Echoes From the Campfire

But there’s more to being a good man on the trail than having a tough body. Whether you like it or not, you have to have a tough mind, and a tough hide.”
–Clair Huffaker (Cowboy)

“In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind.”
–2 Corinthians 6:4 (NLT)
Can you believe it? February is over, two months of 2018 is already history. What have you done in the past fifty-nine days? Have you become bitter because of people or circumstances or have you risen on the steps of adversity to be better? Have struggles already begun to burden you and wear you down, or have you learned to toughen yourself with the help of the Holy Spirit to stand in the midst of adversity?
Years ago I gave a birthday card to a friend. It was a picture of a bull with “Old Hide” branded on its side. He kept that card posted on the outside of the door to his office and workroom. He has gone on to be with the Lord, but was one to ride the river with. He learned that to make it through life you had to be tough. Paul uses terms such as, “wrestle,” “fight,” “endure,” “not despair” and others to show that life isn’t a tip-toe through the tulips affair.
Being tough is not always physical or mental, but it can also be spiritual. There are tools for us to use, yet, truthfully, many Christians do not lean on and use them. I recently read the following:

“Families are breaking up; people who walked faithfully with Christ for years are living in fear and defeat. Each of these people have been overcome by something–sin, depression, worldliness, covetousness–and year after year, their problems seem to get worse. Yet, what shocks me most about their letters is that very few of these Christians ever mention prayer. They turn to tapes, books, counselors, call-in radio programs, therapies of all kinds, but rarely to prayer.
Why is it so hard for Christians to seek God for their desperate needs when they are in times of crisis? After all, the Bible stands as one long testimony that God hears the cries of His children and answers them with tender love.”
–David Wilkerson

If this is you, take time to read the following promises from God’s Word. Psalm 35:15,17; 1 John 5:14-15; Matthew 21:22.
Ponder This: Proverbs 18:1-2, “An unfriendly man pursues selfish ends; he defies all sound judgment A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.”
To contrast this, a godly man pursues unselfish ends. He delights in the Lord. The fool listens to his own opinions. He wants to be autonomous pursuing selfish purposes and seeks to be self-directed.
The godly person wants to be separate unto holiness, the fool unto selfishness. Consider the source when you hear a fool’s opinion!

The Saga of Miles Forrest

Miles,” murmured Molly as she touched his arm. “No one has come in for food for the prisoner. Think you should go check on him?”
I had just come in, ready to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee when Molly came up to me with that information. We’d had a nice couple of weeks, but it was overcast and getting colder by the hour. The distant peaks were no longer in view and I reckoned that snow was again on its way.
“You’re right,” I said, then smiled. “But I expect a piece of pie waitin’ when I get back.”
“Oh you do, do you? What you might not realize is that there may not be any pie made”; she laughed as I went out the door.
It was only a few blocks to the jail, but it was cold enough that I turned up the collar of my sheepskin coat. I slowed as I came to the jail. There was no smoke coming from the stovepipe. The city council had hired a jailer.
Moving to the side, I stepped up on the boardwalk and peered in the window. It was too dark to see anything. Going to the door I could now see that it was open slightly. Pushing it open I moved back to the wall. Nothing. Slowly I moved to the doorway, went through and to the left, crouching.
The jail cell was open and it was empty, but there was a body on the floor in front of the cell. I stooped down–it was the body of the jailer. His head had been smashed, then his throat cut.
Leaving things as they were, I went out of the jail and walked hurriedly to the Doc’s office. There was nothing he could do for old Thompson, but he could get the undertaker.
“Doc,” I yelled as I went through the door. “I need to talk to you!”
He walked out of the examination room. “What’s the commotion, Miles. I have a patient.”
“Come outside with me.” As we stepped outside he shivered as he wasn’t wearing a coat. “The jailer, John Thompson, has been killed. Sturgis has escaped; I reckon with the help of his two friends. What I need for you to do is get Micah over there to pick up the body. Much as I hate to, I need to see Billington.”
Quickly I moved back up Main Street and on the block to the south of the jail was the bank and Billington’s office. Going into the bank I got several nods from tellers and customers, but when I started toward Billington’s office I was stopped.
“You can’t go in there, Mr. Forrest.”
I pushed the man aside. “I can and I will.” The door wasn’t locked so I went in. I wasn’t real surprised that there was a meeting of some of the councilmen, but what did surprise me was that Billy Denton was there.
Denton’s eyes widened and looked as if he wanted to run somewhere. Then he touched the butt of his gun. Glancing at him I hollered, “Don’t!” He quickly moved his hand.
“Forrest, you have no call to barge in here. I’ll have you arrested for breaking into my office!” he shrieked.
“Who’s goin’ to enforce it? Billy?” I asked scornfully. “Just thought you should know. John Thompson is dead, and Sturgis is no longer in jail. Then I turned to Billy. “If I ever see you again I’ll beat you to a pulp after what you did to Marta.”
I turned and walked out listening to him call me back. “Forrest, Forrest, you have to do something!”
It was fitting that when I stepped back outside it started to snow. I sighed as I stepped out into the street and headed on back to the diner. “Lord, it seems as if it never stops,” I sighed again as I whispered that little prayer.
Walking back into the diner, Molly looked at me. I shook my head and headed for the stove and my table. Picking up a cup from the counter on the way, I poured a cup of coffee, set it on the table, and took off my coat before sitting down.
Molly came over to me and sat down. Looking at her I simply said. “Thompson’s dead, the prisoner is free.” Taking her hand, “We best be ready.”

Echoes From the Campfire

The trouble was, he was a man with a canker for a soul… It is wrong to believe that such men suffer in the conscience for what they do…it is only regret at being caught that troubles them. And they never admit it was any fault of their own…it was always chance, bad luck…. The criminal does not regret his crime, he only regrets failure.”
–Louis L’Amour (Lando)

“O God, you take no pleasure in wickedness; you cannot tolerate the sins of the wicked.”
–Psalm 5:4 (NLT)
There are many things I surely do not understand. One of them is the use of profanity. First of all, it shows ignorance. A person does not have the vocabulary to correctly converse with others. He may try to cover his ignornace by cursing all the more. Second, it shows definitely a flaw in character. From the mouth proceeds the thoughts of the heart.
Last week, I saw on facebook the following, “How many times have you cussed before getting to work in the morning?” Now, this is not ignorance, but is close to mockery. I remember, a few years back, when there was a youth evangelist, speaking to students in chapel, and he used profanity. That is mocking the sacred desk of the pulpit. That is treading on dangerous ground, for he is to speak holy words, not profane words, especially in the hearing of young people. In fact, some of the leaders just sort of laughed it off instead of confronting the speaker.
Look at just a couple of verses.

“Let there be no filthiness (obscenity, indecency) nor foolish and sinful (silly and corrupt) talk, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting or becoming; but instead voice your thankfulness [to God].”
–Ephesians 5:4 (HCSB)

“Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it.”
–Ephesians 4:29 (AMPC)

So, do you cuss, curse, use profane or obscene language? Are you crude in your jesting? If so, why? Notice, this type of talk should never come out of your mouth. The Christian should edify those with whom he is talking.
Back to the facebook post. The shame of what I read is that the person who posted it was one of my former students. One of those who commented was another. Both of them were smart-aleks in class. Guess they never grew up, however, it made me wonder, was there somewhere that I failed to live as Christ in front of them? What are the words of that old Sunday School song, “Be careful little lips what you say….”
Ponder This: In reference to the above I would give you a little word study from the works of Rick Renner. One version of Ephesians 4:29, states, “Let no corrupt communication…” The word “corrupt” here means something that is putrid or rotten. It implies the smell of decomposing meat, or food that has rotted and was sickening.
Instead of spewing words of the world that stink, we should be a “wellspring of good words.” (Renner) Because of your speech, people should be improved by the words you speak.

Coffee Percs

I poured a full cup from the soot-covered coffeepot. Blew on and sipped at the kind of belly wash that’d grow hair on a saddle.”
–J. Lee Butts

Waitin’ for yuh, pard. See yur cup’s already on the table. Come on in and sit yourself an’ I’ll get the coffee. Been achy the last few mornin’s; maybe I’m not makin’ the coffee strong enough to get in those rusty joints.
Just saw an article, didn’t take time to read it. Don’t do much with the news anymore. Sure don’t watch it on tv, I get tired of all the lies, slander, fake news, and agendas with the media. I’ve never been much of a person who believed in conspiracies, but the media sure does have an agenda.
Coffee strong enough today? Ahhh, not too bad. It might not grow hair on yur saddle, but it’ll sure make yur ol’ gizzard smile. Back to what I was a-sayin’, I don’t listen to the news much, but I might see a headline and read the article. The title was, “Are You Still Glad You Voted For Trump?” Now given the alternative, Yep, I sure am. But pardner, ain’t no one goin’ to be perfect, and there ain’t no one goin’ to fix the issues of this country until the country realizes the deeper need–God.
We’ve had some “Awakenings” in this country before; revivals that shook to the core. But those who control the media are so antichrist in their thinking it would take a miracle from the Holy Spirit. Now, I’ve pondered the subject some. Sorry, let me fill our cups again, don’t mean for them to go empty. My ponderin’ has brought me to what happened to ol’ pharaoh. When he turned against God and the people of Israel, God hardened his heart. Yep, ponder that, but it’s in the New Testament as well, pard. He said if a person wanted to turn against His Word and believe a lie, well, He would just let them.
Sure glad yuh made it by this mornin’. You be keepin’ yourself ready. Don’t neglect the readin’ of the Word this comin’ week, and yuh better check the load in yur gun, keep it ready. The ol’ devil might try to sneak in this week.
Vaya con Dios, and pard, don’t forget to check yur cinch!