Coffee Percs

This coffee ain’t for newborns, son. It’ll either kill you or make a man of you. Help yourself.”

                         –Reg Quist  (Mac’s Way)
Come on in, Pard, we’ll celebrate the end of the month together with a cup of hot brew.  I think this is so hot it’ll burn the hair right of’n yur tongue, so be careful, sip it lightly.
Ahhh, hearty enough for yuh this mornin’?
       I guess they’re goin’ to do it–forgive some of the Snowflakes and Twinkies school loan debt.  Now, that just ain’t right on several accounts.  For one thing who is goin’ to pay for it?  Someone has to, and I reckon those politickin’s are goin’ to raise taxes to do it.  Not right for the common, every day worker to pay for the college education of someone who is a bum.  Yuh take out a loan, yuh pay it back, that’s just right.  Another reason an’ maybe the most important is that they’re bein’ taught to be a bum.  No obligations, no responsiblity, no accountability.   They’ll think life is just a tip-toe through the tulips.  No wonder they panic, fear and fret.
      The coffee’s good this mornin’, or maybe the ol’ gizzard just enjoys it.  Say, I’ve been ponderin’, yeah, I know it’s dangerous for an ol’ fence post like me to ponder too much.  It’s enough to ponder which leg to put in my britches in the mornin’.  But I’m gonna let it fly.  I’m certainly not a globalist or universalist (how ’bout those big words?), but I do know for a fact that all roads and paths lead to God.  Whether Muslim, Buddhist, Christian or whatever other thing a person will believe it’ll eventually get them to God.  Now, pause and think on that whilst I pour another cup.
       The Christian will stand before God, in devote humbleness, and praise Him for His mercy and grace.  All those other folk are gonna stand before Him too, but they will only see Him as a fearful Judge who had offered His Son and they refused to accept Him.  All will stand before God.  A person will stand before God washed in the blood of Jesus Christ or they’ll be shown the folly of their ways and sent to the Lake of Fire.  So, all roads do lead to God.
       See, I wasn’t foolin’ yuh.  Sure hope yuh enjoyed the coffee, I’ll try an’ remember to wash it out ‘fore next week.  Sure don’t want any of yur slurps left in it in case someone else comes by before Saturday.  Yuh be havin’ a good week as we move into May and no matter what road yur travelin’ this week, check that cinch before yuh mount.
       Vaya con Dios.


Echoes From the Campfire

But wastefulness bothers me. Most things don’t come easy out here, have to be worked hard for. Earned. Therefore Western folks tend to be satisfied with simple pleasures, tend to treasure and take good care of whatever they’re lucky enough to have. But the buffalo were already here, like a gift for the askin’. I guess what saddens me is the way that gift has been squandered.”
                    –Wayne D. Dundee (Dismal River)

        “…The Lord has brought charges against you, saying:  ‘There is no faithfulness, no kindness, no knowledge of God in your land…  That is why your land is in mourning,
 and everyone is wasting away.  Even the wild animals, the birds of the sky, and the fish of the sea are disappearing.'”

                    –Hosea 4:1, 3 (NLT)
                         “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, The world, and those who live in it.”
                                        –Psalm 24:1 (NASB)

     I think that oftentimes we forget the Creator.  We might at times, in the right place, become awed with the splendor of nature.  I remember going to the Grand Canyon and it was awesome.  (I hesitate to use that word, since so many things are called “awesome”).  But the Grand Canyon truly was an awesome sight.  Only God could create something like that.  I have stood on mountain vistas and viewed the valleys below–God is an awesome Creator.  There are many other sights that could be mentioned and when we see those is when we think of the earth and the Creator.  
     However, it should be in our minds much of the time for we are to be stewards or caretakers of it.  We have been appointed to take care of His possessions as they have been entrusted to us.  Often we have not done a very good job of being good stewards and the earth is groaning under our care.  It will take the Master caretaker to come back to remedy its pains.  Bernard Brady said, “The vast resources of the earth can provide for all its inhabitants, or they can be greedily swallowed up or poisoned by a few without regard for the impact of their actions.”  Now, don’t be alarmed–I am not a preservationist, but rather a conservationist.  We are to care, nourish, and use the resources that God has given to us.  We are not to foolishly destroy, nor are we to foolishly just let nature take its course.  There is a balance that we must guard as caretakers.  There is a right relationship with the Creator, His creation, and our position as stewards.
     But ponder a minute, if you will, the idea of being a caretaker.  What is God’s most prized possession?  Why did He send His Son as the supreme sacrifice?  It was not for nature.  It was not for the whales or the penguins or the seals or some toad.  He sent His Son to redeem mankind.  Man has been a poor caretaker of God’s prize possession–himself.  He has done more damage to his eternal soul on the same level and more than he had done to nature.
     If we truly believe that we are the Temple of the Holy Spirit then why don’t we treat ourselves as such?  This temple is all encompassing:  body, soul, spirit.  We are to be caretakers of our emotions, our mental state, our physical bodies, and especially our spirit that has now been born-again.  Are we poisoning it by indulging in the things of the world?  We need to be conscious of the things around us and how they affect the “Temple”.  Do you look like the Temple of the Most Holy?  Hmmm…  Be a good steward of the person that God meant for you to be.


Echoes From the Campfire

I’m not going to let worry…rule my life. It seems to me that if a man is going to get anywhere in this life, he’d better start for somewhere, and have something definite in mind.”
                    –Louis L’Amour  (Chancy)

       “Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city.”
                    –Proverbs 16:32(NLT)
How to Live in a Pagan, Apostate, and Foolish World

Key Verse:  “We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”  –1 John 5:19 (NASB)

I want to reemphasize the importance of this verse.  We are the children of God if we believe in Jesus Christ, Him crucified, risen, and coming again, and that He is the Son of God.  God is our Father, we are His children and He treats us as such.  Second, the world is under the control of the devil.  Understand that each of us as believers belong to God, yet this world we live in is evil and under the devil’s power.
       That brings me to the next few lessons that I want for us to look at.  Jude is strategically located just before the Book of Revelation.  Jude informs us about life now, in the present and sets the stage for the days in the future that are revealed in Revelation.
       Jude is the half-brother of Jesus, yet he calls himself a slave of Jesus Christ.  Most versions use the term “servant” but that really is too soft a term.  He could have claimed to be the half-brother, but instead calls himself a servant/bond-servant/slave.  He was “called”, not only as a leader in the early church, but as a witness to us.  Never forget that each of us are “called” as well.  All believers are called to an office, to a duty, to a responsibility.  Barclay says, “The calling of God is the privilege, the challenge and the inspiration of the Christian life.”  All believers are called to a task, to be a witness, and to work for the Lord in whatever capacity they find themselves.
       Verse 1 implies that we do not have to fear as we walk this journey of life.  We are “sanctified by God…preserved in Jesus Christ.”  I like that the NKJV version uses the term “preserved.”  He keeps us, we are His, therefore we have confidence as we walk through life.  The NIV Study Bible states, “He who holds the whole universe together will see that God’s children are kept in the faith and that they reach their eternal inheritance.”
       Sometimes when we read a verse we sort of skim over it not really looking at the meaning.  Verse 2, “Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.” (NKJV)  These are three things that those in the world are crying for and seeking, but they are ours as Christians.  “Mercy is His compassion, peace is His gift of quiet confidence in the work of Jesus, and love is His generosity in granting us His favors and meeting our needs.” (Edwin A. Blum)  We can rest in the assurance that the Father and our Savior are taking care of us through the work of the Holy Spirit.   This is how we face the world.


Echoes From the Campfire

We do not always get to choose our future, and cannot, in any way, change a day of our past.”
                         –J.V. James  (Old)
        “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
                         –Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)
I was getting ready for church this past Sunday when I heard a relatively old song.  It made me take time to pause for a moment and ponder briefly the words.  We have come recently through the Easter season and all its meaning and ramifications.  However, we cannot grasp the whole.  The same is true for the Incarnation.  We believe, but we cannot fully grasp.  Death, we do not really understand it.  We know it happens but how does one pass through the veil?  Let’s take time to contemplate this song by Stuart Hamblen.

               Known only to Him are the great hidden secrets,
               I’ll fear not the darkness when my flame shall dim.
               I know not what the future holds, but I know who holds the future,
               It’s a secret known only to Him.

Because of Christ, we do not fear when our time comes.  We do not fear what tomorrow might bring.  There is a characteristic of God, mysterious, unknowing, but comforting–His omnipresence and omniscience.  He is already in tomorrow and will guide us into it, so we do not have to fear.  It’s a secret to us, but not to Him.
       We don’t understand why we have problems.  Why does this person seem to go through life without any seeming worries, while you face sickness and suffering all the time?  I don’t understand and neither do you.  Job didn’t understand what was going on in the spiritual realm between God and Satan.  But through it all, God is with us and promises to take care of us.

               In this world of fear and doubt on my knees I ask the question,
               Why a lonely, heavy cross I must bear?
               Then He tells me in my prayer, it’s because I am trustworthy,
               He gives me strength for more than my share.

       We are told to pick up our cross and follow Him.  Your cross is different from mine, yet we are told to pick it up.  It seems that we think often, “why?” but we do not consider other alternatives, such as Job.  Perhaps you have that cross that is so heavy to bear because He trusts you to carry it.  He has found you trustworthy here, in the present–today.  He’ll give you and me the strength to bear what He has allowed to come our way.
       Don’t let the devil trick you into wondering why?  He is a deceiver and he’ll get to you thinking of the “whys of life” rather than focusing on the Who of life.  God knows each of us; He knows each step we’ll take.  He is there through every trial, every temptation, every pain and heartache.  He knows!  We don’t know the secrets of the universe, but we know Who is the Creator.  Trust Him, obey Him, and go through life knowing that thought, we do not know the future–He does.