The Saga of Miles Forrest

I spent the rest of the trip puzzled by what had happened.  The woman across from me continued to scowl anytime our eyes would make contact.  For some reason she just didn’t approve of me.  I wonder if she realized the toil and pain that pioneers have always gone through to make it safe for those that followed.
    Why are those men waiting for me at the shack?  If so, how did they know I would be on the train?  The conductor, someone working for the railroad back in Durango, possibly Merker himself.  That bothered me, if it was Merker, that meant he was back in Durango.  Molly was there, my friends were there.  I whispered a little prayer, for I believed that prayer transcended boundaries.
    It was late when we pulled into the station in Pueblo.  I went down to the hotel to secure a room and found that there were only three left, all on the fourth floor.  The clerk gave me my key and I trudged up the stairs to the room.  He told me that there were some saloons down the street that served food.  Opening my room, I was not impressed.  There was a bed and vanity with a bowl and water pitcher on it.  I placed my grip on the chair in front of the vanity and went back out to grab a bite to eat.  As I was going down the stairs, the woman from the train was coming up.  I received my scowl and watched her go to what I imagined was her room.
    I had been in Pueblo several times.  For the most part it was a dirty little town, growing from the fact that there were coal mines in the vicinity.  Land to the east was fairly good ranchland, though dry during the summer.  One thing that I hated about being a lawman was that I often had to spend my time in these types of dives.  Wicked men sought the presence of other wickedness, so to find them, go to where they tarry.
    Looking in the first one, I decided that it was too dark.  I didn’t like to be in a dark room among people I didn’t know must less trust.  Up and across the street there was one with music playing and seemed to be well lit.  Pushing the swinging doors aside I walked in, and by habit took a step to one side.  I brought the Greener up and held it in both hands as my eyes became more accustomed to the room and I could take in the atmosphere.  People were busy gambling and drinking.  I went to the bar.
    The bartender came over, “Can I help you?” he asked pleasantly enough.
    “Hungry.  Do you serve food in this place?”
    “Sure, I can rustle up a steak,” that made him laugh like he spoke a funny joke.  “Or I can get you some stew or chili.”
    “Chili verde?” I asked, my mouth already watering.
    “This is Pueblo, is there any other kind?” he replied like I asked a foolish question.
    It went through my mind that he needed a thump alongside the head, but it went away quickly when I realized all of the different sort of folk he had to constantly deal with.  “Chili, I’ll be at that table back there.”
    “Want a bottle?” he questioned.  “We have almost any brand you can think of.”
    “Just coffee,” I muttered.
    That brought another ripple of laughter.  “Well, that’s one I sure don’t carry.”
    I glared at him, making him duck his head.  “I’ll bring some coffee.”
    Walking back to an open table I had to maneuver between chairs.  One obstinate person just sat there, not moving his chair so I could get by.  I tapped him on the shoulder with the Greener and he then willingly obliged.
    There were three bartenders working and the one that I talked to brought me a little pot of coffee and a large bowl of chili almost heaping over the side.  I was hungry, so after taking one sip of coffee, I started spooning the delicious spicy chili into my mouth.
    I was almost finished when I saw two well-dressed men wearing suits and derby hats walk out of a room upstairs and head down to the main floor.  My attention went straight to them.  One was Myers, could the other be…Merker?  They walked through the room and out the door.  I didn’t get a good glimpse of the other man, so I didn’t know if it was Merker or not.  Quickly I got up, searched for some money to pay my bill, and hurried out.
    The men were moving up the street on the boardwalk, away from the saloon and hotel.  I hurried to them, I was anxious.  They turned at the same time and I swung the Greener, catching the man I didn’t recognize alongside the head; he dropped to the ground.  Myers, started to yell, but I took the Greener in both hands and pinned him up against the wooden wall of a building.
    I pressed it up against his throat.  “Remember me, Myers?” I barked in a low yet firm voice.  
    He gritted his teeth and spluttered, “Forrest.”
    “How did you get out of prison?” I asked, pressing the shotgun firmer against him.
    He grunted, “Good behavior, and, and friends in high places.”
    I released him, then poked him in the stomach with the barrel.  “Don’t move or this gun will make a mess of you.”  I leaned down to get a view of the man’s face that was lying there in the dirt.
    Turning his head, I looked in anticipation.  It was…

Echoes From the Campfire

Every morning starts a new day…  You do wrong, and you’re thrown down hard.  If you are what you called yourself, a quitter, you don’t get up again; but if you are a man you make a new beginning.”
              –William MacLeod Raine  (Sons of the Saddle)

    “Though a righteous man falls seven times, he will get up, but the wicked will stumble into ruin.”
              –Proverbs 24:16 (HCSB)
When you read the Psalms of David you will notice that there is some kind of battle taking place in most of them.  The battle may be against physical enemies or the enemy of his soul.  Sometimes both.  It seems that there are very few that show a life of ease, but they do show a life of victory even though there may be wounds and turmoil along the way.  George O. Wood stated, “Until we are in God’s eternal presence, there is always another battle to be faced, another enemy to be dealt with.”
    Let’s turn again to Psalm 21, this time to verses 8-13 (HCSB) and see how David faces his enemies.

    8 – Your hand will capture all your enemies; your right hand will seize those who hate you.
    9 – You will make them burn like a fiery furnace when you appear; the Lord will engulf them in His wrath, and fire will devour them.
   10 – You will wipe their descendants from the earth and their offspring from the human race.
   11 – Though they intend to harm you and devise a wicked plan, they will not prevail.
   12 – Instead, you will put them to flight when you aim your bow at their faces.
   13 – Be exalted, Lord, in Your strength; we will sing and praise Your might.

It seems that David recognizes that God also has enemies.  There are people under the control of Satan that try to fight against God.  In this we see that he has the perspective that during the battle it is not over until we stop and give praise to the Lord.
    There is also shown something of that final war against the Lord and its results.  The Lord will devour His enemies with fire.  They may laugh and mock Him before the battle but when it is over they face a blazing oven.  They plan evil against the Lord, however, they will not be successful.  It seems like this is happening more and more often today.  People are planning and plotting against God; trying to invent ways to fight and defeat Him.  God is not worried!

              “Yea, Amen!  let all adore Thee,
               High on Thine eternal throne;
               Savior, take the power and glory;
               Claim the Kingdom for Thine own:
               O come quickly, O come quickly,
               Hallelujah!  Come, Lord, come.”
                      –John Cennick

In the midst of our struggles, our battles remember the attacks that are upon the Lord.  Trust in Him and don’t despair.  Victory is assured.  Lean upon His strength.

    Prayer:  “Lord, may I enlarge my understanding of Your strength–which is far more than the strength to do whatever You want.  Your strength is that of character:  fidelity, covenant-keeping, unfailing love, mercy, kindness, and goodness.  Help me today to have that kind of strength.”
              –George O. Wood

Coffee Percs

He wrapped his bandana around his hand and reached for the coffeepot, refilling his cup before he spoke.”
              –Ralph Compton (The Goodnight Trail)

You’ve got t’ walk that lonesome valley…  Hey, Pard, good mornin’ to yuh.  What was I doin’?  Why couldn’t yuh tell, I was singin’.  What?  It sounded more like I was callin’ the hogs.  Well, that gets me t’ thinkin’ that I might not serve you some of this, delicious, hot, black, steaming coffee that I just made.  Ha!  That’d fix yur britches.  But you know I’m not that mean.
    Good week–seems like the Lord has them gettin’ gooder an’ gooder.  He sure does bless us, and that’s a fact!  I just can’t figure out why some folk take the notion that He doesn’t exist.  Well, I feel downright pity for some of them.  Why, listen as yuh sip yur coffee.  Out here on the deck, listen to that symphony of birds, along with that one drummer a peckin’ on that tree over yonder.  Say, early in the week, there was a basso-profoundo, joinin’ in with them.  Yep, he was croackin’ right along with the cardinals carryin’ the melody.
    I know we all make mistakes in life, but it’s a downright shame that some people go through life livin’ it as a fool.  Fools are dangerous folk, and right now it’d be foolish of me not to give yuh a refill.  Just read all the things the Bible says about a fool, and then watch or read the news.  I’ll tell yuh right now, that’s downright scary.  There are some of them that are so uppity they just let stuff spew out of their mouth not knowin’ what they’re sayin’.
    I’ll tell yuh pard, as for me, I’m goin’ to trust in a sure thing–the good Lord above.  That song I was a-singin’, that next line says, “yuh’ve got to walk it by yourself.”  Well, that ain’t actually true.  It’s true in the sense that you must make the journey through life alone, no one can work out yur salvation.  But on the other hand; the Lord walks it alongside yuh.  
    Say, Pard, my new book will be at the publisher before we meet again next Saturday.  It’s sure a good-‘un.  Now, that road is a-callin’ yuh, huh?  Well, don’t walk it without the Lord by yur side, and He’ll be remindin’ yuh, just like I do every week to be checkin’ yur cinch!  Say, and don’t forget, today is Armed Forces Day–a day to remember those on active duty serving this blessed country of ours.

Echoes From the Campfire

He had brought his family up modestly, to know the value of money, to be happy working toward a definite end, to be little influenced by the outside world.”
              –Zane Grey  (30,000 on the Hoof)   

    “And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.”
              –Mark 6:31 (NKJV)
I’m get so weary and tired and the bureaucrats–especially the liberals.  They weary me to the bone with their gab.  I don’t know if that is a mental tiredness or spiritual.  Probably both since we wrestle continually against wickedness in high places.  There is also that physical weariness that comes from hard work.  Most of the time I do my own writing, maybe gaining an idea from someplace else or a song or poem.  But since many of you are tired as well, I found this in my reading and thought I’d share it with you.  This was by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, one of my favorite writers.
    Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  (Matthew 11:28, NKJV)  “The Gospel announces that rest is only to be found in a knowledge of God, because God has made us, and He had made us in such a way that we never can know rest apart from Him.  The great Augustine of Hippo put that perfectly when he said, ‘Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our souls are restless until they find their rest in Thee.’
    “You can scale the heights or plumb the depths, you can travel around the world, as many people have done, trying to find rest and peace, but you will never find it.  God has so made us–and this is the glory and dignity of man–that nothing can finally be made at rest until our souls are satisfied in God.  And the world, I suggest to you, is an eloquent sermon on that particular theme.  With all that we have in the modern world of wealth and culture and education and everything else, look at the picture of unutterable restlessness all around us.  ‘”There is no peace,” Says my God, “for the wicked.”‘ (Isaiah 57:21 (NKJV)  There is no rest apart from a knowledge of God.
    “The Lord alone can give us this knowledge.  ‘Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me…’. (Matthew 11:28-29, NKJV) Notice the personal reference; all along He is pointing to Himself.  Yes, but He is doing more than that–He is contrasting Himself with everybody else.  His claim is that ‘Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.’ (Matthew 11:27, NKJV) He says that not only can He give us this knowledge of God, but that no one and nothing else can give us and create this knowledge in us.”
    Isn’t it interesting that there are so many clamoring for rest, peace and safety, yet they fight so hard against the only One that can grant it?  Just look at the God-haters, the atheists–they spend so much time and effort fighting against God instead of finding rest in Him.
    One other thought to ponder.  Look at the last part of verse 29 and also verse 30.  To rest, we pick up His yoke and His burden.  In other words, we rest in what He has for us.  The soul will be in turmoil until it comes to know Christ, then and only then will there be rest.
Today in the Texas Revolution:  The Mexican army arrives in Goliad on its way back to Mexico.