Gunslinger

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Billy McGumory

The cave was dark and dusty. McGumory held a handkerchief to his face with his left hand to keep the large particles of dust out of his lungs. He grunted with pain as his right hand held his left side with the feather end of an arrow sticking up between his fingers. He limped as his right leg still had a bullet in it from yesterday.

“That was dumb.” He mumbled to himself. “This is where you are going to die.” He limped to the glimmer of light emanating from the lantern he had lit earlier.

When he was far enough away from the dust of the entrance, he dropped the handkerchief from his mouth. McGumory leaned against wall of the cave and used it as he slid down to sit next to the lantern. His clothes were gray with dirt. He pulled off his hat revealing his matted gray hair.

He reached back and pulled his last stick of dynamite out of his back pocket and laid it to the side. “That was really dumb, old boy, you may have killed a bunch of them but you are not going to get out of here. This is your tomb.”

While keeping pressure around the arrow with his left hand he unhooked the gun belt and pulled it off. McGumory smiled, “Two bullets left.”

Though right handed McGumory was just as skilled in the use of a pistol with his left hand. It was what had helped him live to fifty-one. People often were so busy watching his right hand they didn’t notice the gun in his left.

None of that mattered now. He grunted as he put the last bullets in his gun. McGumory took a deep breath and held the pistol to his temple.

From the corner of the cave came. “That would not be a good idea.”

McGumory turned his head and pointed the pistol in the shadow.

Out of the shadow stepped a slim man dressed in all black. “Jamison Dickens but most people call me James. May I join you?”

McGumory’s left hand trembled a little. Not from fear but from hunger and thirst. He dropped his hand to the floor of the cave. “Why not?”

James sat opposite of the lantern and took off a back pack. He pulled out a canteen of water and took a sip. “You want some water?”

“Sure.”

James handed the canteen over and McGumory took a long drink.

James, “You are thirsty.”

“I ran out of water this morning.”

“When did you last eat?”

“Yesterday.”

James pulled out a granola bar, unwrapped it and made sure to put the foil wrapper back in his back pack. “It has bits of apple and chocolate chips in it. It should help you feel better. I would say you are early stage type two diabetes.”

McGumory took the bar and ate it down followed by more water.

James just sat and watched in patience.

McGumory asked, “What is diabetes?”

“Your body doesn’t handle...” James thought trying to find the right words, “Your body doesn’t handle sweet foods well or that lack of sweet foods. To long without the right food and you get the shakes.”

McGumory nodded, “It started a year ago. You a doctor?” he pointed at the arrow.

James sighed, “No I am not a doctor, I just have a really good insight into the human body. As for that arrow I would not touch it. It did not go all the way through so if you pull it out it will do more damage. Probably be dead in two minutes. You leave it alone maybe we have a couple of hours to talk before you die.”

McGumory feeling much better from the food and water smiles, “You are going to die as well. There is no way out of the cave.”

“There is for me.”

McGumory picked up the gun and pointed at James. “There is another way out?”

“Not for you. This is where you die.”

“How did you get in here?” McGumory in his heart knows there is not other way in or out except the one he dynamited.

“God dropped me in here. I do have some ointment that will make that hurt less.” James pointed to the arrow. He pulled a spray can out of the bag.

“How does it work?”

James moved slowly and when McGumory pulled his right hand away James sprayed the wound. The spot went numb. McGumory took the can and pulled the bandage from the bullet wound in his leg and sprayed. That went numb as well.

“I could have used this stuff a long time ago.”

“I figured I needed to bring it.”

McGumory swapped the gun to his right hand and pointed it at James’s head. “I think you have some explaining to do.”

“Sure, but you don’t need the gun.”

James sat back down opposite as McGumory kept the gun pointed at him. James open his backpack and removed a Bible from it. He then read the story of how Jesus just appeared in a locked room with the disciples and then he read how God moved Phillip in a blink of and eye. “I read this because this is what God has done to me. He told me to pack for the trip and when I was ready he just snatch me from my home and put me in the corner over there. I watched you lean against the wall and sit.”

“And why would God do that?”

“Because He loves you.”

McGumory replied, “You’re crazy or I am seeing things. God does not love me.”

“Yes, He does. That is why He sent me.”

“Do you know who I am?”

“Billy McGumory, notorious gun slinger of the Wild West. You were born 1839 and began your killing spree in 1858. You killed 37 men, 3 women, 1 kid, robbed 12 banks single handed and 3 trains, raped 2 women. You disappeared June 10, 1890. Some believe you escaped to Mexico. Some believe you died in Canada. But where I am from we now know that you died in this cave.”

McGumory groaned, “It is just McGumory. I killed 44 men. Plus two more who died in the cave in. 3 women yes but I didn't kill the kid. Stupid deputy missed me and hit the kid. Banks and trains is right but there were 11 rapes. So, I know that God does not love me.”

“He does not love your actions but he sent me to talk with you.”

“For what?”

“To show you His love.”

“I got two bullets left maybe I should use one on you and the other on me.”

“You could or you could hear out the guy who God brought such a long way for you.”

McGumory put down the gun. “I just don’t have any fight left in me.”

“How did you end up here?”

“I was headed to Mexico. I was recognized in a little town north of here. Sherif, a couple of deputies and a couple of Indian trackers have been following me for a week, my horse died and I found this place. They tracked me here. Dang if one of those Indian’s didn’t get me with an arrow.”

James smiled, “I meant how did you end up as a 51 year old gunslinger who decided the law does not apply to him?”

McGumory didn’t want to say. He had never talked about it but he just felt compelled to. “I was eighteen and just married. They killed my father and tied me up. I was forced to watch as they raped and murdered my wife and my mother. They shot me last but the bullet only grazed my head.” A tear ran out of his left eye as McGumory pointed to the scar the bullet left, “I got free and it took me time but I hunted them down.”

“They would be the Cleveland gang.”

“And the crooked Sherif Johnson that was their partner.”

“That is what caused you to be hunted by the law. No one knew of his involvement.”

“Since the law didn’t care about me I didn’t care about it.”

“You became what you hated.”

McGumory dropped his head and the tears flowed. “I did. What they did to me I did a hundred fold. God, I deserve the hottest part of hell.”

James, “That you do! But so does everyone. We are all guilty before God.”

McGumory lifted his head. The tears washed streaks down his face and into his beard. “I don’t think any are worse than me.”

James, “There have been men and will be men that commit greater atrocities than you. Hundreds of years ago there was a man named Genghis Khan who lead his army to kill over 40 million people. Compared to him you are not that bad. But God does not compare us to other people. He compares us to Jesus. McGumory, you like myself, fall well short of that example.”

McGumory replied, “Hell shall be my home.”

James, “It doesn’t have to be. In John 11:26 Jesus said, “And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die...” Jesus just ask that you believe that when he died on the cross that he died for your sins, the murders, the thefts, the rapes, the lying and all the others. Jesus wants you to trust him about your eternal future.”

“You telling me that if I will just believe in Jesus that he will forgive me?”

“Yes,” James said, “It is that simple.”

“But why?” He looks at the arrow wound still seeping blood. “I’m dead. There is nothing I can do for him.”

“You can believe.”

“But that won’t be fair.”

James shakes his head, “No McGumory, it isn’t fair that the holy son of God, who never sinned, died in your place for your sins, and he offers you his righteous. The Bible says in Romans 3:25, ‘Whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.'”

McGumory, “God is willing to pass over my sins if I just have faith?”

“Yes, McGumory you know that you are guilty and deserve much worse than death, more so than other people realize their own guilt.”

McGumory interrupts, “I do.”

“God is reaching out his hand through Jesus saying. You are about to die but it does not have to be eternal. Jesus will justify you if you believe. Those sins will be punished on the cross. It is a peace beyond understanding.”

“I want that peace. How do I get it?”

“Tell Him.”

McGumory looked up at the ceiling of the cave, “Oh, God, I am so sorry, I have lived a life that was worthless. Please forgive me for I trust that Jesus paid for my sins.” At that moment McGumory felt a change in the presence of his heart that amounted to the greatest relief in life. The burdens he had carried were all gone. His eyes streamed tears of joy.

James pulled out a hymn book and together they sang a couple of songs. Then James read passages beginning in the Gospel of John and skipping all over as McGumory asked questions.

“James, you said in the place you are from they know I died here.”

“Yes, I am from the future. An amateur historian doing research on you traced you to here. It took him awhile to get the resources but they dug out the cave mouth and found your body here.”

“But no one will know the importance of the decision I made.”

James, “What are you thinking?”

“In my pack over there is a little note book and pencil, my diary of a sorts. Give them to me.”

James dug though the pack and found the items.

McGumory took the note book and opened it up.

James asks, “What is in it?”

“I kept track of my crimes.” McGumory updated the men killed by two filling in the details of how. “I am glad it is the last entry of such.” Then he wrote, “To the man who finds this book. The record of wrongs that I kept shows the kind of man I was but in the last hour God changed me. I have no opportunity to spread the message of the Lord Jesus Christ except to you. Don’t waste your life like me. Serve the Lord. In 1st Corinthians it speaks of our works being tested by fire. I shall enter heaven smelling of smoke for I have no good works. I encourage you to do better.”

McGumory looked at James, “Will the notebook survive?”

James, “I don’t know. When I left to come here all they had announced was that your body had been found.”

McGumory smiled, “I suppose it is best to not know.” McGumory laid the notebook down and the pencil on top. “I don’t think I have much longer.”

“You don’t.”

“Read to me some more please.”

James opened his Bible and began to read. McGumory relaxed against the wall and closed his eyes. Twenty minutes later the blood having soaked his clothes McGumory stopped breathing. James stood and collected his things. He walked to the corner and was gone.

Grayson Donald

One hundred and thirty years later, Grayson Donald was standing at a table in a tent just outside the cave. He is ecstatically flipping through a little notebook, snapping high resolution photos of each page. He had been fascinated by Billy McGumory ever since his grandfather told him as a little boy that he was related to the famous outlaw. 

Sandra his wife had chided him many times that being related to an outlaw was nothing to be proud of. It had been a let down a couple of years ago when he learned that his great, great, great grandmother Mira had been raped by McGumory. Though Mira had hated McGumory, she wrote in her diary that she had forgiven him because her son was a great blessing from God out of that great evil.

Sandra walks in, “Any thing interesting in the book.”

Grayson, “Yes, we are going to have to revise his kill count. He has most of the names of everyone he killed. Apparently in the rubble of the cave entrance we should find two more bodies.”

Sandra stood next to Grayson. He took the last picture and then sealed the book in a bag to try to preserve it. He slid his laptop over and transferred the pictures to it.

Sandra flipped through the pictures. “How much did you read?”

“I just glanced at it.”

“Did you know the last page is written to you?”

“What?” He sat down next to her.

They read together, “To the man who finds this book. The record of wrongs that I kept shows the kind of man I was but in the last hour God changed me. I have no opportunity to spread the message of the Lord Jesus Christ except to you. Don’t waste your life like me. Serve the Lord. In 1st Corinthians it speaks of our works being tested by fire. I shall enter heaven smelling of smoke for I have no good works. I encourage you to do better.”

Sandra started laughing. A couple of assistants came in. “What is it?”

Grayson just sat there with a dumbfounded look on his face.

Sandra had fallen to the floor and was rolling around laughing and thanking God. She relaxed and asked, “When did my husband say he would go to church with me?”

Claire responded, “He said if McGumory got saved he would go to church with you.”

Sandra still on the floor said, “Look at the computer.”

Claire and Dan read McGumory’s last passage.

Grayson asked, “Who tampered with the evidence?”

Sandra sat up, “Oh, honey you know better than that. You were the first in the cave. You collected the book. You have not let it out of your sight ever since. God has got you!”

A reporter came in, “So can I run with the story. It is the body of Billy McGumory, right?”

Claire looked at the reporter, “Yes, it is.”

Grayson nodded. He continued to sit in stuned silence pondering in his heart. Claire and Dan returned to their work outside the tent.

Sandra looked at Grayson’s face, “Going to church won’t be that bad. Pastor James is great and a bit of a history buff himself. He knew who Billy McGumory was when I told him about your hobby.”

Grayson turning to look at Sandra sighed, “I was thinking, could a man like McGumory be forgiven and what am I going to do now that I have found him?”

Sandra smiled, “Yes, McGumory could be forgiven by God. God’s Word is clear on that. As for what is next. Well, you’ve always been a little proud about being related to him. Do what he said. Do better.”

Grayson straightened in his chair, “Well, I believe I have.”

Sandra stood up and gave Grayson a kiss on his cheek, “Not stealing, not killing and not rapping is not what he meant by doing better. Read his last words again.” Then she pulled from her back pack that was laying on the table a new Bible that she had been waiting for the right time to give it to him. “Maybe you should make studying this your new hobby.”

Grayson picked up the Bible and smiled.

Gunslinger
by Jessie Dasher
Copyright 2018
Revision 2018-06-16

Thanks to Ronny, my every helpful editor and wife.

Summer Language

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By the time you read this school will be out for most kids or very close to it. For kids summer begins on the last day school. But that is not really true  summer starts June 21st, the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. But that is not really true either for there still only 24 hours in that day. We just call the longest because it has  the most hours of daylight. On the June 21st sunrise will be at 5:41 and sunset will be at 7:46. But thats not really true either for the sun does’t rise or set. The earth just rotates so you can’t see the sun any more.

What does summer starting at the end school, the longest day and sunset all have in common? It is a linguistic device that in seminary we called language of accommodation. I said those things are not true but that is only in a technical sense. To a kid summer begins that last day school. Most people think of a day as daylight hours and not 24 hours. What is going on is that we are talking in way that is using agreed upon metaphors.

Why is this important? Because the language of accommodation is used in the Bible. So when studying the Bible you have to be very careful to look at what is being said based on the context of not just who is talking but on when. the Bible was written over a period of 4,000 years and involves many different cultures. Sure it has one author, God but He spoke to each group in their language.

For example in John 8:44 Jesus tells some people their father is the devil. Jesus does not mean that literally. Most people realize that but there are other places where the language of accommodation is more subtle. 1st Timothy 2:9 the word modest. Today people erroneously think Paul is contrasting revealing vs modest modern clothing. He wasn’t because none of the clothing we wear today even existed then. If you look at the whole verse it is a contrast of simple vs flashy and inexpensive vs expensive.

Those that know me know I believe every one needs to read their Bible regularly. As you read it listen to what is being said and think about the time period and the audience of that day. Find the principal God was teaching them and bring that principal forward to you.

Stop Taking Quizzes on Facebook

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I have been telling people for years that you should not take quizzes on facebook. They are offered by companies to get information from you so they can sell it. It has now come to light that not only do these companies get to scrap your data (not just the answer to the questions you give them) but they get to scrap all your friends data.

So stop taking quizzes. Don't do it. It doesn't matter if they promise to tell you the comic book character you are most like. Just say no.

While we are on the topic of facebook don't share a story you have only read the the tittle to. I mean why are you telling everyone they need to read something you have not read.

Easter is Coming

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Easter is coming and this year it is on April 1st. Every Sunday is a weekly celebration of Jesus paying it all. Easter is the annual service. Here at FBC Callaway, we will gather at sunrise (6:30 a.m.) and celebrate the resurrection. Then at 11 a.m. we will gather in the sanctuary to hear our choir lead us in stirring music that points to the Lord.

Start now on inviting you friends, neighbors and family. Make an effort to invite them three times between now and April 1st. This just might be the Sunday that they give their life to the only one that can save their soul.

Yes, they may say no. They also may say yes. Pray for them often, asking God to soften their heart so that they will come. In John chapter 4 when the woman at the well realized who Jesus was she left her water pot, went and told her town about him, and then she lead them to Jesus. That is all we need to do. Tell our friends, neighbors and family about who Jesus is to us and then lead them to him. Don’t worry if they told you no in the past just be very humble and very loving and invite them again.

Some that read this are not part of FBC Callaway but still invite your friends, neighbors and family three times to your church, bathing your request in prayer, humility and love.

Have You Really Seen the Gift of God?

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In a few days Christmas will be here. For many the day will pass with little thought of Jesus. Some will be distracted by toys, and some will be distracted by reunion with family they have not seen in a while. For others the day will pass just like every other day of the year. While it is true that the modern holiday called Christmas is an amalgamation of many different traditions and Jesus was probably born in the Spring. Let us not forget that Jesus is the greatest gift that God has ever given mankind.

Jesus’ birth was unique but it is not his birth that makes him great. The angel announced to the shepherds not that a baby had been born but that the Savior, Christ the Lord had arrived. Simeon was not excited by a baby but by the Lord’s salvation, the Lord’s revelation to the Gentiles, and the Lord’s glory of Israel. The Wise man came not to see a child but a King.

Only two of the four gospels even mention his birth. All four of the gospels and the rest of the New Testament speak of his death. The gift was not in the birth but in the death. For on that cross as the Lord gave his life so the sins of the many could be forgiven.

The importance is not the baby in the manger but the Savior, Christ the Lord, on the cross bridging the gap between God and man for the glory of God and the redemption of man. 

I hope that this Christmas you personal understand the depth of the Love of the Father in sending his son. That like Simeon God will not let you see death until you have seen the Lord’s Christ.

Some Lack Restraint

Where there is no revelation,  
the people cast off restraint;  
But happy is he who keeps the law.  
Proverbs 29:18

Does the world seem to have lost its mind? Does our nation seem to be spiraling out of control? Does hate seem to be spewed from every corner of humanity? Does it seem like at any minute life as we know is about to be destroyed?

If you answered yes to these questions you are probably watching or reading to much news. That said, There is an increase in hate being publicly spewed. People seem to be more willing to say and do things that a decade ago would not have be tolerated.

The source is a lack of revelation in peoples lives. I don’t mean a lack of a new word from God. I mean people don’t have the current word, what God has already revealed. In Proverbs 29:18 revelation and law are being used as synonyms for God’s word. 

People who don’t have His word cast off restraint. It is the anything goes mentality. Where as those with His word are happy. That doesn’t mean having a copy of the Bible sitting on a shelf in your home makes you happy. They have the Father’s word in their hearts through the love Jesus by the power the Holy Spirit. And when you have that you can be happy.

Notice too that the verse is structure in a way that there is an inferred contrast. Those without revelation are not truly happy and those with the law have restraint.

The revelation of God is still in many peoples lives. I would venture to say that most people still have some of the revelation buried in them even though they don’t follow Jesus currently just because of how extensive the church has been in this nation. But as the generations progress the ensuing will be further from the revelation and restraint. Which is a further incentive to pray for revival. Revival would draw more to the revelation, increase personal restraint, and lead to a happier populace. (And give the News less negativity to talk about.)

God and Injustice

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God never overlooks injustice. Some people are quick to point out that other people get away with lying, stealing and murder all the time. The authorities do not solve every crime in America. Some may question, “how can you say God never overlooks injustice when apparently He does?”

Justice for us is when the guilty party is sufficiently punished for his deeds. The Biblical idea of justice is very similar. God will demand recompense for every sin and will punish every sinner. He will not overlook even a single white lie as we call them.

In His word God says that all His ways are justice (Deut. 32:4), that He is a just God (Isaiah 45:21), and that He shows no partiality nor takes a bribe (Deut. 10:17). In order for God to be a just God then he cannot overlook injustice. It would be a sin for God to overlook injustice and God cannot sin.

Yet, it does appear that some people are perverting justice. They lie, cheat, steal, fornicate, and murder but nobody ever catches them. They believe they are escaping justice or in common speech “they are getting away with it.” The people who believe this have a materialist worldview.

The correct view that you should have is a Biblical worldview. God says that life consist of more than just this brief vapor that we live on earth and that He is a just God. The police may never catch some people but God knows what they have done. Your mother may have never found out about ______ (insert your deed here) but God knows about it. Every sin will be paid for.

Spending life in prison for murder may seem like justice in a materialistic worldview but this is not complete Biblical justice. Prison time will never make up for your debt that you owe God. God will demand restitution from you. Every person that has ever lived, is living or will live will pay for their sins. God will punish them by casting them into hell and they will suffer greatly under the wrath of God for all of eternity (Mark 9:43-48, John 3:36). He will receive recompense in that because they will show the glory of God’s perfect justice.

Least you suddenly fear without hope the Biblical worldview teaches that there is hope in Jesus Christ. If you are a disciple of Christ then your sins where paid for by Jesus when he died on the cross. Justice is still carried out. Jesus paid for all the sins of His people, so as far as God is concerned justice has been met.

So to think that someone has gotten away with a sin is really just a short-sighted view. God never promised that every sinner would be caught before death. What God has promised is that in eternity every sin will be paid for. We will either pay for our sins or Jesus will have paid for them.

What’s Your Worldview

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Worldview is just a term that means how you look and react to the world you live in. Everyone has a worldview and it is shaped by everything that occurs in a person’s life.

Have you ever met someone that always sees everything in a positive light? No matter how bad the situation may be, he can always find a bright side to it. That person has an optimistic worldview. 

A materialistic worldview sees that life consists mainly of the tangible. A materialistic slogan is expressed on the bumper sticker  “He who dies with the most toys wins!” People having this world view do not count the afterlife for much because it is an unknown to them.

A person’s worldview also has many facets to it. For instant a person can have an optimistic materialistic worldview or a pessimistic materialistic worldview. Feelings and education on subjects like capitalism, socialism, love, marriage, body image, religion and more effect a worldview.

Because so many things can effect our worldview every person has their own unique worldview. This also means we can have a worldview that is not correct. For instant some females enter adult hood with a worldview that they must conform to the female image presented on magazines. They don’t understand that those females images have been manipulated and that the real people don’t look like that. Some males enter adult hood with a worldview that believes males are better than females. They don’t understand that simply is not true and it is just sexism.

The good news is that a worldview can be corrected. There is a correct worldview. It is called a Biblical worldview. This worldview is shaped by the information that God has given in the Bible. It should be the overriding authority in our lives. 

For example God says that life consist of more than just this brief vapor that we live on earth. Adding that to our worldview means that this world is not all there is to life. God say that He is a just God. Adding that to our worldview means that we can expect from God to be treated with all fairness. God says that we are to love one another. Adding that to our worldview changes the way we treat people. These teachings in the Bible along with many more help us build a Biblical worldview. That enables us to please God.

The only way to build a Biblical worldview in yourself is to study the Bible, not just read it. But don’t take my word for it. Study it yourself and you will find that God expects you to look at the world the way he does.

Interpreting Doctor's Advice

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Dr., "drink more water."
Me, "okay, I will buy some bottle water on the way home."
Dr., "no, bottle water is bad for you."
Me, "okay, tap water it is."
Dr., "no, to many water treatment chemicals."
Me puzzled, "okay, my mom has a well."
Dr., "no, contains to many metals and possible bacteria."
Me really puzzled, "there is a stream in the woods."
Dr., "no, animals pee in that."
Me really really puzzled, "what water am I suppose to drink?"
Dr., "oh I don't care. Just makes sure it is clean."

I came up with a plan on my way home. The next time it rains I will stand outside with a funnel in my mouth. I smile at my genius as I sip my diet coke.

Solar Eclipse

In just a few short days there will be a solar eclipse that is visible from the United States of America. It will cut right across this country. For some it will be a total solar eclipse lasting a little more than two minutes. For most of the country it will be partial eclipse. The moon will not block all of the sun.

Though I live where it will be a partial I am still looking forward to seeing it. Wether you are in the total or partial foot print it will be amazing to see. The next total eclipse to cross the U.S. is not due until April 8, 2024 but on October 14, 2023 there will a annular eclipse. That is where you see a ring of fire around the moon like the photo on this page.

If you are interested in the eclipse schedule click this link.