Grace Mildred Walerczak less than 1 hour old
Grace...What a Miracle!
by Pastor Paul
As the doctors performed their precision work on the opposite side of the curtain there were two excited, nervous, and hopeful parents waiting to hear the familiar sound that they had already experienced five times over the past ten years. It is a sound that evokes joy, relief, tears, nervous expectation, and emotions that words cannot express. It is the simple sound of a baby's first breath and subsequent cry that these expecting parents were waiting to here.
At 9:32am on Feb. 23rd, 2011 Grace Mildred Walerczak entered the world taking her first breaths to the joy of her parents. Lisa and I have experienced this miracle a total of six times now and it is humbling to say the least. I simply stand amazed at the handy-work of Almighty God. Grace is truly a miracle!
When I look at each of my children I am continuously reminded of the fact that none of us spinning around on planet earth arrived here by random chances and processes. This is divine design at its best! It takes more faith to believe in the random events of evolution than it does to trust in the orderly creation by God as described in the Bible. God's word reveals so many truths about how God created us. Here are just a few examples of what scripture says about the creation of man:
Gen 1:27 "So God created man in His [own] image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them".
Psalms 139:13 "For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb".
Psalms 139:14 "I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully [and] wonderfully made: marvelous [are] Thy works; and [that] my soul knoweth right well".
Isa 44:24 "Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and He that formed thee from the womb, I [am] the LORD that maketh all [things]; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by Myself;
During the first several months of this pregnancy Lisa and I contemplated what to name this precious gift that was forming in her womb. Once we found out it was a girl we desired to choose a name that would bring honor to God for this miracle He was creating. While setting over two large cokes and some chips and salsa at one of our favorite local Mexican restaurants the name Grace was brought up in our conversation. From that moment forward that was her name "Grace". I could not think of a better, more suitable name, to honor our heavenly Father than Grace.
Grace is the message of God's ultimate love letter the Bible. From the book of beginnings (Genesis) to book of Revelation the Bible is simply full of God's grace towards His prize creation, you and me. His demonstration of Grace culminates at the cross when He allowed His one and only begotten son Jesus Christ to die on a cruel Roman cross for my sin and yours.
I know that the central theme in my relationship with God is His grace towards me. Grace simply being unmerited favor when I did not even deserve it. Each time I look at my daughter Grace it will be a constant reminder of that unchangeable truth. I am thankful today that I am Christian and follower of Jesus. Not because of anything I have done, but because of everything He has done! So I am reminded once again that God's grace is truly a miracle!
Ephesians 2:8 "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God".
Today I saw a miracle happen and her name is Grace! As I watch her grow I pray my life be a reflection of Peter's words in 2 Peter 3:18 "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen".
In His Grace,
Author, Singer, Songwriter Steve Chapman
by Pastor Paul
In September of 2003 while on a Christian men's weekend retreat I was looking through the resource table at the various books that were for sale. On the cover of one of the books was a picture of a beautiful, large buck, standing in a field looking back toward the camera man. Being a whitetail hunter I "HAD" to pick that book up and learn a little more about it. It was a book titled "A look at Life from a Deer Stand" written by Steve Chapman. It is a wonderful book that I believe every outdoorsmen should read. I have read it several times over the years and it is always a blessing each time I read it. Steve simply has a way with words and illustrations. He is a master story teller in my opinion that really reveals God's word in a way that just warms the heart and soul.
Photographer and Author Brad Herndon
In the fall of 2008 a close friend handed me an article with a picture of a grey bearded gentleman with a wide smile on his face, and a twinkle in his eye. He had has hands wrapped around the horns of a beautiful whitetail buck that he had just harvested while set up over a funnel location. The wise ol' hunter in the photo was also the author of the article. He is also the author of one of the most well known books on how to hunt trophy whitetail using topography and terrain titled "Mapping Trophy Bucks". He is none other than Brad Herndon.
Pastor Paul, Steve Chapman, and Brad Herndon
Over the past couple years, God has given me the great honor of getting to know these men on a deeper, more intimate level. It has been really amazing to see the dots that God is connecting together here at Without Excuse Ministries. I had no idea what God had ahead of me when I started creating Biblical video devotionals for Bill Winke at MidwestWhitetail.com. When I was first exposed to Steve and Brad's work I never would have thought that one day they would actually help me with a growing web based ministry.
Both Steve and Brad offered timely Biblical wisdom this past year as my wife and I prayed through a change in churches and ministry direction. This change was huge for my family and I. The wisdom Steve and Brad offered as I prayed through the situation was so insightful. A couple of times I thought "man you guys have been in my back pocket the whole week haven't you"? No..it is simply the Holy Spirit speaking to a couple of seasoned believers and their willingness to help a younger brother like me succeed in my walk with Lord.
I am thankful for men like Steve and Brad who are willing to invest time building God's Kingdom by being a mentor to a younger generation coming up behind them. The passion these two men have for life is astounding to watch. I speak to them from time to time about their schedules, projects, and vision and it simply amazes me. They are like Joshua and Caleb from the Old Testament conquering lands in the years when they could have easily retired and set back to watch us "young bucks" do the work. I am thankful for thier unrelenting zeal for the Lord!
If you are reading this devotion as a person without a mentor I would first like to point you to the greatest mentors of all, our Heavenly Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. You can learn more about them and their plan for your life by simply picking up God's love letter to you "The Bible". As you grow in your faith and relationship with God, it is also great to have men like Steve and Brad, come along side of you to impart their wisdom and life experiences to help you grow.
As we close I would simply like to post a few verses that highlight what the Bible has to stay about male mentors and leaders.
Tts 2:1-2 "But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience;
Tts 2:6-8 "Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you".
In His Amazing Grace,
Since a young age Pastor Paul has had a love for the outdoors. After he became a Christian in October of 1994 God began to use the great outdoors to demonstrate to Pastor Paul the eternal truths of scripture. In this section he will share some of these thoughts via written or audio devotionals.