November 1 HOPE
Sustain me according to Your word, that I may live; and do not let me be ashamed of my hope
For an athlete, a critical factor is hope. Without hope for improvement or optimism, there is no power for the future. Yet, an athlete can sometimes be criticized for having hope when the situation is tough. But to give up the hope would be to admit defeat. As a follower of Christ, hope is just as powerful. What God has promised- He will do. There will always be a reason to have hope for the future. Even though others may doubt, the Christian has no reason to doubt. Are you living with the power of hope?
My eyes fail with longing for Your salvation and for Your righteous word.
For an athlete, determination is the key. That means giving it your all until your body quits on you. Push yourself to the limits. Until this happens, an athlete never knows how good he can be. He will surpass others with more talent but less determination. As a Christian, this is often overlooked. It takes passion and commitment to be all that you can be for Christ. Many Christians have failed to reach their potential because they have not given their all. Are you determined to follow Christ?
November 3 RULES
You have rejected all those who wander from Your statutes, for their deceitfulness is useless.
An athlete understands the power of rules. These rules help bind the team together and provide a structure to help the team succeed. Without the rules, the team would be in chaos and have no unity. To protect the team, a player who won’t obey the rules is often asked to leave. A Christian should understand the power of rules as well. They protect his family and himself from the consequences of evil. Are you living by the rules that God has given you?
November 4 TEACHABLE
Deal with Your servant according to Your lovingkindness and teach me Your statutes.
An athlete should be teachable. That means that he is always working to improve. Someone who is not teachable should not expect to improve. It is amazing how many top athletes hire private coaches to help them be all they can be. As a follower of Christ, we should not overlook the importance of being teachable as well. Someone who is not teachable will continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. Are you teachable?
I opened my mouth wide and panted, For I longed for Your commandments.
Athletes work out their physical bodies so hard that they get short of breath. They do this because they want to win a championship. Those who won’t push themselves that hard should not expect to be winners. The spiritual life of a Christian should mirror that of an athlete. The effort required to grow as a Christian is just as demanding as physical exercise. You shouldn’t expect to grow if you won’t put out the effort. Are you putting out the effort to grow?
Consider how I love Your precepts; Revive me, O Lord, according to Your lovingkindness.
For an athlete, the level of desire is the key to success. Without desire, an athlete will eventually quit or settle for “good enough.” This means that his level of performance will go down. In contrast, an athlete that has more desire but less ability will surpass him. As a follower of Christ, desire is a key element as well. Without desire, a Christian will cease to grow and will sometimes fall away from following Christ. At the same time, someone who is not as gifted may make a greater difference for Christ. Do you have a strong desire to live for God?
November 7 NO QUITTING
Many are my persecutors and my adversaries, Yet I do not turn aside from Your testimonies.
At some point in every athlete’s career, he will have to face opposition. People will say things that aren’t true and also magnify every mistake that he makes. How he handles this is the test. Will he stay focused on playing the game, or will he allow this criticism to stop him. As Christians, there will be opposition. Some will speak lies about us, while others will magnify every mistake we make. How you handle this situation is the test. Will you keep living for Christ or get discouraged and quit?
November 8 WHO ARE YOU LISTENING TO?
The sum of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.
Another thing an athlete has to decide is who to listen to. There are many people out there offering advice on what to do or what not to do. The thing to remember is that all the people who are offering advice do not face your consequences. Think carefully about who you listen to. The follower of Christ knows who he should listen to. The Bible contains God’s truth and can always be relied on to give good advice. Are you listening to God?
Princes persecute me without cause, but my heart stands in awe of Your words
As an athlete, there will be times when you have to stand firm in the face of criticism. Knowing what to do when people disagree with what you are doing is important. Sometimes criticism will help, and sometimes it can hurt you. Knowing what to stand on makes the difference. As a follower of Christ, there will be times of criticism as well. Knowing how to handle these times when people disagree with you is important. When you are in this situation, what do you stand on?
November 10 CONSISTENCY
Seven times a day I praise You, Because of Your righteous ordinances.
Another key to an athlete’s success is consistency. For an athlete to perform well, it is important to practice consistently. Without consistent practice, the performance will suffer. With consistent effort, the performance will improve. Similarly, one of the keys to growth as a Christian is consistency in your personal Bible study and prayer. Without this consistency, your walk with God will suffer, and your life will be inconsistent at best. Are you consistently spending time with God?
November 11 VALUE
I rejoice at Your word, as one who finds great spoil.
Who to listen to is key to an athlete’s success. The coach is usually the most important voice for the athlete. While everyone may have an opinion, the voice of the coach has the greatest value. His purpose is to help the athlete be all he can be. The Christian needs people like this in his life as well. The value of the Word of God is that it speaks to every situation with wisdom. The Bible is there to guide us to God and His will. Other people may have an opinion, but God’s Word is always right. Who’s advice do you value?
November 12 CONFIDENCE
Those who love Your law have great peace, and nothing causes them to stumble.
As an athlete approaches a game, it is important to have confidence in his preparation. Without this preparation, doubt might exist in the back of an athlete’s mind about how to handle situations. This doubt can lead to a loss. Preparation is the key to confidence. As a follower of Christ, preparation is key to handling life’s challenges. Without preparation, life’s situations can be overwhelming and lead to failure. Preparation can bring confidence. How are you preparing to face life’s challenges?
Let my cry come before You, O Lord; Give me understanding according to Your word.
As an athlete, you can earn the right to be heard by your coach. If you are regularly not paying attention or not following the coaches’ instructions, he will not listen to you when you have advice. When you have proven that you are listening, you gain favor that will benefit you in the future. This parallels walking with God. If we don’t obey God, how can we expect Him to answer our prayers? When our lives are characterized by obedience, then God delights in answering our prayers. Is your life reflecting obedience to God?
November 14 MY HELP
My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.
Athletes love to have another player around them to rely on when the going gets tough. This player can sometimes help them overcome a bad situation and will stand with them when the going gets tough. When this player is not there, the game gets more challenging. For Christians, our help is found in the Lord. We can rely on him when the going gets tough. Without Him, all of our situations will be more difficult. There is not a situation that God can’t handle. Is God your help when times get tough?
November 15 RESCUE
Let Your hand be ready to help me, For I have chosen Your precepts.
As an athlete, there will be moments when you need the help of your teammates. If you haven’t been there for other players and haven’t been following the team rules, you can find yourself alone when things get tough. As a follower of Christ, we can count on the Lord’s help in tough times because of our obedience to Him. If our lives are not characterized by following His rules, we may find ourselves alone when times are tough. Are you preparing for the challenges ahead with obedience today?
November 16 REFRESHING
The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade on your right hand.
One thing that athletes cherish is refreshment. In the middle of a game, something to drink, rest, and get out of the weather can recharge both the athlete’s physical and emotional energy. This refreshing can improve the performance of the athlete for the rest of the game. The same is also true for Christians. Life can wear you down and make you tired. God can come and provide refreshing for you that will give you renewed physical, emotional, and spiritual energy. Have you experienced the refreshing of the Lord?
November 17 SECURITY
The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade on your right hand.
Athletes in many countries travel with security guards. These people are paid to keep them safe from those who would harm them. With the security in place, the athlete is free to focus on playing his sport. Without trusted security, the player would always be distracted, and his level of play would decline. As a Christian, there is never a doubt about whether we have a trusted security guard. God is always there, and He never sleeps. God does not ask for money. He only asks for obedience. Are you secure in His protection?
November 18 TEAM SUPPORT
For the sake of my brothers and my friends, I will now say, “May peace be within you.”
For an athlete being part of a team brings an extra benefit. Those who cheer for one player on that team are cheering for them all as well. The cheering they hear for the one player encourages them all because they are part of the team. As a Christian, you are part of a team as well. When our brothers in Christ are doing well, it should encourage us too. We should encourage our other team members to know that, at times, we will need some encouragement as well. Are you encouraging other Christians?
November 19 HOME
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
If you want to put a smile on an athlete’s face, tell him he is headed home. It is an interesting phenomenon. Players perform better, and their teams win more at home than on the road. Even a tired athlete is happy to be headed home. It is truly something to look forward to. A Christian should also be looking forward to going home. A home is a place of great joy, and all of life’s struggles will be over. For a Christian, there is truly no place like home. Are you looking forward to going home?
November 20 DIRECTION
Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, So our eyes look to the Lord our God until He is gracious to us.
For an athlete, there often comes a moment when things aren’t going well, and if things don’t change, the game will be lost. It is at that moment that the athlete will look to the coach for direction and encouragement. From the coach, they look to find something to turn the game around. As a follower of Christ, we also have times when life is not going well, and things are bad. In these moments, we can look to the Lord to change the situation. Many times He will ask us to change things to improve the situation. Who do you look to when it seems like all is lost?
November 21 MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
“Had it not been the Lord who was on our side,”
Every athlete wants to have a player on his team that you can count on when it gets tough. This is the guy that you call the most valuable player. The one that without him, you don’t stand a chance. You take courage just from his presence. For the Christian, the Most Valuable Player is Jesus. He is always there. You can count on Him when the going gets tough. He always knows what to do. With Him on your side, you are never defeated. Who are you putting your trust in?
November 22 RELIABLE
Those who trust in the Lord are as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but abides forever.
For an athlete, one thing that brings confidence is finding reliable teammates. Having a reliable coach who is consistent in all areas helps an athlete know what to expect. Competent referees who call the sport consistently adds confidence. Also, having teammates that you can count on bringing the level of confidence to a higher level. For the follower of Christ, knowing that we can rely on God gives us the confidence to face all the trials of life. This confidence translates into hope. Are you relying on God to face the trials of life?
1 Peter 1:1-12
Our soul has escaped as a bird out of the snare of the trapper; the snare is broken, and we have escaped.
Any athlete can be so bound up with their emotions that it hinders their performance. Feelings of fear, in particular, can bring about failure. These emotions can become a heavy burden that is difficult to bear and hard to get rid of. For the Christian, there is the same struggle with your emotions. Feelings of fear and failure can bring you down. However, the assurance of acceptance by God can set us free from these fears for the Christian. Are you relaxed and free from your fears?
1 Peter 1:13-2:10
November 24 DREAMS
When the Lord brought back the captive ones of Zion, We were like those who dream.
Every athlete has dreams and aspirations. Some dreams are as simple as making the team, winning the game, and even as great as winning a championship. These dreams are the motivation that fuels daily practices. A Christian also has dreams and aspirations. These can be simple or great. These dreams are the fuel for daily living that helps to overcome the mundane. Christians have the advantage that even after the apparent loss of a dream, God can restore them. What are your dreams?
1 Peter 2:11-3:7
November 25 CELEBRATION
Then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”
All athletes enjoy the celebration. Whether it is a great play, winning a game, or a championship, celebrations are a big part of sports. Those moments of celebration can make you forget days and years of practice and difficulties. Athletes love these moments and consider them an important part of the game. Christians also enjoy celebrations. Celebrating souls being saved and lives being changed are wonderful times. Struggles can be forgotten when you celebrate the victory. A celebration is an important part of a Christian’s life. What are you celebrating?____________________________________
1 Peter 3:8-4:6
November 26 REWARDS
Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.
Athletes know the reality of pain. They know about sweat, aches, and injuries. They know a lot about suffering that you never hear them discuss. Instead, they talk about their successes and wins. They know that the joy of winning is the reward, and it helps them to forget the pain.
As a follower of Christ, this is so true. All of the challenges and pain in this life are nothing compared to the joy we will one day share. We have something to look forward to. Though we know about pain, we should also know about rewards. Are you talking about your rewards?
1 Peter 4:7-5:14
The Lord has done great things for us; We are glad.
Athletes are very good at giving credit to whom it is due. Whether it is a teammate or an opposing player, athletes are quick to praise another. It is usually undeniable who deserves the credit for a great performance, and we all enjoy recognition. As Christians, we also should be good at giving credit. We should always be giving credit to God. He deserves it. We also will have opportunities to praise each other. This produces thankfulness. Who are you giving credit to in your life?
2 Peter 1:1-21
November 28 NOT IN VAIN
Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain.
For an athlete, you can give your best effort, but if your coach doesn’t give you a good game plan, you will lose. Hard work alone does not win championships. The ones who work hard and have a good plan to follow are the ones who enjoy winning. For a Christian, that means that we should be following the plan of God if we want to see something good happen. No matter how hard we work following our own plans, it is in vain. It will never accomplish what we want it to. Whose plans are you following?
2 Peter 2:1-22
November 29 PEACEFUL
When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands, You will be happy, and it will be well with you.
One goal of an athlete is to enjoy a peaceful life. When he has done well, he wants to spend a relaxing time with his family and friends. This time refreshes him to be able to go and compete well. People who don’t live a peaceful life will eventually not perform as well. A Christian longs to live a peaceful life as well. When he is living in obedience to God, he enjoys the benefits of that lifestyle. This peacefulness gives you time to recharge your emotional batteries to withstand the challenges of life. Are you living a peaceful life?
2 Peter 3:1-18
“Many times they have persecuted me from my youth up; Yet they have not prevailed against me.
A certainty for every athlete is that of a challenging experience. These can happen every game or sometimes multiple times in one game. How you respond to them ultimately determines your outcome. When a player fails to respond to a difficult situation, it guarantees defeat. To get back up and compete harder gives you an opportunity for victory. Christians, many times, will face difficulties. How we respond to them affects our outcomes. We should never allow ourselves to be defeated. When you are knocked down, do you get up to fight again?
1 John 1:1-10