We are driving home from our hunting trip in Chadron, Nebraska, and today is the second 10 hour day of driving. Today sitting in the back seat of the pickup I am spending most of my time working on my memory verses using the very cool App “Scripture Memory”, which used to be called “Scripture Typer”. I have a goal of memorizing 1000 verses well, and included in that is memorizing the book of Philippians well, which has about 120 verses. Scripture memory is a discipline that very few Christ followers practice, it is to hard. The basic rule is, “the harder it is to make happen in your life, the more profitable it is in your life if you practice it faithfully”. Let me suggest some significantblessings and rewards that come from memorizing God’s Word.
1. The primary purpose of memorizing the Word of God is so we can meditate on it all during the day and even while we sleep, and the result is that we live life in a way that results in success in every area of life.
Psalms 1:2-3 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither;And in whatever he does, he prospers.
Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.
Notice that in both of these verses God promises that we will prosper and be successful if we meditate on His Word day and night. That doesn’t mean we will be rich, but it does mean we will accomplish a lot that matters for eternity.
2. The promise of the Bible is that we will be increasingly more successful at Conquering sin habits in our life as we memorize God’s Word.
Psalms 119:11 Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.
Romans 12:2 be transformed by the renewing of your mind,
3. ￼The Bible is the living Word of God and memorizing it puts His thoughts into our mind, and we learn to think like God, and to have His wisdom. It amazes me as I spend at least 30 minutes every day memorizing scripture how much clearer my thinking becomes, and how my ability to communicate clearly improves. One of my goals is to increase in my wisdom and intelligence and to keep senility at bay all of my life. Our mind is like a muscle, the harder we work it the stronger it gets.
There are at least a dozen more blessings and rewards that come from the discipline of memorizing large portions of the Bible. Very few believers do any scripture memory at all, and they miss out on a lot of what could be there’s.
It is about a 20 hour drive from Chadron, Nebraska to Jefferson, Oregon, and we are doing it in 2 days. Right now we are 1 hour from my son Seth and his wife, Amie’s place near Twin Falls, Idaho where we will spend the night and finish the journey tomorrow. My brother Cliff’s son-in-law, Trevor has done all the driving today, which is nice for me. I get to sit in the back seat and read, write, check sports scores, do Scripture Memory, sleep, drink coffee, snack, look at the scenery, and think about my next hunting trips next year. It has been a very relaxing day, though we did have an hour of heavy snow fall driving through the Rockies, which made us all a little bit nervous. I am such a single focused person it is always good to have a couple of days like this to shift myself into another gear, and get my mind and thinking on the goals, tasks, and responsibilities ahead. I have started writing my goals for the next year, which for me runs from October 27th to October 27th, which is my birthday, so I have this next week to write them out. I have been thinking about what they will be for awhile so once I get to writing it won’t take long. My annual goals are the most important thing I do for myself to keep myself on course in my walk with God. If it weren’t for my goal to read the Bible, I would struggle doing it faithfully, if it weren’t for each of my goals for each of my spiritual disciplines, I would struggle getting them done. Paul wrote, “set your mind on the things above”, that is choose what you think about predominantly, and I do that with my goals. He also said in 1 Corinthians 9, “I don’t run without aim” know what you want to do, and where you want go with your life. I will read my goals everyday for about 3 months, and then every other day, and for the last 6 months, once each week. Writing my goals would do little good if I didn’t read them. Reading my goals is like putting wood on the fire, it keeps me focused and passionate.
Well, it is official, I got skunked on my hunting trip to Nebraska with the goal of shooting a big whitetail buck with my bow. I practiced shooting my bow for the last 6 months probably more than 50 hours, I listened to many hours of YouTube presentations of whitetail hunts and how to succeed at it, I spent a fair amount of money on equipment, the trip, and the guide in Chadron, Nebraska, and for 10 days for 10 hours a day I sat in the freezing cold on a platform fastened to a tree 15 feet off of the ground waiting for that monster buck to walk by. Disappointment is heightened considerably with the price that is paid in effort, time, money, and all the mental dreaming and visualizing of success.
Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”
The disappointment I feel is very real, but I will get over it in a couple of days. A key way is to mentally focus on the next big goal and how to accomplish it. My next one is considerably more Nobel than shooting a big buck that I could get mounted and hang on my wall. In about a week I will start teaching each week my “Men’s Leadership Class”, “Ladies Leadership Class”, “Leadership II”, “Leadership III”, a class on Sunday mornings at 8:00 am on “Theology and Doctrines”, a Wednesday evening service in which I will teach through the book of Philippians, teaching my leadership class material at Koinonia Bible School, and teaching a 2 day seminar in January on how to use my Leadership Class material. I have been writing, reading, listening to sermons and lessons, and praying diligently for wisdom as I get ready for this 7 months of teaching. I am excited about the goal and the potential results.
I wrote yesterday about falling off of the 4 wheeler while riding on the back coming back from hunting. Boone asked why I didn’t yell so he knew that I had fallen off. I didn’t want to say that I couldn’t yell at first because I had the wind knocked out of me and was having trouble catching my breath so I gave him this response instead. “I broke 2 ribs and dislocated my shoulder, but I was to much of a macho man to act like I was hurt, but it is all good now because I rubbed some dirt on it”. He obviously knew that it was a joke. Well, tomorrow is the last day of our hunting trip and I still haven’t killed anything. My brother Cliff and his son-in-law, Trevor both have shot nice bucks, so the pressure is on tomorrow. Tonight I was in a ground blind and I had 6 bucks and a dozen does feeding all around me, but nothing would feed in closer than 80 yards so I just watched and there was several monster bucks in the group. It is times like tonight that I can get very frustrated not being able to accomplish what I want so I pray repeatedly, “Please, Lord, please herd those bucks 40 yards from me, and while You are at it have them stand broadside to me, please”! Didn’t happen.
Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
That passage says pray about anything and everything that makes you anxious, which would include being frustrated and God will give you a great peace. It doesn’t say that I will get a whitetail buck, but that I will be OK with not getting a whitetail buck if that indeed is what happens.
We were headed back from hunting and I was riding on the back of a 4 wheeler holding on to my bow with one hand and the rack I was sitting on with the other hand and our Nebraska rancher/friend, Boone was driving. It was dark and I wasn’t looking ahead where we were headed and we started up this fairly steep spot, it caught me off guard, and I rolled right off of the back of the quad. I landed with a thud, rolled back down the hill, all the while trying to protect my bow. He didn’t realize that I had fallen off until he got to the top of the hill, and was a bit startled when he discovered my absence. He yelled, asking if I was alright, and I trudged to the top of the hill and said, “that is the most excitement I have had on this hunting trip, thanks”! I got to thinking about it later and thought, “I hope he didn’t think I was insulting his guiding efforts for our whitetail hunt”, so later I told him I was having an awesome time even if I hadn’t shot anything yet, and I was just trying to be funny on the “fall off of the quad experience” so that he didn’t feel bad for dumping an old man off the back of the 4 wheeler while he was driving. He did acknowledge that he was afraid that I might have gotten hurt and was glad when I laughed and made light of it. In thinking about being careful about what I say so that I edify people and don’t offend them I was reminded again of one of my memory verse, 1 Peter 3:10 “The one who desires a good life, to love and see good days, must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.” Saying the right thing at the right time, always, is a major challenge, taking wisdom, self-examination, desire, and an awareness of the blessings when successful and the consequences when hurtful words are spoken. My daily commitment to God is “Every word I speak today will edify and give grace”, I can’t do this, Lord, without Your help, please help me today.
As each one of us chooses what we do and don’t do during a day, both short term and long term decisions, there is always a reason why we choose an activity or a particular course of action over other options. The reason for why we choose a direction in our life can be good, pure, and wise or it can be bad. Our motive for our choices is important. As I was sitting in a tree stand this morning from 5:30 to 9:30 am, freezing to death, and only seeing 6 does, I thought to myself, “Why did I decide to do this?” Included in the question of motive is also the question of joy, “what do I enjoy doing?” The pursuit of joy is a very legitimate motive, in fact God created us that way. One of the most important things to remember is that the ultimate source of joy in life is God. Psalms 16:11 says, “In Your presence is fullness of joy”. When we seek God diligently through prayer, reading the Bible, worship, and gathering with other Christ followers God gives us His joy and He blesses us with events and experiences that brings joy into our life. 1 Peter 3:10 says, “He who wants to love life and see good days must speak right, do good, and seek peace with everybody because God rewards and blesses those who do these things”. So why did I choose this hunting trip? Because I enjoy, very much, doing things that are a challenge, that are hard, and winning, conquering, and surviving! So, I am having a great adventure and enjoying it very much, but I am spending time with God in prayer every day, reading the Bible everyday, memorizing every day, and I skipped hunting and went to a local church on Sunday morning because God is the ultimate source of joy, He gives joy and He takes it away, and He works in the details and circumstances of life to give joy.
We are hunting whitetail bucks in Nebraska with our bows. We are hunting in tree stands and ground blinds trying to be where the deer are at the same time, and closer than 60 yards. Tonight I was in a ground blind in the middle of an alfalfa field where we had seen over 50 deer the night before. I watched as two monster bucks fed past my ground blind never getting closer than 70 yards and a number of smaller bucks that were close enough, just not big enough. Then about an hour before dark a couple of bucks come into the field and start feeding towards me, and one of them is a monster buck, here is a picture of him.He kept feeding closer and closer to me, 180 yards, then 100, then 80, then 60, then 50, and then 40 yards. My heart was pounding so fast and hard I could feel it in my neck and chest. As he was feeding closer he was also moving downwind of me and I could tell by the way he would put his nose in the air that he was starting to get a whiff of me, and once he got a big whiff he would bolt. He was broadside at 40 yards and I can hit a paper plate every time at 40 yards so I felt pretty good about the chances of hitting him. When I pulled my bow back he looked right at me, and when I released the arrow that buck ducked and spun so fast that he literally dodged the arrow. I never have had that happen in Oregon with mule deer. I was shocked, amazed, then disappointed, then sad, and now depressed. Man, all that waiting in a dark ground blind waiting for daylight, freezing to death in the process, and then to miss ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Oh well, I keep repeating to myself, “It is the experience not the kill that matters”, over and over in my mind. I am having a great experience, probably one of the best ever for hunting, but oh my, it would have been so nice to have hit that buck and have his head mounted on my living room wall at home. I think Patty might be praying for me to have a good experience.
We get up at 4:00 am, get dressed, eat a banana, brush our teeth and then Boone, a Cattle rancher here in Chadron, Nebraska who doubles as our hunting guide picks us up at 5:00 am. We drive to the spot we are going to hunt, climb up our assigned tree stand, a full hour before there is any daylight. The reason is so any deer we may have spooked getting to our stand will be calmed down by the time we can see them. That hour wait in the dark is cold and rather boring, but not as much as it could be because I pull out my cell phone and work on memorizing Bible verses using an app on my phone called “Scripture Memory”. When it gets shooting light I am looking intently for a deer and try not to spook him until he walks close enough for me to shoot him with my bow. The deer need to be 50 yards and closer for me to have a reasonable chance to shoot and hit them in a vital spot so as not to just wound them. I have had a dozen deer in that distance, but they have been does or small bucks, and I want to shoot a big buck. We come back to our rooms at 9:30 am and go to Boone’s house where his wife Nadeem cooks us breakfast, a really nice breakfast. Then back to our rooms to try and fit in an hours nap before Boone picks us up at 1:00 pm and off we go to the tree stands or ground blinds again, where we stay until 7:00 pm. After we get cleaned up we go back to Boon’s house again for a late night supper, a really good supper and really big, I might add. We climb into bed at 10:00 pm and then start all over again at 4:00 am. I skipped hunting this morning and went to church and had a wonderful time. The preaching was great and the worship was just like being at jbc. I slept in a little this morning, until 7:00 am, which felt really nice, then got up , did laundry, and off to church. It is now 9:44 pm so I am going to wrap this up so I can get 6 hours of sleep before the alarm goes off. Hopefully I will have a picture of a monster whitetail buck tomorrow night.
I am writing this sitting in a tree stand near Chadron, Nebraska waiting for a big white tailed buck to walk under my tree so I can shoot him with my bowthe temperature is 17 degrees but the chill factor made it 8 degrees. I don’t think I have ever shivered so much in my life, it was so cold. I was reminded of a book written by a Navy Seal where he described a time in their training that they had to stay in the ocean for several hours. He went to say that a great tool to help develop self control is to take cold showers in the morning. As I sit in this tree stand freezing to death, at least it feels that way, I am thinking that that Navy Seal didn’t have anything on me. The deer in the picture is my brother Cliffs, he is the one in the picture as well. I am hoping that I will have a picture of my deer in my blog tomorrow.
Wisdom is knowing the best thing to do and say in any situation you find yourself in. Two areas of life that requires great wisdom to succeed in is our marriage and raising our kids to be champions. We grow in wisdom by seeking it diligently.
Proverbs 2:2-6 Make your ear attentive to wisdom, Incline your heart to understanding; For if you cry for discernment, Lift your voice for understanding; If you seek her as silver And search for her as for hidden treasures;Then you will discern the fear of the Lord And discover the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
One of the best places to find wisdom is from those who have it demonstrated by their success. There are people around us who have great marriages and are raising good kids. Being humble enough to ask for counsel and advice from them is God’s method and plan. God gives wisdom to the humble. God gives us wisdom through other people.
Proverbs 1:5 A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel,
Most people are to proud to ask for advice or counsel and they will fail, and the sad thing is their kids will fail as well.
Proverbs 1:30-32 They would not accept my counsel, They spurned all my reproof. So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way And be satiated with their own devices. For the waywardness of the naive will kill them, And the complacency of fools will destroy them.