Don’t be a Loser

Four things that have been resonating in my mind recently.  Two of these are Bible verses and two are from a video of a good friend of mine who served in the Navy.

2nd Timothy 1:7- “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline”

2nd Samuel 17:8 “You know your father and his men. They are warriors as fierce as a wild bear whose cubs have been stolen. Your father is an experienced soldier. He will not camp with the troops tonight.”

“If you can use adversity correctly, you can accomplish great things.”

“If you’re not getting better, you’re ******* dying”

I believe that the personification of a Christian, especially Christian men, in today’s society is one of someone who obeys the rules, goes to church because he or she is supposed to since the Bible says so, is passive in many of his different dealings rather those be work-related or recreational, and someone who won’t fight.  For anyone who has grown up in church, we heard all the bible stories. Most likely, these stories were represented with cute little graphics that were the farthest thing from a blood bath.   All the stories were rated G for the most part.  Somewhere in there, people have believed that all our Bible characters were specially anointed and were perfect examples of a Christian.  My most favorite example of this is the story of the powerful woman, Esther.  If you have never paid attention to the details of her story, you are missing out on some crazy facts.  

With these variables combined, it is easy to see how the world can view a Christian as passive or a loser.  The always quoted line “turn the other cheek” is said mockingly as people figure that Christians will take abuse over and over again.  I will tell you one dude in the Bible who, in many cases, didn’t turn a cheek and took calculated actions to fix a problem: God.

Go read how he flooded the whole earth and killed EVERYONE except for Noah and his family.  Go read in the book of Judges about how God caused an entire Midianite army to turn on themselves and kill each other. Go read about how He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.  God isn’t just some passive guy sitting on a throne of flowers.  He truly lives in a spirit of power, love, and grace, and fights against fear and timidity when it comes to furthering his Kingdom.

I love the verse in 2nd Samuel, and the reference used to describe David as a “wild bear whose cubs have been stolen.”A mamma bear is probably one of the most ferocious animals in the world when her cubs are in jeopardy.  Nothing will stop her from getting them back. Trust me, I have found myself between a bear and her cubs before.  David himself was a man after God’s own heart, yet he committed adultery.  On top of that, he made it so that man whose wife he had relations with was put in a position where he would have a very high chance of dying, and that man did die.  Even with that on his resume, David, to me, is one of the purest examples of a man who lived with power, love, and self-discipline.  The man wrote poetry, killed bears, lions, and a giant as a child, and he led many armies into battles.  To say David was timid is a far reach.  Yes, David made mistakes, but he was genuine in his repentance and found forgiveness through his Savior.  David is the kind of warrior every Christian you strive to be. 

Don’t be a loser.  To say that you need to be squeaky clean and be perfect to be a Christian comes from the idea of being religious.  Religious people judge quickly and can always find faults with all your actions.  Even the actions we take that are direct commands from God can be seen as evil or the wrong move in the eyes of someone who puts religion above their Savior.  A warrior of Christ can see all of those faults and see the good that will come out of those things.  Take Paul in the New Testament. Before Paul was Paul, he was Saul, aka the Christian killer who was straight up murdering Christians with rocks.  Even while that was going on, Jesus said that Saul was soon going to be an instrument for expanding His Kingdom.

Paul was a warrior and devoted his life to spreading the good news of Jesus.  Shipwrecked, snake bit, and imprisoned, his story is straight out of a movie script.  Paul was put on this earth for a purpose.  That purpose was to show that the greater the adversity, the greater the recovery and the greater the story.  Paul used his screw-ups to bring others to Jesus.  This is not only Paul’s purpose, but it is every Christian’s purpose in this life.

Taking the two verses and two quotes from above, we can begin to understand how we can fight fear and timidity along with the things in life that so easily ensnare us.  The world wants us to become complacent and not grow. If you are a Christian and you are not seeking growth, you are losing ground. When this happens and it will because we are sin-natured, the world will jump at the opportunity to call you a loser.  Continued actions in the state of timidity is not what we as Christians are called to do.

Our own internal voice will reason with this and will find ways to make this “loser mentality” a reality in our lives.  There is one person who will never call you a loser: Jesus.  He loved you before you fell short and failed.  He loves you as you are going through that failure, and He will love you in the aftermath.  The greater the hardship, the greater the recovery. Fight through that adversity with the ferociousness of a bear whose cubs have been stolen. Seek repentance when repentance is necessary and ask for forgiveness when forgiveness is needed. Don’t be timid. Don’t be a loser. Be self-disciplined, be powerful, and above all else, love.

Why you should listen to the Guide

I’ll throw a few numbers at you to give us a starting point.  Say you find yourself wanting to chase an elk anywhere in the mountains. Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah, it doesn’t matter where.  The odds of you being successful and taking an elk are not in your favor.  Most areas give a hunter less than a 15% chance of shooting an elk.  But if we look at hunters who use a guide, you are looking at an average that I would say is safely above 90%. Why the drastic difference? 

Before you go there, this is not an article persuading you to drop some money on a guided hunt.  When a hunter decides to go on a non-guided hunt he is already at a disadvantage. He isn’t aware of how the animals have been reacting to weather, how the pressure from other hunters is affecting the wildlife and may very well never have even set foot in the area that he is planning on hunting in.  Guides make their living understanding animal movements by being in the field.  Field time and experience in understanding certain areas goes a long way in increasing success rates. In turn, we can share our knowledge with our hunters and help them increase their success rate at that exact moment, and for every adventure they embark on in the future.  I for one can tell you that there is nothing more intimidating than looking at a mountain and figuring out how you are going to get in range of the quarry you are after.  So how can you increase your chances of being successful? By repetition and seeking advice.  

Last season, I was in the field guiding elk hunts for 45 days.  I was on 20 shots and 15 kills to give you reference.  Now granted, I was in an area that had a very high density of elk and little pressure from other hunters, but elk are still elk.  It is a hard thing to get within range of a wild animal in its natural habitat.  Given that I have been guiding hunting trips for 7 years now, I have seen my fair share of successful trips.  There are many men and women who have been at it longer than me, but 7 years is a long time.  The more repetitions I have been able to have and the more experience I have been able to obtain has helped me do my job better.  I have also had plenty of men and women show me the ropes on how to be a successful guide.  A guide’s job is to put his client on an animal that is a perfect representation of what he wants and provide an opportunity for the client to take a shot on that animal.  If you can’t consistently do that, you won’t be a guide for very long.

All this to say, why would you set a goal and not seek advice from someone who has been there, done that.  If you want to learn how to become a good hunter, why wouldn’t you ask questions from veteran hunters or guides?  The same goes for your walk with the Lord.  The Lord is the “ultimate Guide” and also has many other “apprentice guides” working under him.  Some of these are easily seen through our pastors at church and others can be seen throughout your community.  Our “ultimate Guide” has experienced every hurt and pain this world has to offer, and He knows what you are feeling.  His “apprentice guides” have experienced and are experiencing the same pains and hurts and are walking with their Guide to find healing from these knowing that He makes good of all things. Not seeking advice and playing the victim card in your walk with the Lord makes you just an “okay” Christian.  When a hunter goes out into the field, he doesn’t look to be just an “okay” hunter and fill his tag every once in a while.  He wants to be a great hunter and be successful in his pursuits.  It’s not “okay” to just be an “okay” Christian.

Going about life with that 15% success rate is not how we should live our lives for Christ.  What a waste that would be. There are many guides out there who can help you with your walk rather that be physically, spiritually or mentally.  Even us guides in the hunting world need help and seek advice from outside sources.  Listen to the “ultimate Guide” first and in doing that He will place “apprentice guides” in your life who will help you on your journey.

Guided hunts take an investment from a hunter but increase the success rates.  Giving your life to Christ takes an even greater investment but gives you a 100% success rate on this most important adventure you will ever embark on. Maybe it’s time you listened to the Guide and made that investment.   

How a good guide deals with a change in plans

My current view while writing these few words consists of 2 whitetail deer feeding about 120 yards from me.Birds of all kinds are letting their existence be known. It is unseasonably chilly here in West Texas as we have had some heavy rainstorms and northern winds blow through the past few days. With everything that is going on in the world, this place is truly peaceful.

Undoubtedly you are tired of hearing about the current world news and have been affected by it in some form or fashion. I admit that these current times make me even more impatient for September when I can escape to the mountains to chase after elk. When September comes, I brace myself for the many ups and downs that come with the long season. As soon as I believe that I have everything figured out, something on the mountain changes, and makes me look like a fool. Daily things in life are just the same. Just when we think that we have this whole life thing figured out, it throws a wrench into what we feel are our perfect plans. Our own life goals and plans are so limited to what we are capable of.  

Isaiah 55:8-9 “My thoughts are not your thoughts, and my ways are not your ways,” declares the Lord. “Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts.”

As plans almost always change, I wanted to share a few habits that separate a bad guide from a good guide when change happens in the field. There are many different times in a person’s life when they have a fight or flight moment. A good guide always fights. 

1. A good guide is versatile

To be a good guide, you must be versatile. Able to make changes on the fly and adapt to situational circumstances. Most successful hunts have a few twists and turns that were not expected. When these twists and turns happen, a guide does not just sit down on a log and let the day go on. A guide takes what he is given and makes the best out of it. A guide’s job is to make his hunter successful, or at the very least, provide an opportunity for that hunter to be successful. If there was a known outcome or if there was a 5-step process of where to go and what to do to kill an elk, the hunt would be much less enjoyable. 

2. A good guide takes action

A good guide can look at a mountain and form a plan of action. That plan changes with different wind directions, changes in weather, changes in animal location, and many other factors. Once the plan is in place, and the guide has made progress, everything that he was confident in can be thrown out the door as a new situation presents itself. Any moment where a guide doesn’t take action is a failure on his part. To be successful, you must take the initiative and know-how to carry out a plan. If there were a verse that was meant for hunting guides, it would be this one: 

Romans 12:12 “Rejoice in hope;be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer.”

3. A good guide recognizes what he has

The one thing that I love about being a hunting guide is that even on the worst of days in the field, I am still a hunting guide. What I consider as one of the best jobs on the planet is what I can do. I can say the same about having a relationship with Christ. At the end of even the worst days, I know that all things work together for His good. As I move through my many seasons, questions arise about what my purpose is and how I am supposed to fulfill that purpose with my current circumstances. Yet, with all of this uncertainty, I know I have the greatest gift that anyone could receive. The gift of love, forgiveness, and eternal salvation, and I have the ability to spread those gifts with everyone.  

4. A good guide is comfortable in uncomfortable situations

While I am “on the clock” with my guiding jobs, I really could care less about what kind of weather or what other circumstances are going on that could affect my comfort in the field. I am aware of what my job is and know what I must do to accomplish that job. A good guide must make it a habit of being comfortable in uncomfortable situations. As we all go into this season of discomfort, many of us will decide to be stagnant and just ride it out. That is not what we are made to do because if we aren’t moving forward, we are going backward. There is no middle ground. You know what areas you are lacking in and have the available time and resources to work on those areas. Netflix and Disney+ won’t fix any of your issues. Perhaps what we all need is to face a little discomfort to appreciate those times of real comfort. Even the best guides get tired and need rest. There is no shame in struggling to find purpose or the encouragement required to fight on. At some point in our lives, we will need to find peace and rest, and there is only one way to do that: 

Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Place my yoke over your shoulders, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble. Then you will find rest for yourselves because my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

How to be an Instrument

Before you read this, ask yourself this question: what was one solid point that I took away from the last sermon, podcast, etc. that I listened to? 

If you have gone this far as too click on a link that brought you here to my page, here are three points I will make in this piece that will help you be an instrument for noble purposes: 

                                                          1. Be prepared

                                                          2. Be disciplined 

                                                          3. Refuse timidity 

If that is all you read of this page, then at least you have laid just a tiny bit of a foundation in coming to realize how you can be an instrument for noble purposes. But if that is all you ever do, then you are from being an instrument, and saying that you are such is a lie.

   Be Prepared

I would be willing to bet that most people are familiar with the parable of the sower in the Bible. The short scoop is that a dude goes out and plants seeds on a path, in the rocks, in the thorns, and on the soil. I have heard that passage so many times and it always resonated with me in a surface level experience. It wasn’t until I asked myself the question that I put at the beginning of this article. I didn’t have a clue as to what my preacher had talked about the last Sunday. Reading through Mathew 13 a couple of weeks ago, I came up with the realization that, for the most part, the “church” is not prepared. We are just like Mathew 13 in that we hear God speaking and do one of the following: 1. We hear the message, don’t understand it, and don’t seek answers 2. We hear the message, receive it with joy, but quickly discard it 3. We hear the message, but the worries of life, money, and all of this world’s physical things take priority and choke out what God is trying to say to us. 

Most of us just go to church to get our weekly fill of Jesus in and proceed on with our life. No wonder the church gets a bad name. No wonder so many people thinks Christians are passive, timid and weak. We don’t prepare ourselves to wage war. If we are to call ourselves instruments, we have to prepare for the known so that the unknown can be conquered. To accomplish this, we must receive the word and soak it in like fertile soil that is watered continuously and tended to. We must be ready to be an instrument for noble purposes in and out of season. Evil doesn’t care what season you are in; it will prey on you like a wolf.  It is out there waiting to hit us at our weakest point, and if we aren’t prepared, we will fall. Don’t let that wolf catch you. Prepare yourself to be an instrument for spiritual warfare. 

Be Disciplined 

Being well prepared leads to being well disciplined. There are two different angles in this point that I have found that are necessary; we must 1. Be disciplined in what we do, and 2. Must be able to accept discipline.

As everyone knows, discipline sucks. Straight up. No matter how skilled you become, discipline always hurts. Hebrews 12:11 says it perfectly: “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” By choosing to follow after Christ, you are consciously making a decision that will demand you to remain disciplined and require you to be disciplined. Following Christ doesn’t make discipline any easier, but it gives us a foreseeable goal to which we can strive towards. This makes any form of discipline worthwhile. Men and women show their power by being self-disciplined. Now being self-disciplined requires that we be strategic in our actions. We cannot just “run aimlessly or fight like a man beating the air” for a season and then come out and say that we have prepared for spiritual warfare. You may be prepping for a hundred-meter dash when God has a marathon waiting for you, or you may be prepping to fight someone in your weight class when God has a heavyweight champ he wants you to take on. Discipline takes preparation. We must make our body a slave to preparation and discipline because the body will fight us. Your soul is willing to take on these challenges, but the body is weak. 

We cannot be an instrument for noble purposes if we do not humble ourselves to be self-disciplined for the Lord and to receive his discipline humbly. 

Refuse Timidity

By preparing yourself and finding discipline, we must wage war against our body’s worldly desires. This is not a 3-step program, and this 3rd point is not the summit of the previous two. If you think that by doing these first two points that you will somehow reach your end goal, you are far off my friend. Only by preparing yourself and staying disciplined over and over and over again will you achieve your real end goal when Christ calls you home. For some people, this means 90+ years of service, and for others, it only involves 1 week of service. (If that previous sentence confuses you, read the parable of the workers in the vineyard in Mathew 20.) We don’t know how long we have on this earth, and thus life is too short to live in a state of timidity. Come to the Lord with the description that is found in 2nd Samuel 17:8, where David’s pursuers describe he and his men like “fighters as fierce as a wild bear robbed of her cubs.” If you have never seen a momma bear with her cubs, I can assure you that you do not want to be the object that is in between her and her little ones as you would soon feel overwhelmed, to say the least. By preparing yourself and staying disciplined with an attitude that refuses timidity, the areas in your life that you and your peers see as spiritually weak will change over time. You will begin to see those areas change and over time will be able to say I was once weak, but have been made strong. This is a process. Don’t be scared of the process, for as soon you become proud of yourself; humility will fall in your lap.   

To sum up this short read, know that what you do today reflects on tomorrow. Your actions today may seem insignificant, but somewhere down the road, you will either reap the rewards or consequences of your efforts from the past. Life is too short to act timidly, and every day is precious. 

We are not promised tomorrow, so don’t put off being an instrument for noble purposes today.    

Noble, Holy, Useful and Prepared

2nd Timothy 2:20-21

“In a large house there are many articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble.(21) If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.”

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak at my church that I grew up in. As I prepared and prayed on what exactly I should speak on, I read through the book of 2nd Timothy. It took me an extended period to make it through the 1st chapter, as many of the verses had me researching each word. These two verses really resonated with me. I spoke on the 21st verse. The thought had been made clear to me on how my life experiences and struggles had shaped me into a tool to help people in what some people would call unusual methods and locations. The Wilderness has shaped me in many ways, and these two verses do a fantastic job of explaining some of my experiences in a more formalized way. The following is a breakdown of how I read these verses. I have seen these very words applied in my life through the ministry efforts that I am involved in with the Wilderness settings.

Verse 20.

Each wilderness setting brings different elements to the table. There are many adventures that I have been on that had that curb appeal to them. 

These could be the gold level or best of the best when it comes to what pleases the eye. There are also many of these adventures that did not have that curb appeal. No matter what the experience looked like from the outside, it was either building me up spiritually or trying to take away from my foundation by waging spiritual warfare. There is nothing wrong with having articles of gold and silver in a house, just like there is nothing wrong with having wood and clay items in that same house. 

But with these items that we have either accumulated or have been gifted comes the decision we make. What will you do with these items? Will you use these items of gold, silver, wood, and clay for noble purposes, or will we use them to satisfy our selfish desires? 

Through my time in wild places, I have obtained many items and have collected many skills. Some of these things were used for noble purposes and some for ignoble purposes. I have spent too much of my time using these items of gold and clay to chase after things and experiences that were ignoble. It wasn’t until I began the process of erasing these desires that I found my purpose. This is still an ongoing process, but in that, I have seen that it is okay to have lots of money or to live from paycheck to paycheck. It is okay to be an extrovert or be an introvert. We are all made with so many different parts and pieces. There are many gifts, skills, and blessings that are gifted to us for many various reasons. With each one of these, you must decide to use that item for noble purposes or the latter. You may be the type of person that would become hopelessly lost if someone handed you a compass and said to head west, and that is okay. Not everyone is meant to have the ability to navigate through the Wilderness. Still, you have other skills, excellent skills that, when combined with the right people, can make something that is truly life-changing. Use what skills you have for noble purposes and find others around you who strive for the same.

Verse 21.

The words in this verse are so powerful. How great would it be for someone to introduce like this, “Meet _______, he is a great man as he is an instrument for noble purposes.” If you read that and say that you wouldn’t want that introduction, then you are stubborn and a liar in my book. My speech at my hometown church was modeled after what I feel are the three things that a warrior is called to:

1. to be an instrument for noble purposes

2. to be useful to the Master

3. to be prepared to do any good work

My mind thinks about many different things at one time, especially when it comes to writing. 

Because of this, I am going to write an article on each of these three things as they each deserve specific and intentional attention. As seen in verse 20, if you search out for noble things and get rid of these items and pursuits that so quickly evaporate what true nobility is, your reward is there waiting for you in verse 21. Of course, this is not a physical award such as a plaque or a medal, and there will never be a moment when you reach the pinnacle of finding what noble purposes you are placed on this earth for. In striving for nobility in Christ, we set ourselves up to wage war in many different realms for as long as we are alive on this earth. This means a lifetime of physical, mental, and spiritual warfare. Evil is trying to find a way to break your mind, body, and soul, and it will use whatever he can get his hands on to do that.

Rather it is an extraordinary item of gold or a basic item of clay; he can find ways for you to use it that are far from noble.  

I urge you to read 2nd Timothy 2:20-21 when you are feeling unmotivated to fight this battle.

You have been placed on this earth at this specific time in history for a noble purpose. Use what items you have in your quiver to fight for that noble purpose and surround yourself with men who are doing the same.     

The Wilderness Series- Placement

People ask me what I do for work, and I have yet to find a shortened answer to that question.  I have a very odd way of making a living, and some would go as far as to say that I am living the dream.  Being in the right place at the right time rather by strategic movements or sheer luck has brought me to my current season that I am.  The one thing that is common with my many different job titles is that I am required to find the nearly perfect placement in the various activities that I am involved in.

Wrong placement is often seen and realized much quicker than proper placement.  A scenario that has played through my head the past 6 months is that of a bull elk that slipped through my hunter’s grasp.  Despite my efforts to close the distance on the mature bull and my ability to call the bull into just under 8 yards, we were still unsuccessful in killing our intended target.  As the early sun was rising over the mountain to our east, it peaked just before the bull showed himself.  This bull looked magical as he silhouetted himself on the ridge, appearing more like a dragon with his breath glowing in the early morning sun.  At the last second, before he had appeared, I had moved our setup to the right about five yards.  This proved to be my error as the bull came in with the sun at his back, which pretty much blinded us and made it impossible for my hunter to see his bow sight. That right there is bad placement due to guide error. 

Rather I am guiding elk hunters, talking to customers or leading veterans on a backpacking expedition, I find that I must place myself in situations that will not only make me successful but also the men I am leading.  So much of what I do hangs on where I put my feet, where I place my thoughts and where I place my heart. 

Just as I look to place myself and others into situations that will be successful, God has placed me in situations that He knows I will be successful in.  This success may bring me worldly glory, but in the end, it brings Him glory. His placement is always perfect, and His timing of that placement is always perfect. 

You may be going through a season right now where you are questioning your current placement with your job, relationship status; the list can go on.  I want to encourage you to press on. You may not believe you are set up for success, but God believes you are.  He can see your promise even in your hardest season.  Your placement in that hard season is worth your patience as the longer the winter, the greater the harvest.

The Wilderness Series: The Unknown

The Wilderness Series: The Unknown

What happens when you first come face to face with a challenge or a goal that you are unfamiliar with? Time seems to slow down as you move through the various procedures that lead to either set you up for success or failure. The unknown brings about an added sense of adrenaline along with a concentrated focus.

This challenge of conquering the unknown is quite an overwhelming task to take on. It takes minimal effort to get comfortable in the simple things that don’t necessarily challenge our status quo of regular everyday life.

One of the things that I most enjoy about exploring wild places is the fact that most things don’t happen twice. There is always an added element to every typical situation. You have to remain vigilant and on point as your surroundings are ever-changing. The days spent out in these places feel much longer because of this added focus. 

The challenge that hunting brings to these wild environments is very worthy whether you are familiar with the country or have never stepped foot in it. Honestly, the thought of just doing the same routine over and over and expecting the same mediocrity that many times follow with this type of lifestyle sounds like a waste.

The wild places are meant to push you. You are supposed to struggle and have second thoughts when you are pursuing something of great value. If you don’t have these types of pains and struggles, then you may want to sit down and reevaluate your current situation.

Heading off into the unknown brings about satisfaction in a person. No matter what circumstance you find yourself in knowing that you made that initial step means quite a bit. Now, the steps to follow are crucial on your path to an unknown situation.

There is short term satisfaction in knowing that you gave an effort in your field, but then due to underlying circumstances, your progress was stopped. When you go back and look at this memory, you will find regret in knowing that you gave up so early or that you gave up when an obstacle arrived. Pushing through these hardships that are most certainly to come on a difficult path is why you should take the path of resistance in the first place.

At the end of an excursion, many thoughts go through my head. Almost immediately, when I am back in the comfort of civilization, I begin to regret the decisions I made while out in the wilderness. Whether it was not checking a distance ridge or choosing sleep over further progress, many things seem uncomfortable in the moment but lead to regret when we look back and evaluate our decisions.

This thinking and mindset carries into everything we do in a day. Did we give our best effort? Did we use all of our available resources? Questions like this pop into our head with every little thing we do, and many times our lack of effort has us answering these questions in a negative light.

If we decide to embrace the fear of the unknown with an active, decision-making mindset, we can minimize the feelings of regret because of a lack of effort. The unknown is out there and is meant to be explored. Are you willing to go out and find it?    

The Wilderness Series: The Early Years

I have been writing on and off since 2014. Some of my “work” if you want to call it that was done in my school notebooks. I was very skilled at playing the part of an avid note-taker when I was actually thinking about being in the mountains. I found some of my old notebooks and wanted to put some of these ideas into a more formalized writing format. As part of the Wilderness Series, I want to have some early memories involved in my first few years of exploring the mountains. So, here is an unedited piece that I wrote on January 24, 2015. I believe I was in some type of History class at Angelo State University when I wrote out these few sentences.


Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”


I quite often turn to Scriptures while hunting. I confess that I don’t read as much as I should, but I feel like nature brings out Christ in me. I have this Scripture, Deut. 31:6, written on my bow. I wrote it on there last August and truthfully forgot what it said. I now know exactly why I put it there, but I also see how there is so much more to be absorbed from this chapter in the Bible. Moses spoke this verse over the Israelites as they were about to enter the Jordan. Moses, being 120 years old, was forbidden to go to the promised land. So many times in life, I feel that if I can’t do something, then I should feel bad for myself and my lack of success. But Moses teaches me a lesson here. He says, ”The Lord, your God will go over before you.” The God who spoke to Moses and guided him his whole life is watching over YOU. Moses trusted God. He had faith in what was going to happen. Doubt will always creep in on any situation you encounter, no matter how well you handle that scenario. You will either fail, succeed, survive, or die at everything you attempt to do in your life. The outcome will never be known beforehand. Scary stuff to think about. But the Lord says, “Do not fear, I will not leave you.” In the middle of a hail storm at 12,000 feet elevation, I will not fear. The Lord is watching over me and is presence is oh so welcoming. Moses also shows me that I need to help others prepare. What do I really miss out on if I miss a chance to chase elk next fall? I can be selfish and somberly express my displeasure with my current circumstances, or I can use my knowledge and skills to help others prepare for their own journey. Whether they are chasing after elk, pursuing a job, or riding out a hard season in life, I will tell them the exact same words Moses told Joshua, “Be strong and courageous.” You and I do not know what tomorrow holds, but I do know Who holds tomorrow. Do you?

I can assure you that I do not remember what I learned on January 24, 2015, there in that History class. But I do know that my mind was in the right place if just for a few minutes. I have learned much since I wrote down these few sentences you have just read and have been through many seasons of life. I have come to find that you will begin to have a clearer picture of what your purpose is in the season you are presently enduring when you realize this:

Everything you go through in life is sharpening you in some form or fashion so that you may use these experiences as your own tools to encourage those who are broken and need mending. God gives us these tools throughout our life. We do not know when this happens or why but they are there for a reason. We must have faith and run with endurance the race that this life brings us so that we can make great work with these tools that have been so graciously given to us.

I did end up making an A in that class despite my extra-curricular activities.

The Wilderness Series, Part 1

The wilderness has an alluring presence about it. Just its name alone attracts many to think in ways that seem far out from the typical day to day activities. We all search for some avenue to discover more about ourselves. Rather this be through a group or a solitude environment; we would all agree that a divine presence must come into play for self-discovery to be achieved.


A journey of epic proportions into the vast expanse of the unknown where one can lose himself to nature and forget about the world that is behind them. I would say that that is a relatively accurate description of what most would say an adventure into the wilderness should comprise of. The wilderness in physical relations is seen as an area that has minimal intrusions by human hands and machines so that man may only be a visitor to these wild places, leaving them in their most natural state.


One thing I love the most about the wilderness or any of the wild places that I venture into is the fact that you are not actually escaping the world that is behind you. When you strip down the distractions that surround us daily, you have no choice but to face what exactly is distracting you. Venturing into the unknown brings you face to face with whatever you deem the biggest fear in your life.


I have been on my fair share of wilderness adventures here in America and overseas, as well. A common thought I have had once an adventure was completed was one of regret. You never truly know how much you love the time spent in a wild place until you leave that wild place. Strangely, you miss those struggles, those little inconveniences, and those hardships that you faced out there in the bush. All of those little things have added up over time and have helped me find some sort of purpose in different areas of my life.

This article has been an introduction into how I view an environment that I consider rugged enough to earn the title of “Wilderness.”

There will be many articles to follow that will cover various experiences I have been fortunate to endure that have made a lasting impact in my personal growth.   

My goal is that once you are done reading this, you will find your own reason to go out into a personal wilderness setting to test your limits and to discover what treasures are just over the next ridge.

Perspective

Think of something you have done or have thought about attempting in your life that you deemed difficult or that was a struggle for you. Most likely, that activity in the eyes of another person is seen as something that is an everyday occurrence or is seen as an activity that is not worth their time because it is too easy to accomplish. There are many things that we do in this life that seem stressful, tough, or impossible from the time we begin the event through its completion or failure to do so. Many times, the level at which we experience these feelings of stress or thoughts increases because we see others accomplishing this task with ease. The thoughts of doubt in our abilities slowly fill our mind  

A lack of perspective allows someone to lose motivation for the activity at hand. It will enable ideas to move into your head that what you’re doing does not matter or is irrelevant for you to become successful in the future. With these thoughts in your head, perspective can be a hard thing to regain.

Perspective from the eye of the doubting person is usually viewed from someone above them who has been there or accomplished the feat at hand. With this viewpoint, the proper perspective that is needed to be successful is hard to gain.

To regain the correct perspective to accomplish the task at hand, we have to change our mindset. Look at perspective from this angle: all of the struggles that you have, are currently facing or will face in the future are struggles that someone else would love to go through. Do you complain about your parents being too strict? Think about the children who wish they could complain, but they do not have parents. Do you complain about your legs being sore? Think about the men and women who are missing a leg, and have more to complain about but yet they do not.

When we stop looking at our struggles as detriments to our future and begin looking at them as certain occurrences that will shape and mold our future, we will start to find our purpose.

Staying in the mindset to sustain the right prospective is a day to day challenge. It is not something that will change overnight.  When you continually challenge how you view your perspective, you will begin the find success.

Perspective is everything.

Change your perspective and your attitude towards struggles in your life will follow suit. When conflicts come your way, embrace it, knowing that someone somewhere wishes that they were going through your current circumstances. Go about conquering these struggles and hardships as if these people were on your side, motivating you to succeed.

James 1:2-4

 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”