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Thread: Daily Devotional

  1. #2281
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    Push On

    BY KALLIE BRITTON
    JULY 19, 2016

    READY
    “And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope.” – Romans 5:3-4

    SET
    When making the transition from high school athletics to playing lacrosse at a highly competitive level in college, I suddenly found myself thrown into intense workouts and grueling conditions. Some days I contemplated quitting because of how difficult training had become.

    One season, my coach required that we pass a physical fitness test before we were allowed to compete on the lacrosse field. If we didn’t pass, we couldn’t play. I remember feeling a weight on my shoulders and became very anxious and nervous of not passing. I ended up not passing my first time. I ended up not passing my second or third time either. It wasn’t until my eighth time that I finally passed.

    During that time I wanted to quit so many times. Yet, I didn’t quit and am so glad that I pushed onward. The lessons I ended up learning about myself during that time of stress and frustration was worth all the sweat, blood, and tears.

    When times get tough, we must push on and keep going; not only in athletics, but also in our walk with Christ. When you face trials and afflictions in your everyday life, what will be your response? Will you quit or will you push on and keep going? There are so many beautiful lessons God wants to teach us, but we must rely on His strength to get us through, knowing that our character is being built during the test.

    GO
    Has there ever been a time when you wanted to quit?

    What lessons did you learn from pushing on?

    Do you believe that God uses our afflictions to refine our character?
    WORKOUT
    Galatians 6:9

    Colossians 1:11

    Romans 12:12

    OVERTIME
    Father, help me to rely on and trust in You during difficult times. Amen.
    Don't waste your at-bat.....

  2. #2282
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    Sports Is Not Your God

    BY DUKES KNUTSON
    JULY 20, 2016

    READY
    "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. Do not have other gods besides Me."
    — Exodus 20:1–3

    SET
    It’s interesting how we can take just about anything in life and use it for good or evil. James 3 illustrates how fire can be good or evil. It only takes a small spark to set a forest on fire and yet what is more soothing on a cold winter night than sitting before a crackling fire that radiates a comforting heat? Is fire good or evil?

    I have been blessed to coach high school athletes for eighteen years and have dabbled in sports journalism periodically for over thirty years. What I have seen is that sometimes we become so blinded by our involvement in sports that it becomes a “god” in our life. The Lord has clearly instructed us in the very first commandment torefrain from establishing “gods” in our lives that threaten His supremacy. Yet many of us succumb to replacing the Lord with sports. Are sports good or evil?

    For me, one of the rewards of FCA is that it incorporates sports into our relationship with Jesus rather than replaces it. Jesus is our Coach, and the Bible is our playbook! Daily workouts such as Bible reading, prayer, and fellowship continually build us up and prepare us for the ultimate game—life itself!

    We must take an inventory of the role sports plays in our lives and acknowledge that sports has as much potential to do “evil” in our lives as it does “good.”

    GO
    1. When have I allowed sports to become a “god” in my life?
    2. How can I encourage my players to become involved in sports but prevent sports from becoming their “god”?

    WORKOUT
    Extra Reading: Matthew 22:37–39; James 3:5

    OVERTIME
    Father, I thank You for the opportunities to live life to the fullest through the world of sports. I ask that You open my eyes to when sports becomes a god. I want You to be first in my life. Amen.
    Don't waste your at-bat.....

  3. #2283
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    Starting Five
    July 21, 2016
    Amy Cullum

    Ready
    "Do not lack diligence; be fervent in spirit; serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer."
    — Romans 12:11–12

    Set
    Many times we think about the starting lineup for an athletic team and how we as athletes work to make the cut. What about God’s starting five—not five people, but five direct commands from His Word.

    The verses above are commands from God. He starts the lineup by telling us to never be lacking in diligence. Diligence is a persistent and hardworking effort in doing something. As we continue on through the verse, we find the second command in the lineup is to serve the Lord. This is exceedingly important in the Christian walk. Verse twelve is especially direct. It sets three tasks we are to complete to round out the team. We are to rejoice in hope, be patient in affliction, and be persistent in prayer. These three instructions are power-packed. They tell us to have hope, yet warn that we will face affliction. And through all these circumstances, which encompass much of our lives, we are to be faithful in prayer.

    As athletes, we often know the diligence needed to have a great game, yet also know the pain of injury. If we adopt these verses as the “starting five” in our lives, they will sustain us against affliction. God challenges us to serve the Lord with enthusiasm, be joyful in hope, be patient in times of trouble, and above all be faithful to communicate all of our needs to Him.

    Go
    1. What affliction have you faced that brought you to the point of believing in God’s faithfulness?
    2. How is your joy in serving Christ expressed when you are involved in athletics?
    3. Look up Ephesians 1:18–19 and Jeremiah 29:11. What other benefits are there for those who believe in the Lord?
    4. As a coach, which is the most difficult of these instructions to carry out?

    Workout
    Extra Reading: Acts 20:18–21; Hebrews 10:36

    Overtime
    Lord, help me realize that because of Your sacrifice for me, I can be joyful, no matter what trials I face. Thank You for allowing me to serve You. Thank You for the hope that can only be found through a patient, hopeful, and growing relationship with You. Amen.
    Don't waste your at-bat.....

  4. #2284
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    Media Day

    BY SARAH RENNICKE
    JULY 22, 2016

    READY
    But honor the Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. (1 Peter 3:15)

    SET
    On Media Day for Super Bowl XLIX, reporters, players and fans packed University of Phoenix Stadium in preparation for the big game on Sunday. Players from both teams sat and fielded questions about the season, their team and the upcoming competition, as well as personal life lessons they’ve held to along the way.

    As I watched the conference, I mused on the fact that here was this enormous platform to support teammates, mention a love of the game, and even note God’s goodness. Some expressed gratitude for the opportunity to play, and others missed the mark. Whether or not these players want the attention, their job puts them in the limelight.

    Athletes are paid to play football, but with that task comes other responsibilities, such as press appearances and fulfilling media obligations. They’ve been placed on a pedestal of influence and can either make the most of ample opportunity, or let the moment slide by untouched.

    I wonder about you and your own Media Day. When the time comes for you to share how Christ has changed your life, what will you say? Everything? Nothing at all?

    When the chance comes to share your story with the world, or at least those in your sphere of influence, may you understand there are willing ears eager to hear about your God, and that you’ve been put in the exact place you’re meant to be to speak truth and love.

    GO
    Are you eager or apprehensive to share your faith with others?
    Do you see your life in sport as a platform that others are watching?
    How do you have the power over your tongue?
    Why is it important to speak what you believe?

    WORKOUT
    Psalm 145:18
    Proverbs 16:24
    Ephesians 4:29

    OVERTIME
    Lord, thank You that You say if I proclaim You before others, then You will proclaim me in front of Your Father. Help me to realize that I have a platform that people are watching, waiting to hear what I say. May my mouth be filled with sweet offerings to You, that others can know You and what I believe. Amen.
    Don't waste your at-bat.....

  5. #2285
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    A Healthy Heart
    Kerry O'Neil

    Ready
    “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way.”
    – Psalm 139:23-24

    Set
    Jill wants to be a starter, but Shay is more talented and plays while Jill sits on the bench. Jill would never tell anyone, but when Shay plays poorly or gets injured, Jill feels mixed emotions because it means more playing time for her. Eric likes his teammate Jamal, but when Jamal has success, Eric feels two things he is not proud of – upset that Jamal was honored and upset that Eric wasn’t. Sarah cares far more about how she performs than if the team wins or loses.

    None of these reactions should be part of a healthy team, but they are a reality. If you take an honest look into your heart, you may find that you have experienced some emotions that certainly do not belong in the heart of a Christ follower. In a Kingdom where Jesus commands us to love our enemies, isn’t it obvious that we should love our teammates?

    Why do you have these feelings you don’t want? Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable – who can understand it?” Can that change? Yes. Pray the bold prayer of the psalmist: Search me…test me…see if there is any offensive way in me.

    With the Lord’s help you can be the teammate everyone wants to have. Your team can be life-giving, filled with players who accept their roles and celebrate the success of others.

    Go
    1. Have you been upset when a teammate gets an honor, wishing they didn’t?
    2. Do you get more excited with your personal success or team success?
    3. Do you have feelings of jealousy, rivalry, and selfishness?

    Workout
    1 Peter 4:8-9
    James 3:16
    Mark 12:28-31

    Overtime
    Father, change my heart to reflect You so I can love my teammates well. Amen.
    Don't waste your at-bat.....

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