Echoes From the Campfire

They knew that not all men are men of good will; they knew there was evil in the world, and stood strong against it.  They knew there were some who would take by force what they would not work to acquire.  They knew that outside their windows waited hunger, thirst, and cold; that beyond their doors were savage men, held in restraint only by a realization of another force ready to oppose them, to preserve the world they had built from savagery into order and peace, where each man might work and build and create without the threat of destruction.”
              –Louis L’Amour  (Reilly’s Luck)

    “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.”
              –Mark 7:21-22 (NKJV)
There should be a prayer within each of us for the Lord to search us and cleanse us.  There is evil all around, and if we are not careful we might stray into the crowd of evil men.  They seek to do you harm; you hate what they do, yet you found yourself in their midst–now what?

         “Search me, O God, and know my heart today;
          Try me, O Savior, know my thoughts, I pray.
          See if there be some wicked way in me;
          Cleanse me from every sin and set me free.”
                   –J. Edwin Orr

Let’s look this Monday, the first day of the work week; a week where I’m sure you’ll either confront evil or will see it in one form or another in the media.  Upon reading Psalm 26 (HCSB) it might be a good time to go back and read Psalm 1 and compare the two.

    1 – Vindicate me, Lord, because I have lived with integrity and have trusted in the Lord without wavering.
    2 – Test me, Lord, and try me; examine my heart and mind.
    3 – For Your faithful love is before my eyes, and I live by Your truth.
    4 – I do not sit with the worthless or associate with hypocrites.
    5 – I hate a crowd of evildoers, and I do not sit with the wicked.

    When our trust in the Lord is solid, then our integrity is also solid.  That’s why someone like Job could maintain he was a person of integrity.  David was a man of integrity, so much so that he was a man after God’s own heart.  How can this be?  All have sinned.  Yet there seems that people can still be a person of integrity.  Have you ever done something you hated?  Something that you might despise in others, yet you know you love the Lord and that you trust Him.  Ah, my friend, that’s where grace and mercy step in, plus the realization that God looks on the heart.
    These verses are pretty straightforward about with whom we should be associating and where we should be going–not with the wicked or to places of wickedness.  Yet, today many Christians gather is places of the world–there is no recoil from sin.  Many laugh and joke about sin, and even will go so far to say that because of Jesus we have freedom.  Never, do we have freedom to sin; it should cause us to have that sickening feeling in the pit of our stomach.  We have to live in the world, and mingle with the people of the world, but we are not to have fellowship with the world, nor put ourselves in a position where the world has the opportunity to lure us.
    When and how do we lose our integrity?  It is when we show a lack of trust in the Lord and in His word.  It is when we try to take ethical shortcuts to achieve goals.  It is when we have fellowship with the wrong type of people.  Oh, Lord help each of us to have a heart toward Him and seek to maintain our integrity.

         “Two things will always be bound together–love of God and recoil from sin.  There cannot be attachment without detachment.”
                   -W. Graham Scroggie