Daily Devotional

This space is provided in honor Joe Brooks and Coon Hunters For Christ. The PKC membership is happy to pray for you in a time of need.

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Ronnie W. Stark
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Re: Daily Devotional

Postby Ronnie W. Stark » Mon Apr 01, 2019 9:14 pm

“Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty” (Proverbs 21:5 NLT).

If you want God to use you in great ways, you need focus. The more focused you are, the more effective you’ll be—and the more God will use you.

There’s awesome power in a focused life. Diffused light doesn’t have much of an effect on what it touches. But when you focus light—like the rays of the sun through a magnifying glass—you can ignite a piece of paper or grass. If you can focus it even more, it becomes a laser. A laser can cut through steel and destroy cancer.

The same is true with your life. If you’re directionless, you’ll just drift through without much impact. But if you focus on a few key goals, then you can make a powerful impact on the world for God.

The Bible says, “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty” (Proverbs 21:5 NLT).

One of the great examples of focus in the Bible is the story in Genesis 24. God had promised to create a great nation through Abraham’s own family. But Abraham was getting old, and his son, Isaac, still didn’t have any kids. He wasn’t even married yet. So Abraham gave his servant a goal of finding a wife for his son. Abraham told his servant, “Don’t get a wife from the Canaanites, who live around here. Go back to my country, to the land of my relatives, and find a wife for Isaac.”

Like all good goals, the servant’s goal was clear. He knew he needed to find Isaac a wife, and he knew exactly what kind of wife to look for. He needed to find a wife from Abraham’s homeland. You’ll never reach a vague goal because you’ll never know if you’ve completed it. Abraham’s servant didn’t have that problem.

For example, if your goal is to be a better parent, that’s vague. Even if you set the goal of spending more time with your children, you’ll never really know if you’ve completed the goal.

But if you commit to spending an hour every Tuesday evening with your children, that’s specific. You’ll know whether or not you’ve completed it. Those kinds of goals can change your life.

So what specific goal will you set for yourself as you pursue a more focused life?

Talk About It

How have specific goals empowered you to complete them?
What specific goals do you want to set for yourself?
With whom can you share your goals for encouragement and accountability?
This is how we know what love is, Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.

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Ronnie W. Stark
Platinum Member
Posts: 2675
Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2003 4:41 am
PKC Name: Ronnie W. Stark
City, State: Water Valley, MS
PKC Member Since: 30 May 1990
Annual Membership Expires: 31 May 2020
Lifetime Handler Earnings: $3,480
Location: Water Valley, MS
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Re: Daily Devotional

Postby Ronnie W. Stark » Mon Apr 01, 2019 9:15 pm

Bible Study Verses
Matthew.5:13-16
"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (NIV)

Thoughts
Here's another way to put it, "You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in this world. God is no secret to be kept."

When I think back to my years growing up, I was most attracted to men like you reading this article. Sportsmen, hunters, adventurers, and cowboys that rode rodeo & risked their lives, and especially if they had wall mounts of their conquests.

My Christian parents worried that their maverick, rebel, and renegade ways would influence me away from Christianity, but they didn't. Instead they opened my eyes to the God-colors of this big beautiful world and encouraged me to explore and to expand my horizons to discover all that God made available to us as men.
(Wes W)

Action Point
Most of us are dads, grandpas, uncles, employers, guides, husbands, and friends. There're young men watching and looking for a hero. You may not think you have much of a Christian testimony, but hero you do have an audience.

Be "the Man," be courageous, live the adventure, fight the battle, and win your beauty. Get the book Wild at Heart by John Eldridge; it will get you started.
This is how we know what love is, Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.

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Ronnie W. Stark
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Posts: 2675
Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2003 4:41 am
PKC Name: Ronnie W. Stark
City, State: Water Valley, MS
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Re: Daily Devotional

Postby Ronnie W. Stark » Mon Apr 01, 2019 9:31 pm

Bible Study Verses
Luke 12:18-20
"Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry. ' " "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?" "

Thoughts
A cemetery that carries my family surname? I made it a point to stop, look around, and see if any names were familiar. They were not. So they must not have been close relatives. Though there are many spellings of my last name, these folks spelled it just like I do.

It was a sobering reminder that I will have a place where my own name will be on the tomb stone. I must make sure I live so that God will prepare a place for me to join Him for eternity.
(Jack M)

Action Point
Live with a view toward forever. That is what eternity will be. Forever! The word eternity may be defined as "an eon of eons." An eon is a really long time! Wow!

The farmer in the story from the above passage thought he was doing quite well, thank you very much! But, God called him into account. God says he was a fool as he thought he was in control and in charge of his own destiny. In his mind he did not need God, or others. He had plenty and it went to his head.

Don't make the mistake of thinking this life and the time here on this earth is all there is. Eternity is real. Prepare to live with God forever by personal faith in His Son Jesus.

After that issue is settled then live like a believer. Let the attitudes and actions of Christ characterize your lifestyle.

I love this epitaph from an actual tombstone. "Under the sod and under the trees lies the body of Jonathan Pease. He's not here, there's only the pod. Pease shelled out and went to God."

What a funny way to say that here is a man of faith! What will be written on your tombstone?

Sportsmen's Tip of the Day
When God blesses you, bless others. Make sure that "giving" is a part of your outdoor plans. Take someone into the outdoors who may not otherwise get that chance. Consider mentoring a young person whose folks are not interested in the outdoors. Pass on this great legacy. Give!
This is how we know what love is, Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.

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Ronnie W. Stark
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Re: Daily Devotional

Postby Ronnie W. Stark » Thu Apr 04, 2019 12:40 pm

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 TLB).

God loves you so much that he sent Jesus on a mission of love with a message of love. The Bible doesn’t say God has love; it says God is love. Love is his nature; God is love.

God created the entire universe. He created this planet; he created the human race. And he created you because he loves you.

It could be said the reason you’re alive is because God created you as an object of his love. God made you so he could love you and so that you could love him. God’s love for you is the reason your heart’s beating right now; it’s the reason you’re breathing.

God’s amazing news is that he loves you on your good days as much as he loves you on your bad days. He loves you when you can feel his love, and he loves you when you can’t seem to feel his love. He loves you whether or not you think you deserve his love.

Nothing you can do will make God stop loving you. You could try, but you simply couldn’t do it because his love for you is based upon his character and not on anything you do or say or feel.

God loves you so much that he sent his only Son, Jesus, into this world, “so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 TLB).

When Jesus stretched his arms out as wide as the cross, he was saying, “I love you this much! I love you so much it hurts. I love you so much I’ll die for you so that I won’t have to live without you.”

God’s love surpasses all human knowledge—and as Ephesians 3:17-19 tells us, it is impossible for any of us to fully grasp the width and length and height and depth of God’s love for each one of us. That’s how much God loves you!

Talk About It

How do you express God’s love in your relationships?
What have you done that you believe makes it tough for God to love you? How do you need God’s help to see things differently?
How important do you think it is to feel God’s love, especially on your bad or rough days?
This is how we know what love is, Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.

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Ronnie W. Stark
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Posts: 2675
Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2003 4:41 am
PKC Name: Ronnie W. Stark
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Re: Daily Devotional

Postby Ronnie W. Stark » Thu Apr 04, 2019 12:43 pm

“[God] hears us whenever we ask him; and since we know this is true, we know also that he gives us what we ask from him” (1 John 5:15 GNT).

Do you ever wonder if prayer really works? You’re praying about something and Satan whispers to you, “Who do you think you are? What do you think you’re doing? God is not listening. Don’t waste your time. Forget it!”

Prayer works because God is in control. The basis of all miracles is God’s sovereignty. Why does he do one and not another? Because God is in control. We have to trust his wisdom and his goodness.

Ephesians 3:20 says, “God . . . is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes” (TLB).

Prayer can do whatever God can do. His resources are available to you. Twenty times in the New Testament it says, “Ask.” It’s encouraging to know that things out of my control are not out of God’s control. I may not be able to change a situation, but I can pray and God can change it.

That includes changing a relationship from bad to good, and the quickest way to see that change is to start thanking God for people you are having difficulty getting along with.

Praying for them will change your attitude—and it will change them. Positive praying is much more powerful than positive thinking. People may resist our help, spurn our appeals, and reject our suggestions, but they are powerless against our prayers.

What do you pray? The more specific you are in prayer, the more specific the answer will be.

In Philippians 1:9-11, Paul spells out exactly what he’s praying for people. “This is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God” (NIV).

Talk About It

Philippians 1 offers four specific ways you can pray for people today. As you practice this habit, see how it changes your attitude toward others—and how it changes them.

Abound in love: Pray that they will grow in love.

Discern what is best: Pray that they make wise choices.

Be pure and blameless: Pray that they will do the right thing.

Filled with the fruit of righteousness: Pray that they will live for God’s glory.
This is how we know what love is, Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.

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Ronnie W. Stark
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Posts: 2675
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PKC Name: Ronnie W. Stark
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Re: Daily Devotional

Postby Ronnie W. Stark » Thu Apr 04, 2019 12:45 pm

“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4 NIV).

If you want to connect with people, you start with their needs, not your own. Start with their hurts, not your own. Start with what they want, not what you want. There’s an old Chinese saying that says this: “Seek to understand before seeking to be understood.”

The Bible puts it the same way. You need to be thoughtful of others first and not worry about people understanding you. You try to understand them. That’s how you make that first connection.

Scripture tells us, “Look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4 NIV). That is such a countercultural verse. From the moment we are born, everything in our culture conditions us to think of ourselves first.

There are two basic truths about life. First, the world does not revolve around you. I know that’s shocking! Yes, you’re special in God’s eyes. Yes, you were created for a purpose. But the world does not revolve around you.

Here’s the second basic truth of life: God has promised that when you focus on meeting the needs of others, he will meet your needs. If you want your needs to be met, start meeting the needs of other people. Why? Because God wants you to learn to be unselfish. He wants you to learn to be loving and generous like he is.

Colossians 3:13 tells us, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (NIV). Part of being considerate of other people’s needs is not expecting them to be perfect—and making allowances for their faults.

Great friends are good forgetters. They forget the bad stuff intentionally. Love forgets mistakes.

A good friend is considerate of the other person’s needs.

Talk About It

What are some ways you can meet the needs of others this week?
How have faults or mistakes affected a friendship in your life?
How can you repair that damaged friendship and make an even deeper connection? What do you need to forget?
This is how we know what love is, Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.

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Ronnie W. Stark
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Posts: 2675
Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2003 4:41 am
PKC Name: Ronnie W. Stark
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Re: Daily Devotional

Postby Ronnie W. Stark » Fri Apr 19, 2019 7:14 pm

“One person dies in full vigor, completely secure and at ease . . . Another dies in bitterness of soul, never having enjoyed anything good” (Job 21:23, 25 NIV).

God will place opportunities in front of you, doors only you can open. But you can’t step through them if you harbor unforgiveness. Unforgiveness is a prison.

Let me share a story with you that vividly illustrates this.

On Christmas Eve 1979, when Danny Duchene was a young teenager, he learned his parents had been arrested and put in prison in Mexico for smuggling cocaine. The news filled him with fear and anger. He drove to an empty parking lot and got high on drugs in his car. Realizing that the drugs gave him temporary relief from the pain, he committed to doing it every day.

As his addiction grew, so did his anger and anxiety, causing him to make riskier and riskier choices until one day he participated in a crime where he was responsible for the death of two men.

Little did Danny know that prison would become a place of rescue. Before he received a double life sentence, Danny gave his life to Jesus. Eventually, through Celebrate Recovery, Danny learned to ask for forgiveness and accept forgiveness—from himself and his parents.

On Christmas Eve 2014, 35 years after his parents were put in a Mexican prison, Danny walked out of prison and became a pastor at Saddleback Church. Today—more than three decades after being told he would spend the rest of his life in prison—he is helping prisoners across the nation find hope and healing through Jesus Christ.

Before he could walk through that door of opportunity, Danny had to walk out of the prison of bitterness.

The Bible tells us, “One person dies in full vigor, completely secure and at ease . . . Another dies in bitterness of soul, never having enjoyed anything good” (Job 21:23, 25 NIV).

You have a choice. You can hold on to unforgiveness and bitterness, or you can experience the life God is calling you to live.You can’t have both.

You may think the person who hurt you doesn’t deserve your forgiveness. You’re right—but you don’t deserve forgiveness, either.

Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (NIV).

Forgiveness isn’t easy. But it’s the only way to step into the life God wants for you.

Talk About It

How has your life been affected by bitterness or unforgiveness?
When do you find it most difficult to forgive others?
What person do you need to forgive right now? What’s keeping you from it? What one step can you take toward forgiveness this week?
This is how we know what love is, Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.

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Ronnie W. Stark
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Posts: 2675
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Re: Daily Devotional

Postby Ronnie W. Stark » Fri Apr 19, 2019 7:17 pm

He is Risen!

Friday, April 19, 2019

Resurrection Sunday is a time to Rejoice! Jesus paid a debt for us that no one else could ever pay so that we could be in heaven with Him for eternity. God gave the perfect sacrifice, His only Son, and if we believe in Him, then we will be forgiven and saved from our sins.

To be saved, you must believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for everyone’s sins, including your own, and receive Him as your personal Savior so that one day you can be with our Heavenly Father. If you believe Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins, you will also need to admit you are a sinner – as we all are. Romans 3:23 KJV says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” If you have never confessed your sin and belief in Christ, take time to do it right now. As stated in Matthew 3:2 KJV: “And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” And in Matthew 4:17 KJV: “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Jesus is the only way to be saved from your sins and receive eternal life.

On the third day, he rose again from the dead. This is the Good News that Christians celebrate: His Resurrection! He is ALIVE! And one day our Savior will return. He, and only He, sets us free from our sins! “Jesus saith unto him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.’” John 14:6 KJV

The birth of Jesus is wonderful, but the resurrection is even more exciting. It is the finale to the Christmas story. Jesus accomplished what he came for. Jesus’ last words before dying on the cross were documented in John 19:30 as, “It is finished.” He knew that all was now completed and that Scripture would be fulfilled. To suggest that more needs to be done to earn your way to heaven is the same as saying Jesus died for nothing. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV

Nails were not what held Jesus to the cross. Jesus had the power to come down from that cross, but He knew this is what had to be done for His believers to be saved. He died on the cross for you and me because of His love for us. He loved us that much! “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 KJV

If you know of someone who is not saved, please pass this on to them. Share the greatest gift of all with them: a relationship with Jesus Christ and eternal life. Also, share this with your brothers and sisters in Christ so they may use this to share with others. God commands that we share the gospel with others. We need to help one another become passionate followers of Jesus Christ.

Have a meaningful Holy Week and blessed Resurrection celebration!
This is how we know what love is, Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.

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Ronnie W. Stark
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Re: Daily Devotional

Postby Ronnie W. Stark » Fri Apr 19, 2019 7:19 pm

Bible Study Verse
Ecclesiastes 4:9
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. (NIV)

Thoughts
Blocking is an important tool for successful hunting of many kinds. In deer hunting we call it setting up a drive. Wild pheasants and many other types of game like to run if possible. They will run through cover at the sound of approaching danger.

When they think it is safe, they will escape into the air or run to safer places. While success may be had hunting solo, it is much more productive hunting with others. Hunting partners get good return for their partnership.
(Jack M)

Action Point
Don't go it alone! God made us for team work. He made us to partner with Him in a personal love relationship, but sin separated us from Him. Satan entices us to sin and attempt to make it on our own. God provided forgiveness for our sin in his Son, Jesus. Jesus died, was buried, and rose again to secure the way to God (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4). We must receive Christ to establish the relationship with God that He intended.

God made us to enjoy and partner with other people too. Partners help each other and make each other more effective. It allows a multiplication of energy for success and the good of both. This is true in spiritual things as well as in hunting and recreational activities.
This is how we know what love is, Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.

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Ronnie W. Stark
Platinum Member
Posts: 2675
Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2003 4:41 am
PKC Name: Ronnie W. Stark
City, State: Water Valley, MS
PKC Member Since: 30 May 1990
Annual Membership Expires: 31 May 2020
Lifetime Handler Earnings: $3,480
Location: Water Valley, MS
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Re: Daily Devotional

Postby Ronnie W. Stark » Sat Apr 20, 2019 10:06 am

“But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:15 NIV).

Forgiveness isn’t easy. It can be one of the hardest decisions you’ll ever make.

But you’ll never have the life God wants for you unless you can forgive the people who have hurt you. Here are three reasons why it’s essential to forgive others:

We forgive because God has forgiven us. When you come to Christ, your sins aren’t just forgiven. They’re wiped out! God has no record of your sins anymore.

The Bible says, “There is now no condemnation awaiting those who belong to Christ Jesus. For the power of the life-giving Spirit—and this power is mine through Christ Jesus—has freed me from the vicious circle of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2 TLB).

Each person faces a vicious circle, where you want to change, but you make a mistake and feel bad about it. Then you try again, fail, and feel bad about it again. It’s a cycle that you likely won’t break until you learn to offer forgiveness to people who have hurt you because you have been offered forgiveness yourself through Christ.

We forgive because resentment will make us miserable. Holding on to a hurt is like drinking poison and hoping it kills the person you hate. It always hurts you more than it hurts the other person.

I know people who continue to be hurt by individuals they haven’t seen in decades. That’s just foolish. Those people can’t hurt you anymore without your permission.

You can choose to be happy, or you can hang on to hurt. You can’t do both.

We forgive because we’ll need more forgiveness in the future. You’re not done making mistakes. I’m not either. I plan on making a few more mistakes over the rest of my life. And, of course, I’ll need someone to forgive me when I do!

Someone once came to 18th-century British theologian John Wesley and told him about a person he couldn’t forgive. Wesley told the man, “Then I hope you never sin.”

We can’t receive what we’re unwilling to give others. Jesus says it like this: “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:15 NIV).

Forgiving people who have hurt you isn’t just the right thing to do. It’s the smart thing to do.

Talk About It

What actions by others have you struggled to forgive?
Of the three reasons to forgive someone listed in today’s devotional, which do you find most compelling? Why?
How have you seen resentment make people miserable?
This is how we know what love is, Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.

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Ronnie W. Stark
Platinum Member
Posts: 2675
Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2003 4:41 am
PKC Name: Ronnie W. Stark
City, State: Water Valley, MS
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Annual Membership Expires: 31 May 2020
Lifetime Handler Earnings: $3,480
Location: Water Valley, MS
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Re: Daily Devotional

Postby Ronnie W. Stark » Sat Apr 20, 2019 10:08 am

Bible Study Verses
Matthew 27:12-14
When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate asked him, "Don't you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?" But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge-to the great amazement of the governor. (NIV)

Thoughts
It's Good Friday. My thoughts have gone back to a day a little over two-thousand years ago when Jesus was asked that question: Don't you hear what they're saying about you? Don't you have anything to say in your defense? Jesus amazes them when He makes no reply. I stand in awe when I think of that scene. If I were in the field and a game warden was asking me questions, I would answer them, wouldn't you? If that had been me instead of Jesus, I would have said something. I would have been throwing everything I could back at the accusers. I would have had my attorney there blasting the accusers, quoting laws and legal precedents.

But Jesus made no reply. He stood in silence. Silence. Why? Because a decision had been made. It was made the night before in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus prayed, "He went away a second time and prayed, 'My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done,'" Matthew 26:42 (NIV). Jesus knew the need, and Jesus knew the consequences for all mankind if He refused the cross. There in the garden, He had a choice; and by being obedient to the Father, He chose to love us, to die for us, and to take the burden of all of our sins on Himself. Jesus made this choice in spite of knowing all of the suffering that awaited Him in the next few hours.

Hebrews 5:8 says that Jesus was made perfect through His suffering. Because of His perfection, we can have eternal life with Him. Jesus made a commitment. He kept it, He suffered during that horrible night, and later on the Cross. Because of His suffering, we have this day, Good Friday; and three days later, we have Easter - triumph over sin and death. Praise God for Jesus' obedience, even to death onthea Cross!
(Cliff S)

Action Point
As you go through your day, be aware that you are God's witness to the world around you. Be prepared to answer those who ask you why you are a follower of Jesus. Tell your world about the love and forgiveness that you have found in Jesus and that they can have the same.
This is how we know what love is, Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.

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Ronnie W. Stark
Platinum Member
Posts: 2675
Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2003 4:41 am
PKC Name: Ronnie W. Stark
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Location: Water Valley, MS
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Re: Daily Devotional

Postby Ronnie W. Stark » Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:59 pm

Happy Resurrection Day
Worship The King of Kings
He Is Risen!!!

Bible Study Verses
Matthew 28:1-7
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you." (NIV)

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. (NIV)

Thoughts
It's Easter, the truest evidence of God's love for us that ever was or could be. I can hardly imagine the scene: a violent earthquake, an angel appearing, the stone being rolled away, being told to not be afraid. Don't be afraid . . . Yeah, uh huh...right. I would have been afraid. Look at the tough guy Roman guards (the Delta Force of their day) - they became like dead men! But, amazingly, these two women don't faint or collapse in fear, as do the guards. They listened to the first post-crucifixion testimony given of Jesus' resurrection. They were told to go tell the disciples. The disciples were told to go tell the world. We've been told to share the good news. Jesus has risen; Jesus has risen indeed! Praise God, He has risen! Because Jesus rose from the grave, we can have the hope of rising from the "grave" of our sins. We can have eternal life, and we can know that we will spend that eternity in heaven with Jesus. Only believe!

Now, how many times have you heard someone say that they don't believe that a loving God would condemn anyone to an eternity in hell? Well, guess what; they're right! God doesn't condemn us, we do that to ourselves by the choice of unbelief. Through Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection, God has provided the way for us to avoid hell. Just as we would do anything to prevent our own children from experiencing pain, God went so far to prevent our winding up in hell as to send His only Son to die for us. Would I ask my son to die for me? No! Would I send my son to die for you? I don't think so! But God didn't hold anything back - He gave the ultimate sacrifice of His only Son so that we could be saved and be with Him forever. He truly is a loving God! He offered us both forgiveness and hope on the first Easter morning. But, as Jesus was given a choice to be obedient unto death, He has given us the choice to believe or not. Choose to believe. Thank you, Father!
(Cliff S)

Action Point
Believe in Jesus - today. Accept His gift of salvation. Pray and ask Jesus to come into your heart and to forgive you of your sins. Be assured of His gift of eternal life!

If you prayed that prayer today, seek out other believers and find a Bible-teaching church where you can grow in your faith and in God's love. And, let us know here at Sportsmen's Devotional so that we can rejoice with you and pray for you.
This is how we know what love is, Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.

(662) 417-1588 Cell
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Ronnie W. Stark
Platinum Member
Posts: 2675
Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2003 4:41 am
PKC Name: Ronnie W. Stark
City, State: Water Valley, MS
PKC Member Since: 30 May 1990
Annual Membership Expires: 31 May 2020
Lifetime Handler Earnings: $3,480
Location: Water Valley, MS
Contact:

Re: Daily Devotional

Postby Ronnie W. Stark » Sun Apr 21, 2019 11:02 pm

“That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! ‘Peace be with you,’ he said” (John 20:19 NLT).

Fear always limits you. You can’t experience God’s best for you if you’re living in fear.

Think about the first Easter evening nearly 2,000 years ago. The disciples hadn’t seen Jesus, but they heard he had risen from the dead. They didn’t know if they could believe the news or not. They were scared to death!

The Bible describes it like this: “That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! ‘Peace be with you,’ he said” (John 20:19 NLT).

Notice that they locked the doors because they were afraid. That’s what fear does. It locks you out of all the doors God wants you to go through.

Maybe you’ve had your heart broken, and you’re telling yourself you’ll never let anyone get close to you again.

Maybe you took a risk on a new job, and you bombed. Now you never want to try a new career path again.

Maybe you’ve been hurt by a church, and you’ve locked God out of your life because of it.

You can’t protect yourself from pain. It’s foolish to even try, because we live on a planet broken by sin.

My friend Rick Muchow had every reason to be afraid when he discovered he had inoperable brain cancer. But instead of fear, Rick consistently chooses faith.

He gets asked all the time how he has dealt with the fear since the diagnosis. I love his response. He mentions six specific resources that have helped him that can help you, too:

God’s presence. Rick knows God as a personal and close friend and not some distant deity.
A history of watching God at work. Rick has seen miracles before, and he knows he’ll see them again.
The promises of God in the Bible. For years Rick has written songs based on the promises of God. Now they come back to him and strengthen his faith.
He’s learned that if you’re going through a tough time, you need more worship in your life.
He has leaned on his church family for support.
The goodness of God’s plan. Rick claims the promise of Romans 8:28: “We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose” (GNT).
What would you do if tomorrow you discovered you had inoperable brain cancer? Would you lock yourself up in a prison of fear? Or would you choose faith?

You don’t get the kind of confidence you need in situations like that from a self-help book. You get it from knowing God.

Talk About It

What fears are you facing right now?
How has fear impacted your life or the lives of people you care about?
Faith is God’s antidote for fear. How can you trust God to help you overcome the fears in your life?
This is how we know what love is, Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.

(662) 417-1588 Cell
(662) 473-8413 Cell

Ronnie W. Stark
Platinum Member
Posts: 2675
Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2003 4:41 am
PKC Name: Ronnie W. Stark
City, State: Water Valley, MS
PKC Member Since: 30 May 1990
Annual Membership Expires: 31 May 2020
Lifetime Handler Earnings: $3,480
Location: Water Valley, MS
Contact:

Re: Daily Devotional

Postby Ronnie W. Stark » Thu Apr 25, 2019 8:57 am

“We must bear the ‘burden’ of being considerate of the doubts and fears of others” (Romans 15:2b TLB).

Listening is probably the most important skill in building friendships and relationships, because you can’t love people without listening to them.

There’s a big difference between hearing and listening. You can hear something and not really be listening. I can’t tell you how many arguments I’ve had with my kids or my wife because I was listening to the words instead of the emotions. Sometimes the words don’t even matter. Somebody can say to you, “I’m fine,” but the way they say it tells you they’re not fine. Listening means you also hear what the person isn’t saying.

That’s called empathy. Empathy means to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and learn their point of view. You ask yourself, “How would I feel if I were in that situation?”

Listening with empathy means you listen without interruption and you listen for fears and feelings. You listen for what they aren’t saying. You’re not trying to fix the situation. Sometimes healing comes just by listening!

Romans 15:2 says, “We must bear the ‘burden’ of being considerate of the doubts and fears of others” (TLB).

What does it mean to be considerate or to bear the burden of a doubt of others? It means that when people are in so much pain and hurting so badly that they don’t even know what they believe, they need the devotion of a loyal friend—someone who will be present and listen with empathy.

Talk About It

How can you show someone through your body language that you are really listening?
What is the benefit of asking, “How would I feel if I were in that situation?”
What are some ways you can limit interruptions and distractions when you are trying to listen to someone?
This is how we know what love is, Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.

(662) 417-1588 Cell
(662) 473-8413 Cell

Ronnie W. Stark
Platinum Member
Posts: 2675
Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2003 4:41 am
PKC Name: Ronnie W. Stark
City, State: Water Valley, MS
PKC Member Since: 30 May 1990
Annual Membership Expires: 31 May 2020
Lifetime Handler Earnings: $3,480
Location: Water Valley, MS
Contact:

Re: Daily Devotional

Postby Ronnie W. Stark » Thu Apr 25, 2019 8:59 am

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7 TLB).

When we’re full of fear and anxiety, we don’t get close to each other. We back off from each other. We’re afraid of being rejected, manipulated, vulnerable, hurt, or used. All of these fears cause us to disconnect in life.

This fear is as old as humanity. When Adam and Eve sinned, and God came looking for them, Adam said, “I was afraid, and I hid.” People have been doing that ever since then. We’re afraid, so we hide. We hide our true selves.

We don’t let people know what we’re really like. We don’t let them see inside of us. Why? Because if we let people know what we’re like and they don’t like it, we’re up a creek without a paddle. Tough luck. Why am I afraid to tell you who I am? Because if I tell you who I am, and you don’t like me, I'm in for it. I have no alternative. So we wear masks, and we pretend.

Fear does three terrible things to relationships:

It makes us defensive. We’re afraid to reveal ourselves. We defend ourselves. When people point out our weaknesses, we retaliate and defend ourselves.
Our fears keep us distant. We don’t let people get close to us. We want to withdraw, pull back. We want to hide our emotions. We don’t want to be open and honest. We become defensive and distant.
Our fears make us demanding. The more insecure we are, the more we try to control. So we try to have the last word in a relationship. We try to dominate. It’s always a symptom of fear and insecurity.
Where do you get the courage to take the first step in connecting with someone and going into a deeper intimacy? Where do you get that courage?

You get it from God’s Spirit in your life. Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them” (TLB).

You know you’re filled with God’s Spirit when you’re more courageous in your relationships. You love people. You enjoy being with them. You’re not afraid of them because God’s Spirit is in your life. The Bible says “God is love,” and “Love casts out all fear.” The more of God you have in your life, the less fear you’re going to have in your life.

So the starting point in connecting with anybody is to pause, pray, and say, “God, give me the courage to take the first step.” You need to do that now with a person you want to connect with.

Talk About It

In what relationship do you need to ask for God’s help in taking the first step to intimacy?
How do you get to know God better so that you are filled with less fear and more of him?
Why do you think vulnerability is so important in deepening a relationship?
This is how we know what love is, Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.

(662) 417-1588 Cell
(662) 473-8413 Cell


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