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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.”

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Posted by David Morris on 02/27 at 10:07 AM
Man to Man DevotionalsPermalink

Monday, February 20, 2017
Thirsty World

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!

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Posted by David Morris on 02/20 at 10:48 AM
Man to Man DevotionalsPermalink

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

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Posted by Mark Newell on 02/13 at 09:31 AM
Man to Man DevotionalsPermalink

Monday, January 30, 2017
Deal With It

Ephesians 4:26: Be angry, yet do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your anger.

Shooting a TV show on hunting mature whitetails is fraught with problems. Big bucks are hard enough to hunt when it’s just you and the only thing you’re focused on is finding a trophy and making the shot. Throw in a cameraman loaded down with cumbersome gear and the difficulty of scoring increases geometrically. If you are lucky enough to finally get a shooter buck in your sights, capturing that final climatic “moment of truth” on film is the “Holy Grail” of hunting shows. Missing the kill shot is the greatest no-no in outdoor TV. It cannot be recreated!

Recently, my relatively new cameraman (we’ll call him “Jim”) flat out missed a perfect opportunity after several days of hard work leading up to the final trigger squeeze. I lost it! I couldn’t believe all the planning, strategizing and effort leading up that near-perfect setup had all gone for naught! I unloaded my frustration on Jim, complete with “colorful” words I had not used in years.

Later that evening, still nursing disappointment, a Bible verse popped into mind, “Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger…, ” and another followed, “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” I was flooded with conviction. I had refused to forgive Jim for an insignificant incident when God had forgiven me for countless and infinitely greater transgressions. I lost no time. I headed to Jim’s room and apologized and asked his forgiveness for my bad behavior. Jim was relieved. I was reminded…by grace alone God saved a sinner like me!

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Posted by David Morris on 01/30 at 10:22 AM
Man to Man DevotionalsPermalink

Monday, January 23, 2017
The Ultimate Personal Responsibility

Matt. 16:13-15 … (Jesus asks) His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

With our government taking more and more control over our lives, we live in a time when it is getting easier to abdicate our responsibilities, welfare, and, indeed, our very future to Big Brother or others who “know better.” Today, it is fashionable to blame someone else for our problems, actions, and circumstances. It’s too easy to expect someone else to bail us out of messes we have gotten ourselves into. The idea of personal responsibility seems to be a thing of the past, an archaic notion promoted by our Founding Fathers but made increasingly obsolete today by a more “enlightened” view of “collective” responsibility. But, the Bible speaks of an ultimate personal responsibility that even the Federal Government cannot absolve us of. What is it? It’s a question Jesus asked his disciples and one he asks each of us individually – “But who do you say that I am?” It does NOT matter how anyone else answers that question – not the Federal Government, your employer, your parents, not even the most powerful man in the world.

You alone are accountable for your answer. If you answer like Simon Peter did –

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Posted by David Morris on 01/23 at 03:32 PM
Man to Man DevotionalsPermalink

Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Management Is a God Thing

Genesis 3:23… “therefore the LORD God sent him (Adam) out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken.”

From the popularity of game management today, it’s obvious that we hunters have an innate desire to manage the land and its wildlife. Have you ever wondered what is behind that desire to work the land and improve its production? Well, it’s not new with us today. It goes all the way back to the beginning of man’s existence. When God send Adam out of the Garden of Eden, He instructed him to “cultivate the ground.” Every time I’m on my tractor, I think about that verse. There’s something about working the ground that appeals to men. It runs deep. It goes to the heart of our goal-oriented nature; the cause and effect motivation that so drives us men. Even Solomon, described as the wisest man in the Old Testament, when he wanted to “enlarge his works” (Ecclesiastes 2:4-7), he planted vineyards, made gardens and parks, planted all kinds of fruit trees, made ponds of water, and possessed flocks and herds. He managed the land!

I’m often asked, usually by someone not close to the land, “Why manage, why not just accept what’s there?” The question ignores a basic truth – it is man’s nature, given by God, to “cultivate” his environment to improve it. We hunters are no different. The desire we have to manage land and wildlife is from God. He has given us stewardship over our land and its wildlife. That is why we hunters, as stewards of the land and wildlife, find such satisfaction is managing what God has entrusted to us. It’s a God thing!

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Posted by David Morris on 01/18 at 09:42 AM
Man to Man DevotionalsPermalink

Monday, January 09, 2017
I Missed!

Romans 3:23: “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”
I was sitting 20 feet above the frozen Saskatchewan ground shivering uncontrollably in a porcelain-coated cast iron bathtub (yea, bathtub and surely the coldest stand in history) strapped between two big poplars when a doe charged into the small clearing I was watching. Her hunkered down posture and raised tail told me a buck would soon follow. Seconds later he did…and what a buck he was – massive with tines like “coke bottles!” My mind shouted, “Shoot!”, but instead, I held onto my binoculars and counted tines, burning invaluable time. “Only a 9-point”, I realized. Then he faced me, revealing a 25-inch spread and long, wrapping beams. My mind spoke again, “Book buck!”

To make a long and sordid story short, the buck jabbed the doe in the rear. She ran and he pursued. I hastily grabbed my 7 mag and fired just as the buck disappeared into the Canadian wilderness. I knew I had missed…and forever lost an irreplaceable trophy.

Deer hunting is not the only place I’ve “missed the mark.” I do so every day in life. You see, the word “sin” actually means “to miss the mark” of God’s perfection. We all come up short. Every one of us sins – lots! The Bible says “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” And sin has a far greater cost than missing the mark on a trophy buck! The Bible says “…the wages of sin is death…” But unlike missing in deer hunting, there is a remedy – God’s unconditional forgiveness through grace! For those who know Jesus as Lord, we are “justified (forgiven) as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus…” Amazingly, grace is a free gift we don’t deserve and can’t earn. It was bought by the Precious Blood of Christ on the Cross and is available to all who simply accept it. Thank God…for I miss the mark every day!

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Posted by David Morris on 01/09 at 06:28 AM
Man to Man DevotionalsPermalink

Sunday, January 01, 2017
Don’t Blow Your Chance!

2 Corinthians 6:2 – “Behold, now is “THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,” behold, now is “THE DAY OF SALVATION”…

As a serious trophy hunter, I have a rule – take the FIRST good shot you get on a trophy buck because you never know if you’ll get another chance.  Trophy bucks have a way of disappearing, often suddenly and unexpectantly.  You’re on a countdown and you don’t know much time you have.  And when your time runs out, you may have blown your chance at that trophy forever.

I was reminded of this trophy hunting principle recently when I learned that a friend I hadn’t seen in many years had died suddenly.  My friend was very wealthy.  He had everything this world could offer – business success, power, huge landholdings, multiple homes, beautiful wife – he had it all…except fulfilment.  You see, he was spiritually bankrupt.  He did not know his Creator and Savior, the one thing that brings true success.  Sadly, I knew he had had his chance, that there had been a time when the opportunity to “pull the trigger on life’s greatest trophy,” a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, was before him and he hesitated…then the moment was gone.  I do not know if God in His grace ever gave him that chance again. But in thinking about this, I was reminded of God’s Word to us in 2 Corinthians 6:2, “…at the Acceptable Time, I listened to you, and on the Day of Salvation, I helped you.  Behold, NOW is the Acceptable Time, behold NOW is The Day of Salvation.”  When life’s greatest trophy is before you, take the shot…NOW!

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Posted by David Morris on 01/01 at 09:16 AM
Man to Man DevotionalsPermalink

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