Echoes from the Campfire

He closed his eyes and tried to shut out his thoughts.  It would be better just to listen to the rain falling, to smell the pines and the wood smoke.  They couldn’t take that from him–the memory of countless lonely fires built in countless lonely places, a memory that leaves a man with a taste for wild country.”
–Louis L’Amour

“I will lead blind Israel down a new path, guiding them along an unfamiliar way. I will brighten the darkness before them and smooth out the road ahead of them. Yes, I will indeed do these things; I will not forsake them.”
–Isaiah 42:16 (NLT)
Can you remember your first campfire?
I can’t exactly remember mine.  When I was a kid, Grandpa took me fishing.  My Aunt Bern went with us as Grandpa wasn’t comfortable with me by himself, me being a youngster and all.  If we went to the mountains we wouldn’t have a campfire, but Bern would fire up Grandpa’s Coleman stove.  We ate breakfast and lunch cooked over that old Coleman.  It wasn’t a campfire, but it sure was fun back then and a great memory.
My first campfire was probably either one time I went camping to Brainerd Lake.  I can’t remember too much about it; add to it several with my Sunday School class and also the campfires made for special youth services.  They always seemed to be special times.
After I had a car and I could get out on my own I would spend some time doing just that–being alone.  I might add some fishing to it from time to time.  I used to practice starting a fire with only one match, or sometimes even using flint and steel, or for the modern person a magnesium match.  In the morning it was blowing on a coal left somewhere under the ashes.  Then came my famous hat.  I don’t know how many fires I have fanned into flame with my hat.  Sure much easier than getting on your knees and putting your face in the ashes to blow on an ember.
After the campfire dies down there is only a glow of the coals and a person enters the tent or their bedroll for the night.  It brightens and the wind blows and then goes back to a dull glow.  It is still hot and glowing as you fall asleep but the next morning you have to get it started again.  Raking through the ashes to find some coals you put on tinder and taking the old hat begin to fan those coals into flames again.  In a few seconds there is a flame and now you add kindling and soon there is the fire needed for warmth and for cooking.
That is sort of like life.  The Holy Spirit has given us gifts (do not confuse gifts with talents–look especially at Romans 12).  We tend to let them die down as we sleep.  And which of us Christians have not become woozy with sleep and need to be wakened up?  Paul tells Timothy to fan them alive again. “That is why I remind you to fan into flame the gracious gift of God, [that inner fireā€”the special endowment] which is in you…” (2 Timothy 1:6, AMP)
Here is a little tidbit of truth to ponder, especially when you begin to hear folks complain. 

      “Complaining has about as much effect as the barking of a faraway dog.”

Most people who complain just want to gripe about the situation.  They are normally not in a position to do anything about what they are complaining about anyhow.  What they really do is get you all riled up and destroy your attitude so that you have a bad day.