April 1 DIRECT LINE
Save, O Lord; May the King answer us in the day we call.
As an athlete, you can talk to the coach almost any time you want to because you are on the team. For a fan, it would be difficult and may be impossible to talk to the coach. You would have to talk to many people, and they would have to see the need for you to talk to the coach. The higher the person’s position, the harder it can be to talk to them. As a Christian, 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. Are you talking to the King daily?
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. Have you put your trust in the One who controls everything?
Luke 9:51 10:12
April 3 TESTING
Examine me, O Lord, and try me; Test my mind and my heart.
Most 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. Have you asked God to check out your life?
April 4 FEARLESS
The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?
As an athlete, when you take the field against a good team, you cannot be tentative or afraid of them.
If a team is afraid, they will perform so that it will guarantee their 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. Are you trusting in the Lord today?
A READY DEFENSE
Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, For I wait for You.
In sports, athletes always learn about playing 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. Are you walking in integrity, and is your defense ready?
For my father and my mother have forsaken me, But the Lord will take me up.
For an athlete, trust is essential. You have to trust 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. Do you know Him?
April 7 CELEBRATION
The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart exults, And with my song, I shall thank Him.
That moment when the championship is won, the celebration begins. 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. Are you singing songs of praise to Him?
April 8 MOMENTUM
The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace.
Sometimes the game seems won or lost towards the end when one team gets tired. Other times a player comes off the bench, and a team that looks tired begins to perform like a brand new team. We talk about effort and momentum changes in games. At times you can see the whole game change because of momentum and renewed effort. 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. Are you looking to the Lord for His help in your life?
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
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. Do you believe that God is with you in your situation?
April 10 THANKING JESUS
That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.
When someone makes a great play during the game, other players come over and congratulate them. It’s a way of saying thank you. When someone makes a play that wins a game, they are hugged as a way of celebration and saying thanks, “I am so glad you are on my team.” It gets even bigger when they help us 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. Are you saying, Thanks, I am glad to be on Your team?”
April 11 DIRECTION
I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.
One expectation of an athlete is that he knows what to do next in the middle of the game. Spending time with the coach in practice will give the player a great deal of understanding about what the coach expects. There are also times when an athlete will look to the coach for direction. 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. Where do you look for direction?
APRIL 12 PLAYING FAIR
For the word of the Lord is upright, And all His work is done in faithfulness.
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. Are you living in such a way that God can bless you?
Be strong and let your heart take courage—all you who hope in the Lord.
All athletes during a tough game or a string of losing must battle with discouragement. 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.
Are you looking to circumstances or God for hope for the future?
April 14 DYNASTY
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.
When a team wins several championships in a row, people talk of a dynasty. Other teams 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 sports. 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. Is your life built around Him?
April 15 ACCESS GRANTED
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.
For an athlete to talk to a coach with demands and a poor attitude usually guarantees consequences for the player. But if that same athlete comes in quietly and asks to speak to the coach, 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. Do you approach the Lord with a humble heart?
April 16 PRAISE
And my tongue shall declare Your righteousness and Your praise all day long.
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 praising God for the good things in your life?
April 17 FAVOR
Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope for His lovingkindness
An athlete works hard in practice and in games to gain the favor of the coach. This favor will grant more playing time, favorable positions, and even grace when he makes a mistake. To an athlete, the favor of the coach is critical. 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. Are you living in God’s favor?
April 18 RESPECT FOR AUTHORITY
Transgression speaks to the ungodly within his heart; There is no fear of God before his eyes. Psalm 36:1
For an athlete, the quickest way to mediocrity is losing respect for coaches and officials. They have begun 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 poor performance and soon find themselves out of the game. 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. Do you live in respect for God?
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April 19 CONTROL YOUR ANGER
Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.
Playing with a player 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 player. The angry person is blind to the fact that anger only tears down; it does not have the power to build anything. Outside of sports, the situation is the same. 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.
If you have a problem with anger, will you let God help you?
April 20 WHAT REALLY MATTERS
Better is the little of the righteous than the abundance of many wicked.
Some athletes 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 player 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. 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
Do not fret because of evildoers, Be not envious toward wrongdoers.
As an athlete, it is easy to become frustrated when an opponent uses illegal tactics and seems to get away with them. 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. We see this in life outside of sports 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. Are you frustrated by other’s actions, or are you trusting in Him?
April 22 LONG-TERM INVESTMENT
The Lord knows the days of the blameless, and their inheritance will be forever.
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. Is what you are focused on today going to last forever?
SOLID AS A ROCK
“And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You.
Part of playing on a team is depending on other players. Never is that more important than at that moment that the game is on the line. Games are won and lost in that moment. The single thought of the teammates 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. Is your hope in Him?
April 24 THINKING OF YOU
Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders You have done, and Your thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with You.
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.
How does it make you feel to know how much He thinks of you?
April 25 WELL PLEASING
The steps of a man are established by the Lord, and He delights in his way.
For an athlete, the best way to please his coach is to follow his game plan. The coach spends time making the plan for the players, teaches it to them, and then expects them to do it. Following the instructions gives the team the best chance to win the game. 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. Are you following His plan for your life?
April 26 COMPASSION
How blessed is he who considers the helpless; The Lord will deliver him in a day of trouble.
Athletics is a world built upon conquest. Some people consider kindness toward the other team a weakness. In truth, it is just a game, and that should help keep our emotions in check. Outside of the sports world, 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. Do you consider the poor, or do you overlook them?_____________________________________
THERE IS HOPE
Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.
As an athlete, we always hope to win the next game. 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. What is your hope based on?
April 28 GAME PLAN
O God, we have heard with our ears. Our fathers have told us the work you did in their days, in the days of old.
Game plans are based upon what worked against a particular team in the past. In short, your plan for the next game is really based upon what happened in previous games. 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. Is your life based upon the Bible?
April 29 THE GREAT PHYSICIAN
The Lord will sustain him upon his sickbed; in his illness, You restore him to health.
When an athlete is injured, he gets prompt medical attention so that he can 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
My heart overflows with a good theme; I address my verses to the King;
A good athlete knows the history of his sport. What he may not even think about is yesterday’s game is also history and can be looked at and learned from. Every moment in a game 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?