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GOD & TEXAS: King's Highway

Texans love to drive their cars through the Lone Star State. Recent research indicates that Texas is first in the USA with 683,533 total lane miles of paved roadway. California is second with 396,540 total lane miles.

The first paths in Texas were made by the indigenous tribes as they migrated with the seasons. To move the mail in the 1850’s, the Butterfield Overland Trail left St. Louis, MO. and crossed Texas through Franklin and Fort Stockton, and on to San Francisco, CA.

In the 1860’s, the cowboys led their herds to market on routes that became known by such names as the Goodnight-Loving Trail, the Great Western Cattle Trail, and the Chisholm Trail. In 1870, the Jones-Plummer Trail served to move buffalo meat and other freight from Mobeetie, TX to Dodge City, KS, via Oklahoma.

But as the automobile became common, more advanced highways were built. In 1915 the Old Spanish Trail came through Houston, Fort Bend County and San Antonio from St. Augustine, FL. ending in San Diego, CA. The Bankhead Highway, the first U.S. transcontinental paved highway, stretched from Washington D.C. to San Diego, passing through Texarkana and El Paso.

But the most famous thoroughfare in Texas was the Old San Antonio Road. Sometimes called El Camino Real de los Tejas, or the King’s Highway, it covered over 1,000 miles from Saltillo, Mexico, through San Antonio and Nacogdoches, and into Louisiana. It followed ancient Indian and buffalo trails with necessary seasonal modifications.

Domingo Terán de los Ríos, the first governor of the Spanish province of Texas, was instructed to establish seven missions. Starting in 1691, he is credited with charting a portion of El Camino Real that became known as the “Trail of the Padres.” Long before settlers from the United States used the King’s Highway to come into Texas, the historic route was used by missionaries for evangelizing Texas with the Gospel of Christ.

The Old San Antonio Road was a primary route for exploration, trade, migration, settlement, and livestock drives. Regardless of direction, El Camino Real took its travelers to a new life. For the immigrants, it provided land and freedom. For the Padres, it provided a path for sharing New Life in Christ.

It remains true today: the road you travel leads somewhere. Many have chosen a road that leads to ruin, despair, and failure. They live for the day's pleasures, not considering tomorrow’s consequences. Proverbs 14:12 NIV, “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”

There are only two roads to travel in life. Jesus explained the choices in Matthew 7:13-14 NLT, “Broad is the road that leads to destruction…narrow the road that leads to life.” We choose our destination by choosing which road we will walk.

Jesus said in John 14:6 NIV, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” The road of Christ is the true King’s Highway.

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