Daily Devotional for Sportsmen...
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Monday, March 31, 2014
March 31, 2014
Today's Photograph . . . . God Only Gives So Many Days In The Field (MQ)
Bible Study Verses
All his days he also eats in darkness, and he has much sorrow and sickness and anger. Here is what I have seen: It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage. As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor-this is the gift of God. For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart. (NKJV)
Thoughts I was discouraged, dejected, and mad. The deer season was finished and I threw myself a pity party.
It was the first time in 15 years I ended a season deerless! I couldn't believe it - with all the time scouting, preparing, and hunting at every opportunity, the hours on stand - and I didn't take an animal.
I can throw a pity party with the best of them. I was short with my children, and mad at the world. No, God didn't shine down and grace me with the large 140" deer; but not even a single deer. I could be mad at God, but then He showed me Ecclesiastes.
Action Point I have to stop and look back on that season:
My son took his first deer with archery equipment.
I enjoyed seeing many deer.
I made some new hunting friends. I spent an awesome Fall in the woods..
God graced me with an awesome hunting season. It may not have been one where I scored big; however, "It is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it." Thank you God for a wonderful hunting season.
Sportsmen's Tip of the Day Enjoy every time in the woods and don't put pressure on yourself to perform. Hunting is supposed to be recreation, not competition. God only gives so many days in the field - enjoy every single one.
Today's Photograph . . . . It Only Takes Six Inches Of Flowing Water To Wash Away A Full-sized Car (MQ)
Bible Study Verses
As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and then led me through water that was ankle-deep. He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waist. He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in-a river that no one could cross. (NIV)
Thoughts I had driven this particular back road before that day. I knew that it crossed a "wash" that rarely had little if any water running in it. This time, however, there was water flowing from bank to bank.
I exited my truck and pondered the obstacle before me. Not to be defeated in my journey, I quickly decided to forge ahead; after all, this was only a wash with a little water. Soon I found myself thigh deep in the middle of a roaring river, attempting to find traction for my truck that was now mid-door deep in water.
Here in southwestern United States we can pass months without any rain fall; then abruptly have a torrential downpour - flooding the once-arid creeks and washes, and transforming a dusty creek bottom into an impenetrable river.
Action Point Our Christian lives are a lot like the river described in Ezekiel. At first it starts out small and immature. But the further it travels, the more it grows:
When we become saved, we are just getting our feet wet.
As we grow in Christ, we wade deeper and deeper into the river of His knowledge and grace.
Our spiritual life, like that river, will be ever growing and ever deepening.
Make sure that life never allows us to get bogged down. Daily stresses or unforeseen circumstances can stall our spiritual growth. Develop a daily habit of spending time with God in His Word. Include Sportsmen's Devotional every day and use that time to grow spiritually. Then, when unexpected obstacles arise in our lives, we will have a stable practice of devotion that will keep us from getting stuck.
Sportsmen's Tip of the Day It only takes six inches of flowing water to wash away a full-sized car. If you come to a river or wash that you think you cannot cross, you probably can't. Find a shallower place or turn around. This may just take you someplace you have never been.
Today's Photograph . . . . Things That May Be A Threat To Your Spiritual Survival And Avoid Them (MQ)
Bible Study Verse
Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. (NIV)
Thoughts Because we are made from the material of this Earth, it should be no surprise that we have a natural affinity for this Earth. We are connected to it by gravity. We are connected to it by the things we eat, which come out of this Earth.
Have you ever noticed how often you look at the ground? We learn to do that from a very early age. We fall down frequently; this conditions us to look down at the ground (or the floor) so that if we fall, we can anticipate it and know to brace ourselves for the impact.
Looking at this world quickly becomes second nature; and the habit of looking at it so often prevails. We all do it. We look at our immediate circumstances, and we fail to connect with the Creator God who breathed His breath into us. We fail to contemplate that, even though we have earthly bodies, we are made for Heaven.
As Christians, we need to train our eyes to look at Whom we're seeking a connection with. We should be reinforcing that heavenly nature by gazing at spiritual things.
Action Point Every creature that is connected to this Earth has a physical survival instinct. Christians must cultivate their spiritual survival instinct. Assess those things that may be a threat to your spiritual survival and avoid them, just as you would avoid anything that threatens your physical survival.
Sportsmen's Tip of the Day Hunters must overcome the habit of looking at the ground in front of us, and train ourselves to look across the surface of the Earth so that we'll see the deer out there 50 or 100 yds away. You'll miss almost everything if you're constantly looking at the ground in front of you.
Today's Photograph . . . . A friend, Paul Hobel, He Invested Well Before He Went Home. Plan To See Him Again . . . (MQ)
Bible Study Verse
Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand. (HCSB)
Thoughts Recently, I wrecked my truck and dealt with all of that mess. Two weeks later, I tore my achilles tendon; and, let's just say that I am not the most graceful guy on crutches. About the time I was going into the whole pity-party thing, the phone rang.
When I was about ten years old, Warren, a family friend, introduced me to hunting. He bought my first shotgun for me, and from that point on, there was not a quail in Arizona that was safe; then, on to big game. Over the years, Warren was a model to me in so many ways. I watched how he dealt with his own trials and issues--not letting them keep him down or get in the way of what he wanted to do. Over the years, we kind of drifted apart; however, there were very few hunting trips on which I have gone that I have not thought of him. Sometimes, I told my son about the hunting and fishing trips he and I had taken. You might say that he launched my hunting career.
On April 1, 2008, God called Warren home. He touched so many lives in many ways. He will be truly missed.
Action Point How long has it been since you contacted an old friend that you have not seen in a while?
Sportsmen's Tip of the Day A hunter needs to be patient, or mistakes can happen, even lethal ones. Remember:
Always treat all firearms as if they are loaded.
Always point them in a safe direction.
Be aware of what's before and beyond your target.
Keep your finger off the trigger until you have a good shot. (Warren taught me this.)
Today's Photograph . . . . Light Will Enhance Your Personal Testimony. Darkness Will Obscure It. (MQ)
Bible Study Verse
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (ESV)
Thoughts Here in the eighth chapter of John, Jesus made one of His significant "I Am" statements, and it marks a turning point in Jesus' ministry.
John began to prepare his readers for these dramatic statements when he wrote in John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God," (ESV). And then in 1:9, he stated that Jesus was "The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world," (ESV).
Those who were opposed to Jesus clearly understood that He was claiming to be the "I Am" who spoke to Moses from the burning bush (John 8:58; Exodus 3:13-14).
Light is the key to everything in this world. In the natural world it regulates the behavior of every animal. In the spiritual world, this light, Jesus, shows us who we really are, and that He, Jesus, is the Creator and Redeemer. Open yourself to His penetrating light.
Action Point In your spiritual life, develop an affinity for light. Read the Word of God, a light for your pathway.
In your personal life, keep your actions and motives in the light--do not try to hide them. Light will enhance your personal testimony; darkness will obscure it.
Sportsmen's Tip of the Day As a hunter in the woods, when you have the choice of moving through bright or shadowy areas, choose the shadows. As a fisherman along the stream banks, when approaching the bank, try to stay away from light in order to avoid spooking fish.
Today's Photograph . . . . Yet, I Did Not Believe That They Had Any Intent On Obeying Any Law (MQ)
Bible Study Verses
II Corinthians 6:14-15
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? (NKJV)
Thoughts I am, among other things, a concealed weapons instructor. I recently had to make a decision that I found very awkward and very stressful.
I had made a commitment to provide training to several women. When the day came, only two of the women were able to attend. When I arrived and met them, it quickly became evident to me that we had a completely different world view - mine, hopefully, being centered in Christ, and theirs as worldly as one could possibly imagine (and I have a good imagination).
This, in itself, is not all that unusual; we all have to deal with such things every day. The thing that had me so conflicted was that they also displayed a complete disregard for the Rule of Law. It was going to be incumbent upon me to sign an application for these women to receive their concealed weapons permit. Yet, I did not believe that they had any intent of obeying any law.
Since I had already given them the firearm safety portion of the class, I felt that I had fulfilled any moral obligation I had for their safety. I terminated our association and provided them with a full refund. It actually cost me money to provide the training for them, as I paid the range fees out of my own pocket.
Action Point Why do I tell this story? Well, we usually associate being "equally yoked" only with the person we are going to marry, but that is not what I believe the Lord intends in this scripture. I believe the Lord is telling us not to be "unequally yoked" in any of our relationships.
I was conflicted in this situation, not only because I had agreed to provide the training, but also because I really needed the money. Bills will go unpaid because of this decision. However, I prayerfully considered this a full night and a day before making the decision and was convinced that the Lord was guiding me to make it. If the Lord was truly guiding me, He will also provide a way for me to pay the bills.
This was new territory for me. I had never done such a thing before in my life and I struggled mightily with it. To me, a commitment is a commitment, no matter what. Was I right? I will probably never know. I do know that my conscience is clear as I followed what I believed to be the Lord's prompting.
Sportsmen's Tip of the Day Remember, you are responsible for your weapons, 24/7. Just as you know where your kids are, know where your weapons are at all times.
Today's Photograph . . . . People Who Are Truly Serving The Lord Will Inspire You To Be More Faithful And Subservient (mq)
Bible Study Verse
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. (NIV)
Thoughts The past few months have found me dabbling in the art of taxidermy. I have been searching out any and every one of God's creatures I can get my hands on to try to preserve it as beautiful as God meant it to be when it was roaming the earth.
While performing this art, I have found out exactly how important it is to have a sharp kife and to keep it sharp. This verse is telling us that if we wish to be productive and do more of what God has called us to do, it is necessary to associate with people who are more Godly than we are and those who use their days more productively under His direction.
Action Point Just as iron sharpens iron - happy, positive people will inspire you to be more positive and happy. People who are truly serving the Lord will inspire you to be more faithful and subservient.
Try to spend time with people who exhibit those qualities which God may be strengthening in you.
Sportsmen's Tip of the Day A steel is used to maintain a fine edge, not to produce one. Create the fine edge by pulling the blade at an angle of 10 degrees or less from the cutting edge; whereas when sharpening with a stone the blade is pushed towards the edge.
So Delilah said to Samson, "Tell me the secret of your great strength and how you can be tied up and subdued." (NIV)
Thoughts Calling in a big tom turkey is a very unnatural act. Most of the time, the hens come to the toms for courtship. That's one of the reasons why they gobble.
Most seasoned turkey hunters know that if there are live hens around, working your turkey calls is just a waste of time. If you are really going after that big trophy bird this Spring, it's better to:
Limit your calling early in the season.
Scout hard to learn the big tom's patterns.
Be more aggressive with the calling the last part of the season.
You've got to coax that big tom to go looking for love in all the wrong places for success.
Action Point Some of us who are middle-aged, single, Christian men need to keep in mind the story of Samson and Delilah. While we may desire the company of the fairer sex, we must ensure that we aren't coaxed into the wrong call, as we get the ol' tom's to do sometimes.
Trust in God, and everything else will fall into place.
Sportsmen's Tip of the Day Scouting is the most important aspect to turkey hunting. The biggest advantages you can have over the birds are knowing:
Today's Photograph . . . . A Goat Named Fred In The Philippines (Fred B)
Bible Study Verse
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world! (NKJV)
Given the fact that John the Baptist had been studying for about 3 years in the wilderness, poring over Old Testament Messianic prophecies, you'd think that his first introduction of Jesus would be from those. But, no, the first words out of his mouth about his cousin, are the names of two animal sacrifices from the Temple.
The lamb of God that he mentions is the pesah, Passover lamb, the only lamb of Israel call lamb of God.
His reference to the one who takes away the sin of the world is a description of the azazel, or scapegoat of Yom Kippur, that carried away the guilt of the people.
These are two prominent and well-known animals of the whole Old Testament sacrificial system.
The new-born brown goat in my picture became my namesake. When we walked up on the 4 little Filipinos in the foothills of NW Philippines during my recent missions trip, I saw that twin kids, one brown and one black, had just been born to their nanny.
They reminded me of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, in Israel. Two goats were brought to the Priest. Lots were cast on the two to see which one would die, and which would live. The one that lived was called the scapegoat.
Jesus came to be both. He died for my sins as my lamb of God, and carried away my guilt, as my scapegoat.
I need to thank Him each day for both:
For dying because of my sins, to pay my penalty.
For taking the blame for all my sins, though He never sinned.
Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
When looking or glassing for game, look carefully for two, where you think you only see one. In the picture above, the black kid is hard to see, unless you look closely. He's under the nanny's chin. Don't miss having a choice of which animal to take, and of learning some valuable lessons by watching them interact.
Today's Photograph . . . . Learn Not Only To Age Tracks, But To Attach A Gender To Them (NPS)
Bible Study Verse
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. (NIV)
Thoughts When I was a very young boy, my father started taking me on hunting trips with him in the desert. First, it was on bird hunts. I was the retriever. Then, deer hunts.
My earliest recollections of deer hunting involved countless hours of driving around the desert on two-track roads and washes searching for deer tracks. Sometimes followed by countless hours of tracking ones that were fresh and looked like a large buck. My Dad would track a deer across the desert pavement as if it were a blanket of newly fallen snow. After a few miles, I would soon lose interest in this pursuit, become very weary of the hike, and wonder when we were going back to the Jeep.
Just when I'd least expect it, Dad would freeze and take a shot at a buck that seemed to materialize out of nowhere. This intrigued me, and I eventually started taking this tracking business a little more seriously. As I grew older, I learned the art of tracking from him and have utilized those skills to this day, whether I'm tracking a wounded elk in the forest or an elusive buck in the desert.
Never underestimate the importance of tracking in your bag of hunting tricks. It can give you great clues as to when and where animals are traveling, nearly as accurately as a game camera. (Ruben C)
Action Point Tracking game animals is a learned skill, not something you're born with. Neither are our children born with Christianity.
First and foremost, we must set the example and teach them to walk as Jesus did. As in tracking, they are never too young to learn these things. When they are young is a great time to teach them about the importance that God places on wildlife. "And God said, 'Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.' And it was so," Genesis 1:24 (NIV).
Our appreciation for God's creation should not be limited to whether or not we are successful at a kill, but that He gives us the opportunity to simply experience the hunt.
Sportsmen's Tip of the Day Learn to track without the benefit of a blood trail from a wounded animal. It will pay off dividends in the end. Also, learn not only to age tracks, but to attach a gender to them as well. Tracking an animal for hours, only to discover it's the wrong gender for your tag can be frustrating. But, still a learning experience for both you and your children. Regardless, they will love getting to see game up close. These days, most major sporting goods stores are full of books on tips for tracking. If you don't have the benefit of someone to teach you, take advantage of this resource.
Today's Photograph . . . . Earns You The Right To Talk To Him About His (Fred B)
Bible Study Verses
Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load. (NKJV)
During a recent missions trip to Philippines, I visited The Rock-Corregidor Island, the site of General MacArthur's landing and departure in WW II.
Very interesting to me was the statue pictured above named Brothers in Arms. This 10' bronze statue by Manuel Casas stands in the Filipino-American Friendship Park. It is a tribute to the joint co-operation, fighting, suffering and sacrifices of two nationalities of men striving for freedom.
Our guide told us of a similar statue in the US, portraying a Filipino soldier, holding up an American, whereas this statue is the American holding up the Filipino. Interesting that each country wanted to honor the other, as the one holding them up.
Paul reminds believers that if/when one is overtaken (seized, held) by a sin or weakness, others are to seek the mending and restoration of that person, remembering that all of us are capable of their sin. To bear another's burden is to lift, to endure, to sustain them through, and to carry their burden.
Daily cleansing and removal of our own sins (the log in our own eye), before trying to remove someone else's speck, is the humble and safe way to really help a struggling brother. Bearing his burden, that is putting your shoulder under his (see Brothers in Arms above), indicates closeness and willingness to feel his pain, and do something to relieve his burden.
Admitting your own weaknesses, and sharing how you conquered them, earns you the right to talk to him about his.
Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
Never hunt alone. Always have a plan for evacuation of an injured partner. Carry necessary first aid equipment, and medicines. Check up on each other with radios, walkie-talkies, or by phone. Have a game sled in your vehicle, in case you need to haul out more than game.
Today's Photograph . . . . I Can Promise You This, When I Get Over Myself I Then Realize What God Was Trying To Show Me (MQ)
Bible Study Verse
I will exalt you, Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. (NIV)
Thoughts When you're down in the dumps (as we use to say) sometimes you just need to take a walk. Do it! Take a walk just you and God. Walk around and talk to Him. More importantly, listen to Him, feel what He has to say.
A little quiet time to clear your head and hear what He has in store for you. It does help and it will help you! No problem, I repeat no problem is greater than our God. Ask Him with a pure heart to help you through and overcome this situation you're in. He will NOT let your enemies gloat over you!
Action point There are times in all our lives when trouble comes our way. There have been times in my life that trouble was all I found. We can and will overcome that. Realize that bad situations may not be all about YOU!
As an only child, I am selfish by nature. I battle that. I have grown in Christ to a point where I do realize that when I am faced with trouble I have to clear my mind and see that it may not be "all about me." That's tough for an only kid to do.
I can promise you this, when I get over myself I then realize what God was trying to show me. Sometimes it takes a difficult situation to realize that you have grown in Christ because of it. Next time, take a breath, relax, sit back, clear your head and try to see what God wants you to see, learn and experience. God may use you to help someone else!
Sportsman's Tip of the Day Ice fishing can actually help you in your open water fishing. Detecting light bites with small equipment can really fine tune your sense of feel and awareness. If you have never tried ice fishing, go with someone who is experienced and see what all the fun is about. You will add to your angling arsenal.
Today's Photograph . . . . Do This And You Are Qualified (Ron T)
Bible Study Verse Colossians 1:12
And giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. (N"IV)
Thoughts In the Game and Fish department we qualify twice a year with the issued firearms we carry on duty. We have to shoot a lot of ammo with our Glocks, M-14s, and Remington 870 shotguns.
We shoot from the 3 yard line out to the 100 yard line depending on the course of fire. If you don't pass with at least 80% proficiency, you don't qualify, if you don't qualify you can't carry the firearm, if you can't carry a firearm, you can't work for the department in a law enforcement capacity.
The cool part is: all the ammo we shoot to practice and to qualify is provided by the department at no cost to ourselves. (Ron T)
Action Point So . . . in the verse above, just how did we qualify to share in the inheritance? Did we:
Shoot a perfect score?
Split an arrow in the bull's eye?
Work hard and practice our skills to qualify?
Nope, it is a free gift given to us by confessing Jesus is the son of God and believing God raised him from the dead. Read Romans 10:9-10.
Do this and you are qualified to take up residency in the kingdom of light. "For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins," Colossians 1:13-14 (NIV).
Sportsman's Tip of the Day Practice these 7 fundamentals of marksmanship and your shooting will improve:
Grip = correct grip starts in the holster.
Stance = solid, stable, balanced platform.
Sight alignment = sights lined up and centered.
Sight picture = front sight in sharp focus.
Trigger control = smooth, steady pressure on trigger.
Breathing = do not hold breath.
Follow through = all fundamentals maintained until round has left the muzzle.
Today's Photograph . . . . Did He Really Mean For Javelina To Smell Like That (NPS)
Bible Study Verses
The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. (NIV)
Thoughts I don't know about you, but I'm sure glad that these verses are there for us to read. They confirm that we aren't doomed to be vegetarians! Of course, God didn't have to put quite so much fear in the hearts of the deer and elk I pursue; and did He really mean for Javelina to smell like that? But, they are still good in red chili, and for a good time harvesting them!
Thank you, Lord, for your wonderful creation!!! (Cliff S)
Action Point We didn't get here by accident. God has placed in all of us the desire to provide the basic necessities of life for our families and loved ones; and He made the plants and animals for just that purpose.
It's up to us to be sure that we use them wisely and as good and appreciative stewards.
Sportsmen's Tip of the Day Take special care of your animals after you've killed them. Get them cleaned and skinned, and keep the musk and other odiferous contaminants off the meat. Keep them clean, cool, and dry. They'll be the best eating you've ever had, even the Javelina!
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert. The parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water; in the habitation of jackals, where each lay, there shall be grass with reeds and rushes. A highway shall be there, and a road, and it shall be called the Highway of Holiness.
The unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for others. Whoever walks the road, although a fool, shall not go astray. (NKJV)
Thoughts Having lived all of my life in the Sonoran Desert, I have experienced long stretches of very hot dry weather, times when rain has been illusive, at best. We have now been in a drought for over ten years, and there have been days when I have truly yearned for rain.
Recently, we had a wonderful rain shower. I ran outside with my daughter, and we shouted, "Thank You!, Thank You Father! You are Good! You are Faithful! YEA!!" We jumped up and down and sang and looked into the falling rain with grateful hearts.
The desert came alive! The dusty mesquites were a vibrant green and the dull rocks brightened and shimmered. The air had the delicious smell of wet earth and refreshed creosote. The best treat, however, was watching the dry washes rush with water. The sound of rushing water coupled with every bird in the area chirping and singing reminded me that all creation indeed sings His praises.
Action Point When we ask for Jesus to take control of our lives and live in us and through us, when we surrender to Him and all His goodness, the Bible tells us that we will no longer thirst for completion. Refreshing, life-bringing water begins to rush into the barren and parched places of our souls and we are reborn in Him.
The availability of this Living Water is forever when we call Jesus Christ Lord and Master. He is able to bring life to our desert.
Let's walk on His Highway of Holiness and let the sorrow and sighing flee.
Sportsmen's Tip of the Day If you find yourself in the desert during a rain, or if there is rain in the surrounding areas, be very wise about crossing running water. The water levels surge and change in seconds, and you can find yourself in a dangerous situation. Don't place too much confidence in that four-wheel-drive truck.