by Brodie Swisher
On a recent turkey hunting trip in Nebraska, I had the opportunity to sit in a ground blind high atop a hill overlooking miles and miles of prime turkey country. My hunting buddy, Don Miller, and I saw a number of birds both near and far. But the one that I’ll never forget is the one that walked right up in our lap. There were two gobblers that we’d been calling back and forth with all morning. And up until about 10:00am, the birds had managed to keep their wits about them and stood their ground. Despite our best calling efforts, they just wouldn’t leave the safety of the timber and the hens that seemed to lead them away from trouble. But around 10:30am things changed. One particular longbeard got lonely. When I peeked out the back of the blind, I could see this turkey quickly making his approach toward our decoy. As the bird began to close the distance to within bow-range of our ground blind he became cautious and a bit hesitant in his commitment to come to the decoy. The bird skirted around our setup just outside of shooting range, as if he knew better than to walk into the trap. My heart sunk as we watched yet another bird walk over the hill and out of sight. But that wouldn’t be the end of this bird. As quickly as he disappeared, his red head again popped back over the hill for another glance at the sights and sounds of the seductive hen that was tuggin’ at his attention. He liked what he saw, and he could no longer handle what he heard. He went back into strut and never came out of it. The gobbler looped around in front of our blind and made his approach to within four yards of our ground blind before I turned an arrow loose. He played the game…he paid the price. That second glance was a deadly look that cost him his life.
It’s painful to think of the countless men and women that have been deceived much like this lonely longbeard. We know what’s right and what’s wrong…but that second look is a deadly glance that can lead us to destruction. I often think about King David from the Bible and how he fell into this very trap when he found himself lonely and in a place he should have never been. In 2 Samuel chapter 11 we find the sad story of David’s deception. It was spring time, the time when kings normally go out to war. But David sent others in his place. He stayed home. He got lazy, and he got lonely. While walking around on the roof of his palace he noticed a beautiful a woman. If David would have just walked away things would have been much different. But he didn’t. He took a second glance. He began to inquire as to who this fine specimen of a woman was. He was warned to stay away. He was reminded of the dangers. But he blew right past all the red flags and caution lights. The deadly glance led him down a path of destruction that led to adultery, murder, and destroyed lives.
I want to encourage you to guard your eyes, your hearts and your minds today. Don’t be deceived by the deadly decoys that satan puts in your path. Don’t be a victim of that second deadly glance. Keep your eyes fixed on Christ!
Carried and Cancelled
by Brodie Swisher
I recall a hunt from a few years back when, shortly up the trail, a “friend” of mine began to realize that he was unable to carry the load he had crammed into his backpack. We’ve all been there before. With fear and uncertainty of the trail ahead, we pack ungodly loads that we sooner or later realize we can’t handle on our backs. My buddy quickly acknowledged that he couldn’t do it on his own. I flashed a bitter smile knowing what this meant. Either he would have to shuck the gear from his pack and leave it along the trail, or I would have to carry the weight for him. The uncompassionate side of me wanted to tell him to suck it up and get to climbing the mountain. However, the other side of me knew that he needed me now more than ever. So I took his water bottle, his binoculars, and other weighty items, and added them to the load in my pack. I’ll never forget when we finally reached the top and began to setup camp, he said, “I could never repay you for carrying my stuff.” Weary and worn I remember saying, “Man, you don’t owe me a thing!”
I can’t help but think about this hunt every time the Easter season rolls around again. I think about the contrast of Christ carrying the weight of all mankind on his shoulders when he died on the cross compared to the simple burden I carried for one man. I grudgingly carried the load for that fella that had more than he could handle on his back. I didn’t want to do it, and I probably mumbled ugly things most of the way up the mountain. I bad-mouthed this guy for being unprepared and inadequate for the journey. Christ said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Isaiah 53:4-6 says, “Yet it was our weakness He carried; it was our sorrows that weighed Him down. And we thought His troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for His own sins. But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on Him the sins of us all.”
Did you catch that? The Lord laid on Him (Jesus) the sins of us all. There’s no words to even begin to describe how huge that is! The sins of every person that ever stepped foot on this earth was upon Jesus. He carried the load for us on that cross.
But not only did He carry it, He also canceled it.
“You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for He forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.” Colossians 2:13-14
Jesus carried the load for us on the cross. He paid a debt we could never pay. He paid the price with His life.
Just Like Dad
by Brodie Swisher
I was out behind the house recently, slingin’ arrows across the pasture with my little boy, Aidan. Such times have become my favorite part of the day. We both enjoy sneakin’ out of the house after dinner when the days get longer, and we can shoot our bows ‘til nearly bedtime. We’ve discovered it to be a great way to avoid chores and taking a bath. On this particular evening I noticed Aidan squirming around in circles as he tried to shove his handful of arrows into the back pocket of his jeans. When I asked him what he was up to he simply said, “I wanna put my arrows in my back pocket, just like you dad!”
It was a simple reminder of how closely my son watches every move I make. I am humbled by the fact that he wants to do what I do, be who I am, and act like me…even as a six-year-old boy. The reality of the fact that my little boy follows my lead is a tremendous blessing. But more than that, it’s a gut-check to the fact that I’ve gotta man up as I lead that little dude. The question is: What am I leading him to? What am I leading him through? And what am I leading him away from? Do we as dads lead our children to uncompromising faith in Christ? Do we help lead them through the tough days of life and encourage them to keep longing for the better days that are sure to come? Do we lead them away from the danger of a life of sin that wants to seize and capture their soul? As a dad, we are either leading our children to a life of great and godly things, or a life of death and destruction. That’s it! There’s only two trails to take. Which path are you and your child on today?
“And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children…” Deuteronomy 6:5-7
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.