“And God saw that it was good.”

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  Genesis 1:26 (NKJV) 

So, it is that time of year again.  I have spent the last couple of months working through research for this fall’s western expedition.  I have poured over units, satellite images, harvest and draw data and completed my wife and my applications for this fall’s hunt.  Awww the Rockie Mountains, back packs, boot tread, bows, big sky, big timber and big game, I love it.  The anticipation is running high and will only continue to climb over the next few months.  

This year, things are different for me though.  I have been venturing into the mountains in pursuit of adventure and big game since 2003.  I enjoy it.  I dream about it.  I have a hard time waiting for it.  As I worked through my process this winter, things were different though.  As I poured over my research and maps, it was with new eyes.  As if it is a different man.  

After last year’s hunt, I had a shameful revelation.  In all the years I have headed into the mountains, I have thoroughly enjoyed and relished every step.  Even when getting cliffed out and spending an unexpected, unprepared night on a near vertical mountainside.  I have filled far less tags than I’ve eaten, got plenty of bumps, bruises and blisters along the way.  Despite all the hardship, the rewards always far outweighed the demands.  Throughout it all, in any situation, I was always able to keep pressing on with a faithful optimism that the next opportunity was waiting around the next bend or over the next ridge.  Filling a tag had always been a very small factor in the equation.  I had always been able to maintain an appreciation for the pursuit and adventure of just being in God’s playground.  Last year I lost sight of that.  Shortly into our hunt, I allowed frustration to set in.  It took root, soured my attitude and it showed.  I was horrible.  I had no appreciation for where I was or what I was privileged to be a part of.  For the first time, I couldn’t wait for the hunt to be over!  It didn’t end with the elk hunt, either.  I allowed it to follow me into my whitetail season, as well.  Who was that guy?!  Shameful!!! 

The revelation didn’t come immediately, but fortunately it did come.  You could say, God and I had a little heart to heart.  Mine was dark and with His grace, we cleaned it out.

The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed.  Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.  Genesis 2:8,15 (NKJV)  

God created for us a veritable playground!  He created it for us, to care for and enjoy.  How many times I’ve sat on a mountain top, in a tree stand or the bank of a river and been humbled by God’s glorious workmanship.  How many times I’ve sat and marveled at this gift He created for us.  How did I lose that?  How could I allow satan to poison that affection, embitter and deceive me like that.  How dare I allow him to dismantle something that I love, a gift from God?  I’m human.  The devil got to me.  I didn’t let him in as much as I didn’t see him coming.  That’s how he works, the great deceiver.  Whatever he can do to draw your focus from God, from His grace, gifts and love, he will employ.  Satan hates us, because God loves us.  He will never stop trying to pervert and corrupt what God so graciously provides.  

No more.  God saw him coming and knew what he was up to before he did.  He wrapped His loving arms around me and sheltered me once again.  God came in and wiped the slate clean.  He reminded and renewed me, yet again.  

I finished my Iowa archery season with a renewed appreciation and affection for God’s provision.  I set the course for this fall’s excursions with new eyes and a clean heart.  Satan tried.  God won!  He always will!!!  

By the way, that’s my wife Rebecca standing at 11,100 feet above sea level in the High Uinta Wilderness.  Yes, she bowhunts and sorry fellas, she’s taken!!!

Now therefore, please take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me.  Genesis 27:3 (NKJV)

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace 

 

 

To Live

Do you ever get stuck on just one verse?  You may be reading a chapter or section of scripture and one word or phrase leaps out and won’t let you keep going.  I have been considering and dwelling on one verse lately, trying to grasp the full weight of what it means and how it applies to my life in all its various ways.  Often, I find it is an area where God wants me to grow in my life.  It may also be areas where I need pruning, so that I might become more fruitful as I allow his Spirit to work on mine.  What is your response when He gets your attention? 

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  Philippians 1:21

We can look at our own lives and ask at any given moment ‘what am I living for?’  How does the evidence of my life answer that question?  Where do I spend most of my time, attention, and money…i.e. what am I pouring my life into?  It is probably good to ask this on a regular, if not daily basis if we want to know what or who we are living for.  If we really don’t want to know, we probably try to avoid these types of questions.  Or take it a step further and ask others what they see us giving ourselves toward the most.  God will surely show you the truth when you ask him.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  John 10:10

Can we ever fully live for Christ?  It becomes more evident as we surrender more and more of our lives to him. Maybe it is easier to see in others than in ourselves at times.  As we read the words of Paul…was he living this way?  I believe so, after his conversion, his life was fully devoted to one main purpose, while he continued to deal with the struggles of life.  That is evident in many of the words he wrote as he kept surrendering more of his life and work and plans to Christ.  Is this what we strive for also?  What would my faith look like if this were true in my life?  To truly believe that living my life is promoting Christ, and to die is to be with him.  Is that what we believe? 

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12

Sometimes it’s a song or a catch phrase that gets stuck in your head that gets replayed multiple times.  But when it’s a scripture verse that God gives you which gets mulled over and over, does it take on any new meanings for you?  It often does for me.  Especially when he reveals it in context and how it applies to all areas of my life.  It makes me consider whether I just provide lip service in acknowledging God’s word as true, or whether I am ‘all in’ to Christ and His Word in every part of my life.  It is not often an easy process, but is one that usually needs to be done.  May our desire be for more of Christ in more of our life, so that we become a reflection and a testament to Him.  As we allow him to refine us, may we find hope and joy in the process as we realize we are living for him and because of him. 

To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.  Colossians 1:27

Striving to live for Him,

Clark

Promises to the wise


I was reading the Proverb of the day and I love looking at the promises for those who pursue wisdom and walk in wise council.  Here are the promises in what I read.

Proverbs 13 

Wise words will win you a good meal
4 those who work hard will prosper.
The life of the godly is full of light and joy
10 those who take advice are wise.
11 wealth from hard work grows over time
13 those who respect a command will succeed.
14  The instruction of the wise is like a life-giving fountain; those who accept it avoid the snares of death
18  if you accept correction, you will be honored
25 The godly eat to their hearts’ content,

Verse 9 encourages me so much.  I want my life to be full of light.  Jesus said He is he light, so when I choose to walk in God’s ways I get to overflow with light.  I have learned that happiness comes and goes like the wind.  One day I can feel sad and the next feel great.  Joy is something completely different!  Joy is not an emotion, rather it is something we receive from the Lord.  It does not need perfect days to be strong. Even on a terrible day, joy can win out.  When I walk in God’s ways and ask Him for joy, His promise is that He will fill me with joy!

This also encourages me that correction benefits my future.  In the moment, it does not feel that way, but I have learned that correction from a mentor produces good things over time.

Proverbs also gives warnings for not walking in wisdom:

Proverbs 13
2 treacherous people have an appetite for violence.
3 opening your mouth can ruin everything.
4 Lazy people want much but get little,
9 the light of the wicked will be snuffed out.
10 Pride leads to conflict;
11 Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears;
13 People who despise advice are asking for trouble;
18 If you ignore criticism, you will end in poverty and disgrace;
20  associate with fools and get in trouble.
25 the belly of the wicked goes hungry.

I don’t know about you, but I do not want to live out any of these.   I don’t want to be lazy, prideful, wicked, despise advice, go hungry, or be a friend of a fool. I know if I were to spend the next 5 years living that way, I would hate what those seed planted produced in my life!

So today choose who you want to become!  Wise and invite wise council in your life and be full of light and joy, or a fool and go hungry and live in conflict.

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Someone Needs to do Something!

You are an observant genius! It’s a true statement, right? You frequently see things that need to be fixed, need to be done better, or which you know you could vastly improve. You drive down the road and see the pothole that needs to be fixed, see the building that could be painted a much better color, and know that you could have roofed that house much better. It something all of us do: we see things and think: that’s a problem! But here’s my question for all of us: what do we ever do about? Now, many of the things we point out as needing fixing are truly not our responsibility {you probably shouldn’t just start repairing potholes}. Yet, there are many problems we see on a regular basis that we know need fixing, which we could legitimately do something about, yet choose to do nothing.

 

If you’ve never read the book of Nehemiah you owe it to yourself to read through it. 140 before Nehemiah the city of Jerusalem had been attacked, conquered, and destroyed by the Babylonians. For 140 years the walls of the city laid in ruins, leading the city defenseless. While people frequently complained about the state of the city little was done about it. Some attempts were made over the years, but always ceased when even the smallest of difficulties were encountered. Then one day a man named Nehemiah, living 800 miles away, heard about the condition of the city {Nehemiah 1:1-3}. Like thousands before him he was saddened by the news, bringing him to tears. But, unlike the generations of Israelites before him, he chose to do something about it. First, he decided to pray {Nehemiah 1:4}. Then, he chose to take direct action, leaving his prestigious job as an assistant to the King to travel to Jerusalem and tackle the problem head on {Nehemiah 2:3-5}. His attitude was: someone has got to do something about this, and it might as well be me!

 

Like Nehemiah we see all sorts of problems that break our hearts. Poverty, hunger, the lost, those caught in drug addictions, failing marriages, broken relationships, and more. Our hearts break everyday as we see so many problems not only around the world, but also in our own backyards {and, perhaps, within our own homes}. We’ll even utter the phrase “someone has GOT to do something about this!” But do we ever follow Nehemiah’s example and finish that phrase with “it might as well be me?” Friends, if your heart is breaking over a problem in this world I want to suggest that God may very well be telling YOU to do something about it. If your heart breaks for the lost start praying for them and starting finding opportunities to share the gospel. If your heart breaks for the poor begin praying for them and seeking out opportunities to assist them. Let your prayer this week truly be: “someone has got to do something about this, and it might as well be me!”

Making Men Requires Assessing and Improving

2 Kings 13:17New International Version (NIV)

17 “Open the east window,” he said, and he opened it. “Shoot!” Elisha said, and he shot. “The Lord’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Aram!” Elisha declared. “You will completely destroy the Arameans at Aphek.”

I love this portion of Scripture where the old prophet Elisha is still at work while being bed ridden and unable to get about. This old prophet is still full of God’s power and ready to help Jehoash.

We see King Jehoash calling on Elisha for guidance and help. The enemy was at his gate to pounce and defeat him. Not knowing which way to turn he calls on Elisha, a man of double the portion of his mentor Elijah.

The prophet knows just what to do for Jehoash. Open the window and shoot the arrow. The arrow is significant because it shows the Lord’s power of victory over his enemy.

Then Elisha told King Jehoash to strike the arrows against the ground. The only problem is, he only strikes 3 times. The prophet gets mad and says, “Why only 3? You should have struck the ground 5 or 6 times. Beat your enemy!”

The only problem was that King Jehoash was a passive man. Three strikes got him by. He thought that was enough. This was a spiritual battle for Jehoash. The great I Am was in control and willing to conquer Jehoash’s enemy. The only problem was faith. He only had faith to get by.

The root of passivity, men, is an unwillingness to submit. When we fail and are passive to submit we lose purpose for which we were created. Failure to live up to the calling as a man is passivity.

We mush admit our passivity as men and ask God to help us improve through our weaknesses and failures. We must be willing to name them and in doing so at the moment, we break their power over us.

Like King Jehoash, God is wanting victory in our lives to defeat our enemy who knocks on our gates. Assessing and improving your life in Christ and allowing the Holy Spirit to transform you will break your passive faith. Do you have the hairs standing on the back of your neck right now? If not, I do not know what will.

Stand against the passivity in your life. Grab it by the throat, name it, and allow God to change it! Enough said!

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

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