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February 17, 2013

Preparing for the Harvest

Despite the recent snowflakes and blustery winds, the longer days, warm sunshine and daffodils poking up through the ground tell me that first days of spring cannot be too far away. I have heard reports from a few hardy souls who braved the elements to catch some ring perch in their favorite river holes. I even spotted a gobbler in full strut about a week ago on my way to work! And if you are like me, these signs of spring have you thinking more and more about planning an escape to the water or getting into the woods. Time spent in the outdoors this time of year can certainly be a welcome way to break the monotony of our daily routines and escape the wintertime blues.

Job 12:7-10 (The Message)
"But ask the animals what they think - let them teach you; let the birds tell you what's going on.
Put your ear to the earth - learn the basics. Listen - the fish in the ocean will tell you their stories. Isn't it clear that they all know and agree that God is sovereign, that He holds all things in His hand - every living soul, yes, every breathing creature?

As you begin to venture out into the great outdoors in 2013, I want to encourage you to do more than just view your time outside as an opportunity to escape from work and your normal routine. I challenge you to spend intentional time in prayer before you go out, asking God to show you what He wants you to see and hear through His creation. Now, this sounds like a simple thing to do when you get to your destination, but think about this - are you naturally inclined to slow down to spend time in prayer with God when you pull up to the boat ramp and hear that the bite is on, or you hop out of the truck and there is a gobbler sounding off nearby? I'll be honest with you - I have to make a conscious effort to spend time with God before each of my outdoor adventures. Otherwise, my time can become cluttered with worries, distractions or expectations, and the voice and direction of God is not discernible. When I don't start my time in the outdoors in prayer, I can even start basing the worth of my trip on whether there is a buck in the truck or if the cooler is full of fish. To the contrary, when I do start my adventure talking with God, picking up a valuable spiritual "nugget" winds up making the time spent outdoors a huge success, even when I don't catch a fish or harvest an animal.

Guys, are you starting your outdoor adventures asking God for His insights and perspectives? If not, will you take up this challenge? Let me assure you that it makes a world of difference in how I view my time spent in the outdoors. In fact, I would go as far as saying that the weekly devotions from Scope and Hook would cease to exist if I did not ask God to speak to me before each of my outdoor adventures. - GE

Related tip
This time of year, days offering weather good enough to spend outside can be few and far between. When you are stuck inside, take time to inspect and maintain your outdoor sporting equipment. Ensure your firearms are clean, oiled and free of obstructions. Make sure your calls are tuned and ready to use and that your decoys are clean. Ensure that the fishing line on your reels is free of nicks, and that your hooks are sharp. Mend your clothing, boots and waders if necessary. Having your equipment in quality working order will allow you to take advantage of a short-notice invitation or an unexpected warm afternoon away of the office.

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