Daily Devotional for Sportsmen...
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Saturday, May 31, 2014
May 31, 2014
Today's Photograph . . . .From Eternity's Perspective, What Truly Is Most important (MQ)
Bible Study Verses
But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth. As yet you exalt yourself against My people in that you will not let them go. (NKJV)
Thoughts Do we really live out each day to God's purpose? In this scripture, God is referring to the Egyptian pharaoh who would not let God's people leave Egypt with Moses. Unfortunately, Pharaoh was fighting against God; and ultimately, God showed His awesome power over all nature - Pharaoh lost.
As God used pharaoh in His plan for the people He loved, God has a purpose for everyone-- each friendship, co-worker, and hunting buddy - in His plan for us. Yes, even the inexperienced neighbor who may really look up to you and just love to be included on your next trip out. Can you think of someone who might benefit from your experience and knowledge of the outdoors? What might happen if you invited them on your next camping, fishing, or hunting trip? Perhaps you are worried that the hunt would be ruined? From eternity's perspective, what truly is most important?
Remember Pharaoh: God ended up sending frogs, lice, and locusts (to name a few of His judgments) upon Pharaoh's kingdom in order to deliver His people from slavery. God doesn't go out to get people. He is a God of love and He wants to give you the desires of your heart. He's more likely to send the trophy your way; although the inexperienced hunter may get that one, and you'll just look like an awesome guide!
Action Point There was a outdoorsman who went hunting with his friend of many years. Sitting by their campfire resting after hiking all day, he felt impressed to talk to his friend about knowing Jesus personally. He chose not to say anything because he didn't want to offend this life-long buddy. Not long after this great trip, his buddy died protecting his wife in a burglary. The sorrow and unrest of not knowing where his friend was for eternity never left him as long as he lived. Stop and seek God's purpose for your day now!
Sportsmen's Tip of the Day If you have a late hunt in the year, you may awaken to snow. Don't forget to protect your eyes. Many a sportsman has experienced snow blindness. Snow reflects 85 percent of the ultraviolet rays from the sun. Many symptoms will not appear until 12 hours later (or on your next hunt). Always keep sunglasses in your camping trailer or hunting gear. You can keep them on a leash around your neck so you don't lose them when you look through your binoculars or take that shot at the big one.
Today's Photograph . . . . Not A Pike, But A Trout Beauty (MQ)
Bible Study Verse
Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. (NIV)
Thoughts A couple of summers ago, my son and I went on our first Canadian fishing trip. We had been planning this trip for quite awhile with some extended family and were excited about finally getting the chance to land some northern pike.
Well, our first morning out fishing was going to prove to be difficult to top. We anchored our boat near a rock island and my son threw out his first cast. Immediately, he had a fish on and started reeling it in. It wasn't a huge fish, but at least it was a nice start to the day. He reeled it up to the surface, and we could see that it was a walleye.
As he continued to reel the fish over to the boat, a nice northern pike came up out of the deep water and nailed the walleye. The fight was on! The leisurely reel turned into an epic battle between my son and this northern. After a few minutes of fighting with it, my son was able to get the pike up to the side of the boat where we netted it and brought it in--with both the walleye and the northern on! That northern was never on the hook. He simply had bit the walleye on the side and absolutely refused to let go! The first cast of the trip accounted for a "2 fer" - one hook, two fish.
Many times our focus is on me - my salvation, my God, my Lord, and my church. The reality is that faith is bigger than my personal experiences with God. When God looks at a man within a family, he desires a "2 fer."
The salvation and faith of a dad is supposed to be passed on to the next generation by him. One faith, two generations or more.
Action Point As outdoorsmen, we understand the value of passing on an outdoors legacy to our children. It's up to us to pass on the traditions and the fun of being out in the wild. We also need to recognize that it's up to us to pass on the Christian faith to our children and grandchildren.
Ultimately, the Holy Spirit has to draw each person to Himself; but we have been given the privilege of teaching our children about Jesus. It's God's plan--a "2 fer."
Sportsmen's Tip of the Day Fish just love to eat leeches. The problem is that leeches love to attach themselves to people while they are in the water. If you get a leech attached to you, pour salt on it, and then you can pick it off.
Thanks for all the concern. Due to equipment challenges the devotionals couldn't be distributed. We're back up and running. Thanks for the prayers and patience. God bless each of you.
Bible Study Verses
But when they saw Him walking on the lake, they thought He was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw Him and were terrified. Immediately He spoke to them and said, "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." Then He climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed. (NIV)
Have you ever been enjoying a day out on a lake in your canoe, inflatable, or jon boat and strong winds come up? Your boat is powered by oars! After paddling awhile and not getting anywhere, you become frustrated and tired. You might even have been filled with a little anxiety if you also saw a storm approaching.
You are not alone in this experience. Check out Mark 6:47-55. The disciples also experienced it. After feeding the five thousand, Jesus saw His disciples straining at the oars against the wind and walked out to them on the water. Not only were they frightened at first by Jesus' appearance, they thought He was a ghost. I'm sure they were also tired and frustrated by the wind.
But, Jesus knowing their frustrations and fears, "immediately" spoke to them and told them not to be afraid. When He climbed into the boat, the wind died down. (Doug L)
Action Point What a thought to take with you today! No matter what problem or frustration you have, let Jesus join you in your boat, literally or figuratively.
He will calm your winds and get you through your storm.
Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
When in a canoe always wear a life jacket. Also, consider tethering your paddles so if you drop them they will not be lost.
Today's Photograph . . . . Flag Honoring Driveway (MQ)
Memorial Day, the day to honor those who gave their lives for the freedom we all enjoy. We must protect our country so they did not die in vain.
Bible Study Verse
No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends. (HCSB)
To many Memorial Day is just another day off from work, but today the Sportsmen's Devotional Team remembers and honors those who gave their lives to protect America and other nations.
It began in the 1770's when men fought and died to help our nation become free. In wars since then Americans have stepped forward over and over again and given the ultimate sacrifice. We have never asked for anything from the nations where Americans have fought and died except for a small piece of land to bury our soldiers killed in action.
We know thousands of our most faithful readers are sportsmen and women that are currently serving us in other nations within the armed services. We want to say THANK YOU for looking after those seeking to be free as well as protecting us today here in America. We also want to recognize the large number of veterans that have served our nation in past conflicts. THANK YOU!
Lord, thank you for those who gave their lives and most importantly for our precious gift of salvation Jesus Christ bought with the sacrifice of His Life.
On Memorial Day take the time to seek out at least two veterans and thank them for their service. You can also do this with family members that have lost loved ones while serving our nation. Consider practicing this each Memorial Day and follow through.
Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
In the military they teach a soldier to keep their firearm clean and in perfect working order. Apply this to your hunting arms. RIG, Rust Inhibiting Grease, is a dependable universal gun grease and has been around since the 1930's. It offers excellent storage protection for firearms.
Today's Photograph . . . . Do You Want To Be Of "Noble Character?" (NPS)
Bible Study Verse
Acts 17: 11
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. (NIV)
Thoughts A buddy of mine and fellow game warden was telling me about a call he received, he said a lady had reported a pelican tangled up in fishing line and the bird couldn't fly away to join up with the other pelicans. When he got to the lake the lady took him to the pelican which was about 15 feet off the shore.
Now here is where the story gets good. My friend grabbed his lariat rope, built a loop, took a couple of swings, and let the loop fly. He caught the bird on the first try, dragged it back to shore, removed the fishing line, and released the pelican to fly off and join its friends. He thanked the lady for reporting the incident, jumped in his vehicle, and drove away. No big deal.
It's a good story and my buddy is well known for his stories, but what he didn't know is that I happened to know the lady that called it in. When I got back home I gave her a call and asked about the incident, by golly she told me the exact same story. ( Ron T)
Action Point Do you want to be of "noble character?" Then check out what you hear, a person hears a lot of good messages and sometimes some not so good messages.
Go ahead and examine the scriptures to make sure what your hearing lines up with God's word. If it does, than receive the message with great eagerness. If not, let it out the other ear.
Sportsmen's Tip of the Day Roll up some old grocery plastic bags and put them in your tackle box; they come in handy for unlimited reasons. One reason being, you can fill them up with trash that others have left behind, such as old fishing line and other things that can injure wildlife.
Today's Photograph . . . . Oh Be Careful Little Feet Where You Go (MQ)
Bible Study Verses Psalm 56:13
For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life. (NIV)
Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? (NIV)
Thoughts Our feet are critically important to our enjoyment of the outdoors! During a typical day of upland bird hunting, one walks many miles. Hunting antelope or stalking big game may require miles of hiking up, down, around and over difficult and treacherous terrain.
An army first sergeant told me, "Take care of your feet, and they will take care of you!" Then he gave specific instructions on how to do that.
Action Point Take care of your feet. Choose carefully where you go.
In the Bible, "feet" is often a word picture of what we do and where we go - a metaphor of our life style. Where we go, and what we choose to do is important. What we choose NOT TO DO may be more so!
We cannot go to places, and involve ourselves in things that tarnish our reputation. Often these things endanger our character, and even our bodies.
More importantly, we cannot do what will shame our Lord Jesus. A child's song says, "Oh be careful little feet where you go!" So true.
Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
Take care of your feet! Carefully choose the route, the path, that you take. Carry clean socks on extended walks or stays in the field and change them often. Stop occasionally, take off your shoes to allow your feet to dry a bit; and carry a good foot powder to put on them. Buy quality boots or shoes, as well as socks. If your feet are comfortable and well cared for, you won't even notice them. But if they are not, it is all you will notice!
Today's Photograph . . . . Take Time To Find A Godly Man (MQ)
Bible Study Verse
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. (NIV)
Thoughts What a great spot my son and I found - -a natural salt lick the deer were digging into. They would visit this spot daily and it was obvious that there were decent buck around. The most intriguing part of the scenario was the fact that, with many trails leading to the lick, there was not a tree within 50 yd for an archery stand.
It was time for something different. We set up a ground blind within 30 yd of the lick in the thickest grass under a tree. We could see any deer that approached the lick from three directions.
Wouldn't you know it - I looked over my son's shoulder only to see three does standing less than 10 yd away. They came in unexpectedly and silently from the 4th direction. They didn't stay long enough to get a shot, video or pictures, but what a memory of being so close.
Action Point The advent of the pop-up-ground blind has changed the way I look at things. I have enjoyed the best times setting in a ground blind with my sons. There we talk, at a whisper, laugh, think, and sometimes just sit.
Guys love to be around one another while doing things; that's why some will get together and play cards and talk, others will go fishing, and talk, while others will work on a car and talk. The relationship that we have as men is important.
Men need men to help them be their best. I can challenge my boys and I have found that my boys can challenge me. We talk about school, girls, life, God and, oh yeah, hunting. Every moment is special, and I want them to grow up remembering Dad's time, love and interest.
God also knows that the relationship we have with other men is important. Take time to find a godly man to be a piece of iron in your life to sharpen - improve - you.
Sportsmen's Tip of the Day When setting up a ground blind, camouflage the blind with the vegetation that surrounds it. Cut sticks, leaves and limbs from the plants around the blind and camouflage the as well as possible. You will be able to see more animals than using the blind by itself.
Today's Photograph . . . . Headed Out To Sea (Cliff S)
Bible Study Verse
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. (NIV 2011)
The place: Wrangell, Alaska. The vessel: The Navigator, piloted by my cousin, Rob. I have been on several boats on the ocean, mostly scuba diving. This time we (Rob, five friends, and the deck hand, Caleb) were on a fishing boat headed out for five days in a secret spot that only Rob and the halibut knew about, or so Rob had promised us.
The morning we were to head out dawned with a dense fog that severely limited our visibility. It was that way until about 10:00 in the morning. As we pulled out through the fog and into the open sea on the way to the secret spot, I had to put my complete faith in Rob's skill as a skipper. I didn't know where the channel and underwater rocks were. I didn't know how to utilize the depth finder or the GPS system. I had never seen an oceanic navigational chart before. And, there was absolutely nothing I could do to help Rob that would make our trip safer. But, I had complete confidence in Rob's skills and judgment. Therefore, I was at peace as we headed out, and was excited about the week's adventure that lay ahead. By the way, the halibut were there.
Jesus and the Apostles taught very clearly that there is nothing we can do to earn our salvation, that it is a gift from God. I am so glad it is this way.
I can't imagine what I could do to make myself worthy of God's love and forgiveness. And, could you imagine what it would be like if we had to earn our salvation? We would never know for sure if we had worked enough. We wouldn't know if our good deeds outweighed the bad. We would never be able to be at peace with God during our life here on earth not knowing for sure if we were good enough to win His favor.
Praise God, that isn't the way it is. Jesus said that if I believe in Him and have faith that He has forgiven me of my sins, that I am saved from an eternity of separation from God in a place called hell. And, I can be at peace with God and can be sure of my salvation now because of the promise of His grace, not because of my works, but because of my faith! I like being at peace, don't you?
Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
Be sure to check the references of the guide with whom you are going to hunt of fish. It doesn't always guarantee a good experience, but it will help to keep the guide honest in his representations to you if he knows that you're going to be verifying his claims.
Today's Photograph . . . . It Is The Daily Time Of Oiling The Locks That Makes The Difference (NPS)
Bible Study Verse
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (NIV)
Thoughts As my eyes saw the three old Yale locks laying there, my mind raced back to the days of my childhood.
Recently, the locks were hanging on my Dad's work beach, but years ago they hung on the doors of the barn at the old home place. All three were well-oiled just as Dad had left them before he went to be with the Lord.
The barn had three doors and each lock had a place and purpose: the smallest protected the door where Dad kept the lawn mower and all of the yard tools; the middle-sized lock guarded the workshop door; and the large one secured the double doors where Dad kept the car. If they could talk, each lock, much older than I, could tell some stories. They watched me grow up - first opening them as a child, then as a teenager grumbling about yard work, but also excited to be driving the family car. As a man, my hands closed the locks with my own son in tow.
Pounded by cold winter rains and sleet and baked by the hot southern sun, these locks worked week after week - faithful and ready to serve, fulfilling their purpose. Dad cleaned and oiled the locks regularly, even weeks before his death.
I took them from the work bench, and now they lay side by side in my study to remind me that I must keep my life well-oiled and maintained by the Word of the Lord and prayer. From time to time I'll unlock them and drop some oil into them just as my father did.
Action Point We live in an instant, throw-away culture. Very few things stand the test of time.
The reason that Dad's locks still work is that he took time to take care of them. Each time I come off the stage with my mandolin and guitar, my instruments get a good rub down before they hit the case. When I come in from the field with my double barrel, she gets cleaned before she is put away. The best bird hunters that I know always take care of their dogs before they go to eat and rest. We brush our teeth and wash behind the ears before bed, just as Mother taught us.
But, there is more to us than the physical - we must faithfully make time to take care of our spirit: read the Bible; listen to Godly music; read a good book; hug your kids; spend time talking with God. It is the daily time of oiling the locks that makes the difference.
Sportsmen's Tip of the Day Take a soft rag and dampen it with your gun oil. Place this rag in a zip locked bag and toss it in your gun case. When your through hunting, quickly wipe the gun down with the rag. This will help maintain it until you can fully clean it. Also, this gives you a second chance to make sure that the gun is unloaded.
Today's Photograph . . . . It Is The First Turkey I Ever Missed (Jack M)
Bible Study Verse
I Peter 1:18
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors. (NIV)
I missed! I can't believe it! It is the first turkey I ever missed! I shot three times at a huge Merriam's longbeard (mature male turkey) at twelve yards.
Afterwards, I was in the dumps. I just knew I would not get another chance. But three hours later, another longbeard appeared! After a little coaxing on the call from my friend and just a little from me, he came in, presented a target, and this time the shot was accurate.
My friend who called him said, "You redeemed yourself with that shot."
God had given me another chance to fill my tag. He is the God of the second chance!
Action Point I missed in another area as well. We all do. We miss God's mark of holiness. That is the definition of sin: missing God's mark. "The wages of sin is death" - the bad news - "but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" - the rest of the story, Romans 6:23 (NIV0.
God offers a chance to be redeemed; and only HE would do that. He provided His Son as a substitute payment for our sin - yours and mine! Have you been redeemed? Has your sin been washed away? Will you enjoy eternal life with God?
I received this offer of redemption as a gift from God when only six years old. He redeemed me. He forgave my sins.
You may be redeemed by believing in Jesus as your Lord and Savior. He will redeem all who come to God by faith in Him. Redeemed! A second chance! That is a great feeling. I was happy and pleased to have the second chance at that gobbler; but I am even happier to have the redemption that results in everlasting life!
Sportsmen's Tip of the Day Learn from the mistakes you make. Learn how to do it better next time. Go over the situation in your mind and mark well the lessons you can use when the opportunity presents itself again. In the field, every mistake may be turned into a learning experience.
Today's Photograph . . . . Find A Place Outdoors To Listen To Some Great Praise Music or Read A Portion Of The Word (MQ)
Bible Study Verse
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (NIV)
Thoughts It is amazing how we will get out of bed at some ridiculous time to take in a fishing expedition or hunting outing, but neglect to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.
I wrestle with this: Why do I jump out of the sack to engage in an outdoor experience; yet, when it comes to getting out of bed to engage in seeking first the Kingdom and His righteousness, my body seems to be cemented to the bed.
Action Point What have I done to help in my walk with Christ? Combine the two experiences.
Weekly, get outdoors to seek first His kingdom.
Spend time focused on His Word and His plans for my life.
Seeking is an action word and compels us to be active in Kingdom matters and not just sit back and let life roll on by. Find a place outdoors to listen to some great praise music or read a portion of the Word.
Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
I do not know where you are in the world, but in my neck of the woods, Spring turkey season is just around the corner! We are scouting areas, cleaning guns, checking our inventory of decoys, shells, calls, clothing, and gear.
Today's Photograph . . . . What God Has In Store For Us Is Similar To Catching Bass (Jimmy S)
Bible Study Verses
When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch." Simon answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets." When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. (NIV)
Thoughts Fishing for largemouth bass is my first love in fishing. When I began learning the art of the sport, I would be all over the lake trying to catch fish. I would catch a fish and keep moving.
I finally learned that with bass, where one is caught, there is a good chance there will be more fish in the same area. I had to stay the course - let the net down again - and I began catching more fish.
Action Point Simon stayed the course, let his net down one more time, and was rewarded for following Jesus' direction.
What God has in store for us is similar to catching bass. You need to keep trying and let the net down one more time. This is applicable to everything we do in life: family, jobs, and God witnessing through us to others about His refreshing love for them.
Sportsmen's Tip of the Day After you catch one bass and don't catch another one in the same place, switch to a different lure. Don't give up immediately on a spot. If there was one fish in that location, there are probably others.
Today's Photograph . . . . People Who Depend On Their Work or Personal Qualifications Will Be Told What This Sign Says (Jack M)
Bible Study Verse
Know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified. (NIV)
Thoughts "I should be awarded this recognition because I have fulfilled all the requirements." A young person was coached to say this. They were about to be interviewed prior to being recognized for the ultimate award in a particular organization. He believed he had earned the award. (Jack M)
Action Point There are a lot of people who feel that way about going to Heaven. They believe they have fulfilled all the requirements. They think that their good works, their charitable giving, their attendance at church, their record of public service, their membership in a club, their family history, or any number of other things will get them to Heaven.
People who depend on their work or personal qualifications will be told "Do Not Enter" like the sign in today's picture.
The truth is that there is only one way to go to Heaven. That Way has a name. His name is Jesus Christ. He died, was buried, and rose again in order to fulfill all the requirements for humans to go to Heaven. Put your faith in Him alone for Heaven.
What are you counting on to get there? In Christ alone is the answer.
Sportsmen's Tip of the Day Make sure that you sign or endorse all of your permits and licenses when you receive them and before you hunt with them. In most places it is not legal to hunt unless you sign your name or endorse the license, the tags or stamps. Even the federal waterfowl stamps must be signed by the owner to be valid. With many items being printed or delivered electronically from one's own computer, this is especially easy to forget.
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the Law of the Lord, and who meditates on His Law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither-whatever they do prospers. (NIV)
As a hunter, I want to be associated with other sportsmen who will be law abiding and give wise counsel in all situations. Likewise, I want to grow in my Christian life and my walk with Jesus.
God's plan for growth is to avoid the counsel of foolish individuals and to listen to wise counsel. Wise counsel is best found in His word. His instructions are to meditate on it day and night. In other words, where I go, so should God's words--in my thoughts and in my actions. There are also two promises here, rewards for our obedience: stability and prosperity. But, there is action required on our part--meditate on the Word.
Another observation about this passage: David chose to address negative counsel first. Now, considering today's worry about self-esteem, it would seem that he would have addressed the positive first. I think that the writer may be indicating that it is always easy to find someone who will give us free advice and counsel, and it's usually worth just what we pay for it.
However, if we desire to grow in God and gain wisdom in our walk with Him, we must be in His Word.
If you want to grow in your faith and in your walk with God, you must spend time in the Bible. Read, study, and meditate on God's Word daily.
Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
If you want to be a good marksman, you must practice. Get out to the range often and burn up a box of cartridges. Practice will help you when the time comes for that shot of a lifetime.
Today's Photograph . . . . Who Do People Say That I Am?
Bible Study Verses Matthew 16:15-16
But you," He asked them, "who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!" (HCSB)
Thoughts If I were to ask people who know me, "Who am I?", I would probably get a number of different answers. I would hear that I am a hunter, a conservationist, a hunter education instructor, school governing board member. I especially like being known as a hunter. I try hard to pursue hunting in the most ethical way possible; and teach my kids to be good ethical hunters as well. This is very important to me.
In Matthew 16, Jesus was asking His disciples who people said He was. It was important to Jesus that His disciples knew who He was. Simon Peter gave the correct answer: "The Messiah, the Son of the living God". Because of this, Jesus told him he was blessed. (Ernie W)
Action Point As much as I like being known as a hunter, more than that and all other things that I represent, I want to be identified as a follower of Christ. Being a child of the King is the greatest thing that has happened to me.
Do people know that you are a follower of Christ? Ask yourself, "Who do people say that I am?"
Sportsmen's Tip of the Day Have you ever heard a hunter referred to as a "slob hunter?" Who you are in the outdoors world is very important. Make sure you are the most ethical outdoors man possible. To test this, ask yourself, "What would I do if no one were watching?"