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“And David took the crown of their king from his head. He found that it weighed a talent of gold, and in it was a precious stone. And it was placed on David’s head. And he brought out the spoil of the city, a very great amount.” (1 chronicles 20:2)
In today’s weights the crown tips the scale at 75 lbs. At the market value of gold in today’s economy the crown would be valued at $1,120,590 in gold alone. Putting it on David’s head was a publicity stunt.
I’m sure there were a few chuckles as David set there wearing it. The previous verse though makes it clear that David was not a part of the battle where the crown was won.
Perhaps the exploits in the field of battle we’re getting to David’s head even more than the crown.
A careful comparison of this passage with the passages of Samuel reveal that this is near to the time of the incident with Bathsheba.
One of the big challenges of life is not to read your own press clippings. A big head can lead to big problems.

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Finally got a bird down on the ground yesterday and now today things get even better. Charlene’s uncle’s farm has been a wonderful place to hunt but this last winter they cleared off all the brush. Not sure how to sneak into a good place there so I arrived about the time they would start gobbling so that I could anticipate where they were.
Moving through the timber birds gobble both to the east and west of the corners of the property. I set up on open area I’m unwilling to put a decoy out because I don’t want to scare one from the roost. Not very many gobbles once I’m seated I hope I haven’t scared them.
At fly down a bird starts gobbling strong just to my east not more than 150 yards and I’m facing north. I scoot around the tree facing the right direction and there’s a deer crossing down through the ditch beside me. She whistles. The tom goes quiet. Strong gobble straight north of me I scooch back to where I was.
Now there’s a loud gobble straight in front of my gun northwest. A hen crosses the ridge in front of me running south. And even louder gobble and there he is, probably 50 yards out.
I’m looking down the barrel judging his distance. He starts to wattle my way. He can’t be more than 35 yards from me and I let a load of five’s head his way. The bird spins and heads away from me, the hen takes off to the south and a second gobbler flies over the brush pile about 40 yards away. I think about shooting but don’t bother.
I can’t believe I missed him. I dropped my gun two days ago and knocked the front site loose, but I had test fired to make sure it was still true. Maybe he had jumped in the air and was still milling around up at the corner of the property I quickly crawled his direction. He was at 41 yards when I shot at him, but nowhere to be found now. I stood to my feet in despair and there he was 3 yards from where I was standing, piled up.
I found this stump not more than 5 yards from where I had shot for a picture. Great morning!!

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Afternoon Randevu

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Not very “purty” all covered with mud.

Two and a half weeks into the Kansas season and finally have something to show for it. I had taken Brad McNary out a 10 days ago. Four nice Toms came into us. I shot first but a bush blocked a lot of my #5′s. Brad followed up and was able to take one. I have scared several off the roost and finally last Saturday had two jakes come in serving as a moral victory.

Sunday , Bill Becker asked how I was doing this season. He felt so sorry for me he asked if I would like him to call for me. So this morning he took me into the woods. No luck though we did call in two skunks. A pair of hens walked past as well Bill told me, but I didn’t see them.

After working in the yard I decided to reward myself with a trip to the field. I parked at the top of the hill near the cemetery in case a tom was near the gate. With gear all gathered I slowly walked down the road with an occasional crow call hoping to not startle a lazy strutting tom in the hay field.

I took my largest tom ever from the same spot but had been unable to draw three toms in from near this location the night before. I hope the past is more likely than the night previous. Just as I finish putting out the first decoy a tom gobbles back to the north and east. Surprised to hear because a farmer was spraying the field east as I walked down the road. I quickly decide to put out the other three decoys and move into the base of a fallen tree in the fence line.

As I spread out my calls on the ground around me the tom sounds off again north. I call a series of yelps and a tom sounds off west and south. Both sound off again within 15 minutes. I call again and the bird to the west gobbles substantially closer. I am able to see much of the hay field, but can’t see the bird. Several more gobbles from both directions and a few calls from me. Suddenly two jakes appear directly east. I move my head to see them and they raise the heads and begin running back east. How did I scare them?

My thoughts are interrupted with a loud gobble west. I slowly turn my head back and there is the big boy. That’s why the jakes took off. He crains his neck and studies the layout. After a couple of minutes he takes a couple of strides my way and stops behind a tree that stands between us. I decide to adjust so that I can take him in the west hay field, but now there is another tom standing where I first saw him. He trots down to where the first tom is. That tom gives him a jab for crowding him. They both move to the fence.

Under the fence they go and the lead tom is now in half strut. Looking directly at the decoy the night before that scared him off he moves in closer. With each step he saunters in he swells a bit more. I think I will try to take them both and I move the shotgun to the other side of a limb directly in line with my strutting decoy.

At the blast of the gun the tom folds to the ground but the other bird lifts skyward. I take a shot, but it is wasted lead. I spring forward to gather the bird that is down and he turns head over heal. By the time I reach him he is near the top of a ditch full of muddy water from the cattle tank just up hill. I can’t catch him and down into the mud he falls, flopping, flapping and kicking mud in all directions including me. That which only moments earlier was a thing of beauty is covered with “crap.” Not much for pictures, but mine altogether.

Back at the truck he weighs in at 22 lbs. 11 oz, and an eleven inch beard.

“And his armor-bearer said to him, ‘Do all that is in your heart. Do as you wish. Behold, I am with you heart and soul.’”

Everyone is trembling in caves near a place called Michmash. Saul has been king for less then two years. His son is stuck in a rocky pass barely wide enough for one person to walk through and above him is a garrison of the Philistines, sworn enemies.

Jonathan sums up the situation with the conclusion this is impossible without God’s help. Along with that conclusion the notion that God must want to help. Why else would God put us in this mess?

He says to his servant that is helping him, “God could deliver us here where we are, or up on the top of that hill. Where does it matter. It’ll only be with God’s help. You make the choice and I will lead the way.”

The servants choice? “I’m with you!” That is leadership. Recognizing the position where you are, acknowledging that God must deliver you and inspiring others to see the same.

Then without hesitation Jonathan draws his sword and also without hesitation his servant walks with him. Read the rest of the story in 1 Samuel 14. And better yet try to inspire someone around you today.

Green With Growth

20140321-101652.jpgYesterday was the first day of spring. I spent the day at a garden with my wife. As we walked around the Des Moines Botanical Garden  we observed many beautiful plants.

Often, people compare the values of the Christian experience with that of a garden. Not a bad idea since life in the Bible framework it began in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. They enjoyed all kinds of things but were told to avoid one particular item, the tree of “the Knowledge ofGood and Evil.”

Throughout the Bible the theme of growth is emphasized just as one example: “But  grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).

The idea that is given to growth is that it should always “A La Natural.” Many times it’s almost implied if we do anything that takes effort we are essentially working contrary to allowing God’s grace to work The idea forwards that “any works” are foreign to becoming a mature believer.

Yet my walk yesterday with my wife proved the opposite as much effort had been performed by many people in the garden that delighted our eyes at every corner. Yet, clearly the very people that put forth the effort understood and acknowledged that it was the forces of nature that brought about the true beauty. They only participated by being gardeners within that great power.

Being a fellow “participator/gardener with God is also invaluable to bring about the beauty that grace works in a life. Yielded-ness and efforts of obedience are not works for salvation but rather participating with the grace of God at work in our lives. I see three main areas within “organic spiritual growth” where participation is beneficial.20140321-101815.jpg

There is the preparation stage. This is where we as believers prepare by studying and examining the Scriptures. We look to see what is it that God would want of our lives. It is not wrong or evil to know what God would want of us. Learning what it is to be loving, kind or any of the other many characteristics that are clearly portrayed within the pages of Scripture is a worthy exercise. Encouraging the same traits in others is not evil either but rather the act of a person committed to see God’s grace at work in another’s lives as well as our own.

A second key stage is organization. It is fascinating to consider that the word organic and organization are actually related to each other. These two are not conflicting but rather complementing sources. It is not wrong to observe proper patterns and then seek to implement those same patterns into your own life. Instead this is by its very nature an act of love toward our Savior by being Christ-like and following the ultimate example and ordered life. “If you love me do my commandments” (John 14:15).  “The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch.” Don’t miss the obvious, discipline lead others to observe they were Christ-like.

Finally cultivation is the ability to recognize the finer points of maturity. Just as cultivation in a field brings about a higher level of production so cultivation in our lives will bring about a higher level a living. It is not wrong to set goals or to aim for progress. It is not wrong to monitor the direction your life is headed. The difference between cultivated plants and uncultivated ones is often the difference between a garden and a weed patch.

20140321-102624.jpgAny farmer acknowledges his dependence upon rain sunlight and the seasons. He does this so that he can work at the best possible times to achieve the greatest possible results. It is completely appropriate to give God credit for the results of your effort in grace. “He makes the sun to shine!” A hot ear of corn buttered and salted to perfection tastes even better from your own garden in part because it is the reward of your labor. God is honored in part because you “trusted” in the sun and rain with your efforts in preparing, planting and picking. Yes you worked but your work was within the faith of the power of God unto salvation.

Not working is essentially a lack of faith on some level of the promise of God to the laborer in the harvest.

Promise to Purity

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“Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”
Often times people use the Commandments of God to promote holiness. Here instead of using the Commandments of God Paul appeals to the promises of God.

The appeal is obvious Paul is compassionately calling to us from a platform of love and respect to live a pure life. Could it be that love compels us much farther than commands? What might a person do in love that he would never do simply out of obedience?

A grocery list from your wife might bring home supplies for dinner but a heart for your wife will stop you by the florist for roses.

God’s promises are many and they were delivered long before our performance stood up worthy of them. A strong look at the love of God on the cross will bring about a purity no list of rules could ever instill.

What’s in a Name?

“Then Daniel went to his house and made the matter known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions”

The king had long since named these boys by other names. Within the halls of their governments within the classrooms of their schools and all the other public places they appeared these were their names. But at home where they still worshiped the God of Israel they chose to refer to each other by their names that honored Him.
It wasn’t so much an act of defiance against the king. It was actually more an act of alliance with the KING.
I find a great number of people that want to appear religious publicly, yet in their private lives do they really seek to follow him? It’s a hard question because often I can’t even answer it in my own life. It is easy to be concerned about perception of others instead of truly looking into the core of my heart.
Later these three young men are going to be thrown into a fiery furnace as they are thrown in their names the king had given them will be found in the text. But we know deep within them their real names are still born in their character. The flames will make that clear. What will the flames make clear in your life. The flames of trials, affliction and other challenges?

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