Echoes From the Campfire

The bigger the hat the smaller the herd.  Do all yore braggin’ with yore actions.”
              –William MacLeod Raine  (The Fighting Edge)

I hate those television commercials where they show the photos of abandoned dogs.  They pick the most wretched cases to show so that you can have pity on them.  Possibly one of the most terrible feelings is that of abandonment.  One thing for sure–God will never abandon us.  If there is anyone doing the abandoning, it is us of God.  God is near; we need to learn how to seek Him and for Him to teach us how to live.

         “Nearer, still nearer, nothing I bring,
          Naught as an offering to Jesus my King;
          Only my sinful, now contrite hear,
          Grant me the cleansing Thy blood doth impart.”
                   –Lelia N. Norris

This Monday morning let us take a look at the rest of Psalm 27 (HCSB) and look what David wants from the Lord.

    7 – Lord, hear my voice when I call; be gracious to me and answer me.
    8 – My heart says this about You, “You are to seek My face.”  Lord, I will seek Your face.
    9 – Do not hide Your face from me; do not turn Your servant away in anger.  You have been my helper; do not leave me or abandon me, God of my salvation.
   10 – Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord cares for me.
   11 – Because of my adversaries, show me Your way, Lord, and lead me on a level path.
   12 – Do not give me over to the will of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, breathing violence.
   13 – I am certain that I will see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living.
   14 – Wait for the Lord; be strong and courageous.  Wait for the Lord.

We live in a time of abandonment.  Parents have abandoned their children to a large degree.  They have abandoned them to video games, to television, to their phones.  Instead of being with them they turn them over to a phone or videos for babysitting chores while they go on with their life.  Deadbeat Dads, they may live at home, but they are not really there–they have abandoned their children.  Probably the greatest abandonment we hear from much of the population is that of abandoning the child in the womb.  
    David is feeling abandoned in this Psalm by the Lord.  He cries out to the Lord.  When he begins to seek Him, he finds that the Lord is there, waiting, wanting to help.  David wants to be taught by the Lord, he wants to be directed by the Lord, he wants God to teach him how to live.  God wants us to talk with Him–to seek Him–to be personal with Him.
    Ahh, but look at the last two verses.  David is certain!  He is certain that the Lord is good.  He is certain that the Lord will be there beside him.  Then there seems to be something strange thrown in; something that we all too often are not very good at–waiting.  Sometimes it takes courage to wait, in fact, patience and courage often go hand-in-hand.
    Would that we would adhere to the advice of A.B. Davison, “Man’s best plea is always an echo of God’s promise.  He who has bidden his servants to seek will not hide his face when they obey him.”  The problem for us is two-fold:  first we often don’t truly seek, and second, we don’t wait.

Echoes From the Campfire

Money will buy a man anything but his own destiny.”
              –Luke Short  (The Branded Man)

    “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
              –1 Timothy 6:10 (NKJV)
Money, the love and seeking of it, has probably destroyed more people than anything else.  That’s perhaps one of the reasons that this ol’ fence post has done his best to keep from being a millionaire.  However, in this world, money is needed, if for no other reason than just to pay the bills that are necessary and those added because of wants and desires.  God has given some the ability to make money, and He expects them to be good stewards of it.  To others He has given other talents and abilities.  The following is a story of a man who was given a precious gift by the Lord–read it carefully then thoughtfully.

    “Is there a hell?
         “Once upon a time a person was touched by God, and God gave him a priceless gift.  This gift was the capacity for love.  He was grateful and humble, and he knew what an extraordinary thing had happened to him.  He carried it like a jewel and he walked tall and with purpose.
         “From time to time he would show this gift to others, and they would smile and stroke his jewel.  But it seemed that they’d also dirty it up a little.  Now, this was no way to treat such a precious thing, so the person built a box to protect his jewel.  And he decided to show it only to those who would treat it with respect and meet it with reverent love of their own.
         “Even that didn’t work, for some tried to break into the box.  So he built a bigger, stronger box–one that no one could get into–and the man felt good.  At last he was protecting the jewel as it should be.  Upon occasion, when he decided that someone had earned the right to see it, he’d show it proudly.  But they sometimes refused, or kind of smudged it, or just glanced at it disinterestedly.
         “Much time went by, and then only once in awhile would one pass by the man, the aging man; he would pat his box and say, ‘I have the loveliest of jewels in here.’  Once or twice he opened the box and offered it saying, ‘Look and see.  I want you to.’  And the passerby would look, and look, and look.  And then he would back away from the old man, shaking his head.
         “The man died, and he went to God, and he said, ‘You gave me a precious gift many years ago, and I’ve kept it safe, and it is as lovely as the day you gave it to me.’  And he opened the box and held it out to God.  He glanced in it, and in it was a lizard–an ugly, laughing lizard.
And God walked away from him.
    “Yes, there is a hell.”
              (taken from Lois A. Cheney, GOD IS NO FOOL)

This story is about the precious gift of love.  To love, means that there may be hurt, disappointment, and other things that may sully the gift, but the gift must be used.  What was it I wrote earlier in the week from Erich Fromm, “Hate is not the opposite of love.  Apathy is”?  Not to care about others is a waste of the gift of love.
    Besides love, there are other gifts from the Lord.  This could be applied to any of those.  If you have been handed a precious gift from the Lord, and everyone has, then use it for Him and His glory.  Don’t let it become an “ugly, laughing lizard.”

Echoes From the Campfire

When the buzzards begin to collect it’s sure high time to watch out.”
              –Ernest Haycox  (A Rider of the High Mesa)

    “So because you are lukewarm (spiritually useless), and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of My mouth [rejecting you with disgust].”
              –Revelation 3:16 (AMP)
One man, committed unreservedly to God and His Word, can make an enormous difference for good in the lives of God’s people.  One person can bring about victory, blessing and forward movement.  We live in a day when we desperately need such a person.  A person who will stand above the crowd, who will speak out and say, “thus saith the Lord,” despite what others may say about him.  To be that person requires absolute loyalty and obedience to the Lord.
    We live in times where there is a tendency for the younger generation to accept the status quo and lose the vision of the older generation.  We are even seeing signs that they are not satisfied with the status quo and are chanting for more to be given them, yet without them having to do their part.  Free education, free medical and health, free this and free that, but they do not understand or realize that there is nothing free.  
    I have been writing about compromise.  I want to continue to look at compromise and throw in some thoughts about complacency.  First, look at the following Scriptures:

         “You shall make no covenant with them or with their gods. They shall not live in your land, because they will make you sin against Me; for if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you.”
                   –Exodus 23:32-33 (NASB)

If you would read Exodus 34:10-16, you would see that God commands that there be no compromise, that they should destroy the gods of the land, and do not intermarry with the people of the land.  Now, possibly one of the saddest verses in all of Scripture is found in Judges.

         “All that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel.”
                   –Judges 2:10 (NASB)

A generation of people that did not know the Lord.  This was a generation, as someone wrote, “Was so entirely devoted to the world, so intent upon the business of it, and so indulgent of the flesh, in ease and luxury, that they never minded the true God and His holiness and so were easily drawn aside to false gods and their abominable superstition.”  Instead of being filled with praise and wonder and grateful to the Lord of their fathers these people yawned with boredom, moaning, “Aw, we’ve heard all that before.”
    The people wanted blessing without the sacrifice.  They wanted luxury without obedience.  They want entertainment rather that reverence.  They are yawning in the face of God.  It is not a yawn from being tired, it is a yawn of indifference, one of Satan’s most effective weapons.  The generation that followed Joshua, and it is true of the generation of today, is one of lukewarmness, a complacency and apathy about Biblical truths.  They have lost their first love and have replaced it with self.  I think it was Ravi Zacharias who said that, “Spiritual amnesia inevitably produces spiritual apostasy.”
    The nature of their failure was not intellectual ignorance; they are not uniformed.  They, as people of today, know about the Lord; they have heard of His deeds, but they refuse to know Him or acknowledge Him.  They have become complacent about the living God and had forgotten how to walk in fellowship with Him.  In other words, they have lost touch with the Lord.
    Erich Fromm wrote, “Hate is not the opposite of love.  Apathy is.”  Apathy is a great crippler.  When people no longer care about the Lord, or care to be moral under the guidelines that He has set down they are a crippled people.  Possibly the greatest rejection of God is when people become complacent in view of Calvary and the great sacrifice God gave with His Son for mankind.

Echoes From the Campfire

We often value the wrong things.  We can spend our lives working to surround ourselves with things that don’t matter.  We can sacrifice the things that do matter, to gain those things that don’t.”
              –Dan Arnold  (Bear Creek)

    “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'”
              –Matthew 4:17 (NKJV)
         “The Lord of glory is my light
          And my salvation, too.
          God is my strength, nor will I fear
          What all my foes can do.”
                  –Isaac Watts

Are you fearful about the future?  Do you get worried about the elections of 2020?  Are you afraid to walk out your door for fear of being shot or molested?  Where are your thoughts?  What should they be on?  What is your greatest desire?  The first part of Psalm 27 has the answers for these questions.

         1 – The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom should I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom should I be afraid?
         2 – When evildoers came against me to devour my flesh, my foes and my enemies stumbled and fell.
         3 – Though an army deploys against me, my heart is not afraid; though a war breaks out against me, still I am confident.
         4 – I have asked one thing from the Lord; it is what I desire: to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
gazing on the beauty of the Lord and seeking Him in His temple.
         5 – For He will conceal me in His shelter in the day of adversity; He will hide me under the cover of His tent; He will set me high on a rock.
         6 – Then my head will be high above my enemies around me; I will offer sacrifices in His tent with shouts of joy.  I will sing and make music to the Lord. (HCSB)

    Right from the start we see, we know, we can have the assurance that we can go through this world with God by our side.  He is our protection whether it be in this physical realm or from attacks in the spiritual realm.  God is with us, therefore, we can walk with confidence.
    Your greatest desire, what is it?  Many will say more money or wealth, some might say a new car, others may want peace or ease.  Notice:  David’s greatest desire, the one thing he asked for was to live in the house of the Lord.  So many Christians live from day to day, others live for self.  David was yearning for heaven.  How many believers see Heaven the most?  A verse that we should grab hold of tightly and never let go is where Paul wrote in Philippians, “For me, living is Christ and dying is gain.” (1:21, HCSB)
    Here is something that you should try; it might prove to be interesting.  What are your weaknesses?  Write down just three.  Then go to the Scripture and look at how God is perfect in that area.  Then turn to Him, begin to praise Him in that area of your weakness knowing that He is there with you and is able to protect you and help you overcome.
    I like the prayer of Jean Baptiste Avrillon:

         “Adorable Sun, enlighten my steps.  Be thou the true noonday of my soul; exterminate its darkness, disperse its clouds; burn, dry up and consume all its filth and impurities.  Divine Sun, rise upon my mind and never set.”

Of course, he was speaking not of the “sun” but of the divine Son of God–Jesus Christ.  Look at who Christ is in our life, if we allow Him to work.  Grasp hold of that last phrase, “rise upon my mind and never set.”