April 1 DIRECT LINE
And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.
1 John 5:15
In our nation, the cabinet members can talk to the President almost any time they want to because they are his cabinet members. For a citizen, it would be difficult and may be impossible to talk to the President. You would have to talk to many security people, and they would have to see the need for you to talk to the President before it could happen. The higher the person’s position, the harder it can be to talk to them. As Christians, we can talk to the King of all the universe anytime we want. He is never too busy to talk to you. What a privilege we have. When and how many times a day are you speaking to the King?
The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.
If you have watched professional sports, you usually at some point will see the owner. He often sits in a very nice room where he can watch what is going on. They understand they are ultimately responsible for what happens on the field. As Christians, we have the ultimate owner. He made the earth and all of its inhabitants. And He is interested in everything that is going on. Nothing happens without Him knowing about it. He cares about every person on this planet. We can trust in His guidance. What are some specific areas where we can trust Him for that guidance?
Luke 9:51 10:12
April 3 TESTING
Examine me, O Lord, and try me; Test my mind and my heart.
Most team sports practices consist of two important parts. The players receive instruction from the coach and then scrimmage. Instruction helps us know what to do, and then scrimmaging helps to take what we have learned and do it in a game situation. This is why it is so crucial to scrimmage so that you can prevent problems before they happen. As Christians, we are good about getting instruction, but often we fail to “scrimmage” or work on how this should look in our lives.
David is asking God to point out anything that needs to be changed before it becomes a problem. Can you think of times when you knew God was examining your heart and mind?
April 4 FEARLESS
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Do you remember what it was like to do something for the first time? Like riding a bike or going for a job interview? Were you afraid?
If you are afraid, you will perform in such a way that it will guarantee your defeat. The only way to combat this is to play fearlessly.
It all begins in our minds. All of us face challenging situations in our lives. Many times we are tempted to be afraid. If we give in to this, we usually help ourselves fail. The best news of all is that we are not limited by what we can do. We have help from the Lord who can’t fail. Can you remember times when you went forward instead of giving in to fear?
A READY DEFENSE
For if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
In real battles or even video games, warriors always strive for a good defense. Without a good defense, defeat is inevitable. One of the keys to a good defense is positioning. When you are on offense, you wait for the defense to get out of position and then attack. When you are on defense, you focus on maintaining your positioning. As Christians, we have an enemy who is waiting for us to get out of position in our walk with God so he can attack us. One key to a ready defense is to walk in integrity to repel his attacks. What are some areas we can be aware of to avoid the attacks of the enemy?
Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.
For a team card game or video game to work, trust is essential. You have to be able to trust in the person next to you to play at your full potential. When that trust is gone, you try to overcompensate, which means you are trying to play for them and yourself. This lack of trust leads to problems. David here is talking about one of the worst breakdowns in relationships. We pretty much count on our parent’s support and encouragement in life to help us get through the tough times. Without them, many of us would be lost. David here reminds us that we can trust in God, who will never abandon us. Can you think of times when your parents failed you, but God didn’t?
April 7 CELEBRATION
For you will go out with joy
And be led forth with peace;
The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, And all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
Have you ever been to a party to celebrate a victory? There is laughter, and eventually, there is music and singing. I don’t know that there has ever been a celebration without singing. Music and singing go together. Before the celebration, there was a battle. Many people become so focused on the battle that they lose their joy. If we put our trust in the Lord, there will come a day when we will celebrate. We will sing songs of praise to Him. We need to keep trusting Him during the battle. What are some of the songs of praise you sing to Him?
April 8 STRENGTH IN TIME OF NEED
For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.
Have you ever done the same thing for a long time and gotten tired. And then someone comes along, asks what you are doing, or even offers to help, and suddenly, you aren’t’ tired anymore? There has been a change, and now your effort and momentum have changed and been renewed. As Christians, many times, we work hard, and it seems like we are getting tired. Then something changes, and we are fresh and ready to keep going on.
The difference is the help of the Lord. God does help His people. Can you recall specific times when you were ready to give up and at just the right time God showed up to strengthen you?
IS ON THE
The LORD said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you.
If you have watched enough sports, you have seen a team lose heart. The effort and intensity drop off, and the game is over, even if it is very early in the game. All that remains then is the final score. Other times I have seen teams battle to the end and even occasionally score a big upset. The difference between the two is losing heart and not believing in the victory. We all will face tough times, but we do not have to accept defeat and live a defeated life. Do not judge everything by circumstances. God is greater than your circumstances. List some times in your life that your circumstances appeared you were defeated, but God reminded you that victory is on the way.
April 10 THANKING JESUS
And giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.
When someone does a good job, others come over and congratulate them. It’s a way of saying thank you. When someone does something really great, they are often hugged as a way of celebration and saying, “Thanks, I am so happy for you.” It gets even bigger when they help a team win a championship. There is one who has done more for us than any teammate. What He has done is greater than any championship. He continues to help us out in our everyday life. What are some things you are thanking God for today?
April 11 DIRECTION
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Have you ever heard of a mid-life crisis? Many times, as we get older, we aren’t sure what we should be doing with our lives. What are others expecting of us? Which direction should we go? Sometimes, younger people, just out of high school, ask those same questions. As a Christian, we should spend time with God and His Word to know what He asks of us in our daily lives. There will be moments and situations when we need to look directly to Him for direction. He has promised to help us. In what areas of your life is God teaching or giving you directions today?
APRIL 12 PLAYING FAIR
Let the word of Christ dwell within you,with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
When it comes to sports, most people focus on winning. When it becomes winning at all costs, it crosses a line and ceases being about the sport and is about people’s egos. Some coaches will try to teach their players to cheat in ways they won’t get caught. When they are caught, they say they were trying to win. When this translates into society, people feel free to break laws if it benefits them. This can easily lead to chaos. As a Christian, we should put our confidence for success in the Lord and obey His word. What parts of your life are you living in such a way that God can bless you?
Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.
Have you ever faced a tough time or just felt like life was a losing battle? When you are discouraged, you have less energy and motivation because you have lost hope. Many times we would look for something good to happen to regain our courage. Instead of looking to outward circumstances, Christians should look to God for encouragement. Knowing that He loves us and will never leave us should give us the courage to go on. When we have our hopes in Him, He gives us courage.
What is something that God has given you the courage to do lately?
April 14 BLESSINGS
Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
1 Peter 3:9
When a business becomes very successful, people talk of a dynasty. Other companies begin to focus on their organization to copy it. They want to know the key to their success. They often will go to great lengths to achieve it. This is a challenging distinction to achieve in business. For Christians, God has already shown the way for a nation to be blessed. When we do things according to His plans, He blesses us. A wise person would build his life around what would bring the most fulfillment to him. True satisfaction can only be found in God. Can you think of things in your life that you are building around that will result in His blessings?
April 15 ACCESS GRANTED
Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
For an employee to barge in yelling at their boss with demands usually guarantees consequences for the employee. But if that same employee comes in quietly and asks to speak to the boss, he will get the time he wanted. The subject can be the same. The difference is in the attitude. Just as it’s essential to watch our attitude when we approach someone in authority, it’s even more important to approach the King of Kings with a humble attitude. The attitude determines our audience. What is your attitude when you approach God?
April 16 PRAISE
Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 4:11
It is interesting to hear athletes talk about their coach. Recently, a player was being interviewed on television and repeatedly gave credit for his team’s success to their coach and his leadership. This player took no credit because he knew it would not have been as good even with the same players and a different coach. As Christians, when someone asks us about our blessings and success, we should point all attention to God. Without Him, it is a guarantee that our lives would be worse. Are you giving God the credit for the good things in your life?
April 17 FAVOR
Good understanding produces favor, But the way of the treacherous is hard.
Children work hard to gain the favor of their parents or grandparents. This favor will grant more playtime or more one-on-one time and even grace when making a mistake. To a child, the favor of a loved one is significant. As Christians, the favor of God is even more important. This favor will grant us time with the King of Kings, answers to prayer, blessings, and even grace when we make mistakes. What an awesome privilege it is to have the favor of God. It has nothing to do with our ability and everything to do with our character. Can you name some examples of God’s favor in your life?
April 18 RESPECT FOR AUTHORITY
Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.
1 Peter 2:17
For anyone, the quickest way to mediocrity is losing respect for those in authority. They begin to rely on their own talent and feel they are superior to others. Their talent will keep them around for a while, but eventually, people will get tired of their lack of respect and soon find themselves out of a job or a class. What could have been greatness ends in self-destruction. As Christians, the quickest way to a messed up life is to lose our fear of God. It is a trap to think that we don’t need to live under God’s authority. What area of your life do you struggle to keep under God’s authority?
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April 19 CONTROL YOUR ANGER
He who is slow to anger has great understanding, But he who is quick-tempered exalts folly.
Being around a person who gets angry a lot is no fun. They often use their anger to control situations. In time, people would rather find something else to do than play with that person. The angry person is blind to the fact that anger only tears down; it does not have the power to build anything. Most people would go out of their way to avoid spending time with an angry person. These people cause much damage to relationships without even realizing it. How have you dealt with the issue of anger in your life?
April 20 WHAT REALLY MATTERS
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Some people seem to have everything. They have the ability and quickly become wealthy. But due to their poor character, they often end up alone and broke. Another person with less ability and less money always has friends and gets a lot of joy out of life. The ultimate difference was not in their ability but their life choices. Choosing righteousness will bring about abundance in joy and peace. That makes any house a happy home. To have a good life, one must focus on things that matter. How would God describe your life today?
April 21 AVOID FRUSTRATION
Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools.
Does it frustrate you when you see someone use illegal tactics and get away with it? We see them benefiting from breaking the rules, and we become angry. We can be tempted as well to break the rules to get ahead. People who seem to do nothing right seemingly have enormous success, while those who do right are struggling. God is saying, don’t be frustrated and allow yourself to be tempted to sin as well. In time He will make it right. In what areas of your life do you often feel frustration?
April 22 LONG-TERM INVESTMENT
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Jesus Christ.
Some people work out in such a way as to have big muscles. They look good but are not very flexible. An athlete does not always have the biggest muscles, but he trains in such a way as to have longer-lasting strength. No one wants to be good for a few minutes; they want their ability to last. Living for God is the ultimate long term investment. We can’t take the things of this world with us when we die. But we can invest in things that will last forever. That is the ultimate investment. What are the things that you are focused on today that will last forever?
MY HOPE IS IN YOU
Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.
1 Timothy 6:17
Part of life is depending on others. Never is that more important than in those moments that it seems your life or career that the game is on the line. Life’s battles are won and lost in that moment. The single thought of most of us is, “don’t let us down.” It is a responsibility not to be taken lightly. As believers in Christ, we also have an obligation to each other. God also has a responsibility to us. God’s responsibility is to keep His word. That is why we can count on Him when the going gets tough. He is someone we can trust. What is on your list of things you are hoping for from God?
April 24 THINKING OF YOU
For I know the thoughts I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
One of the highest compliments we can give someone is to spend time thinking about them. Athletes tend to spend time thinking about their next game and picture themselves performing well. Lovers tend to spend time thinking about each other. Parents tend to spend time thinking about their children. For Christians, it is not any different. We should spend time thinking about God. What we often forget is that God spends time thinking about us. According to the Bible, God spends more time thinking of us than we can comprehend.
What are some of the thoughts you can imagine that God is thinking about you?
April 25 FOLLOWING THE PLAN
Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.
For an employee, the best way to please his boss is to follow his plan. The boss spends time making the plan for the employees, teaches it to them, and then expects them to do it. Following the instructions gives the company the best chance to be successful. This mirrors the Christian walk perfectly. God has made a plan for each one of us and is waiting to show it to us. Just like a coach, God expects us to follow His plan for our lives. We please Him when we follow His plan. What is your next step in God’s plan for your life?
April 26 COMPASSION
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,
2 Corinthians 1:3
Our world is built upon conquest. For example, in sports, some people consider kindness toward the other team a weakness. As Christians, kindness should be our trademark. As Christians, our trademark should be our kindness and love for all people. In this verse, God places special emphasis on the poor. God makes a promise that if we will consider the poor and help them, then He will come and help us in our time of trouble. Who can you name that was poor and helpless that you showered with compassion?_____________________________________
THERE IS HOPE
Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.
1 Timothy 6:17
As a person, we always hope: to win the next game, get a raise, to get our homework done quickly. Many times we use the word hope more as a want or desire. What is your hope based on? That you play better or that they are not a good team. True hope has a foundation. As a Christian, you have more reason to have hope than anyone else. Because our faith is not based on our feelings or our abilities, it is based upon God. My hope is based upon the fact that God always keeps His word and His love for me. I know that I am never hopeless. Can you name some things you are hoping for in your Christian walk?
Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.
Have you ever heard the saying, “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it?” Your plan for not repeating mistakes is to learn from them. The best guide for the future is often found in the past. For Christians, we look at the Bible to see how God acted in certain situations. At times, it should scare us, while at other times, we should find comfort in the Bible. God has revealed everything we need to know to live a life that is pleasing to Him and blessed by Him. Can you think of a life lesson you learned from the Bible that kept you from making the same mistake?
April 29 THE GREAT PHYSICIAN
Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
When an athlete is injured, he gets prompt medical attention to be restored to health and play again as soon as possible. The player relies on the doctor’s skill to diagnose and treat his injury, knowing that his future could be dependent upon proper treatment.
As Christians, we have more than just a doctor looking out for us. We have the God of all the universe. Many times he has helped us, and we were not even aware of it. Illness should not just drive us to the doctor but also to prayer as well. Will you pray the next time you have an illness?
HISTORY IN MOTION
Give thanks to the Lord. Call on his name. Make known among the nations what he has done.
1 Chronicles 16:8
It seems a lot of people have become interested in their ancestry or family history. What he may not even think about is yesterday is also history and can be looked at and learned from. Every moment in our lives goes from being in the present to history. Daily we are writing a history of our lives. We can write the kind of history that we would love our children to read or write the kind of history that we would hope no one ever knows. Our history is made up of the choices and decisions we make daily. What kind of history is your life writing?