Coffee Percs

Nothing like good old java, thick as molasses, and boiled in a lard pail over a camp-fire.  It gives a guy a kind of warm feeling when it hits the bottom of that empty belly.”  
              –Richard P. Hobson, Jr.  (Nothing Too Good for a Cowboy)

Lay out yur ankles under the table, pard, while I get the coffee poured.  Sure does feel good to have that mornin’ time before the day’s anxieties take over.  Ahhh, good coffee this mornin’. 
    I’ve been workin’ on my new book.  It’s takin’ me back to my youthful days of runnin’ in the foothills.  Just had my 3rd Elias Butler novel reprinted and another one, The Shepherd printed.  If yuh need somethin’ to spend yur time doin’, grab one and read it.
    I went to the hardware store the other day.  Lady handed back my change, she said, “Here’s your dime back.”  Reminded me of the old days.  The story of my Grandpa Jones came to mind.  He went out to eat one time and slammed his hand down on the table when he found out that coffee cost as much as it did.  He exclaimed, “A dime for a cup of coffee; that’s outrageous!”  Nowadays folks out there will pay close to $10 for a cup of that there cino stuff.  Did I ever tell yuh that I had a cino one time?  Yep, don’t know if it was a frappycino or a crappycino, just know it was terrible.  I like to have a cup of coffee after supper, but just can’t bring myself to pay over a dollar for a cup of coffee, and it would be weak at that.
    Kind of reminds me of those Pharisees.  They would parade themselves around town in their fancy duds, turn up their nose at the common and down-and-out folk, and pontifical things would flow from their mouths.  They have all that froth on top and if there is any real “coffee” in them it is weak and watered down.  Snowflakes are kinda the same way.  Fluff and phelgm and very little character.
    Drink ‘nother cup of that coffee; try to keep the water out of it as much as possible.  ‘Course have to have some, as I want it to flow down the gullet to my gizzard.  Thank the good Lord for small blessings; everyday blessings.
    You take care and don’t let anyone be foolin’ you come Monday.  Another month gone already–nothin’ stops the march of time.  Don’t be foolin’ yurself either–check that cinch.

Echoes From the Campfire

Might not such love of horses and the open range, solitude, freedom, the hard fare and toil, the kinship with nature—might not these develop character to noble ends?”
              –Zane Grey  (Nevada)

    “The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.”
              –Isaiah 35:1 (NKJV)
I’ve seen a few studies over the past decade that show what people think about church.  The thing that comes out on top in the recent years is the idea of fellowship.  Think of that for a moment–the number one reason for the church is fellowship.  I read a few weeks back where Millennials think that the church should not try to evangelize.  Hmmm, seems to me that was the Great Commission.  These same people say it’s okay if the person doesn’t already belong to some recognized religion:  Islam, Hindu, etc.
    Now, don’t get me wrong.  Fellowship is important.  But have you listened to many of the prayers during fellowship groups?  More like a way to get the gossip out of your system.  Maybe putting it this way would be better–there is fellowship and there are social groups.  It is hard for me to fathom how people want to live in places like New York City.  I have wanted and waited most of my life to finally get out of the city and into the “wilderness.”  That’s where the jobs are, but that’s also where the people are.  I read yesterday that man is afraid of the sea, or the desert, or the mountains.  Because they tend to turn man to thinking.  Thinking about life, about God, and about self.  Man, overall, does not like to be alone, therefore, the fellowship.
    Jacob didn’t like to be alone.  George Matheson said this of Jacob, “He was afraid of Jacob’s angel; he feared to wrestle with his own conscience; he dreaded the spectre of the past; he shrank from the memory of his yesterday; he trembled to meet Esau.  And when he was forced to go into the wilderness, it was awful to him.”  It is fear that makes one dread to be alone.  Silly as it seems, people are afraid of the country and the darkness.  When we were building our house last year the man delivering the windows would not stay until we arrived to help him unload them.  He said, “there are wild animals out here.”  
    Man fears loneliness and solitude.  Why?  Because man starts to think about who he is.  He starts to look inside and dwell upon his character–the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of him.  There is no one around for him to chuckle and laugh off the thought with.  There is not the crowd and the noise; he is alone.  Possibly the greatest fear of the solitude is that man might find God; or rather, God might find him.  God does not seek us out with the crowd.  Oh, He might work and bless a group of worshipers, but He seeks the individual.  
    Don’t think that solitude is only in the desert or on the mountainside.  No, one can be vastly alone in their room at night, or on a sick-bed.  Alone, with their thoughts, and here comes God.  Man can even hide in a crowd.  He doesn’t care for the fellowship, but finds it is a place to hide.  Look at the many encounters with people that Jesus had in this manner.
    It was a custom for Jesus to go out to a solitary place to spend time with His Father.  In this solitude He found physical, mental, and spiritual strength.  And that last great time of solitude was with His disciples–Gethsemane.  Don’t be afraid of the solitude, no matter where you are and in what condition you find yourself, in fact, welcome the chance to get alone with the Lord.  “Thou hast blest me in my solitude.  I halted one day upon my thigh.  I could not run with the crowd; I could not keep up with the multitude.  I lagged behind; I missed my chance in the race; I was left alone.  I was sad; I was sore at heart; I murmured.  But I was wrong.  That hour of loneliness has been my most crowded hour.  It has been crowded with Thy blessings; it has been loaded with Thy benefits…” (Matheson)  Let God “crowd” you with His love.   
This day in the Texas Revolution (through the first part of April):  Santa Anna departs San Antonio de Bexar and leaves General Andrade in command with a 1000 troops.

Echoes From the Campfire

We just didn’t have much give-up in us.  We always kept plugging away.”
              –Louis L’Amour  (The Lonely Men)

    “So then, brace up and reinvigorate and set right your slackened and weakened and drooping hands and strengthen your feeble and palsied and tottering knees.”
              –Hebrews 12:12 (AMPC)
Friend, what type of wilderness have you found yourself in today?  Are you weak, struggling, wondering?  Remember, there is, like the words of the song:

         “One more river to cross,
          One more mountain to climb,
          One more valley that I got to go through…”
                 –Dottie Rambo

Or maybe you are traveling down that long, lonesome highway.  We get tired, no matter what type of journey and wilderness we are traveling through.  Weariness comes our way, and we wonder if we can lift the tired feet one more step.  The drudgery of life may be getting to you; tired of the same old thing.  Over and over again life seems to come at you.  There are two keys to overcoming.  The first is–you can take one more step.  Second, you must trust in the Lord.  Even in the midst of fatigue, in the midst of the wearisome travel, trust in the Lord.  
    Take a moment, take a deep sigh, and then think of the reasons why you want to quit.  Why are you weary?  Why are you discouraged and despondent?  Are there any survival skills you have neglected, especially spiritual?  Maybe you’re not into the Word enough.  Perhaps your prayer life has dwindled.
    Not all wilderness travels are dry, but the wilderness is often associated with the wasteland.  Many times when we find ourselves in the wilderness, it is because our souls are dry, yearning for the cool water of the Spirit to quench our thirst, to bathe us.  Many people are like those being led by Moses.  Their lives are dependent upon the water holes; from one water hole to the next.  Water is essential for life.  If not following the Guide, they may start to wander; they may find themselves lost.
    It is not hard to get lost in a strange region.  I have always been amazed how those that lived in this land during those hard-fought pioneer days moved around without maps and found their way.  But for everyone who was able to do that, there was one poor soul lost in the wasteland.  When this happens one of the most important things to do is look for landmarks.  Get them pinpointed in your mind and do not stray from them.  To be lost is a frightful thing.  The landmarks are there to guide you to the next water hole; those areas of rest and refreshment.
    Keep moving; now is not the time to stall out on your journey.  Lift your tired feet, move those fatigued legs and keep going one step after another.  Look up to find the landmarks that point the way to water.  “Landmarks!” you cry, “I don’t see the landmarks!”  Hopefully, you are holding a Bible in your hands as you read this.  In that Bible there are landmarks to guide you through the wilderness that may appear in your life.  Clear your mind from listening to false reports and blind trails and remember the promises that God has given you.  Add those promises to your prayers.
    Learning how to travel is of tremendous importance to the stranger in the desert wilderness.  The oppressive sun is always a threat.  The sometimes overwhelming desire just to stop the wandering, to lie down and quit.  No!  Keep plodding forward toward the distant peaks, those landmarks.  The peak is a guide; on the way you’ll find water.  You’ll make it if you don’t quit!
Today in the Texas Revolution:  Houston orders Martin, Baker, and Seguin to guard his retreat delaying Santa Anna’s army from crossing the Brazos River.

Echoes From the Campfire

Be bold and brave.  Grow like the pine.  Work and ride and play that you may be strong.  Talk straight.  Love your brother.  Give half to your friend.  Honor your mother that you may honor your wife.  Pray and listen.”
              –Zane Grey  (The Rainbow Trail)

    “For the Lord is the one who shaped the mountains, stirs up the winds, and reveals his thoughts to mankind. He turns the light of dawn into darkness and treads on the heights of the earth. The Lord God of Heaven’s Armies is his name!”
              –Amos 4:13 (NLT)
Last week “I Pitched My Tent in Beulah Land,” but right now I’ve decided to find my “Dwelling in Beulah Land.”  That chorus just won’t stop, going on three weeks now.  As you read the words to this grand old song, ask yourself if you are dwelling in Beulah Land.  And to change things around, I must start with the chorus first.

                        “I’m living on the mountain, underneath a cloudless sky (praise God!)
                         I’m drinking at the fountain that never shall run dray;
                         Oh yes! I’m feasting on the manna from a bountiful supply,
                         For I am dwelling in Beulah Land.”
                                 –C. Austin Miles

The things of this world and its vain system have no hold on me.  I’ve taken off finally to the “High Lonesome.”  Nope, don’t mean I’ve gone back to the high country to escape the things of this evil world, but I’m living on God’s mountain.  The noise of the masses along with their lure is removed from my ear.  There’s something much better than falling under the control of the monolithic idol of technology and the screams of despair.

         “Far away the noise of strife upon my ear is falling,
          Then I know the sins of earth beset on ev’ry hand:
          Doubt and fear and things of earth in vain to me are calling,
          None of these shall move me from Beulah Land.”

The world is in chaos and confusion reigns.  Man’s opinion seems to override reason and truth.  There is despair and despondency and people look in vain to the gods of this world.  There is safety and security upon the mountain.  As long as I keep seeking and living within God’s Word none of the junk of this world lures me back.  The mountain is where I’ll stay.

         “Far below the storm of doubt upon the world is beating,
          Sons of men in battle long the enemy withstand:
          Safe am I within the castle of God’s Word retreating,
          Nothing then can reach me ’tis Beulah Land.”

My storm is the tempest raging in the world.  Across the land people are moaning and groaning.  They dislike anything that goes against their dreams of fantasy.  They suffer cruel anxieties and can find no rest, no hope.  That is because they are self-centered, dreaming of being autonomous and trying to rid God from their thoughts.  I find no alarm from what they say or do.  They do not beckon me; they have no hold on me.  They may try to find fault, but they cannot unless they completely deceive themselves.  Not for me to be riled and fret for I’m going to live on the mountain.

         “Let the stormy breezes blow, their cry cannot alarm me;
          I am safely sheltered here, protected by God’s hand:
          Here the sun is always shining, her there’s naught can harm me,
          I am safe forever in Beulah Land.”

Instead of the evil in the world, I choose to look at the wondrous works of God.  Instead of being wearied by man’s vain philosophies, I choose to contemplate the voice of the Lord as it comes from His Word.  Instead of following the maze of man’s wonderings, I choose to follow the guiding hand of the Holy Spirit.  Don’t go looking for my address down there among the pagan and heathen.  Nope, I up on the high slopes living on the mountain.  Enjoying the life He has given me.  I am blessed beyond measure.

         “Viewing here the works of God, I sink in contemplation,
          Hearing now His blessed voice, I see the way He planned:
          Dwelling in the Spirit here I learn of full salvation,
          Gladly will I tarry in Beulah Land.”

Come on friends, look at that chorus again.  Makes the toes start to wiggle.  I may no longer be able to clog in the kitchen, but I can sure shuffle in the living room.

                        “I’m living on the mountain, underneath a cloudless sky, (praise God!)
                         I’m drinking at the fountain that never shall run dry;
                         Oh, yes!  I’m feasting on the manna from a bountiful supply,
                         For I am dwelling in Beulah Land.”
This day in the Texas Revolution:  The Goliad Massacre–Fannin and nearly 400 Texas are executed by order of Santa Anna, while at the same time Houston and his army are camped near San Felipe de Austin.