I love camping! I love the feeling of being trailblazers in God's Natural Playground for an entire weekend. The smell of hot dogs cooking over an open fire, taking hikes in the green vast ocean of aspens and pines, sleeping underneath a blanket of stars and galaxies every night while listening to the sounds of God's creations lullaby wearied bodies but full bellies and hearts to sleep.
Due to recent events in our lives we have not been able to go camping in the GREAT OUTDOORS lately but that has not stopped this husband, dad, and grandpa from attempting to recreate this wonderful experience in his own backyard. The only cavaet is that the children must use indoor plumbing on these trips...LOL.🙂
I want to create the ultimate experience despite the limitations of concrete barriers, grass and shade. Thankfully, I have just enough "green" in the backyard to pull it off.🏕
On our must recent excursion with our grandchildren, everything was going great. The tent went up quickly, sleeping bags and flashlights were properly positioned, and grandma had plenty of camp food and snacks to last a month!
As the sky began to fill with the amazing colors of another gorgeous twilight welcoming the night, I set out to build the campfire for our most desired and prized tradition...SMORES! Graham Crackers, Marshmallows, and Chocolate...the designer must have worked for NASA!🚀
I had decided to try a better and new way of building the fire...OK...the truth...a faster way. P.S. it failed miserably, go figure. But in the midst of grandpa's failed attempt to build a fire for the grandchildren to remember for the ages, God spoke a wonderful truth in the midst of my failure through one of my grandsons that I will never forget: He said, "Look Grandpa! There is still enough fire to make our SMORES. See, look at my marshmallow." The silent night turned into shouts and squels of joy. It was like angel choirs had just descended upon us and I could hear them singing "Peace on earth, good will to all men."😇
It reminds me of another story, where a man named Peter had failed miserably. Without hesitation, he had denied knowing the Son of God three times in a matter of minutes as Jesus was being led off to be crucified. Being left with nothing more than a pour lit fire in his heart, it felt like just a simple whisper would blow it out completely.
But praise God that Peter's story did not end there and neither does ours! In fact, a few weeks later, Jesus shows up on the shore and calls out to Peter and the disciples who were out fishing and failing miserably at catching anything, to come and warm themselves by a fire ...a CAMPFIRE to be exact (John 21:1-19)
You see, Jesus had been rejected by Peter and those who called themselves his closest friends but instead of building a bonfire of condemnation to destroy them, he build a simple campfire so that He could love them up close and personal. It was not about the shame it was about the "SMORES".🔥
And once again, as Jesus begins to pour out his love over them, especially Peter, I love how the conversation ends between Peter and Jesus on that beach (v.19): "Then Jesus told him, "Follow me."
Not even Peter's triple denial was strong enough to change the heart of the Savior who loved him. And in the end, he called Peter back to his original calling because everything else had been forgiven and forgotten. And that is why I know that God loves me. Because he showed me that He loved me before I ever thought to love Him. I am truly convinced there is nothing that can separate you, I, or anyone from the wonderful love of God (Romans 8:37-39)!
So go build a "campfire" my friend and invite some people over to enjoy a SMORE. This is how the world will know that God truly loves them too.
Long ago the Lord said to Israel: "I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself. I will rebuild you, my virgin Israel. You will again be happy and dance merrily with your tambourines. Again you will plant your vineyards on the mountains of Samaria and eat from your own gardens there. The day will come when watchmen will shout from the hill country of Ephraim, 'Come, let us go up to Jerusalem to worship the Lord our God.'" Now this is what the Lord says: "Sing with joy for Israel. Shout for the greatest of nations! Shout out with praise and joy: 'Save your people, O Lord, the remnant of Israel!