Echoes From the Campfire

God is unpredictable in His providence and therefore works His plans within our lives without us even knowing it.”
              –Kenneth Pratt  (Willow Falls)

    “Now the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little.”
              –1 Peter 5:10 (HCSB)
Complacency and distractions are dangerous foes.  They will take a person away from their goals, mission, and focus on life.  They will steal away your time and be certain that God will hold you accountable for your time–how it was spent and how it was wasted.  How much time is wasted everyday?  People are hollering for a $15 minimum wage, but how about them being accountable for their time on the job?  Not even thinking about doing excellence, is the job being done properly and at least up to minimum standards?
    I happened to come across another article by Horatius Bonar and I am going to pass it on this morning.  This is one that should be read every week, perhaps for some it would serve to be read every day.

         “If we would aim at a holy and useful life, let us learn to redeem time.  ‘I am large about redeeming time,’ says Richard Baxter in the preface to his Christian Directory, ‘because therein the sum of a holy, obedient life is included.’  Yes; ‘let us redeem the time, because the days are evil’ (Ephesians 5:16; Colossians 4:5).  A wasted life is the result of unredeemed time.  Desultory working, impulsive giving, fitful planning, irregular reading, ill-assorted hours, perfunctory or unpunctual execution of business, hurry and bustle, loitering and unreadiness–these, and such like, are the things that take the power from life, hinder holiness, and eat like a canker into our moral being.  Misuse of time makes success and progress an impossibility, either in things temporal or spiritual.
         “There needs not to be routine, but there must be regularity; there ought not to be mechanical stiffness, but there must be order; there may not be haste, but there must be no trifling with our own time or that of others.  ‘Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with they might’ (Ecclesiastes 9:10).  If the thing is worth doing at all, it is worth doing well; and, in little things as well as great, we must show that we are in earnest.  There must be no idling, but a girding up of the loins; a running the race with patience; the warring of a good warfare.  The call is to be ‘steadfast and … always abounding in the work of the Lord.’
         “The flowers are constant in their growing, the stars are constant in their courses; the rivers are constant in their flowing–they lose not time.  So must our life be, not one of fits, or starts, or random impulses, not one of levity or inconstancy, or fickle scheming, but steady and resolute.  We must be resolute men and women, those who know their earthly mission and have their eyes upon the heavenly goal.”  (They Walked With God)

    The days are certainly evil; it seems to lurk all around us.  It is something that we cannot escape, therefore, how much more should we be redeeming the time!  Instead we turn to entertainment, phones, video games, and other forms of frivolity.  Not that these are necessarily wrong, but in their use are we conscious of the time and the mission of our life?  Do they pull us away from time with God or time with family?  
    In closing this morning I urge you to take inventory of how your time is spent and I would have you remember the words of Paul in his letter to the Corinthians.  “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.” (1 Corinthains 15:58, NKJV)  Redeem the time, for these days are surely evil.

The Saga of Miles Forrest

We finished our pie and I noticed that Mr. Newsome enjoyed his.  I gave Molly a pat on the hand and stood up from the table.
“Why don’t you gentlemen join me in a trip to the bank so we can talk with the new president?  By the way, what’s his name?”
    Both Foster and Newsome got up.  “Thank you, Mrs. Forrest, for the delicious pie,” said Wilson with a smile.  Newsome just nodded and sort of gave a grunt.
    “R. Seymour Clevenger is his name,” offered Newsome.
    “Foreigner, ain’t he?” I inquired as we stepped out the door onto the boardwalk.
    “No, no, I think he’s from Philadelphia or maybe Boston,” came the retort from Newsome.
    Wilson gave a little laugh, as I stopped and turned toward Newsome.  “That’s what I said, foreigner.  This is the West and we don’t exactly do things the same way as they might be done in Boston.”
    Newsome caught on, and shook his head.
    Crossing the street I informed them that I needed to stop at the telegraph office before continuing.  Stan Offut had his back to us, filing some papers in slots over his desk.
    “Howdy Stan,” I said upon entering to get his attention.  “Anything for me?”
    He turned reaching out a hand to shake mine, then saw the two men with me and nodded at them.  “Sure do, Miles.  There’s a couple from Marshal Blasco from Denver.”
    Handing me the first telegram, he leaned over the counter trying to peer at the note.  I don’t know why, he had already read it so he knew what was in it.
    “Fooy robbed bank in La Junta–STOP–Reported seen in Pagosa–STOP–could be your man–STOP”
    “Looks like Olson may have been right; that gang may have been Sam Fooy’s gang,” I paused to look at the telegram again then at the two men.  “Makes me wonder how he knew it was Sam Fooy.”
    The second telegram stated that there was a big payroll going up to Silverton and I was to ride up with it.  
    We continued on our walk to the bank.  “Wilson, how did Olson come to be on the council?  He hasn’t been here that long and there’s other good men in town that could have filled that position.”
    “Uh, well, he sort of volunteered for the position, replied Foster.
    “And you and John just let him appoint himself,” I said with some disgust.  “The election for councilman is this fall, correct?”  They both nodded in agreement.  “Who else is runnin’ for that position?”
    “No one that we’ve heard of,” replied Newsome.
    We had arrived at the bank so we curtailed our talk as we went in.  Ooverholm was working as the teller.  I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t given the position as bank president.  He was vital in our investigation of Billingham and Douster.
    I nodded at him.  “We need to see Mr. Clevenger,” I informed him.
    “Let me finish with Mrs. Wentworth,” he replied.
    She was an older lady who owned a lady’s dress shop; made dresses herself and had factory-made dresses sent in as well.  She looked at us as she finished making her deposit.  I tipped my hat and that made her smile.  Funny, how a common courtesy can brighten someone’s day.
    Ooverhold went to the office door and knocked.  After knocking he opened the door and said, “Marshal Forrest is here to see you…”
    He was interrupted by an curse.  “Send that lazy marshal in here.  I have a few words for him!”
    “Gentlemen, after you,” I uttered, sending them in first to face the verbal wrath of Clevenger.  It brought the thought back to me, “a simple courtesy can brighten one’s day, but profane words can darken a day.”
    “Uh, well, greetings Mr. Foster, Mr. Newsome.  I wasn’t expecting you,” he muttered then I walked in.  “Marshal, uh, what can I do for you men?”
    “Mister Clevenger, I’m Miles Forrest and we’ve not formally met as of yet.  I was wondering,” I paused, “we were wondering what was taken in the holdup.”
    “Around $5000 in cash!” he exclaimed.
    “Around?  What does that mean?  I would think that you would know exactly how much was missing,” I implored.
    Newsome spoke up, “By all means!  Both Mr. Foster and I have money in the bank along with the other citizens of Durango.  Exactly how much is missing?”
    Ooverhold had been standing by the open door and interrupted.  “I think I can help here.  When I totaled the money after the holdup the take was $8050.”
    There was a gasp from Foster.  I barged into the conversation.  “My, that is somewhere around $5000.  Was the payroll for the mines taken?”
    “No,” muttered Clevenger in disgust.  “They are not going to use the bank.  The train is bringing it in and it will be loaded from one train to the Silverton trail.”
    The bank still had not regained a positive reputation from the fallout with Billington and Douster in their gold scheme.  I didn’t know Clevenger, but he seemed at the moment not to be in a bright light considering he didn’t know how much was stolen.  Or was there more to it.
    “Why aren’t you out looking for them?” wailed Clevenger.  “You’re the marshal.  Mister Olson was by earlier and we’re going to do something about your badge!”
    “Any securities or bonds missin’?” I asked.
    Clevenger’s face drew a blank look to which Ooverholm responded.  “No, just cash and gold.”
    “Could you describe any of the robbers?” I asked.
    There was a loud silence.  “Uh, no, I was in the office.”
    I looked over at Ooverholm…

Echoes From the Campfire

They knew that not all men are men of good will; they knew there was evil in the world, and stood strong against it.  They knew there were some who would take by force what they would not work to acquire.  They knew that outside their windows waited hunger, thirst, and cold; that beyond their doors were savage men, held in restraint only by a realization of another force ready to oppose them, to preserve the world they had built from savagery into order and peace, where each man might work and build and create without the threat of destruction.”
              –Louis L’Amour  (Reilly’s Luck)

    “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.”
              –Mark 7:21-22 (NKJV)
There should be a prayer within each of us for the Lord to search us and cleanse us.  There is evil all around, and if we are not careful we might stray into the crowd of evil men.  They seek to do you harm; you hate what they do, yet you found yourself in their midst–now what?

         “Search me, O God, and know my heart today;
          Try me, O Savior, know my thoughts, I pray.
          See if there be some wicked way in me;
          Cleanse me from every sin and set me free.”
                   –J. Edwin Orr

Let’s look this Monday, the first day of the work week; a week where I’m sure you’ll either confront evil or will see it in one form or another in the media.  Upon reading Psalm 26 (HCSB) it might be a good time to go back and read Psalm 1 and compare the two.

    1 – Vindicate me, Lord, because I have lived with integrity and have trusted in the Lord without wavering.
    2 – Test me, Lord, and try me; examine my heart and mind.
    3 – For Your faithful love is before my eyes, and I live by Your truth.
    4 – I do not sit with the worthless or associate with hypocrites.
    5 – I hate a crowd of evildoers, and I do not sit with the wicked.

    When our trust in the Lord is solid, then our integrity is also solid.  That’s why someone like Job could maintain he was a person of integrity.  David was a man of integrity, so much so that he was a man after God’s own heart.  How can this be?  All have sinned.  Yet there seems that people can still be a person of integrity.  Have you ever done something you hated?  Something that you might despise in others, yet you know you love the Lord and that you trust Him.  Ah, my friend, that’s where grace and mercy step in, plus the realization that God looks on the heart.
    These verses are pretty straightforward about with whom we should be associating and where we should be going–not with the wicked or to places of wickedness.  Yet, today many Christians gather is places of the world–there is no recoil from sin.  Many laugh and joke about sin, and even will go so far to say that because of Jesus we have freedom.  Never, do we have freedom to sin; it should cause us to have that sickening feeling in the pit of our stomach.  We have to live in the world, and mingle with the people of the world, but we are not to have fellowship with the world, nor put ourselves in a position where the world has the opportunity to lure us.
    When and how do we lose our integrity?  It is when we show a lack of trust in the Lord and in His word.  It is when we try to take ethical shortcuts to achieve goals.  It is when we have fellowship with the wrong type of people.  Oh, Lord help each of us to have a heart toward Him and seek to maintain our integrity.

         “Two things will always be bound together–love of God and recoil from sin.  There cannot be attachment without detachment.”
                   -W. Graham Scroggie

Coffee Percs

There was a pile of firewood beside the fireplace, a string of red chilis hung from a beam, and on the white ashes stood a black coffeepot and a slowly simmering iron kettle.”
              –Hal Borland  (When the Legends Die)

Come on in, Pard, an’ throw yur spurs under the table.  Easy now, don’t you be a-scratchin’ the dinin’ room floor.  I’ll be bringin’ the coffee right up.  My, oh my, the Lord shore has been givin’ us some grand mornin’s and beautiful days.  Hope’s it’s been that way over in yur neck of the woods.  Need some rain though, pretty dry.
    Ahhh, now that’s soothes all the way down to the gizzard!  Sure does help a troubled soul, or any soul that just wants some soothin’.  Pard, let me tell yuh this.  More and more, especially now that I’m gettin’ upwards in age, I see the truth of Jesus’ words that His pard Matthew writ down:  “For yuh have the poor with you always…”  I’m surely convinced that He wasn’t just a-talkin’ about those without money; I think He must have been talkin’ about those without sense as well.  Ha, pard, did yuh get the pun?
    Now, I’ve been told, and I’ve read, that it’s possible to be fixin’ ignorance, but stupidity is fatal.  Just read some of them Proverbs in the Bible.  The fool is done for–there ain’t no chance for him unless he forsakes his foolishness which most of the time ain’t likely.  That simple person, now he still has a chance for he can see the error of his ways if it’s pointed out to him.
    More coffee?  See, yur gizzard is soothin’ out already.  Back to my point:  the stupid person can’t or won’t see the error of his, excuse me, their ways.  This impeachment talk for one thing; my mercy, they don’t have a clue, and why do you think they are waitin’ until now?  Election time, keep things a-stirrin’.  
    But you and me know a secret that a stupid person, one of them fools, don’t understand.  Besides knowin’ what a good cup of coffee is, we have the Lord on our side, no matter what foolishness transpires up there with them bureaucrats.  Now that is a thought that’s soothin’ to the soul.
    You don’t get yurself all in a tither.  The Lord is on our side, or I mean to say we are on His side.  Now, that don’t mean we don’t take precautions.  Yuh don’t drink weak coffee, and yuh always check yur cinch.