Echoes From the Campfire

This was a savage land, a lonely land, yet here the foundations of our homes would be laid…  We accepted the danger but took no unnecessary risk.  It is a fool who invites trouble, a child who is reckless, for life holds risks enough without reaching out for more.”
              –Louis L’Amour  (Bendigo Shafter)

    “Cast your bread on the surface of the waters, for you will find it after many days. Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth.”
              –Ecclesiastes 11:1-2 (NASB)
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I wrote yesterday of the Rapture where those in Christ, both the dead and the living, will be caught up to meet with Jesus in the air.  The first time we actually see Him with our transformed bodies will be at that meeting in the air.
    To us, this is part of the mystery of the spiritual realm.  I know that when a Christian dies their spirit or soul goes to be with the Lord.  However, the body remains in the grave, waiting to be resurrected to join with the spirit.  The complete person can now look upon God and His glory for we will have a new, glorified body.
    We praise God as we sing about what those first moments in heaven will be like–“I Can Only Imagine.”  This is a great song, but I wonder…for I read that after death–the Judgment. “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27, NASB).  All believers, from the first mentioned martyr, Stephen, to the last to leave this earth will be standing at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10, NASB)
    Now, I don’t want to get involved with metaphysical mysticism, I couldn’t even if I wanted to, but after death comes the judgment.  Could it be, that when one dies time ceases to exist and they are thrust immediately to the judgment?  Where is God?  He is outside of time, He transcends time, He is omnipresent, therefore, He is already at the Judgment.  Where is man’s spirit after he dies?  Is the spirit just sitting around in heaven patiently waiting for his body to return?  This is way beyond my feeble, pea-brain, but the first thing on the heavenly agenda after the Rapture is the Judgment of all believers.  This judgment is not for sin, that was accomplished by Jesus on the cross, but this judgment is for what the believer has done–good or bad.
    Following the Judgment, the wedding bells will sound.  Judgment is over, it is time for the marriage.  A feast is prepared, and there has been much speculation on what it will be.  Some have said manna, others say the meal of the Passover.  Will it be Grandma’s biscuits ‘n’ gravy, or Annie’s apple pie?  Is it symbolic?  We have been fasting from the presence of Jesus and now we are with Him in His fullness.  I believe some of what we eat will commemorate the Lord’s Supper,  “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:29, NASB)
    We know little about heaven.  Paul said that it was unlawful for him to speak of it.  Jesus was asked (John 3) to speak of heaven. (I think He chuckled) for he replied you can’t even understand the simple things of earth and you ask of heaven.  Even John with his great revelation could not completely convey the concept of heaven to us.  Those left on earth will face unleashed evil, depravity, chaos from the devil and the wrath of God.  Yes, there will be judgment in heaven, but so feasting and praising.  Choose…

Echoes From the Campfire

It’s the same as sayin’ a beefsteak tastes better than a rose smells.  The things ain’t the same.”
              –Ernest Haycox (Whispering Range)

    “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.”
              –Matthew 24:24 (NASB)
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         “There’s going to be a meeting in the air,
          In the sweet, sweet, bye and bye.
          I’m going to me you, meet you over there,
          In that home beyond the sky.
          Such singing you will hear, never heard by mortal ear,
          ‘Twill be glorious I do declare.
          And God’s own son, will be the leading one,
          At that meeting in the air.”
                    –May Taylor Roberts

In this day of “social distancing” don’t be in despair.  One day, I believe soon, the trumpet will sound, and those in Christ will have a joyous meeting in the air.
    It has been several years ago, that I dealt with a scoffer.  He said that I was foolish to believe in the Rapture, why it isn’t even in the Bible.  Last week, there were people who now don’t have much to do, writing about the foolishness of the Rapture, that it’s not in the Bible.
    No, unless you read a Bible written in Latin you will not find the word, “rapture.”  But the meaning is most definitely found in the holy Scriptures.

         “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall all be with the Lord.  Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
                     –1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (NASB)

The meeting mentioned here is to be the greatest meeting that we seen in the Bible!  Rapture–the words are in verse 17, “caught up”, and we will meet the Lord in the air.
    There will be scoffers, of that we are assured.  People will deride you, laugh at you and mock you if you believe in the Rapture (see 2 Peter 3:3-4).  Perhaps that is why few Christians talk about it today, but with the coronavirus on the rampage there may be renewed interest.  Every time you take communion we should think about the return of the Lord.  People, the scoffers and mockers, may call it rubbish, but in reality it is the blessed hope.  
    Jesus told us to watch for it, to be ready for it.  We are to be in constant expectation of it.  Billy Sunday said that “The mission of the church–the bride of Christ, or body of Christ–is to be ready to meet the bridegroom.”  Are we preparing ourselves for that day?  Are we seeking to be holy as we anticipate His coming?
    The Rapture is not the Second-Coming of Jesus.  Or, if you prefer it is Phase One of the Second Coming.  In the Rapture only believers will see Christ, and they will meet Him in the air.  After the terrible ordeal on earth of the Great Tribulation that will culminate with the Battle of Armageddon, Jesus will return visibly to reign on earth.
    The Christian should not be looking for death rather he should be looking for the coming of the Lord and that glorious meeting in the air.  It will come, in the twinkling of an eye–in less than a moment.  Do not miss the sound of that trumpet.  The body of Christ is now the salt of the earth, when removed the chaos we see as a result of COVID 19 will seem as child’s play.  Unheard of evil, havoc, and chaos will be throughout the world.
    Do not fear the coming of the Lord; we are to comfort one another with the thought of that meeting in the air.  Let the scoffers laugh, there is one fact about it, we are living closer to this time than anybody ever lived before.  Are you ready?  Are you keeping your lives as clean as you possibly can?
    The Rapture is the next major event in the purpose of God’s prophetic timetable.  It will not be held back a minute.  When the Father deems the time has come, it will happen.  Following that momentous event will bring days of untold horror to the earth when the devil is allowed to reign.  We should be praying, “Come, Lord Jesus” and be looking for that meeting in the air.

Echoes From the Campfire

Once he made up his mind to do it, he whipped up the mules and let the devil take the hindmost.”
              –Elmer Kelton (The Far Canyon)

    “But let your word ‘yes’ be ‘yes,’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no.’ Anything more than this is from the evil one.”
              –Matthew 5:37 (HCSB)
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In these trying times, one of the best things that you can do for yourself is to get in the Word of God.  Read and meditate upon the Psalms.  

    1 – Do not be agitated by evildoers; do not envy those who do wrong.
    2 – For they wither quickly like grass and wilt like tender green plants.
    3 – Trust in the Lord and do what is good; dwell in the land and live securely.
    4 – Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires.
    5 – Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act,
    6 – making your righteousness shine like the dawn, your justice like the noonday.
    7 – Be silent before the Lord and wait expectantly for Him; do not be agitated by one who prospers in his way, by the man who carries out evil plans.
    8 – Refrain from anger and give up your rage; do not be agitated—it can only bring harm.
    9 – For evildoers will be destroyed, but those who put their hope in the Lord will inherit the land.
   10 – A little while, and the wicked person will be no more; though you look for him, he will not be there.
   11 – But the humble will inherit the land and will enjoy abundant prosperity. (HCSB)

When I read the first two verses, the thing that comes quickly to my mind are the “celebrities.”  I have often wondered why they think they are so special.  Don’t let what they say agitate you.  In today’s world you can add the politicians and journalists.  Some of them must sit up late at night dwelling on how they can thwart God’s word, how they can fulfill their evil agenda.  
    Get them, Lord, I think, but then I must read verses 7 and 8.  It is hard to calm down and wait patiently for the Lord to act.  Sometimes people, especially those we see in the media, just jerk my jaws, how about you?  Oh, Lord, help settle the agitation I feel.  George O. Wood wrote, “The more I boil, fret, and stew, the more I bumble into evil and become ensnared by it.”
    Verses 4 and 5 are very familiar, but often taken out of context.  People often “claim” verse 4, “He will give you your heart’s desires,” but they tend to forget the condition, “Take delight in the LORD.”  The same is true for verse 5.  We want the promise, but we forget that every promise has a command or obligation.  They must go together!
    “Whatever you feel yourself best fitted for, one ought to endeavor to devote the peculiarities of his nature to his Redeemer’s service.”  This was written by the famed missionary David Livingstone to his teenage son.  The Lord gives us desires, therefore, it is our obligation to follow them in His service.  Verse 5 was one of Livingstone’s favorite verses.

         “Thy way, not mine, O Lord
          However dark it be;
          O lead me by thine own right hand,
          Choose out the path for me.”
                 –Horatius Bonar

Do we really trust the Lord?  Are we accepting the path that He has chosen for us or are we balking at every circumstance and situation?  Listen:  God is in control!

Echoes From the Campfire

Life has its sorrows, but the good Lord gives us many blessings to compensate, don’t you think?”
              –C.M. Curtis (Return of the Outlaw)

    “So you also have sorrow now. But I will see you again. Your hearts will rejoice, and no one will rob you of your joy.”
             –John 16:22 (HCSB)
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         “I am watching for the coming of the glad millennial day,
          When our blessed Lord shall come and catch His waiting Bride away;
          Oh! my heart is filled with rapture as I labor, watch and pray,
          For the Lord is coming back to earth again.”
                      –J.W. Kirk

In my way of understanding Scripture, there is a problem with the theology of this verse.  It seems as if this person might be a postTribulation rapture believer.  That put aside, we should all be following the idea of us laboring, watching, and praying, for FOR SURE the Lord is coming back to earth again.

         “Jesus’ coming back will be the answer to earth’s sorr’wing cry,
          For the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the earth and sea and sky;
          God shall take away all sickness and the suff’rer’s tears will dry,
          When our Savior shall come back to earth again.”

The earth is groaning; the inhabitants of the earth are moaning.  But when the Lord appears to establish His reign on earth He will remove the curse.  The earth will replenish itself; pollution will not be seen.  Man will smile and not fear; he will not worry about being sick or losing someone to a dreaded disease.

         “Yes, the ransomed of the Lord shall come to Zion then with joy,
          And in all His holy mountain nothing hurts or shall destroy;
          Perfect peace shall reign in ev’ry heart, and love without alloy,
          After Jesus shall come back to earth again.”

Those of the Lord can begin to rejoice–NOW!  But the, the hope of His coming will become a realization.  Jesus will rule from His temple in Jerusalem.  The “Prince of Peace” will bring perfect peace to the inhabitants of the earth.

         “Then the sin and sorrow, pain and death of this dark world shall cease,
          In a glorious reign with Jesus of a thousand years of peace;
          All the earth is groaning, crying for that day of sweet release,
          For our Jesus to come back to earth again.

                      Oh! our Lord is coming back to earth again,
                      Yes, our Lord is coming back to earth again;
                      Satan will be bound a thousand years, we’ll have no tempter then,
                      After Jesus shall come back to earth again.”

I mentioned a phrase of this in yesterday’s Echo, that’s why I thought it would be good to look at the complete song.  What a glorious time that will be.  Now don’t think for a minute that you’ll have wings, or that you’ll be floating around with a harp.  Oh no, you’ll be working, working for the Lord.  However, the curse will be removed–the Lord will reign!