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!
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Management Goals & Possibilities - Tip 1
Can management really improve your hunting? Yes…and like a well-stocked cafeteria, there’s something in it for everyone!
Tip 1: At one end of the management spectrum are the simple things, like holding off on young bucks or shooting does to keep numbers down or growing a small food plot on the “Back 40” just to attract deer. At the other extreme are intensive programs aimed at growing more and bigger bucks – programs that may include something like aggressive doe shooting, culling, predator control, strict buck harvest rules and an ambitious nutritional program aimed at vastly improving the food supply through natural habitat improvement, food plots and/or supplemental feeding. Between these extremes lies a full menu of management options, one of which will suit YOUR needs perfectly.
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.”
Monday, February 27, 2017
A Friend in High Places
Romans 8:34: “Christ Jesus…who is at the right hand of God…intercedes for us.”
Imagine this: You are a deer hunter sitting in front of the gate to a huge, famous ranch loaded with giant bucks. You want to enter and hunt this fabulous ranch. You ask the gatekeeper for permission to enter. He replies, “Why should I let you in?” You answer, “Because I’m a good hunter and all-round good guy who always obeys the law.” The forceful response is, “No! Turn around and leave.”
Now, what if you had answered this way? “I’m a friend of the owner’s son. He invited me.” The gatekeeper would surely have responded something like, “Of course, Mr. Jones, come on in and enjoy your stay.”
Well, the day is coming for all of us when we will need to KNOW the Owner’s Son to enter a place infinitely better than anything on earth. That place is Heaven and that Son is Jesus. Being a “good” guy won’t get you there. The Bible says, “…a man is not justified by…works…but through faith in Christ Jesus…” Knowing OF Jesus but not personally KNOWING Jesus is not enough. “…the other(s)…came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’” Jesus made the way in crystal clear, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” Period! Faith in Jesus is the ONLY way to Heaven and an eternal relationship with the Father and the Son. Without knowing the Son, the awful answer at Heaven’s door will be something like this, “I never knew you; depart from Me…” But oh what a different answer a faithful relationship with Jesus will bring, “…enter into the joy of your master.”
Monday, February 20, 2017
John 4:14: “ …whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”
Funny the impact a completely random event can have…like the time I was on safari in a hot, dry, uninhabited region of Tanzania and our party came upon a native pushing a dugout canoe riding atop his dilapidated bike. He was returning from a trek to gather a store of dried fish for his family. When we found him, he was lost, disoriented and literally dying of thirst. He begged for water. We had a good but limited supply of water with us. The man was a perfect stranger. So what did we do? We gave him water of course!
Even as he gulped down the water, Jesus’ words to the Samaritan woman at the well came to me, …“ whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water…will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” In that far off place, I was reminded that the world is full of “thirsty” people who desperately need the “Living Water” Jesus offers, the Holy Spirit of Salvation. As someone who has drank that Living Water, I had to ask myself how could I NOT offer the hope of Living Water, available in unlimited supply, to the thirsty and dying in my life, many of whom are, rather than strangers, people I know and care about. And the only cost to me is the fear of rejection, but to those who receive that Living Water, the reward is immeasurable – salvation and eternal life!
Monday, February 13, 2017
Matthew 19:26 But Jesus… said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
As a wildlife biologist working across the nation, I am amazed by the quality of deer being produced with sound management practices – from the rocky tops of Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina to the pine hills of Mississippi and Alabama and to all other areas of the country where it was said to be impossible to grow Big Deer. Just this year, a typical 12-point was taken only 20 miles from my house in Northeast Mississippi that netted 180 inches! With a bow! Until this year, even I would have said this was impossible. However, with intensive management (lots of year-round food) and passing up this buck for two years, this guy made the impossible become possible with an unbelievable trophy.
As encouraging as it is to hear stories of 180-inch typicals being harvested in non-big deer areas, one of the most encouraging facts about our Lord is that with Him all things are possible. No matter what problems you are facing, what difficulties you are having, or what storms you may be going through, we serve a God who is much bigger that any situation we may deem “impossible.” A couple of quotes from some old-time preachers always come to mind during these times: “Our God is an infinite God whose specialty is doing the impossible” and “Our God delights in doing the impossible in the lives of His people.” Just this past year alone, I have heard many stories where God intervened and did the impossible. Stories of people with Stage 4 cancer being completely healed, leaving the doctors with no explanation other that it was of God. Stories of people surviving car wreaks that leave investigators with no explanation other that it was of God. Even some simple stories of job opportunities opening up, families being reunited, friendships being restored, and many other impossible circumstances that God made possible. As you go through this New Year, I’m sure you will see the “impossible” happen in some form or fashion. Just remember Who is in the impossible business and can make all things possible.
God Bless and Happy Hunting, Mark Newell