Echoes From the Campfire

This was a savage land, a lonely land, yet here the foundations of our homes would be laid…  We accepted the danger but took no unnecessary risk.  It is a fool who invites trouble, a child who is reckless, for life holds risks enough without reaching out for more.”
              –Louis L’Amour  (Bendigo Shafter)

    “Cast your bread on the surface of the waters, for you will find it after many days. Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth.”
              –Ecclesiastes 11:1-2 (NASB)
I wrote yesterday of the Rapture where those in Christ, both the dead and the living, will be caught up to meet with Jesus in the air.  The first time we actually see Him with our transformed bodies will be at that meeting in the air.
    To us, this is part of the mystery of the spiritual realm.  I know that when a Christian dies their spirit or soul goes to be with the Lord.  However, the body remains in the grave, waiting to be resurrected to join with the spirit.  The complete person can now look upon God and His glory for we will have a new, glorified body.
    We praise God as we sing about what those first moments in heaven will be like–“I Can Only Imagine.”  This is a great song, but I wonder…for I read that after death–the Judgment. “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27, NASB).  All believers, from the first mentioned martyr, Stephen, to the last to leave this earth will be standing at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10, NASB)
    Now, I don’t want to get involved with metaphysical mysticism, I couldn’t even if I wanted to, but after death comes the judgment.  Could it be, that when one dies time ceases to exist and they are thrust immediately to the judgment?  Where is God?  He is outside of time, He transcends time, He is omnipresent, therefore, He is already at the Judgment.  Where is man’s spirit after he dies?  Is the spirit just sitting around in heaven patiently waiting for his body to return?  This is way beyond my feeble, pea-brain, but the first thing on the heavenly agenda after the Rapture is the Judgment of all believers.  This judgment is not for sin, that was accomplished by Jesus on the cross, but this judgment is for what the believer has done–good or bad.
    Following the Judgment, the wedding bells will sound.  Judgment is over, it is time for the marriage.  A feast is prepared, and there has been much speculation on what it will be.  Some have said manna, others say the meal of the Passover.  Will it be Grandma’s biscuits ‘n’ gravy, or Annie’s apple pie?  Is it symbolic?  We have been fasting from the presence of Jesus and now we are with Him in His fullness.  I believe some of what we eat will commemorate the Lord’s Supper,  “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:29, NASB)
    We know little about heaven.  Paul said that it was unlawful for him to speak of it.  Jesus was asked (John 3) to speak of heaven. (I think He chuckled) for he replied you can’t even understand the simple things of earth and you ask of heaven.  Even John with his great revelation could not completely convey the concept of heaven to us.  Those left on earth will face unleashed evil, depravity, chaos from the devil and the wrath of God.  Yes, there will be judgment in heaven, but so feasting and praising.  Choose…

Echoes From the Campfire

It’s the same as sayin’ a beefsteak tastes better than a rose smells.  The things ain’t the same.”
              –Ernest Haycox (Whispering Range)

    “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.”
              –Matthew 24:24 (NASB)
         “There’s going to be a meeting in the air,
          In the sweet, sweet, bye and bye.
          I’m going to me you, meet you over there,
          In that home beyond the sky.
          Such singing you will hear, never heard by mortal ear,
          ‘Twill be glorious I do declare.
          And God’s own son, will be the leading one,
          At that meeting in the air.”
                    –May Taylor Roberts

In this day of “social distancing” don’t be in despair.  One day, I believe soon, the trumpet will sound, and those in Christ will have a joyous meeting in the air.
    It has been several years ago, that I dealt with a scoffer.  He said that I was foolish to believe in the Rapture, why it isn’t even in the Bible.  Last week, there were people who now don’t have much to do, writing about the foolishness of the Rapture, that it’s not in the Bible.
    No, unless you read a Bible written in Latin you will not find the word, “rapture.”  But the meaning is most definitely found in the holy Scriptures.

         “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall all be with the Lord.  Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
                     –1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (NASB)

The meeting mentioned here is to be the greatest meeting that we seen in the Bible!  Rapture–the words are in verse 17, “caught up”, and we will meet the Lord in the air.
    There will be scoffers, of that we are assured.  People will deride you, laugh at you and mock you if you believe in the Rapture (see 2 Peter 3:3-4).  Perhaps that is why few Christians talk about it today, but with the coronavirus on the rampage there may be renewed interest.  Every time you take communion we should think about the return of the Lord.  People, the scoffers and mockers, may call it rubbish, but in reality it is the blessed hope.  
    Jesus told us to watch for it, to be ready for it.  We are to be in constant expectation of it.  Billy Sunday said that “The mission of the church–the bride of Christ, or body of Christ–is to be ready to meet the bridegroom.”  Are we preparing ourselves for that day?  Are we seeking to be holy as we anticipate His coming?
    The Rapture is not the Second-Coming of Jesus.  Or, if you prefer it is Phase One of the Second Coming.  In the Rapture only believers will see Christ, and they will meet Him in the air.  After the terrible ordeal on earth of the Great Tribulation that will culminate with the Battle of Armageddon, Jesus will return visibly to reign on earth.
    The Christian should not be looking for death rather he should be looking for the coming of the Lord and that glorious meeting in the air.  It will come, in the twinkling of an eye–in less than a moment.  Do not miss the sound of that trumpet.  The body of Christ is now the salt of the earth, when removed the chaos we see as a result of COVID 19 will seem as child’s play.  Unheard of evil, havoc, and chaos will be throughout the world.
    Do not fear the coming of the Lord; we are to comfort one another with the thought of that meeting in the air.  Let the scoffers laugh, there is one fact about it, we are living closer to this time than anybody ever lived before.  Are you ready?  Are you keeping your lives as clean as you possibly can?
    The Rapture is the next major event in the purpose of God’s prophetic timetable.  It will not be held back a minute.  When the Father deems the time has come, it will happen.  Following that momentous event will bring days of untold horror to the earth when the devil is allowed to reign.  We should be praying, “Come, Lord Jesus” and be looking for that meeting in the air.

The Saga of Miles Forrest

Molly, you…”
    She didn’t allow him to finish until she corrected him.  “Excuse me, I’m Mrs. Forrest to you.”
    McCall smirked.  “Fine, Mrs. Forrest you didn’t go home last night.”
    She felt more comfortable since knowing that she remembered her pistol.  Before going to Marta’s house she stopped by her cabin to pick up some clothes and her .32 Smith and Wesson double action that Miles had purchased for her as a Christmas present.  It fit in the pocket of her work dresses well because it was small and was hammerless.
    “How do you know I didn’t go home?” she asked.
    He swallowed deeply, McCall didn’t like to be put on the defensive.  “I came by to check on you.”
    Molly gave a little laugh.  “To check on my or to snoop?  It’s mighty dangerous to be peeking through someone’s window.  Good way to get shot.  Now, if you don’t mind I have work to do.”
    “One more minute of your time, Mrs. Forrest,” he snapped his voice filled with bitterness.  “I went through the wanted posters and didn’t see one that fit the description of the man yesterday.”
    The front door opened, Molly glanced toward it.  “Sheriff Gold,” she gushed.  “Excuse me marshal, Charlie, have a seat, I need to talk with you.”
                            * * * *
    I had been able to stop the bleeding in Jens’ leg.  He had pulled a couple of stitches loose, nothing serious, just sore as the dickens.  
    “I thought Martin was supposed to get here yesterday,” he wailed, the took some deep breaths.  “So the croaker was beat pretty badly?”
    Nodding, I responded, “But it was more than that.  They threatened to break or cut up his fingers.  That would stop his doctorin’ days,” pausing for a moment I pulled at my moustache.  “Think it was Abrams?”
    “I know it was Abrams!” he barked, “but I can’t prove it.  So no one recognized the man?  Someone just wandered by and happened to start shooting through the hotel window, which also just happened to be my room.  Bah!”
    “The senorita over at the cantina might tell me somethin’.  The owner, Ramon, he’d like to, but he’s scared out of his wits.”
    I got up to leave.  “Hold on, Miles.  Help me out of this bed.”
    “No, you stay there!  The bleedin’ has stopped and I’ve got you patched up again,” I answered him in no uncertain terms.
    “Just out to the chair in the lobby.”
    Between his hobbling and my half carrying him he made it to the chair without opening up the wound again.  
    “Hand me my rifle,” he ordered.
    After giving him the rifle I turned to leave and head to the cantina.
    “Hold on,” came another order.  “You mentioned someone called the Pale Rider.  That he was stalking me.  Tell me more.”
    “The Pale Rider–Death, is seen in the last book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation.”
    Putting up his hand, he broke into my explanation.  “I know the Bible, I’ve heard enough fire and brimstone preachers in my time.”
    “Fine, for some reason the Lord has allowed me to…

Echoes From the Campfire

Once he made up his mind to do it, he whipped up the mules and let the devil take the hindmost.”
              –Elmer Kelton (The Far Canyon)

    “But let your word ‘yes’ be ‘yes,’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no.’ Anything more than this is from the evil one.”
              –Matthew 5:37 (HCSB)
In these trying times, one of the best things that you can do for yourself is to get in the Word of God.  Read and meditate upon the Psalms.  

    1 – Do not be agitated by evildoers; do not envy those who do wrong.
    2 – For they wither quickly like grass and wilt like tender green plants.
    3 – Trust in the Lord and do what is good; dwell in the land and live securely.
    4 – Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires.
    5 – Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act,
    6 – making your righteousness shine like the dawn, your justice like the noonday.
    7 – Be silent before the Lord and wait expectantly for Him; do not be agitated by one who prospers in his way, by the man who carries out evil plans.
    8 – Refrain from anger and give up your rage; do not be agitated—it can only bring harm.
    9 – For evildoers will be destroyed, but those who put their hope in the Lord will inherit the land.
   10 – A little while, and the wicked person will be no more; though you look for him, he will not be there.
   11 – But the humble will inherit the land and will enjoy abundant prosperity. (HCSB)

When I read the first two verses, the thing that comes quickly to my mind are the “celebrities.”  I have often wondered why they think they are so special.  Don’t let what they say agitate you.  In today’s world you can add the politicians and journalists.  Some of them must sit up late at night dwelling on how they can thwart God’s word, how they can fulfill their evil agenda.  
    Get them, Lord, I think, but then I must read verses 7 and 8.  It is hard to calm down and wait patiently for the Lord to act.  Sometimes people, especially those we see in the media, just jerk my jaws, how about you?  Oh, Lord, help settle the agitation I feel.  George O. Wood wrote, “The more I boil, fret, and stew, the more I bumble into evil and become ensnared by it.”
    Verses 4 and 5 are very familiar, but often taken out of context.  People often “claim” verse 4, “He will give you your heart’s desires,” but they tend to forget the condition, “Take delight in the LORD.”  The same is true for verse 5.  We want the promise, but we forget that every promise has a command or obligation.  They must go together!
    “Whatever you feel yourself best fitted for, one ought to endeavor to devote the peculiarities of his nature to his Redeemer’s service.”  This was written by the famed missionary David Livingstone to his teenage son.  The Lord gives us desires, therefore, it is our obligation to follow them in His service.  Verse 5 was one of Livingstone’s favorite verses.

         “Thy way, not mine, O Lord
          However dark it be;
          O lead me by thine own right hand,
          Choose out the path for me.”
                 –Horatius Bonar

Do we really trust the Lord?  Are we accepting the path that He has chosen for us or are we balking at every circumstance and situation?  Listen:  God is in control!