The Saga of Miles Forrest

Hawk was settled in his car, and I was settled in my seat listening to the chug a-chug a-chug of the train as it moved slowly down the tracks. I miss riding the high country, but the railroad has cut the trip down to hours.
It was downright cold sitting there and moving through the shade of the darkened canyons as the rails followed the Animas River didn’t help. It almost seemed like the icy hand was reaching up from the river to enter the vitals. It was pretty though, especially with that light snowfall. I was dozing off when I saw something, well someone I recognized. My mind went back through the wanted posters I pieced through in Durango. The fellow up in front of the car seemed to fit that description and he was riding with another fellow. I decided I take a meander up the aisle.
“You got a name?” I asked as I came up next to them.
“Who’s asking?” came the curt reply.
“Deputy U.S. Marshal, Miles…”
I don’t know what I felt the most; the cold or the headache. I reached behind my head and there was no bleeding, but there was a nice knot. I was laying in the snow several feet below the tracks. I mustn’t have been there too long because I could still smell the smoke from the train. It had been cold up in that train car, but it was downright freezing now.
It was already dark in the canyon, but it would be night soon. I had to find a place to spend the night or I’d freeze to death. If I could make it through the night I knew there would be another train coming up the next day. I began to climb back to the rail bed and then walk up the line. If I remembered correctly there was a group of rocks where I could take shelter.
About a half mile up the tracks there they were; now to find enough wood to keep me through the night. With the rocks I would be sitting in a good place, for the fire would reflect off them and I would stay right warm. I began the search. Up and down I moved searching for wood of any sort. Then I spied several hunks of coal. If I could get the fire going good that coal would last a long time.
It wasn’t long before I had everything situated and reckoned there was enough fuel for me to last through a couple of days if need be. What I was really missing was a pot of coffee and something to eat. Sitting there I thought of Molly. She was used to me not showing up when I was on a trip like this, but this time I figured it would be different because Hawk was on the train and I wasn’t. That would cause her some concern.
I was plenty warm. I’ve been out many a time in the cold. This was an ideal place with the rock reflecting the heat. I’ve had times when one side of me would freeze and the other would be frying. Then I’d roll over and the same would happen; it would not be a night for peaceful slumber, but with the heat bouncing off those large rocks it was right comfortable.
Sitting there I now was sure that the man I walked with was the one on the wanted poster and the one that had shot Charlie. The other man must have been in the robbery and was the one that Charlie shot. But who hit me? I didn’t even see a third man near them. My mind was hurting from the pain but also that I couldn’t recollect seeing the third man. Maybe it was the jasper that had taken those pot-shots at me.
Slumber was starting to set in so I put a couple of good-sized logs over a bed of hot coals and in the middle I placed one of the chunks of coal. In case I fell asleep that should burn for a while. I didn’t want the fire to go out and start all over again.
Waking I felt a chill. I looked at the fire and there was a dull glow. I glanced up at the sky and it was clear; the clouds had left and the stars were brightly shining. But that also meant that the temperature was going to be dropping rapidly. I reckoned it was about two in the morning. I put on some more wood and fanned a flame into existence.
The sound startled me. I had fallen asleep again, and it was late. I heard the blast of the whistle; the train was moving up the track. The sun was shining, therefore it had to be mid-morning. Now I had to find a place where I could board the train. It would be going slow enough that it wouldn’t be a problem as long as there was room enough for me to stand and grab it as it went by.
The fire was almost out again and I kicked the few pieces burning away from each other and stomped them out. Then I moved up the rails to find a place. Just past the boulders there was plenty of room for me to step aboard. As the train approached I grabbed the bar and put my foot on the step to hoist myself aboard. I moved on the little platform and entered the door to the car, and there I saw him waiting for me…

Coffee Percs

A cool north breeze made him shiver a little, as he built a fire and made coffee.”
–Paul L. Thompson

Yeah, I know pard, burnin’ daylight.  But it was so dark and the cold came last night and I shivered all the way down to my toes, and that bed was so comfortable.  But the coffee’s goin’ now, strong, hot and black.  Sorry, I didn’t see you last week.  I was out on the trail on my ol’ steel mount.  But back now, ahhhh, tastes good.
Yuh know pard, sometimes I get a mite concerned over what it’s gonna be like, say ten years from now, should the Lord be tarryin’ that long.  Craziness and foolishness abound.  Most of those millennials don’t have a lick of sense and they are supposed to be the up-an’-comin’ job force.  Realize this too that they will be the lawmakers.  Aye, aye, aye…let that sink in.  It will be like Rehoboam listening to the counsel of the young men.  You think there’s craziness in the land now and the verge of anarchy; what will it be like then?
Take some time and read the prophets.  The Lord gets plenty angry with Israel and Judah.  Let me get another cup, and I’ll tell you one of the things I noticed.  Ahhh, gizzard feels better now.  He was angry over the perversion or lack of justice.  Oh, they had the magistrates, but they were corrupt.  Just look at the one verse in Micah about what the Lord requires, “He has showed you, O man, what is good; what does the LORD require of you, but to do justly, love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.” (6:8)
Just take that last phrase, “walk humbly with thy God.”  Listen pard, there little or no humbleness when man challenges the very essence and character of God.  Morality, humpf, what is that?  God’s morality is flaunted.  I heard they were discussing which of the commandments were no longer valid, and the used of the name, Jesus, was censored.  
Well, take care of yourself and yourns, for the day is becoming wicked, and more like the days of Noah when man’s heart was continually evil.  Hmmm, maybe I’ll make another pot.  Say, and don’t you go a-mountin’ without checkin’ yur cinch.

Echoes From the Campfire

I judge a man by the way he handles himself, and you’ve been ridin’ for the brand. I ain’t interested in anything else.”
–Louis L’Amour (Riding For The Brand)

“The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’”
–Matthew 25:21 (NLT)
“By faith he [Moses] left Egypt behind, not being afraid of the king’s anger, for Moses persevered as one who sees Him wo is invisible.”
–Hebrews 11:27 (HCSB)

My pastor preached a very good message on “The Power of Being a Dreamer” last Sunday. Of course, the main character of his story was Joseph, but one time he did allude to Moses. I know in the last days the “old men will dream dreams.” Now, I am of the belief that these could be actual dreams while one sleeps. A word of warning here though, the dream may be from something you recently saw or read, or it may be from that anchovy pizza you had before going to bed. But also, a dream may be something that God has etched in your soul. Something real that will take place, someday.
One thing a dream will do is that it will change your life. A person with a dream will not be the same person he once was. That takes me to Moses. Somewhere he realized that a deliverer would come and take the people of Israel out of bondage. He saw, sensed, dreamed, that one day this would happen. Problem was at the time, he did not know or understand that he would be that deliverer; he would be the one to fulfill his dream. Moses left Egypt and was trained by God for forty years in the wilderness. What were his thoughts those forty years? Did he regret leaving what would have been his kingdom? Did he get depressed because his once lavish life had now turned to that of a shepherd? Or did the feeling that a deliverer would be sent to Israel? Did that ever leave his mind?
Then the day came–“Moses go deliver Israel!” The dream was now finally, after at least forty years, in the process of becoming a reality. He took hold of his dream, took the challenge and led the people out. He could have said anytime in his forty years in the wilderness that the dream was stupid, not real. Look at a couple of things my pastor said and then you see how they could be applied to Moses:
1) Sometimes you will be misunderstood because of your dream.
2) Dreams will motivate you, but realize that dreams do not come without problems.
Is God challenging you in the moments of your slumber? Is he in your quiet time putting thoughts, not only in your mind, but deep into your soul? Now the question is, what are you doing about them? One word of warning: be sure the dream lines up with Scripture. Once you are sure it does, then put some action behind what God is telling you.
He died October 26, 1928, a graduate of Yale and two German universities. At those universities he saw that skepticism was being taught trying to turn people away from the Word of God. In response, Reuben Archer Torrey, spent his life destroying the skeptics. He wrote a series of booklets known as “The Fundamentals to Defend Basic Christian Doctrine”. His life, his preaching, and his message was always the affirmation that “this Book of the Word of him who cannot lie.”
“He who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”
–James 1:6

Echoes From the Campfire

Up Calv’ry’s mountain, one dreadful morn,
Walked Christ my Savior, weary and worn;
Facing for sinners death on the cross,
That He might save them from endless loss.”
–Avis B. Christiansen

We have no real concept of “that day”! Was Jesus just enduring the pain and torture as He walked up that road to Calvary? Did He pray, “Father just help me take one more step?” over and over? Was He thinking “soon, soon, this will all be over?” Each bloody step He took was for you and me, and brought Him closer and closer to death. The real pain He must soon endure was not the tremendous pain of the cross, but the agony of man’s sin. Think of it–every sin from creation to October 26, 2017, and beyond was placed upon Him.

“‘Father forgive them!’ thus did He pray,
E’en while His lifeblood flowed fast away;
Praying for sinners while in such woe–
No one but Jesus ever loved so.”

Jesus did not hop and skip up that dreadful road, but He did endure the crucifixion with joy. (Hebrews 12:2) See, we have a wrong concept of joy.  Joy is a fulfillment of a mission, of a life purpose. Joy is not happiness, but at times happiness may be involved.  Joy is seeing love fulfilled in its fullness.  Jesus took upon Himself sin because of His great love.  Remember, He is love.

“Oh, how I love Him, Savior and Friend,
How can my praises ever find end!
Through years unnumbered on heaven’s shore,
My tongue shall praise Him forevermore.

Blessed Redeemer! Precious Redeemer!
Seems I now see Him on Calvary’s tree;
Wounded and bleeding; for sinners pleading,
Blind and unheeding–dying for me!”

We sometimes think we have it tough. Woe is me, I am undone and nobody loves me. That is a lie, for the Christ who died on the cross loves you. His torture and crucifixion should convince us that we really do not have it so bad. All of that was done for us. That deed should be etched in our souls, and thus there should be continual praises going forth.
Calvary was personal for Jesus; Calvary should be personal for each of us. Yes, He died for the world, but He also died for me! Make it personal, realize that the God of the universe died for you; that Savior and Friend died for you. Make Him personal; make the cross personal.