Echoes From the Campfire

Every man or woman who is genuinely American should read the signs of the times, realize the crisis, and meet it in an American way.  Otherwise we are done as a race.”
             –Zane Grey  (The Call of the Canyon)

    “You have shown Your people hard things; You have made us drink the wine of confusion.”
             –Psalm 60:3 (NKJV)
The year is coming to an end.  Many are ready to say goodbye to 2020, but I have a notion that it, or rather the things that happened in 2020 are going to leave us.  It is always good, at the end of the year, to look back, to reflect and to engage the lessons that should have been learned.
    There has been much discussion concerning the “pandemic” or the “virus.”  Some say it was from China (and maybe they are giggling at us), others say from the hand of God.  I want to say that I do not think this plague was sent by God.  Evil, death, confusion and chaos all come from the devil.  He did not create a virus, but he has been able to use it for his purposes.  However, in saying that, I believe that God takes what was meant for evil and uses it for good.  
    Even good Christians have been fretting, they have been filled with fear over the virus.  That is what the devil wants–fear.  He wants to destroy faith, he wants to disrupt the relationship with God, he delights in seeing believers go into a frenzy and even at times show hatred and bitterness.  In this year of the virus–Covid19–we should be looking at how we can come closer to the Lord.  How we can be more like Him, and walk in faith.  Not foolishness, but faith.  This has been an opportunity to study God’s Word more, to pray more, to meditate and contemplate upon His Word more not to let the devil stomp on us with glee.
    I sat out on the patio the other day, made a nice fire and began to think of the past year, but also began to think and plan for the coming year.  Of course, no one knows what will happen from day to day, but as I watched the flames twist and fight one another and heard the crackling of the fire I looked at the coming year, not with dread, but with knowing that God is in control.  As I watched the flames begin to dwindle into coals and ash, that’s the way I see the end of this year.  The moments of last year cannot be repeated and soon the year will be like my fire–ashes.  Oh, the memory of it is still there, and hopefully the knowledge of lessons learned, but nothing can be repeated.
    Our hearts and minds should not be troubled.  Dare to believe in God.  Realize the He is in control, even when the devil would try to destroy and bring mayhem and havoc upon the world.  Yes, the time of Jesus’ return is at hand, don’t let the devil steal that comfort from you.
    This is the last Echo for 2020.  I have been much in prayer for my writing in 2021.  I’ve asked the Holy Spirit to help guide my thoughts as to how someone may be encouraged, inspired, uplifted, comforted, and at times convicted by what I write.  These last days reflect on the Lord and what He has done in 2020, get out of a mullygrub or fretful state of mind.  Let the Holy Spirit renew your heart, mind, and soul and prepare it for 2021.

The Saga of Miles Forrest

We made it back late on Christmas Eve.  The weather was terrible, the snow way falling heavily, and if the wind had picked up we most likely would have found ourselves in a blizzard.  I dropped Charlie off at Doc Jones’ telling him that I’d put his horse up.  
    There had been little traffic in the streets because of the heavy snow, most folks were holed up at home in front of a cozy fire.  Charlie’s horse had wandered to the livery while we were in Rico, but the trip had worn him out.  Even Hawk was mostly worn out.  No lights were visible at the diner so I went to the livery.
    Ol’ Mose Vexler was some put out with me getting him out of his little room at the barn.  It wasn’t all that cold, upper twenties, most likely, but there was snow piled up and it took the two of us to push open the door.  If the snow kept falling it would be a job to shovel it away.
    After giving the horse over to Mose, I headed Hawk up to the cabin.  I put him in his stall, rubbed him down, making sure he was dry, and threw some grain into his trough.  I looked in for a few minutes to check on Star and Two-Bits.  They seemed to be all right and had some hay in the trough.  Moving it to the side, I added some grain; that should make them happy.
    Glancing up at the sky all I got was a face full of snow.  This was turning into quite the storm.  It was hard to trudge to the cabin, but I knew that Molly would have it warm and the coffee on waiting for me.  I was not disappointed.
    Molly was up before me the next morning.  She started a fire, and put on the coffee–she was a good woman!  “Where are you goin’?” I asked stumbling to put on my pants.
    “The diner; it’s Christmas.”
    She and Marta always opened the diner on Christmas to feed any poor soul who didn’t have a place to stay.  “No one will be out in this weather!” I exclaimed as I now tried to pull on my boots.
    She gave me a look; she didn’t have to say anything.  The diner would be open and that was that.  I was mostly dressed by now, “Let me grab a cup of coffee and I’ll go with you.”  I quickly gulped the coffee she had poured in the tin cup on the table.  “Let’s go.”
    Snow had piled up around the door, but I was able to push it so we could get out.  There to face us was at least two feet of snow and it was still coming down.  Now, however, there was a slight breeze which would result in drifting.  The snow came up past my knees and I really struggled the four blocks down to the diner.  The things I do.
    It was cold inside.  I went straight to the stove in the kitchen to get it fired up, then on into the eating area to light the stove that would serve to warm the customers, if there were any today.  Molly was back putting coffee on, and fixing the pot for the stove in the dining area.  
    I went back to fix some breakfast for us as she began making some stew.  It wouldn’t be much today, and I wondered if anyone would even show up.  Just as I threw some bacon in the skillet there was someone banging on the door.  The diner didn’t open for another hour.
    “Could you get that, Miles?”
    Leaving the bacon to sizzle, I went to the door.  Outside was Marta and Charlie.  “Charlie!  What in the world are you doin’ out of bed?” I said quite harshly.
    Marta sort of huffed as she went by me, saying something that sounded like, “Men!”
    Charlie looked pale and haggard.  He tried to give me a smile, but it was weak and forced.  “Any coffee?” he muttered.  We went over to my regular table, I poured each of us a cup of coffee while he took his seat.
    I had forgotten the bacon so I rushed toward the kitchen.  Marta was bringing out two plates of bacon with three eggs on each.  “Good thing we brought most of the eggs in,” she said, “The ones on the back porch are frozen.”
    It was easy to see that Charlie was weak and in pain.  He took his time feeding himself and I finally told him, “You should be in bed.”  To which I received a nod.
    “Need to see Doc Jones, and didn’t want to bother him early.  Figured I’d walk with Marta,” came his reply, then he added.  “I think I’ve got some infection.”
    The morning moved along slowly.  There were no customers until about ten o’clock, then some bedraggled out-of-work miners began to show up.  Marta and Molly filled plates with elk stew for them and gave them coffee wishing them a Merry Christmas.  It must have been toward noon when I noticed a man creep in.  He was bearded, with hair down on his shoulders, his hat pulled down tight.  He was wearing a sheep-skin coat and what got my attention was that he walked with a limp, sort of drug his foot.
    There was a quick glance from him before he sat down, his back to me.  It was then that I saw he wasn’t a miner for his pistol stuck out from underneath his coat, ready for use…

Echoes From the Campfire

False education, false standards, false environment had developed her into a woman who imagined she must feed her body on the milk and honey of indulgence.”
              –Zane Grey  (The Call of the Canyon)

       “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
              –Revelation 21:8 (NKJV)
Who or what can you trust these days?  It used to be thought that the major folks who lied were lawyers and used car salesmen.  Now there’s a slew of folks.  Can you trust the media to report the truth?  No.  There are few politicians, people in leadership that can be trusted, and they are the ones who are supposed to guide us.  Dare to trust a liar to guide you along the way?  No.  In fact, those people and their ally, the media, oppose truth-tellers.  Hmmm, take a look at what Jesus had to say.

         “Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me.”
              –John 8:43-45 (NKJV)

   Jesus said that there were those out there, in this case religious and political leaders, who were born of the devil.  He was a deceiver–a liar–from the beginning.  It started in the Garden when he lied to Adam and Eve and he has continued to do so since then and his followers go right along with him.  People do not want to believe the truth–they are fools.  Let me pass along to you some words from Joseph Parker who wrote about liars from Matthew 28:11-13.

         “The liar takes away the character of other men easily because he has first taken away his own.  He who familiarizes himself with suicide of a moral kind falls easily into murder of a moral nature.  Expect no justice from the liar.  Do not imagine that the liar will become a truthful man on purpose to serve your interests and to promote your good fortune and happy progress.  The liar will use you; the false man will tear down all that is sacred in your name, tender in your family, and holy in your household.  Falsehood is bad through and through; to it there is nothing sacred.  It owns no altar; it respects no oath; it abides by no sacramental bond.  It will drink to your health and stab you under the fifth rib; it will smile upon you and plunder not your property but your soul.  Do not therefore let us give way to the ever-damaging notion that a man may speak lies in one direction and be quite truthful in another.  No such anomalies exist in God’s moral creation.  He who can deliberately tell one lie will tell a thousand if he has anything to gain by the deluge of falsehood.”

    The devil is the father of lies.  Do not be deceived by him or his followers.  And who are they?  Liars.  Deceivers.  Those who do the devil’s bidding in destroying you.  They may do this to destroy for their gain.  They may do it to assassinate your character because of their agenda, bitterness, or hatred.
    Parker says that the liar has already committed “spiritual suicide” for he has killed his own moral character through his lies.  If that is true, why would he do less with you?   These people have hardened their hearts to the truth and unless they allow the Holy Spirit to bring Truth to them, and they accept it they are lost to believing the lies of “their father.”
    This person–the liar–is habitually evil.  Their insidious smile tries to fool you, but all the while they are working to destroy you, your family, your work.  They will speak partial truth, which then is in fact a lie.  They will use all means to promote themselves all the while lying while doing so.  
    Beware of such people.  Paul warns us to have nothing to do with darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14-16).  Do not call it your friend, do not follow in its footsteps, do not listen to its words.  “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14, NKJV).  If you think you can walk with the ungodly then you have already bought into their lies.  Stop, repent, and walk in the light of the Holy Spirit.

Coffee Percs

They sat quietly drinking their coffee and watching the light go from the sky.”
              –C. Wayne Winkle (Down the Long Trail)

Mornin’, Pard.  Yep, I’m a little late.  I was nice and cozy, and it’s cold outside, but then figured yuh might be ridin’ by.  Hope the coffee’s to yur likin’ this mornin’.  Say, do yuh realize that this is the last Saturday in 2020, that means the last Perc for the year as well.
    Take a deep sip, ahhh.  Now do I have a story to tell.  No, it’s not a story about the day after Christmas.  But, my, my, wasn’t yesterday wonderful?  We had a grand time.  Ol’ Santa didn’t stop by, but my family shore poured the gifts on this ol’ boy.  But back to my story.  It’s about trust.  How many people do yuh trust?  I mean trust with yur life or yur family?
    “Pepe Rodriguez was one outlaw who misplaced his trust.  He was one of the most notorious bank robbers in the old west.  He lived just across the border in Mexico, but he regularly crept into Texas towns to rob banks.  Then, he’d slip back into Mexico before the Texas Rangers could catch him.
     “In hot pursuit one day, the frustrated lawmen were so embarrassed they illegally crossed the border.  They finally cornered Pepe in a Mexican bar.  Unfortunately, Pepe couldn’t speak any English.  So, the Rangers asked the bartender to translate.  When the bartender explained in Spanish who the Texas Rangers were, Pepe began to shake in fear.  With guns drawn, the Rangers ordered the bartender to ask Pepe where he had hidden all the money he had stolen from the Texas banks.
    “Tell him if he doesn’t tell us where the money is right now, we’re going to gun him down on the spot!” they threated.
    “The bartender translated the message to the quivering outlaw.  Immediately, Pepe explained in Spanish that the money was hidden in the town well.  They could find the money by counting down seventeen stones from the handle and looking behind the seventeenth stone.  All the loot he had stolen was hidden there.
    “The bartender turned to the Rangers and said in perfect English, ‘Pepe is a very brave man.  He says you are a bunch of stinking pigs, and he is not afraid to die!'”

    So, Pard, who do yuh trust?  Yuh drank that coffee, so yuh must have had some trust in me.  Yuh sit in the saddle and ride, so yuh trust that cinch not to give.  Trust is a vital part of life.  Take some time to think about trust; make sure yur a trustworthy person.  Don’t be forgettin’ the great Friend.  He is closer than a brother.  He purchased us with a price, His own blood.  He is a Person yuh can trust.
      Vaya con Dios.