Echoes From the Campfire

It takes extreme measures, sometimes, to fit an extreme situation.”

                    –Elmer Kelton  (Captain’s Rangers)

        “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”
                    –2 Timothy 2:3 (NKJV)
Just because things are going well doesn’t mean that God isn’t smiling down upon you.  “Good fortune doesn’t always mean that you’re living well, nor does bad fortune automatically mean you’re sinning.” (William Peterson)  No matter what, we have to face whatever life brings.  It doesn’t mean it’s from God or from the devil, sometimes it is just life.  David knew he was the anointed king, yet Saul was chasing him to kill him.  There was a reprieve, when Saul’s armies went to fight the Philistines, a battle in which Saul eventually died.  David still had to face the nation’s enemies.  One thing for sure–when a nation pleases God, things go well; but when a nation turns away from God, things fall apart.

       1 — O God, You have cast us off; You have broken us down; You have been displeased; Oh, restore us again!
       2 — You have made the earth tremble; You have broken it; heal its breaches, for it is shaking.
       3 — You have shown Your people hard things; You have made us drink the wine of confusion.
       4 — You have given a banner to those who fear You, that it may be displayed because of the truth.                  Selah
       5 — That Your beloved may be delivered, save with Your right hand, and hear me.
       6 — God has spoken in His holiness: “I will rejoice; I will divide Shechem and measure out the Valley of Succoth.
       7 — Gilead is Mine, and Manasseh is Mine; Ephraim also is the helmet for My head; Judah is My lawgiver.
       8 — Moab is My washpot; over Edom I will cast My shoe; Philistia, shout in triumph because of Me.”
       9 — Who will bring me to the strong city?  Who will lead me to Edom?
      10 — Is it not You, O God, who cast us off?  And You, O God, who did not go out with our armies?
      11 — Give us help from trouble, for the help of man is useless.
      12 — Through God we will do valiantly, for it is He who shall tread down our enemies.  (Psalm 60, NKJV)

       “The danger in success is dishonesty with self, others, or God.  You will substitute eternal accomplishments for internal peace.  What happens to you becomes more important than what happens in you.” (George O. Wood)  That is so true.  David alerts us in this Psalm to keep our eyes upon God.  We should continue to take inventory of ourselves.  Is God pleased with me?  Is God pleased with what I am doing?  Do not expect Him to smile down on you and pour out His blessings if we get caught up in our own security and in our own pleasure.  William Struther said, “So long as sight and reason find footing in matters, there is not place for faith and hope; the abundance of human help puts not grace to proof, but the strength of faith is in the absence of them all.”
       Even though God gives us talents, we should never get to the point of saying, “I did it all myself.”  What happens if the talent disappears?  Then there is also the inner man, the one kept hidden.  What are you doing to win those inward battles?  People may see you every day and you may do a good job hiding the inward struggles from them, but do you dare give them to the Lord and let Him fight for you, or will you still go on trying to do it in your own power–failing time and time again?  
       The first thing that must happen is to restore a right relationship with the Lord.  Then turn to Him with your problems.  Recognize that you are not an island in yourself, capable of solving all in your own wisdom, strength, and knowledge.  Do not ever get to the point where you think that hardship means that God is no longer with you or no longer cares for you.  The key is that we keep a right heart and right spirit in adversity or success.

                “Give us now relief from pain
                 Human aid is all in vain;
                 We, through God, shall yet prevail.”