Echoes From the Campfire

If you step in a cow paddy you’ll get it all over your boot, Christian or not.”
              –Cliff Hudgins  (Viejo and the Ranger)

    “The wicked strut about on every side When vileness is exalted among the sons of mankind.”
              –Psalm 12:8 (NASB)
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How to Live in a Pagan, Apostate, and Foolish World

Key Verse:  “Have confidence in the fact that we belong to God, but also know that the world around us is in the grips of the evil one.”   –1 John 5:19 (VOICE)

My former pastor, Tom Minter, has developed one of the best series on how to live the Christian life that I have ever heard.  It is called The Journey.  As we journey with Jesus, He becomes our friend, and as we become His friend we learn more on how to live and walk along the journey of life.
    Fellowship is what we desire with the Lord.  Fellowship means deep, committed companionship.  How can we walk in the company of Jesus; how can we have that intimate fellowship and companionship?  Enoch understood, for the Scripture says, that he “walked with God” (Genesis 5:22).  That was true fellowship.  That is what a husband and wife should have as they go through this life together.  That is what we must have as we go through this journey of life with Christ.
    To have companionship/fellowship there are some requirements.  Each of the people as they walk along must come to know the character of each other.  Since God is omniscient He knows ours, therefore, it is up to us to know His.  That comes through the Scripture, through prayer, and through our daily walk.  As we draw close to Him, He will reveal more of Himself to us.  One thing for sure regarding the character of God–it is utter holiness.
    God knows our character and it is sinful. (Romans 3:23)  We cannot understand the Bible and the character of God without understanding the doctrine of sin.  Man is sinful, however, most want to disregard this doctrine, or excuse it saying that God made us human and we are only human.  That is far from the doctrine of sin.  In fact, one of the subtle ploys of Satan is to get man to play down or disregard or dispute the doctrine of sin.

         “There is a kind of general objection; the average person today, without thinking about the doctrine and without examining it, just dismisses it as being soft.  ‘Ah,’ they say, ‘that old-fashioned doctrine in which the fathers delighted, with the morbidity and almost perversion.’  They talked of sin and preached about it, and hasn’t that been part of the whole trouble?  It made men live a kind of cramped and narrow life; they did not know what life and living meant.  They so turned in upon themselves, and so overpainted this picture of our imperfections, that they really put fetters upon mankind!”
              –D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

This new “woke” generation of cancel culture would have this doctrine completely done away with.  However, no matter the fine speeches, no matter the policies, no matter how enlightened man thinks that he is there is no denying sin.  They can try to eradicate it from their speech and from written material, but sin is still there.  They say that the doctrine of sin has made life miserable and all the brightness of life has been removed.  That is one reason for the revision of history–to show that the “saints” were not good people.  

         “So there is this common deep-seated objection to the whole New Testament doctrine of sin, and, of course, along with that goes the view of life which maintains that really things are not quite as bad as the Bible and the theologians in past have made it out to be.  ‘So long as we do our best,’ people say, ‘and look to God occasionally for a little help, then everything can be put right.  We must not take these things too seriously…'”
              –D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

    Not take them seriously??!!  It was sin that put Jesus Christ on the cross!  It was because of sin that Jesus left heaven to become the atoning sacrifice!  Sin is disastrous; sin is like vomit; sin is vile and Jesus came to defeat it.  Sin leads to death, and Jesus came to overcome it.  Listen!  Get this!  Without the doctrine of sin there would be no amazing grace!

Echoes From the Campfire

If he had learned one thing from life it was to keep his guns loaded, his canteen full, to eat when there was food and sleep when there was time.  A man never knew what would happen; it was best to be ready.”
              –Louis L’Amour  (Last Stand at Papago Wells)

    “Proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching.”
              –2 Timothy 4:2 (HCSB)
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As I mentioned, I will not be writing every day concerning How to Live in a Pagan, Apostate, and Foolish World, but today’s topic is related to what is happening around us.  I guess you could call it a “parenthesis” or more commonly a “side-bar”.  I was reading a couple of articles.
    In one, I read that the most Christian continent is now Africa.  For several years it had been South America, but Africa has taken the lead.  Can we then be surprised at the fight for the souls that is taking place on that continent with Muslims killing Christians?  The article spoke of the fact that there is little different in the theology of Christianity since it is founded upon the person of Jesus Christ.  The second aspect of the article then disputes the false notion that Christianity is a product of white supremacy.
    The second article I read was a little more shocking coming out of Barna.  From the time I was very small I have heard that the purpose of the Church is to fulfill the Great Commission.  In this report Barna states that 51% of people in America have never heard of the Great Commission, 25% said they couldn’t recall the exact meaning of it, and 6% said they were not sure.  That means only 18% know what they should be doing in this age today.

         “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.'”
         –Matthew 28:18-20 (NKJV)

    After Jesus informs them that He had “all authority” He tell them what they are to do–the Great Commission.  First, they are to go out and make disciples of all nations.  This is further stated in Acts 1:8 and the premise is to go and do.  Up until now, the Church seems to have understood that message.  Notice that they were to “make disciples” not simply get a confession of faith.  There is much more to making disciples, and it takes time and effort.
    Second, they were told to baptize them and then given the mode.  The Church in America has not placed the emphasis upon baptism as it once did.  Baptism symbolized the death of the old self and the resurrection of the new.  Baptism is an open statement of faith.  In many countries it means death; in many families they actually hold a funeral service.
    Then the third aspect, “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.”  Wow!  That is where the discipleship comes in.  Jesus said if you love me, keep My commandments (John 14:15; 15:10).  Today many will cry “legalism” at that statement.  People want to be part of the world, not separated from it.  People want their luxuries and their sin without the Word of the Lord rebuking them.  
    If you want to survive in this world that is under the sway of the devil you must be a complete, dedicated, equipped disciple of Jesus.  You must continue in His Word, training, developing yourself as a disciple.  It takes time, it takes effort, it takes stamina (physical, mental, and spiritual), it takes practice, it take desire.
                       
                

Echoes From the Campfire

I love those mountains; they’re so restful, so…enduring, and timeless.”
              –Louis L’Amour  (Kilrone)

    “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope.”
              –Psalm 16:9 (NKJV)
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How to Live in a Pagan, Apostate, and Foolish World

Key Verse:  “We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”  –1 John 5:19 (ESV)

Recently I have written about how to have fellowship with God and how vital it is to our walk, and to our survival in this evil world.  We must understand God, we must seek God, we must contemplate God, we must desire God!  One of the easiest ways to keep God in the forefront of our minds is by music.  Take a break from the cares of this world, rest in the the words of the songs below.

         A friend of Jesus, O what bliss,
         That one so vile as I
         Should ever have a friend like this,
         To lead me to the sky.

         A friend when sickness lays me low,
         A friend when death draws near,
         A friend as through the vale I go,
         A friend to help and cheer.

         A friend when other friendships cease,
         A friend when others fail,
         A friend who gives me joy and peace,
         A friend who doth prevail.

         A friend when life’s short race is o’er,
         A friend when earth is past,
         A friend to meet on heaven’s shore,
         A friend when home at last.

                      Friendship with Jesus,
                      Fellowship divine,
                      O what blessed sweet communion,
                      Jesus is a friend of mine.”
                             –J.C. Ludgate (“Friendship With Jesus”)
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         What a Friend we have in Jesus,
         All our sins and griefs to bear!
         What a privilege to carry
         Ev’rything to God in prayer!
         O what peace we often forfeit,
         O what needless pain we bear,
         All because we do not carry
         Ev’rything to God in prayer!

         Have we trials and temptations?
         Is there trouble anywhere?
         We should never be discouraged,
         Take it to the Lord in prayer.
         Can we find a friend so faithful
         Who will all our sorrows share?
         Jesus knows our ev’ry weakness,
         Take it to the Lord in prayer.

         Are we weak and heavy laden,
         Cumbered with the load of care?
         Precious Saviour, still our refuge,
         Take it to the Lord in prayer.
         Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
         Take it to the Lord in prayer;
         In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
         Thou wilt find a solace there.
                   –Joseph Scriven  (“What A Friend”)

Rest today–the battle will still be there, but take time to ponder the words of these great songs.  Remember, as you walk through this life you need a Friend–you have a Friend, know that Jesus is with you.

Echoes From the Campfire

There was a special feeling as the wind blew across those miles of grass, a wind so cool, so deep down inside you that every breath of it was like a drink of cool water.”
              –Louis L’Amour  (The Sky-Liners)

    “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
              –John 3:8 (NKJV)
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How to Live in a Pagan, Apostate, and Foolish World

Key Verse:  “We know that we are of God, and the whole world is under the sway of the evil one.”  –1 John 5:19 (HCSB)

Several years ago I attended a church where some strange phenomenon was happening.  I talked with the Pastor and he said that this is the “new wine,” a new work of God.  I replied with a question, “Are you telling me that this is a ‘third testament’?  So this is a new, new wine?”  It didn’t go over so well, but I said that to warn against the mystic.
    Mysticism definitely is involved in Christianity, however, I said that as a warning for it can go overboard.  Much is done in the name of the Holy Spirit that isn’t very holy.  The person that says he has a new and fresh message stay away from him.  “The danger of mysticism is to concentrate so much on the Lord’s work in us that it forgets the Lord’s word for us.”  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones)  One thing that is easy to see regarding the mystic is their view on the doctrine of sin.  Rarely are they strong on the doctrine of sin.  They want short-cuts to great experiences.  This is not the true “mystic” in the Church for they will spend hours of meditation and solitude waiting for a clear word from the Lord.

         “The mystic tends to come and say, ‘Look here, you have nothing to worry about.  If you want to know God just as you are, you have to start getting into communion with Him, and He will speak to you and will give you all the blessings.’  They never mention the doctrine of sin in the sense that the guilt of sin is such a terrible thing that nothing but the coming of the Son of God into the world and the bearing of our sins in His own body on the cross could ever enable God to speak to the soul.”
              –D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

    Those that follow the “mystics,” those who have a “new way,” rarely regard the holiness of God.  They may nod their heads recognizing that He is holy, but forget that they are to be holy as He is (1 Peter 1:15)  People need to start with themselves and get rid of self-centeredness, they need to focus on God.

         “They [cults, etc.] tend to come to us in terms of our need.  That is why they are always so popular and so successful; they seem to be giving us the thing we want.  We have our needs, and they seem to offer us everything just as we want it without any pain or difficulty.  There is no more thorough-going test, therefore, of the truth of the faith and of the religion that we may be concerned with than this.
         Primarily, the initial test, the characteristic of the revelation of the Bible, the first crucible, in a sense, of the Christian faith, is that it starts with God.  We are silenced, we are put into the background, we are not considering man first and foremost.  It is God, it all starts with Him.”
              –D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

    The person who is truly seeking God and hungering after His righteousness will be one who thinks of God.  There must be contemplation of God in three ways:  first, to know Him through His Word; second, we need to see ourselves in sight of God; and third, we need to be confronted with the truth of God’s Word.

         “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord…  For our God is a consuming fire.”
              –Hebrews 12:14, 29 (NKJV)

    The way we are to be guided in this world, the way in which we must be guided is by the light of the Word of God.  “We either regard the Bible as authoritative, or else we trust to human ideas.”  When we turn to human ideas there is nothing but confusion and chaos.

         “Our thoughts lie open to thy sight;
             And naked to thy glance;
          Our secret sins are in the light
             Of thy pure countenance.”
                  –John Greenleaf Whittier