Echoes From the Campfire

I wanted again the dark and lonely canyons where only echoes lived, the crash and roar of waters charging between the boulders, hurling themselves against a rocky wall… I wanted to skirt the deadfalls, gather the dead sticks from the ground, build a fire of cedar or pine, and smell the smoke.”
              –Louis L’Amour  (Bendigo Shafter)

     “Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish which you have just caught.'”
              –John 21:9-10 (NKJV)
Fire, there’s just something about a fire, especially a campfire.  The sound of the wood popping and crackling as the flames begin to consume it.  The warmth and feeling of security it seems to give.  One can sit there, and if not careful become mesmerized by it.  The flickering of the flames up into the night.  I wonder how many times Jesus stooped over a campfire preparing a meal for the disciples?  I don’t think He was the main cook, that lot may have fallen to Nathaniel.  Maybe Philip and Matthew were the fuel gatherers.
    When camping, especially for an extended stay you want to have plenty of fuel around.  Annie and I camped a few years back up in the high country of Utah near the Wyoming border.  As I was out foraging for wood I found a fallen aspen tree.  It had been dead for some time and was prime for the campfire.  Now, aspen doesn’t put out a lot of heat, but it burns well.  I cut it into sections with my handy axe and then snaked it, piece by piece back to camp where I would cut it into smaller pieces.  The chips would make good tinder.
    There are three things needed to make a fire:  tinder, kindling, and fuel (larger pieces).  Over the years in many camping experiences, especially with novices, I have found that they do not gather enough tinder and kindling.  I have even seen some try to light one of the larger logs to start the fire.  Once, the fire is started there needs to be plenty of kindling to makes coals and to keep it going, then the larger branches and logs may be added.
    Fire is an emblem of God’s Word, igniting and warming, but most often it is seen as an emblem of the Holy Spirit.  Look at a few of them:

         –Fire consumes — “For our God is a consuming fire.”  (Hebrews 12:29)
         –Fire purifies — “And he touched my mouth with it [burning coal], and said: ‘Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged.’” (Isaiah 6:7)
         –Fire breaks — “But he [Samson]broke the bowstrings as a strand of yarn breaks when it touches fire.” (Judges 16:9)
         –Fire softens — “As wax melts before the fire, So let the wicked perish at the presence of God.” (Psalm 68:2)
         –Fire hardens — as porcelain is hardened in the fire, so is the believer.
         –Fire inflames — “My heart was hot within me; While I was musing, the fire burned.”  (Psalm 39:3)
         –Fire warms — “Ah! I am warm, I have seen the fire.” (Isaiah 44:16)
         –Fire cheers — fire gives life to a dead room; fire brings a smile to a weary hunter as he comes to camp on a cold day.
         –Fire fuses — And they said to one another, ‘Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?'” (Luke 24:32)
         –Fire assimilates — “Fire makes all it seizes like itself (Matthew Henry)
         –Fire tests — the works of man will be tested by fire (1 Corinthians 3:13-15)
         –Fire illuminates — “In the daytime also He led them with the cloud, And all the night with a light of fire.” (Psalm 78:14)
         –Fire moves — “Who makes His angels spirits, His ministers a flame of fire.” (Psalm 104:4)
         –Fire ascends — the flame goes upward; there were many burnt-offerings where the flames ascended.

    Think of some of your experiences with fire and try to fit them into one or more of the categories about then see how they fit with the fire of the Holy Spirit.  Remember the words of John the Baptist concerning Jesus, “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Matthew 3:11)  I want to leave you this Thanksgiving season with two more thoughts for you to ponder about the fire.  First, from the pen of G.A Young,

              “Some thro’ the waters, some thro’ the flood,
               Some thro’ the fire, but all thro’ the blood…”

Remember the words of Peter, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you” (1 Peter 4:12)
    Second, a prayer by F.E. Marsh, from whom I gathered some of these thoughts.

              “O Thou, Who camest from above,
                  The pure celestial fire to impart,
               Kindle a flame of sacred love
                  On the mean altar of my heart.

               There let it for Thy glory burn
                  With inextinguishable blaze,
               And trembling to its source return
                  In humble prayer and fervent praise.”