January 1 TEAMWORK
No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. Matthew 6:24
Whether we are playing sports or living life, it is imperative to know whose team you are on. Some of the most memorable moments in sports have been when players have done something that has helped the other team win. These moments are not quickly forgotten and cause a certain amount of distrust among your teammates. As important as this may seem in sports, it is even more critical when we talk about God. Every day our actions either are in support of our God or working against God.
Whose team are you playing on?
January 2 PRIORITIES
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33
Playing on a team can be a challenge because we have to put the good of the team above our own. Many athletes have put the pursuit of individual glory ahead of their teams.
They may achieve individual records, but their team fails to win. It is when we focus on making our team better that we can become a champion.
As children of God, our priority is to be committed to the success of His team, Church. As we seek to make others better, God then provides the things we truly need. What’s your priority?
January 3 DAILY WORKOUT
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men. Colossians 3:23
An athlete must give all that he has, or he will let both his team and himself down. As a fan, there is nothing more disappointing than watching an athlete give less than his full effort. Real athletes always give everything they have whenever they step on the field because they know they will never get another chance to relive today. In the same way, Christians should give everything they have in how they live every day. Today may be the only chance we have to make a difference in someone’s life, so let’s give it our best shot. Who are you going to bless today?
January 4 CHOOSE FRIENDS WISELY
The righteous should choose his friends carefully. NKJV . Proverbs 12:26
One of the most critical choices we make in athletics is choosing teams. Whether we make a choice or someone else does the choosing, it has a profound impact on the results we get. Pick a mediocre team, and you will get poor results. Everyone wants to pick the best team they can.
We all want to win. It’s also that way in life. If we’re going to do well, we need to surround ourselves with good people. Our friends are our choice. We need to be careful about who we “have on our team.” They will either lift us up, or they will bring us down. Do your friends make you better or tempt you to be worse?
January 5 TEAMWORK
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same spirit.
1 Corinthians 12:4
One of the great things about being on a team is noticing the variety. There are times we think because you are not like me; you can’t be on my side. When you look at a winning team, one of the first things you notice is they are not all alike. Each has his unique personal appearance, talents, and skills. The whole team concept is a combination of different people working together to accomplish a common goal. God gave us each unique abilities but then gave us His Spirit to make us one. Are you playing your part?
January 6 ENCOURAGE-MENT
Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11
It is inevitable that in an athlete’s life, there are going to be disappointments. There are going to be injuries and tough losses. That is the nature of both sports and life. Every team needs someone who will come and encourage those who are down. These people come and help us to find the courage to go on. We all need these people in our lives. Just as we need people to encourage us, we should also be helping others. As Christians, we know that this is not all there is, and there is a better day coming. We have something to look forward to. Who are you going to encourage today?
January 7 DILIGENCE
But the soul of the diligent shall be make rich. NKJV.
Another character trait that improves our quality of life is diligence. Some of the more famous athletes are known for spending extra hours after everyone else has gone home working on their athletic skills. It seems there is a direct relationship to the spare time they give and their performance on the athletic field. It is this way in life, as well. If we want to live better in our Christian lives, we must also make an extra effort. The areas of our lives we invest in will improve. Put your energy into your daily walk with God, and it will bless every area of your life. How much extra time will you put into your walk with God today?
January 8 TEACHABILITY
The wise in heart will receive commands, But a babbling fool will be ruined.
Coaches improve athletes. Even professional athletes who we think are already very talented sometimes hire private coaches to help them improve their game. On the other hand, some athletes seem to think they know it all and refuse additional instruction. These players seem to plateau, and their abilities slowly fade.
We all should recognize the benefits of instruction. As followers of Christ, we can improve our lives by being open to teaching.
It’s when we are not teachable that we become dangerous. Are you teachable?
January 9 TEAMWORK
But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all. NKJV.
1 Corinthians 12:7
“It’s all about me” is one of the most common phrases heard today. Most of us would stop short of using this phrase, but we often think, “what’s in it for me?” The problem we have is that if it is all about us, we end up frustrated and alone. No one wants that kind of person on their team.
Only when we begin to accept the idea that it’s about God and others that our lives become meaningful and joyful.
We were created to find our ultimate satisfaction in serving and helping others. Is it all about you?
January 10 YOUR TREASURE
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
What is your treasure? What do you think about the most?
What gets you excited, just thinking about it? For many of us, it’s a reward, or a promotion, or a championship trophy. Many hours of hard work seem like nothing when you are standing up to receive your prize. Olympic athletes spend many hours to achieve their medals. What about the things of God? I show how much I treasure them by how I spend my time, how I focus my efforts, and by what I talk about. Is your treasure worth trading your only life for?
Matthew 16:13- 17:9
January 11 GETTING YOUR LIFE BACK
Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Colossians 4:5
Many people give much of their time to their careers or hobbies. They don’t have time for many other activities. Their involvement in these activities controls most of their lives.They build their lives around it. As a Christian, what have we built our lives around? Have we made it around our relationship with God and being involved in His Church? As a Christian, if we have made our lives about anything else, we need to take it back. That’s what this verse is telling us. We should take our life back from worthless things and give it to something that will count forever. What will you do with your time today?
January 12 YOUR PURPOSE
And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I had to be about My Father’s business?” NKJV.
When an actor is given a role to play in a movie, he learns all he can about that character because he wants to perform well. He knows that he will be accountable to his director and fans for how he performs in that movie. Jesus knew that he had a purpose to play and who had given Him that role. We should put our efforts into finding that role and then doing it well.
We should be about our Father’s business. One day we will give an account for how we performed in the role He gave us. What role has God planned for you, and how well are you doing it?
January 13 TEAMWORK
The Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them. Genesis 11:6
These are powerful words.
A group that works together can outperform a group of more talented people who do not work together. Groups and companies rise and fall based upon their unity. It is also that way in the work of the Lord. By working together, Christians can make a huge impact, much more than they ever would have made working on their own. It is exciting to think about what we can accomplish together.
Will you join the team?
January 14 WISE LIVING
Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.
We should all make wise choices in what we eat and how we rest. There are also other things they should leave alone. It’s not a matter of right and wrong as much a matter of doing the wise thing. As Christians, many believe that if something is not specifically prohibited then it is okay for them. They are asking the wrong question. “Would this be a wise thing for me to do?” is a better question. Is this going to bring me closer to God? Would this activity keep someone else from wanting to know God?
January 15 PUTTING THE PAST BEHIND YOU
Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past.
One of the keys to having a good day is to forget about yesterday, whether it was good or bad. If you are focused on what happened before, it is impossible to perform your best today.
You only have today. It’s the same way with our entire life; if we focus on the hurts or the blessings of the past, we are not going to be fully open to what God is doing in our lives today. And then we will miss out. Do you think about yesterday, or are you focused on living today?
January 16 TEAMWORK
This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.
A good teacher can tell his students what he expects, while a great teacher will demonstrate what he wants. One talks, while the other acts. A teacher that students want to work for is not all talk, but shows by his actions, his expectations. Jesus lived his life as a powerful example. His words and His actions were the same. The Bible is not just a do what I say book.Jesus came and lived a perfect life so that he could say, “Do as I do, and as I say.” We should be excited to follow His example. Do you love others as Jesus did?
January 17 FOCUS ON EXCELLENCE
Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before obscure men.
We all work hard, and part of the reward is to have someone famous or well known to hand us a trophy or an award. That is a validation that we have performed well to have someone famous there for the ceremony. A reward for a job well done. That is a principle that flows throughout all of life. Excellent work is recognized. It enables people to promotion in their work. It helps them receive raises in pay and sometimes bonuses. Is your work just good enough to get by, or do you seek to work with excellence?
January 18 BEWARE OF PRIDE
Through insolence comes nothing but strife, but wisdom is with those who receive counsel. Proverbs 13:10
Do you know people who are really good at something, and they know it and brag about it all the time? They probably have problems getting along with others, especially their teachers and their coworkers. No one really likes to be around them. We call this pride, and because of their pride, they can’t even see they are the problem. Don’t let pride into your life. No person is so important that life won’t go on without them. You don’t need the problems. Do you see your need for others?
January 19 PLANNING
The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.
A successful business, school, or team always has a plan. That plan guides all of the their decisions and hard work. Soon other organizations will want to copy that plan. But the plan will only work when all their choices and hard work follow that plan. Not following the plan completely is usually where the other teams fail. A plan alone won’t guarantee success, but a plan that guides all decisions with diligence will take you where you want to go in life. Life without a plan won’t take you where you want to go. What is your plan?
January 20 TEAMWORK
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
We cheer for and acknowledge people who give up their own time and money to help someone else have more. We talk about what a sacrifice that was. Truthfully, there was one sacrifice that will forever make all the other things we give up small in comparison. Jesus left heaven and was tortured and killed to pay for our sins, not His. This sacrifice is the greatest example of love. His life is the example we are to follow. No sacrifice should be too high for us, considering what He did for us. What are you sacrificing?
January 21 CONTROL YOURSELF
But he who is impulsive exalts folly. NKJV.
Many people are remembered more for their mistakes than their hard work. Whenever some people have their name mentioned, there is usually a statement about the time they behaved in the wrong way and where that has left them today. Those who have suffered this loss didn’t end up there without warning. In small ways before this, they failed to exercise self-control. For some reason, they were unable to see the danger and correct it. Then the tiny lack of self-control burst into the spotlight, and they are left with a mess to clean up. Do you have self-control?
January 22 INTEGRITY
The integrity of upright will guide them.
One of the best ways to avoid trouble in life is to decide beforehand what you will do in a given situation. An example of this is we teach our children to say “no to drugs.” Decide what you will do based on your goals.
An athlete will go to practice even when he would prefer to do something else because it helps him reach his goals.
He knows to avoid drugs and alcohol, which will hurt his performance. As Christians, we need to make our decisions based upon what Jesus would do. Then our integrity will genuinely guide us. Do you have a plan to overcome temptation?
January 23 TEAMWORK
For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. NKJV.
1 Corinthians 6:20
It is fascinating to hear professional athletes talk about their owners. In a sense, that term is correct because they own the team; the player has signed a contract to play. They have agreed to give of their time and ability for a certain amount of money. As Christians, we agreed to give up the time and abilities that were given us by God in exchange for Jesus paying the penalty for our sins. This commitment is a lifetime contract. The question is, are we living up to our part of the agreement?
January 24 ATTITUDE
1 Thessalonians 5:16
Charles Swindoll said, “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.
And so it is with you, and me…we are in charge of our attitudes. Attitude to me is more important than the past, than education than money, than circumstances ,than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, or a home.” As life’s circumstances greet you today, what kind of attitude will you commit to having?
January 25 RECOGNITION OF AUTHORITY
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.
Every business has a boss, a team has a coach, a class has a teacher. We must follow their rules. We don’t get to make the rules. This is another life principle. Even when we are growing up, our parents make the rules. One of the sure ways to have problems is not to follow the rules. The consequences can range from a penalty call in soccer to time in jail from the police. It all depends on the rule you break. God placed these authorities into their place, and we should be subject to them.
Are you obeying those in authority over you?
January 26 CONSEQUEN-CES
For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same;
All actions have consequences.
Some are even predictable. If you kick a ball hard, it will usually go far. The direction it goes depends on the direction you kick it. We can choose our actions, but we don’t always get to choose our consequences. When we choose to do well, we don’t have anything to worry about. When we choose to do wrong, there is always a fearful expectation that we could get caught. As Christians, we should focus on doing the right things to enjoy the good consequences and the freedom from fear that it brings. What direction are you choosing?
January 27 TEAMWORK
And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
We can be tempted sometimes to think that we can achieve greatness on our own without any help. We trust our abilities and our thoughts more than we trust other people. We work hard, and sometimes we meet with limited success. We can never achieve all that we were meant to alone. Jesus, who had all abilities, perfect thinking, and all power, chose to work through a team. The first thing he did was start a team. Jesus is inviting you today, will you join His team?
January 28 REPLACING NEGATIVE THOUGHTS
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
Have you had a bad day lately? The kind where things went so bad that you don’t want to remember it? One of the things we can’t wait to do is to get back out there so that we can replace those memories with some positive ones. The same is true in life. People can say don’t think about bad things and we try to do that. The problem is your mind won’t run on empty. It will go back to the negative unless you replace it with something positive. Don’t try to forget negative thoughts, replace them. What are you thinking about?
January 29 THE WAY OUT
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13
We have all seen magicians in situations where they seemed to be trapped. Then they maneuver themselves and escape.
We are amazed and wonder how they did it. First, they recognized the trap. Secondly, they knew they could escape because it is a trick. And finally, they have got out of other situations before, so they have confidence. As we face temptations, God has guaranteed us a way out. Unlike a magician, when we find ourselves seemingly trapped, remember God has made the way out. Are you watching out for traps in your life?
January 30 TEAMWORK
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;
Teammates that are trying to make a name for themselves put themselves in opposition to their team. When we are playing or just mentally focused on ourselves, our eyes are on our own prize and not the team prize.
Truly the Most Valuable Player on a team is the one that does the most to help the players around him be better and ultimately for that team to achieve their fullest potential. This type of performance doesn’t happen by accident; it happens when people look to lift each other up instead of themselves. As believers, we are more valuable when we look to lift up each other. Who are you making better?
January 31 REPUTATION
Even a child is known by his deeds, Whether what he does is pure and right. NKJV
When we hear the name of someone famous, and we immediately think about some of the great things they have done, and the awards they have won. That is why every person strives for, to have their name mentioned along with some great accomplishments. This mirrors how life works outside of sports as well. If someone were to describe you now, what would they say? Are you a good friend, selfish, or maybe arrogant? As Christians, we need to make sure that our actions line up with the Bible because it not only speaks of us; it speaks of Jesus as well. What would people say about you?