The Saga of Miles Forrest

We’ve got these Regulators broken up.  Most of them have scattered from Lincoln County but are hiding out somewhere in New Mexico.  I want them found,” trumpeted the normally cool Felix Wilcox.
       I had gotten off the train and went immediately to see Marshal Wilcox.  Blasco told me that he needed my help, but I didn’t know why.  I know that he had a large territory to control with New Mexico and Arizona and outlaws tended to drift to these territories.  I also knew of the Lincoln County War and since New Mexico was still a territory, that the marshal’s office was involved.
       “There’s a new sheriff in Lincoln County, Pat Garret by name, and he is doing a good job of cleaning up the place.  He told me that the state of this territory has attracted the lawless element to it from the other states around it.  These people feel safe as long as all our attention is upon Lincoln County and Billy Bonney,” continued Wilcox.  “I asked that Jens send you down to help on the fringe areas.”
        I listened with interest.  I had heard of Billy the Kid and knew of some of the issues behind the Lincoln County War.  It normally would have been a state matter, but since New Mexico was still a territory the U.S. Marshal’s office became involved.  The main problem being is that Wilcox only had a dozen deputies under him and some of them were in Arizona.  Upon hearing his story I was surprised that I hadn’t been summoned earlier since I was a “deputy at-large.”
       Wilcox was a short, stocky man.  No fat on him by any means, but he gave that appearance.  He was built more like a brick, was clean-shaven except for the finger moustache that he sported.  He had dark hair that he kept well-groomed and slicked down.  Walking over to a map, he started to point at it.  “Most of the Kid’s gang have left him or been killed.  Rudabaugh and J.J. Webb are still at large and seem to have left the area.”
       Now he pointed to the map.  I wasn’t real familiar with New Mexico.  I had helped up in Raton and was familiar with the northwest corner but the rest of the territory was pretty much unknown to me.  I was glad for the map.  “There’s an outlaw, name of Franklin Moore working up near Las Vegas.  I have Fred Martin working in that area; we know the Kid has been seen there.  Miles, I want you to go down here to Socorro.  There’s been some general havoc there, and the name Grady Stinson has come to our attention.”
       “Who is the local sheriff?” I asked.  
       “Sheriff is Tony Vasquez, but don’t expect any help from him,” reported Wilcox.  “From what I’ve heard, he allows the lawless element to roam freely as long as they don’t harm the citizens or businesses of Socorro.”
       We stood looking at each other for a moment.  “I don’t know much about Stinson, I don’t know how big a man he is, whether or not Vasquez could stop him if he tried,” he stated.  “Miles, you’re in charge.  Do what is needed.  Take the train, but get off before you get to Socorro,” he commanded, then rubbed  his moustache between his thumb and finger then smiled.  “Here’s your ticket.”
                          * * * *
       Alejo had taken over the jobs vacated by Lucas and was helped somewhat by his little brother Enrique.  They cut wood, took it to the different vendors in town, and stacked it for them.  They were hired to keep the streets clean of the horse droppings, and would help old Moses at the livery if he needed them.
       They were walking along the boardwalk to the north of the jail.  A new saloon had opened, a block down, Belle’s Place, and Enrique had stopped to look at something lying underneath the walk.  Problem was, he was stooped over when Frank Connors and Cade Ryan came out of the saloon stumbling over Enrique.  Ryan, who was quickly angered, grabbed the boy and threw him out into the street.  
       Alejo heard his brother yell when he hit the ground and began to run back.  Ryan had walked out into the street to pick up the kid.  “You pepper-pickers stay out of my way,” he snarled then tossed Enrique back to the ground.  That’s when Alejo rushed him, trying to knock him down.  Ryan barely budged, then he took hold of Alejo and slugged him square in the face.  He dropped like a bag of potatoes.
       He started to kick the boy, when a voice hollered, “Don’t!”
       Ryan slowly turned his head toward the voice.  “Well, lookee here, Frank.  They must be draggin’ the bottom of the barrel, they even have one of them beaners wearin’ a badge.”  He turned back to kick the boy who was now moving to his knees, Enrique was unconscious.
       “You kick him, and you’ll be a cripple the rest of your life,” Mateo paused, “That is, if I don’t kill you.”
       Both Ryan and Connors laughed, and now faced Mateo.  Cade Ryan, big man, didn’t kick Alejo, instead he…


Echoes From the Campfire

Our duty will chase us to the grave. So it is with the debts we owe to the brave, the obligation to repay courage with courage.”

                         –John McCain, Jr.

       “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.  You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.”
                         –John 15:13-14(NKJV)
Memorial Day!  But what’s the purpose?  A day to celebrate?  Perhaps, if you understand the meaning behind why you can celebrate.  For some it is a time to cry, to remember the wounds in the soul because a loved one died doing their duty.  Duty–a sublime word that few understand or care to understand anymore.  Duty–is laughed at, mocked, ridiculed, but without those who do or did their duty, terror and lawlessness would much more abound.
       If you see a bully on the street terrifying an elderly lady on her way home, what is your obligation?  Do you turn away, or are you bound by something inside you that causes righteous indignation to arise?  Anger comes forth, hopefully anger that is controlled, and you step forward to help.  Anger, do you ever get angry?  Do you ever become appalled at the lack of moral restraint in this country?  Does anger arise because of what took place in Uvalde last week?  Or do you seek to put a bandaid on the situation, blame the environment, the educational system, the homelife, maybe the lack of a father, and for goodness gracious, don’t forget to blame the gun for it had to have acted on its own?
       People are blind, they don’t want to face the facts that this nation is in need of God.  Man does not have the solution; science does not have the solution; sociologists with their enlightenment don’t have the solution.  Only God can heal, but there must be repentance and then acceptance and obedience to His Word.
       God can’t get angry, He is too gracious, kind, and merciful, so many people say.  However, take a look at a few verses from the Psalms that show the anger of God.  (These are from the New Living Translation.)

                    “No wonder you are greatly feared!  Who can stand before you when your anger explodes?”  (76:7)
                    “Now turn to us again, O God of our salvation.  Put aside your anger against us.”  (85:4)
                    “O LORD, how long will this go on?  Will you hide yourself forever?  How long will your anger burn like fire?”  (89:46)
                    “For there your ancestors tried my patience; they courted my wrath though they had seen my many miracles.”  (95:9)

What is it that provokes God’s anger?  Sometimes He is patient and though provoked holds back His wrath.  When we read the psalms of Asaph we often see the anger of God mentioned.  Man prays for deliverance and God rejects the prayers.  The scales have been tipped and His anger is moving forth.  Oh my, we don’t like to think of God’s anger; we only want to dwell on his love and mercy.  But justice cries out, His holiness demands it.  
       One of the greatest sermons ever preached in America, or anywhere else for that matter was Jonathan Edward’s mighty “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.”  A sermon that helped bring about the First Great Awakening.  That’s all that can save this country from the terror we see every day.  The turning back to God, yet there are those pseudo-historians, the woke crowd that say the Great Awakening never happened; it was made up by Christians.   It was this tremendous revival that happened just prior to the War for Independence.  It was this revival that took place when the Founding Fathers were growing up and turning into young men.
       Memorial Day!  A day when we remember the loss of those who gave their lives to protect this country from those who had an “Anti-Christ” spirit.  Men who fought for freedom and for moral righteousness.  Men who sacrificed on the foundation laid by previous generations that was stained by blood.  It’s all right to celebrate, to have a picnic, to enjoy the day with family for without those who sacrificed this couldn’t happen.  But don’t neglect to work out your own salvation.  Pray that His favor returns to this nation.  Pray the “His anger will last for a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime!” (Psalm 30:5, NLT)

                    “The world is in a constant conspiracy against the brave. It’s the age-old struggle: the roar of the crowd on the one side, and the voice of your conscience on the other.”
                                      –General Douglas MacArthur
                    “Some gave all;
                    All gave some.”


Coffee Percs

As we sat down, and the blessing was said, I took a sip of the hot, strong coffee before eating.”

                         –D.C. Adkisson (Winter of the Wolves)

Take a sip, and listen to this.  It was 1973, Annie and I were moving from Panama City, Florida to Colorado Springs.  I had a Ford Maverick and was pulling a trailer.  We were beat, worn out, and almost frazzled–and that’s the truth, Pard.  We started lookin’ for a place to spend the night an’ there was nothin’!  Found out there was all kinds of doin’s in Dallas and no rooms were available.  Finally, we find one room at a motel in Gainesville, Texas.  It was a suite.  We looked at each other, as we were as poor as church mice, but we were both tired and needed to sleep a few hours.  Oh, the cost–$26.00.  Pard, I don’t if’n it’s progress, but things have sure ‘nough changed.
       Go ahead, finish that cup an’ I’ll pour yuh another.  Pard, since I mentioned “progress,” can’t the people see that we’re progressin’ down the wrong road in this country?  There seems to be more and more evil than ever, an’ I tell yuh, it’s because we have forsaken God and His moral code.  Listen, with all the lawlessness that is aboundin’ I think goes to show yuh that the time of the Lord is drawin’ near.  Ol’ slewfoot will bring more evil and lawlessness until the time that the Man of Lawlessness is let loose on this world.  Pard, that’s gonna be a terrible day.
       That day will be like turnin’ the wolves from the pit loose on the world.  There’ll be terrible sufferin’ and sorrow.  Terror will strike deep.  Sorry, Pard, let me take a long swaller.  Whew, that burned all the way down to my gizzard.  I never thought of it before, but progress is bein’ made every day–progress toward our heavenly home.  The world is goin’ one direction, but those that belong to Christ are headin’ in another.  Yuh better be sure yuh have yur spiritual cinch tight for the day of His appearin’ is near.
      Vaya con Dios.


Echoes From the Campfire

The evil keeps trying to hang on. And we need to fight it. It’s our responsibility.”
                    –Henry McLaughlin  (Journey to Riverbend)

       “Depart from me, you evildoers, for I will keep the commandments of my God!”
                    –Psalm 119:115 (NKJV)
How to Live in a Pagan, Apostate, and Foolish World

Key Verse:  “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.”  –1 John 5:19 (NKJV)

The evil that we saw this week shows us that there are evil forces at work in the world.  Not only was an evil deed done, but the critics began immediately after not even allowing for death to settle.  They began to spout more foolishness.  Jude says that “these men speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves.” (Jude 10, NKJV)
       The only thing that will help overcome this type of evil is Jesus Christ, and man does not want to hear that.  He wants to give “man’s solution” to the issue which will only foul it up more.  These foolish people criticize everything they do not understand.  Jude says they are worthless and irrelevant and not spiritually discerned.  They speak with evil following their own inclinations.  Matthew Henry says they have “depraved wills, and disordered appetites and affections.
       With the apostasy, the turning away from Christ and His moral principles, they only have fleshly instincts, animal passions.  They allow their emotions and passions to carry them without thinking from a spiritual view.  In fact, they have become deaf to God and thus corrupt themselves.  We walk through this journey of life with these type of individuals all around us, many with a voice and many in government positions.  They do not understand the ways of the Lord; they do not want to understand the ways of the Lord.
       Jude uses three illustrations from history to warn us about these individuals so that we will know them.  The first is that of Cain.  Cain–the first murderer.  The blood of his brother Abel cries out from the earth and is still crying.  Listen to God, obey God…  Cain represents those who murder, not physically, but they want to delude others and thuse are murderers of the soul.  “Do it my way,” they cry.  “Listen to me,” they holler.  They seek to kill the souls of men by their error.
       The second type is that of Balaam.  Balaam was some sort of “seer,” some sort of prophet and was sought after to curse the people of Israel.  He said he would do it for a reward, but he could not prophesy against the people of God.  Instead he told the enemy how they could defeat Israel, take away God’s blessing.  Intermarry, he told them.  Make them compromise.  If they accept and allow others to be with them eventually they will fall into sin.  They would no longer be a separate people.  Don’t be intolerant, be accepting–compromise.
       Korah was used as the third example.  Korah refused to accept right authority and began to seek things he had no right to have.  He brought a challenge to legitimate authority and was arrogant in his manner.  “In my opinion,” was his cry.  I have a right to decide on my own–who is Moses, really he was saying, who is God to tell me what to do.  Woe to those who dare to mock and challenge God.  Woe to the followers of Korah.
       Jude continues in his letter to warn us about such men.  Men who use the church to gratify their own desires and lusts.  Men who twist the words of God to fit their own ideas and agenda.  Jude warns us to avoid them.  They make great claims but without proper authority, without truth to back what they say and therefore are essentially useless.  Avoid them–know them by their fruit.  These people are reserved for darkness.  They seek to trip you up on your journey taking you away “from enjoying the very best which God has prepared for us.” (Paul Cedar)
       Oh, friend, do not be swayed by the words of men but hold firmly to the truth of God’s Word.  Follow His precepts and principles as you live daily in this evil world.