The spent 45 caliber round ball rested heavily in my pocket. It had missed its mark and been badly misshapen, almost unidentifiable in the darkness that surrounded me on the ride home from our trip. Although it no longer looked like it had at the start of the day, its true identity was revealed as the weight of the leaden missile was unmistakable when compared to each of the others I carried in my gear. I leaned back in my seat and reflected on the incredible events of the days adventure. It had been one of the most amazing and rewarding outings I ever participated in... But, I am getting ahead of the story!
It started while I was praying about a devotion to share with the other men who would be along on this trip. We were scheduled to go on the 1st Saturday of October, 1997. I was nervous about sharing a devotion , but was reminded of Job 12:8 ; "or speak to the earth, and it will teach you". With this verse foremost in my heart, I began searching through my collection of hunting gear for something "of the earth". A box of 45 caliber Lead round balls had spilled over, dumping the bullets across the bottom of a plastic tub that I use to store my Black Powder accessories. I picked one up and rolled it between my fingers, studying its characteristics. At that moment, The Holy Spirit spoke to me and transformed the words found in James 2:10, "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it." I jotted down some notes and prayed for God's anointing to be present during the trip.
At 4 AM the following Saturday, 44 men & teenage boys gathered and loaded up for the four hour ride to our destination. I handed everybody a musket ball and asked that it be kept for the Devotion to be shared during a mid-trip break. At sunrise we pulled into a rest area and before resuming the trip, I shared what the Lord had placed on my heart for them. I shared my Testimony and asked that they study the bullet in their palm. They could see that it was relatively small, identical to everyone else's, but incredibly heavy and formed from something that resulted in death when used for its intended purpose. If it was shot into their body, it would either kill them outright or, if it did not, it would remain and slowly poison them to death unless someone had the ability to save them by removing it. Sharing the verse James 2:10 , I admitted how I struggled with this Scripture and the "Sin Issue". I was not a murderer, rapist, or violent man... So, how could I be as guilty as men who were? My struggle was a result of reading these words as a man reads; in our own limited knowledge. But, if I remembered that God is indeed a Perfect God, then the "smaller sin" in my life really does damage my relationship with Him. If I ask God to read with me, then my sins truly are as deadly as the worst of men. I prayed for our group and challenged them to seek out the shortcomings in their lives that might be represented in the bullets they held before them. If the Holy Spirit laid conviction on them concerning an unresolved issue, then they could bury that piece of lead in the field where they would be standing that day.
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Many Testimonies resulted that day as the men searched their hearts and prayed. Many of those musket balls found a final resting place that day. Some returned home to be given to wives or children, some were left at church alters... Except the one mentioned at the start of this story. It was returned to me by an exasperated father, who shared that his 18 year old son decided that he could "win the battle with the bullet". This young man had chewed and chomped down on his bullet all day until was flattened out and almost gouged through before his dad intervened. I had to admit that it no longer looked the same, its identity, once clearly seen, was now hard to discern. On the ride home it took the cover of darkness to remind me that this misshapen bullet was still made up of the same deadly ingredient and weighed the same. Only now, some of it had been absorbed into this young man's lifeblood as he tried to reshape it.
Sadly, all of us have grown up in a world that constantly tries to reshape and redefine the characteristics of sin. It still weighs the same and if it does not outright kill our relationship with God, it will slowly poison it to death. Praise God that He chose to intervene!
John 3:16-17 "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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."
Jesus Christ came into this world to save us because He loves us. He is the only one who has the skill to remove the deadly sin from our lives and restore us to The Father who loves us and desires to have a relationship with us. -Amen
* This was my experience in October of 1997 while traveling to Washington D.C. to join over one million other men at the Promise Keepers "Stand in the Gap" gathering at the Capital to pray for our country. In reflection, I often wonder if a day will come when some historians discover a few of the round balls buried in the lawn near the Washington Monument. Will they analyze, debate or search to discover which war was raging near the capital that resulted in these deadly messengers finding a final resting place there? I pray that they discover the Truth of the incredible battle that was won by the individual who defeated an unbeatable foe through the Grace of a Loving Father's intervention. God truly is "The Founding Father" of our beloved country.
-In Jesus Precious Name- Amen
About the Author: Phil has been successfully hunting PA White-tails almost four decades with longbow, recurve, compound, pistol, rifle, and muzzleloader. He is also an avid turkey hunter of 15 years. A certified PA Hunter/Trapper Education Instructor for 7 years (now retired), Phil also founded C.A.S.T.E.R.S. (Children Accepting Salvation Through Efforts of Religious Sportsmen) Hunting Club in 2000. Devoted husband and father, Phil has been employed in the Automotive Technologies field for 30 yrs. Phil can be reached via the Hunting Resource Forums.