Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February 29, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . Now, It's Just A Passion (MQ)
Bible Study Verse
Acts 9:3-4
As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" (NKJV)

Saul had his life turned around 180 degrees while on the road to Damascus. My life also changed drastically about 20-25 yrs ago. I wasn't off killing people, but I was intent on reducing the largemouth bass population.

I bought my first bass boat, an aluminum Bass Tracker, in the early 80's. From there I graduated up to a Skeeter fiberglass boat. It had a lot of the whistles and bells popular at the time. I was obsessed with bass fishing, made two or three trips a month to my favorite fishing lakes. I remember mouthing prayers several times as I left Jasper, Texas, a town close to Sam Rayburn Reservoir--thanking the Lord for the ability to fish and, "Please don't let me loose these opportunities!"

Guess what: after going through some financial difficulties, the boat had to be sold. Without a boat, fishing most of the major lakes in Texas is pretty much impossible. Either there is no access to the water or the shoreline is privately owned.

My obsession with bass fishing had been dealt a severe blow. I had a Damascus experience. Though I hadn't been knocked off a donkey or horse by a blinding light, I was knocked out of my boat!
(Tom B)

Action Point
Like Saul, my life had suddenly changed. It took me longer than it took Saul to be able to see clearly again. Slowly the Lord opened my eyes to see that there were other ways to pursue the sport. He had cured me of the obsession.

Now, it's just a passion in my life. He showed me different ways of fishing. I found a bass club that had lots of empty seats open to non-boaters in their tournaments. I discovered there are many ponds (stock tanks) in Texas that you can fish with permission. Some of these tanks had better fishing than the large impoundments. He also showed me some new fishing techniques that I would never had experienced otherwise. He opened my eyes!

I am not saying that the modern bass boats with all of the features are bad news. They are really an enjoyable way to pursue the fish, and I would love to have another boat if that were possible. But I learned that I needed to have a proper perspective on the total picture!

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
Part of the joy of fishing is learning new ways, new challenges in catching fish. An ultra light spinning rod and reel, or fly rod, equipped with mini lures or flies slowly worked around the edges of a pond can produce some pulse-raising excitement!   

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

February 28, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . It's Gonna Rain? (MQ)
Bible Study Verses
Jeremiah 9:23-24
 "Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know Me, that I am the LORD, Who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the LORD. (NIV)

I am privileged to be on my agency's national honor guard team. Five years ago we were in Washington, D.C. on our way to an event in full regalia, when we passed the front gates of the White House. By the hubbub going on, it was obvious something was up.

I asked a uniformed secret service officer what was happening, and he said that the president would be driving out at any moment. I asked if my team could come in and stand by to wait for his arrival--after all, we were federal conservation officers, and we know the president. The officer asked me, "But does the president know you?" The officer's words hit home. Then he gave us that smile, and we were shortly on our way!
(Ruben C)

Action Point
Many people say they love God and have the fish symbols on their cars to prove it. But Jesus says of those who do not do the will of His father, " . . . 'I never knew you. . .' " Matthew 7:23b..

Does God know you because you do His will? Like our almost encounter with the president, if He doesn't, you're not getting past the gates. He simply wants us to show our faith in Him by what we do. Read James 2:18.

Get to know God. Put your faith in Him, exercise kindness, justice, righteousness, and the like, and He will certainly know you too!!!

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
In the old days--Okay, let's say 20 years ago and beyond--I remember going on hunting trips, and every morning it was the same thing: "Is it going to rain today?" "Is it going to be hot or cold?" Well you don't have to guess anymore if you have a satellite radio subscription, a smart phone, or at the least, a weather radio with you. My favorite is the weather radio function on my FRS radio. I can tune in to one of the 10 channels and usually get reception on one of them wherever I am, then figure out the day's weather before I leave camp. I often hear the same response from my old man who owns the same radio, yet still seems to live 40 years ago: "Really, it's gonna snow? How do you know that?"

"Instincts, Dad. Instincts."

Monday, February 27, 2012

February 27, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . .  Butchering Livestock And Wild Game Was Nothing Out Of The "Norm" (MQ) 
Bible study Verses
Mark 7:14-16
Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, "Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them." (NIV)

I come from a ranching and farming heritage. Growing up in a very rural area, I was tasked from my earliest childhood with taking care of horses, livestock, and hunting--the only kind of life I knew until adulthood. Butchering livestock and wild game was nothing out of the "norm".

Along with that, harvesting various parts of animals for consumption, not considered edible by your average urban dweller, was also normal--the stomach of a cow or the liver of a deer to name a few. I have mentioned this to some friends throughout my life with less than positive responses: "Ugh! Cow tongue?!" "You eat rattlesnake?! You can't eat that stuff!"
(Ruben C)

Action Point
Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. Read James 1:23-24.

Just as eating the less popular parts of an animal will not make you unclean, if your actions are not forthright, affiliation with a respected sportsmen group will not make you a true sportsman. Likewise, it does not matter what church you belong to, if your life and doctrine are not in agreement with it, membership will be of no advantage to you. "But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it-not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it-they will be blessed in what they do," James 1:25 (NIV).

Do not be tempted to cut ethical corners in the field, but be an ambassador for Christ wherever you are. You never know when the clean bright light that comes from you will shine on someone who will be influenced toward Christ!!!

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
When dealing with anti-hunters or anti-meat eaters, try not to overpower them with your opinions on the subject. They expect that from us. I always find it interesting to listen and take a philosophical approach. I have influenced at least one non-meat eater this way. Though he still does not eat meat, he is actually an advocate of hunting!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

February 26, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . Rock Mountain Goat (Wayne M)
Bible Study Verses
Philippians 2:9-11
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (NIV)

Even the wild creatures will kneel before Jesus and give him glory, honor, and fame.  The day is coming soon when the above verses will be a reality.  Christ will be revealed as the ruler of heaven and earth.
(Jack M)

Action Point
Submission.  This word is often abused, refused, and rejected.  It seems no one wishes to submit.  That attitude is true in the schools, the work place, and even in our homes.

Protests are made.  "Sit in's" are staged.  "Occupy" movements abound.  Protestors worldwide are in the streets throwing bottles, cans, bricks, and even flaming "Molotov Cocktails" to burn down buildings, destroy vehicles, and wreak mayhem to prove their particular point.

But, submission is a necessary part of life and living.  If everyone is in charge, no one is in charge.  The result is chaos.

We are instructed to obey the law and to honor those in authority.  We must obey the orders of law enforcement officers, game wardens, conservation officers, and park rangers for conscience sake.  We must do this because we are commanded so in the Word.  Read  Romans 13:1-7.

There is coming a day when Jesus will clearly be revealed, and His rule will be absolute.  The result of His rule will be a time of peace and prosperity the world had never seen.
It is better to submit to Him now.  Fall on your knees.  Believe in Him as Savior and Lord, and follow Him in this life as well as eternity.  Receive His forgiveness of sin and become His follower.  You will be rewarded for all eternity!!!

Sportsman's Tip of the Day
Respect those in law enforcement.  Obey the laws.  Do all you can to set a good example for others in these matters.  Make sure you have the proper licenses and permits.  Secure permission from property owners.   

Saturday, February 25, 2012

February 25, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . Snow Can Be A Curse Or A Blessing (Wayne M)
Bible Study Verse
Isaiah 1:18
"Come now, let us settle the matter," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." (NIV)

Snow can be a curse or a blessing.  Where winter is dominant and difficult, it controls many things, including travel, events, and personal agendas.
Snow is, also, a blessing.  The first snow always provides the pheasant hunter some new opportunities for success.  Tracking in snow is desirable during the deer camps and other hunts.

Snow provides much needed moisture every year.  It replenishes the soil, builds up subsoil moisture, and allows the germination of winter wheat and other crops.

The freshness, cleanness and beauty of the newly fallen snow is magnificent!!! The whiteness of snow is also a metaphor reminding us of our being forgiven, being justified, and being right with God.
(Jack M)

Action Point
Guilt is an oppressive weight.  Some never seem to overcome guilt over their past actions, feelings, motivations, and choices.

God invites us to newness, to cleanness.  He invites us to a life without guilt.  He invites us to eternal life with Him.
How can that be?  He is willing and just to forgive our sins.  When He forgives us, He justifies us.  He declares us right with Him.  He does this based upon the work of His Son Jesus.  Jesus came to the Earth to become that means of forgiveness. "God made Him Who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God,"  II Corinthians 5:21 (NIV).
Let the snow remind you of who you are in Christ, or what you can be if you receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
Plan for snow.  Have an emergency kit in your car in case you are stranded.  Check the weather forecast to make sure it is safe.  If you have to walk far in deeper snow, consider the purchase of snow shoes.  If you have to travel far, perhaps cross country skies are better.  

Friday, February 24, 2012

February 24, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . Retrieving A Pheasant (MQ) 
Bible Study Verse
Proverbs 18:24
A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. (KJV)

The cock pheasant flushed with the traditional cackle and the shot was taken. Gliding to the ground, I knew the bird would be on the run.

Mattie, my fifteen-pound, eight-month-old Boykin Spaniel, broke for the retrieve. You could see the amazement in her eye when she caught this strange bird. "It looks more like a fancy chicken than a quail," she was thinking. This was her first pheasant retrieve. Without hesitating, she jumped right on the bird.

They looked like two little boys in the backyard wrestling. She was on top, and then the bird was on top. After a minute of this tussle, Mattie just backed off a couple of steps to regroup.

Buddy, my two-year-old English Setter, stepped in and scooped up the bird, shook it a few times; and the fight was over. Then, he did the most interesting thing--he put it down for Mattie.

She rushed over, grabbed the bird, and brought it to me. When I took it from her, she stood there so proudly. As I looked up, Buddy was standing and watching in the distance, pleased. I guess even a dog needs a buddy.
(Joey H)

Action Point
Everybody, from time to time, gets into a situation, has to make a decision, and needs a buddy--someone to help.

Jesus Christ has been my Friend, my Buddy, if you please, for years. He guides me, teaches me, encourages me, and loves me. When I get in a tight that I cannot manage, He is always there to step in and take over.

He really is a true Friend Who is closer than a brother. A long time ago, I discovered that I needed a buddy. How about you?

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
Begin crate training your pup on the day that you bring him home. If the pup is in the house with you and the family, use his crate in which to let him rest, have a snack, and even spend his nights. The crate will help you manage him and also give him his space. When you begin to take him to the field, loading him in his dog box will never be a problem.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

February 23, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . On One Particular Archery Elk Hunt, I Thought . . . (NPS)
Bible Study Verse
Mark 13:33
Watch! Be alert! For you don't know when the time is coming. (HCSB)

Anyone who is a seasoned hunter knows to always be alert, watching for your quarry. We learn a skill like this through our mistakes. On one particular archery elk hunt, I thought I was doing my best--moving slowly and watching intently for movement or the shape or color of an elk through the trees. But what I didn't do was to notice the huge bull elk bedded down behind a log just 20 yards in front of me. Of course, he spooked and I never even got an arrow knocked for a shot.

Jesus instructs us to be watching for signs of His return, well-grounded in our relationship with Him, and knowing what His Word says about the end times. I pray that you and I will be alert and ready with anticipation for the day He comes again!!! Maybe Today!!!
(Jimmy S)

Action Point
Just as we put in time to learn our hunting spots and the behavior of the animals that we hunt, we should be learning God's word so we will be ready for Him, without the risk of deception.

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
Purchase a set of topographical maps of the area you are going to hunt. Learn how to use them and learn the lay of the land. This will help familiarize yourself well with the area and will add to your success and safety during your hunt.

February 22, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . The Better My Chances Of Bagging (MQ)  
Bible Study Verse
Philippians 3:14
I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (NKJV)

As an archery hunter, I have learned that the more I strive at becoming a better shot through practice, the better my chances of bagging that trophy animal I so desire.

What's your passion? What are you repetitively practicing to perfect--a perfect false cast with a fly rod, longer shots with your rifle, a great wildlife photo, or steer roping? You get the point by now, I'm sure.

The lesson here is, if we practice our Christian life by praying, studying our Bibles, and seizing daily opportunities that God places before us, we become more effective men and women of God. He is the Expert!
(Jimmy S)

Action Point
It's good to spend time practicing our shooting so that we don't wound and loose an animal.

Evaluate whether you are spending time with the Father so that you don't lose your focus on the important things in life. Then, He will bless you with the time you need to practice your other passions!!!

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
Fish the down-wind side of a lake or pond in sustained, heavy wind. Forage will be concentrated on that side of the lake or pond and bass will move in to feed. A spinner bait is a good choice when fishing for these aggressive fish.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

February 21, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . Raise The Percentage Of Fat And Protein When You Are Hunting Them (MQ)
Bible Study Verse
Philippians 4:19
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (NKJV)

Always looking for a new way to manage my weight. At many events where I speak, folks often offer me their great diet plan. A few weeks ago, a fellow told me about his latest. "It's called the dog food diet," he stated. "You just fill a pocket with dried dog kibble and whenever you get hungry, just eat a handful. I lost close to fifty pounds in four months, but I did end up in the hospital ICU."

"Did the dog food poison you?" I asked.

"No," he replied. "I was just sitting in the middle of the road scratching myself and a truck hit me!"

The TV commercial says, "Life comes at you fast." Maybe you were just sitting there living life, scratching if you please, and then, out of nowhere you are run over. As much as we prepare, it is not difficult to be knocked off your feet. At this point, Christ is there. In the middle of the storm, in the darkness of the night, and in the silence of the fury, He stands there saying, "Come unto Me." I've been in that difficult place, and He was there. He will be there for you!!!  
(Joey H) 

Action Point
I do not want my relationship to God to be just an open-in-case-of-emergency relationship. So, I walk with Him every day. Then, when life comes at me fast, I am ready.

Every day, in every way, acknowledge Him, and you to will be ready.

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
When I am on the road and it is time to fill my bus with diesel, I call an FHA loan officer and look for a well-used truck stop with good quality fuel. Your dog's food is just as important. Feed a high quality dry food to your dogs. Raise the percentage of fat and protein when you are hunting them. Then, back it down during those slow days of summer. Stay away from table scraps and feed a good dry kibble.

Monday, February 20, 2012

February 20, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . A Perfect Fire (Janet B)
Presidents Day 2012
Bible Study Verse
I John 1:7
 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (NKJV)

After a long enjoyable day deer hunting, my son and I were sitting around the perfect campfire he had built. We had been there for awhile just enjoying life when one of the logs rolled out and away from the fire. We were both too comfortable to move so we just let it lay there and watched it slowly burn its self out. After a while my son finally got up and kicked the log back into the fire. Within seconds, that log was a blaze of fire again.

The next morning resting under a tree, I started thinking about that log in the fire. God mentions several times the importance of being among fellow believers and staying in fellowship with other Christians. There is power and strength in numbers. I know for me, it is easier to stay on fire for God when I am around other Christians. But when I have been away for awhile, it is difficult to keep that fire burning as hot and as bright as I should. The devil knows how to poke you in hopes that you will become separated from God.

Don't wait for something to happen that kicks you back to God. If you have been out of church for awhile or away from your bible studies, don't wait any longer. Become focused on Him. You will be surprised how much better you will feel and how fast that spark will turn back into a blaze.
(Dave W)

Action Point
Today is Presidents Day. Take some extra time to pray for our leaders. We all can agree, they need it now more than ever.

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
When preparing an area for a fire ring, make sure to clear a space beyond your ring so that when sparks fly and that log roles out, there is no danger of that perfect fire getting out of control.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

February 19, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . Elk (NPS)
Bible Study Verse
Psalms 43:3-4
Send out Your light and Your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to Your holy hill
and to Your dwelling! Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding Joy, and I will praise You with the lyre, O God, my God.  (ESV)

At age twenty, I had the privilege of bow hunting for elk in the Colorado Rockies. After shooting a 4x5 rag-horn elk, I found myself lost and wandering in the wilderness. It was early evening and darkness began settling in. My only light source was a very small hand held flashlight. Trekking through the steep and difficult terrain would be difficult. If that wasn't enough, another challenge shadowed me when my light began to dim. 

Hiking for hours had drained its power and it was only moments from being extinguished forever. Tired and worn out, I stood at the bottom of a deep and dark valley,, faced with an extremely difficult climb. Three quarters of the way up the steep incline, my light died as well as my spirit. Lost and alone, I broke down and prayed. 

I would spend the night out in the mountains, but not without God answering my prayers. After composing myself, I felt it was important to get to at least the top of the hill before hunkering down for the night. Upon cresting the ridge, the moon illuminated a field of golden heather and a two-track trail. I was able to travel the rest of the way with a light unto my feet.  
(Michael T)

Action Point
Many times in life we find ourselves lost in a dark world without a light. Sometimes it is the blackness of our souls or the darkness of this world that extinguishes our light. We attempt to draw upon our own resources in hopes of meeting our own needs, but find the illuminating power to be weak or fading away.  

Put your focus on the Light of this world, Jesus Christ, and let His light and truth lead you.

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
 Instead of using a regular hand held flashlight on your next adventure, invest in a hands free, lightweight, and space saving headlamp. You can buy affordable lightweight headlamps at any store. This will illuminate the possibilities the next time adventure finds you in the dark.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

February 18, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . They Will Soar On Wings Like Eagles (NPS)
Bible Study Verse
Isaiah 40:31
But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (NIV)

The world's strongest man! Those words have a glorious appeal to us. All men like to think of themselves as powerful and strong. Is that some of what appeals to us about the outdoors?

Maybe it's the strength to fight that giant fish and bring it in? Perhaps it is the skill to stalk and take a great elk or caribou with a bow? All of these are fine accomplishments and bring great satisfaction, but this type of strength is fleeting at best.

The strength of youth soon passes. Old age sets in, and we realize our humanity. Or, perhaps an accident occurs that reminds us that it is by the grace of God we are able to do these things.

I experienced this in a fall from a tree stand that broke on me. My doctor told me that God protected me from being a paraplegic. Had I hit the stump two inches closer to my spine I would have been disabled for the rest of my life.
(Jack M)

Action Point
Find strength in God. Look to Him for the power to live successfully. Be confident in His unfailing arms and strength. In His strength we can run this life successfully. Renew your strength with a daily quiet time with Him. 

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
Use a safety harness at all times. Use it to set and hang the stands, not just when you are hunting. Buy one that supports the entire body, not one that attaches only at the waist. The weight of the body should be supported with leg straps as well as in the torso by the harness. This may well prevent injury that would harm you for life.

Friday, February 17, 2012

February 17, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . Pheasant (Rebecca L)
Bible Study Verse
Luke 12:24
Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! (NIV)

God's existence, goodness, and provision for all creation is evident in His care of animals and birds. Instinctual actions and reactions protect wild creatures from danger.

I witnessed a hen pheasant fake an injury from a cycle bar mower to protect her young. I thought she was hurt. She crawled away from me, dragging a wing, walking lopsidedly, and pretending to be severely hurt. She would attempt to fly as I got closer, seemingly able to fly only a few feet. After I was about 50 yards from where my efforts had begun, she sprang into the sky, flying away completely uninjured.

She had pretended to be injured in order to lead me away from her young. God instilled that ability into her genetic code to protect her and her young. His goodness is manifold, yet He says that you are more valuable than they are!
(Jack M)

Action Point
Pause to think about how God provides for you--clothing, shelter, food, medical care, health, and things to enjoy! These things tell us that God places immense value on all human life. He values us so much that He provided a Way for us to spend all eternity with Him in Heaven. That Way is found singularly in Jesus Christ. Psalm 46:10 encourages us to "Be still, and know that I am God."

Meditate on God's providential care of all creatures. Take time to reflect on how it all points back and gives glory to God who is the Creator. Thank God for His goodness and providential care of yourself and all created things.

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
Optics are important in the field. Buy the best you can afford when it comes to binoculars, optical sights, and spotting scopes. Carry a small repair kit for eye glasses. Even if you don't wear them, another person's day may be saved by having a kit available. They are very small and lightweight.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

February 16, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . Trout (MQ)
Bible Study Verse
Colossians 1:16 
For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things have been created through Him and for Him.(NASB)

As a young man in college, I was interested in what made a trout hatchery tick. For one of my classes, I interviewed a man who owned and operated a private trout hatchery in northern Pennsylvania. It was an interesting time; but one thing I took away my visit was that these fish were created for one reason, to be caught, to be released, and ultimately to be in a frying pan somewhere. 

What is our ultimate purpose for being created? Is it to glorify humanity and to set ourselves up as self-proclaimed gods? Or is it all about Jesus and realizing that, apart from Him, we wouldn't be here?  
(Tom H)

Action Point
Take time to reread Colossians 1:16. Reflect on the fact that nothing ticks without Jesus. Praise Him for His ingenious creative abilities.

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
It's a good thing that many people are using the catch and release policy when fishing so that fisheries don't become cleaned out for the next guy. I would suggest that you should keep some fish for the frying pan for your eating pleasure. This is especially true if the fish is injured in anyway and may not survive.    

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

February 15, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . During An Outdoor Adventure (MQ)
Bible Study Verse
Romans 12:2
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (NASB)

If we are truly yielded to His working in our hearts, our lives are like a proving ground for God's will. Let His life permeate through your everyday experiences--at work, at home, during an outdoors adventure or even a casual walk with good friends.

The proof of God's will and abiding presence comes out through the fruit of love which is good, acceptable and perfect.
(Tom H)

Action Point
Through a simple heartfelt prayer, let God know you are yielding or giving your whole self to Him.  Then you can bear the fruit of His mature and perfect love.

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
Keep the best, get rid of the rest. A little organizing tip for anything from fishing tackle to organizing your garage. An uncluttered life is truly a liberating thing! Warning: this tip is easier said than done.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

February 14, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . Your Choice - Deer Hunter or Hunting For The Dears That You Can Bless (MQ)

Happy   Valentine's   Day
 Bible Study Verse
James 4:7
Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. (NKJV)

Remember the best hunt of your life, the hunt of your lifetime! Was it the planning, the trophy, the anticipation or all of the above?
The greatest, most memorable hunt of your life could be today just wrapped  in unexpected packaging.  Surprise!!! Memories are always given in unexpected packaging. God's ways are always higher than ours!!! The choice is yours!!! 
Are you ready to surprise and to bless your Sweetheart? If you forgot, you're now walking in the light of knowledge. Be Jesus to your Sweetheart; beginning today!!!

Maybe you think you're exempt cause you don't currently have a Sweetheart. Wrong!!!  Then you be a Sweetheart to everyone. A small random act of kindness can bless a single, a widow/widower, a divorced one, or one who thinks all hope is gone. By choosing you can be an answer to someone's prayer.

More important than finding the "right" one is to be the "right" one.
(Joe Q)  

Action Point 
The world will come to know Jesus by how we love them!!!

Let's live intentionally walking in His paths, gathering others in love, and walking into eternity with Jesus with as many as we can love, bless, and lead into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Love that committed military promise, "Leave No Man Behind!" This should be our commitment to discipling men and women, leaving no one behind!!!

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
Smiles, hugs, and kindness are gifts from the heart. Be courageous, thoughtful, wise, and bless those around you!!! 

Monday, February 13, 2012

February 13, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . Friendly Competition At The Range Is Always Fun (MQ) 
Bible Study Verse
Luke 23:35
The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at Him. They said, "He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is God's Messiah, the Chosen One." (NIV)

Ever had to sit and listen to someone talk incessantly about how good a shot they are? Didn't you just want to look at him and say, "Hey, hot shot, let's put a couple of bucks on this and I'll meet you out at the range, then you can prove just how good you are!" What's really a bad thing for you is when he does it!

Well, the rulers in this passage were demanding that Jesus save Himself and prove that He was the Messiah. They felt pretty good about their position; after all, it was Jesus up there on the cross, not them. They really thought that they had Him, and that they had put an end to His nonsense about being the Son of God.

But, a strange thing happened three days later--Jesus did exactly what they asked Him to do. Through God's power, He was saved from death, thus proving that He was, indeed, the Chosen One, the prophesied Messiah. He just didn't do it the way they were demanding; but did it His Father's way.
 (Cliff S)

Action Point
As sinners, it seems that the most common thing we humans do is demand that God save us. But we want to tell Him how, we want to set the terms, we want Him to do it our way!

That's not the game plan. It's God's way, and He sent His Son, Jesus, to instruct us as to what that way is. In John 14:6, we find these words, "Jesus answered,
"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me," (NIV).

If you want to have God's forgiveness and blessing in your life, Jesus said you've got to do it His way, through child-like belief and faith in Him. When you get right down to it, it's the only way!!!

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
Friendly competition at the range is always fun. Get out and do some practicing on your own and surprise your buddies. It'll make you a better shot when that buck of your dreams steps out in front of you next season.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

February 12, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . How Do They Learn, Mostly By Watching (Ron M)
Bible Study Verses
Luke 6:40
A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher. (NIV)

Those of us with kids always wonder what they'll be like when they grow up. Actually, it is hard, sometimes, to even think of them as adults. But, it happens--they do grow up, quickly!

As they grow physically, mentally, and spiritually, it's up to us as their parents to get them started right, to be their teachers. Think about it. What they learn from us, their parents, is the most important part of what they become. How do they learn? Mostly by watching.

My Dad used to say, "Don't tell me, show me." How true that statement is. Yes, I hope my son learns hunting, shooting, and camping from me, and that he acquires a life-long love for outdoor activities. That's a legacy that I want to pass on to him, and he to his kids someday.

But, those things are nothing compared to what he really needs to learn from me and see in me. Things like faith, forgiveness, tithing, dependability, and Bible study. How to treat a wife and his kids right; and how to disciple others so that they will also grow in our Lord.

So, as he grows up, will my son be like his teacher? Yes, he will, he will be whatever I've taught him to be. But more than that, he will be whatever I've shown him that I am. In the final analysis, I pray that I'm found to be a worthy teacher. Makes me stop and think. I hope it does you, too.
(Cliff S)

Action Point
Proverbs 22:6 instructs, "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it," (NIV). Take time to train your children, maybe even the kids next door. Teach them how to hunt, fish, and camp safely. Especially teach them about the Lord, all that He's done for us, and all that He is going to do for us in the future.  
Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
Teach your kids gun safety and ethical hunting by example. Remember, they'll hear your words, but they'll do what they see you do.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

February 11, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . Even Winds And Sea Obey Him? (MQ)
Bible Study Verses
Matthew 8:23-27
And when He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but He was asleep. And they went and woke Him, saying, "Save us, Lord; we are perishing." And He said to them, "Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?" Then He rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, "What sort of Man is this, that even winds and sea obey Him?"  (ESV)

This brief story of Jesus calming the waters of the sea during a great storm reminds me of a time as a young boy of a similar experience. My father, an avid fisherman, and I were fishing for Northern Pike. It was summer time and the fishing was very good on Fletcher's Pond, located in northern Lower Michigan.

Suddenly a severe thunderstorm rolled in, lightning bolts were everywhere, and the increasing winds were causing our boat to rock on the waves. With the shore being too far away, we were forced to ride out the storm in our small metal row boat. I remember being scared to death!
(Michael T)

Action Point
Storms are a part of life. They are inevitable, and most of the time they sneak up on us.

It is encouraging to be reminded of the power of Jesus Christ. Not only does He have the power over creation, but He has the power over death!!!

If God is who we believe Him to be, then there should be no reason to doubt that He is present in all situations. He is in control and He will bring about a great calm in your life.

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
As a child I used to believe that if I jumped in the air when lightning struck, somehow that would keep me safe. Obviously, that tactic is not recommended, but here is what you do in case of getting caught in a lightning storm. Avoid hills, tall trees, or other high protruding objects. Find the lowest spot possible and lie flat on your stomach. Place your hands over your head for extra protection, to protect yourself from falling debris.

Friday, February 10, 2012

February 10, 2012

Today's Photograph . . . . It's About The Time Spent With Your Friends (Michael T)
Bible Study Verse
Matthew 6:25
 "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?" (ESV)
Too many times when we get involved in an outdoor activity we feel the need to have the latest accessories, clothing and top-notch equipment.  Somehow we convince ourselves that we must have this particular item or gadget in order to be successful.  I've shot deer in casual dress and I've fished with hotdogs and even pulled in a few whoppers.  I've also done both with all of the gear of the professionals.  Which times were most rewarding? 
(Michael T)

Hunting, fishing, and outdoor activities are not about the gear or fancy equipment.  It's about the hunt and it's about the time spent with your fishing partner or your group of friends. 
God wants our daily lives to be about the heart.  It is not about the "bling" or other earthly fads that quickly fade away.  He wants us to put our faith and trust in Him.  He takes care of the birds and the flowers. How much more does He care about us?  He will provide, protect, and sustain.  He knows that LIFE is more than the things of this world; He just wants us to know it too.  

Be smart with your money and time, your family will love you for it.

Sportsmen's Tip of The Day
Just for fun, the next time you have a big hunt or fishing expedition go simple.  Be creative and have some fun with it.  Who knows, you may even stumble onto the next "must have secret."

Thursday, February 9, 2012

February 9, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . Make Sure To Pack It All Out With You (MQ) 
Bible Study Verses
Mark 3:31-35
Then Jesus' mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call Him. A crowd was sitting around Him, and they told Him, "Your mother and brothers are outside looking for You."
"Who are my mother and my brothers?" He asked.  Then He looked at those seated in a circle around Him and said, "Here are My mother and My brothers! Whoever does God's will is My brother and sister and mother." (NIV)

I grew up hunting and fishing with my Dad and one other older family friend. It was not until I was about 20 that I even considered hunting with any other partners. Why was that? I grew up feeling a sense of family toward those with whom I hunted. I didn't care to have anyone else hunt with me or where I hunted, because I didn't feel as though they were part of my family.

I'm sure many potential friendships were lost because I didn't want to make a commitment to someone outside this small group of individuals. It took a very persistent friend to convince me otherwise. After spending time with him in the field, I learned that there were others who feel as seriously as I do about hunting. This family of hunters is bigger than I thought!!!
(Ruben C)

Action Point
When I first became a Christian almost thirteen years ago, my wife and I experienced various degrees of persecution from our friends and family. "Why can't you go to the game with us on Sunday?" They didn't understand our commitment to God. When we tried to explain, the response was usually the same: "But we're your family!" or "You're just going through a phase."

God clearly tells us not to ignore the well-being of our family, but He also tells us we must love Him more (Luke 14:26-27). Remember to seek His Kingdom first, and He'll take care of the rest.

My wife and I were not going through a phase; and we have since been blessed with members of our physical family who have become part of God's spiritual family with us!!!

As for hunting partners, I'm glad I opened my eyes to those outside my physical family. I have had the pleasure of learning and teaching others when I let them into my family of hunting partners!!! We all have one or more hunting or fishing spots that are known to the very few. Sometimes we may have a tendency to decline new partners in the sport, because we don't want to reveal these places. You are missing out on an awesome opportunity for fellowship if you continue down this path!!! Nuff said, brothers!!!

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
If you want fewer people to know where your favorite hunting or fishing spot is, don't leave evidence that you have been there. In my profession I have the opportunity to see the tell-tale signs hunters and fisherman leave behind that reveal frequented "honey holes"--bonfire-size fire rings, packaging from various fishing supplies (hooks, sinkers, lures, bait), as well as shell casings, boxes, and piles of bird parts. Make sure to pack it all out with you and there will be less chance that others will recognize the area as a "hot spot."

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

February 8, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . Icy, Partly Frozen Mountainsides (MQ) 
Bible Study Verses
Matthew 13:3-9
Then he told them many things in parables, saying:  "A farmer went out to sow his seed.
As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.
Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop-a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.Whoever has ears, let them hear."(NIV)

During an elk hunt in New Mexico last December, we had a day of rain followed by a day of snow. Hiking on partly frozen snow-covered mountainsides was quite treacherous. As the morning wore on, I put less thought into where I was walking.

As soon as I stopped paying attention to my footing, I slipped on an icy rock, dropped my rifle, hit the ground hard, and slid several feet before coming to a stop in a painful heap of camo and mud. I was fortunate to wind up with only nasty scrapes and bruises. The sad part was that I knew better. (One of the last things my dad said that morning was, "Watch your step!") All I needed to do was heed the signs, listen to my Dad, and respect my environment.
(Ruben C)

Action Point
More than once Jesus said, "He who has ears, let him hear." In one parable Jesus compared our ears to soil. In each of the cases that He described, the seed was the same seed, the sower the same sower, and the message the same. What was different? The listener.

It's not that we don't have ears; it's that we don't use them. It's one thing to not hear and so, not to know. It's another to hear, but not learn.

"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it-not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it-they will be blessed in what they do." James 1:22-26 (NIV).

That morning in the woods, I should have listened to my Dad's advice. Instead I thought I knew better than he and didn't heed his words of caution. If I had just listened and acted on what he said, I might have avoided the painful fall.

God loves you, and just wants an opportunity to show you that He does. Take time to really listen to Him when He talks to you.

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
I'm a flatlander and although I've put hundreds of miles on my hiking boots in mountainous terrain, that's where I'm most likely to fall! If you're like me (and well over 40), listen and heed my advice--take your time. If the ground is wet and/or icy, but you have traversed many a slope or stepped on many rocks without incident, there's going be one waiting for you! Always wear over-the-ankle shoes in rocky terrain and keep them snug to avoid a strain or sprain. If you sprain an ankle, depending on your location, ruining your hunt may be the least of your worries.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

February 7, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . However, There Are Other People You Don't Usually Talk To  (Janet B)
Bible Study Verse
Ephesians 4:10
He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe. (NIV)

John and Paula attended the same church as my wife, Ann, and I. John and I gravitated toward each other as magnets to iron because we both loved to bass fish. Whenever we met at church, bass fishing somehow got into the conversation.

Neither of us had a boat, but he had an old seven-horsepower outboard motor. We would use my vehicle and his motor, head for our favorite marina that we knew rented flat-bottomed boats, and spend an evening bass fishing. On the way home we always stopped at a Dairy Queen to get steak finger baskets and talk about the trip. It was just something we did as friends.

Another part of life that we shared were the moves each of us has made. John and Paula moved around a lot, as we did. Every time, we helped each other move furniture and boxes to our new destinations.

Bob is another fishing buddy of mine. He and I share fishing holes and stories whenever and wherever we can. One of the things I appreciate about him is that whenever there is a need, you don't have to ask him for help. He and his wife, Bev, are there for us.
(Tom B)

Action Point
I have been blessed with some great friends. John went home to be with the Lord a few years back. Although he is not around to share bass fishing trips with me, I like to imagine that he is scouting out the bass fishing for me in Heaven, waiting until I join him. He has the outboard motor all ready to go.

Everybody needs friends, whether they are fishing buddies or not. A friend is someone you can tell stories with and listen to theirs. A friend is someone you can share good times with as well as the bad ones. They are there to lift you up when you need help and you are there to help them when they need a lift.

Sometimes the Lord puts people in your path towards whom you just naturally gravitate. However, there are other people you don't usually talk to. Go beyond the "Hi, how are you?" and get to know them. Who knows--maybe they have the outboard motor and need someone to take them fishing.

Sportsmen's Devotions
Share a fishing or hunting trip with somebody. Share the cost of the trip, especially the cost of gas. Share fishing tackle. If you have some lures you never use, give them to somebody who might be really excited to receive them. Someday you can share fishing trip memories with them.

Monday, February 6, 2012

February 6, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . Thunderstorm Moving In (MQ)
Bible Study Verses
Psalm 29:3-4
The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD thunders over the mighty waters. The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is majestic. (NIV)

A thunderstorm moving in is a mighty sight, but a thunderstorm over the ocean's water is awesome. 

My son, a friend, his son, and I were camped on the beach on Galveston Island. During the early morning hours, a storm rolled in off the Gulf with lots of thunder. The thunderclaps were not only loud, they would echo across the water, prolonging a loud boom. Along with lightning, it was truly a awesome experience of God's majesty!!!
(Tom B)

Action Point
I take God for granted a lot of time in the course of my busy life--He's the "Big Guy" up there when I need something. But, experiencing something like the majesty of the storm triple highlights His majesty and His power. As David wrote, "The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic," Psalm 29:4 (NIV)

Along with the power of God we find that He is, also, a soft, loving God who comforts in the time of trouble. As a loving father lifts his young baby son when he cries, my God lifts me up and comforts me when I am hurting.

I serve a powerful, majestic Creator. I serve a loving, caring Father who wants only the best for me.
Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
In the Spring, the weather can change quickly--cold fronts sweep in, changing gentle spring weather into a seething caldron of rain, thunder, and lightning. Fishing right before a frontal passage can present some very good fishing action. But, make sure you're off the water before the bad weather rolls in!!!