March 1 GAME PLANS
Where there is no guidance the people fall, But in abundance of counselors there is victory.
As a team approaches a game, they look to their coach for a specific strategy to win the game. They know that this specific advice may hold the key to winning and losing. Most coaches have assistants who help them build a game plan. The more help, the better the plan and the more chance of winning. In our lives, it is good to get counsel when we need to make a decision. Find some godly people who can help you as make plans.
Is there an expert in the area you are thinking about, ask them. Better advice makes for better plans which help to bring success. Who are you getting advice from?
March 2 MAKE IT COUNT
Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.
Athletes know that their careers are short. This knowledge affects their decisions because they know that in a few years, their opportunity to make money and to win championships will be gone. This also explains why they go to such great lengths to be in shape. They also know that at any moment, an injury could end their career. This is a perfect picture of life. Knowing that our time is short, we should focus on living for Christ daily. Anything we hope to accomplish for Him should be a priority. Like the athlete, we know that at any moment, our opportunity could be over. Are you living today to make it count?
March 3 JUDGEMENT DAY
And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.
After the season is over, the coaches often sit down and look back over the season. They look at who played well and who didn’t. Sometimes they decide they don’t want a player on their team anymore. It’s a tough time for the players waiting to see what will happen. At the end of our lives, we all face a similar event. Our lives will be looked at based on what we did and didn’t do. For a lost person, it is about did you accept Jesus as your Savior and Lord? For a Christian, what did we do with the abilities He gave us? Christians have been assured a place in heaven; lost people will spend eternity in hell.
Are you ready?
March 4 DISTRACTED
And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
At sporting events, fans often make a lot of noise in an attempt to disrupt or distract the opposing team and give their team a better chance of winning. There are times this has a huge impact on the game. This also a perfect analogy of life for a Christian. It is easy to say that a Christian’s life should focus on God alone, but there are many distractions. They seem just as loud as a sports crowd: TV, radio, movies, health issues, career opportunities. Don’t become distracted and become unfruitful. Is your life focused on the things that count?
March 5 WHERE ARE YOU GOING?
There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.
We were created to be imitators. A child watches an athlete and imitates them. One way we learn is by watching someone else. Imitation is primarily how sports are learned. Nothing wrong with that, you just want to choose a good example. In life, the importance of choosing the right person to imitate is much higher. The reason is that the path you choose to follow determines where you will end up. An easy path to follow can take you to the wrong place. As a Christian, we should follow Christ. It won’t be the easiest road, but we will like where it ends up. Which path are you on?
March 6 CONTROLLING ANGER
A fool always loses his temper, But a wise man holds it back.
Have you ever seen another player get upset about what happened and then do something that worsened the situation? We want to rush over to our fellow players and encourage them to use their anger to focus on playing better instead of causing penalties that may help lose the game. In life, it is just as essential to control our anger. We can easily let our anger take control and do and say things that will hurt other people. This damage may happen quickly but takes a long time to heal. Or we can be wise and use our anger to focus on resolving the problem. Do you have difficulty controlling your anger?
March 7 LIVE TODAY
Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth.
I have heard athletes guarantee that their team will win the next game or the championship. They are making promises about something they don’t control. There can be injuries or sickness or many other things that can happen that are beyond our ability to control. An athlete can only promise to give their best effort. In life, it is also tempting to guarantee things or presume that good things will always happen. But that is not always the situation. We should only focus on living for the Lord today because that is all we truly can control. Is your focus on making your life count today?
March 8 THINK BEFORE SPEAKING
Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
In the heat of battle, athletes sometimes say things to their coaches, the referees, or even other players that they regret later. Trust can be lost; the team can suffer a penalty. Once the words are out, they don’t come back. Sometimes even as the words are coming out of their mouths, they are thinking I shouldn’t have said that. But it’s too late. This applies to all of life. We should all stop and think before we speak. We tell our children to count to 10 sometimes. As adults, this might help us as well. Thinking before we speak will help the people around us and us. Do you have a problem with speaking without thinking?
MARCH 9 TRUSTED ADVICE
Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.
As an athlete, you should be careful who you let influence how you play. If your coach suggests a very different approach, it’s okay because you know you can trust him. If someone you don’t know suggests a very different approach, be careful, they may not have your best interests in mind. One principle in life is to allow our friends to point out areas where we need to change. As Christians, this is part of our responsibility. Be careful whose advice you take when it comes to making changes. Who do you go to for counsel?
March 10 GOOD ADVICE
Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.
Good athletes love to work out with other good athletes. They feel the competition makes them better. Their thinking is if they only practice against poor competition, they will not improve. As Christians, we should focus on encouraging each other to walk more closely with the Lord. It might be easier to spend time with someone who will not challenge us, but our lives will be mediocre. Find someone who will challenge you to live for God and spend time with them. Let them sharpen you. When will you find someone who will sharpen you?
March 11 RESPECT
Worship the Lord with reverence, And rejoice with trembling.
Any team functions better when there is a proper amount of respect for the coach. When the players do not respect the coach, the team is limited from the start, no matter how talented they are. The talent that has respect for leadership will always do well.
As Christians, we should always make sure that we have respect/fear for our Lord. We should obey his requests just like athletes obey their coach.
We should be willing to give ourselves completely even when it interferes with our plans. God deserves our respect. You should ask yourself, does my life reflect respect for the Lord?
MARCH 12 A TRUE MIRROR
As in water face reflects face, So the heart of man reflects man.
It’s easy for a player who is sitting on the bench to talk about what a great player he is, but the truth of this will be shown when he steps on the field. The truth about the player will only be revealed when they step on the field of play. You can’t hide the truth then. As a Christian, we should understand that our life tells more about our heart than our words do. We can talk about loving God, but do our lives reflect His love? If a lost person spent time with you for a day, what would they see? We should let God change our hearts, which will then show up in our lives. Does your life match your words?
March 13 NOT IN OUR STRENGTH
I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustains me.
It is easy for an athlete to take his health, talents, and abilities for granted. He works hard to take care of himself. Some athletes who take great care of themselves still get injured. Sometimes their careers are over. They fail to realize that any talent they have comes from God, and the ability to eat, breathe, and play comes from Him. This idea shouldn’t be a source of fear but an opportunity for gratefulness. Knowing this, we should take care of ourselves and also place our trust in God. Give Him glory for another day of life. Does your life reflect gratitude to God?
March 14 LAW ABIDING CITIZENS
Then He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”
All players should obey the rules of the game. This expectation is normal. A player who chooses to ignore the rules of the game flagrantly will find himself in constant trouble and eventually not able to play at all. This outcome sounds harsh, but without rules, a game would degenerate into chaos. The same is true in society. The laws are there to protect us from each other. Without them, there would be chaos in the streets. As Christians, God expects us to be examples by obeying the laws. Are you setting a good example by obeying the law?
March 15 JUDGEMENT DAY
The Lord judges the peoples; Vindicate me, O Lord, according to my righteousness and my integrity that is in me.
Every athlete knows that his performance will be evaluated at the end of the season, and his future will be decided based upon it. Knowing this, the athlete should work hard every day in practice and seek to perform well in the games. Their judgment will be affected by their day to day actions. The life of everyone on earth will be judged one day.
It will come just as sure as the postseason evaluations for the athletes. This judgment will also be based on how we lived our day to day lives.
The one key to doing well is having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Are you ready for that day?
March 16 IT’S YOUR CHOICE
Commit your works to the Lord, And your plans will be established.
As an athlete, you understand the importance of commitment. You wouldn’t want a player on your team who is not committed. Commitment is something that can’t be taught; it is a choice. Even more important is our commitment to the Lord. We are admonished to commit our works to the Lord, and our thoughts will be healthy. Commitment is giving ourselves totally to what we endeavor to do. Without commitment, it is easy to quit, drop out, or give up or stop before reaching our goal. Commitment will keep us going when the going gets tough. What’s your choice?
March 17 SOLID GROUND
O let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous;
Most athletes remember their rookie season. Every day their performance was being judged, and they hoped to make the team.
All the years of work and sweat will count for nothing if they don’t perform well at this time. They could be cast aside. However, if they perform well and make the team, the pressure is off. Now they are part of the team, and their status is sure. In our walk with God, it is even more important. It is not hard work, but our character is being judged here. God is looking at your life today. Are you making the grade?
March 18 WHO’S GOT YOUR BACK
Through insolence comes nothing but strife, but wisdom is with those who receive counsel. Proverbs 13:10
Performance on an athletic field is based upon trust between players. Knowing the player next to you and how they perform can give you additional confidence to take chances knowing that someone has your back.
All of this is based upon knowing each other. As a Christian knowing, God and what He can do can give us confidence in living our lives. We can live a life a faith, which means taking some risks knowing who has our backs. Do you know Him?
March 19 ON YOUR SIDE
There they are in great dread, For God is with the righteous generation.
We always want the best players on our team. If we can pick them, they will always be chosen first. The team with the better player feels more confident while the other team feels frustrated and a certain sense of loss. All of these feelings and the results themselves can be determined simply by the addition of the one best player. As Christians knowing that the all-powerful God of the universe is with us should give us great confidence in our daily lives. Without Him, there would be a sense of dread. Do you have the confidence of knowing God is with you?
March 20 WORDS OF PRAISE
I will sing to the Lord, Because He has dealt bountifully with me.
It is refreshing after a game sometimes to hear players compliment each other on their performance. These compliments are not flattery but are sincere praise based upon real performance during the game. They feel free to criticize, as well. In the heat of competition, words of praise are earned not given. Life many times has the feel of competition and is even more serious. Words of praise should come quite easily for a Christian who has experienced the blessing and help of God. We should take time to remember the goodness of God and his many blessings. As good as God has been to you, are you praising Him?
March 21 KEEPING YOUR WORD
In whose eyes a reprobate is despised, But who honors those who fear the Lord;
When a player seeks to be the very best, he learns what the expectations are. So that he can please the coach of the team, once he understands what is expected of him, he puts in the time and effort to achieve the required performance. Then he can enjoy the rewards of his labors. The same principle can also be applied in almost any area of life. As a Christian, this principle is also true. We don’t have to guess what God would like to see in our lives He has made it clear in His Word. All we need to do is read it and live it. Do you keep your word?
March 22 COMPLACEN-CY
It will come about at that time That I will search Jerusalem with lamps, And I will punish the men Who are stagnant in spirit, Who say in their hearts, ‘The Lord will not do good or evil!’
One of the great dangers for an athlete is complacency. Complacency is a feeling of smug satisfaction with ourselves and our achievements. When this happens, an athlete quits trying to improve because they see no need. Very quickly, their talent begins to erode, and other people with less talent beat them but who are working harder. As Christians, we should never be satisfied with our status with God. We also have an enemy who is just waiting for us to let our guard down so that he can defeat us. Are you complacent, or are you diligent with your life?
March 23 VINDICATION
Let my judgment come forth from Your presence; Let Your eyes look with equity.
Most people have been falsely accused of something at one time or another in their lives. These accusations are a tough moment for us because we are at first shocked, and we just can’t believe what someone is saying we did. We may loudly proclaim our innocence but people assume that we are lying to keep ourselves out of trouble. The one thing that can calm these storms is for someone in authority to stand up and say that you are innocent. At this moment we can relax. God is the ultimate judge who can say “Not guilty.” Are you living in His presence and enjoying His protection?
March 24 IMMOVABLE
I have set the Lord continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
I have seen athletes who seemed to have everything going for them have an incident in their lives, and then their lives go downhill. From a loss of a loved one to a personal tragedy, this event in their lives overshadows everything else. Their lives were not built upon a strong enough foundation to withstand the challenges of life. The Bible clearly teaches that if we put our trust in Him when life happens, we will be able to stand. Everyone who lives will have to deal with adversity or tragedy. The real question is, “Is your life built upon the Lord so that you can withstand these problems?”
March 25 WHO DO YOU CALL?
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, And I am saved from my enemies.
Even athletes have tough moments in life. They have teammates, coaches, and friends to call on. You can tell about these relationships by seeing who they call when they first realize they have a problem. That first person is usually the person they rely on to help them get through tough situations. It is good to have friends and family to rely on when the going gets tough. Many times, even Christians fail to ask for God’s help until all their other plans have failed. God is our ultimate help, and we should call Him first. So when you have a problem. “Who are you going to call?
March 26 TROPHY TIME
The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness; According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me.
Most athletes play hard and look forward to that time when awards are given out at the end of the season. Everyone would like to be recognized for their performance, as long as it is good. When we know we haven’t performed well, we don’t want an award to tell us how poorly we did. Sometimes knowing that we are close to an award encourages us to try even harder.
God will one day give our rewards to His people based on their performance. For some, that can make us a little nervous. Based upon how you are living today; What kind of award would you receive?
March 27 NEVER ALONE
For by You I can run upon a troop; And by my God I can leap over a wall.
Many athletes will pray for God to help them, but then go out and completely focus on themselves to perform well. Praying for God’s help is good and right, but we should also be conscious of the fact that God takes every step with us. At first this may sound distracting. However, in the end it should be very encouraging because the God of all the universe is with you every step. Learning to walk in that truth gave David the confidence even in difficult circumstances. God is not far off, He is there with you and you are not alone? Are you walking in his presence right now?
March 28 SURE FOOTING
Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.
1 Timothy 6:17
For an athlete, there are few things more important to how they play than having sure footing. Sure footing leads to confidence. When they are unsure of their footing, they can become timid in their playing style. There is always that fear that if they try to make a play, they will fail because they put their trust in the field, and the field was not in good condition. Sometimes the field can look good, but when the athlete gets out, there is only uncertain footing. The Bible tells us to put our trust in God, not money.
What do you depend on as you go through life?
March 29 BETTER THAN GOLD
They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.
Most athletes are motivated by winning a championship, and some athletes money, and some the joy of playing the game. Have you ever asked yourself, why do you play? When something motivates us, it shapes our life. All of life becomes about that one thing and how to get more of it. For a lot of people, it’s money because they think it will solve their problems. They think what is better than this. The Bible tells us that God’s Word is better than money. It can save your soul and change your life. What is your life focused on?
In You our fathers trusted; They trusted and You delivered them.
As an athlete, we judge other athletes by how they have performed in the past. We devise strategies to help overcome their best player based on how he has performed in the past. If they are good, we expect them to perform well. If they don’t play well, we expect them not to play well.
This view of life carries over into how we look at people outside of sports. If they are nice to others, we expect them to be nice to us. If we stopped and looked at how God has been faithful to people throughout history, we would know He is faithful to us today. Based on God’s past performance, Are you trusting Him today?
March 31 REFRESHED
He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Athletes look forward to their days off or even to the offseason so that they can rest. Continuously playing can wear your body down over time, both physically and emotionally. After a few days of rest, they feel refreshed again. As a Christian, our daily lives can wear us down as well. We become exhausted both physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The answer for that is not just a day off or a vacation, although that can help. The real answer is spending time with God. He can refresh your heart. Are you in need of some refreshing?