Coffee Percs

How’s about some more coffee?  I sure like your make of it.  Strong enough to tan your boots!’  The ex-cow-camp cook brought up a cup and the pot to the table.  ‘I oughta know how a cowhand likes it,’ he said.  ‘I’ve made coffee enough to drown a thousand head of steers!’”  
              –Louis L’Amour  (“More Brains Than Bullets”)

ZING!  My mercy, Pard, it’s already over!  January, I mean.  Can yuh believe it?  Let’s lift our cups of hot coffee in tribute to what has been.  Wooeee and the things that have happened!  Thinkin’ ’bout such things, I’m sure glad I made the coffee plenty strong this mornin’.  
    This ol’ fence post might be a little shaky because of the years, but one thing for sure I have even common sense to see what is happenin’ in this country ain’t good.  That bureaucrat who is leading this country is leadin’ it right down the tubes.  He is fully behind globalism…hmmm, isn’t that what the Antichrist will do, have a global government?  I think he is quite power-hungry!  He has issued three times as many executive orders as Trump, Obama, Bush, and Clinton combined.  Whew, with that thought I need another cup of coffee.
    I don’t understand it all, Pard, not sure I want to, but this ol’ world is headin’ right where the Lord wants to be goin’.  People get the kind of government they want, or think they want.  Then we have this smart-alek, has-been who makes a flippant statement telling the workers who lost jobs on the first day of this administration that they can make solar panels.  Nice guy.
    Another cup?  I see yur’s is empty.  Let me tell yuh, Pard.  No matter what comes about, the Lord is still my provider, and I’ll think I’ll tag along with Him.  He knows every obstacle on the trail.  Better trust Him now, for He’ll be the one who’ll help yuh pass through that dark veil over the Great Divide, unless that trumpet sounds and He comes to take us home.  Talk about ZING!  It’ll be faster than that; faster even than us drinkin’ that pot down to the dregs.
    Yuh be watching for there are evil folks along the trail.  Keep yur eyes on the horizon and on that eastern sky.  Hmmm, I sorta think that the angelic wranglers may be checkin’ the cinch on those horses in the heavenly corral ’bout now.

Echoes From the Campfire

But one thing that I always got
    From every job I’ve done,
    Is do the best I can each day
    And try to make it fun.

        The boss expects a job well done
    From every man he’s hired.
    He’ll let you slide by once or twice,
    Then one day you’ll get fired.”
              –Red Steagall (“The Fence That Me and Shorty Built”)

       “You must be ready dressed and have your lamps alight, like men who wait to welcome their lord and master on his return from the wedding-feast, so that when he comes and knocks at the door, they may open it for him at once. Happy are the servants whom their lord finds on the alert when he arrives.”
              –Luke 12:35-37 (Phillips)
My mercy; it’s hard to believe that one month is already placed in the annals of history.  I could go on a political tirade here, but part of my responsibility is to remain sane, calm, cool, and collected.  But it does relate to what I want to say this morning.

         “Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.  Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.”
                   –1 Corinthians 4:1-2 (NKJV)

Some versions refer to “stewards” as “managers.”  I like the way that J.B. Phillips rendered verse 2, “And it is a prime requisite in a trustee that he should prove worthy of his trust.”  “Trustee” of what God has given us.  Jesus spoke of “stewards” in Matthew 24.  There is the parable of the faithful servant (steward) and the evil servant (steward)–24:45-51.  He continued the thought in Matthew 25, with the parable of the talents be given out to the servants (stewards).  They were expected to manage the house and the talents properly.
    I want to first mention the “mysteries of God.”  We are to be stewards of the mysteries of God.  That sounds somewhat scary–what are they?  I have thought about that phrase several times, and through reading and study I conclude that we are seeing the mysteries of God in action.  Men and women are walking aimlessly in this life, not knowing where to turn, and trying to come up with solutions to problems.  God has the answer and has given it to us.  His Son!  Mysteries are the essential truths; things undiscoverable by human intellect.  They come by the Holy Spirit when one accepts Jesus Christ as their Savior.
    Now to the main matter–stewards.  What actually is a steward?  We see the term “steward”, we see “manager” and “trustee.”  A steward was simply a person in charge of the household, or the estate.  That entailed caring for the estate, whatever that may be, and also seeing to the distribution of good according to the needs of those in the household.  Many ministers use this term in regard to tithing, but that is only part.  Being a good steward/manager/trustee is to follow the example in the Old Testament of tithing, but it is far more than that.  A steward manager/trustee recognizes that he is a servant thus he owns nothing of his own.  All belongs to the Master!  We give what He tells us to give.
    It is more than monetary giving, however.  How have you managed your time?  Of course, one-third of it is for sleeping, another third is for your job, but what of the other eight hours?  Your mind?  How is that used?  In other words, we are to be good stewards/managers/trustees of everything under our keeping, and yes, that includes money.
    The question is then how to be a good steward.  Did you fulfill your duties and responsibilities in the month of January?  If so, then you were a good steward.  Alan Redpath says that it is “for a man to turn his back deliberately upon all self-ambition and self-confidence, submitting to the sovereignty of Jesus Christ in his life.”  Realizing that you are not autonomous and will have to answer to the Master is part of being a good steward.  You are taking care of His, and with that remember that means that you must take care of yourself as well for you belong to Him.  
    A good steward/manager/trustee will then, will do the will of God.  My pastor, last week preached that it is doing your job, year after year, day after day.  He continued to say that in running the race, which is life itself, the track is not set by the runner.  Whatever course we find ourselves on we are to run it with perseverance.  We will stay on the prescribed course for to get off it would means disqualification.  Things, (i.e., the virus) will try to slow you down–run on.  Sin will try to get you off course–run on.  Weariness and fatigue may set in making you want to stop, maybe even quit–run on.  Run with endurance the race that God has for you personally.  Then when He returns He will see that you were a good steward and will say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant [steward/manager/trustee]: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matthew 25:21, NKJV)

Echoes From the Campfire

They had not yet discovered the impartiality of death.”
              –Louis L’Amour  (How the West Was Won)

    “O Death, where is your sting?  O Hades, where is your victory?”
              –1 Corinthians 15:55 (NKJV)
What can happen in a year, a day, a moment?  It only takes a second for an accident to happen.  We may be going along on our merry way, when suddenly disaster strikes.  Out of the shadows, the enemy lurks and then strikes.  Even when we are alert and wary sometimes things happen that we cannot foresee.
    It was a nice, cool evening, the type where a person can sit and watch a ballgame, or play in one.  I remember it well, I was 14 when a flash occurred.  It took less than a second, but lightning had hit.  I looked around and everyone, including myself was on the ground, knocked there by the impact of the lightning.  Another time, another ballgame, a line drive came my way while playing shortstop.  I had caught thousands of them before, but something happened–I didn’t catch the ball and it blasted me in the eye.  There was a day, I remember not so long ago, where I was sitting on the sofa at my daughter’s house when “WHAM!” out of nowhere something slammed into my chest–a heart attack.  None of these were planned, none were expected, but they happened all the same.
    Let me draw your attention to a story that happened from 2 Kings:

         “But the woman conceived, and bore a son when the appointed time had come, of which Elisha had told her.  And the child grew.  Now it happened one day that he went out to his father, to the reapers.  And he said to his father, ‘My head, my head!’  So he said to a servant, ‘Carry him to his mother.”  When he had taken him and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died.”
                   –2 Kings 4:17-20(NKJV)

A headache, being comforted by his mother, then death.  All within a morning.  It just happened.  No one was the cause, no one was to blame, but suddenly the mocker of life came and the child was dead.
    Life is frail, it lasts only so long.  Isaiah tells us that, “All flesh is grass…the grass withers…” (40:6-7)  Jesus makes a referral to the grass, “Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven…” (6:30, NKJV)  Things happen, accidents happen, life happens, and therefore, so does death.  Jesus tells us not to be concerned over such things for we have a heavenly Father who is watching over us.
    There is the story of the rich man, told by Jesus, who went about pulling down his old barns and replacing them with newer and better barns and he said, “there I will store all my crops and my goods.  And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.'” (Luke 12:18-19, NKJV)  Perhaps you recall the answer that was flung at him–“But God said to him, ‘Fool!  This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?'” (Luke 12:20, NKJV)
    James tells us that our life is only a “vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.  Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.'” (James 4:14-15, NKJV)  Alive in the morning, but death comes.  Are you prepared?  We are to walk warily through this world.  We are to be alert.  We ought to recognize the signs, obstacles, and pitfalls that may be before us.  Most of all we should have faith and trust in the Lord.
    There is a happy ending.  The boy, in 2 Kings, was placed on the bed of Elisha.  He then was able to raise the boy from the dead.  There is a happy ending, for if death does overtake any of us, and we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, we will be raised and found walking with Him in that heavenly city.

Echoes From the Campfire

There are too many folks who spend their time doing too much talking about things they don’t know anything about.  But they’re sure willing to let the world know its shortcomings.”
              –Lou Bradshaw  (Big Man’s Keeper)

    “Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him because we will see Him as He is.”
              –1 John 3:2 (HCSB)
         “And they said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.'”
                   –Acts 1:11 (NASB)

We live in strange, unique, and difficult times.  Therefore I ask, what is your view of the world?  What are your reactions to the things that are happening?  What are you expecting of life?  Ask these questions to anyone, Christians included, and you will quickly learn the depth of their Christianity and relationship with Christ.
    We may wonder why things are happening.  Why are there such fools that are definitely antichrist in their beliefs and actions in leadership positions in our country?  Why are their riots, thugs roaming the streets, and terror spilling forth into everyday life of the people?  If you know the Bible, that is readily and easily answered.  “The whole teaching of the Bible, from beginning to end, is that the trouble with men and women, with life and with history, is radical.  The real problem is sin.  Sin is something that does not merely affect the surface of life; it affects the very source.  And the result of all this is that the life of this world is under the control of sin, under the control of Satan.” (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones)
    There is a kingdom of light and a kingdom of darkness that are on this earth.  Both are working.  This is proclaimed throughout the Bible and Jesus spoke to it in John 8, saying that the Pharisees were of their father the devil. (John 8:44)
There is a clamor about a worldwide revival (not the term, revival).  Christ did not come to reclaim the world; He did not come to bring a worldwide revival.  He came to redeem the world, which He did at the cross.  That is the good news, accept Christ and believe for redemption has taken place.
    There is no hope for the world.  Sin is here and will remain until the new heavens and new earth are created.  Education programs will not help nor eradicate sin.  Housing programs will not help for they are like a bandaid placed on a sore that quickly falls off.  Food programs are good, but they will not stop sin.  Vaccines–ha, there is no vaccine against sin.  The only hope is to accept Jesus and be ready for Him when He comes or when you take your last breath.
    Too many people, including Christians, are looking for cures in the world while the world belongs to the devil.  The world is cloaked in sin.  We should be looking for the coming of the Lord while going about our daily duties for Him.  We should be “looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God…” (2 Peter 3:12, NKJV)
    I have borrowed many thoughts from D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, so let me leave you with the following words by him:

         “I suggest to you that, in the midst of the darkness and the confusion and the uncertainty of this modern world, if you want rest, if you want peace, if you want quietness of heart, you will not find it by trusting to ideas as to the reformation of this world, for these are all being falsified before your eyes.  No, you will find peace only there where you will find this assurance that whatever may happen to you in this world of time, nothing, nothing, shall be able to separate you from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord and the glory of being with Him for ever and ever.”