Coffee Percs

They sat at the hardwood kitchen table drinking coffee from blue tin cups, talking until dawn.”
              –Stephen Bly  (Stay Away From That City)

Mornin’ to yuh, Pard.  Shake the dust off yur boots, the floors been mopped.  My goodness, look at the calendar.  Not the picture, but the date.  The last day of August.  This year is shore flyin’ by fast.  We’re on the downhill slope now, why in a few days it’ll be fall.  Maybe already is at our house.  Did yuh notice all the leaves layin’ on the ground?  Shore need some rain but not like that one that Florida is goin’ to get.
    What are yuh doin’ lookin’ at that phone?  Calendar?  You have a calendar on yur phone?  My, does it lie like those weather things on the phone?  I means they are complete liars, so figure that the calendar might be lyin’ as well.  Maybe it isn’t really Saturday.  Ever think of that?  Maybe it isn’t really August 31 and that we have everything all mixed and messed up.  I know that the media will try and get yuh to believe almost anything, so why not one of those high-flautin’ phones?
    Whooeee, what is truth anymore?  They’re callin’ it “fake news,” guess they’re just afraid to say the word “lies.”  One thing for sure, that coffee is downright good, and that’s no lie.  It makes the ol’ gizzard light up and say howdy-do, this mornin’.  But, silliness aside, Pard, yuh be careful.  The world belongs to the “father of lies,” and it’ll do anything to make yuh stumble.  Why I heard an ol’ boy tell another to go ahead and ride across that river, bottom is solid.  My mercy, he got only a few yards out and hit quicksand.  Well, that’s the way it is out there anymore.  On the surface things might look bright and be filled with laughter and gaiety, but underneath it’ll suck you right under.  So yuh be testin’ the water first, and also be mindful of who yur listenin’ to.
    I can relate to ol’ Stephen Bly.  Why I can remember family and friends comin’ over an’ we’d sit and talk and when I was younger I’d just listen.  A person can learn quite a bit if he just sips his coffee and listens, especially to older folk.  Them times are close to bein’ gone now.  Too much other stuff, “liars”,” to listen to rather than to sit and talk about good times with the family or friends.
    Well, you listen to this!  The trail might look good, and it may be the one yuh have to take to get where yur goin’, but don’t yuh dare travel it until yuh first checked yur cinch.

Echoes From the Campfire

There is a weariness of the flesh, and that can be borne.  Beyond that is a weariness of the bone, far harder to abide, but possible.  But the final weariness, of the nerves and brain, when a man may at any moment pitch unconscious from the saddle, is the worst and most unendurable torment.”
              –Paul I. Wellman  (The Comancheros)

       “For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.”
              –Hebrews 12:3 (NKJV)
I had a couple of dogs once.  They were good dogs, when they came into the house, which was seldom, they would not leave the rug that was by the door.  However, they had one major problem–digging.  They were constantly digging up the yard, especially under the fence where they would get out and run. It cost one of them its life for someone shot it.  I finally had to get rid of the other dog.  What a mess they would make.
    Now there is a time to be digging holes and ditches.  There is a purpose in doing it; I’ve dug plenty in my time.  In fact, one summer I worked for a landscaper and it was my primary job to dig ditches.  We put in sprinkler systems, planted trees and shrubs, dug out other trees and shrubs.  It was a summer of digging.  But always with a purpose.
    Throughout the years I have noticed that many people, and I’ve done it myself, have dug ditches, trenches, and holes for themselves.  Sometimes I look and it seems as if they are trying to dig clear through the earth to China.  We dig ourselves into a hole, some of them so deep that we can’t climb out.  Then were are forced to sleep in that ditch.  (Maybe this don’t fit here, but it’s good to ponder:  someone once told me that a rut was simply a grave with both ends cut out).  
    We make mistakes, we find ourselves in a ditch, and instead of owning up or climbing out, we just keep on digging.  The ditch gets longer and deeper, and before too long we find we can’t climb out.  Then instead of working our way out, we sit down, grab our knees and begin a pity party that often leads to the deeper ditch of depression.  The thought comes to our mind, “you made your bed, now sleep in it.”  This becomes our motto, our creed for living.  That thought becomes embedded in our minds and we continually go on digging and digging and living with our mistakes.
    Hold on!  Don’t get me wrong.  We are responsible for our actions; we are accountable for our digging.  But there is another factor that we often forget about.  Even with the consequences of our mistakes Jesus is there reaching down to help pull us out of the ditch.  Our “ditch-digging” doesn’t have to haunt us the rest of our life, affecting our attitudes and lives.  Jesus promises a fresh start and He’ll even help wipe the dirt and mud off that has clung to our clothes.  
    Listen, I know, sometimes the ditch becomes too deep and when we look up all we can see is sky, and then we hope it doesn’t rain so far our ditch doesn’t become filled with mud.  Look closer and see that hand that is reaching for you.  We can’t get out, but if we grasp the hand of the Lord he can lift us up.  It reminds me of the words of the old hymn, “He brought me out of the miry clay….”  And those mistakes of the past; He can even use them and turn them into something good.

Echoes From the Campfire

The Lord never gives us a job to do without He gives us the strength to carry it out.”
              –Elmer Kelton  (The Buckskin Line)

    “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
              –2 Timothy 1:6-7 (NKJV)
There is a Scripture that should sober us; it should give us cause to tremble.  

         “You are the salt of the earth.  But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty?  It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled on by men.”
                   –Matthew 5:13(HCSB)

Just how salty are you?  How salty is the church today?  Has it become so complacent, has it so compromised that it is no longer recognizable as being different from the world?  Does it seem that man is trying to trample the church down into the dust?  If so, they wake up!
    I guess it is true–things do not change.  If you read of the apostasy of Israel then compare it to the apostasy that is taking place in the church today there is little difference.  An apostate does not fall into sin, they throw themselves into it.  They become blatant.  Have we changed our God for the gods of the secular humanist or the cosmic humanist?

         “‘Has a nation changed its gods, Which are not gods?  But My people have changed their Glory For what does not profit.  Be astonished, O heavens, at this, And be horribly afraid; Be very desolate,’ says the Lord.”
                   –Jeremiah 2:11-12(NKJV)

God tells those in heaven to be shocked at what is taking place.  When man calls good evil and evil good it is time to be shocked.  It is time to stand up and be salty instead of joining in with the cultural relativism of the day.
    It is important to understand, realize, and grasp that worship is a lifestyle.  There is not a “time of worship” on Sunday morning in church, but worship is your life and its relationship to God.  Know this–you worship your God/god by behaving as He does.  Hmmm, does your life then show signs of pagan worship, or the very least of tolerating it?
    Part of losing one’s saltiness if not necessarily not “worshipping” God, but worshipping Him in the wrong manner.  The people of Israel never forgot Yahweh, but they borrowed rites, practices, and idols of the pagans and brought them into their worship.  They began to tolerate what God said to destroy.  They began to accept what God said to hate.  They compromised when God called them to wholehearted obedience.  Instead of being controlled by the truth of Scriptures, they were controlled by their opinions and impulses of their sinful natures and those around them.
    Notice, at the beginning I did not ask how salty the Church (capital C) was.  For the true, living Church, the body of Christ will remain true no matter what culture and society thinks or says.  The true Church will not cave in to compromise and bow down to the false teachings of political correctness.  Jesus said, “I am the truth…” and the true believer in the Church of living God will continue to say, “thus saith the Lord”!

Echoes From the Campfire

Pray for me with your eyes to the mighty hills, and in the quiet of evening when all Nature is listening.”
                –Zane Grey  (Captive of the Desert)

    “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
                –Revelation 21:27 (NIV)
I was relaxing on the couch, debating whether or not to take a nap or read, when Alexa (yes, to my shame, we own one of those contraptions–I know it is spying on us) began to play Floyd Cramer came on and in his famous style played “Beautiful Isle of Somewhere.”  Now, few of you know Floyd Cramer, and fewer yet know “Beautiful Isle of Somewhere,” (hmmm, but all of you know Alexa) but I started humming and the words, at least of the first verse and chorus came back.  This was not a hymn we sang in church, but it must have been popular at one time for it was sung at President William McKinley’s funeral.
    There are days, in fact, there are seasons when life might not seem to be going your way.  There are times when the blues hit you, but that is when you need to rejoice and praise the Lord all the more.  Just look at that first verse, God lives–Jesus rose from the grave, the tomb is empty–therefore, all is well!  You may go outside, and the day is overcast and dreary and all you hear is the sound of crows cawing, but, somewhere there are songbirds and somewhere the sun is shining–rejoice, your day is coming.

         “Somewhere the sun is shining,
          Somewhere the songbirds dwell;
          Hush, the, thy sad repining,
          God lives, and all is well.”
                  –Jessie Brown Pounds

    I don’t know much about this hymn or the lady that wrote it.  I do know that she was in poor health and eventually married a pastor.  She wrote several books during her lifetime and four hundred hymns.  She maybe felt that her illness would do her in, and felt at times it was overwhelming, I don’t know, but from the words of this hymn, I do know that she saw the future.  Ahead, somewhere, victory was there, the prize would be won, the task would be over.

         “Somewhere the day is longer,
          Somewhere the task is done;
          Somewhere the heart is stronger,
          Somewhere the prize is won.”

    There is that day when the cares and burden of the world will be lifted.  We do not like to think of death, but on that day when a person moves from this world into glory they will see the angels waiting along with their risen Lord.  My Pastor, last week in his sermon made a comment (he said it was not originally his) but it surely fits in here.  If a person has chosen hell to be their destiny then their life on earth is as close to heaven as they’ll ever be, conversely, if a person has been born again by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, then life on this earth is as close to hell as they’ll ever be.  Let that sink in and rest assured, we have glory that awaits us and a life that is anew for eternity.

         “Somewhere the load is lifted,
          Close by an open gate;
          Somewhere the clouds are rifted,
          Somewhere the angels wait.

                 Somewhere, somewhere,
                 Beautiful Isle of Somewhere!
                 Land of the true, where we live anew,
                 Beautiful Isle of Somewhere!”