Monday, April 30, 2012

April 30, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . Pueblo in Wupatki National Monument With San Francisco Peaks In The Background (USGS)
Bible Study Verse
As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. (NKJV)

In Arizona we are blessed with many days so clear that one can see from one end of our state to the other. After riding the ski lift on San Francisco Peaks, near Flagstaff, I was to see Mt. Lemon over 100 miles south just outside of Tucson.
(Byron S)

Action Point
How big is our God? For mankind, God is hard for us to comprehend. Many of us want to downsize Him in order to better understand His ways. But, He tells us that our ways are not His ways.

Rather than trying to downsize God, see Him for what He is. His handy work is all around us, especially in the outdoors. 

Be thankful and blessed by the fact that He gave His only Son to die for our sin so that ALL of our transgressions are removed from us. Just take hold of that, believe it, and give Him thanks!!! 

Rejoice in the fact that He is so big that we cannot comprehend. Romans 1:20 says,  "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, (NKJV).

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
Keep a pair of binoculars and a camera handy in your pack or in your car glove box. I have missed out on many great wildlife shots simply because I didn't have them with me.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

April 29, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . That Will Be The Best Sportsman's Tip . . . . . (Brett M)
Bible Study Verses
I Corinthians 2:1-5 
 And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (ESV)

On any given Sunday, my wife can be seen waiting patiently for me in the church foyer, especially in the Fall. Why does she wait? Well, it could be that I am still in conversation with one of my many hunting buddies who attend our church and are avid hunters. 

Hunting stories have everything, comedy, drama, action, and the flair for the dramatic. It is easy and fun to share a hilarious hunting episode or an epic kill with a fellow hunter. It doesn't matter if you know the individual or not, he could be a complete stranger, but the story will still be told.
(Michael T)

Action Point
Hunters are passionate about their sport. Christians should be passionate about the love of Jesus Christ and His saving message. It is the most important story that everyone, who is lost, needs to hear. This message needs to be told.

The next time you are in a conversation with a fellow hunter or fisherman and you don't know whether or not he or she is a believer in Christ, do two things. First, insert a casual reference or question in regards to the beauty and intricate detail that God puts into his creation. Wait for a response and then come right back with a question about spiritual things. For example, "Do you have any kind of spiritual belief?" or "Do you go to church anywhere?" Don't forget to use scripture and to listen. The Holy Spirit will guide you the rest of the way.

The apostle Paul, evangelized with weakness, fear, and much trembling. Yet he did it, because he relied on the power of the Holy Spirit to work through him. Go out and make more disciples!!!

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
Invite a friend to go hunting or fishing with you, but keep him or her within your moral environment. A day of being together will open up many conversations where you can easily slip in a question about faith that will be the best sportsman's tip of the day he or she could ever hear.  

Saturday, April 28, 2012

April 28, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . I  Looked  Back  At  My  Blind . . . (MQ) 
Bible Study Verse
Isaiah 55:8-9  
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, 
and My thoughts than your thoughts.

When I was twelve years old my father took me bow hunting and placed me in a ground blind about fifty or sixty yards from the main trail that we hiked in on. My father went deeper into the woods. 

After a couple of hours and no action, the sky began to show the early signs that darkness was beginning to set in. I remember getting a little nervous about being out in the dark by myself. I left my blind and decided to sit on the main trail, for some reason feeling safer for having done this. 

Ten minutes later I looked back at my blind and standing fifteen feet from my blind were three deer. Oops!
(Michael T)

Action Point
How many times as Christians do we find ourselves feeling uncomfortable in our surroundings and decide to bail out of our situation? How many times have we missed out on the blessings of what God has planned for our church or ourselves, because we get a little scared?

We serve an awesome God whose ways are much higher than ours. Don't let the people in your church limit God. Don't be afraid when God has you in unfamiliar surroundings. 
Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
When hiking make sure you are aware of any danger in the area you find yourself hiking in. If you are not sure, stop in at the local ranger station and ask. Read the signs carefully, especially the ones that say that you will die if you go beyond this point. In life there is plenty of physical danger, but in our spiritual lives we are always safe with our Protector guiding and looking out for us.   

Friday, April 27, 2012

April 27, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . God's Promise To Never Flood The Whole Earth Again (NPS) 
Bible Study Verses  
Romans 4:20-21 
He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. (NKJV)

The thunderstorms were intense along the squall line as it entered Arkansas. By the time the front had reached my home, it had dropped several tornadoes including one that stayed on the ground for a state record, 123 unbroken miles. 

In the aftermath of destruction, homes and lives had been lost. Buildings had been reduced to crumpled piles of rubble, trees were twisted off like match sticks, and people were faced with rebuilding their lives piece by piece. 

Yet, as the front moved away and calm began to settle, a rainbow appeared in the sky. In the middle of trials and troubles, there was God's promise.
(Brian H)

Action Point
God never promised us smooth sailing. Life just gets tough sometimes. Jesus said in John 15:18,  "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you," (NKJV). Sometimes we find ourselves stranded like a ship in a bottle. Try as we might, we can't push through the tough stuff of life. It's in those times that we must eventually come to the end of ourselves, fall on our knees, and simply take God at His word.

I challenge you to find one single promise that God has made that He has not kept. You won't be able to find one. If God says it, you can take it to the bank. As they say. God's precious promises are made to us for our comfort, healing, peace, joy, and correction. 

In times of trouble, search for God's promises and believe them. He will make a way for you when there seems to be no other way. Friend, take God at His word - never doubt. Believe!!!

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
A reflective stick-on dot in the center of your tailgate and another on your camper or trailer will help you align things when backing to hitch up. You can also get mirrors that mount on the trailer that will give you a bird's eye view of the hitch and ball.

April 26, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . Not Perfectly, But Straight (MQ) 
Bible Study Verse
John 15:1-2
"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.  (NKJV)

Last week, my boys and I were out in the backyard shooting our bows. I just brought one arrow outside and was shooting it over and over. It was tipped with my favorite broadhead, and I anticipated a good practice session. 

Time after time, however, my arrow hit in all the wrong places. I couldn't make it hit the same place twice. To rule out the thought that my bow was the problem, I brought out another arrow. It looked absolutely identical to the first arrow, but the difference was in the flight. It hit right where I wanted it again and again. 

To avoid confusing the bad arrow with the good one in my hunting quiver, I threw the bad one away. It was useless to me. The arrow that flew correctly was sharpened, wiped down, fletching and nocks checked, and placed in my hunting quiver. It was of great value to me. 
(Brian H)

Action Point
The call on each of our lives is to fly straight--routinely bear fruit for our God. When we don't bear fruit, nor respond to God's pruning to make us fruit bearing, we are of very little use to His Kingdom. 

When we are flying straight, God sharpens us a little more to make us ready for the hunt-- what He calls "bearing more fruit." God wants arrows that fly straight, not perfectly, but straight!!! He calls for arrows that hit right where He aims. If we are inconsistent flyers, we are of little use to Him. 

Let's purpose in our hearts to become what God wants us to be: quiver-worthy arrows that hit the target of His purpose just as He aims us.

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
Sometimes the part of your arrow where the broadhead screws into the arrow shaft can become bent and will affect arrow flight. You can't see the problem just by looking. Stand your arrow up on the tip of the broadhead and give it a spin. If it spins smoothly, then you're good to go. If the arrow wobbles, toss it or work on it to make it spin smoothly.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

April 25, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . Javelina (NPS) 
Bible Study Verse
II Timothy 4:3 
For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. (NIV)

For many years, a majority of the hunting community has believed that the musk gland of a harvested javelina, collared peccary, must be cut off before the animal is harvested to prevent the musk from tainting the meat. Fact is, this is an unnecessary practice; the musk gland is on top of the javelina's back and will easily come off when you skin the "pig" out.

Many old wives' tales take hold as "fact" when they sound good. However, if you take an old wives' tale and mix it with a little truth to make it sound right, after awhile, people may resent or doubt the actual truth. 

"What's wrong with the way we do it?" "It must be true; we've done it this way for years!!!"
Fifty plus fifty-one does not equal 100. I can speculate that it is very close to being the correct answer. But in fact, it is not. Likewise, a little of the Bible mixed with the speculative opinion of men does not equal the infallible Truth of God. 
(Ruben C)

Action Point
When studying God's Word or listening to it being taught, be like a Berean. "Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true," Act 17:11 (NIV).

They were not skeptics, but were eager to gain their own convictions. In the process, they confirmed that what was preached to them was in fact the true Word of God!!!

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
Does moss really grow on the north side of trees?
Could I really start a fire rubbing two sticks together?
Is there really enough protein in grasshoppers to survive on?

I don't know!!! That's why I always have a small (6"X4") survival pouch in my pack or cargo pocket with: 

Compass (GPS is already on my belt), signal mirror, film canister stuffed with Vaseline- saturated cotton balls (can't be blown out once they're burning), four extra AA batteries for my LED penlight and GPS, lighter, waterproof matches, "blast match" (google it--best emergency fire starting tool ever), survival blanket (reflects campfire heat and keeps rain off), and "field stripped" MRE, just the good stuff taking up only half the room. Now you're ready for an overnight emergency in the field!!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

April 24, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . Military Border Patrol (GOV)
Bible Study Verses
Job 39:19-25  
"Do you give the horse its strength or clothe its neck with a flowing mane? Do you make it leap like a locust, striking terror with its proud snorting? It paws fiercely, rejoicing in its strength, and charges into the fray. It laughs at fear, afraid of nothing; it does not shy away from the sword. The quiver rattles against its side, along with the flashing spear and lance. In frenzied excitement it eats up the ground; it cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds. At the blast of the trumpet it snorts, 'Aha!' It catches the scent of battle from afar, the shout of commanders and the battle cry. (NIV)

This scripture is an awesome picture of a war horse. I used to ride such a beast when I was a mounted patrol agent. He could see through the blackest night, and you could feel his heart beat through the saddle fenders when he detected the bad guys long before I did. 

When I was ready, without so much as my thinking it, he would burst into the night with a thunder of hooves! It was not until I read this scripture that I realized, it was God who was in total control. He is in control of everything. Does God make you bored? 
(Ruben C)

Action Point 
Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, "Who is it you want?" 

"Jesus of Nazareth," they replied.

"I am He," Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, "I am He," they drew back and fell to the ground (John 18:3- 5).

A detachment of soldiers came after our Lord, one man, in the dead of night carrying torches lanterns and weapons. With the words, "I am He," they fell to the ground. 

That's what I'm talking about! That little scenario would put your heart in your throat. What strength! 

When you need encouragement in your spiritual walk, remember: we're not walking in the footsteps of a Mr. Rogers. Jesus stood up for His Father, He defended the people; and as a carpenter, He was a great fisherman. This is the true Lord we follow!!! 

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day 
Even if you grew up on horses, if you're going to ride one as part of a hunt and you haven't ridden one in years, prepare yourself. Find a friend or a rental outfit and get a few days saddle time before the hunt. Packing in isn't casual trail riding either, it can be a workout. You'll soon figure out what muscles need stretching. 

Helpful hint: depending on the weather, light-weight synthetic long underwear and padded lycra biking shorts can really help prevent a lot of unpleasant chafing. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

April 23, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . Banding Together Provides Protection (NPS) 
Bible Study Verses
Ephesians 6:10-17  
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. 

Each morning at sunup, during my daily quiet time, I have a treat--watching 50 to 60 cow elk with yearlings walk across the meadow in front of my house. 

They gather this time of year in anticipation of calving, which usually occurs sometime in April. Banding together in such a large group provides protection while calving, as the coyotes and Mexican gray wolves in the area tend to know when the cows are dropping their newborn. 

I will know when this happens, as they tend not to cross the pasture in the open right after they calve. 
(Byron S)

Action Point
You and I also need protection from the predator, Satan, as he continually stalks us, I Peter 5:8. The scriptures warn us again and again about immorality. We often fail to recognize the spiritual war that attacks us through the media on a daily basis:
  • Pay attention to the Holy Spirit if He repeatedly warns you about a temptation or dangerous situation.
  • Keep yourself chaste.
  • Don't depend on your own strength and wisdom in times of weakness.
  • Call upon Jesus and lean on His strength in fighting these battles.
  • You will gain strength if you take time out daily to read your Bible.
Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
We have so many options for keeping our cutting tools sharp in the field. Carry a pocket steel; or one of the new handy items is a "Speedy Sharp". Keep these with you, as knives tend you dull when going through hide or cutting against bone.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

April 21, 2012   
April 22, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . We Can Be Like That If . . . (Ron M)
Bible Study Verse
John 15:4  
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. (NKJV)

Many years have passed, but I will always remember this fishing trip . . .

I had been asked by a family friend to take her nephew from out-of-state trout fishing. So we four-wheeled and hiked into a remote back-country stream that I had been wanting to fish. It was August, monsoon season in Arizona; and about half way through the day, the sky opened up and poured rain. 

Earlier, I had spotted an old cabin up stream, so we made our way there and weathered the storm under the small front porch roof. We had both caught several nice fish and were sharing our stories when I noticed a large blackberry patch at the edge of the stream. 

After the storm subsided, we found a couple of old three-pound coffee cans and picked them full of luscious wild blackberries to top off our trout dinner that night. As I remember those berries, I don't believe I've seen any that large since then. 
(Bryon S) 

Action Point 
Jesus' words in John 15:4 fit the example of the berry patch that I found. That patch of berries grew right alongside a mountain stream with the roots going deep into the earth and out into the running water. Those berries were constantly fed with nutrients from the life-giving water. No wonder they were so large and luscious.

We can be like that if we do as Jesus says: plant ourselves in His Word and take Him, the Living Water, into our lives. If we do so, He promises that we will grow in faith and bear much fruit. 

Knowing and understanding His Word not only guides our daily lives, but also provides us with the right thoughts and words when we need them. For example: It may not be easy for me to get through a day without an unhealthy thought crossing my mind, or perhaps having a plan go wrong. When I try to handle these on my own, my mind might linger too long on the thought, or I don't handle the situation as I should. 

But I have found that when I stop and take time to ask Him for help, He is always true to His Word--the thoughts are blocked, or somehow, the plan begins to come together in His way. So, abide in Him and let Him abide in you; and surely, whatever you ask of Him will be done for you. His Word is His bond!!!

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day 
Be sure and carry an inexpensive emergency plastic poncho in your gear when you are out on a day fishing trip. If you don't have one, try a large plastic garbage bag; it will work in a pinch. Also, find shelter in a thunder storm. The lightning can be deadly. 

April 21, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . Time Spent With Our Youth Is The Most Extravagant Gift Given And Never A Waste (Donny N)
Bible Study Verses
Luke 15: 22-24
"But the father said to his servants, 'Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' And they began to be merry.  (NIV)

A couple of years ago my daughter and her husband walked through the heartbreaking stress of a teenage son's rebellion expressed through drug and alcohol abuse. He was expelled from high school. 

As he said, "It was either go to jail or join the army." He was joking when he said it, but he did not realize how correct he was. After receiving his GED, enlisting in the army, and while preparing for rotation to Iraq, he went AWOL for almost 60 days. 

During this time he would contact his parents by phone, but would never reveal his location. Finally, he let his Dad know that he wanted to come home. Most of the extended family counseled the parents encouraging tough love and turning their son into the military authorities. But, they didn't. 

His father drove to where the young man was staying and brought him back into the family. After a couple of weeks at home, the father took his son back to his military post and the prodigal is now completing his military obligation in Iraq. 
(Tom B)

Action Point
This time in our grandson's and his parents' life is so similar to the parable of the prodigal son. The wayward son squandered his life through rebellion, drugs and alcohol. When he wanted to come home, his father "killed the fattened calf for him! He was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found." 

Our grandson's father continued in his love and faith to his son and would not let go, just as our heavenly father loves us through hard times and good times. 

Those of us who have not had to go through a trying experience like this one can reach out and offer love to a youth by introducing them to the outdoors. Take them on a camping trip, a hike, or a fishing trip. It doesn't have to be anything elaborate. You just want to show these kids that there are people out there who love and care for them, even though they may have messed up their lives.

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
Get involved. Big Brothers is one way to mentor a young person. Check with your local parks and recreation program in your city for other agencies and opportunities that could use your help.

Friday, April 20, 2012

April 20, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . Save By Planning (MQ) 
Bible Study Verse
Psalm 90:12
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (NIV 1984)

What a powerful verse for the days in which we live. When I read Psalm 90, this verse really came back to me again and again, as if God were working overtime to get His point across.

We are all concerned with the financial situation of the world. For many, it is more than concern; it's downright struggle to make the paycheck stretch to meet all of our obligations. The angler and hunter has to consider the cost of gas to fuel up the truck, boat, RV, or ATV to do what before may have been a "no-brainer". 

Before the steady climb of fuel prices, we may never have thought about how much the gas pump registered. We just filled up, thinking instead about what joy we were going to experience on the upcoming trip afield or afloat. Some outdoor enthusiasts may even have had to take on a second job to help accomplish the usual tasks of living, much less their outdoor pursuits. 
(Tom B)

Action Point
At first glance one might think this is a doom and gloom comment on today. Look again at the quoted scripture: Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
There is nothing pessimistic at all about what Moses is saying in this verse. There is supercharged power here. 

The answer to today's problems lies right in front of our eyes. Use each day the Lord gives us to dwell on what is aright---what is right and good. Daily, ask for His wisdom through study and meditation on his Word; pray and seek the Holy Spirit's guidance in our walk. If we give Him half as much time as we might be spending on worrying about the future, we are guaranteed to receive insights, wisdom, in how to face today's challenges.

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
Plan the area on the lake or bay where you want to spend the day fishing before you leave the driveway of your house. Locate and use boat ramps close to or in that area. By doing this simple pre-planning, you will be saving fuel in both your boat and towing vehicle.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

April 19, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . Many Of Us Have Seen . . . (WDFW)
Bible Study Verses
Luke 21:34-36 
"But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man." (NKJV)

I had been sitting near the water tank for a few hours, with a cow elk tag in my backpack. Nothing had come in and darkness was near. As I grew tired and my senses seemed to dull, I suddenly detected the unmistakable smell of elk. It hit me in the face like a Mike Tyson upper cut, but I could see nothing. 

For several minutes I searched the areas in my line of vision, nothing in front of me and nothing to the sides of me. It must be behind me I thought. After fifteen minutes of waiting and the sun setting, I decided I needed to turn to see if it was behind me, even at the risk of alerting it to my presence. Slowly I turned and there it was, a large bull elk standing 20 feet behind at the edge of the tree line. 

Fortunately he hadn't seen me. For the next twenty minutes he stood motionless. With an extreme amount of patience and diligence, he slowly scanned the area for danger. His head moved so slow as to be undetectable, until I noticed his antlers where now facing a different direction. He continued this for the better part of an hour and well into the darkness.
(Brett M)

Action Point 
Jesus tells us to look at the fig tree. When the leaves begin to change colors we know that the season is beginning to change. He says that we will be able to recognize the season of His return in the same way. We will not know the day or time. But, we will know the season!!! 

Many of the signs He tells us to look for are all around us. Many believe we are in the season of the end times. Whether we are or not, Jesus instructs us to be watchful. We are to be like that elk and diligently watch out for the signs and dangers, to "look to the heavens" for His return. 

Many of us have seen the surprise when an animal steps into our line of sight during hunting season. Do not let that day take you by "complete surprise."

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day 
During rain or snowy weather place a small piece of black electrical tape over the tip of your muzzle. It will keep the moisture out of your barrel and will easily give way when you take your shot.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April 18, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . My Two Best Friends Were Gone (MQ)  
Bible Study Verse
Luke 15:32
" "It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.' " (NKJV)

Before our children were born my wife and I had two best friends, our dogs. On one occasion, I wanted to go on a short camping trip, but my wife's work schedule would not permit her to go. So I packed up the truck with the necessary supplies, sleeping bag, tent, our two dogs, and left for the mountains. When I arrived, I quickly set up camp and decided to go for a hike with my dogs. 

We were about two miles from camp when we rounded a creek bed that fed a clearing in the forest. Standing in the middle of the clearing was a herd of twenty or so grazing elk. My dogs immediately began barking and running straight at the elk. 

The elk, startled and amazed, began to flee, pursued by my two dogs giving chase as I followed well behind trying to coax them back. It did not take long and the elk were out of site. So were my dogs. 

My stomach sank! The forest was deadly silent--no hooves hitting the ground, no more barking, just me and my pounding heart, alone. We were a hundred miles from home and my two best friends were lost!!! 
(Brett M)

Action Point
Jesus tells the parable in Luke of the prodigal son. Rather than wait until his father's death, he asked for his share of his father's wealth early. Then he proceeded to go and waste all his inheritance on wild living, only to return to his father, broken and desolate. His father welcomed him home with open arms and offered him the best of all that he had.

There have been times in my life when I have chosen to live outside of God's will, and He knew I would become lost. He watched me run away from Him, chasing something that I was not going to catch. 

I think about those times and wonder, "Did God feel the way I did in that forest when my dogs were lost and wandering? Did He feel His stomach sink? Did He feel His heartbeat?" 

I do know that He is always faithful--that each time I come back feeling broken and desolate, He has always been there with open arms, offering the best that He has and welcoming me home.

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
Many of us take our four-legged friends with us camping or hunting. Identification collars are not just for the park near home. One of the only hopes you may have if your pets become lost is that they are found my someone else, and that person has a way of contacting you.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April 17, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . .  Working With An Outfitter Provided Knowledge  (MQ)
Bible Study Verse
Proverbs 22:17
Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge. (NKJV)

Working with an outfitter during the summer provided me with knowledge of wrangling, packing and wilderness camping. Sitting around the campfire, listening to elk hunting stories gave me a little more practical knowledge. When there was silence around the campfire, I asked a lot of questions. 

It was time for my first elk hunt and for me to apply what I learned without someone looking over my shoulder. I hoped that my packs held together and that there would be no blowups.

We rode in approximately seven miles with no mishaps; set up camp, gathered firewood and hung up our meat pole. The next morning, the bulls were bugling. What an awesome sound!!! We managed to call in a nice bull. The range finder showed 241 yards. My partner put him down with one shot. We hunted a couple more days and saw some younger bulls. What a great experience!!!
(Tom L)

Action Point
Having knowledge in life's situations is very important. More important than having knowledge is applying God's wisdom to our lives. Read Proverbs, and compare the outcomes of those who follow God's wisdom to those who don't.

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
Have an experienced elk hunter help you with elk calls. Know what kind to buy, and when and how often to call. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

April 16, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . Big Horn Sheep (MQ)
Bible Study Verses
Colossians 3:12-14
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. (NKJV)

I recall a fascinating experience while bow hunting in Minnesota. I was in my deer stand when I heard quite a commotion in the woods. The leaves were rustling, twigs snapping, accompanied by clashing sounds. I came down from my stand and headed toward the commotion. 

Two big whitetail bucks, 14 and 10 points, had locked horns and were struggling to get apart. I tried to get close enough to get a shot, but they suddenly pulled apart and took off in the woods.

Even more fascinating are the bighorn sheep rams that have head-to-head combat. They rear back on their hind legs, then drop to all fours and charge each other at speeds greater than 20 mph. Fortunately, they have double-layered skulls shored with struts of bone for battle protection. They, also, have a massive tendon linking the skull and spine to help the head pivot and recoil from the blows. 

These displays of aggression are typical in the animal kingdom to prove dominance hierarchy. 
(Tom L)

Action Point
God made us in His image and likeness. We don't have to fight for a position in a hierarchy of creation. We have Christ as our role model of love. To be controlling, abusive and dominant in a marriage or in any other relationship, is not what God had in mind for us. "Clothe yourselves" with Christ-like attributes.

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
Come to the Wind River Range of Wyoming and see the largest herd of Bighorn Sheep in North America.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

April 15, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . Four Wheeling . . . (MQ) 
Bible Study Verse
Deuteronomy 30:19-20 
I call Heaven and Earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them." (NKJV)
From the minute we wake up to the minute we go to sleep, our lives are full of choices: 
  • Where to go. 
  • What kind of mood to be in. 
  • What to eat. 
  • What to wear. (What to wear is an easy one for me--brown pants and tan shirt; uniform policy). 
Sometimes I am sent to the eastern side of the state to help with the opener of the east river deer season. On that side of the state there are roads every mile on every square section of land. Talk about choices! Every mile I drive I would have a major decision to make about which way to proceed. It is nice to get back home to fewer roads and fewer choices. 
(Ron T) 

Action Point 
When you read this verse it seems like a no-brainer. Who wouldn't want to choose life and blessings over death and curses? Let me think about it . . . I'll take life!!! 

Before I became a Christian, I made some bad choices--choices that would have brought death. I thank God for putting people in my life who could help me get on the right track; then the choices became clear to me. I still mess up at times; but when I do, the Holy Spirit lets me know about it, and I can change my choice. 

Go ahead . . . choose life!!! God will give you many years, and your children will appreciate it.

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
In my hunting pack, I keep a small camouflage Bible. (I'm not worried about game spooking from the color of the bible, I just like camouflage.) It sure is handy to have while you're waiting in a blind or taking a lunch break. They are inexpensive and make great gifts for hunting buddies or people you meet on the trail.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

April 14, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . Custer Expedition (NPS)
Bible Study Verse
Acts 3:6
Then Peter said, "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." (NKJV)
Hot summer days, a cool mountain stream and a couple of kids with gold pans. It is a great recipe to overcome the dog days of summer. 

A little panning and then it's off to see what kind of bugs live under the rocks, and, maybe, catch a few crawdads. 

We like to pan for gold in the same creek in the Black Hills where General Custer and his expedition of a thousand men discovered gold in 1874. Even though they didn't find much gold, it still sparked a gold rush that brought thousands of people to the hills hoping to get rich. 
(Ron T)

Action Point
Over the centuries gold has had great value in this world, but it cannot compare to the value of faith--faith is of greater worth than gold (1Peter 1:7). When Peter encountered the crippled man at the gate begging for gold or silver, Peter offered him something much better-- faith in Christ. Through faith in Christ, the man was healed. 

Faith is so important in our lives, for without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). We receive faith by hearing the Word of God, and it is through faith that we are saved. It is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8). Don't forget, in Heaven gold is just pavement.

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
Gold panning can be a lot of fun. If you are not sure where to start searching, tie a few feet of fishing line to a small lead sinker, tie a balloon to the other end and let it go in the stream. Watch to see where the weight settles, this is a good place to start panning.  

Friday, April 13, 2012

April 13, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . Stop Starving and Feast (MQ)  
Bible study Verses
I Peter 2:1-3
Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. (NKJV)

Spring, the time of new life in the woods, is right around the corner. That first warm spring day will start a chain reaction and within a few weeks we will see new growth on trees, flowers budding out and, in my area anyway, Whitetail Fawns.

One of the most beautiful things I've ever seen was a Whitetail fawn nursing its mother in the Spring. The little guy would thrash his tail around as he fed on that life-giving milk. Without it, he wouldn't survive. That choice sustenance was what he craved more than anything else. 
(Brian H)

Action Point
How often do you break open the word of God and just have a feast? I know I'm sounding "churchy" here, but go with me for a minute.

What if we ate a big meal twice on Sunday, once on Wednesday and never ate the rest of the week. Sound like a great diet plan to you? I didn't think so! 
But how often do we take that diet plan and apply it to our spiritual stomach? We go to church on Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night and never open the Bible the rest of the week. We call that being faithful. But, in truth, we are starving ourselves!

Peter says to DESIRE the pure milk of the Word. To add some humor, let's look at the Bible the way a starving man would look at a cheeseburger! We need to crave it, to desire it, to hold fast to it as our only source of sustenance. It is, in fact, the life line that feeds our immortal souls. Stop starving and feast on the pure milk of God's Word!!!

Sportsman's Tip of the Day
If you've never been one to keep a photo album of your adventures in the outdoors, start now. You'll be surprised how much you sit and reflect. Also, you're leaving a legacy that will be precious to your kids and grandkids.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

April 12, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . Deer Rub (Brian H) 
Bible Study Verses
I Peter 1:13-16
Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He Who called you is Holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, "Be holy, for I am Holy." (NKJV)

I credit my Dad, first of all, and then my Uncle Bob, for forming my love of hunting. They would tell me how to do certain things differently in order to remain undetected by game. They would give me pointers and share tricks that they used to take game. But, that wasn't all. There were times when corrective action was needed. 

I remember one time in particular that my Dad and I were squirrel hunting in the oak timber of Northeast Arkansas. I was probably eight or nine years old and was carrying his old .410 shotgun. Any time I would stop to watch the woods around me, I would balance it on my shoulder without touching it with my hands. 

Dad gave me one warning and then promptly took the gun away from me when I did it again. 
(Brian H.)

Action Point

Dad wasn't being a hard-nose. On the contrary, he was teaching me. He was helping me to be more like him in the context of hunting. He wanted me to be a safe hunter, a respectful, careful, and honorable outdoorsman. 

Was it fun having the gun taken away from me? No. Did I learn something valuable from that? Oh yes! 

Now, spiritually speaking, we are to keep our minds clean and pure. The Word of God says to "gird up the loins of your mind." Brian's translation:  "Watch what you think about and what you let into your mind!!!" 

The second part is that we are to be obedient children. We are to do our best to obey God's Word and His direction for our lives. Then to take discipline in stride, knowing that He knows best!!!

Finally, the end product is that we are to be more like Him. You want a goal for your life? How about this one: "Be holy for I am holy," I Peter1:16 (NKJV).

Sportsman's Tip of the Day
If you're taking down your hunting stands for the season, take time to tighten up bolts, touch up paint, mend torn pads, check safety harnesses, and replace worn pieces before storing them. It will save you from doing this at the last minute this coming Fall.  

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April 11, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . 
Bible Study Verse
Romans 8:6
For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. (NASB)

A big part of a great outdoor memory can be retained by a well taken photograph. When I intentionally put my camera on the correct settings, I am more likely to get the image that I wanted. Of course, the opposite is true. When I hastily take a picture without the correct settings, quite often this results in disappointment. 
(Tom H)

Action point
Consider your everyday life in the same light. If you don't go into each day with your mind set on Christ and the things of God's Spirit, there's a good chance your day can be summed up in futility. A futile life never produces a deep sense of peace or lasting fulfillment. 

Start out each day with the right mind set. As you read the scripture you can look for God's mind set on life and what brings Him pleasure. Ask God to intervene in your heart and mind so  that you will see things from His perspective. 

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
When there is the potential for a trophy, there is nothing like capturing the memory right where it took place! Always have a good quality smaller camera handy where you can get to it quickly. By all means, make sure it is set properly with fresh batteries and film.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

April 10, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . What They Both Had In Common Was The Appetite I Brought (MQ)
Bible Study Verse
John 6:26-27  
Jesus answered, "Very truly I tell you, you are looking for Me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on Him God the Father has placed His seal of approval." (NIV)

Under normal conditions, I like to eat. But after backpacking for a week, I would venture to say that my appetite might be considered voracious. The dried foods we pack suffice for the time being. But given the choice of eating pizza or a dried eggs and bacon combination, there's no comparison. 

There are three amazing meals that I can vividly remember in my life. Two of them occurred in the outdoors. What they both had in common was the appetite that I brought to the meal. 

When my family and I had finished hiking over 50 miles on Isle Royale, my appetite was through the roof. We had gotten into Windigo Harbor early and had to wait for the departing boat ride with a couple of hours to kill. 

There was a small camp store down at that end of the island that we meandered in to see what they had: fountain pop with ice, hot pizza by the slice, Klondike bars in the freezer, candy bars, hot dogs.   Initially, my wife and I told each of the kids they could get something to drink and grab a snack. Everyone was delighted!!!  As the eating commenced, we recognized how good everything tasted, and we ended up on a feeding binge. It wasn't like it was a fancy five course meal, but it all tasted so good because each of us brought a voracious appetite.
(Dave M)

Action Point
When we sit down to read God's word, I believe God wants us to read with an appetite. Reading it out of routine or guilt doesn't create a quality quiet time. 

When we read God's Word, we need to read it with an appetite, an expectancy that God is going to provide us what we need - our spiritual sustenance. If you have fallen into a rut with your reading of God's Word, ask Him to reveal Himself to you in a new and fresh way. Ask Him to give you a hunger for reading His Word.

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day 
If you are taken a young sportsmen to the woods with you and you know they aren't going to last the hours of waiting needed for the hunt, make sure to pack them a pack of goodies or treats to hold their interest, books, markers, puzzles. Obviously it depends on what you're doing as to what you can get away with, but do whatever you can to make it an enjoyable trip for the young person. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

April 9, 2012   

Today's Photograph . . . . You have Come To Your Royal Position For Such A Time As This (NPS)
Bible Study Verse
Esther 4:14
For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?" (NIV)

A couple of years ago, my wife and I were contemplating where we wanted to go on vacation. We had always dreamt of taking our kids to the Canadian Rockies, but we weren't sure when exactly we should take the trip.  

Our oldest child, at the time, was going to be entering into high school the next fall and was planning on playing multiple sports. After talking it over, we decided that with the commitment that she/we were going to have to make to be involved in those sports, it was now or never for taking our family into the Rockies. 

After loads of planning and preparation, we were able to spend about three weeks traveling from northern Michigan to Glacier National Park and up to Jasper, Alberta before we had to start heading home. It was the best trip we have ever taken as a family!!! The scenery was beautiful, the memories made - priceless, and the timing for our family - perfect!
(Dave M)

Action Point
One of the things that God has really been teaching me the last couple of years is how important it is for things to be done in His timing. There are a lot of good things that we can be doing, but are we doing it in God's timing? 

As a rough paraphrase from a book I recently read: we can do the wrong thing at the wrong time and have bad results. We can do the right thing at the wrong time, and still have bad results. It is when we do the right thing at the right time that we receive the full blessing of God. 

If you are in the middle of waiting on God's timing for something, don't rush it! We live in a microwave society that wants everything immediately. God doesn't operate that way!!! He has a divine plan, and we need to pray for wisdom to be attuned to His timing. Often, the waiting period is more about what God needs to do to in your or my heart than anything else. 

So . . .  what do I do in the meantime? Be faithful while waiting!!! Read His Word and walk in faith knowing He has you in the Palm of His Hand!!! We are sons and daughters of the King!!!
Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
When making plans traveling from state-to-state, make sure to see what the speed limits are as you travel and if there are any time changes along the way. These are the little things that can help make a trip go a bit more smoothly, especially if you are meeting people on the other end of your travels.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

April 8, 2012
  Today's Photograph . . . . He Is Not Here!  He Has Risen! (Raymond R)
Easter  Sunday  -  He's Alive !!!!!!!

Bible Study Verse
Luke 24:1-12
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the Body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you, while He was still with you in Galilee: 'The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.' " Then they remembered His words. When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened. (NIV) 

Early rifle Elk hunt in northern Arizona with my son.  I hope you all don't get tired of hearing about this hunt, because I don't get tired of telling about it!   Steve and Dean had seen a good bull there the day before and they were hoping to help my son put his tag on this bad boy! 

As my camp host, Dan and I sat in the stillness on a heavily wooded bench overlooking a draw where elk were moving during early rifle season, the silence of the morning was broken by a bull bugling, then another, and followed by another.  This went on for several minutes as we quietly worked our way closer to one of the bulls. All the time I was really hoping to hear my son's .375 Remington Ultra Mag tell me that they had gotten on the bull from the day before. 

Suddenly, we heard a sound like an F-16 coming through the air, then the strike of the bullet, then the report from the rifle (we were about a quarter mile from the bull, maybe a half mile down range from my son)!  From the sound of the bullet, I knew it was his monster gun.  All went silent.  I wondered anxiously if his shot had hit the bull.  Then we heard the call on the radio from Steve to Dean.  The bull was down! 

Dan and I abandoned my hunt immediately and hustled over to my son and his bull.  I had heard the radio report of the kill, but I had to see this for myself! 
(Cliff S)

Action Point
"Then came Sunday, and the stone was rolled away..."  So goes the words of one of my favorite Easter songs.  The stone was rolled away!!!  The tomb was empty!!!  The angels inside the tomb announced to the women that Jesus had been raised from the dead, just as He had said He would be. 

Now, can you imagine being one of the disciples when the women returned from the grave?  What kind of nonsensical story is this?  The tomb is empty?  Jesus is alive?  Like Peter, I would have had to see this for myself. 

The disciples were blessed to actually see Jesus physically after the resurrection.  We don't get to.  However, when I examine the record, there is one compelling fact that makes me a believer in Christ.  That fact is the empty tomb.  In over 2000 years nobody has been able to produce the body of Jesus.  If they could, that would be the end of Christianity.  But they can't, because it isn't there!!! 

More than anything else, the empty tomb tells me that Jesus was raised from the dead by His Father, God, and is alive today and sitting at the right hand of the Father just as the Bible says. 

If I put my faith in Him, if I confess my sins to Him, He has promised that He will forgive me, that He will wash me clean with His sacrificial blood, and that He will prepare a place for me to spend eternity with Him. 

If you never have before, will you join me today, Easter Sunday 2012, and place your faith in Jesus?  Go to the Sportsmen's Devotional website.  After you get done drooling over the bull elk, click on "About Us," and then click on the "Sportsmans prayer."   There you will find a simple prayer of faith and you can become a child of the King, just as I am!!!

Sportsman's Tip of the Day 
There's an old adage, I think it was Robert Ruark who said it, "Always use enough gun."    It is good advice.  The .375 RUM with a 270 grain Barnes Triple Shock bullet we used for elk is big.  But, it did the job on my son's elk with a one shot kill at 460 yards.  Another gun with less power may not have provided the results we wanted.