Echoes From the Campfire

Twilight fell.  The stars came out white and clear.  Night cloaked the valley with dark shadows and the hills with its obscurity.  The blue vault overhead deepened and darkened.  The hunter patrolled his beat, and hours were moments to him.  He heard the low hum of the insects, the murmur of running water, the rustle of the wind.  A coyote cut the keen air with high-keyed, staccato cry.  The owls hooted, with dismal and weird plaint, one to the other.  Then a wolf mourned.  But these sounds only accentuated the loneliness and wildness of the silent night.”
              –Zane Grey  (The Mysterious Rider)

    “He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.  He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.”
              –Psalm 23:2-3 (NKJV)
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I was laying on the bed, listening to some of my favorite type of music.  I call it “bordertown,” it is not quite so classy as flamenco and not quite mariachi.  It is a mixture of the two.  Now, I’m talking just the instrumental, no singing.  The same is with blues; I like a good blues guitar, but don’t add singing to it.  
    Then my mind began to stray.  Commotion, loudness, bombastic music – what is it all about?  Go to a restaurant today, the noise and distractions are constant.  There is constant noise, televisions are on throughout the place, music is playing and mostly not the kind I enjoy, especially around a nice dinner.  Why it gets my innards all riled up; hmmm, is it to help the food digest better?  The food may be good, but the atmosphere is surely lacking.  A person can’t hear himself think, much less hear the person across the table. A person has to go to one of those high class, upscale places to have a quiet dinner, but then the explosion comes when you look at the prices.
    Perhaps all the commotion, loudness, and distractions are there to keep us distracted.  The media employs the same tactic.  Cause a fuss, and then the people will forget about the real issues.  What’s the old saying, the squeakiest joints get the grease?  I think many churches employ the same tactic.  Jump, scream, loudness, lights swirling–employ the tactics of the world.  With enough commotion and distraction the people will not realize that they are not being fed properly.  The Word given is a watered down Gospel; it is not filling.  
    I guess it is what the people want:  fast food, plenty of calories but not really healthy, cheap, noisy, and there may even be a place for the kids to play.  Hmmmm, not much different from many churches.  God said that He would send a famine; a famine of not hearing the words of the Lord (Amos 8:11).  People don’t want to hear the Word of God spoken in the churches or in the public square.  That is one reason for us to hide the Word of the Lord in our hearts.  That is a reason why we must study the Bible for ourselves, not just to wait for the preacher of a Sunday morning.
    Let me sit back, by the campfire–some coffee, a piece of bacon, and a biscuit in hand.  Let me reflect on the truth of God’s Word and partake of the nutritious meal He provides for His people.  Let me get still, get quiet before the Lord so I can hear Him speak to me.  
         “Blessed quietness, holy quietness,
          Blest assurance in my soul!
          On the stormy sea, He speaks peace to me,
          And the billows cease to roll.”
                   –Manie P. Ferguson

Echoes From the Campfire

What turned good men into monsters?”
              –C.J. Petit  (Doc Holt)

    “But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves.”
              –Jude 10 (NKJV)
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Last Sunday I heard an excellent doctrinal message preached about prayer.  It was part of a series on prayer that the pastor of the church was presented and this one was titled:  “Watch and Pray.”  In the message, he proceeded to tell us that we are not to be ignorant of Satan.

    “No believer will ever be any stronger spiritually than his knowledge and personal assimilation of God’s Word into his head and heart.  The more you know, understand, and obey the Word, the more Christ-like and less world-like you become.”
                   –H. Maurice Lednicky

It’s amazing how that old serpent strikes at the believers, often leaving his mark without us even knowing.  He can be subtle and we can easily be duped by his craftiness.  We must, and I keep saying that over and over, we must be in the Word of God.  There can be no substitute!  You are either of the kingdom of God or you are in the world; there is not this/and, it is either/or.  
    I think it is important that we continually check our worldview and make sure that it is biblical.  Always, we should do that to an extent at communion, but really we should be aware of what is taking place all the time.  For example, Barna reports that of church attending, so-called Christians, that 60% do not believe in Satan as an actual being.  It is only a symbol of evil.  That is totally against what the Bible teaches.  Remember, his main practice is that of deceiving.

    “So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, WHO DECEIVES THE WHOLE WORLD…”
                   –Revelation 12:9 (NKJV, emphasis added)

    Have you ever picked up what looked like a nice, red, juicy apple?  Your mouth is watering as your are ready to chomp down on it.  When you do, you find that there is not sweetness, that it grainy and mushy inside, and upon closer observation a half a worm is discovered.  You have been totally fooled–looks are deceiving.  Satan will lead you astray.  He will tell you a lie, and many times you will grasp hold of it.  Those especially who do not even believe that he exists.
    Look at yourself–world or Bible?  Believe a lie or believe the truth?  Don’t pass it off, where you spend eternity depends on how these questions are answered.  D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones states, “If your doctrine is wrong, your life will be wrong.”  That is absolutely true.  People want this and that, but they do not have doctrine to back it up.  Wrong doctrine equals wrong belief and wrong practice.  Know the Word of God–do not be deceived.

Echoes From the Campfire

When I’m in Rattlesnake Gulch I don’t aim to pick posies too unobservant.”
              –William MacLeod Raine  (Crooked Trails and Straight)

    “Lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.”
              –2 Corinthians 2:11 (NKJV)
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I remember, way back a long time ago, when we visited relatives in South Carolina.  I was a young kid, around seven, and we went out to the Plumley farm to pick blackberries.  Mister Plumley had a large stick in his hand and he would walk in front of us, slashing at the bushes and vines, the purpose–to scare away the snakes.  It seems that snakes and blackberries go hand-in-hand.  I might mention that poison ivy seems to like to intermix with the blackberry bushes.  
    Let me pass on another story.  I wasn’t picking anything, nor looking for anything in particular, but I learned a lesson.  It was something I already knew but at the time I wasn’t practicing.  I was up in Boulder Canyon, fishing down in the creek.  It was time to leave and I started walking straight up the embankment which was rather steep.  I was maybe a third of the way up and reached up to grab a rock to help me pull myself up.  As I placed my hand down, it handed on top of a snake.  In the twinkling of an eye I flung that snake up and down toward the creek and I scrambled up to the top.  Whew, my heart is beating almost as fast now remembering it as it did when it happened.
    Friends, we need always to be observant.  Sometimes we can be caught unawares.  However, when we know that we are in dangerous territory we should be even more alert.  Don’t be deceived!  Don’t be deceived in any way, means, or words.  Far too many people are gullible or they just tip-toe through the tulips of life and all of a sudden the find that there may be a thistle in the tulip patch.
Get in the word of God, learn and observe the doctrines of the Bible.  
    Therefore, watch out where you’re picking.  Don’t think you can go to a place of questionable amusement and not think that there may be snakes slithering about.  What out what you’re watching and listening to.  Music, including that in the church must be doctrinal.  Watch out that you’re not beguiled by the slick words of the enemy.

Echoes From the Campfire

You must meet each challenge with your feet planted firmly on the ground, standing as tall as you are, and never panic.”
              –Lou Bradshaw  (Hickory Jack)

    “Tremble before Him, all the earth. The world also is firmly established, It shall not be moved.”
              –1 Chronicles 16:30 (NKJV)
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Happy Columbus Day!  That’s right, Columbus Day.  It is not Indigenous Peoples Day.  This is the day (actually October 12) when Columbus landed in the New World.  From that time forward exploration began and the New World was settled.  It took time, effort, blood and tears.  There were issues to be dealt with through the next couple of centuries until we get to the present.  Now people are moaning, “the poor native peoples.”  Yes, things could have been done differently but without the Europeans coming to America, and they would have come if it wasn’t Columbus, it would have been someone else.  Call it “Fate,” but I choose to call it Providence.
    I like what Patrick Wastella said in his response to Tara Ross’ blog.

         “It is as if we are educating individuals to look upon a beautiful, centuries-old, stained-glass window in order to find and judge the faults in it.  And upon finding the faults, the judges throw rocks through it, leaving it in ruins.  Is the window perfect?  Of course not.  But rather than dismissing it upon finding the faults, could we educate individuals to look upon the centuries-old window and acknowledge those faults while also admiring what the creator was attempting within the limits of his era?  Would it be better to train our youth to look upon something and to ask themselves, ‘How can this be improved?” rather than to judge it as imperfect and to discard it?'”  (Devin Foley)

Columbus was not a perfect person–there is not such a thing.  But take the time to read his diaries; he realized his name meant “Christ-bearer.”  He required missions and schools to be started to educate the “Indians” in the way of the gospel.  Those who proclaim the loudest do not care that thousands were to gain the knowledge of Jesus Christ, only the fact that the many died from the “white man’s disease.”
    One other thing to consider is that the “Columbian Exchange” went both ways, and for some reason those with the agenda only seem to talk of the negative.  What about the architecture, the language, fruits and grains, horses and cattle that came because of Spanish and other European exploration?  Plus, the common theory that syphilis was taken to the Old World during the exchange.
    So, today I salute Christopher Columbus!  The brave man who dared face the unknown waters to the West of Europe and by change–hardly, by Providence–discovered what we now call the Americas.  By the way, are we going to change the name of America, since it was named for Amerigo Vespucci?