Campfire Thoughts

 

We camped this weekend. It was incredible to meet the campers around us. There were retired couples who have loads of time to travel from place to place. They had very interesting and unique stories. There were working people who were taking advantage of a long weekend away and who were often seeking a safe outlet for the frustrations or joys of their lives. There were families who were vacationing with their kids. Kids being kids they were more than happy to regale us with lots of family history!

We all happened to converge on one particular campground at the same time. We will probably never see these people again, but for one night we occupied the same space in the world.

We speak with our new friends of our adventures, the good, bad and ugly. We introduce our families and meet theirs. We sit around a campfire and share whatever version of S’mores is popular at the moment. We gladly and enthusiastically talk of our “toys” that are along with us, whether they be Harley’s or side by side’s or horses or of course, our faithful dog companions. You name it, we love to share those stories. It is humans connecting in a comfortable, enjoyable and un-encumbered environment.

How often does that happen?

As we talk with these kindred campers, we have the perfect opportunity to share exactly where our hope lies and why it lies there. Do we do it? It is hard to step over that line sometimes because you know that there is a very real possibility that the conversation will not be welcome, and that would be, well uncomfortable.

However, is it worth being uncomfortable to plant a seed of gospel in a life that might be devoid of that? Or maybe the seed has already been planted and you will be the water and sunshine that makes that seed sprout, is it worth it then?
Maybe the reward we are seeking with a weekend away should not lie so much in the fact that we get to light a campfire, as it should be we get to light a fire for Jesus. The true joy lies in watching that fire take off and burn!

Dottie
…………..and so I ride

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Road Maps, are you choosing the right one?

I wrote yesterday about the fact that in the life of a Christian, there will be trials. It is something to consider but don’t stop there. Don’t let that fact (scary as it may be) turn into a reason not to pursue the life Christ wants for you. In the Bible there are some pretty blunt scripture telling us that we can expect hardships, however, there are some scripture just as bold that tell us who will get us through those hardships.

Consider Proverbs 3:5-6. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, do not rely on your own understanding.

If we would simply take these words at their face value we would save ourselves a whole bunch of heartache. In any given situation, there is usually your way (based on feelings, and more than a few emotions), and God’s way. The scripture goes on to tell us to think about God in ALL OUR WAYS, and He will guide us on the right path.
Left to our own devices we almost always travel a road that leads here and there, back and forth, round and round. Only when we have exhausted every single resource we possess do we start to listen to what God is telling us and let Him guide us back to the only path that will gain us eternity, His path.

In Isaiah 45, verse 2 to be exact, it says God will go before us and level out the uneven places. WHAT? We don’t have to be our own construction crew? We don’t have to continue packing the wrecking ball around? No, choose to take God at His word. Learn to trust, put your feelings and emotions aside, consider Him first and enjoy the journey on an even and level path, right to glory.

Did you know that no matter what is going on in your world, God is there holding your right hand. He is whispering (or shouting) Do Not Fear, I will help you. If you don’t believe me, check our Isaiah 41:3, it is there in black and while.

With the present state of affairs in our world and local communities, we need to hold to these messages more than ever. God was, is and always will be our constant traveling companion. Put away the GPS, the Rand McNally Atlas and log out of Trip Advisor. There is only one way we are getting to our eternal destination and that is to follow the only true travel guide available to us. Open your Bible and let God chart your course.

Dottie
……………..and so I rideimage

Trials, tribulation, affliction, oppression?

I think one of the hardest things to accept as a Christian is that we are not promised a free ride, there will be trouble, trials and hard times.

When one first hears the good news of the gospel it is very easy to think that hard times are over and the sailing will be easy from here on out.

In fact, the Bible is filled with scripture that tell us we will suffer “a little while”, we will go through trials and tests. It is a given and we can count on it. There will be tribulation, temptation, trouble, affliction and oppression. Rest assured, as a Christina, you will have your crosses to bear.

Now that I have overcast your day with rain and worry, let me apply the sunshine.
Although God will test us, and Satan will tempt us with all kinds of evil, God gives us what we need to resist. Remember that evil desires come from within us, not from God. God supplies the resources we need to send Satan and his temptations running. God supplies the resources we need to stand firm in hard times.

The answers to the trials are found scattered throughout the Bible. Listen to this! Debut 31:8- The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you’ He will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid. That brings goosebumps to my body and tears to my eyes. There is no where else you will find a promise like this from someone who has the power God does to back it up. Count on it.

Isaiah 43:2 – When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep you away. Hallelujah and praise you Father. Promises are one thing and are a dime a dozen in the world we live in. Promises we can count on and live for, that is why we follow our Father.

Joshua 1:9- Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid;do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you………..where ever you go.

I cannot add a single word to this. It is promised, it is a given. It is available in one place only. Look to God your Father for promises that will not be broken.

Dottie
………………..and so I ride

Christian Elitist

Someone I love very much told me not to long ago that he was trying to “to figure this Christian thing” out but it was very hard because even when observing self proclaiming Christians the messages are mostly mixed.

Let’s think about that for a minute.

Ok, I have thought about it for a minute, yes, it is absolutely true.

Shamefully, hurtfully and detrimentally true.

Proverbs 16:27 makes it pretty clear what God thinks of one of the most common things that sets Christians back. Gossip. Burning lips are not becoming on anyone. Revealing facts about others private lives is simply wrong. Behind closed doors or not, if it is not proper to discuss in the open in front of those being talked about it is not proper to be discussed behind closed doors especially by those proclaiming to be winning the lost. If it has to be shut in a room maybe it should not be said in the first place.

We have to be careful not to set ourselves up as Christian Elitists. I know it is a common thing in our society but there is only one who is worthy of judging another and that is Christ.

I think that it is far better to show empathy, forgiveness, and compassion than to set ourselves up as judge and jury. Exclusivism doesn’t seem to fit very well with the Christian lifestyle.

Jesus is not concerned with social class, with status or etiquette of those who are seeking Him. He simply wants a hungry heart. That is why we as Christians are placed where we are. Not to judge but to serve.
Jesus will welcome that hungry heart with open arms………..do we?

Quite often those hungry hearts come with much baggage. One look, comment or action that says “I am better than you” and therefore you are excluded from what I have, can send that hungry heart right out the door. That door is then locked tight, as a form of self preservation from years of prior lifestyles and more than a little left over shame and guilt.

Our play books as Christians are entirely different than that of the world. I do not believe that we as Christians are supposed to concern ourselves with the lives of those who have surrendered to the things that society offers.
I believe that if someone comes to us seeking Christian guidance, we are to help them find their way to Christ. Period.

I believe we are supposed to concern ourselves with letting them know that what we have they can have also. It isn’t about being a Christian elitist, it is about winning a heart over to God. No matter what that looks like.

 

Dottie

 

………and so I ride

The Struggle is Real

A dear friend of mine is going through some tough times. At the end of one of our conversations she left me with three words. “The struggle is real”.

Make no mistake, the struggles we face every day are very real but I am convinced we are experiencing them for a reason.

Oswald Chambers says that “No power on earth or in hell can conquer the Spirit of the God living within the human spirit’ it creates an inner invincibility.”

The struggle is real and can be painful, humbling, and less than comfortable. God has given us an inner invincibility that allows us to get through the struggle. Not just muddle through, but to walk victoriously in the midst of the struggle.
I read a wonderful quote the other morning that stuck with me. “ Don’t worry. When God works it all out, He will hand back your life on a silver platter.”

Transformation is not without hard work and pain along the way. The end result will be worth the struggle. Don’t give up, fight with all that God has given you. If you have not accepted the gift that Jesus offers, maybe it is time to seriously consider a change of course. Give it to God and He will return your life to you on a silver platter. To me, it seems the offer of a lifetime.

Dottie
…………..and so I ride