Echoes From the Campfire

In this country, water ain’t for luxury.”  
                   –Wayne D. Dundee (Dismal River)
       
       “O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.”
                    –Psalm 63:1 (NKJV)
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       Remember the times that you used to splash as a kid in the puddles after a rain?  Can you recall ever eating snow or sucking on icicles?  Remember, the “Echo” yesterday, when we looked at the thirst of the wayfarer, his need for water, and the finding of a wasteland oasis?
       You were desperate for a drink.  Forget the seltzers, sodas, and lattes.  Forget asking the waitress for lemon in your tea or water.  Right then, in the heat of the day, in the dryness of your wandering, all you wanted was just a sip of cool water.  You didn’t quit; you endured, you crawled over the hill until you reached the oasis.  The desert wasteland had been merciless, but then you found water.
       Ahhh, that wonderful feeling when you fell into the water at the oasis.  It wasn’t a mirage.  Your mind wasn’t playing tricks on you; it was not another illusion.  Water.  It was pure, clear water.  You drank your fill, you bathed in it soaking yourself.  Remember the feeling when you poured it over your head, when you splashed in it with your feet, when you rolled in it–life-saving, life-giving water.
       Two thoughts here.  Why is it we do not fill the soul with eternal water?  Life stems in the desert from the oasis, yet we let the soul become depleted and dehydrated.  We plod on the spiritual trek and never truly seek the oasis.  They are out there in the wasteland.  Sometimes there are tanks in the rocks, sometimes a pool, sometimes it takes a miracle or striking the “Rock”, but the water is there.  We must seek the Source of the true, pure, clear, cool water and never let our spirits thirst again.
       The second is the importance of these “oasis” experiences.  It is important to remember the times in our lives when the Holy Spirit came to us in that special way.  Those times when He so overwhelmed us that we bathed in His presence; when we drank deeply from His deep wells.  Remember those times as you leave this oasis and continue on your journey through the wilderness.  Joseph Parker prayed,

                    “Thou has the key of the rain; the river is Thine, and it is full of water; every drop thou dost count, every shower Thou alone dost give….  For this thirst [after righteousness] we pray; the keener thirst, the inner thirst:  the Lord hears us when we ask that we may be satisfied out of the river that flows by His own throne.”

Echoes From the Campfire

No human creature even entered a desert oasis without joy, nor left it without regret.”
                    –Zane Grey  (Wanderer of the Wasteland)
 
       “Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again.  But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst.  But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.'”
                    –John 4:13-14(NKJV)
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       How many bones lie just a hillside away from the oasis, the spring of life?  How many, with just a little more effort, would have made it over the rise to see the refreshing water below?  How many, if they would have just endured a little longer and not given in to the struggle of life, would have made it to the reviving waters?  How many, how many, if they would not have parted from the way; would not have become disoriented; would have made it from one water tank to another?  Oh, the stories that could be told from the bones lying bleached in the wilderness.  Stories that will never be told unless a person happens to come across their dry bones and attempts to surmise what might have happened.
       The struggle, the heat, the dryness, and then, over the rise–look.  No, it can’t be, it must be a mirage.  Look again, and the heat waves seem to still for a moment.  Hope rises in your heart and you move a little faster.  Because of your weariness you stumble, but only for a moment; for coming into view, is the refreshing water.  The soul is craving water; the body is trembling at the thought to soothe the parched lips.  Soon, the cool, refreshing water will trickle down your throat.  There is plenty.  Throw yourself in, restore yourself in its freshness.
       Reflect, as you sit there, on the edge of the pool, now splashing those tired, hot feet in the coolness of the oasis.  Ahhh, sweet relief, wonderful relief.  Water, to reinvigorate the body and soul.  But remember it is only a stopping point.  The purpose is to have water, relief from the blast and dryness of the wilderness, to continue the quest onward.  No matter how you came to the wilderness, whether it was by trying to escape a situation of life or being driven by the wind of God; you now seek to survive and you need water.
       Water is essential.  It may be the natural water of a desert oasis, or one of those tanks hidden in the cleft of the rocks along the rugged plateau.  It may be the spiritual water given by the One who said, “I AM, the living water.”  It was needed, it was provided, refresh yourself for the continuation of the journey.  (taken from Trails in the Wilderness, 2017)
       Perhaps now is the time to remember a time when you were extremely thirsty.  What was the feeling that you had?  How did you quench your thirst?  Do you remember the relief that you felt as the liquid ran over your tongue and down your throat?  Now, look–take time to look at what you have been trying to quench your spiritual thirst with.  Go to the Rock from which flows eternal water; let Jesus quench your thirst.

Echoes From the Campfire

But one should never expect too much of time. No man who begins a journey knows how it will end. Or when.”

                    –Louis L’Amour  (Callaghen)
 
       “With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!”
                    –Psalm 119:10 (NKJV)
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Just a short note this morning as we have the ol’ steel mount packed and ready to ride.  Yep, I checked the cinch, so no worries there.  We’re headin’ out to Maryland, so y’all be praying for us.  Some of those eastern folk don’t take to us Texicans.  Don’t see the Grandson much, so we’re going up for his birthday, oh, and to see our daughter and her husband as well.
       We have an idea where we’re going and we have plans on how long it will take us.  It’s nice to travel without any real restrictions as to time.  In the past we were always in a rush to get where we needed to be.  But as far as life goes there is truth in the above quotation.  Time goes on, until the Lord ends it.  We begin a journey as a baby and we have no clue as to what it will be like.  We don’t know how it will end, or when it will end.  As we serve the Lord we do so knowing that He has our lives in His hands, and that goes for our time as well.
       I’m not sure when I’ll get another Echo out.  Sometimes I write while on vacation, sometimes I don’t.  It will depend on the “time” I have on my hands.  I could take a break, but then again, I feel the urgency to write, to encourage, to exhort, to warn and rebuke.  Wake up!  Grow up!  Get serious, the Lord is coming!
       I have often been asked what my favorite Bible verse is.  There are so many I like, that I lean on, that I take to heart.  I have often found that in certain times of my life some verses “jump out” and mean more to me at that time than other times.  Some people hold onto one verse–a life-verse they call it.  I don’t have any problem with that, in fact, it is good but we also need the whole counsel of God’s Word.  For close to a decade now the following has blessed my soul.  This is from the New Living Translation.
 
                    “The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.”
                                        –Proverbs 4:18
 
       Talk at you sooner or later; or until I have “time” or take the “time.”  

Echoes From the Campfire

All we require in this service are absolute courage, absolute loyalty, and absolute integrity.”

                         –Paul I. Wellman  (The Comancheros)
 
        “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?  For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
                         –1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NKJV)
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What vows have you made to God?  Have you ever promised Him something and failed to keep the promise?  Then start doing so.  A failure does not negate the vow.  Start fulfilling your vows now.  Don’t wait.  God is faithful, God answers prayers, God will not neglect His promises; therefore, we need to recognize our responsibility in being faithful to Him and going to Him with our needs.  Let’s look at the first part of Psalm 65.

          1 — Praise is awaiting You, O God, in Zion; and to You the vow shall be performed.
          2 — O You who hear prayer, to You all flesh will come.
          3 — Iniquities prevail against me; as for our transgressions, You will provide atonement for them.
          4 — Blesses is the man You choose, and cause to approach You, that he may dwell in Your courts.  We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, of Your holy temple.
          5 — By awesome deeds in righteousness You will answer us, O God of our salvation, You who are the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of the far-off seas. (NKJV)

       It is time to pay our vows.  Troubles and trials for once may be tranquil; take this opportunity to pay your vows.  God has forgiven our sins; He shows us that He is the God of our personal lives.  He has answered our prayers.  He has forgiven our sins though they may have been many.  Verse 3, in the NLT puts it this way, “Though our hearts are filled with sins, you forgive them all.”  God does not pick and choose what sins to forgive.  The cross took care of them all.
       When I read verse 4, three things come to my mind.  The first, of course, is the Jewish Temple.  It was always a thrill when a Jewish person was able to go to the Temple and worship.  The second thing that comes to mind is the Temple in the New Jerusalem.  There we will actually see the Lord Himself and give praise in that heavenly Temple.  Perhaps what strikes me most is that we should be praising because we are the Temple of the Holy Spirit.  We often do not realize, nor think of ourselves, as the Temple of the Holy Spirit.  The person of Christ lives in us, therefore, we should be praising, fulfilling our vows, and basking in the wonderful joy of His love.
       Think of that “personal temple.”  What did you do yesterday in regard to the realization that you are the Temple of the Holy Spirit?  That is why Paul states that everything we do should be unto the Lord (Colossians 3:17,23) for as we walk through this world we are showing forth the “temple.”   Because we have hope, we should be showing and living that hope in front of the world.  Despite the evil in the world, we have hope that Christ is with us, that He has redeemed us, and that He is coming back to take us to be with Him in glory.

                    “Saints below, with heart and voice,
                     Still in songs of praise rejoice;
                     Learning here, by faith and love,
                     Songs of praise to sing above.”
                                 –Needham