Man to Man Devotionals
Weekly devotionals with inspirations from the field.
Monday, April 24, 2017
The Best Is Yet to Come!
John 16:33: …In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
As cohost of The Bucks of Tecomate, I go on lots of hunts every year. It’s always amazed me how success can vary so much from one year to another. Like a baseball hitter, hunters have streaks. Some years, everything seems to go according to script and one hunt after another is successful. For instance, I went six for six in 2016 on really good bucks before coming up short on hunt No. 7. But occasionally, a year comes along when success comes very hard, if at all. 2015 was such a year. Nothing went right. The season was marked by extended hunts, return trips to finish up earlier unsuccessful hunts, bad weather, marginal deer and outright failed hunts. I struggled mightily to cobble together enough success to fill out our show season. Like my hunts, recently my life has been…well, streaky!
I am blessed with a great wife, family, friends and a job that allows me to do what I love. Life is good…most of the time…but not always. Trials and tribulations come. Recently, my family has faced health issues, job loss, financial challenges and even the death of a loved one. It’s a difficult season for my family, but we remain filled with HOPE! You see, Jesus Himself told us, “In the world you have tribulation…” It’s not a maybe; it’s a fact that we will face difficulties in this life! But fortunately, Jesus followed that statement with, “…but take courage; I have overcome the world.“ As believers in Jesus Christ, we have hope because Jesus overcame the sin and tribulation of this world and now sits at the right hand of God the Father. And He promises that the day will come when we will join Him and, “God Himself…will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” That is reason enough to have HOPE, even in hard times!
Sunday, April 16, 2017
A Man’s Man
Matthew 16:21…Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.
Years ago, I hunted Dall sheep in the Yukon with a most unlikely guide named Ferlin. He was a tall shinny former bronco rider that at first glance seemed puny and frail, but he proved to be tough as nails and a man’s man. On day one, we set out for the high country miles away for a big sheep Ferlin had previously seen. We got to the base of the mountain he hoped the sheep was still on and set up fly camp just as a monster storm hit, shrouding the mountains in clouds and dumping three feet of snow. Thirteen days later on our last day, the clouds finally parted enough for us to see up the mountain…and to see the sheep above. Ferlin said simply, “We’re going up that mountain and shoot that sheep.” Nine grueling hours later in subzero temperatures and howling winds, we did just that!
Yes, Ferlin turned out to be a man’s man, but the greatest Man’s Man that ever lived is Jesus Christ. He never waived, never shrunk back. He stood behind what He believed no matter the cost, and He did everything he said he would do, even the impossible! Foremost among his seemingly “impossible” promises was this statement to his disciples, “(I) must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.” And He did it ALL!
Jesus voluntarily went to Jerusalem knowing full well what awaited Him. He was arrested, mocked and beaten by a metal and glass-studded whip. A crown of thorns was jammed on his head. He was made to carry a rough, heavy cross to a hill outside the city, where He was nailed to the cross and crucified. He endured six hours of unimaginable suffering before he died. Then on the third day, He arose from the dead…just as He said He would! Nobody else has ever done anything remotely like that! And He did it for you and me…to pay for our sins and overcome death itself that we may live forever with Him and God the Father. All we have to do is accept Jesus as our Savior in faith and we will join Him in eternal life. This Great Truth is what we celebrate on Easter Day!
Sunday, April 09, 2017
Wonders of God’s Creation
Psalms 139: 13 For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…
As a biologist, I am fascinated by the glimpses of God’s handiwork I see every time I’m in the outdoors. I see, though admittedly only in part, how He made nature to work, how ecosystems recycle themselves, how the creatures are perfectly suited to their habitats, how life is so often interdependent on other seemingly disconnected life…and in seeing, I am reminded it’s NOT just a happy accident. It’s a God-made design, as He Himself says, “For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made.” Yes, nature shouts of God’s work.
But recently, as I watched my beloved brother, Flynn, pass from this life to eternity, I came to realize that we humans, who God says are made in His image, are in fact God’s greatest work. I learned about the incredible complexity of the body, how organs and systems are all interdependent, how precisely the body’s chemical balance must be to sustain life, how fragile yet incredibly resilient we are, and most of all, how there is nothing else in this world like the human mind, spirit and soul! Experiencing all this, I remembered a verse in Psalms, “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” To that I say AMEN! and give thanks that God promises that we will have an even better “incorruptible” body when Flynn and I are reunited in Heaven!
Monday, April 03, 2017
It is God who arms me with strength
by Jordan Shipley
32 It is God who arms me with strength
and keeps my way secure.
33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
He causes me to stand on the heights.
34 He trains my hands for battle;
my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You make your saving help my shield,
and your right hand sustains me;
your help has made me great.
I found this passage both encouraging and humbling today. Sometimes, as a man, I can easily let myself start thinking I have to figure it all out myself, or “get it done” in my own power. When I find myself headed down that path or thought pattern, I typically beat my head against the wall working and striving and often to no avail. Deep down I know the times when things seem to be rolling are typically when I’m spending time seeking and consulting the Lord, asking His help and guidance in whatever I’m doing and letting Him control the outcomes. He is our teacher, He is our trainer, He is the one who “arms me with strength, and keeps my way secure”. When we strive or rely to heavily on our own power or our own understanding we can waste a lot of time and effort because we’re stubborn (especially me), and we want to think we are powerful and strong and that we can make ourselves great. It’s a humbling thing to realize He is our shield, it is his right hand that sustains us, He trains our hands for battle, it is HIS help can make us great – but it is true. I love how David, literally a King, views the Lord’s involvement in his life and his dependence on him, although as men, dependence does not come natural to us.
Tecomate Wildlife Systems on 04/03 at 08:32 AM
Man to Man Devotionals
Monday, March 27, 2017
Live and Love Every Minute
James 4:14 – “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”
As a TV show host, I am privileged to hunt a lot, often from September to February. While season is underway, it seems to go on and on, almost without end. Then suddenly, it’s over, leaving me amazed how brief the season seems looking back. As I get older, I am increasingly seeing life the same way – incredibly brief!
Two days ago, this was driven home to me in the most profound way when I lost my beloved brother, Flynn, to cancer. As our family gathered to see him Home to be with his Savior Jesus, the common theme was “so little time, so much undone.” Words like “I wish I had spent more time with him” and “if only I had told him more often I loved him” reflected the realization of the precious value of time and the briefness of life.
God was gracious to my family. He allowed us two “good” days with Flynn to tell him the things we should have said all through the years. Still, there were regrets about what we didn’t get to do together. I came away with the words of James echoing in my head, “You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” Life is short. Live and love and let your love be known!
Monday, March 20, 2017
Here in Mississippi turkey season has just opened. This is my favorite time of the year and you can bet that I will be wide open chasing turkeys till the season ends. However, no matter what game animal you enjoy hunting; they all must be hunted during a specific season. Spring turkey season across the nation is typically set during the months of March, April, and May. Whitetail deer season typically runs somewhere between September and January. Each state agency’s are responsible for setting the seasons for each game animal that is available to hunt. The seasons may be set, but that does mean that the hunting will go smoothly. During the course of the season, we will have good times as well as bad times. Sometimes it seems we have move bad than good. It’s all part of hunting.
II Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
In this text, Paul writes to Timothy encouraging him to spread God’s precious Word when times are good and when times are bad. He is telling him to scatter the Living Seed both: when conditions are delightful & when they are dreary, when circumstances are pleasant & when they are painful, when challenges are favorable & when they are failing, when confrontations are harmless & when they are harmful you are to share the Good News. For the Christian it is Open Season on spreading the Gospel. There are no seasons, no limits, no specific hours, and no restrictions of any kind in telling the world about Jesus! Don’t look at proclaiming the Gospel as an obligated duty, which it is; however look at it as a privileged delight. We as hunters have a great privilege in our hunting heritage, in which we find great pleasure in. As Christians we should view spreading the Gospel in the same way.
Do you know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior today? He is the Messiah who came down from heaven as 100% God and 100% human. He came to live among us and die for us. He died on Calvary’s cross, was buried in a borrowed grave, and after three days arose from that grave. He is Alive friends and wants to live in you! You were born into this world a sinner and it is only though Jesus that you can be saved! If Jesus is calling unto your heart today please say “Yes!” to Him today.
Christians it is Open Season on sowing God’s precious seed into the world today. There are no bounds to limit our privileged pleasurable pursuit in proclaiming the Gospel and testifying to His Glory. We are to be proudly open about our belief in the Lord, our stand for what the Bible says, and always be ready to publically make known these facts. The world is in desperate need of saving grace today, regardless if they admit to it or not. It is up to us to tell them about the One who can only give them that gift of saving grace. His name is Jesus! Proclaim His wonderful name today!
God Bless and Happy Hunting.
Monday, March 13, 2017
In Good Hands
Colossians 1:17: “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
Daylight was still an hour away. The air was cold and clear and the stars were shining brightly. They’re going to come to horns this morning, I thought. I checked the wind direction and then moved slowly down the edge of the clearing to better my downwind visibility. Suddenly, an unusually bright shooting star streaked across the predawn sky. Wow, that’s was a big chunk of space rock. My mind jumped to dinosaurs…yes, dinosaurs. Being a dinosaur nut, I couldn’t help but think of the miles wide asteroid scientists say struck earth some 65 million years ago, wiping out the great beasts. In the chill morning I thought, what’s to keep that from happening again?
The answer flooded my wandering mind – and it wasn’t a “what”, it was a WHO! The person of JESUS CHRIST! As the Bible says, “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” And, “All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.”
On that frosty Nebraska morning, I took comfort that this incredibly fragile world need not worry. It is in Good Hands! Lord Jesus is still on the job and has power and authority over all. As the eastern sky brightened, I gave thanks to God and set up to rattle on another beautiful day in His creation.
Monday, March 06, 2017
A Friend in High Places
John 15:15: “No longer do I call you slaves…I have called you friends…”
The call came too late at night. I knew before answering that bad news awaited. A somber voice confirmed my fears, “David, I have sad news. Carroll passed away yesterday.” My mind reeled. Carroll has a dear friend, business partner, companion of many hunts, renowned neuro-surgeon, and one of the most accomplished outdoorsmen I had ever known. He was a famed worldwide hunter, the first Safari Club president, author of the Endangered Species Act (yes, it was written by hunters before its purpose was perverted), founder of North Carolina’s “Dixie Deer Classic”, the grandfather of all deer shows, to name but a few of his many outdoor accomplishments.
As my I thought of the many things that could be written about Carroll’s life, my mind jumped to my own epitaph. How would I want to be remembered? “David was a great hunter?” “He was an expert deer manager?” “He was an accomplished writer?” “He published fine magazines and books?” “He was a good TV show host?” No, none of those things! Suddenly, what I had done in life didn’t seem that important. What really mattered came into sharp focus – relationships…with my wife and family, my friends, the people I met along life’s way. Then, I thought about the relationship important above all others…the one upon which I hoped all my other relationships would be grounded. I knew I could aspire to nothing greater than the simple epitaph, “He was a friend of Jesus.”