Echoes From the Campfire

My mind was stewing over Conrad as I sat drinking coffee.  He was too young to be someone I knew from Texas.  Cheyenne maybe…
    “Marshal, yuh better come quick!” hollered Slim Wilkins bursting through the door of the diner.
    I had finished my supper and was drinking coffee waiting around for Molly and Marta to finish with the last of the customers and clean up.  Emelda had already gone home for the night; if anyone came in now wanting to eat they would have to eat what was left warming on the stove.  
    Holding my cup in my hand, I looked up at Slim.  “Why?  What’s goin’ on?”
    “Nick Parsons, just shot down a stranger over in the Dug Out and yur new deputy is goin’ ta git himself kilt!”
    “Simmer down, Slim.  Mateo can handle the situation,” I said, then thought to myself.  “He better.”
    Slim looked flustered when he came in now he was flabbergasted when I didn’t jump up.  “Aren’t yuh gonna go?” he said, the wrinkles in his forehead seem to fold over one another.
    “Tell you what, Slim.  As soon as I finish my coffee, I’ll head on down to the jail to meet him.”

    There had seemed to be some sort of altercation in the Dug Out Saloon.  It was at the end of the main road out of town, not one of the more popular or better dives in the town.  It seemed that this stranger had been steadily drinking and happened to bump into Parsons.  Parsons was a pretty good worker; he’d worked some in the mines, hired out to the ranches during roundups, worked the fields during harvest, but never really settled into something steady.
    There was a mean streak in him though.  If he had a few drinks in his system, it was likely to come out.  Usually nothing comes of it, but this time he had shot a man.  Mateo had been doing his rounds and was across the street when he heard the shot.  Running to the Dug Out he slowed as he came to the door, glanced inside before entering and saw Parsons with a gun in his hand and the stranger laying on the floor.
    “Mister Parsons, put the gun down,” ordered Mateo after he entered the saloon.  “You’re under arrest.”
    Parsons dropped his arm, but continued to hold the gun.  He slowly turned his head toward Mateo’s voice.
    “You!” commanded Mateo pointing out a man, “go get Doc Jones.”  Then to another sitting at a table closest to the fallen man.  “You! Check to see if he’s alive.”
    Mateo’s attention never wavered from Parsons as he gave the instruction.  “I said to put the gun down!” he said forcefully.
    Parson’s slowly moved a step toward the bar partially facing Mateo.  “No Mex deputy tells me what to do.”
    “Now you can drop your gun, or I can shoot you.  Your choice,” responded Mateo.
    “Nick, why don’t you just drop your gun and go along with the marshal,” suggested Kenner the bartender.
    “Last warning, I won’t speak again, and you can be lying next to the man you shot.”
    That brought a laugh and a grunt from Parsons.  “You’re not that fast.”
    “Try me,” answered Mateo.
    Maybe some of the whiskey was wearing off and he was sobering up.  He looked at the man laying on the floor, Blood now coming out from under him.  Through the door burst Doc Jones who immediately went to the man on the floor without a glance at Parsons or Mateo.
    Doc looked up, rubbed his whiskered face.  “Some of you guys get him over to my office, immediately!  There’s no time to lose if this man lives.”
    Parsons had uncocked his gun and now let it drop to the floor.  He looked at Mateo then nodded.

    I timed it just right for I met them coming down the boardwalk to the jail.  Nick was hanging his head.  “What’s the charge?” I asked.
    “Right now drunk and disorderly, plus attempted murder,” he paused then added, “possibly murder.”
    When Mateo said that, Nick Parsons jerked his head up, then let it slump again.  “Nick, why?”
    Mateo looked directly at me, his face solemn and firm.  “It’s the liquor.  It changes a man…”

Echoes From the Campfire

Look to the hills.  They are quiet.  The storms sweep over them and are gone, and most of man’s troubles pass the same way.  Whenever you feel that things are getting too much for you, go to the mountains or the desert—it smooths out the wrinkles in your mind.”
              –Louis L’Amour  (Brionne)

    “In that day the mountains will drip with sweet wine, and the hills will flow with milk. Water will fill the streambeds of Judah, and a fountain will burst forth from the Lord’s Temple, watering the arid valley of acacias.”
              –Joel 3:18 (NLT)
There is just something about being out in God’s Great Cathedral.  I know some refer to it as “Mother Nature,” but I never have.  It is the work of the word of God.  He speaks and the mountains were created.  He speaks and the sea began to roar.  He speaks and there is life.
    There can be a danger in nature.  No, I am not speaking of animals or pitfalls or obstacles.  Throughout time men have become so caught up in nature that they have begun to worship it.  The ancients did it, and there are millions today, New Agers or if you prefer, Cosmic Humanists, that worship God.  Some worship the object, some are pantheists.
    However, God uses nature to refresh our souls or to build our character or to find Him.  Moses spent years and years in the wilderness.  Jesus, after His baptism, was sent to the desert regions.  Spending several days along a high country mountain stream can bring refreshing; others like to be on a beach, alone and away from people.  God revives, God speaks, God show us who we are and Who He is.
    Look now at the second portion of Psalm 42.  When we ask or are asked, “Where is your God?”  Perhaps that is a sign that we should go to nature to spend some time with Him.

    6 – I am deeply depressed; therefore I remember You from the land of Jordan and the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.
    7 – Deep calls to deep in the roar of Your waterfalls; all Your breakers and Your billows have swept over me.
    8 – The Lord will send His faithful love by day; His song will be with me in the night—a prayer to the God of my life.
    9 – I will say to God, my rock, “Why have You forgotten me?  Why must I go about in sorrow because of the enemy’s oppression?”
   10 – My adversaries taunt me, as if crushing my bones, while all day long they say to me, “Where is your God?”
   11 – Why am I so depressed?  Why this turmoil within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him, my Savior and my God. (HCSB)

    Notice, verse 5 from last week’s study is the same as verse 11.  When the soul is distressed, when there are questions in life that is the time to remember to go to God and offer His praise.  It is not the mountain, or the canyons, or the waves of the sea breaking that will bring you out of your distress.  Your relief comes when you think of the greatness of the One who created the majesty that is seen in nature.  We should let the wonders of creation bring us back to God.  We need to get to Him, place our trust in Him, and then we will be more ready and able to face our trouble.
    One of my favorite quotations is the one I used above.  When in doubt, when faced with problems go to nature–it “will smooth out the wrinkles in your mind.”  You may not be able to get out, you may just have to sit on the back deck, or the patio, but get in touch and in tune with God.  That begins by praising Him.

           “Why restless, why cast down, my soul?
            Trust God, and thou shalt sing
            His praise again, and find him still
            Thy health’s eternal spring.”
                   –Nahum Tate and Nicholas Brady

Coffee Percs

My cup was still on the table.  Finding that there was still warm coffee in the pot I filled the cup.”
             –D.C. Adkisson  (Trouble at Gregory Gulch)

Didn’t mean to put a scare into yuh, Pard.  I was jist checkin’ the action of my shotgun.  Smooth, nice and smooth, jist like the coffee I make.  Say, why the grimace?  Yuh know my coffee’s the best in the county!  It’ll cure that riled up liver an’ soothe out yur irritated gizzard.  Guaranteed to put hair on yur chin.  Uh, but some have mentioned that yuh shouldn’t rub it in as it might take the hair off’n yur skin.  Ha, I remember one o’ boy said it tastes like somethin’ yu’d sit in to remove a tattoo.
    Well, I don’t rightly know ’bout that.  I’m a-thinkin’ it’s mighty tasty.  Why if’n some of those fools came an’ just a seat with us each Saturday we’d have them fixed right up about right an’ wrong.  For sure, my coffee would jist soothe out the peskiness in their soul.  I know, I know the good Lord done told us in His holy Word that yuh cayn’t argue with a fool, but if’n they would jist sit down, an’ take a few swallers of good strong coffee, maybe there’s still a chance for them to straighten out.  The good Lord knows that the stuff they’re a-drinkin’–cinos, latte, and the like–ain’t goin’ to do them no good.  Jist water down the flavor of good, strong, black coffee.  Why I’d might even consider lettin’ them take a dab of sugar or honey to stir in.
    Why’s the shotgun out?  Well, Pard, I’m jist fixin’ to be ready.  With stupidity and foolishness on the rise, I don’t want to be searchin’ for it should the need arise.  Folks out there don’t realize, in fact, I’ll tell yuh the straight truth, they don’t even want to hear, that the real problem lies within each person’s heart–that problem is sin.  But tell a fool that and they’ll jist mock yuh.  Sometimes I’d like to slap them silly, but some are beyond that.  Then I get to thinkin’, my mercy, they are playin’ with their eternal souls and don’t care a lick about it.
    I’ve gone on too long, but my mercy, we drank that whole pot.  Told yuh it was good stuff.  Wait a minute.  Are yuh foolin’ with me?  There’s some hair missin’ from the top of yur hand.  
    Yuh be travelin’ light, be alert like the Holy Writ commands, and check yur cinch if’n yur goin’ to be ridin’.
                             Vaya con Dios. 

Echoes From the Campfire

You’ve gone against your conscience and your God.  That’s a bad place to be holed up.”
              –Jim Burnett  (The Bible and the Badge)

    “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron.”
              –1 Timothy 4:1-2 (NKJV)
I’m tired of seeing the news.  I’m tired of the left-wing agenda of the media.  Hate the President, everything is racism, political correctness is a must, the attempt to rid this country of its history, the out and out looting and destruction that is taking place using a false view of the Constitution–I’m tired of it.  So today, I will borrow from the words of Charles Spurgeon.  
    I have been doing part of my morning devotions going through the Book of Matthew, reading the thoughts from some of our great Christian leaders of the past.  Yesterday was Charles H. Spurgeon and he wrote of Matthew 13:7,22.

         “Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants…the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.” (NIV)

         “In this case, the seed fell not only on the ground but also into it, so that it began to grow.  The stalk has struggled up through the thorns until you can see its head and are led to expect grain.  But go to that apparent grain–ear and feel it:  There is nothing in it.  You have all the makings of an ear of grain, but it will yield no grain.  The grain is so overshadowed with a thicket of thorns and is so choked that it comes to nothing.
         “Note well that thorns are natural to the soil and were already established there.  Any evil that hinders faith is natural to our fallen natures, and the roots of sin run throughout, grasping with marvelous tenacity.  They will not give way to the Holy Spirit or to the new life or to the influences of divine grace without a desperate struggle.  The roots of the thorns must first be uprooted; the great plow of conviction of sin must tear deep into the soul.  Plows that scratch the surface will never do.  Let God plow your soul so that His Word can be sown without thorns.
         “‘The worries of this life’ speak to those who are anxious and mistrustful about temporal things–whether it is to simply have enough to survive or how to get more.  It is not a care for God, but it is a care for some vanity or another, such as the ambition to keep up with your fellows, to be respectable, and to keep up appearances.  Take heed to anxiety; it will eat the heart out of your faith if you let it.
         “‘The deceitfulness of wealth’ speaks to those who have been charmed by the almighty dollar.  Riches are evermore deceitful, tricking people who hug them into loving them.  I would awake you to the fact that riches worm themselves into a man’s heart before he is well aware of it.
         “Take a good look at your spiritual life.  Thorns may not pull the seed up, but they can choke it to death.  It may be time to get out the plow and root out the thorns.”

    Watch out, therefore, for the thorns!  The evil in the world in which we live is seeking to choke out the truth, not only of God’s Word, but of the history of our country.