“A man went ahead doing the best he could, but it always seemed there was more trouble lurking just around the bend in the road.” –Louis L’Amour (Hanging Woman Creek)
“Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.” –1 Peter 2:11 (NKJV)
There was an old song that is never heard anymore. Postmodern folk think it is one of defeatism and it doesn’t bring joy and fun to life. The beginning of the first verse, “I am a poor wayfaring stranger traveling through this world below.” The first argument would be the word “poor.” The church today claims the riches, and look at the way they live. They act as if they are rich. However, don’t misunderstand, we have the riches of heaven when we get there; we have the hope of life eternal, but we should not want the riches of the earth. Being a pilgrim doesn’t mean to wander aimlessly, for we are looking for a city whose builder and maker is God.
Might as well look at the beginning of the second verse as well, “I know dark clouds will gather o’er me, I know my pathway is rough and steep.” A person who denies that also denies reality. I have always said the best thing for an idealist, or someone with their heads in the sky, is to give them a good dose of reality. When reality hits, when the pathway is rough and steep, do you still trust in Jesus? That is the key for the Christian who is not protected against adversity. Life still happens.
The rest of the song goes on to say that the pilgrim, wandering here below is traveling amid this world toward that place that is prepared for him. He is traveling toward that “bright land for which I’m bound.”
There are many people down here who are not pilgrims. They have not accepted the journey that is there, for they have chosen the wrong road. They remind me of the words from the old Sons of the Pioneer’s song,
“Cares of the past are behind,
Nowhere to go but I’ll find,
Just where the trail will wind,
Drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds.”
I know tumbleweeds, I’m from Colorado. Those things roll across the plains, sometimes by the thousands. They go where the wind takes them, unless they are caught by a fence along the way. Now as a Christian we should definitely be putting the care of the past behind. The old life has gone away, there is a new life. Sure we don’t know what is along the trail, but we know that the steps of the righteous are ordered by the Lord.
However, let me throw in a little analogy. Perhaps it is stretching it some, but one of the symbols of the Holy Spirit is the wind. It is the wind that blows the tumbleweeds along. The difference is that when the “wind” of the Spirit blows us along, He know where His is blowing us. Perhaps we need to be more directed by the “wind of the Holy Spirit.
The year is half over! Sure hope you’ve been on the right trail and that your trust is in the Lord. Of course if you’ve a mind to, you can trust in the bureaucrats. They have all sorts of promises to take you to a “promised land” of their own.
“You generally learn the value of money from the lack of it.”
“There is a high cost to low living.”
“Never slap a man who’s chewing tobacco.”
“We just didn’t have much give-up in us. We always kept plugging away.” –Louis L’Amour (The Lonely Men)
“We labor, working with our own hands. When we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it.” –1 Corinthians 4:12 (HCSB)
Going into the celebration of Independence Day we should take a minute to recognize that those men put their lives on the line back in 1776. They understood the tyranny of a strong executive. They also understood that there would be conflict between government and the people after the Constitution was written. Most recently the government has forgotten their role, and for shame the people have allowed it to happen.
George Washington said, “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.” Yet what do we have in Washington today? The argument over Benghazi–irresponsible action. The democrats sitting on the floor of the House–irresponsible action. Babies being allowed to be aborted–irresponsible action. And the people are letting it happen–irresponsible action.
I like what GB Oliver wrote, “Governments possess no power, only force. The power resides in the people and, when they exercise their powers, it creates life and energy; the force of government robs its people of energy. Power arises from meaning, driven by motive and principal. Force is incomplete and creates nothing, therefore, it must always move in opposition against something.”
Take a moment and ponder the last phrase of the Declaration of Independence, “We mutually pledge to each other, our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” A couple of things: folks forget what a pledge or oath is. They other thing about this phrase is that that one word “sacred” is totally disregarded. Look at what those men pledged! Have a great 4th!
Here’s a pretty good definition of “liberalism.”
“Liberalism is symbolism over substance.”
We have some major problems in our land. They are deep-rooted within the destructive nature of evil. It is not hard to sum up the issue. Just read Hosea 4:6, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” (NASB)
Ponder the words of that verse: “destroyed, lack of knowledge, reject, forgotten, forget your children.” Those terms right there, any one of them, should get our attention. The basic problem is that this once great nation “under God” has simply forgotten Him. They have run back to the gods of man, whatever they may be.
I found some more of that common sense advice. Now for some of you it might be hard to figure them out for it takes common sense.
“The easiest way to eat crow is while it’s still warm. The colder it gets, the harder it is to swaller.”
“It don’t take a genius to spot a goat in a flock of sheep.”
“Never ask a barber if you need a haircut.”
When we boarded in Denver, Molly asked about Trenton. “Didn’t he say he was going to be here?”
“See that gruff, old man sitting on the bench attempting to read the newspaper?”
“Did you hear anything from him when I brought him a cup of coffee?”
“Just a grunt.”
“That was Trenton.”
“He grunted ’cause he was a little disgruntled that I knew it was him. But he did a good job.”
The train ride was uneventful, in fact, right down enjoyable. As we were getting off I remarked, “See!”
“See what?” she responded.
“No trouble on this trip, well, not much anyhow. Plus we traveled all the way from Denver to Durango and nothing. No Indians, no bad men, not even a hornet to sting us.”
“What are you getting at Miles Forrest?” she asked.
“I’m a-thinkin’ that deserves some kind of pie.”
Molly arched an eyebrow and looked at me. “Oh you do, do you? What about Idaho Springs? In fact you went looking for trouble!”
She had two suitcases and I gave a nickel to one of the youngsters to take them over to the Eatery. We strolled along and stopped in at Wells Fargo to see if I had an trips scheduled. I had a message to see the boss tomorrow; something about going up to Ouray. But that was tomorrow.
I opened the door and was about to let Molly enter when my gaze took in two men sitting at different tables toward the back. There was only one table occupied besides the ones where they were sitting and it was in the front corner. I grabbed Molly and pulled her out.
“What is it?” she queried.
“Trouble, I think. Run down and get the marshal.”
I opened the door and went in and moved immediately to the other front corner. “Okay boys, what’s the set up?”
“Miles Forrest, you’re worth some money to us,” said a snarky, rat-faced looking man. “Good money, and split three ways, still good money.”
“Trouble is, there won’t be three of you sharing.” I looked at the three men. None of them were gunmen or even tough men, just dregs of evil wanting money.
The man to my right in the corner spoke. “You don’t think you can get three of us?”
“Might be hard, but I can surely get two of you. Not bad odds, one of you just might collect on that bounty.”
They might not know it, but the time for talking was over. Outnumbered three to one I figured I’d get this fandango going. I cut loose with the Greener at the rat-faced man. That one action of firing first probably saved me, for it caused them to hesitate. I pulled my pistol and shot at the man in the corner and flung a shot at the other man.
I felt a twinge and fired at the man in the corner, this time putting him on the floor. Kicking over the table I fell behind it. The man was firing but there was just enough protection. It gave me time to reload the Greener. I snapped a shot at him, then stood and fired the Greener. It tore the table he was behind into and took him down. I went to the man in the corner. He was trying to lift his gun, but I kicked it away.
The last one I shot was groaning and wiggling on the floor. I went to him. He would live, the table took most of the blow and the buckshot, but he was feeling some pain.
The door opened and in rushed the marshal and Molly. I looked at him and then to her. “About that pie Molly, I think I’ll just take a cup of coffee instead.”
“In the country of the open spaces a man must have sand. Courage is the basis upon which the other virtues are built, the fundamental upon which he is most searchingly judged Let a man tell the truth, stick to his pal, and fight when trouble is forced on him, and he will do to ride the river with, in the phrase of the plains.” –William MacLeod Raine (The Fighting Edge)
“Each one helps the other, and says to another,’Take courage!’” –Isaiah 41:6 (HCSB)
Several years ago I was asked to facilitate a Sunday School class. I really did wonder what he meant by “facilitate.” I told him to give me a week and I would get back to him. The next week I went to him and said I looked all through the Bible but couldn’t find anything to do with facilitating a class. I then said that I would teach a class, but not facilitate.
I have pondered that term many times over the years, and I decided that it is a very dangerous notion. When there is a group of people discussing and there is a “facilitator” then every opinion is valid. What happens to sound doctrine? Doctrine become relative to the whims of the people and that in itself is not biblical.
I came to the conclusion that people who want to be called a “facilitator” rather than a “teacher” actually reject sound doctrine. A facilitator is afraid of the concept, responsibility, and accountability that comes with being a teacher. James tells us that “Not many should become teachers, my brothers, knowing that we will receive a stricter judgment.” (James 3:1, HCSB) Furthermore, there is an office in the church recognized as a teacher (Ephesians), not a “facilitator”.
Here is something for you to ponder for the week. The pastor of our church has been preaching on the proper role of fathers/shepherds. Yesterday he used some of the last words of Paul, so I decided to go and contemplate on that chapter.
Last words–they usually are important and mean something. Often they tie up the person’s life and become their legacy. Look at just a few of the last words of Paul from 2 Timothy 3. Verse 1, “But know this: Difficult times will come in the last days.” The word “difficult” is bettered rendered “dangerous” or “perilous”. Look at the world, look at the nation–these are perilous times!
Then he goes on with a list (another list) of wicked people. What is a person to do? Verse 5 gives the answer, “Avoid these people!” When evil becomes worse and assails, heed these words, “Evil people and impostors will become worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed.” (3:13-14) And he concludes with the following from chapter 4, “The Lord will rescue me from every evil work and will bring me safely into His heavenly kingdom. To Him be the glory forever and ever! Amen.” (4:18)
Remember, the world is not your friend; it is in fact, your enemy! It seeks to compromise or destroy you! Grasp hold of true doctrine–be a sound person in word and deed.
My quotations from the farmer are over, but I might come up with a few that will suffice for common sense. Try these on for size.
“Halfway is the devil’s tradin’ post where most travelers decide to give up.”
“Remember to load your brain before you shoot your mouth off.”
“A life without Jesus is ten pounds of sad in a two pound sack.”