The Saga of Miles Forrest

You! You!” she screamed as she came through the door rushing toward me.
    Customers in the diner stopped eating and took in the sight of the woman in a red dress running toward where I was sitting.  Her face was red, as livid as her dress.  Quickly Marta and Molly ran up on each side of her to hold her.  I stood as she came to the table.
    “You said Billy was the marshal!” she exclaimed, but a little more calmly since Marta and Molly were holding her.
    “No,” I answered.  “I said you would most likely find him at the jail.  You assumed…”
    “Billy wouldn’t do wrong.  He said they wouldn’t let him out; he said no bail.  I went to the judge and he said that the attempted murder of a federal office didn’t warrant bail,” she looked at me and if possible her face became more red.
    “You’re the federal officer!”
    I pulled out a chair.  “Won’t you sit down and calm yourself.  Plus, this is a public eatin’ establishment and you’re upsettin’ the customers.”
    Really, looking around I thought they might be enjoying the show she was putting on.  Marta helped her into the chair then motioned for Molly to sit in the chair next to her.  Marta grabbed the coffee pot and went to see about the customers.  Smart girl, calm the situation down some.
    Sitting there she continued to glare at me.  “Billy wouldn’t shoot anyone.”
    I pointed to Molly.  She pulled back her hair to show the scar.
    “I don’t believe it!” she said with eyes wide.  “He didn’t shoot you, and he certainly wouldn’t shoot a woman.  You’re making this all up!”
    It was time to change the subject.  “Miss Billington, who was the man waitin’ for you in your father’s house?”
    She looked as if she had been slapped.  “There was no one.  You’re mistaken, just like you are in Billy’s shooting.  If must have been someone else,” she said now agitated.  Anger sure didn’t help her countenance.  Facial lines flooded out from the edge of her mouth making her look older and downright mean.
    “The federal judge arrived today.  The trial will begin tomorrow.”
    Standing up abruptly, she knocked over the chair, which when it crashed to the floor got everyone’s attention again.  She glared at both me and Molly and stormed out the diner, not as exuberant as she entered.
    “Whooeee,” I breathed.  Marta came to us with a couple of cups and filled them with coffee.
    “She’s something else,” remarked Molly.
    I took a couple of deep swallows.  “I need to go see Foster about gettin’ a marshal to help Charlie at the jail.  She’s hidin’ somethin’ ’bout a man at her house.  Someone thunked me on the head, and I wouldn’t doubt if there aren’t at least four hombres out there,” I took another deep swallow that emptied my cup.
    “I reckon I should see the federal judge along with Judge Klaser; just for them to stay on the alert,” I pulled at my moustache a couple of times.  “Think I’ll send a telegram to Covney.”
    Walking to the door I peered back to wave at Molly when I caught a whiff of a putrid aroma and thought I heard the faint cackle of a sneering laughter.  I didn’t have time to dwell on that now.  Death may follow me, but I don’t have time to wait around and dwell on it.  As I began my exit, I saw Ooverholm scurrying across the street my direction.  With my focus on him I bumped into a man entering the diner.  I had just a glance but I had seen him before, it was…

Echoes From the Campfire

The philosophy of the range is to grin and bear it.”
              –William MacLeod Raine  (The Fighting Edge)

    “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!”
              –2 Corinthians 4:17 (NLT)
Mercy, July is practically over.  What did you do with the month?  What are you going to do tomorrow or in the month of August?  If God is in charge we can plan for the future; we can begin to dream about what He has for us.  We can rejoice, for though we can’t see tomorrow we know He is in charge.  It is important to understand what one believes about the future will determine must of what he does in the present.  
    Read Hebrews, chapter 11, starting with verse 13.  People were looking toward the future.  Here are a few thoughts about the future.
         1)  The Foundations for the Future.
                 God controls the future.  We think we can control it with our plans and designs.  Take heed, as James writes you may think you will do this or that, but it is God that decides.  If we could actually see our future we would try and control it.  Most likely we would not be able to sleep at night!  The key is to do the best with the future with the light you have today.
                 Not only does God control the future, He controls your future.  (i.e., Psalm 91:1-4; Mattehw 6:25-26)  God is not surprised by the future, nor is He confused.  He is already there waiting for us to show up.  The future doesn’t frighten Him; therefore, He is not surprised by our sins.  He has enough grace for today, and He will have enough for tomorrow.  One thing that we often do is try to control God with our prayers.  Prayers are not diagrams for God’s actions in the future.  He knows what He is doing.
                 Live today according to God’s will.  Don’t worry about the future for it will be bright.  Peter writes, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.” (1 Peter 5:6, NKJV)  When is “due time”?  Somewhere in the future.
         2)  The Foundations for the Future have Meaning
                 Survival is not the only value for the future.  There is one appointment for which you’ll never be late and that is when God finally calls your name.  Death is a reality, but for the Christian it is just a transition.  There may be pain, but pain is not the ultimate liability; nothing is painful forever.  “A finale is not always the best song, but it is always the last.” (Calvin Miller)
                 Be careful of your goals and priorities.  Paul writes to Timothy,  “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15, NKJV)  We need to be diligent in serving God today and plan that way for tomorrow.  Wanting the wrong things will end up tearing your soul into bits and pieces; little by little you will be destroyed.
         3)  The Foundation Allows for Us to Be People of Action.
                 Such powerful words come to us from 1 Corinthians 15:58.  Paul is exhorting us to action, today and tomorrow.  “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (NKJV)  Every action done for the Lord in His name will be vindicated.  Read the last few words of Revelation; let them sink deep into your heart.  Victory is ours, but it is still in the future, under His control.
    Let me close today with the words from Stephen Brown.  Much of what I have written the past several Mondays were from his book:  “If God Is In Charge”.
                       “We can tell the world:  God has started something in this world.  You may not like it; you may laugh at it; you may think it is insignificant–but you can’t stop it.  Some day God is going to close the last page in the history book, and the trumpet will sound.”
    Praise, rejoice, live in today and step into tomorrow with assurance that God is in charge!

Coffee Percs

He took a long gulp of the still-steaming coffee, almost as if he were drinking cool water.  He grinned when he saw the alarm on her face.  ‘An ol’ cattleman learns to drink his coffee hot an’ fast.'”
              –Paul Bagdon (Stallions at Burnt Rock)

Yippi-ki-yay!  It’s National Day of the Cowboy.  Come in here, pard, let’s celebrate.  I made the coffee extra strong in honor of those ol’ boys of days gone by.  I hear tell there’s a few of them around today.  If not, who feeds us those hamburgers we so often have?  Makes me think of that song that ol’ troubadour, Don Edwards sings, “Say Goodbye to Montana.”  

              “All honor to the cowboy,
               Your praises they will sing,
               ‘Cause you never sold your saddle
               That’s the most important thing.”

Almost brings a tear to this ol’ boy’s eye.  Selling yur saddle?  Why pard, a man who sold his saddle isn’t much of a man.  He’s unfaithful to the Lord, his family, the code, and himself.  In fact, the Lord in western lingo will say on that final day, “Well done, fellow pard, yuh didn’t sell yur saddle, proud of yuh, come on in.”
    Sure wish I could offer yuh a piece of pie to celebrate.  But his coffee will have to do, ahhhh.  Hey, did I tell yuh, the doc said I have some spurs?  No, not the kind like yur a-wearin’ on yur boots.  The little imps are most likely what’s causin’ all the pain in my legs.  They sit a kickin’ on my last vertebrae.  They sure do make me take notice of them from time to time.  They prod me just like you go proddin’ that hoss of yurs.
    Let’s finish this pot, but before you take that last sip I read where the temperature was 124 degrees in Death Valley.  Whooeeee, that’s hotter than a biscuit-eater.  I was there a few years back, and it does get hot!   Had to pull the ol’ steel mount off and let her cool down some before I could get out of that place.  Look at the weather, scorchin’ hot in the West and floodin’ in other parts of the country.  We sure do get riled up about the weather and there’s not much that can be done about it.
    You be takin’ it easy, you just mosey along, no need of hurryin’ and for mercy’s sake, check yur cinch.
                     Vaya con Dios,

Echoes From the Campfire

They possessed a quiet purpose, a will.”
              –Elmer Kelton  (Stand Proud)

    “Hold on to instruction; don’t let go.  Guard it, for it is your life.”
              –Proverbs 4:13 (HCSB)
Let me pass on a few thoughts from Jospeh Alleine’s book.  It has been an interesting read, An Alarm to Unconverted Sinners, first published in 1671.

          “Sin is a real sickness, yea, the worst of sickness; it is a leprosy in the head; the plague in the heart; it is brokenness in the bones; it pierces, it wounds, it racks, it torments….  Sin naturally breeds diseases and disturbances in the soul.  What a continueal tempest is there in a discontented mind!  What a corroding evil is inordinate care!  What is passion but a very fever in the mind?  What is lust but a fire in the bones?  What is pride but a deadly dropsy? or covetousness but an insatiable and insufferable thirst? or malice and envy but venom in the very heart?  Spiritual sloth is but a scurvy in the mind, and carnal security a mortal lethargy.  How can that soul have true comfort which is under so many diseases?
          “The conscience cannot be truly pacified until soundly purified.”

Try to preach about sin today and you might find an empty church, it is just not politically or religiously correct.  But then again, the Holy Spirit may come and convict and there may be a true revival.  People are not considered sinners.  They are misguided souls or just following their own way.  Ah, but we need to follow the Way, Jesus said He was the Way.
    People put their trust in politicians, psychologists, or worldly philosophers.  They will go to their analyist, whether it be the local bar or some swanky person who will charge them $100 an hour.  Put all the world’s philosophers, past and present against God an it would be a lopsided mismatch.  
           “There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord.  The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord.”
                    –Proverbs 21:30-31