Echoes From the Campfire

Time was like a handful of water; no matter how tight you hold your fingers together, it soon slipped through and left you dry.”
              –Mike Roarke  (Silent Drums)

    “Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth.”
              –Proverbs 27:1 (NKJV)
Can you believe it, corona or not, that the year is half over?  I can imagine that for some of you the plans for year have gone askew.  Maybe a trip postponed, maybe an event not quite what you expected, maybe some things even cancelled.  Some of you are perhaps living in quandary and some in fear.  It can be easy for us to forget that we are walking on the road that the Lord has prepared; that we are on our way to heaven.  Don’t let fear and doubt assail you!  Look to the Lord.
    In saying that I happened to be looking at a book that I read many years ago by George Matheson.  I saw a thought based on words that the Holy Spirit gave to Peter.

         “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”
                   –2 Peter 3:8 (NKJV)

So this Friday, this last day of July, I want to share some of the thoughts about this verse from the pen of George Matheson.  The years of youth are exciting and full of energy.  Think of Peter bounding on the waves.  He wanted to build a tabernacle upon the mountain.  He said he would fight to the finish (and, indeed, he would, but it would be a different sort of fight).  Youth have a tendency to look at life with a telescope–“to see a thousand years as one day.”
    “The aim of youth was to diminish great things–to see a thousand years as one day.  But with age thee has come to him the other side of the picture–the magnifying of little things.  The microscope takes the place of the telescope.  He had begun by seeing big things as trifles; he ends by seeing trifles as big things.  To the eye of his youth a thousand years were as one day; to the eye of his age one day is as a thousand years.”
    “I should like my latest experience to be that of Peter–the experience of God’s microscope.  I need it in old age more than in youth.  In age I have the sense of wasted years and little time to retrieve them.  I am deterred from amendment by despair.  How can the short time at my command outweigh the long years I have squandered!  How grateful is the answer in God’s microscope–‘One day is as a thousand years!’  Thy Father says to thy soul: ‘I measure not thy path by length of time.  One day is My courts can retrace the steps of a thousand days outside My courts.  Hast thou pondered the meaning of the eleventh hour!  Hast thou considered the promise to the penitent, ‘To-day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise!’  Thinkest thou he got too generous measure!  He did not.  There was nothing pretermitted from his discipline; it was only compresses.  He saw the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time–not in their glory but in their unrighteousness.  There are for him and for thee moments of acceleration–times when I bind yesterday and to-day and to-morrow.  Say not it is too late to retrace so long a journey!  My Spirit has wings.  One day in My chariot can bring thee home–home to thy first purity.  Spring into My chariot, thou that hast wandered far astray!  Spring into My chariot, and I will bear thee back in a night–back to the child Jesus, back to the angels of Bethlehem, back to the shepherd’s song!  One hour with Me will redeem a thousand years.'”
    Did you catch that one phrase?  Look again, “I measure not thy path by length of time.”  Time!  Time that mysterious concept, and I won’t spend time philosophizing on it, but we get caught up in time–too early, too late, not enough…  We must remember that God is outside of time.  Your ten years might be the same as my seventy years.  It is sort of like the story that Jesus told of the workers.  Those hired the last hour of the day received the same wages as those hired to work the full day.
    Do what we are called to do this day.  This is the day that counts!  There may not be a tomorrow–do today!  The year is half gone, despite the situation do what you are called to do.  Do not delay…walk the path the Lord has for you and always remember that He is there with you.

Echoes From the Campfire

These were the simplest things in life, but none of them were free.  A man had to earn them by sweat and hunger and fatigue.  That was why they were good.”
              –Ernest Haycox  (The Border Legion)

    “For thus says, the Lord GOD: ‘Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.'”
              –Ezekiel 34:11 (NKJV)
I have seen an alarming trend happening in the past two to three decades, and that is the dwindling support of missions, especially foreign missions.  In the times in which we live it is vital to continue the outreach of missions.  My wife’s family has had missionaries, and my family has been a big supporter of missions.  I was raised in the Assemblies of God that has as one of its main purposes–missions.  I like the statement from their webpage regarding their purpose, “We exist so all can hear the hope of the gospel. Our commitment extends to all people in all nations, regardless of remoteness, rejection, or resistance.”
    The postmodern ideology is to deconstruct or tear-down ideas, language, religions, history, and among those included would be the purpose of missions.  And they have been successful.  People ages 18 – 35 say this concerning missions:  34% say it is unethical; 42% say it speaks of colonialism. (Barna)  What I see here are a couple of things:  first, the postmodernists have been successful; second, people have forgotten the last words of Jesus with the “Great Commission”; and third, people use it as an excuse to not be involved, to not see the individuals saved for the Lord.
    This group (18-35) call themselves “supportive skeptics.”  Now how about that for a name?  Here are a few of the things that characterize this group.  They may donate, but they don’t think missions work is very valuable.  Hmmm, are they doubting the words of Jesus?  Yes, for many of these same people doubt the authoritative word of God.  They are bothered by evangelism; yet that is the mission of the Church.

         “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.  Amen.”
               –Matthew 28:19-20 (NKJV)

    The times in which we live we are seeing the Scriptures come to pass right before our very eyes.  Can it be long before the Lord returns?  If so, how can we neglect the words of Jesus in regard to the Great Commission?  The day will come when the Father looks from heaven and sees that the last person who could be given the opportunity to accept the salvation provided through Jesus has been reached.  Then the Lord will return, but in the meantime we are to occupy and part of that occupation involves missions.
    Look at the Great Commission.  You should be involved in some part of it.  Everyone you come in contact with is somewhere along the road to eternity.  Our job is to plow, plant, cultivate, nurture, harvest, then care for by teaching and making disciples.  You may touch a person’s heart by a smile, or simply bowing your heads at a table in public.  You never know who is watching and you never know where they are along the road.
    I will admit, I have been poor in regards to evangelism.  In the Great Commission I have mostly been involved with making disciples.  I have planted (some), but mostly cultivated by fertilizing and pulling weeds.  My vocation was to teach what the Lord commands in His Word.
    If you think of missions as being unethical then you need to have a fresh encounter with the Holy Spirit, for the Lord does not wish to see anyone die without Jesus.  Colonialism–bah–you need to see what the purpose and true intent of missions is.  Have mistakes been made?  For sure, but the harvest has far surpassed the mistakes.  Colonialism is an excuse, nothing more nothing less!

Echoes From the Campfire

A chigger bite is triflin’, too, but after a while it itches where you’ve got to scratch it.”
              –Elmer Kelton (Texas Standoff)

    “Catch us the foxes, The little foxes that spoil the vines, For our vines have tender grapes.”
              –Song of Solomon 2:15(NKJV)
There were two times that stand out in my mind.  The first was a camping trip to Arkansas and Tennessee.  The first night we camped in Arkansas and I woke the next morning with my legs covered with chigger bites.  I had to spend the next week in the camp in Tennessee a’scratching.  The other time was when we were looking at land to build our house.  The grass and bushes were high and those pesky critters found me again.  They can sure cause and irritation and they are almost invisible.
    Now, I was not used to chiggers, we didn’t have them where I grew up in Colorado.  But once in a while on a trip to Oklahoma I would encounter them, but not to the extent of the two occasions mentioned above.  Of course, in Colorado we have those blood-sucking mosquitoes.  It wasn’t the bite that was the biggest irritation, but the buzzing of a swarm of them around my head while playing ball.
    My next encounter with little varmints was when I lived in Florida, then moved to Texas.  My, my they were aggressive and their bites could swell up a foot or joint.  I’m speaking of those horrid little fire ants.  I don’t mind an ant crawling on me, but those fire ants can’t crawl without taking a bite or more.  
    All three of those things are really nothing but a nuisance, unless you’re allergic to them.  They are irritating, and if you’re not careful they can get infected from all the scratching they cause a person to do.  You may say to yourself that you’re not going to scratch, but sooner or later they get so annoying that you just have to scratch that itch.  It brings relief–for a few seconds.
    Little things can bring great annoyance to our lives as well.  Sometimes we get impatient waiting in line for something.  A little thing like that can hinder our peace, and our blood pressure.  Why, it’s just a few minutes longer.
Perhaps you can recall the story of the young girl who claimed to be a princess.  How did they check out her story?  With a little pea.  They put it under her mattress at night and she tossed and turned because she could feel it.  Little things can bring a disturbance to our sleep and most of the time they don’t even come to pass.
    The little things are out there, you might not even see them, but the next morning you might find yourself itching and scratching.  Be aware of “little sins,” for they can cause a great deal of irritation.  They can spoil your day, your job, your relationships, and even your life.  Don’t worry about them, but understand they are out there.  They’re are kind of like those pesky parasites that get in your computer–viruses.  Hmmm, if I recall this whole “pandemic” is caused by a microscopic virus.  Something that can’t be seen and look at what it has done.

The Saga of Miles Forrest

Shaw headed toward a table then angled over to where we were gathered.  He stood beside the chair occupied by Rev. Chapman’s cousin, Clyde Hoffner.  He didn’t so much glance at any of the rest of us.
    “Stand up!” he ordered Clyde.
    Clyde glimpsed at Rev. Chapman, shrugged his shoulders and stood.  Shaw scrutinized him carefully, then asked, “Ever been to Kansas?”
    “Phftt,” muttered Clyde as he sat back down, “you can’t get to Colorado from the east without going through Kansas.  Now, what’s this all about?”
    In a flash Shaw had pulled his gun.  “Get up, you’re coming with me, Keim.”
    “Keim?” uttered Clyde with puzzlement on his face.  “What are you talking about?”
    “Cut out the nonsense, you’re Conrad Keim, and you’ll either get up or I’ll pull you out by your boots,” stated Shaw with a sneer.
    “Easy, easy,” I muttered, then Shaw pointed the gun in my direction.  I glared at him, “You best not point that gun at me.”
    This time he did sneer, “Why not?  You’re hiding a criminal.”
    He was beginning to agitate me.  “This is Clyde Hoffner, the Rev. Chapman’s cousin.  The Reverend is our new pastor.”
    “I don’t have much shuck to do with a preacher,” hissed Shaw.  “Now I won’t tell you again!”
    Reverend Robinson looked up at Shaw, “I don’t understand.  We can all vouch for Clyde.”
    Shaw snarled at him, “Shut up!”  When he did Rev. Chapman reached to clasp Shaw’s arm in a vice grip.  I knew the preacher had a grip when I shook hands with him at the office.  Shaw tried to turn his arm so he could point the gun at the preacher.  It was enough; I had the Greener up and under Shaw’s chin.
    “Now, then…I don’t take kindly to havin’ a gun pointed at me for no reason.  Plus, I don’t take kindly to you questionin’ the Reverend.  I don’t reckon you’re goin’ to apologize, but if I find you’ve shot this man or taken him I’ll hunt you down.  Understand?” I responded, then gave a slight grin.
    There was no response so I prodded upward against the underside of his chin with the shotgun.  “Understand?”
    “I understand,” he spat.
    “Now go sit!” I commanded.  Shaw went over to the table adjacent to us and against the wall.  
    He hadn’t no more sat down when in through the door walked Cecil Thompson, a cowboy I didn’t recognize, and his foreman, Conrad.  “Hmmm,” I murmured quietly.  “Lord, help us now.”
    Glancing at Shaw, I saw that he noticed the man as well.  If I remember the poster right, he fit the description of Conrad Keim much better than Clyde.
    “Don’t!” I ordered then got up from my chair and walked to the table that Thompson had chosen.  “Mind if I sit a minute?”
    After receiving the nod from Mr. Thompson, I sat.  “Mister Thompson, we may have gotten started off on the wrong foot, but I need to talk straight with your foreman.  You have a problem with that?”
    “Go ahead, Conrad will answer what he wants; he’s a growed man,” remarked Thompson.
    Turning my full attention to the foreman I came right out with it.  “Are you Conrad Keim?”
    His right cheek twitched and his blinked his eyes.  “Why do you want to know?”
    When I get an answer like that I know I’m on the right track.  “It don’t mean much to me, but there’s a fellow in town looking for a Conrad Keim who is wanted in Kansas.  I was just askin’ ’cause it’s my job to keep the peace in this town.”
    He scratched the back of his head, then looked at Thompson.  “I’m Keim, but I’m not wanted for anything by the state of Kansas.”
    “Poster I saw says different,” I stated.
    “Are you after me?” he questioned then continued.  “That poster was put out by the Langford family.  It’s not a state poster.”
    “Conrad’s a good man, one of the best I’ve ever employed,” Thompson interceded, “I don’t want to lose him.”
    I sighed, then stood up.  “Thanks,” I said, “Don’t get yourself in trouble by doin’ something rash.”
    As I turned I could see Shaw glaring at me.  I went straight for him…