Coffee Percs

He was drinking his coffee. Returning from the kitchen, she poured him a second cup and then sat down to join him.”

                         –Luke Short  (The Deserters)
 
Howdy, Pard, how’re yuh perkin’ this mornin’?  Sure hope yur not boilin’ over.  Come on, Pard, that’s a joke.  I know the world is a serious place to be but this is ol’ Ira here holdin’ the coffeepot in his hands ready to pour yuh a cup.  Yuh could at least give me a little grin, or a smirk.  Too bad yuh didn’t come by yesterday.  The missus made some chicken enchiladas stuffed with jalapenos, poblanos and cheese and there were some left over.  I fired up some of that hen fruit, and covered them with that tasty sauce.  Guess it was sorta like huevos enchiladas.  Tasty, Pard, mighty tasty.
       It sure has been an interestin’ week to say the least.  I just cayn’t imagine people riotin’ over not bein’ able to kill the unborn.  That’s simply ignorant fools acting stupid, or maybe not–some of them have an agenda of murder, evil, and lawlessness.  They belong to the devil and are usherin’ in the way of the Man of Lawlessness–the Antichrist.  Unless these folk have a real conviction placed upon them and repent they are headed for perdition.  This is close to blasphemy, I reckon, for it slaps the Creator in the face for mankind was made in His image and they are takin’ the place of God in killing babies.
       We’ve come a long way since I was a kid, and from the looks at you…well, I’ll stop there.  I happened to watch the second episode of The Rifleman the other night.  The Book of Job was given in a paraphrase.  Can yuh imagine a show doin’ that today?  Why even some preachers won’t preach the Word, “the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.”  The Rifleman paused when he said that, then emphasized, “Blessed be the name of the Lord!”
       That’s a good thing to remember Pard.  In the bad, as well as the good, we should be blessin’ the Lord.  Too often, and I hate to admit Pard, I’m guilty of this once in a while, we sit ourselves down at the table to partake of the bounty before us an’ we plum forget Him.  Oh, we might mumble a short prayer, but we don’t think much ’bout what we’re sayin’.  If God is really in charge of our lives we need to be thankin’ Him for everything.
       Be thankin’ and prayin’ and watchin’ each step on this journey.  Be remindin’ yurself about the Lord, and yuh can also be remindin’ yur ownself to check that cinch.
        Vaya con Dios.

 

Echoes From the Campfire

If you go among the Philistines it’s better to go armed.”
                    –Louis L’Amour  (The Lonely Men)

       “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable.  Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”

                    –1 Corinthians 15:58 (NLT)
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Forty plus suffocate in a semi-trailer.  Terror, riots, and threats when babies are given the right to be born.  Brawl on a cruise ship where it was supposed to be relaxing fun.  Famine, drought, inflation out of sight, and folks don’t believe that we live in a Pagan, Apostate, and Foolish World.  Months we have spent on these lessons on how to make it in these troublesome, tumultuous times.  
       Never forget!  Again I repeat, never forget that you are a child of God and everything and anything in this world is under the power and control of the evil one–the devil.  The old song becomes more and more clear–“This world is not my home, I’m just passin’ through…”  One way we make it upon this journey called life and all its sorrows and problems is to keep our eyes upon our heavenly home.  Paul Cedar writes, “When our eyes are set on that goal [eternal life], and as we enjoy the daily mercies of God, we are not as apt to be led astray by the false teachers.”
       There is a clamor for socialism, especially among the ranks of young people.  Ignorant they are of the devastation that comes with socialism, not only to the nation, but to the individual as well.  The work ethic that helped build America would be undermined; the idea that debts are to be taken out wisely and then paid back would become foreign.  The effects on the individual would be devastating for they would then belong to the State.
       False teachers have arisen and if nothing else their message has caused people to become uncertain.  The foundation is being hammered upon, faith is weakening.  We, as believers, must fight this, confront the evil that we see and then not be deterred by the results.  We have a responsibility to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and not only that, to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

               “For some of these men who can feel pity and you can treat them differently.  Others you must try to save by fear, snatching them as it were out of the fire while hating the very garments their deeds have befouled.”
                              –Jude 22-23 (Phillips)

       To do that we must know the Word of God; we must study the Word of God so that we ourselves do not succumb to the evils of this world.  Be ready to speak when necessary; be ready to act when needed.  It is important that we watch over each other, pray for each other.  One thing that is imperative is that we distinguish between the weak and the willful.  Some stumble, fall, and need a helping hand.  Others stand by, put their “foot out” causing others to stumble; they do the work of the devil, and smirk while they are doing it.  Know God, obey His Word, let the Holy Spirit guide you each step of the way.  “Ignorance can never be met with ignorance, not even with partial knowledge; it can be me only by the affirmation, ‘I know whom I have believed.'” (William Barclay)
       Do not fear to walk outside.  Do not cower and tremble when the devil throws a fiery dart your way.  Walk on in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Keep your eyes steadfast on that heavenly home as you travel through this world.  “A believing expectation of eternal life will arm us against the snares of sin; a lively faith of the blessed hope will help us mortify our cursed lusts.”  (Matthew Henry)

 

Echoes From the Campfire

It’d never be worth a secondhand chaw of tobacco.”

                    –Elmer Kelton  (Dark Thicket)

       “How long, O you sons of men, will you turn my glory to shame?  How long will you love worthlessness and seek falsehood?”
                    –Psalm 4:2 (NKJV)
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“I want more,” comes the cry.  Someone in the crowd answered, “More what?”  “More of anything that makes me happy,” returned the first voice.  Isn’t that what many people want, more of anything that makes them happy, yet not realizing what it really is that will make them happy.  Solomon tried laughter and entertainment to satisfy his craving, but he came to the conclusion that it was “Madness,” and vanity.  He turned to liquor to satisfy and he said he would do it under control.  Ha, how many can continue to do that?  However, Solomon soon came to realize that it didn’t work either.
       He goes on to build great works so that he will be remembered.  He built edifices and wonderful gardens.  There are so many through history who have tried.  They built and gave away, thinking that it would satisfy their needs of grandeur and happiness.  But it failed.  They couldn’t be satisfied, and as the years passed the buildings crumbled and the weeds overtook the gardens.
       Had Solomon become too big for his britches?  

               “Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them.  I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart rejoiced in all my labor; and this was my reward from all my labor.  Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind.  There was no profit under the sun.”
                              –Ecclesiastes 2:10-11 (NKJV)

His pleasure and happiness was not lasting.  His abuse of natural appetites and faculties came to naught; they are never intended to rule us; if they do it will throw the whole life into disorder as we see in the depression and gloom evidenced by Solomon.  The body and mind can handle only so much stimulation.  It may crave for more, but it cannot handle “more.”  The cycle is continually downward and man becomes bound by his want of pleasure, but the actual result is more and more gloom.
       Peter speaks of this type of individual and what will happen to them,

               “But these men, with no more sense than the unreasoning brute beasts which are born to be caught and killed, scoff at things outside their own experience, and will most certainly be destroyed in their own corruption.  Their wickedness has earned them an evil end and they will be paid in full.  These are the men who delight in daylight self-indulgence; they are foul spots and blots, playing their tricks at your very dinner-table.  Their eyes cannot look at a woman without lust, they captivate the unstable ones, and their techniques of getting what they want is, through long practice, highly developed.”
                              –2 Peter 2:12-15(Phillips)

Too many times, too late in life man realizes the folly of his life.  It was spent seeking the wrong things.  It was spent building with the wrong motives.   This person has missed out on so much of the things in life that really do matter.  This is the person who has laid up his treasures on earth, and when eternity beckons he has nothing to say or to show for his life.  The time he could have been building into the lives of people, his children for instance are gone.  The strength of his youth when he could have been working for the Kingdom of God has passed by.  He is like Lord Byron,
 
               “My days are in the yellow leaf;
                    The flowers and fruits of love are gone;
               The worm, the canker, and the grief
                              Are mine alone!”

       Wasted years–how foolish.  Man has his ideas of what will satisfy, what will bring him happiness.  Part of this work, this searching is the emptiness that is in the heart.  The emptiness that will only be found in Jesus Christ.  I recall the words of Augustine, “Thou hast created us for Thyself, and our heart is not quiet until it rests in Thee.”  The building, the seeking, the experimenting, the drunkenness, the fulfilling of lusts will not satisfy what God has put in our heart–a need for Him.  To spend our lives seeking happiness is like Kelton’s quotation above; it’s worthless as “secondhand chaw of tobacco.”

 

Echoes From the Campfire

Some people spend most of their lives out in the darkness of the world and need help moving to the daylight.”

                         –Cliff Hudgins  (Viejo and the Hunted Ranger)

       “For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the LORD will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you.”
                         –Isaiah 60:2 (NKJV)
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Most of the words from Job’s three friends were tarnished, speaking either lies, or half-truths.  However, once in a while Elihu would speak the truth, but his motive was not necessarily to help Job but to build himself up.  But I want to look at one thing he says, then direct you to a great reading I came across.  Elihu speaks to Job, “But no one says, ‘Where is God my Maker, who gives songs in the night.'” (Job 35:10, NKJV)

          “There are times in which the heart has to fill the place of the eye.  We see nothing; the sky is dark; yet we are not dismayed.  There is no ray of light upon our path that we can discern, no opening in the cloud, no rent in the gloom.  Yet somehow the heart sings–sings in the shadow, sings in the silence.  And at these times we are to take the song as the substitute for the sun.  We are to impute to the heart’s singing all that is wanting to the eye’s vision.  The song is itself to be our revelation.  ‘If it were not so I would have told you,’ says the Lord–would not have suffered you to sing.  The heart’s joy demands a contradiction if it be not true.  If my soul says ‘Yea’ and God does not say ‘Nay,’ the ‘Yea’ is to prevail.  If hope cries, and He answers not, hope’s cry is to be itself the answer, for He has sent me a wing instead of a star; He has given me a song in the night.
          “My soul, be not so anxious about the reason of thy peace!  It is not written that there is a peace which passeth understanding.  What is that but a song in the night!  It is one of the songs without words.  It gives no explanation of its music.  Clouds and darkness may be round about thee, and yet thou mayest be able to sing.  Do not distress thyself to find a cause for thy joy!  Hast thou not read of a bush that was all in flame and yet was not consumed!  The facts were all against its permanence; it was unreasonable that it should live.  But it did live; and why?  Because there was a voice speaking within it, singing within it–against facts, spite of reason, in defiance of circumstances.  It was a song without words, a comfort without cause, a strength without the legions of angels.  So, ofttimes, shall it be with thee.  There shall be moments in which Thy Gethsemane shall reveal no flower, in which the cup shall not pass, in which the legions of angels shall not come; and yet, strange to say, thou shalt be strong.  Thou shalt fly without pinions; thou shalt walk without feet; thou shalt breathe without air; thou shalt praise without words; thou shalt laugh without sunshine; thou shalt bless without knowing why–for the song of thy heart shall itself be thy light, and thy joy shall be only from God.”
                          –George Matheson  (Leaves for Quiet Hours)

       There is a night coming when no man can work.  That speaks of the judgment, but there is a night that you and I might face during our lives.  St. John of the Cross calls it the “Dark Night of the Soul.”  When that night comes, how do we survive the night?  How do we conquer the fear that comes our way because of the night?  That is when we draw upon hope.  We sing in our dark prison caused by the night like Paul and Silas did in the darkness of their prison.  Hum a tune, sing a song of praise to God, but know that He is with us whether we “feel” Him or not.  The darkness does not comprehend His presence, but in our soul, in our heart of hearts we sing the song of hope.
       Objects look different in the darkness.  The trees take strange shapes in our mind as if the branches are reaching out to grab us.  If you’ve seen the Lord of the Rings, that scene where the evil horsemen are searching for the ring is frightening for it takes place in the darkness.  Evil loves the darkness, evil lurks in the darkness waiting, just waiting, and yet we must walk in the night at times.  It reminds me of a midnight walk Annie and I took many years ago in the Big Thicket area of Texas along with several other young married couples.  We were walking when a voice behind us hollered, “Stop!”  He brought forward a light, and shone it upon the ground in front of us.  If Annie had taken another step she would have placed her foot on a copperhead.  Two things happened there in the darkness:  a voice sounded, and light was cast upon the evil waiting to strike.
       As we go through life, there will be times of darkness–natural as well as spiritual.  In both of these we have to beware of our surroundings, but we also need to be listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit and then allow His light to shine.  Ah, but I hear you, what happens if He does not shine the light?  Then have faith and depend upon hope and begin to sing in the darkness for He surely will hear you and see you through.