June 1 STRATEGY
Hide me from the secret counsel of evildoers, From the tumult of those who do iniquity.
Any athlete going into a game would do well to remember that the other team has a coach, and it is his job to figure out a way to defeat their team. It’s not just a team running around, but there is a strategy to defeat their team. They should become aware of the strategy and how this can be countered. All believers in Jesus should be aware that their enemy has a strategy to defeat them. We are not simply living our lives. Our enemy has a play to cause us to be ineffective for God and to destroy us ultimately. We should be aware of his schemes. Are you looking to God for His strategy for your life?
2 Samuel 18:1-19:10
How blessed is the one whom You choose and bring near to You to dwell in Your courts. We will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Your holy temple.
For an athlete, there is no greater honor than being chosen by a team. To be selected by a great team is a high honor. This can give a player greater confidence and even boost their level of play. Careers can be revived sometimes through a player feeling chosen. For a Christian, there is no greater honor than knowing that the King of Kings has chosen you. It wasn’t based on our ability, so we shouldn’t be prideful. It should give us confidence and change how we live our lives. How do you feel about being chosen by the King of Kings?
2 Samuel 19:11-20:13
June 3 TEAMWORK
He rules by His might forever; His eyes keep watch on the nations; Let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah.
Sometimes athletes begin to feel they are so great they don’t have to live by the same rules as everyone else. They want to make their own rules. The belief is that their athletic ability gives them the right to live according to their wishes. The problem with this is that their right to rule is based upon a temporary foundation. God is the only one who has the right to make rules that last forever because His ability to rule and reign will last forever. And He can see how His rules impact other people. Who makes the rules in your life?
2 Samuel 20:14-21:22
June 4 RULES
Say to God, “How awesome are Your works! Because of the greatness of Your power Your enemies will give feigned obedience to You.
Many times athletes are given special privileges and are given things by people who admire their athletic abilities. This “hero worship” can sometimes cause athletes to think that they are special or better than others. In truth, their skills were given to them by God, so all they are doing is using them. There is only one who is truly great and worthy of our worship. He deserves our admiration and devotion. We should be careful not to give praise that belongs to God to people whom God created. Who do you worship?
2 Samuel 22:1-23:23
GETTING INTO SHAPE
For You have tried us, O God; You have refined us as silver is refined.
Training camp is something athletes dread. It is a time of severe testing of their physical and emotional abilities. Why, then, do athletes do this? Because they know in the end, they will be in better shape and will be able to perform at a higher level during the games. They know it only lasts a short time. This is a perfect example of the suffering in the life of a Christian. It lasts for only a short time, but it tests us sometimes to the point we think will break. In the end, though, we emerge stronger and better able to live for God. Is God getting you into shape?
2 Samuel 23:24-24:25
If I regard wickedness in my heart, The Lord will not hear;
One of the crucial characteristics of a winning team is team chemistry. Not only do they play well together, but they enjoy being together.
One of the upsides of these relationships is that you can ask things of each other, and because of the relationship, they will do them. Without these relationships, these requests would not get done. In our teamwork with God, the right relationship is just as meaningful. We can’t ignore God, live in violation of His laws, and expect Him to answer our prayers. How we live daily is so important. Would God hear your prayers today if you asked?
1 Kings 1:1-53
June 7 YOUR’RE ON THE TEAM
God makes a home for the lonely; He leads out the prisoners into prosperity, Only the rebellious dwell in a parched land.
Trying out for a team can be difficult. You want so much to belong, but the decision is up to the coach. You can go and give all you’ve got and hope that it is good enough. That moment when you are told you are on the team is priceless. You belong. Now you have gone from an outsider to a member of the team. God has done that for us. And it wasn’t based on our performance, athletic ability, or our looks. It is based on His great love. If you come to Him, He will adopt you into His family, no questions asked. How does it feel to be on God’s team?
1 Kings 2:1-3:2
June 8 DID YOU HEAR THAT?
Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; And let those who love Your salvation say continually, “Let God be magnified.”
Sometimes when the coach speaks, we want to make sure everyone heard what he said because we think it was important. Often we will use the phrase, “Did you hear that?” We don’t want other people to miss this vital information. As important as that might be, there is another person who, when they speak, we all should listen. His name is God. Truly what He has to say is more important than what any of us will ever say. We all should desire to make sure that everyone is hearing what God says. We should turn to the person next to us and say, “Did you hear that?”
_____________________________________ Lesson 24
1 Kings 3:3-4:34
May those who wait for You not be ashamed through me, O Lord God of hosts; May those who seek You not be dishonored through me, O God of Israel,
As a member of a team, you are expected at all times to remember that and behave in such a way as to bring honor and respect to the team. When someone’s actions reflect poorly on the team, it is a moment of shame. Sometimes it leads to discipline. You are expected to behave in a certain way. As a believer in Jesus, things are the same. As members of God’s family, our lives are to reflect His goodness to us constantly. When we make poor choices, it brings shame to us, our fellow believers, and to the reputation of Jesus. Is there anything in your life that, if known, would bring shame to Him?
1 Kings 5:1-6:38
June 10 FINALLY
Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; And let those who love Your salvation say continually, “Let God be magnified.”
Athletes are known to spend hours in practice trying to perfect a particular move or skill. They are motivated by the desire to accomplish this goal. Then that moment comes when after much frustration and the skill is perfected. They stand in triumph, feeling like they finally have accomplished this. As a believer, we should be just as motivated in the pursuit of our relationship with God. We should be willing to spend the time to accomplish this goal. When we do this, there will come that moment when we can say, “Finally!” Will we be walking in the joy of the Lord? Are you seeking Him?
1 Kings 7:1-51
June 11 WON’T HAPPEN
Do not cast me off in the time of old age; Do not forsake me when my strength fails.
In the back of an athlete’s mind is the knowledge that he won’t be able to play his sport forever. There will come that dreaded moment when, because of age or accumulation of injuries, they won’t be able to perform at the level to keep playing on their team. They may think that it won’t happen to them, but it will. As a believer in Christ, there will never come a time when He will say that you are too old to serve Him. He will never cast us aside and say, “I do not need of you.” It won’t happen. He may move us around, but He will never get rid of us. Have you put your trust in Him?
1 Kings 8:1-66
JUNE 12 CHEERLEAD-ING
My mouth is filled with Your praise And with Your glory all day long.
As an athlete, it is enjoyable to hear people cheering for you. It is interesting to hear, before the game, the cheers that state the sure victory for their team. Sometimes these are quickly silenced by the other team. Other times, they seem to go on continually as your team moves towards victory. This cheering is a shadow of the praise that belongs to Jesus. He will never be defeated. We can sing songs of victory because of His great power. The singing of His greatness and glory brings joy to our lives. Is your mouth filled with the praises of God?
1 Kings 9:1-10:29
For I was envious of the arrogant As I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
One mistake common to athletes is envy. When we watch a great athlete perform, we want to be like them. We try to copy their moves and hope that others will call us great one day. Envy is a one way trip to disappointment. We don’t all have that player’s unique abilities or experience. An athlete should focus on developing his own unique skills and abilities. Christians have this same problem too. We shouldn’t want to be someone else. We should want to be the unique person that God made us to be. Be the best you, you can be. Are you focused on being who God made you to be?
1 Kings 11:1-12:19
June 14 FINAL WHISTLE
“When I select an appointed time, It is I who judge with equity.“
For an athlete, when you know it’s coming to the end of the game, you want to push to give your last bit of energy to win. The drama increases when you don’t know when the final whistle will blow. Games are often won and lost in these final moments. Some cheer and others are sad when the whistle sounds. The same is true in our lives. Someday, no one knows just when our whistle will blow, and our life will be over. Nothing can be done after the whistle to change the result. We all know it’s coming. Will you be happy or sad when the final whistle sounds?
1 Kings 12:20-13:34
June 15 REMEMBER
I shall remember the deeds of the Lord; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.
Even good athletes have an off day. They don’t wish to be remembered for that one day. In fact, they would rather you forget about that day and remember all the plays that have made in the past. It would be foolish to judge an athlete on just one performance. Sometimes we judge God when He doesn’t do as we wish. We should think back to the many times that God has taken care of us in the past. Sometimes we are judging God when He is not through working. Knowing what God has done in the past, we should trust Him in the present. Are you reminding yourself of the faithfulness of God?
1 Kings 14:1-15:24
June 16 KEEP YOUR WORD
Make vows to the Lord your God and fulfill them; Let all who are around Him bring gifts to Him who is to be feared.
When an athlete commits to a coach, the coach expects him to keep his word. The keeping of his word can determine a player’s future with a team. No one wants a teammate that they can’t count on to do what they promise to do. Unreliable players don’t last long. As Christians, we should be careful about making promises to God. Only make promises you can keep. How foolish it is to make promises to someone who knows everything if we don’t intend to keep them. Making a promise and keeping it is a path to blessing. Do you keep your word?
1 Kings 15:25-17:24
June 17 COMPLAINING
Therefore the Lord heard and was full of wrath; And a fire was kindled against Jacob and anger also mounted against Israel.
Few things upset coaches faster than players complaining. When a person complains, they focus everything on themselves, not thinking about the other players, or the fact that the coach’s job is to help them win. They must trust the coach to do what is best for the team. When it comes to our relationship with God, the same is true. God is more interested in our character than our comfort. When we complain, we are saying that God is not doing what is best for us. We need to trust Him. Are you complaining about something in your life?
1 Kings 18:1-46
June 18 LIMITS
Again and again they tempted God, And pained the Holy One of Israel.
No athlete would want to say that they limited their team or made them less successful than they could have been. There is something about athletes that want to say they are winners. However, if they choose not to follow the coach’s instructions or the game plan they have been given, they can limit their team because they no longer are following the same game plan. Even as Christians, when we choose not to follow God or work with other Christians, we can limit God’s blessings to us and His work in other people’s lives. Are you limiting God?
1 Kings 19:1-21
June 19 NOT ABSENT
Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Let there be known among the nations in our sight, Vengeance for the blood of Your servants which has been shed.
In big games, at critical moments, players must step to the forefront. Sometimes the pressure of the moment or the fear of failure keeps them from stepping up. When this happens, their team suffers from them not filling the role their team needs. They are absent even when they are there. As Christians, we all will face challenging moments and will have to decide what to do. For some, the pressure of the moment or fear of failure causes us to shrink back. We need to step up when the going gets tough. We should take courage from the fact that our God will always show up and take charge of the situation. Are you trusting in God when the going gets tough?
1 Kings 20:1-21:29
JUNE 20 LEADERSHIP PART 1
So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart,
To be a coach, you should have certain attributes. One of these is integrity. To have integrity, you cannot have divided loyalties or competing agendas. A lack of integrity will destroy your credibility as a leader. It would be best if you lived what you talk. To be a Christian leader, this is also a must. It would be best if you lived out what you talk about. This integrity gives you credibility when you speak. If you want to influence others, you need to live what you say. Then people will follow you. Do you practice what you preach?
1 Kings 22:1-53
June 21 LEADERSHIP PART 2
And guided them with his skillful hands.
Another prerequisite to being a coach is to know your sport. A huge part of coaching is teaching players how to play well. This knowledge requires time and effort in learning about your sport. You can’t teach what you don’t know. A lack of knowledge will make any coach ineffective. As Christian leaders, we should spend the time and effort getting to know God and the Bible. Then we can lead and teach others. Again you can’t teach what you don’t know. People will benefit as we share what we have learned about God. Are you growing in your knowledge of God?
2 Kings 1:1-2:25
June 22 MOMENTUM
The Lord knows the days of the blameless, and their inheritance will be forever.
Every team wants to have momentum on their side, but there is no set way of achieving it. Momentum usually occurs when a player does what he has trained to do and gets the desired results. It doesn’t happen by accident. It only rewards those who have put in the work and are ready for the moment. As a Christian, we should be even more diligent in our preparation. There will come a moment when our preparation will make a difference. When we do what we have prepared to do and see the results in someone else’s life, this will encourage us to keep working. Do you have momentum in your life?
2 Kings 3:1-4:17
Let there be no strange god among you; Nor shall you worship any foreign god.
When a player joins a team, he is expected to devote himself to that team’s success. To wear a jersey supporting another team would be considered disloyal. A player is expected to show his loyalty both through what he does and what he does not do. Loyalty is very serious, and disloyalty will not be tolerated. As a follower of Jesus, we should be devoted to the success of the mission of Jesus. We should show our loyalty both by what we do and what we don’t do. With God, loyalty is far more serious than sports. Are you loyal to Jesus?
2 Kings 4:18-5:27
June 24 COMEBACKS
O God, restore us and cause Your face to shine upon us, and we will be saved.
There comes the point in an athlete’s career when things are no longer moving forward. To not do something would guarantee a further downhill slide. Most often, they find a new coach and renew their efforts at physical fitness. They work longer and harder to improve their skills. They know the truth, that to improve, they will have to change what they are doing. As Christians, there will be times we need to make some changes to continue to grow as we need. As we use renewed effort and work on the basics of our faith, we will grow. Are you ready to make a comeback?
2 Kings 6:1-7:20
June 25 NOT FOOLED
Those who hate the Lord would pretend obedience to Him, and their time of punishment would be forever.
As an athlete, it is easy to see players that only are preforming when people are looking. These players may have great talent, but they never end up accomplishing much because coaches are not easily fooled. What should have been a great career becomes a disappointment. For Christians, we can perform when other people are around, but how about when we think no one is looking? The reality is that God is always looking, and He never misses anything. We should live our lives to please Him. Are you trying to fool God?
2 Kings 8:1-9:13
June 26 STANDARDS
How long will you judge unjustly And show partiality to the wicked?
Some athletes feel that they should get a different, easier standard than others. They believe all rules should be slanted to their benefit. Unfortunately, some are allowed privileges when they are younger because of their abilities, and this lack of standards eventually destroys their lives. Fortunately for believers in Christ, the rules never change. They are consistent, which helps us to know boundaries that help us to live productive lives. The same rules apply to all. Are you following God’s standards?
2 Kings 9:14-10:31
HOME COURT ADVANTAGE
How blessed are those who dwell in Your house! They are ever praising You.
For athletes, there is always an advantage to playing at home. The team’s performance and winning percentages are much higher at home. Whether it is being on your field, having more fans, or some other factor, no one is quite sure. Everyone is convinced that if you are going to play an important game, you want to do it at home. For Christians, there is nothing like being in the presence of the Lord. We live better and are genuinely happier there than anywhere else in the world. Our joy in life is tied to spending time with the Lord. Are you enjoying the advantage of walking with the Lord?
2 Kings 10:32-12:21
June 28 OPPORTUNITY LOST
So I gave them over to the stubbornness of their heart, To walk in their own devices.
As an athlete, the relationship with your coach is important. It is a relationship built on trust. When the coach no longer has confidence that a player is listening and following instructions, he will receive less playing time. His opportunity to pursue his sport is lost. God is, in many ways, like our coach. He wants to teach us and guide us so that we can experience joy and bring Him glory. At times, we might not be listening to God, so He moves on, and our opportunity to walk in His favor is gone. Are you in danger of losing your opportunity?
2 Kings 13:1-14:29
June 29 WAITING TO HEAR
I will hear what God the Lord will say; For He will speak peace to His people, to His godly ones; But let them not turn back to folly.
For an athlete, there is no higher praise than the voice of his coach. Other people may praise you, but when your coach praises you, it is even more special. In a sense, a player waits to hear what the coach has to say before he really knows how to feel about his performance. A good coach will give praise where it is due. For a believer in Christ, what the Lord has to say is more important than what other people have to say about our lives. We need to be listening so that we can be quick to obey and quick to celebrate his pleasure in our lives. Are you waiting to hear what God has to say?
Lesson 27 _____________________________________
2 Kings 15:1-16:20
LEADING THE WAY
Righteousness will go before Him and will make His footsteps into a way
New members on a team always look to the experienced players to show them the way things are done on that team. They learn how that team dresses, what skills they practice, and even unusual things they do to motivate each other. By following their example, they begin to fit in much quicker. As a follower of Jesus, we look to how He lived His life. His example is there for us to follow. The more we follow Him, the quicker our lives are changed to please Him. He is leading the way, are you following?
2 Kings 17:1-18:12