March 1 DEVELOPING A GAME PLAN
Where there is no guidance, the people fall, but there is a victory in an abundance of counselors.
As a team approaches a game, they look to their coach for a specific strategy to win the game. They know that this particular advice may hold the key to winning and losing. Most coaches have assistants who help them build a game plan. The more we get help, the more chance of winning. In our lives, it is good to receive counsel when we need to make a decision. Find some godly people who can help you make plans. Is there an expert in the area you are thinking about? If so, ask them. Better advice makes for better plans which help to bring success. Who would be on your list of people to ask for guidance?
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 their opportunity to make money and win championships will be gone in a few years. This also explains why they go to such great lengths to be in shape. They also know that an injury could end their career, which 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. What are some things you can change to make your life count more?
March 3 JUDGMENT DAY
And since 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 whether you accepted Jesus as your Savior? 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.
On judgment day, what are some things that you expect Jesus to say about you?
Leviticus 27:14-Numbers 1:54
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 to disrupt or distract the opposing team and give their team a better chance of winning. There are times this has a considerable impact on the game. This also is 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. What things are in your life right now that either are or can become a distraction?
March 5 WHERE ARE YOU GOING?
There is a way that 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 how sports are primarily learned. Nothing wrong with that. You want to choose a good example. In life, the importance of selecting 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. What can we do to help ourselves and others stay on the right path?
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. What can we do to control our mouths or actions before anger takes control?
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, 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. List some things that will cause our focus to get off the Kingdom.
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 think 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 ten sometimes. As adults, this might help us as well. Thinking before we speak will help the people around us and us. What could you have done differently with the problem of 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 offers a very different approach, be careful as they may not have your best interests in mind. One principle in life we follow 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. What should our responses be to someone who has given us bad advice?__________________________________
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 subpar 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. What are the areas in your life that you know need to be sharpened?
March 11 RESPECT
Worship the Lord with reverence, And rejoice with trembling.
Any group functions better when there is a proper amount of respect for their leaders. God designed the home and church to operate with leaders. When family or church members do not show respect, there will be disarray and confusion. Groups that show respect for each other will always do better. As Christians, we should make sure that we have respect and a reverential fear for our Lord. We should obey His requests and be willing to give ourselves even when it interferes with our plans. God demands and deserves our love and respect. What areas of your life would you say that you are showing respect for God?__________________________________
A TRUE MIRROR
As in water face reflects face, So the heart of man reflects the man.
It’s easy for someone to boast and brag about their abilities, whether true or not. But when it is time to step up and perform a task, the truth will be made known about their abilities. As Christians, we should understand that our life tells more about our hearts 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. Can you think of areas to make better that would line your life up with your words?
March 13 NOT IN OUR STRENGTH
I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustains me.
It is easy for someone to take his health, talents, and abilities for granted. He works hard to take care of himself. But even if he takes good care of himself, he could still fall sick or be injured. Sometimes, they may fail to realize that their health comes from God, including the ability to eat, breathe, and work. 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. We should give Him glory for another day of life. What things can you tell God that you are grateful for?
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.”
We should all obey the rules and laws that surround our lives. This expectation is normal. A person who chooses to ignore the authorities will find himself in constant trouble and eventually may have to pay the price. Without these rules, our society and homes would degenerate into chaos. 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. Do you have a list of people that you know are watching to see if you will obey the rules or not?__________________________________
March 15 JUDGMENT DAY
The Lord judges the peoples; Vindicate me, O Lord, according to my righteousness and my integrity that is in me.
We should remember that God is watching our actions and will judge us fairly. Even if we made a mistake, He knows what the intent of our heart was. We should work hard every day to perform our very best in whatever we do. God will judge everyone’s life one day. This judgment will be based on what we have done or not done in our lives. The one key to doing well is having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. What do you remember about the day when you accepted Christ as your Savior? If you haven’t, you should make today the day!
IT’S YOUR CHOICE
Commit your works to the Lord, And your plans will be established.
Everyone should understand the importance of commitment. Families and churches struggle when others that surround them are not committed. It is a choice. Even more important is our commitment to the Lord. We are admonished to commit our works to the Lord, and He will guide us to accomplish the plans He has for our lives. Commitment is giving ourselves totally to what we endeavor to do. Otherwise, it is easy to quit, drop out, or stop before reaching our goal. It will keep us going when the going gets tough. What commitments have you made with the Lord, and are you keeping them?
O let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous;
Most people can remember when they set a particular goal and started to work on it. Their efforts sometimes failed when they relied on their own righteousness. But when they work with God and His righteousness, they can accomplish so much more. It sometimes seems like wicked people are succeeding in life, and according to the world’s standards, they might be succeeding. But without God in their lives, they will not experience the joy, hope, and peace that righteous people will experience. What are some things you can change about your character to become more like God?
WHO’S GOT YOUR BACK
Through insolence comes nothing but strife, but wisdom is with those who receive counsel. Proverbs 13:10
In the business field, success is based upon trust between partners. Knowing your partners 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 is capable of doing can give us confidence in living our lives. We can live a life of faith which means taking some risks knowing Who has our backs. Can you list some of the team members who you know give good Godly counsel?
ON YOUR SIDE
There they are in great dread, For God is with the righteous generation.
Do you remember picking teams at recess? We always want the best players on our team, and they will always be chosen first. The team with the better player always feels more confident while the other team feels frustrated and has a certain sense of loss. All of these feelings, and the results themselves, can be determined simply by adding 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. What things are you confident in doing, knowing that God is with you?____________________________
WORDS OF PRAISE
I will sing to the Lord Because He has dealt bountifully with me.
It is interesting to hear people compliment each other. The compliment is not flattery but is sincere praise based upon actual circumstances. People also feel free to criticize as well. In the heat of a competition or a big project, words of praise are earned, not given. Life many times has the feel of competition and is even more severe. For a Christian, who has experienced the blessing and help of God, words of praise should come quite easily. We should take time to remember the goodness of God and His many blessings. What are you praising the Lord for today?_______________________________
March 21 KEEPING YOUR WORD
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
When a person seeks to be the very best, he learns what is expected to please the coach or employer, or teacher. Once he understands what is expected of him, he puts in the time and effort to achieve what is required. 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. In what areas of your life are you doing what God has already spoken?_______________________________
March 22 COMPLACENCY
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 greatest dangers for anyone is complacency. Complacency is a feeling of smug satisfaction with ourselves and our achievements. When this happens, a person quits trying to improve because they see no need. Their talent begins to erode quickly, and other people outperform them with less talent but 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. In what areas of your life do you feel you might be complacent?_______________________________
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. This is a challenging moment for us. At first, it is a shock, and we 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 that moment we are able to relax. God is the ultimate judge who can say, “Not guilty.” Can you think of a time when you feel God vindicated you?_______________________________
March 24 IMMOVABLE
I have set the Lord continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
We have seen people who seemed to have everything going for them; they have an incident, 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 teaches that if we put our trust in Him, we will stand when life happens. 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?” What were some times in your life when your trust in Him helped you not to be shaken?_______________________________
March 25 WHO DO YOU CALL?
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, And I am saved from my enemies.
We all have challenging moments in life. We have classmates, coworkers, family, and friends to call on. You can tell about these relationships by seeing who we call when we first realize we have a problem. That first person is usually the person we rely on to help us get through challenging situations. It is good to have friends and family to rely on when the going gets tough. But too 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. Is God the first person you call? Who would be next and why?__________________________________
March 26 TROPHY TIME
The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness; According to the cleanness of my hands, He has recompensed me.
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 out 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 areas of your life do you need to improve so that you will receive God’s rewards?__________________________________
March 27 NEVER ALONE
For by You, I can run upon a troop; And by my God, I can leap over a wall.
Many people pray for God to help them, but they go out and entirely focus on themselves to make things happen. Praying for God’s help is good and right, but we should also be conscious that God takes every step with us. At first, this may sound distracting, but in the end, it should be very encouraging because the God of all the universe is with us every step. Learning to walk in that truth gave David confidence even under challenging circumstances. God is not far off, He is there with you, and you are not alone. Can you think of times when you knew He was standing beside you or carrying you?__________________________________
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 a gymnast, there are few things more important than having sure footing. Sure footing leads to confidence. When they are unsure of their footing, they can become timid in their style. There is always that fear that if they try to perform a routine, they will fail. For example, sometimes the floor or balance beam can look good, but when the gymnast gets out there, there is only uncertain footing. The Bible tells us to put our trust in God, not money. List some life-experiences when you trusted God even though it was hard.
March 29 BETTER THAN GOLD
The Law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether. They are more desirable than gold, yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.
Athletes are motivated by winning a championship, businesses are motivated by money, and most children are motivated by the joy of playing. Have you ever asked yourself what motivates you? 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 believe what is better than this. The Bible tells us that God’s Word is better than gold. It can save your soul and change your life. What motivates you?__________________________________
In You, our fathers trusted; They trusted, and You delivered them.
We judge others by how they have acted in the past. If they are good to others, we expect them to be good to us. If they don’t treat others kindly, we expect them not to be kind to us. If they are nice to others, we expect them to be nice to us. This carries over into how we judge all people, whether we know them or not. If we stopped and looked at how God has been faithful to people throughout history, we would know He is faithful to us today. List some things that God has done in your life to help you to trust Him in the future.
March 31 REFRESHED
He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
People look forward to their days off so that they can rest. Continuously working 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 honest answer is spending time with God. He can refresh us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. What are the symptoms you recognize that alert you to needing His refreshing?__________________________________