by Brodie Swisher
Bowhunters seem to be on an endless quest to find the most devastating broadhead for hunting big game. Heads that cut massive holes are the trend. The head must fly well, but it seems that the destruction that takes place on impact is what gets all the attention. It’s all about the wound created. If it cuts big holes and penetrates deep you got a keeper. Good bowhunters are lethal. With great skill they place their shot for the greatest impact. They know that proper shot placement is critical for a clean kill. Quick devastation…that is the goal.
But have you ever considered the wounds we make in the lives of others? Be honest, you know exactly how, when, and where to cut deep into the life of your spouse, right? Many of us have unleashed regretful words that penetrate deep to the heart of our children. Have you stopped to consider the devastation it creates?
With just a handful of years under our belt we learned the lie of, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”
The truth is wrongful words always hurt. They cut deep. They leave devastating wounds. Good or bad…what impact are you making in the lives of others today?
“Thoughtless words can wound as deeply as any sword, but wisely spoken words can heal.”
Preparing For The Day
by Brodie Swisher
There are countless hunters across the country anxiously awaiting the arrival of opening day. The day was marked on the calendar many months ago and relentless preparation for the moment has been made. While some hunters remain faithful in their pre-season preparation, I often encounter guys that have grown lazy in the weeks prior to opening day. They neglect practice and preparation saying, “I’m ready. I’m not touching my bow again until the opener.” And while I understand their intent, I know there is no time for half-hearted laziness in the days leading up to the opener. With great diligence we must practice with our gear ensuring it performs flawless and becomes second nature. It’s easy to gawk at success photos from other hunters that have had an earlier opportunity to start their hunting season and attempt to live vicariously through their experience. But the fact is our own moment is coming. Mine. Yours. How are you preparing for game day? How are you preparing for the moment of truth?
And what about life beyond the woods? How are you preparing for the moment you’ll stand before God? The day is soon coming. Much sooner than we think. There is no time for spiritual laziness as we wait on that day. I encourage you to do good, be diligent, follow Jesus, and live for the King today!
“So let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up.” Galatians 6:9
by Brodie Swisher
On Monday of this week, I received two different messages from hunting buddies of mine sharing the story of how they had fallen from a treestand while preparing stands for the archery opener. One friend fell after his treestand platform came out from under him like a trap door. In a brief moment, he found himself dangling from his treestand harness 19 feet above the ground. My other buddy was attacked by a swarm of bees that had made their home in the treestand during the off-season. In the chaos of swatting bees, he too fell from his stand. In both instances these guys were wearing a full-body treestand harness. But the saving grace for each of these guys was the fact that their full body harness was connected to the life-line system that kept them safely anchored from the ground up. You see, the fall typically happens along the ascent or descent from the stand. It comes when you least expect it. In both cases, the lives of my two friends were saved because of their commitment to stay connected to the life-line.
I thank God for the life-line. It truly is the anchor. Wearing the harness alone would have resulted in serious injury or death of these guys. But their connection to the life-line resulted in the opportunity to live and hunt another day.
In the woods and in our daily spiritual lives there is a need like never before for us to stay connected to the life-line. Jesus is that life-line. Knowing about Him is not enough. Carrying a big honkin’ Bible around ain’t gonna cut it. Are you connected to Him? Do you know Him? Does He know you? Get connected and stay connected to Jesus today! Apart from Him you can do nothing.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
By Brodie Swisher
I was flipping through my photo album of hunting pictures recently as I often do as I await the arrival of opening day. It’s become somewhat of a ritual that seems to help inspire and excite for the soon-coming days of hunting season. In that album are photos of my first deer, my first deer with a bow, first turkey, bear, elk, antelope, and others. Whether it’s a photo of me clutching the antlers of a buck or a limit of ducks, the images immediately take me back to the day it all went down. I can’t help but smile when I think about the victory that took place on that day when everything went right and success was mine. But there is one photo in particular that brings a flood of emotions like no other. It is a photo I snapped of a crimson colored path that led to an October buck that had found my arrow on a frosty Tennessee morning. The mere sight of that bloodtrail changed everything on that morning. Doubts were replaced by confidence. The low had escalated to a high. A good bloodtrail is the sign of victory…and on that day, victory was mine.
When I think about bloodtrails I think of the song, “Follow the Blood,” by my friend and singer/songwriter, Steve Chapman…
Follow the Blood
I watched the arrow as it flew
From the shelf upon my bow
I was sure its flight was true
When I saw the red stains in the snow
Follow the blood
That crimson sign
Follow that trail
I know I'll find
Death that gives life
A gift from above
Sadness and joy
Follow the blood
I saw the drops of sorrow on the ground
Then at once it came to me
The hope of all mankind is found
On the way to Calvary
The shedding of blood in the deer woods gives me a fix that I’ve found in nothing else on this earth. It’s what I need each fall as the steamy summer months give way to the cool days of autumn. But there is an even greater need for the shedding of blood...a bloodshed that has an eternal impact. Ephesians 1:7 says, “In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”
Because of the blood of Jesus that was shed on the cross, we have hope, we have peace, we are redeemed, we have life. Death brought life…thank you Jesus for the blood!
Check out Steve’s books and devotionals for hunters at www.steveandanniechapman.com
Leaving a Legacy
by Brodie Swisher
I got a message this past week that longtime family friend, Billy Janovich, had been tragically killed when a tree fell on him while he was working at a men’s retreat. The news was an obvious shock to his family and friends. But also a reminder of how quickly a life can pass us by. Even though Billy is now hangin’ out with Jesus in heaven, the pain of those left behind seems relentless. My heart breaks for his wife and three little kids. In the days following Billy’s death, I came across a letter written to him from a mutual friend. The words of this letter spoke to me in a big way regarding the legacy we leave behind to our family and friends.
A portion of the letter read, “Billy, I’ll never forget how much you loved Jesus, and how you always kept your eyes on him…You were a great man, father, and husband, but more than anything, you were a great disciple of Jesus…Thanks for inspiring me and planting Jesus into my life.”
These words of one man’s legacy struck deep within me and made me question, “What will people say about me when I’m gone?” How will my wife and kids remember me? Will I leave a legacy of being a great husband and father? Will I be remembered as a godly man that always kept my eyes on Jesus?
More than wealth and material things, I want to leave a legacy of godliness to my family and friends when I’m gone.
“…a righteous man will be remembered forever.” Psalm 112:6
Who's The Boss
by Brodie Swisher
I’ve been watching a big flock of turkeys up the road from my house the last couple weeks as they do their best to shake off the winter months and prepare for the spring season ahead. At this point of the season there isn’t much strutting going on. Rather, the toms in this flock are doing their best to figure out who’s the boss. I watched as the biggest bird in the bunch appeared to be reminding the younger gobblers that he was indeed the boss. He flogged, pecked, and pushed the other birds around. By their behavior, it was easy to see the younger birds were reluctant to let the older longbeard be boss of the bunch. Round and round they went as the defiant subordinates refused to surrender
As I watched and snapped photos of the flock performing their late-winter ritual, I couldn’t help but think of all the times I’ve played the same game with God. There have been times that God has had to remind me that He is the boss. There have been days where He’s had to push, pull, and drag me into…and out of…various life lessons to better me as a man and to help me see that He is indeed Lord of my life. Countless times I’ve been reluctant to hand over the reins and let Him lead. Out of defiance I’ve refused to surrender more times than I care to admit. But out of His grace and mercy He never gives up on me. He’s faithful to bring me back to the place I need to be.
Where are you today? Are you dancing around the issue of surrendering your life to God? Make him the boss
“Submit yourselves therefore to God…” James 4:7
by Brodie Swisher
I just wrapped up a great weekend with the folks at First Baptist Church in Kimberling City, MO. I was blessed with the opportunity to speak at their Beast Feast event on Saturday, share in their church services on Sunday, and then spend a few days with some of their men in Texas for a hog hunting retreat. It’s been a great time and I’ve watched God move in a big way in the lives of the men and women here. But as I’m writing this, I find myself sitting at an airport in the midst of an ice storm….grounded. Flights are being cancelled and delayed due to the ice, snow, hail, wind, and weather all across the Midwest. My only desire right now is to get home to see my sweet wife and kids. I don’t really care to hang out with the fellas, I’m not interested in seeing another hog, and to be really honest, I’m not that interested in “doing ministry” today. But I’m finding that my plans don’t seem to be the plans for the day.
My motives are pure and my thoughts are family focused. But even with the best of intentions, we often see that our ways are not always what God has in store for us. Job opportunities, situations with our kids, health of our families, and plans for tomorrow; we like to think we’ve got it all figured out and know the best possible scenario for the journey we’re on. But God’s ways are typically different. It’s frustrating as heck…but that’s why He’s God. He sees way beyond my limited vision, and I can do nothing more than rest in that.
He is God...He is good…and His goodness keeps us grounded.
"My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9
by Brodie Swisher
As winter makes its way towards spring, deer
hunters across the country begin the welcomed chore of looking for shed deer antlers. The antler obsession continues to grow with each passing season as more and more hunters discover the excitement, and benefit, of finding the sheds of bucks that made it through another hunting season. Shed hunting…it’s like an Easter egg hunt for big kids! And despite what the past season brought our way, the discovery of a shed
antler brings a new perspective for the season ahead. Hope is renewed, the passion is stoked, and we long for the next opportunity to live the hunt once again.
The cool thing is that no matter what size antler we find, we know that we are holding a part of the past. And the change that is taking place in the life of that buck will bring bigger and better things in the days ahead. The buck shed off his old self, and with each passing season will continue to grow to his true potential.
The Bible speaks of a change that needs to take place in our lives as we put off the old nature of our lives and begin fresh with a new season of life. And despite what many think, the new nature brings the best yet.
“Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God--truly righteous and holy.” Ephesians 4:22-24
When we shed off the old ways of our life and commit to live our lives for God, there ought to be a significant change in who we are, how we live, and what we look like to others. We were created to be like God. Are you more like Him today than you were in seasons past?
Riding Out The Storm
by Brodie Swisher
A snow storm blew through the other day dumping fresh snow across our valley in western Montana. I took some time in the midst of the storm to get out with my camera to see what critters I might find. At one point in the morning I
found a small herd of deer bedded down, riding out the storm’s pounding snow. They didn’t seem to have a care in the world. For them, it was just another day in paradise. They had no doubt seen it before…and would surely experience it again. The storm was simply part of life. They had somehow found comfort, even in the midst of a snow storm.
My encounter with these deer reminded me of the story from the Bible when Jesus was sleeping in the boat while the disciples were freaking out as they did their best to ride out a storm on the lake.
“Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!" Jesus responded, "Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!" Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm.”
I don’t know what storm of life you may be going through right now, but I want to encourage you to keep the faith. Maybe there’s a storm on the horizon for you or your family. Hold fast! Never forget that the One who calmed the storm, with mere words from His mouth, is the same one that helps us ride out the storms of life today. Regardless of the situation or circumstance, our God is bigger. He is greater. He will carry you through the storm.
by Brodie Swisher
The bittersweet task of pulling treestands and ground blinds at the end of deer hunting season has come once again. I took my 4-year-old boy, Easton, out with me recently as we headed to the field to take down a Double Bull blind from one of my favorite early season
sets. The blind was situated in the midst of a fallen treetop in the middle of a huge apple orchard. Death had struck plenty of times from this location in the past, including three different hunts with each of my kids over the past season. It was a great year!
But as Easton and I approached the scene, we noticed the blind was no longer standing. At first glance it appeared to be gone completely. But after further investigation we realized that the blind was in fact there, it had just been reduced to a broken mess on the ground floor. Between the recent snow storms and a few overly-curious horses, our ground blind had been crushed. Easton’s eyes showed a look of concern. I could only grin as I thought about the good times we had experienced in the blind over the past several seasons. Sure, the blind was now in ruins. But it was worth it to be a part of what we were able to experience while in pursuit of whitetail deer. The blind was crushed, but the memories of our times there would last forever.
You know, the ironic thing about brokenness is that it often signifies the goodness of something that has transpired, or the blessing of something on the horizon. Material things become broken by the use and abuse we put them through. But it’s often in the brokenness of life, spiritually, emotionally, that we discover a hope never before imagined. I thank God for the brokenness of His Son, Jesus. His story gives me a hope for the better days that are sure to come. Because of the brokenness He endured, we can truly live.
“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5
Brodie Swisher is a World Champion game caller, accomplished speaker, a notable writer, a skilled hunter, and all around down to earth guy! His travels take him across the country as a well known public speaker in the arena of outdoor events such as wildgame dinners, banquests, archery classes, and filming. Above all Brodie Swisher loves Jesus and he can't wait to share his passion for Christ with those he meets.