OUT OF TROUBLE
Turn to me, and be gracious to me; Oh grant Your strength to Your servant, And save the son of Your handmaid.
When an athlete breaks a team rule or fails to follow the coach’s direction, he is in trouble. The coach has the power to limit the playing time of the player. The power to restore the relationship rests with the coach. The ability to begin that process depends on the player. If he admits his wrongs, the coach can restore the player to his previous position. This is a perfect illustration of our relationship with God. We have all wronged Him and disobeyed His rules. If we will come to him and admit and wrongs and ask Him, He will forgive us. Will you ask God for forgiveness?
2 Kings 18:13-19:37
Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name.
One of the keys to being a good athlete is being teachable. A player who shows up at practice on time, ready to play, and asks for extra instruction will improve rapidly. The one who listens – learns, while the one who doesn’t – stays the same. For a believer in Christ, this is true as well. If we present ourselves before the Lord to learn, He will teach us, and our lives will change quickly. If we don’t give ourselves to the Lord, our lives will stay the same, and we will miss out on the good things that God meant for us to have. Is your prayer to the Lord, “teach me”?
2 Kings 20:1-22:2
July 3 NO WASTED TIME
So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.
At some point, every athlete realizes that he cannot play forever. Their career will end because their body will not enable them to perform at that level. Knowing that their playing years are limited, a player should plan to make the most of them. There is no time for half-hearted efforts. They will be remembered for what they do, not what they could have done. As a follower of Jesus, we are to remember the limitations of our lives. What counts is what we do, not what we could have done. Are you wasting your time?
2 Kings 22:3-23:30
July 4 TRUSTWOR-THY
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!”.
For an athlete, one of the keys to success is being surrounded by trustworthy people. People who will do what they are supposed to do when they are supposed to do it form the foundation of any successful team. They rely on each other and trust each other in difficult situations. For a Christian, we serve a God who is the ultimate trustworthy person.
He will do what He says He will do. Knowing this, we can have confidence in Him to face tough situations. Are you trusting Him?
2 Kings 23:31-25:30
For you have made the Lord, my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place.
As an athlete, you must decide who’s the voice you will listen to. Many people will want to tell you what to do and how to play. They all promise success, but obviously, that is not true. An athlete needs to choose carefully whose advice he listens to because it will determine the outcome of your one career. As a follower of Christ, we can know what He asks and how things will ultimately turn out. His promises are sure. Have you chosen to follow Him?
1 Chronicles 1:1-2:17
ON YOUR SIDE
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
When a player is in the right relationship with his coach, his missed shots can be overlooked. Often, the coach will step up and protect him from criticism because he was following the coach’s direction. The benefits of the right relationship include protection. As a follower of Jesus, this is true as well. When we choose to live in the right relationship with Him, we live under His protection. The benefits of this relationship are many. Are you living in the right relationship with God?
1 Chronicles 2:18-4:4
July 7 REQUEST GRANTED
He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.
For an athlete to ask something of a coach usually requires a relationship. And not just a relationship, but a relationship in good standing. The more diligent the player is in practice, the better he listens to instruction and better his relationship with the coach. This behavior leads to the ability to make requests and have them granted. A poor relationship leads to request denied. This relationship mirrors our walk with God. He delights in answering the requests of those who have a close relationship with Him. Would your relationship with God lead to a “request granted?
1 Chronicles 4:5-5:17
July 8 THANKFUL-NESS
It is good to give thanks to the Lord and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;
Over time, many athletes can forget to be thankful for the athletic abilities they were born with. As this happens, they cease taking care of themselves and no longer value what they have been given. Their performance begins to suffer as they presume upon their abilities. This is a powerful lesson to learn. As we are thankful to God for what He has given us, we begin to value it and seek to make the most of it. Our lives become reflections of gladness as we use the gifts and abilities we have been blessed with. Does your life reflect a thankful heart?
1 Chronicles 5:18-6:81
LET IT GO
O Lord, God of vengeance, God of vengeance, shine forth!
One of the most destructive emotions for an athlete is the desire for vengeance. That desire to get back at the other player, to even the score, usually costs his own team both in performance and in penalties.
The best way to handle these situations is to let them go. Holding on to things hurts you and your team. For believers, this should be easier because we have someone who has said He would make all things right. Not only has He said it, but He has the power to make it right. Is there something you need to let go of?
1 Chronicles 7:1-8:40
July 10 UNCHANGEA-BLE
The Lord reigns, He is clothed with majesty; The Lord has clothed and girded Himself with strength; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.
For an athlete, adversity is inevitable. There will be days and games where things don’t go well. It’s easy to work hard and have a good attitude when things are going well. It is when things aren’t going well that players’ attitudes and effort can diminish. This adversity is when the players’ character is revealed. Fortunately, we serve a God who is unchangeable. He doesn’t have a bad day. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We can trust in Him and pattern our lives after Him. What does your life look like when the pressure is on?
1 Chronicles 9:1-10:14
Blessed is the man whom You chasten, O Lord, and whom You teach out of Your law;
One of the simplest things a player can do to increase his playing time is listening to his coach and following his instructions. It only requires effort to pay attention to what you are taught and then go out and do it. Not listening will eventually put even the most talented player on the sidelines. As a follower of Christ, there are blessings for hearing and obeying the voice of the Lord. A good listener pays attention and then follows through on the instructions given. Are you a good listener when God speaks?
1 Chronicles 11:1-12:18
July 12 AT PEACE
When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul.
One of the things that all athletes face is anxiety, right before a big game, and sometimes within a game when everything is on the line. Anxiety not correctly handled can distract a player and lead to poor performance. The best players are the ones who can manage their anxieties. For a Christian, we can trade our fear for His comfort. What a deal! We can truly put all of our trust in Him and know that we will be loved no matter the situation’s outcome. How great is that? Are you struggling with anxiety?
1 Chronicles 12:19-14:17
Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, As in the day of Massah in the wilderness,
An athlete lives in an emotionally charged environment. Competition keeps one on edge. Some fall into a trap that when things don’t work out or someone lets them down, they harden their hearts and don’t listen to what others tell them. This can have disastrous consequences both for an athlete and anyone else. Hurts are part of life, but if we harden our hearts, we can’t receive love as we should. This can hurt both the people we love and us. God is asking you today, “Is your heart hardened?”
1 Chronicles 15:1-16:36
ARE YOU LISTENING?
For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you would hear His voice,
For an athlete, it is essential to listen. The voice of your coach has directions and plans for the success of your team. Your part in the plan is to listen and follow the instructions. The better you listen and obey, the better your team does, and the more other people think you are a good player. Fail to listen, and bad things will happen. It’s the same way with God. When we listen and follow His instruction, good things happen for us and others. When we don’t, bad things happen. Are you listening?
1 Chronicles 16:37-18:17
NO HAPPY ENDING
Therefore I swore in My anger; Truly, they shall not enter into My rest.
For an athlete being in trouble with the coach doesn’t end well. He can limit or eliminate your playing time. He can force you into doing extra practice. Even if the team is doing well, it will not go well for that player. God is like a coach in this respect. If you fail to listen to His words, life will not go well for you. He can bring hard things into your life to teach you the foolishness of your thinking. Without God, there will not be a happy ending. Do you know God?
1 Chronicles 19:1-21:30
WHAT’S THE STANDARD?
Before the Lord, for He is coming, For He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness And the peoples in His faithfulness.
For an athlete knowing the rulebook is one key to good performance. Some of the biggest mistakes are made when players don’t know the rules. Knowing the rules helps guide how a player plays and helps him to be more successful. As important as the rulebook is to the player, the Bible is to the Christian. When a Christian doesn’t live by the Bible, he opens himself to many mistakes and problems. One key to success in the Christian life is knowing the Bible. Are you spending time with the Bible?
1 Chronicles 22:1-23:32
Light is sown like seed for the righteous and gladness for the upright in heart.
When a team is in harmony, there is a joy that they share. It shows in how they spend their time, how they play, and even how they handle adversity. When the team becomes more important than the individual players, this joy becomes their trademark. God designed that His children walk in unity with Him and with each other; their lives are marked by joy. When Christians put the cause of Christ above their pursuits, joy is the result. Do you have this joy?
1 Chronicles 24:1-26:11
Hate evil, you who love the Lord, Who preserves the souls of His godly ones; He delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
One of the key elements for a player is loyalty. A player is expected to be loyal by giving his time, energy, and effort to his team. You don’t come out to the game wearing the other team’s uniform. God expects no less than that from us. He hopes that when we say we are Christians, we will strive to live like that. Nothing is more frustrating to God than for a person to say they love him and not live according to His standards. Does your life reflect loyalty to Jesus Christ?
1 Chronicles 26:12-27:34
July 19 Perspective
Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Any athlete who thinks he has done it all by himself is mistaken. It takes years of coaching, trainers, sometimes doctors, and other players on the team, to achieve success. Players need to stand together, and any success they have is shared. For a Christian, it is impossible to have any success without God. We must rely on each other and our relationship with God for our lives to truly have meaning. God made us, and He wants to help us reach our full potential. Are you trusting in God?
1 Chronicles 28:1-29:30
I will give heed to the blameless way. When will You come to me? I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart.
One decision an athlete will never regret is to live wisely. Many athletes choose to live according to their emotions. Eventually, that leads to problems. For an athlete, wise choices include taking care of yourself physically and listening to your coach. For a Christian wise living means living according to the Bible. Wise living means saying no to your flesh and listening to the Lord. To live according to your emotions(flesh) only leads to problems. Are you living wisely?
2 Chronicles 1:1-3:17
NOT PULLED AWAY
I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not fasten its grip on me
When an athlete is at odds with the coach or develops a bad attitude, he tends to pull away from the team and its leadership. They invite other people to join them in their lack of commitment to the team. If you don’t make a clear stand, they will think that you agree with them. As Christians, we should be careful that when people we know pull away from the Lord that we don’t allow them to take us with them. Have you taken a clear stand in your walk with God?
2 Chronicles 4:1-6:11
July 22 DISTRACTIONS
I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not fasten its grip on me
An athlete who focuses on performing well will seek to avoid distractions. A distraction is anything that will try to take the player’s attention and time and cause them to perform poorly. A key to top performance for an athlete is to avoid distractions. As a Christian, the world has many distractions that can keep us from living for Christ. The key is to be aware of these temptations and avoid them. Failure to avoid distractions can lead to a messed up life. What distractions do you need to avoid?
2 Chronicles 6:12-8:10
A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will know no evil.
As an athlete, we need to remember we are responsible for our focus or lack thereof. We are responsible for being attentive in practice, focused on our games, and to carry out the game plan. When we lose focus, our performance and our team suffer. We must put things out of our lives that cause us to lose focus. For a Christian, this is a perfect picture of how we are to avoid the world’s distractions that cause us to lose focus. This lack of attention hurts us and the cause of Christ. Are you determined to keep your focus?
2 Chronicles 8:11-10:19
July 24 CHOOSE WISELY
My eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me; He who walks in a blameless way is the one who will minister to me.
As an athlete, you should pick your close friends carefully. These close friends can either make you more successful or contribute to your downfall. Take some time and observe before you make someone a close friend. For a believer in Christ, this is excellent advice as well. Our close friends can either help us to walk with Christ or help to draw us away. We should take our time and observe so that we can choose wisely. Our friends can exert a significant influence on our lives. Have you chosen your friends wisely?
2 Chronicles 11:1-13:22
July 25 CONSISTENCY
But You are the same, and Your years will not come to an end.
Every athlete strives to perform consistently. They want to play well all the time. One of the keys to this is practicing the same way. Another key is feeding your body the same way daily. For an athlete to perform well consistently, self-discipline is a must. Christians know that God is consistent. To consistently live as He asks us, we must have a steady diet of God’s Word and strive to live out what they are learning. This type of life is a daily choice. Does your life reflect consistency?
2 Chronicles 14:1-16:14
July 26 REPUTATION
So the nations will fear the name of the Lord and all the kings of the earth Your glory.
As an athlete, your reputation always precedes you. If you play well, it affects how the other team schemes to win. If you have not played well, then the other team may think they can take advantage of you to win. Reputations are earned, not given. For a follower of Christ, we should realize whose team we are on. He is the ultimate winner. The enemy seeks to hurt us by making us doubt Him. We can trust Him and not fear Him. Are you excited to be on the Lord’s side?
2 Chronicles 17:1-18:34
DON’T FORGET THE REWARDS
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits;
An athlete should never forget there are rewards. Hard work gets their body in shape. Repeating drills can improve their skills. Listening to the coach helps them to follow the game plan. And the combination of these things can lead to victories. Likewise, Christians should remember that studying the Bible teaches us how to live; prayer helps us connect with and hear God. Obeying God is the key to fulfilling His will and having a fulfilled life. Are you living to earn rewards?
2 Chronicles 19:1-20:37
July 28 BLOSSOM
As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
Like an athlete, a flower has a short career. It does not last forever. Knowing that their career is short, an athlete should focus on shining the brightest. It takes effort to shine brightly. Flowers are remembered for their beauty; athletes are remembered for their efforts. Christians likewise must realize that our lives can blossom like a flower. It takes the right food(the Word of God) and following the Son for the power. We will be remembered for how we shine. Is your life shining for the Lord?
2 Chronicles 21:1-23:21
July 29 DEPENDABLE
They all wait for You to give them their food in due season.
Athletes know that during a game that they need to depend on each other to achieve success. One characteristic that is valued highly is being dependable—being where you are supposed to be, and doing what you should be doing increases your value to the team. For a Christian, we have no one more dependable than God. He is always there. What He says, He does. You can count on Him. What freedom that gives us in life. Do you depend on Him?
2 Chronicles 24:1-25:28
He established the earth upon its foundations so that it will not totter forever and ever.
Sometimes, athletes begin to think if only the rules were a certain way that things would be better. They mean that it would be more to their liking—never stopping to think of the impact on others. The rules apply to everyone equally so that no one has an unfair advantage over anyone else. It’s not just athletes that think like this. Everyone has felt this way at one point or another. God’s rules apply to everyone equally, and no one has an advantage. Are you submitting to the rule of God?
2 Chronicles 26:1-28:27
July 31 YOUR WORD
He has remembered His covenant forever, the word which He commanded to a thousand generations,
Athletes value trust. They expect you to do what you say you will do. Your words gain or lose value by how your life matches up to them. When your actions don’t match your words, then trust decreases. As a follower of Christ, our words and actions should be the same. God has set the example because He never forgets to keep His Word. Our testimony of God becomes more powerful when we keep our Word. Do your actions match your words?
2 Chronicles 29:1-36