Echoes From the Campfire

Life is uncertain. What we want is not always what we need. We only live one day at a time. We live today. We are not promised tomorrow. One day each of us will give an accounting for the days we were given. Will it be today?”

                    –Dan Arnold  (Alta Vista)

       “He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints.”
                    –Proverbs 2:8 (NKJV)
I wrote last week regarding the steps of the godly person.  God directs them, He shines the light of His Word upon them.  However, there are some conditions.  “Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established.  Do not turn to the right or the left; remove your foot from evil.”  (Proverbs 4:26-27, NKJV)  Don’t rush through life, but take time to ponder your steps.  Don’t think that life is tip-toeing through the tulips, but let your step be firm, established so it will not slip.

          “I’m following Jesus–One step at a time,
          I live for the moment–In His love divine.
          Why think of tomorrow,–Just live for today,
          I’m following Jesus–Each step of the way.”
                    –Redd Harper

See, we work out our salvation with “fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12), therefore we must be careful where we step.  It is a daily walk, in fact, the walk is step by step, moment by moment.  Life is living, but that living must be in the will of God.  Our ways can only be established as we follow His will and look for His guiding hand.  Richard Dresselhaus said, “Your steps are ordered of the Lord—and confirmation is part of God’s leading.”  As we walk under the guidelines of His word, He will confirm our steps.  

          “The pathway is narrow–But He leads me on,
          I walk in His shadow–My fears are all gone.
          My spirit grows stronger,–Each moment, each day,
          For Jesus is leading–Each step of the way.”

Jesus said that only the “pure in heart shall see God” (Matthew 5:8)  How can we be pure?  Jeremiah says that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9, NKJV)  We must go back to the great work of Christ on the cross and remember that we are justified by faith.  That justification, that faith, also is His imputed righteousness.  That is the only way we can have a pure heart; that is the way our spirit can grow stronger.
       So live for the moment each day in Christ.  Do not worry about tomorrow, live for today by following Jesus–each step of the way.  I want to mention here that there will be no Echoes for the next two weeks.  My path is heading out to the High Lonesome and I’m planning on enjoying each step of the journey.


The Saga of Miles Forrest

We left Miles as he began his search for Marshal Johnson in the rooms above the Silver Bucket Saloon.  He was determined to bring Johnson and his deputies to justice.  Several had been killed and Miles knew there were at least eight deputies remaining, but he was making first and foremost his arrest of Johnson.  Let’s go to those days of yesteryear and another thrilling adventure in the Saga of Miles Forrest.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 
       Providence was with me because when I kicked open the door, Johnson was sitting on the edge of his bed pulling off his boots.  He glanced at me, then over to the chair where his holster was draped.  Throwing his boot at me, he lunged for the chair.  The boot hit me on the left arm, but I was already stepping forward swinging the Greener in a downward motion.  The barrel caught his wrist just before he could grab his pistol.  I heard bones crack, and a yell bellowed from the marshal.
       As he grasped his wrist I moved forward thrusting the Greener against his chest, holding it there as I reached for my handcuffs.  He started to struggle until I cocked one of the barrels which immediately got his attention and settled him down.  Putting the cuffs in the hand that held the shotgun, I reached and pulled his good arm away, then slapped the cuff on it.  I wasn’t even cruel enough to cuff his broken wrist so I pulled his arm behind him and attached the other end to his belt.
       “Up,” I said, then motioned with the shotgun.
       My, he looked a sight as we left the room, one arm behind his back and only one boot on.  At least he would not run away easily.  I could see the pain on his face as we walked out the doorway.  He tried his best to not move his right arm.
       Slowly we moved down the hallway and I had him stop at the top of the stairs.  I wanted to survey the crowd below in the saloon.  “Slow and easy,” I said, then cocked the other barrel.
       It didn’t take long for those in the bar to look our way.  I saw movement, a man walking to the other side of the room.  A deputy.  There must be at least one more on the floor and they wanted me to pass between them.  People began to move away, sort of like the sea did when Moses entered it.  
       Someone to my right fired, the bullet tugging the top of my jacket.  I jerked the Greener in his direction, fired one barrel then brought it down on the shoulder of Johnson knocking him to the floor.  Turning my attention to the other man, whose attention had gone to his partner, I fired the other barrel knocking him back and on top of one of the tables.  Quickly I held the shotgun in my left hand and drew my pistol.
       Scanning the room, I didn’t see another threat so I nudged Johnson with the Greener to get up then gave him a little shove to get him moving.  He was in a world of hurt right now, broken wrist, and possibly a broken collar bone.  With the blasts from the shotgun and me walking the marshal out of the saloon the people gave me quite a bit of leeway.
       As  I stood out on the boardwalk I looked up and down the street, then a smile crossed my face.  What better place to keep the marshal until the train left in the morning–the jail.  It was a block and a half away, and we sure received the glances as we moved down toward the jail.  Johnson was having trouble walking, partly because of only having one boot on, the other was the pain from his injuries.
       Coming to the jail, I motioned him in to find only a deputy at the desk in the front office.  With my pistol I waved for him to move back to the cells.  “Leave the gunbelt on the desk,” I ordered.  He went in one cell, and I placed Johnson on a cot in the one across from him.  
       Securing the cells I started back to the main office.  “I need a doctor!” came the cry of Johnson.
       I didn’t want to be cruel but I wasn’t about to go out into the night in search of a doctor.  “You’ll live!” I hollered back.  I knew he might be in pain, but he was in no danger of dying.
       Moving the chair from the desk over to the corner I was able to be hidden from one window, and I could see the entrance and the other window.  Now it was waiting time, until the morning.  The next major obstacle was to get Johnson down to the train depot the next morning.  When I blew out the lamp it was dark in the room.  Almost no light was coming in.
       It was almost an hour later, when a gunshot blasted the window…


Echoes From the Campfire

There’s something about living back in these hills that gives a man time to think, to consider.”
                    –Louis L’Amour  (Rustler Roundup)

       “Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

                    –Luke 12:27 (NKJV)
We have had a tremendous heat wave this summer along with a severe drought.  A tree from the neighbor’s lot fell across our driveway, no harm done.  To some it may seem that the Lord has forsaken this place, and not only here, for I know that it is far worse in other areas.  But when I read Psalm 104, I am refreshed because I know the Lord is concerned, that He has is under His control.  

          13 — He waters the hills from His upper chambers; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of Your works.
          14 — He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and vegetation for the service of man, that he may bring forth food from the earth.
          15 — And wine that makes glad the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread which strengthens man’s heart.
          16 — The trees of the LORD are full of sap, the cedars of Lebanon which He planted,
          17 — Where the birds make their nests; the stork has her home in the fir trees.
          18 — The high hills are for the wild goats; the cliffs are a refuge for the rock badgers.
          19 — He appointed the moon for seasons; the sun knows it going down.
          20 — You make darkness, and it is night, in which all the beasts of the forest creep about.
          21 — The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their food from God.
          22 — When the sun rises, they gather together and lie down in their dens.
          23 — Man goes out to his work and to his labor until the evening.   (NKJV)

       Upon reading these verses I think that they are often blessings that we take for granted or not notice at all.  In a severe drought, the rain is noticed.  That which came on a regular basis then stopped makes us wonder when it will ever rain again and when it does we are grateful, happy–blessed.  In the tremendous heat of the day, the cooler evening comes and we are blessed.  
       God’s wonderful creation and why?  For us–for mankind.  He was thinking of us, each one of us.  Resources were provided for us, not only nature but He has given a glad heart, a shining face, and a sustained heart–one that makes it through the long haul. (George Wood).  It is interesting that when man is introduced that he is seen as a working man, not at play or rest.  How can we look at the world and not see the wonder of God?
       Look at these verses again and then reflect on the days of creation.  It didn’t just happen.  The cycles of nature didn’t just one day–poof–come into existence.  No, they were designed by God and spoken into existence by Him.  In that first garden, man was given a task, he was to work, be a caretaker of the Garden.  He was given responsibility to manage what God had created.  “The more we learn about the wonders of our universe, the more clearly we are going to perceive the hand of God.” (Frank Borman)
       Twenty-two years ago, the United States was attacked in a dastardly and evil manner.  In the midst of all that terror and turmoil, many forgot the Creator, or they turned to Him in response to tragedy.  Many wondered, “where was God?” when the attack came.  Listen, when the battle rages, when there seems to be no end to the attack and certainly no sense to it–look up and see the wonders of God.  He is involved, every day in the world, and every day in our lives.  That day, September 11 should have turned the nation back to God, and it did for about a week.  However, instead of becoming a godly nation, humble before the Lord, we became one of tolerance to the extreme.  One who has forsaken the Creator.  Instead of looking at His blessings, they have been forgotten and even spurned.  Lord, have mercy on us.  In your life, God is in control, read these verses and if you think He is not you are missing the great blessing from God.

               “He built the earth, He spread the sky,
               And fixed the starry lights on high;
               Wonders of grace to God belong,
               Repeat His mercies in your song.”
                        –Isaac Watts


Coffee Percs

At twilight, after the sun eased behind the mountains, he sat enjoying another cup of coffee and watching the trees. Seeing movement there, he set the cup down beside him and took the thong off the hammer of his Colt.”

                    –C. Wayne Winkle  (Judd’s Journey)
Go ‘head, git yurself a cup.  Sorry, I don’t have it next to the pot.  I’ve been busy this mornin’ gettin’ ready to ride one more time.  Not sure have many more journeys are in this ol’ body, but I’ll go ’til I can’t no more.  Good, hot, strong coffee this mornin, Pard.  Don’t be rubbin’ on yur skin or it might take off the hair.  Just finished honin’ my knife. . .  dull knife is kinda like weak coffee, not much good.  I worked with a fellow once who used to put that final edge on his knife by using the leather on his boot.  Let me tell yuh, that blade was sharp as a razor.
       Headin’ up over the Great Plains an’ into the high country.  Don’t worry Pard, I’ll have my weapons ready just in case.  Along with the wife, the eldest daughter and grandson are goin’ to travel.  Yep, gonna show the lad some of the places where I grew up.  Plus I’ve got a hankerin’ to see the mountains once more.  Ha, won’t be able to romp through them like I used to as the years have taken a toll.  And with all the stupid people causin’ new rules and regulations I don’t know if I can stop by a stream to boil up some coffee or not.
       Ahhhh, let’s enjoy this pot.  Don’t know for sure when I’ll be back.  Ha, don’t yuh worry, I’m not gonna take off and trek by myself.  The plan is to come home to the woods of East Texas.  I imagine the trip will be somewhat nostalgic, lookin’ at the trails the Lord has brought me along.  Yep, hope to point out some places to the youngster where the Lord has shown me, and where I’ve tromped.  Now, I’m not one to pick one favorite verse, but among them that I often use is Proverbs 4:18.  Go ahead, finish that cup, I’ll pour yuh another then recite. 
       “The path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.”  Later on, ol’ Solomon said in the same chapter, “Ponder the paths of your feet, and let all your ways be established.”  Hmmm, gettin’ nostalgic already.  Yuh be doin’ good whilst I’m gone.  Don’t be drinkin’ no weak coffee, or any cinos, and for goodness sake remember to check yur cinch as I won’t be about to remind yuh.
        Vaya con Dios.