Coffee Percs

Finishing a supper of bacon and dried apples, I settled back to drink coffee and pulled out my Bible.”
              –D.C. Adkisson  (The Evil Eye)

How are yuh, this mornin’, Pard?  I didn’t watch the debates among the clowns, but I did hear that they were offerin’ lots of free stuff.  Yep, if’n one of them gets elected we’ll all be tip-toein’ through the tulips from now ’til eternity.  Know what?  They’ll be plenty of fools out there who’ll believe them.  Some folks just don’t have enough sense to realize that nothin’s free in the life.  Nope, I figured I didn’t want to rile the ol’ gizzard, so I set back an’ enjoyed my coffee.  Ahhhh, sure much better than listenin’ to the gobbledygook comin’ out of their mouths.  What them enlightened folks were sayin’ was about as useless as a barbwire fence full of knotholes.
    An’ these young’uns, well’ they’re not actually young, but they’re a-clamorin’ for the debts to be taken away.  Well, to be paid by you and me.  Just don’t figure that!  They’re the ones who went out and got themselves in debt.  Guess they didn’t have much good learnin’.  A person needs to count the cost before they put themselves in debt, and then be shore and pay off what they owe.
    Go ahead, Pard, yuh don’t need my permission to refill yur cup.  Speakin’ of fillin’ yur cup, this is shore the time to keep yur own personal cup full of the Holy Spirit.  Times and culture could be changin’ right quickly.  I think of the times that I settled back in my bedroll at a camp up in the high lonesome with coffee and Bible in hand.  It’s good to reflect on the past, but more important is keepin’ yurself on the ready for what might be comin’ down the road.  Maybe yuh should put an extra box of cartridges, another pound of coffee, and Bible in yur saddlebags just in case.
    All that preparin’ won’t do you no bit of good if’n yur a-lyin’ on the ground because yuh didn’t check yur cinch.  Remember the basics!

Echoes From the Campfire

Faith and fear cannot be in the same place at the same time…  You either live in one, or you live in the other.”
              –Dan Arnold  (Bear Creek)

    “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  
              –Romans 15:13 (NKJV)
Many, many moons ago I held a series of meetings in Pennsylvania.  I thought perhaps I might be a preacher, an evangelist.  Ha, now isn’t that something!  I told the people that on the last night I would be preaching/teaching on faith.  The people came that night all hyped up ready, expecting and I said that faith is getting up in the morning, having breakfast, brushing your teeth, getting dressed and ready for work with the realization that whatever happens to you today that God is in control.  He either caused it to happen or allowed it to happen, so trust in Him.  Needless to say, that was a let-down to the congregation for this was the day of the “blab it and grab it” sermon; claim this and claim that don’t bother with the Scripture.
    I’ve noticed since that time, we have come a long way, for few dare bother with what God’s Word has to say.  Man goes along with his own opinion rather than take what the Bible says.  Phillips puts it this way, “Behind a facade of “wisdom” they became just fools…”
(Romans 1:22).  Faith is definitely part of worship.  Faith is when you worship God with all your will, for faith must go hand-in-hand with obedience.  The writer of Hebrews says this about faith, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6, NKJV)  Go through the “faith chapter” of Hebrews and see how many times obedience is tied to faith.
    One of the greatest requests of the apostles of Jesus was found in Luke 17:5, “Increase our faith.”  All of us need to be seeking for our faith to be increased.  “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.”
(Ephesians 2:8, NKJV), we appropriated grace by our faith and then we need to grow in grace, therefore, that must include growing in faith.  Here are some thoughts about faith (taken from Heart At Rest, by Carlos Murphy) that I have mixed in with my thoughts.

         “Faith makes the believer farsighted (Hebrews 11:13).  God makes the eternal things real.”  We are to look onward and upward toward our heavenly home.
         “Faith makes the believer courageous” (2 Samuel 22:30).  There is a certainty about life when we have faith.  Faith gives us courage during a catastrophe or event, but more important it gives us moral courage to face the onslaught of an evil culture.
         “Faith makes the believer wise (Daniel 1:17).  God upholds and established those who trust in Him.”
         “Faith makes the believer hopeful” (Galatians 5:5).  Faith gives us an expectancy–a trust in God who will be faithful and will fulfill His promises.
         “Faith makes the believer greathearted (Exodus 11:3).  Faith enlarges vision and stirs boldness.”  Faith helps us develop and use our talents for the Kingdom of God.
         “Faith makes the believer contented (Philippians 4:11).  The man of faith never wants, even when he lacks.”
         “Faith makes the believer peaceful” (Romans 15:13).  In a world of turmoil our hearts will be at rest.  

Let me add one more:

         Faith makes the believer thankful (2 Peter 3:9).  We can be thankful for the Lord’s faithfulness and loyalty to His Word.  He is not a slacker.  Someone has written, “If a man isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get.”

Truly, in these evil times we need to ask the Lord to increase our faith.

Echoes From the Campfire

Night closed down upon the canyon…  He saw the fading red embers of his fire, the great looming pines, the black shadowy wall; he smelled the smoke and the tang of the forest; he heard the sound of the wind, the brawl of the brook, the wail of the coyotes.”
              –Zane Grey (30,000 on the Hoof)

    “Let the sea roar, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell in it; Let the rivers clap their hands; Let the hills be joyful together before the LORD, For He is coming to judge the earth.  With righteousness He shall judge the world, And the peoples with equity.”
              –Psalm 98:7-9 (NKJV)
Do you check the weather?  What is forecast for tomorrow?  Rain, thunderstorms, tornadoes, sunny skies?  I have found that no matter the forecast there isn’t a thing I can do about it.  In fact, the forecast often changes due to changes in the atmosphere.  Let me ask:  Who is in control of the weather, the climate, tomorrow?  If God is in control, why do we then fret and wring our hands?

         “I care not today what the morrow may bring,
          If shadow or sunshine or rain,
          The Lord I know ruleth o’er everything,
          And all my worry is vain.”
                  –James Wells

Often we wonder why life seems so gloomy and dark.  Gray skies seem to loom continually over our heads.  Problem after problem arises and we just can’t seem to get over them.  There may be many reasons for the gloom and the problems that assail, but the most important thing is to realize and know for certain that Christ is there with us and He can make the storms be still and peace rule in our hearts.  Why then, be alarmed?

         “Tho’ tempests may blow and the storm-clouds arise,
          Obscuring the brightness of life,
          I’m never alarmed at the overcast skies,
          The Master looks on at the strife.”

There is that calm assurance when walking on our daily journey that the Lord is with us each step of the way.  When we look at the news it seems that evil is triumphing; that common sense and decency have fallen by the wayside.  Hope is diminished, dread overcomes us and we let fear loom over our hearts.  It seems that the devil is marching on and there is nothing that is seemingly happening.  To that I would say, get in the Word of God and have the Spirit of God open your spiritual eyes.

         “I know that He safely will carry me thro’,
          No matter what evils betide,
          Why should I then care, tho’ the tempest may blow,
          If Jesus walks close to my side.”

Where is His coming?  Do those thoughts ever run through your mind.  I saw recently where someone wrote, “I am no longer looking for the signs of His appearing, but I’m listening for the trumpet call.”  One day soon, our trouble will be completely be over and we will not be walking this earth by faith, but walking with Jesus in glory holding His hand.  Do not despair.  Do not lose hope.  There have been many definitions of hope and faith, but I like the one I read this week by Carlos Murphy.  “Hope is faith directed toward promised future things, giving us certainty they will be realized.  By faith, we perceive the invisible world about us and operate with confidence in this intangible dimension.”  Grasp hold of that word–“certainty”!

         “Our Lord will return to this earth some sweet day,
          Our troubles will then all be o’er,
          The Master so gently will lead us away,
          Beyond that blest heav’nly shore.”
                   –R.E. Winsett (composer of the 4th verse)

                    “Living by faith, in Jesus above,
                     Trusting, confiding in His great love;
                     From all harm safe, in His sheltering arm,
                     I’m living by faith and feel no alarm.”

Echoes From the Campfire

He’d either get through or he wouldn’t.  He was a grown man, and a man has to walk in his own boots.”
              –Lou Bradshaw  (Spirit Valley)

    “And I will walk at liberty, For I seek Your precepts.”
              –Psalm 119:45 (NKJV)
Two weeks earlier I had graduated from college and taken my wife of one year back to live with her parents for a few weeks.  Then boarding a bus from Pittsburgh to Kansas City, I spent most of the day in a congested smoke-filled room, took my oath and was waiting.  It was moving on toward midnight, June 26, 1972, forty-seven years ago.  There was click-click-click on the pavement that sounded through the muggy night in San Antonio.  All eyes, around fifty of us, turned to look and were greeted with a yell, “What’d you lookin’ at–you queer?”  The first words out of the mouth of my T.I. (Technical Instructor as compared to the army’s D.I.)  Thus it began–basic training.
    It was not hard, keep your stuff together, do what your supposed to do, and don’t draw attention to yourself, unless it’s in a good way.  In fact, I was called up to lead PT (physical training) every morning for the complete basic training unit.  I stood on a platform with several TIs around me leading calisthenics.  The training wasn’t hard; I received two demerits while there.  One was for a drop of water in my razor and another time a piece of lint was found on my dress uniform in my locker.
    An infamous day–well, a day of new beginnings.   I served a few months shy of six years in the Air Force.  It was in my mind and plans to make the military a career, but with the war in Vietnam over my career field was closing down.  I looked to cross-train but there was nothing open that suited me.  I was up for E-6 when changes began to happen.  Providence was working.  I handed in my paper work on December 1, to get out of the service and by December 31, I was a civilian.  We were stationed at Griffiss AFB, NY and it was snowing and cold when they loaded the truck with our goods.
    For eight months I was without work.  Annie was sick, Shauna was sick, and Kimberly was a baby.  Granny and Pappy had graciously allowed us to live upstairs in their house.  It was a trying time.  I knew the Lord was involved in my being discharged, and we were ready to follow Him, but we weren’t going anywhere.  In June, 1973, I went down to enlist in the Army.  They were offering me a warrant position, the paperwork was filled out and I was to go to Pittsburgh and take the oath the next day.  Heaviness was on my shoulders–I didn’t go.  A week later I started a job with J.C. Penney (which didn’t amount to much, but at least I was working).  A week after that Annie was offered a teaching position at a small Christian school in Houston, and there probably would be a position for me, however, it wouldn’t start until mid-August.
    At least now–direction.  In August we would pack and head for Houston.  She was hired as a first grade teacher, and I became a reading teacher and teacher of physical education.  So much for the little biographical sketch.  There were many lessons I took from this time.  Patience for sure, but the most important lesson is that God is faithful and don’t try to hurry Him.  Let Him direct your life and allow Him to change your plans.  Be open and sensitive to His guiding hand.