Thursday, March 31, 2011


A Tale of Three Kings, written by Gene Edwards and published in 1980, is a study of brokenness, based on the life of King David. The three kings include David, Saul, and Absalom.

Though as a young teenager, David was anointed as future king by Samuel, it remained a family secret.  However, when the young David defeated Goliath, it became apparent to all that David was destined for the throne.  Even King Saul recognized the greatness in David, but quickly his admiration for the young man turned to anger, wrath, and hate.  Saul spared no effort to kill David.  And David responded with love and respect for the king -- God's Anointed.  And though Saul was brought into vulnerable situations whereby David could easily take the king's life, David withheld revenge.

Later in David's reign as Israel's king, his son, Absalom, initiated an insurrection against his father, and declared himself king.  David had a decision to make -- will he treat Absalom the way Saul treated himself.  David's decision was to remain as David and not become a Saul.

The application of this small book relates to a large contemporary issue -- how will Christians respond to leaders who demand respect while withholding respect to others.  I see this as a real issue when the business/CEO model is creeping into ministry.  And the danger of hurt and brokenness is upon both those who lead and those who follow.

A good friend recommended this book to me and I am grateful for his advice.  And in turn, it is my privilege to commend to my readers this meaningful volume.

Friday, March 25, 2011


True Grit, written by Charles Portis and published in 1968, was made into a movie in 1969 and released again as a film in 2010.  Portis, a native of El Dorado, Arkansas ,  chronicles the effort of a 14 year old Mattie Ross to avenge the murder of her father by a drifter, Tom Chaney.  To achieve her aim, she enlists the services of a Federal Deputy Marshal, Reuben J. Cogburn to bring Chaney to justice at Judge Isaac Parker's court in Fort Smith.  Rooster, as Cogburn is known, was chosen

because Mattie understood that he had grit.  In the pursuit of Chaney, they are joined by a Texas Ranger named LaBoeuf who has been chasing Chaney for a murder in Texas.  As the three travel through the Indian territory, today's Oklahoma, they discover Chaney has linked up with the Lucky Ned Pepper gang of outlaws and stock thieves, and eventually the gang is encountered with serious consequences. 

 True Grit is written as a narrative of the events by Mattie in the later years of her life.  As I read this interesting volume I could not help but conclude that Mattie Ross was a young lady with true grit.  Mattie was a determined young lady who could negotiate a horse trade with the best and quote scripture like a preacher.  In reviewing this 43 year old novel, it must be mentioned that Charles Portis demonstrated his enjoyable sense of humor in many of the scenes and conversations that Mattie recalled. 

Early in the book as Mattie traveled to Fort Smith to claim her father's body, she noticed outlaws being unloaded from a prison wagon to await trial in Parker's court.  She notes that "justice had caught up with them to demand payment.You must pay for everything in this world one way and another."  Then she makes an insightful remark that is quoted at the beginning of the 2010 film adaption of the book: "There is nothing free except the Grace of God.  You cannot earn that or deserve it."

Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfield
I highly recommend this enjoyable book and either or both of the movies.  John Wayne was outstanding as Rooster Cogburn and won his only Oscar in the 1969 release, but for me the 2010 version did an overall better job of presenting the flavor of True Grit, and Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfield both delivered a much more believable presentation of Portis' gritty Deputy Marshal and the young but stubbon Mattie Ross. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Loaded and Cocked

The title of this writing project is taken from a great book and two great movies -- True Grit.  Early in the story line, Reuben J. (Rooster) Cogburn is asked by the defense lawyer Goudy concerning how he and another deputy marshall approached the Wharton's who were suspected of murdering a couple earlier that day. Goudy says, "The gun was pulled and ready in your hand?" Rooster's answer was, "Yes sir."  Goudy prodded by asking, "Loaded and cocked?"  Rooster then said, "If it ain't loaded and cocked, it will not shoot."

As humorous as Charles Portis makes that interchange, I have thought how that applies to folks who know the gospel.  Paul mentored his young friend, Timothy, to "Preach the word.  Be instant in season, out of season."  In other words, be "loaded and cocked" and ready to share the story that will make an eternal change.

In the posts to follow, I intend for the season to always be in, and to be loaded and cocked.  I hope to include devotional thoughts, reviews of books I am reading, and stories that may be of interest to folks who love their families and friends.

I hope you enjoy!