Echoes From the Campfire

Make every experience in your life count for good.”
              –Zane Grey  (Captive of the Desert)

    “You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
              –Luke 12:40 (NIV)
The first third of the year, that’s right, the year is one-third over, has been quite the different sort of a year than in the past.  For the first time baseball has been cancelled, at least until further notice.  Not even in the dark years of World War II was it cancelled, for it was considered “essential.”  The Houston Stock Show and Rodeo was cancelled, along with the Calgary Stampede and other rodeos.  NASCAR is not running in circles.  Meetings of any sort, in person, have for the most part been cancelled.  I don’t often do this, but I want to share with you something from Thomas a’Kempis.

         Each morning remember that you may not live until evening; and in the evening, do not presume to promise yourself another day.  Be ready at all times, and so live that death may never find you unprepared.  Many die suddenly and unexpectedly; for at an hour that we do not know the Son of Man will come.  When you last hour strikes, you will begin to think very differently of your past life, ad grieve deeply that you have been so careless and remiss.
         Happy and wise is he who endeavors to be during his life as he wishes to be found at his death.  For these things will afford us sure hope of a happy death; perfect contempt of the world; fervent desire to grow in holiness; love of discipline; the patience of penance; ready obedience; self-denial; the bearing of every trial for the love of Christ.  While you enjoy health, you can do much good; but when sickness comes, little can be done.  Few are made better by sickness, and those who make frequent pilgrimages seldom acquire holiness by so doing.
         Do not rely on friends and neighbors, and do not delay the salvation of your soul to some future date, for men will forget you sooner than you think.  It is better to make timely provision and to acquire merit in this life, than to depend upon the help of others.  And if you have no care for your own soul, who will have care for you in time to come?  The present time is most precious; now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation.  It is sad that you do not employ your time better, when you may win eternal life hereafter.  The time will come when you will long for one day or one hour in which to amend; and who knows whether it will be granted?

    Salvation is up to you!  That is one thing a friend or family member cannot do for you.  And as is so stated above–don’t put it off!  Now is the time to be born again; now is the time to be working for Christ, for one day, and you don’t know when, it will be too late.  One-third of the year gone, what have you done?  In quarantine for several weeks, are you practicing Christian disciplines?  Ahh, but here’s just as important a question, there may (or may not) be two-thirds of the year left, what will you do if it is given to you?  Back to the old ways, party-hardy, or give unto the Lord your time, energy, strength, and life?

Echoes From the Campfire

I have sometimes noticed that the people who preach peace so fervently are doing it from a comfortable place—often after a good meal.  It’s quite another thing when you face armed men in the night in a lonely place, men who have no standards beyond their own selfish interests.”
              –Louis L’Amour  (Callaghen)

    “Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, But righteousness delivers from death.”
              –Proverbs 11:4 (NASB)
Pandemic!  Ha, and that’s not to demean what is taking place.  In one sense of the word, it is a pandemic for the virus spread rapidly across the word and many died.  It does not come close to the 1918 influenza pandemic in which 40-80 million died.  I might also mention, one reason for the wide spread of 40 million is that no one really knows how many died in China; sounds strangely familiar.
    But folks, the world hasn’t seen nothing yet!  The Lamb, Jesus, is opening the Fourth Seal–the Pale Horse.  The COVID-19 epidemic will be like going to a Sunday School picnic compared to what is coming to the world.

         “When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, ‘Come’ I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.”
                    –Revelation 6:7-8 (NASB)

An “ashen horse” often translated as a “pale horse” and notice the name of its rider–Death.  The first time I saw the Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, and the dark riders appeared bring evil and darkness upon the earth I thought of Death riding the Pale Horse.  In my mind I see the Pale Horse as almost albino, a greenish color, the color of pus and infection.  Notice the wording, there may be an indication of a fifth horse ridden by Hades, or some translations, Hell.
    This will not be a happy time on earth.  There will be great travail and death will be rampant.  There are people today clamoring that the world must depopulate; well, they will get their wish for a fourth of the inhabitants of the earth will die in one way or another.  They will die from war, from famine, and from pestilence, and there is one added factor–wild beasts.
    No matter what apocalypse film you may have seen, it will not come close to depicting how horrible it will be for those who miss the Rapture.  Let me reiterate here that the Church has been removed; the “salt” that once flavored and seasoned the earth is no longer there.  Evil is now rampant.  God will not pour out His wrath on the “Bride.”  Look at what Paul wrote to the Thessalonians:

         “and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come….  For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
                     –1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9 (NASB)

Imagine people being torn apart and eaten by wild beasts on the streets of Chicago.  Imagine food shortages and a pandemic much worse than the coronavirus on the streets of Atlanta, or the nation’s capitol.  To get food a person will have to carry the “mark” of the Antichrist–the dreaded, and often mocked, “Mark of the Beast.”  It will be a terrible time, but yet, the worse is still to come.  That’s why now–today–is the day of salvation.  Wake up, for our redemption draws nigh.

The Saga of Miles Forrest

It was good to finally be back home.  It was past midnight when the train pulled into the station due to delays along the way.  I was hoping it would be in on time for I was aching to see Molly and it would have been nice for her to greet me at the station.  It was very disappointing when I arrived at the cabin to find that she was not there.  I began to think all sorts of thoughts, then looked by the coffeepot and seeing a note picked it up.
    “Staying with Marta, will explain when I see you.”
    The next morning I rushed down to the restaurant.  Bursting through the door, I startled Marta making her jump.  “Senor Miles!  Don’t do that!” then she called down coming to me.  “It’s sure good to have you back.”
    Then the voice I was longing to hear sounded from the kitchen.  “Miles.”  We hurried toward each other meeting in about the center of the eating area.  She threw herself in my arms.  Lifting her I twirled her around a couple of times before letting her down.
    After giving her a kiss, I smiled and asked, “Did you happen to make a pie for my homecomin’?”
    “I have so much to tell you, and all you can ask for is pie.  Let’s go sit,” she admonished.
    Heading for the table, I checked the pot sitting on the stove.  Cold.  I looked over at Molly with a frown.  What I received for my efforts was the shaking of her head, but then a smile crossed her face.  “Marta, will you bring some coffee and pie out, please?”
    Molly was giving me the once over.  Her eyes moving over my body.  “You look tired,” she finally said.  “No injuries?”
    My hand went to the back of my neck.  “Just a little singe, but nothing else,” I responded.
    She pulled my collar back to examine the crease the bullet had made which was already scabbing over.  “Oh, Miles, another inch,” she stated and left it at that.
    I shrugged, “Molly, we’ve been through all of this.”
    A grim look came across her face, then she took a sip of coffee and put those thoughts behind it.  “Is Marshal Blasco all right?”
    “He’ll be fine,” I replied then proceeded to tell her about what happened in Raton.  
    She was shaking her head.  “So much evil out there,” she replied in almost a whisper.  She put her hand on my arm.  “I’m glad there are good men like you to counter it.”
    Marta came by with a coffee refill.  “Have you told him about McCall?”
    Looking over at Molly, I asked, “What about McCall?”
    She was hesitant in answering, so Marta piped up.  “Go ahead, tell him!”
    “Tell me what?  Molly?”
    “It seems as if our wondrous town marshal has started an extortion racket.  He wanted twenty-five dollars a month for insurance payment,” she informed me then dropped her head.
    I was getting ready to ask her more when Charlie Gold stepped through the doorway.  He walked to the table, reached out his hand to shake mine.
    “What’s this I hear about McCall?” I asked looking at him then back at Molly.
    Marta was getting flustered.  “Go ahead, Molly.  Tell him the rest.”
    She lifted her eyes to meet mine.  “I pulled a gun on him.  Miles, I would have shot him.”
    “What?  Why?” I stammered.
    “He said he would take my payment in kisses.”
    He threw up his hands.  “Honest, Miles, I didn’t know until last night.”
    I stood up, grabbed the Greener.  “Let’s go!”  Charlie fell in behind me as we headed up the street.  “Where might he be?”
    “Most likely Olson’s saloon.  It’s sort of like his second office.”
    “Back me, Charlie,” I ordered, then stopped before entering to take the shells out of the shotgun.  
    Entering the saloon, I saw the bartender behind the bar, then Olson sitting at a back table with another man which I presumed was McCall.  As I started for them Olson almost fell trying to get out of his chair.
    “Extortion is against the law, McCall,” I stated.  “So you’re under arrest.”
    “And you are?” he inquired moving his hand toward his gun.  I cocked the Greener.
    “Deputy U.S. Marshal Miles Forrest,” I barked.  “Let’s go.”
    A smirk appeared on his face which made me want to slap the barrel of the Greener across it.  “That’s not a federal offense, why don’t you allow the sheriff to handle it?” he asked, then the smirk widened.  “Oh, Forrest, don’t believe every thing your wife tells you.”
    “I requested permission from Sheriff Gold to personally take you in.”
    The smirk turned into a sneer.  “Big man with a cocked 12-gauge.”
    Releasing the hammer I threw it to Olson then kicked the table as hard as I could.  The table slid catching McCall in the chest flipping over and causing him to fall over backward.  Rushing to him, I stepped on his hand as it was reaching to pull his pistol hearing the bones crack.
    Then came the sound, two hammers being pulled back on the Greener. I recognized it easily having heard it enough…

Echoes From the Campfire

We pay for what we take or get.”
              –Luke Short  (Brand of Empire)

    “He will pay them back for their sins and destroy them for their evil. The Lord our God will destroy them.”
              –Psalm 94:23(HCSB)
God made us in such a way that our spiritual well-being is closely connected to our emotional and physical well-being.  A person who is emotionally distressed can begin to have physical and spiritual problems.  A physical ailment or disease can definitely work on the emotions and cause one to doubt in their spirit.  The culture of today wants to downplay shame and guilt, yet it is through these that anguish of the soul comes and because of that repentance.  The person who does not feel shame cannot say they have sinned and thus repent.
    Let me interject a severe word of warning.  Sickness may come because of sin, however, remember Job.  To say that all sickness, and there are some out there, comes from a person’s sin can lead to despair and depression.  It may be an attack of the devil, it may come from natural causes, or in this case brought by David, it may be caused by sin.  Contemplate the words of this portion of Psalm 38.

    1 – Lord, do not punish me in Your anger or discipline me in Your wrath.
    2 – For Your arrows have sunk into me, and Your hand has pressed down on me.
    3 – There is no health in my body because of Your indignation; there is no strength in my bones because of my sin.
    4 – For my sins have flooded over my head; they are a burden too heavy for me to bear.
    5 – My wounds are foul and festering because of my foolishness.
    6 – I am bent over and brought low; all day long I go around in mourning.
    7 – For my loins are full of burning pain, and there is no health in my body.
    8 – I am faint and severely crushed; I groan because of the anguish of my heart.
    9 – Lord, my every desire is known to You; my sighing is not hidden from You.
   10 – My heart races, my strength leaves me, and even the light of my eyes has faded.
   11 – My loved ones and friends stand back from my affliction, and my relatives stand at a distance.
   12 – Those who seek my life set traps, and those who want to harm me threaten to destroy me; they plot treachery all day long. (HCSB)

    David is in anguish.  We are not sure of the cause but he is physically and emotionally in severe pain.  He is crushed and broken, but there is one very important fact that we must gain from this–David turned to God.  It seems as if this torment came because of sin in David’s life.  Many, in David’s situation, might get bitter, they might accuse God.  Remember, Job’s wife, “curse God and die”?  David knows that God sees him in his pain and torment.  A person of God always turns to God in the turmoil and suffering of life.
    Just a side note:  check out verses 11-12.  Does that sound like the virus we are facing today?  I can imagine our President relating to these verses.  In the midst of this “pandemic” some in Congress are blaming the President for the deaths caused by the virus.  Hatred has overcome common sense.
    We look out at the world around us and many are troubled.  They want peace, that is peace down in their soul.  It is always a good time to do a personal inventory.  If we have offended the Lord, we need to recognize it and repent.

         “O my offended Lord,
          Restore my inward peace.
          I know that you can; pronounce the word,
          And bid the tempest cease.”
                   –Charles Wesley