“Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
A driver cannot afford to get distracted by a text message. A moment of distraction can cost expensive damage or even cost them their life or the life of another person. Drivers need to do all they can to deal with and avoid distractions so that they can perform well behind the wheel. For a Christian, it is even more important not to lose focus. A moment of distraction can cost a lifetime of pain and regret. Life is more important than a game. There are many distractions in this world. (Television, music, other people, not to mention our own desires). Are you pushing aside distractions so that your focus is on God?
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going.
Have you ever done something over and over, to the point where it is boring? Your heart is just no longer in it. But it takes enthusiasm to take their play to the highest level. It’s easy to see the difference. The Bible tells us that if we deem anything worthy of doing, we should do it with enthusiasm. God gave us the ability to care about what we are doing. As Christians, our actions testify of His greatness, so we should always seek to give our best. Are you giving your all to what you are doing today?
May 3 TROPHY
He chooses our inheritance for us, The glory of Jacob whom He loves. Selah.
Have you ever received a ribbon, trophy, or certificate for a job well done? Did you get to choose the award? I have never seen an athlete refuse to lift a trophy high in celebration, and, in many cases, I have even seen them kiss it. At that moment, the design of the trophy is not important; having won it is. As Christians, we are getting a custom made reward just for us. The God of the universe who loves us more than we can imagine is preparing a reward for us individually. That’s a lot of rewards, but it is a labor of love. Are you excited about your reward?
May 4 A SONG WORTH SINGING
For God is the King of all the earth; Sing praises with a skillful psalm.
Do you like listening to songs or singing along with the radio? Some songs remind us of our loyalty to our country. Others remind us of a person dear to us. Many others are frivolous and only serve to entertain us. Have you ever considered how God feels when we sing songs of love and devotion to Him? When it comes time to declare our love and devotion to God, I want to sing something that reflects how I feel personally, not something frivolous. When you sing a song to God, does it reflect how you feel about Him?
God is in her palaces. He is known as her refuge.NKJV
The fun part of life is having things go well. The thing that you plan and prepare for is when things don’t go well. Wise people work very hard to prepare for this. They know that even though things aren’t going well, it doesn’t mean life is over. By refocusing on their objectives, they can still achieve their goals. This concept is even more important spiritually.
Just because circumstances are not good does not mean that your life is a failure. In those times, we should get closer to God and refocus on His priorities. Our lives can turn around. Are you turning to God in your tough times?
Judges 21:1-Ruth 1:22
May 6 PREGAME SPEECH
My mouth will speak wisdom, and the meditation of my heart will be understanding.
It is often the pregame speech right before a contest that helps players focus and perform with enthusiasm. If a coach does a poor job, his players may not come out and play with much enthusiasm. For this reason, words should be chosen carefully and come from the heart. In our daily lives, we should also choose our words carefully. God’s word is full of encouragement and can give us the purpose of our daily lives. When we neglect to remember His words, we go out and live without much enthusiasm. Trouble lurks for us. Are we facing each day with the encouragement of God’s word?
May 7 EXCUSES
If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sinned, but now they have no excuse for their sin.
Have you ever had a big test at school? Teachers try to prepare you for every question you will encounter to do well on that test. Occasionally there is a question that you are not sure how to answer, and it usually does not go well. You didn’t know what to do, maybe because you didn’t study and prepare like you needed to. In our lives, God has made a way to know what to do in every situation. For us to do the wrong thing leaves us without excuse. Are you trying to make excuses, or are you accepting responsibility for your actions?
1 Samuel 1:1-2:21
May 8 INTIMIDATION
They saw it, then they were amazed; They were terrified, they fled in alarm.
As a child, do you remember being afraid? Did that fear leave when a grownup was there with you? Maybe after school, walking home alone, a gang of kids yelled at you. The size of the crowd intimidated you, and you knew if they came after you, there was no hope. But if your big brother or a parent were with you, it made all the difference. When Satan sees who is walking with us, he is intimidated. What he has learned is sometimes we forget who is with us, and we approach life discouraged. In those moments, he steals victories that should have been ours. Are you walking in the confidence that the presence of God is in your life?
1 Samuel 2:22-4:22
Why should I fear in days of adversity, When the iniquity of my foes surrounds me
Have you ever been running late for an appointment? Then the panic sets in, more mistakes are made, and more time is lost. Fear sets in, and we want to give up. When this emotion is controlled, it allows you to get back in control of the situation. Fear is a terrible emotion. It can cause us to believe that we have failed when the initial circumstances aren’t favorable. Perspective tells us that initial circumstances don’t always dictate the results, and we should continue. Fear wants us to quit. Are you trusting in God even when things aren’t looking good?
1 Samuel 5:1-7:17
May 10 PAYING ATTENTION
“What right have you to tell of My statutes and to take My covenant in your mouth? For you hate discipline, And you cast My words behind you.
Every large business company has managers. They are usually one of the older or more experienced employees. Their job is to be the owner’s representative. Imagine what would happen if the manager did not listen to the owner and made decisions opposite the owner. This employee would not be a manager very long because he didn’t listen to the owner. In these verses, God is asking why do people pretend to be Christians when they don’t pay any attention to what He is asking them to do. God has no patience for this type of living. Are we obeying God before we try to teach others?
1 Samuel 8:1-9:27
May 11 KNOWING YOUR LIMITS
No man can, by any means, redeem his brother or give God a ransom for him.
As a person, it is wise to know your limitations. Someone may be faster or smarter, or taller than you. To be the best you can be, you must want to do well. The surest way to fail is to try to do the things that are beyond your abilities. In the spiritual realm, this is even more important. To try to do for others what only God can do is a sure recipe for failure. Our value in our service to God lies in using our God-given gifts to serve others. Knowing what our limits are and what our gifts are the key to our lives. Are you trying to do something that only God can do?
1 Samuel 10:1-11:15
May 12 LIFE AFTER SPORTS
“What right have you to tell of My statutes and to take My covenant in your mouth? For you hate discipline, and you cast My words behind you.
Something that most athletes don’t like to think about is life after sports. But no one gets to play forever. Their career in sports will one day come to an end. A failure to think about this and prepare for it will guarantee difficulty. There is no second chance to prepare for life after sports. A wise person does it early in their career. A close parallel is that one must be prepared for the afterlife. Heaven or hell awaits. Many would like to go back and change things, but there are no second chances. Are you ready for this life to end?
1 Samuel 12:1-13:23
He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me, and to him who orders his way aright I shall show the salvation of God.”
In the medical field, some doctors have interns and training to be a doctor someday. One of the requirements of a doctor for his intern is to follow all of his instructions. The two things an intern better not do are talk bad about the doctor or not obey his instructions. If an intern fails at one or both of these, the doctor will no longer try to mentor him to be a doctor. Why would we think any less of God working in our lives? We should only speak well of someone we are trusting to help us. If we truly want help, we will follow the instructions we are given. God is willing to help you. Are you willing to follow His commands?
1 Samuel 14:1-52
May 14 RELY ON HIM
Save me, O God, by Your name,
And vindicate me by Your power.
We all have somebody we rely on when the going gets tough. These are your stars and your heroes. What a comfort to know they are always on your side, and you know you can count on them. God fills the same role in our lives. He is constantly there for us. He looks out for us and protects us. When the situation gets tough, we don’t have to wonder where to turn for help. He is already there for you. Are you relying on Him in your daily life?
1 Samuel 15:1-16:23
May 15 FOOLISH THINKING
In his heart, the fool has said, “There is no God,” They are corrupt and have committed abominable injustice; There is no one who does good.
Some people have such confidence in themselves; they think that they can continue not to take care of their bodies without consequences. At first, they notice no difference. Over time their performance goes down, and most people can never turn their lives around. If we think we can live as we please and ignore God’s instructions without consequences, then we are engaged in foolish thinking. Once we start down this road, we can’t undo the damage we have caused ourselves and others. Are you living your life like there is no God?
1 Samuel 17:1-18:4
Behold, God is my helper;
The Lord is the sustainer of my soul. He will recompense the evil to my foes; Destroy them in Your faithfulness.
Those moments in the heat of battle when we feel someone has intentionally wronged us and gotten away with it, we are tempted to avenge ourselves or our friend. What typically happens is we are caught and punished. Then we are left with the frustration of our injustice and then our attempt at vengeance that failed. There is a better way. When we have been wronged, we should appeal to a higher power. An attempt to get revenge ourselves puts us in the role of playing God. We should leave vengeance in His hands and focus on living our lives. Have you surrendered your desire for revenge to God?
1 Samuel 18:5-19:24
May 17 STAYING POWER
Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.
It occasionally happens that someone we know has some personal tragedy, whether it be a divorce or a family member’s death. Many times, they never seem to recover, and their careers go downhill.
What happened to them had no effect on their physical ability but profoundly impacted their mental and emotional ability. This tragedy impacts their whole life. No one is exempt from tragedy. But God promises that if we will cast our burdens on Him and live according to His principles, He will help us get through the tough times. Now is the time to put your trust in Him before tragedy strikes. Are you trusting Him today?
1 Samuel 20:1-21:15
May 18 WHERE IS YOUR HELP?
When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.
Life can be dangerous sometimes. Anytime there is the potential for a dangerous situation, such as bad weather, people are briefed ahead of time and are told where to go for protection. Then they depend on the meteorologist to let them know when to seek cover. When the signal is given, they run quickly to their protected area. As Christians, we have a place to turn to when the situation gets dangerous. We can turn to God. He is near, and He is watching out for us constantly. When the going gets tough, where do you turn for help?
_____________________________________ READING PLAN:
1 Samuel 22:1-23:29
MAY 19 ARE YOU LISTENING?
God will hear and answer them—Even the one who sits enthroned from of old— Selah.
During class, has the teacher ever asked you, “Are you listening to me?” That is an embarrassing moment. His concern is not with your embarrassment but that you take what he is telling you and use it. Not emphasizing what the teacher asks you to do shows a lack of respect for him. So the question is really, do you have enough respect for the teacher to do what he asks you to do? God asks the very same question. He expects you to have enough love for Him to obey Him. God is asking you today, “Are you listening?”
1 Samuel 24:1-25:44
May 20 WHAT’S THE WORST THEY CAN DO?
In God, whose word I praise, In God, I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?
As a leader, panic is not an option. Having an understanding of situations helps us to handle them well. Sometimes we need to ask ourselves, what is the worst thing that can happen? Knowing this guides our reaction. As Christians, we should know that God is there for us and that the worse thing the devil can do is cause us to lose our physical life.
No one can take our salvation away from us. We should never panic or act in fear because what is the worst our enemy can do?
1 Samuel 26:1-28:25
May 21 KNOW WHO TO CALL
I will cry to God Most High, to God who accomplishes all things for me.
When playing team sports or games, knowing your teammates helps you do well in tough situations. You wouldn’t want your worst player to take the game-deciding shot; you would want your best player to do it. You put your best defender out there to stop their best offensive player. Knowing their abilities guides your decisions. You know who to ask, depending on what you need. As Christians, we have a much easier task. We don’t have to decide from a multitude of options. There is only one God, and He is the best at everything. So no matter what your problem, who are you going to call?
1 Samuel 29:1-31:13
May 22 REWARDS
And men will say, “Surely there is a reward for the righteous; Surely there is a God who judges on earth!”
For some people, there are temptations to take shortcuts to success. People try to break the rules in such a way as not to get caught. While there may be some short-term benefits, your reputation will eventually catch up with you, and your reputation will be bad. What you thought would get you ahead has only served to bring you down. As a Christian, there are temptations to take shortcuts to get what we want instead of trusting in God to provide for us. We begin to look just like lost people. True rewards come from doing the right thing. Do you trust God enough to do the right things and wait for His rewards?
2 Samuel 1:1-2:11
My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises!
Has a difficult situation ever caused you to want to quit? You have to reach down and recommit yourself to playing the best you can. How you respond to the adverse situation can determine if the situation is “won or lost.” We should never lose heart or give up in difficult circumstances. As Christians, we should value determination as well. We have a great God on our side, and no situation is over until He says it’s over. He can and does do miracles at times in this world. Knowing this, we should never give up. Do you have the staying power to keep going because of your relationship with God?
2 Samuel 2:12-3:39
May 24 MY HELPER
O give us help against the adversary, For deliverance by man is in vain.
There are moments in life when you know that you need help. You look around and see who is going to come to help you. When you see that certain person moves towards you, your spirits lift, and you feel excited because help is on the way. As Christians, we don’t have to worry about who will come and help us because we know that we can count on God. Because He is God, He can do things that people can’t. It is great to know that we can depend on God. Are you allowing God to help you?
2 Samuel 4:1-6:23
May 25 CONFIDENCE RESTORED
Through God, we shall do valiantly, And it is He who will tread down our adversaries.
Have you ever moved away from a neighborhood of good friends? They were there when you needed help. Now you are starting over, all alone. In life, if we try to face problems alone, it is easy to get discouraged and feel like we are losing the battle. Yet when we sense the presence of God, and He shows His power in the situation, our confidence soars because we know victory is at hand. Are you putting your confidence in God to win the victory?
2 Samuel 7:1-8:18
May 26 RIGHT REWARD
Do not trust in oppression and do not vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, do not set your heart upon them.
There are times that people perform far above their skill level. Like when a man lifts a car off of an injured child. We rejoice at their exceptional performance at a critical time. But it would be wrong to expect that kind of performance from them all of the time. This expectation would lead to frustration and disappointment. In life, people find other things to put their trust in that are just as unreliable. One of those is money. Some believe that if they just had more money, then all of their problems would be solved. This hope would again lead to frustration and disappointment. Are you trusting in God?
2 Samuel 9:1-11:27
So I will sing praise to Your name forever, That I may pay my vows day by day.
Athletes know and value the importance of daily exercise. They are aware that even a few days without training will make a difference in their performance. Even on days when they don’t feel like it, they go and work out because they want to avoid the consequences. They know to perform at their highest level, they must exercise daily. What is right in the physical is also true in the spiritual. It only takes a day or two of missed time with the Lord before we are susceptible to temptation, and our witness shows the effects. Are you daily working to keep yourself spiritually sharp?
2 Samuel 12:1-31
May 28 FALSE HELP
And lovingkindness is Yours, O Lord, For You recompense a man according to his work.
Most people are motivated by awards. Whether it be a championship or being named the Most Likely to Succeed, these awards keep some people working longer and harder than they would if they did not exist.
Unfortunately, there are times in sports when it seems like the wrong person received the reward. These things cause arguments, but there is nothing that can be done about it. We all say that we want fair judging of our work. God is the only impartial judge. Knowing that He will judge our work should both make us nervous and make us happy. He will judge correctly. What would God say about your life?
2 Samuel 13:1-39
May 29 EARLY START
O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
When someone is focused on improving his performance, he will be working out while the others are still in bed. You won’t have to ask them to come early; they will willingly be there early and often stay late. When something is important, getting up early no longer seems like a burden; it becomes a joy. As believers in Christ, if we want to grow spiritually, we must take the same approach. One way that we can get more time in our days is to get up earlier. Is your time with God important enough for you to get up early?
2 Samuel 14:1-15:22
FOLLOW THE LEADER
My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.
There are certain people that when we watch them, we want to be like them. We will watch them play, listen to them talk. If we can, we will spend time with them. We would do anything to become more like them. This motivation can sometimes help a struggling person to become better. For a believer in Christ, our Leader should be Jesus. We should read about Him, talk to Him in prayer, and even try to live our lives like Him. There should be no sacrifice too high for us to make in our pursuit of being like Jesus. We become like who we are following. Are you following Jesus?
2 Samuel 15:23-16:23
May 31 FALSE HELP
When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches.
The night before a big day, many people don’t sleep. Instead, they are mentally thinking of the next day and the things they have to do. This mental walkthrough of the day and performance is called meditation. Some people believe they perform better because of meditating on their performance. A Christian should also meditate at night. Their thoughts should be focused on the goodness of God.
Another thing to meditate on is thinking about obeying the Lord in tough situations. This can help us to live better lives. Do you spend your nights worrying or thinking about your great God?
2 Samuel 17:1-29