Echoes From the Campfire

I knew my own bit of longing for the wild places.  I am a man not given to cities, nor the crowded walks of men.  I like the long winds upon my face, the stirring of miles of grass bending before the wind, the clouds shadows upon the plain, the lure and lift of far hills.”
              –Louis L’Amour  (Mojave Crossing)

    “For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land of flowing streams and pools of water, with fountains and springs that gush out in the valleys and hills.”
              –Deuteronomy 8:7 (NLT)
First thing to let you know is that for the next month the Echos From the Campfire might be a bit sporadic as I’m going to be on and off the road a while.  We’re going to be taking advantage of this thing called retirement and go visiting and traveling around.  I’ll do my best to give you a few thoughts to ponder.
There’s an old song that carries the jist with it, “and all I’ve got is a wearied mind.”  I’ve been in that place many a time.  I’ve been weary of body, and I’ve been weary of mind.  I remember when I was to take my “master’s comps” that I would wake up throughout the night before the test going through ideas, facts, people, events, etc.  I chose four areas for my test and would receive four questions upon which to write:  Civil War, Current Thoughts in American History, World War II, and United States 1900-1940.
My mind wouldn’t rest as I went over everything I could think of in those areas.  
    Events, circumstances, financial issues, politics, sickness, and a host of other things can give us a wearied mind.  The question is then: how do we receive rest from the weariness of the mind?  In the case of my comp test it was when the test was over.  I knew I did well, so I didn’t worry about the results, but other things may continue with us and it is hard to lay them down.
    When the body is weary we go to sleep.  Ahh, sweet respose from a hard day’s work.  The weariness of the body is cured by slumber.  However, the mind is different.  When the mind is weary, sleep does it little good.  George Matheson says that, “The weariness of the mind needs an opposite cure from the weariness of the body…the weariness of the mind can be cured only by stimulus.”  
    Jesus, “prescribes not a sedative, but an irritant; not more sleep, but more waking.  To the man of the weary hand He says, ‘Cast your cares upon Me;’ but to the man of the weary heart He cries, ‘Take My yoke upon you,'”. (Matheson)  The hidden key is found in Hebrews 12:3,

               “Consider Him…lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”

The New King James puts it this way, “For consider Him…lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.”  Ponder the last phrase of the Amplified, “so that you may not grow weary or exhausted, losing heart and relaxing and fainting in your minds.”
    Let me finish this morning with the words from George Matheson.  “I want a new interest to heal my heart’s weariness–some one to live for, some one to work for, some one to wait for, some one to long for.  It is my want of longing that makes my want of strength; it is my listlessness that brings me languidness.  Create a new heart within me–an eager, beating, bounding heart, a heart vibrating in response to Thy love!  Let me feel the passion and the pathos of life, of Thy life!  Let me be taken captive by Thy beauty!  Let me catch the spell of Thy loveliness!  Let me be thrilled at the sound of Thy footsteps!  Let me learn the rapture of hearing Thy name!  Let me experience the glow of excitement when the murmur runs round, ‘Jesus of Nazareth passeth by!’  Then shall the weariness of the heart vanish, then shall the languor of the spirit cease; for the liberty of flight is the Sabbath of the soul.  Then we shall mount up with wings as eagles; we shall not faint nor be weary.”

Echoes From the Campfire

In that country, a man saddled his own broncs and fought his own battles, and the measure of his manhood was that he did what needed to be done, and did it well, and without shirking.”
              –Louis L’Amour  (Killoe)

    “Each one’s work will become obvious, for the day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire; the fire will test the quality of each one’s work.”
              –1 Corinthians 3:13 (HCSB)
I just wonder how many times in my life I have reflected on Psalm 23.  It is one of those special verses that the Holy Spirit inspired David to pen.  We wonder, stew, and fret over things here on earth, many of which we have no control over, but listen,

              “And I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”
                     –Psalm 23:6

That one verse gives us hope.  See one of the problems we have here is that we have a limited perspective, and we then let life overwhelm us.  We tend to look at a little portion of life instead of looking at it as a whole.
    When things seem to go haywire, we can trust in the faithfulness of God.  “It is not a belief in your faith or belief itself that is important.  No, hold on to the faithfulness of God; have faith in Him, be certain of Him, for you will never master and conquer life in this world until, in spite of everything, you do hold on in that way.” (Lloyd-Jones)  Be absolutely certain of the Lord Jesus Christ, of who He is in your life.  
    Whether we like it or not, life itself has a way of forcing us, sooner or later, to consider what lies beyond it.  Life is transitory and temporary; it is full of uncertaintly and of accidents.  “If we live for this life only and to rely upon it, or anything in it, is deliberately to court disappointment.” (Lloyd-Jones) Therefore, life in this world should be viewed truly in the light of the next world.  This life offers us no real or final security, that comes only through trusting in the faithfulness of God.
    Look around and see what the world thinks is important.  Look at the billboards as you travel; look at what the commercials on television try to sell.  Live with gusto, buy this, you’ll look glamorous in this, put on this deodorant or this scent and the girls won’t be able to resist you and on and on and on.
Sin is subtly luring us away and then we are seeing more and more than sin is being thrust at us.  We are made to want to live life to the fullest, at least according to the standard of the world.  The problem is that we think of life in the body rather than the life of the soul.  The world is transitory, but the soul moves on into eternity.  It is the inner life that matters.  What was it that Jesus said, “Don’t fear those that can harm the body…”? (Matthew 10:28)
    What is the purpose of this life if not to prepare us for the next one?  If you want calmness in your soul feed it, and look at this life in view of eternity.  Lloyd-Jones writes, “Life in this world can only be truly lived and mastered as we have a right view of that next world.”  
    What is your view then of the next world?  Do you think of it much?  Does it draw you?  There is joy set before us.  Death leads us to our Father’s house.  There, we will have security, peace, rest for the soul.  It will be our permanent residence for all of eternity.  Start now, then to protect and nurture and discipline your soul for it is the one thing that really matters.

Echoes From the Campfire

So we decided to become a traveler, and go look at what God had created if for no other reason than He wanted to give us something pretty to look at.”
              –Lou Bradshaw (Teton)

    “…He went in the fire by night and in the cloud by day to guide you on the road you were to travel.”
              –Deuteronomy 1:33(HCSB)
Caves.  I’ve seen a few, been in a few others.  I can even remember in college, on a test in philosophy class that I was give a question to discuss the meaning of Plato’s “cave”.  I tried to bluff my way through it and when I received the test paper back my professor didn’t agree with what I wrote, and told me to give it to the English teacher for a fictional story.
    We were talking at the supper table just last night of driving down St. Vrain Canyon and I spotted a small cave on the side of the canyon.  I stopped and we went to the opening and started digging around and found a store of mica.
    Some homes have “man-caves” which I really don’t understand.  Maybe my office could be called that, but I don’t consider it a “cave”.  Others make caves in their minds and they go off and hide there.  Some never crawl back out.
    Psalm 57 was written by David when he was hiding in a cave.  He was being pursued by the armies of Saul and sought a place of refuge.  However, David saw this only as a physical refuge from Saul; he realized that his true refuge was in God.  “David came to think of this cave as a fitting symbol of the refuge which he had found in God.  The love and the care which he received from God he likened to that bestowed upon a nestling bird by its mother.” (F. Dean Nemecek)
    Take time to read Psalm 57.  It shows us that even in the midst of difficulties our life should be filled with prayer and praise.  No matter the circumstances, even in the midst of a cave we may find ourselves in, we should be praising our God.  We might not understand the circumstances or the reasons for our difficulties.  In fact, that is where faith often begins.  
    Nemecek relays a story about a reporter questioning Mrs. Einstein.  He asked if she understood the theory of relativity.  She replied, “No, but I know Albert and he can be trusted.”
    It is not the circumstance or the situation.  It is not the difficulty or the trial.  We may not understand them.  However, that is when we put our trust completely in the hands of the Master.  That’s another reason why we must come to know Him.  When people speak of “blind faith” they don’t know what they are talking about.  Our faith should never be in the situation but always in our heavenly Father.  We may not understand, but I know God and He can be trusted!
Ponder This:  “The gospel does not command us to do anything in order to obtain life, but it bids us live by that which another has done:  and the knowledge of its life-giving truth is not labor but rest, rest of the soul, rest that is the root of all true labor; for in receiving Christ we do not work in order to rest, but we rest in order to work.”  (Horatius Bonar)

The Saga of Miles Forrest

Do you have to keep me chained to this seat like an animal?” he whimpered.
    “Billy, as far as I’m concerned you’re just one step above an animal.  In fact, if I owned a dog, I wouldn’t chain him up.”
    He’d been whining and whimpering ever since we left Durango twelve hours ago yesterday.  When I took him for a walk, he’d whine that he couldn’t walk right with the chains on his legs.  He’d whine when I gave him food saying he couldn’t eat with handcuffs on, but I’ll tell you, he managed to do both.  I think I even heard him whimper in his sleep.
    I probably should have locked him up in the cattle car but didn’t want to disturb what horses might be in there.  At least there were only two sets of passengers in this car and as soon as they saw Billy was a prisoner they left and found seats in the other car.  The car we were in was right next to the tinder and I sat with my back to it so I could watch if anyone came in.  There was one other passenger car, one for any cargo, and one for any horses.  Attached to the back was the caboose.
    I didn’t think Billy dangerous, but he was a nuisance and, well, he had tried to kill me so I had to depend upon my ears to hear anyone come in if I should doze.  So far, I had done well, and didn’t feel too much worse for the wear as we traveled.  I had Billy chained to the seat across the aisle from me and I sat back next to the window.
    We changed trains in La Junta and would have to change again in Pueblo for Canon City.  We would have a four hour layover in Pueblo.  That would be the most dangerous part of the trip.  It would be hard to keep my eyes on all four directions, but then who would want Billy?
    Those were my thoughts as I heard the door open at the far end.  Lifting my head to see who it was, I groaned within me and moved the Greener from the seat to my lap and shifted in the seat toward the aisle, for walking down it was Lillian.  She had some kind of little hat with a feather in it on her head and was wearing a very nice, form-fitting green dress.  
    She came to where we were sitting, and I waited for her to speak.  She was hesitant, but then finally said, “I’d like to talk with Billy.”
    “Fine, hand me your bag.”
    Looking as if I slapped her, she retorted, “I beg your pardon.”
    “Your bag, give it to me and then you can sit with him.”
    “Why, why, you don’t think…here!” and she thrust the bag at me and it clunked on the side of the seat in front of me.
    “Cautious,” I said, then looked in the bag.  
    “There’s personal things in there,” she said sharply.
    “I’m sure there is,” and I lifted out a small Colt .41 and smiled at her.
    “For protection,” she hurriedly said.  “A woman needs protection when she travels alone.”
    When I didn’t give her the satisfaction of a reply she started to sit next to Billy.  “Sit across from him,” I commanded in what I thought was a calm voice.
    They did some chit-chat not saying anything of importance or that I might take notice of.  I just wanted her to leave.
    “Marshal, you should unchain Billy.  He’s very uncomfortable.”
    I just stared at her with that look I’ve been known to give.
    She huffed a bit and then declared, “I’m going to sit here and make sure that you don’t kill him before he gets to Canon City.  After all, according to the trial, you are the person he tried to kill.”
    “Go ahead, but you will do your sittin’ down at the other end of the car.”
    “I have my rights!  I have a ticket, I’ll sit anywhere I please!”
    “Miss,” I sort of moved the Greener so she could see it, “if you don’t move to the end of the car I’ll have the conductor remove you altogether.”
    She huffed some more, then stood up reaching out her hand.  I gave her the bag, but she kept her hand out, waiting.  “My gun.”
    I smiled…