Nothing is quite so beautiful as when you share it with someone else. There is no purpose in working unless one works for someone, for something.”
–Louis L’Amour (Westward the Tide)
“And I will make my mountains into level [trails] for them. The highways will be raised above the valleys.”
–Isaiah 49:11 (NLT)
It had been a couple of days since the last shooting. I was at my regular table and had just poured a cup of coffee when I saw him sitting in the corner. I left the Greener on the table knowing that it wouldn’t help in this situation; he would just sneer at me. The coffee was also left on the table as I didn’t want the aroma oozing from him to taint it none.
I walked on over. “Friend, Miles, welcome. Always good to see you.”
“What are you doin’ here?” I asked.
“Why Miles, you invited me. I stay close to you. If I don’t get you I can count on you sending me your leftovers.” Then came that cackle that so irritated me to my bones.
“You’re not welcome,” I said looking at the blue veins pulsating through an almost transparent body.
He snarled. “No one welcomes me. I’m death. I’m come to collect the souls.” He wiped the pus flowing from his mouth. “You’re no better than me, Miles. You bring death as well…and don’t you try and deny it.”
“Death comes to all, but only with the permission of the Creator; the person you try to deny, but can’t do it.” The aroma was stronger and I thought I heard a sizzle.
Out of the corner of my eye I caught Marta standing at the entry to the kitchen. She probably thinks I’m crazy along with being bad luck. Looking back the Pale Rider was gone. Good riddance, and I walked back to my table. The coffee was cold.
Marta came to me and reached out her hand for the cup. “Señor Miles, are you alright? Who were you talking to at that corner table?”
“Long story; some day I’ll speak to you about it.” Doc Jones walked in the restaurant along with a limping Trenton. Whew, that pulled me away from Marta. “Could you get me a fresh cup, Marta?”
“Have a seat,” I said, nodding toward a chair.
Trenton was shot when he barged in the door and fired at the person with the rifle aiming at Marta’s head. He’d sure been through it since the first of the year.
“Well, here we are again, sitting in Molly’s Shooting Gallery,” remarked Doc.
Marta walked up with my clean cup and a couple others. “Señor Doc, SeñorTrenton, what can I get you to eat?”
“Too early for a meal since the missus made a huge breakfast.”
Trenton interrupted. “Any chance there might be a pie in the kitchen?”
“I think so,” and she left.
Molly came out with Marta. I was watching carefully, making sure that they brought me a piece as well. I pulled out a chair for Molly as she laid a piece of fresh apricot pie in front of me. “You’re so spoiled,” she said with a smile.
“And I like it,” I replied as I took a sip of coffee then cut into the pie.
“Seriously, Molly,” interrupted Doc. “You should think of changing the name. Think of all the advertisement you could get, and all of it true.”
“Doc, if it wasn’t for Marta’s mother’s cooking, the place would be in shambles now.”
Trenton had almost finished his pie but looked up and remarked, “You make a pretty good pie, Molly. Most men out here will brave a ‘shooting gallery’ for a piece of your pie.”
“Got somethin’ for you Trenton,” I said as I reached to a box on the counter. “If you’re gonna be a one-eyed man, better look the part.”
He opened the box and took out a black eye-patch. Then looking at the three of us, he gave a grin. First time he had smiled since he had been butchered up. But then it disappeared and he said. “Wray and Ferguson are still out there.”
A real man finishes a job he takes on, and he doesn’t expect to be nursemaided along just because life throws a few potholes in front of him.”
–Douglas Hirt (“The Kid”)
“Tears of joy will stream down their faces, and I will lead them home with great care. They will walk beside quiet streams and on smooth [trails] where they will not stumble. For I am Israel’s father, and Ephraim is my oldest child.”
–Jeremiah 31:9 (NLT)
If you really believe in God, anything that may happen to you will drive you nearer to God and anything that drives you nearer to Him is a ‘good thing’ for you.”
–D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
“We have become ‘familiar’ with God; we are on ‘easy terms’ with Him; we speak to Him and about Him as we would to our next door neighbor. We scarcely know what it means to worship God acceptably ‘with reverence and godly awe.’ And with our shallow and emasculated ideas of God we get a shallowness and superficiality and flippancy in our religious life.”
–John Daniel Jones
One of the greatest dangers among Christians, and it is derived from the culture, is that we are entitled individuals. In the church that comes to mean that we are to be showered with blessings. Now don’t get me wrong, as the old song goes, “showers of blessing, showers of blessing we need…” and we certainly need them, but what doe we mean by blessings?
Most of the time, in the church of today, when someone speaks of blessings they mean the gaining of material, physical, and emotional blessings. If we do, according to Gary Wilkerson, we have “reduced the Lord to just another American commodity.” That is dangerous. God is not a commodity to be consumed. In fact, He is the One who is the consumer–a consuming fire. In fact, He cares more for us than to just give and give and give. Part of the reason we are blessed is to come to know the Blesser is a greater way. Wilkerson puts it this way, “If we get everything we dream of, that’s not favor, that’s lust. True favor isn’t found in the blessing itself–it’s found in the One who does the blessing.” Remember, God is jealous and “He won’t allow himself to be used as a means of fulfilling our lusts and self-gain.”
That being said, that doesn’t mean that the heavenly Father doesn’t bestow upon His children blessings. If our earthly father gives good gifts, how much more does the heavenly Father? God blesses us mainly in two ways: 1) “He favors us with the nearness of His presence through our stormy times, and 2) He favors us through His tangible blessings.” (Wilkerson) God wants us to realize His presence and His power. For us to only want material and physical blessings is really limiting what the Lord can do for us. He wants to develop spiritual character in us–His character.
Often, when we ask for a particular blessing, and it doesn’t come to pass we can get discouraged. We can blame God, deny Him, become bitter and when we do that we are acting like little children at their games. When a Christian is disappointed and loses his joy there is a danger to his soul. The enemy can creep in unawares with a sinister smile. He wants for you to be disappointed in God; he wants to obscure God’s work in your life.
Instead of asking for something you want for a blessing, go to the Lord and ask Him for something He knows you need. Now to some that might be scary. But that’s where trust comes in, for He will only give good gifts.
“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”
–Luke 11:13 (NASB)