you are pardoned?  Right now, God is offering grace so that when we stand before Him the verdict is not death.  Right now accept Him, grace and pardon are there.  Refuse and when you stand in the courtroom of heaven at the Great White Throne Judgment there final verdict will be death–death everlasting.
    Now is the time–heed the call.

Echoes From the Campfire

Wasting your life away won’t change the past.  It just makes it more of a tragedy.”
              –Duane Boehm  (Last Stand)

       “Truly God is good to Israel, to such as are pure in heart.”
              –Psalm 73:1 (NKJV)
I don’t care for folks without some gumption.  Folks that sit around with their hands out saying, “Give me, give me, I deserve it.”  What these type of people need is a good kick in the seat of the pants.  They need to get out and give work, and life, a try.
    Ah, but we must remember, this is our pampered generation (18-29) part of them being that large group of millennials, the whiners and snot-nosed crybabies.  New numbers have just came out and 52% of this age still live at home.  This are the highest numbers on record, the next highest being in 1940.  Now, there surely are some legitimate reasons to live with one or both of your parents.  However, for the most part they are spoiled brats continuing to want a handout.
    Part of the fault lies with the parents.  They haven’t done the job they were supposed to do and are afraid for little Susie.  They know that sweet Tommy cannot survive in the big, bad world.  Come home to us, we’ll still change your diapers and wipe your snotty nose.  No wonder the kids whine, the parents do the same thing.  Come home, please…
    The time may come when there may be the need of the family communal.  However, with saying that it doesn’t mean that the poor little dears don’t earn their own way.  Believers must realize that they must train up their child to face the world.  They should be taught that they are light and salt to the world and that they should represent Christ wherever they are.  They can’t do that hiding behind momma’s apron strings (that is if momma knows how to cook and wears an apron).
    A few weeks ago I watched an episode of Stoney Burke (it was one of my favorite shows as a kid).  There was a youngster that fell into bad times.  A person asked Stoney if he thought the kid would make it.  His reply, “He has a good family, with a good family behind him, he’ll make it.”  So there is value in having a good family, but it is not in accepting a wimp, or a whiner to live there.  A good family is not one that so much babies, but one that supports.
    One other thought in regard to the family.  First, Noah, who found grace in the eyes of the Lord.  What was his greatest accomplishment besides obedience?  Gathering, and caring for his family.

         “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.”
                  –Hebrews 11:7 (NKJV)

We do not know if the sons of Noah were righteous, but we do know that it was because of Noah who prepared a refuge of safety for his household.
    Now look at Job:

         “…Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all.  For Job said, ‘It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.’  Thus Job did regularly.”
                  –Job 1:5 (NKJV)

The idea is to prepare children properly.  To train them to be on their own, and to serve the Lord.  However, continue to pray and train and guide whenever needed.

Echoes From the Campfire

Nobody in his right mind invites difficulties, you simply cope with those that do arise.  But you don’t try to avoid your duties.”
              –Louis L’Amour  (The Californios)

    “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
              –Ephesians 2:10(NKJV)
Last Sunday I heard a very good sermon about one of the signs of the end.  The words of Jesus tell us that there were two servants.  That means they were serving the same Master.  One was working diligently, looking for the coming of the Master and he is referred to as the “good servant.”  The other servant wondered where the Master was and declared that the Master had delayed His coming.  Remember, this was a servant of the Master, but is now called the “evil servant” and is beating his fellow servants and drinking with the drunkards (i.e., sinners).  He is carousing, having a “good time”, not looking for the Master.  Notice the severe words of Jesus,

         “The master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites.  There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
                  –Matthew 24:50-51 (NKJV)

    What a sad ending.  A person who knew what the Master was like, but when the Master left followed the dictates of his own selfish heart.  The Master is delayed, so let me party-hardy.  See, the Master did come back and found him not looking for His coming–caught him unawares.
    I have been reading in 1 Samuel and the message Sunday made me think of the events at the beginning of the book.  Eli is there, the priest who had also judged Israel forty years.  He had two sons who would follow him in the priesthood, Hophni and Phinehas.  The Bible says that they were very corrupt and did not know the Lord.  Think of that.  They were in line to become priests, to offer the sacrifices, yet they did not even know the Lord.
    There is a harsh statement concerning the two men and their father, Eli.  It was prophesied that they both would die on the same day.  The reason–because they made themselves vile, but it doesn’t stop there, their father did nothing to restrain them.  The result was that when the ark was captured by the Philistines, Hophni and Phinehas died fulfilling the prophecy about them.  When Eli heard the news, he fell over backward breaking his neck.
    We are to be ready when the Lord comes.  Now is the day of salvation; now is the time to choose.  Hophni and Phinehas made themselves vile; the evil servant chose to become like the world around them.  Let us be like the good and faithful servant and be found doing the work that the Master has assigned.

Echoes From the Campfire

My God is all around me, in the sunshine, in the air, in the humming bees and whispering leaves and murmuring water.  I feel him everywhere, and in me, too!”
              –Zane Grey  (Wanderer of the Wasteland)

    “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”
              –Philippians 2:13(NKJV)
                   It is truly wonderful
                   What the Lord has done!
                   It is truly wonderful!
                   It is truly wonderful!
                   It is truly wonderful
                   What the Lord has done!
                   Glory to His Name.
                          –Barney E. Warren

Perhaps it is because I need it, but the chorus of this song has been going through my mind the past week.  I’ve mentioned before how that happens.  We live in a time of complaining, murmuring, terror, and fear.  Yet that is not to be the attitude of the believer.  The Christian should recognize and walk in step with God.  Why is it truly wonderful?

         He pardoned my transgressions,
         He sanctified my soul;
         He honors my confessions,
         Since by His blood I’m whole.

He has pardoned our sins.  Not only the sins I repented of when I first came to know Him, but He does it everytime I ask Him.  He is in the process of sanctifying me, and oh, what a process it is!  He has purchased me, redeemed me, with His precious blood.

         He keeps me every moment
         By trusting in His grace;
         ’Tis through His blest atonement
         That I may see His face.

         He brings me through affliction,
         He leaves me not alone;
         He’s with me in temptation,
         He keeps me for His own.

I honestly do not understand why Christians  should choose to live in fear.  Either God is our Father and will take care of us, or He isn’t.  We either trust Him, or we don’t.  We cannot live this life for Him in a haphazard manner.  He does keep us every moment.  Even in the midst of trials, storms, and the corona, He is keeping us.  We sometimes, no, we often forget that He is most concerned with our spiritual condition rather than our physical condition.  That does not mean that He does not care for our well-being for that is part of us.  He understands what we need to grow closer to Him.
    No matter the situation, He is there with you.  You are not alone as you trod through this world of sod.  When we walk in His steps it is much better for us, yet when we get out of step He is there to pull us back to Him.  We have two requirements:  trust in His grace and not in our own good works, and to realize that we are His therefore we should obey His commandments and be holy.  Remember, we are saved by grace not works, but because of that grace we do the works for the Father.

         He prospers and protects me,
         His blessings ever flow;
         He fills me with His glory,
         He makes me white as snow.

         He keeps me firm and faithful,
         His love I do enjoy,
         For this I shall be grateful,
         And live in His employ.

I think that Christians too often forget who they are in Christ.  We walk along ready to jump into the “slough of despond” instead of enjoying the blessings that God has given us.  It is not our strength that keeps us along the way; it is through Him that we can make it through this life, therefore, we should not be down in the dregs.  Are we thankful and rejoicing in and through everything?  If not we should be.

         There’s not a single blessing
         Which we receive on earth
         That does not come from heaven,
         The source of our new birth.

There is much talk about the kingdom and how we are to live in it now.  That is true to an extent, just realize that we are pilgrims on this earth.  The blessings we receive now are only a smidgen compared to what they will be when we reach that heavenly portal.  We do not live in heaven now, but we are constantly on the move (or we should be) toward that city where Christ is the light.  In saying that, our load should not be heavy, our steps should not be dragging along, but there should be a lightness in our step as we recognize that “It is truly wonderful what the Lord has done!”