Well, when the time comes that He wants to call me home, I’m willin’ to go. I leave things to Him and don’t let worry mess with my sleep.”
–Elmer Kelton (The Way of the Coyote)
“For where your treasure is, there your heart [your wishes, your desires; that on which your life centers] will be also.”
–Matthew 6:21 (AMP)
I wonder, how much time do we spend thinking of heaven? If that’s where we are headed, don’t you wonder what it will be like? Yes, there are a few songs out there about heaven, not as many as in years gone past. Is it that we are too busy to contemplate life with the Lord? A.W. Tozer said, “…the devil sees to it that we seldom get alone with time to think and meditate on the reality of the other world.”
Of course many of the things we imagine are just that, imaginations. There is actually very little to be said concerning it. We have the size of the New Jerusalem, a description of the walls and the gates, but little of heaven itself. It is not a place where we go pick up body parts, for we will have a new body. It is not a place where we’ll sit on a cloud plucking at a harp, for man was made to work. We will not turn into angels! We will have communication with them; we will talk with the men of renown: Abraham, Moses, David and many others. We will see loved ones who have gone before us in the Lord. WOW! It’s going to be amazing!
Then why do we hunger and thirst so much for the things of this world? “Of all the calamities that have been visited upon the world, the surrender of the human spirit to this present world and its ways is the worst, without any doubt.” (Tozer) Ponder that for a few seconds. I’m redoing a study of Judges, and their biggest problem was that of compromise; they became like the people they were to drive out. They did what they thought was right, instead of following God’s ways.
There is a much ado today about racism and slavery. But there is more slavery today than in all of history with human trafficking being the largest illegal market in the world. However, there is even greater bondage, and I dare say that most of the world, and even Christians get caught up in it. There is a tyranny greater than we can imagine. “The tyranny of things, of material things, temporal things, things which are and then cease to be–this has become a tyranny.” (Tozer)
Do we like it here so much that we don’t think of our real home? The holidays, as wonderful as they are, can become a nightmare. The message of this time of year is to be thankful, to think of how much God loved us by sending His Son to earth for our redemption. Take some time before this year is out to think of life in heaven, our true home.
A man’s got his word. If that’s no good, what is?”
–Ernest Haycox (Trail Town)
“Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.”
–Psalm 119:105 (NKJV)
I was reading an article from “Infinity” written by Bakajied Nongrum that discussed the plight of Diogenes. (“Infinity” is published Ravi Zacharias). Diogenes went about the streets of Athens holding a lamp looking for a man who was honest. He failed to find one before his lamps went out. Maybe the fault lay in Diogenes; maybe he didn’t have enough oil in the lamp, or most likely he couldn’t find one honest man. If he tried to do the same thing in Washington, D.C., what would he find? Most likely that it was full of shysters, bureaucrats, and liars who are filled with hatred, seeking only to fill their own coffers.
Where is the honest man? Maybe Diogenes just shined his lamp in the wrong places, especially going out at night. Night is where evil lurks. Secrets and lies are told in the dark corners between men. Hidden deals are made, money passed under the table. Nothing only is there not an honest man, but where is justice?
If you are a follower of Miles Forrest (by the way, buy my book, Return From Tincup) you understand that he often argues with himself about justice, about doing what is right. Ah, but then, what is justice? C.S. Lewis says this, “Justice means much more than the sort of thing that goes on in the courts of law. It is the old name for everything we should now call ‘fairness’; it includes honesty, give and take, truthfulness, keeping promises, and all that.” Life should be about justice; life should be lived in honesty.
One thing we know for certain is that Diogenes was using the wrong lamp. He was seeking a honest man using the standards produced by society. Those standards are relative and arbitrary depending on the agenda of the one using them. They can change on a whim. The only real way to seek justice or to find an honest person is by using the true Lamp of the Word of God. We don’t have to stumble along seeking in this dark world. We have the Word of God to light our footsteps and shine upon our way.
Therefore, if someone says this is right and it is shown by God’s Word to be wrong, shun their saying. Or something that is clamored to be wrong, and God’s Word says it is right continue following that path. Take heed in the words of the prophet Micah:
“He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you Except to be just, and to love [and to diligently practice] kindness (compassion), And to walk humbly with your God [setting aside any overblown sense of importance or self-righteousness]?” (Micah 6:8 (AMP)
All accidents are freak accidents. All dangers are hidden dangers, by the very meaning of the word. Look out for the Indian sharpshooter where there’s no cover to hide him. Watch out for the badgerhole, far from where any badgerhole should be. A man can ready himself for anything on earth, if he knows it’s there.”
–Alan LeMay (The Unforgiven)
“Uphold my steps in Your paths, That my footsteps may not slip.”
–Psalm 17:5 (NKJV)
I can remember many a time when walking to or from school when I took a misstep or didn’t notice the ice and wham-bam, right down I went. Or trying to climb an icy, snow-covered hill and slipped and fell. When one walks on ice they have to concentrate all the time. Now, I’m not saying that life is covered with ice, but the way it feels outside it is something to talk about.
As we go through this life we must concentrate on where we step. To compromise is to take a step without looking ahead or at the consequences. The consequences of compromise are often hidden, so beware. I came across an article by Richard Dresselhaus that I would like to share; it surely is pertinent for this day in which we live.
“Slippery slopes. If you don’t watch your step…you can be injured.
When you follow Jesus–be very careful about slippery slopes–those subtle compromises that Satan puts in your path.
Typically–they are concealed and hidden–like a bit of loose snow on a slope of ice. And if you’re not careful…you can lose you spiritual balance and fall prey to Satan’s ways.
The best way to avoid slipping is to be rooted in the truths of God’s Word. Those truths become like a sign: Slippery–proceed with caution.
Modern society is covered with slippery slopes–compromising religious practices–gender confusion…and secular ideologies.
When tempted by Satan…Jesus quoted the Word of God.
Do the same–and you’ll stay on your feet when you hit slippery slopes.”
Yes, watch your step. Try the spirits, try the thoughts of man, see if they line up with the Word of God, if not, let them be.
I recall when I was in high school one of the top baseball players was skiing. He was moving down the slopes when something happened. A ski must have hit something beneath the snow and he went down–hard. Here was a person, seemingly having fun, whose skies went out from under him and when he hit, his head smashed against a hidden stump. He was never the same, a metal plate replaced the bone that was crushed in his skull.
Focus on the important things–God, family, country. Life is not trivial, yet some live it as if it were. Don’t let your foot slip on the ice because you’re not focused…the consequences could be devastating.
James Lamb blocked the doorway forcing Lucas to step back into the room. “What’re doing here kid?” snarled Lamb. “Coming to finish off my brother?” He reached for Lucas forgetting his bandaged hand. Lucas jumped grabbing the edge of the door swinging it as Lamb lunged for him. The door struck the arm that was amputated. Lamb let out a scream like a wounded cougar.
That brought Doc Jones running in a hurry. Lucas was back against the wall. The pain had driven Lamb to his knees, also waking his brother. He was in that position when Doc arrived.
“What’s happened here?” asked Doc, then he saw Lucas. “Lucas, what are you doing here?”
From the bed, John Lamb groaned. “Leave the kid alone,” groaned Lamb. “He came to pray for me. James tried to seize him forgetting his arms.”
Doc stooped down by James Lamb. “If I help, do you think you can get to your feet? You need to get back to your own bed. I don’t want any infection to get in that arm,” then he turned his attention toward Lucas scolding him. “Lucas, you get on out of here.”
Lucas ducked his head and hurried out of the room.
I had told Lucas to be at the diner early the next morning. I saddled Two-Bits and Hawk and were leading them along with a pack mule, walking beside Molly down to the diner. She liked to be the first one there but often Elena beat her. I had convinced her to start carrying her pistol in the pocket of the dress she wore to work. At least it made me feel a little easier leaving her.
Lucas and I had worked hard the day before filling up the wood box. I wanted to leave enough for ten days. The plan was to ride up, meet with the mine owners and then we’d come back on the train. There was already some snow on the pass, but it was clear this morning. After what Lucas had been through, I wanted to give him time to ride in the high country, it always seems to help sooth the soul.
Elena was there already, getting things prepared for the coming morning rush. Lucas was there waiting with a coffee cup in front of him. I noticed that he was scowling.
“Are you drinkin’ that or just staring it down?” I questioned as I came up to the table.
“Senor Miles, this is bitter.”
That brought a laugh from Molly. “Here, Lucas, put a little sugar in it, then try it.”
I watched him add the sugar and stir the brew shaking my head all the while. He sipped it, then gave a little smile.
“Sientate!” came the voice of Elena as she appeared from the kitchen with two plates of eggs, bacon, frijoles, and tortillas. “Comer!” he ordered then struck off for the kitchen.
“You’ve got your orders men, now get to it,” laughed Molly as she poured coffee for the two of us. “I’ll have a cup with yo, then need to get busy helping.”
We began to stuff the food in our mouths when Marta and Charlie came in. She had a small frown on her face. “Senor Miles, you will take good care of him, no?” she asked. Charlie put his hand on her shoulder to give some comfort.
“More’n’ likely he’ll be takin’ care of me,” I pulled at my moustache and gave a little wink. “He’s good at that if you remember.”
“Come on, partner we need to be hittin’ the trail,” I nudged him on the shoulder then drank down the rest of my coffee. “See you in a few days.”
Lucas followed me to the door then on out to the horses. I checked my cinch before mounting then stepped up and into the saddle. Lucas started to mount. “Son! Always check your cinch!”
He had a startled look with me barking at him. “I know, Senor Miles, I just forgot.”
I nodded and continued to watch him. As he settled in the saddle all of a sudden his eyes widened. “Senor Miles, there’s a rifle in the scabbard.”
“Well, why shouldn’t there be? You’ve showed you could handle one, an’ you never know when I might need the help. If you’re goin’ to ride a man’s trail, you need to be carryin’ a man’s gun.”
He reached out to touch the butt of the rifle. “You through gawkin’, we really need to be ridin’. If so, remove your hat. Lord, be keepin’ your hand on Lucas and I as we travel. We’re trustin’ in You. Amen.”
Before putting my hat back on I waved it at Molly and the rest then gave Hawk a kick and headed off down the road giving out a loud, “Yeehaw!”
I didn’t look behind me, but heard a higher pitched voice with a “Yeehaw” and the hooves of Two-Bits coming behind me.