OUT OF TROUBLE
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9
When an athlete breaks a team rule or fails to follow the coach’s direction, he is in trouble. The coach has the power to limit the playing time of the player. The power to restore the relationship rests with the coach. The ability to begin that process depends on the player. If he admits his wrongs, the coach can restore the player to his previous position. This is a perfect illustration of our relationship with God. We have all wronged Him and disobeyed His rules. If we will come to him and admit and wrongs and ask Him, He will forgive us. What has God forgiven you for recently?
2 Kings 18:13-19:37
It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught of God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.
One of the keys to being a good athlete is being teachable. A player who shows up at practice on time, ready to play, and asks for extra instruction will improve rapidly. The one who listens – learns, while the one who doesn’t – stays the same. For a believer in Christ, this is true as well. If we present ourselves before the Lord to learn, He will teach us, and our lives will change quickly. If we don’t give ourselves to the Lord, our lives will stay the same, and we will miss out on the good things that God meant for us to have. Is your prayer to the Lord, “teach me”?
2 Kings 20:1-22:2
July 3 NO WASTED TIME
Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
At some point, every athlete realizes that he cannot play forever. Their career will end because their body will not enable them to perform at that level. Knowing that their playing years are limited, a player should plan to make the most of them. There is no time for half-hearted efforts. They will be remembered for what they do, not what they could have done. As a follower of Jesus, we are to remember the limitations of our lives. What counts is what we do, not what we could have done. Are you wasting your time?
2 Kings 22:3-23:30
July 4 TRUSTWOR-THY
The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
For an athlete, one of the keys to success is being surrounded by trustworthy people. People who will do what they are supposed to do when they are supposed to do it form the foundation of any successful team. They rely on each other and trust each other in difficult situations. For a Christian, we serve a God who is the ultimate trustworthy person.
He will do what He says He will do. Knowing this, we can have confidence in Him to face tough situations. Are you trusting Him?
2 Kings 23:31-25:30
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
As an athlete, you must decide who’s the voice you will listen to. Many people will want to tell you what to do and how to play. They all promise success, but obviously, that is not true. An athlete needs to choose carefully whose advice you listen to because it will determine the outcome of your one career. As a follower of Christ, we can know what He asks and how things will ultimately turn out. His promises are sure. What is keeping you from following Him?
1 Chronicles 1:1-2:17
ON YOUR SIDE
You shall do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, that it may be well with you and that you may go in and possess the good land which the Lord swore to give your fathers,
When a player is in the right relationship with his coach, his missed shots can be overlooked. Often, the coach will step up and protect him from criticism because he follows the coach’s direction. The benefits of the right relationship include protection. As a follower of Jesus, this is true as well. When we choose to live in the right relationship with Him, we live under His protection. The benefits of this relationship are many. What things are keeping you from living in a right relationship with God?
1 Chronicles 2:18-4:4
July 7 REQUEST GRANTED
Then Jehoahaz entreated the favor of the Lord, and the Lord listened to him; for He saw the oppression of Israel, how the king of Aram oppressed them.
2 Kings 13:4
For an athlete to ask something of a coach usually requires a relationship. And not just a relationship, but a relationship in good standing. The more diligent the player is in practice, the better he listens to instruction and better his relationship with the coach. This behavior leads to the ability to make requests and have them granted. A poor relationship leads to a request denied. This relationship mirrors our walk with God. He delights in answering the requests of those who have a close relationship with Him. Would in your life would not lead to a “request granted?
1 Chronicles 4:5-5:17
July 8 THANKFUL-NESS
and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.
Over time, many athletes can forget to be thankful for the athletic abilities they were born with. As this happens, they cease taking care of themselves and no longer value what they have been given. Their performance begins to suffer as they presume upon their abilities. This is a powerful lesson to learn. As we are thankful to God for what He has given us, we begin to value it and seek to make the most of it. Our lives become reflections of gladness as we use the gifts and abilities we have been blessed with. What in your life reveals a thankful heart?
1 Chronicles 5:18-6:81
LET IT GO
Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
1 Peter 3:9
One of the most destructive emotions for an athlete is the desire for vengeance. That desire to get back at the other player, even the score, usually costs his own team both in performance and in penalties.
The best way to handle these situations is to let them go. Holding on to things hurts you and your team. For believers, this should be easier because we have someone who has said He would make all things right. Not only has He said it, but He has the power to make it right. Name something you need to let go of.
1 Chronicles 7:1-8:40
July 10 UNCHANGEA-BLE
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
For an athlete, adversity is inevitable. There will be days and games where things don’t go well. It’s easy to work hard and have a good attitude when things are going well. It is when things aren’t going well that players’ attitudes and effort can diminish. This adversity is when the players’ character is revealed. Fortunately, we serve a God who is unchangeable. He doesn’t have a bad day. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We can trust in Him and pattern our lives after Him. What can you do to reduce the stress in life when the pressure is on?
1 Chronicles 9:1-10:14
But He answered and said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.”
One of the simplest things a player can do to increase his playing time is listening to his coach and following his instructions. It only requires effort to pay attention to what you are taught and then go out and do it. Not listening will eventually put even the most talented player on the sidelines. As a follower of Christ, there are blessings for hearing and obeying the voice of the Lord. A good listener pays attention and then follows through on the instructions given. How has God spoken to you in the past?
1 Chronicles 11:1-12:18
July 12 AT PEACE
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
One of the things that all athletes face is anxiety, right before a big game, and sometimes within a game when everything is on the line. Anxiety not correctly handled can distract a player and lead to poor performance. The best players are the ones who can manage their anxieties. For a Christian, we can trade our fear for His comfort. What a deal! We can truly put all of our trust in Him and know that we will be loved no matter the situation’s outcome. How great is that? What causes you to struggle with anxiety?
1 Chronicles 12:19-14:17
But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit became so proud that he behaved arrogantly, he was deposed from his royal throne and his glory was taken away from him.
An athlete lives in an emotionally charged environment. Competition keeps one on edge. Some fall into a trap that when things don’t work out, or someone lets them down, it is to harden your heart and not listen to what others tell you. This can have disastrous consequences both for an athlete and anyone else. Hurts are part of life, but if we harden our hearts, we can’t receive love as we should. This can hurt both the people we love and us. God is asking you today, Are there areas where your heart is hardened?”
1 Chronicles 15:1-16:36
ARE YOU LISTENING?
He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.
For an athlete, it is essential to listen. The voice of your coach has directions and plans for the success of your team. Your part in the plan is to listen and follow the instructions. The better you listen and obey, the better your team does, and the more other people think you are a good player. Fail to listen, and bad things will happen. It’s the same way with God. When we listen and follow His instruction, good things happen for us and others. When we don’t, bad things happen. What is God asking from you?
1 Chronicles 16:37-18:17
NO HAPPY ENDING
Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.
For an athlete being in trouble with the coach doesn’t end well. He can limit or eliminate your playing time. He can force you into doing extra practice. Even if the team is doing well, it will not go well for that player. God is like a coach in this respect. If you fail to listen to His words, life will not go well for you. He can bring hard things into your life to teach you the foolishness of your thinking. Without God, there will not be a happy ending. What would keep you from entering into God’s rest?
1 Chronicles 19:1-21:30
WHAT’S THE STANDARD?
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done.
For an athlete knowing the rulebook is one key to good performance. Some of the biggest mistakes are made when players don’t know the rules. Knowing the rules helps guide how a player plays and helps him to be more successful. As important as the rulebook is to the player, the Bible is to the Christian. When a Christian doesn’t live by the Bible, he opens himself to many mistakes and problems. One key to success in the Christian life is knowing the Bible. What would the story of your life be?
1 Chronicles 22:1-23:32
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
When a team is in harmony, there is a joy that they share. It shows in how they spend their time, how they play, and even how they handle adversity. When the team becomes more important than the individual players, this joy becomes their trademark. God designed that His children walk in unity with Him and with each other; their lives are marked by joy. When Christians put the cause of Christ above their pursuits, joy is the result. What brings you joy in life?
1 Chronicles 24:1-26:11
Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine;
One of the key elements for a player is loyalty. A player is expected to be loyal by giving his time, energy, and effort to his team. You don’t come out to the game wearing the other team’s uniform. God expects no less than that from us. He hopes that when we say we are Christians, we will strive to live like that. Nothing is more frustrating to God than for a person to say they love him and not live according to His standards. What is God working to change in your life?
1 Chronicles 26:12-27:34
July 19 Perspective
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9
Any athlete who thinks he has done it all by himself is mistaken. It takes years of coaching, trainers, sometimes doctors, and other team players to achieve success. Players need to stand together, and any success they have is shared. For a Christian, it is impossible to have any success without God. We must rely on each other and our relationship with God for our lives to truly have meaning. God made us, and He wants to help us reach our full potential. What areas are you learning to trust in?
1 Chronicles 28:1-29:30
Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
One decision an athlete will never regret is to live wisely. Many athletes choose to live according to their emotions. Eventually, that leads to problems. For an athlete, wise choices include taking care of yourself physically and listening to your coach. For a Christian wise living means living according to the Bible. Wise living means saying no to your flesh and listening to the Lord. To live according to your emotions(flesh) only leads to problems. Are you living wisely?
2 Chronicles 1:1-3:17
NOT PULLED AWAY
But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
1 Timothy 6:11
When an athlete is at odds with the coach or develops a bad attitude, he tends to pull away from the team and its leadership. They invite other people to join them in their lack of commitment to the team. If you don’t make a clear stand, they will think that you agree with them. As Christians, we should be careful that when people we know pull away from the Lord that we don’t allow them to take us with them. What things in your life have you had to walk away from?
2 Chronicles 4:1-6:11
July 22 DISTRACTIONS
This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.
1 Corinthians 7:35
An athlete who focuses on performing well will seek to avoid distractions. A distraction is anything that will try to take the player’s attention and time and cause them to perform poorly. A key to top performance for an athlete is to avoid distractions. As a Christian, the world has many distractions that can keep us from living for Christ. The key is to be aware of these temptations and avoid them. Failure to avoid distractions can lead to a messed up life. What distractions do you need to avoid?
2 Chronicles 6:12-8:10
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.
As an athlete, we need to remember we are responsible for our focus or lack thereof. We are responsible for being attentive in practice, focused on our games, and to carry out the game plan. When we lose focus, our performance and our team suffer. We must put things out of our lives that cause us to lose focus. For a Christian, this is a perfect picture of how we are to avoid the world’s distractions that cause us to lose focus. This lack of attention hurts us and the cause of Christ. Name some spiritual things you need to focus on?
2 Chronicles 8:11-10:19
July 24 CHOOSE WISELY
The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
As an athlete, you should pick your close friends carefully. These close friends can either make you more successful or contribute to your downfall. Take some time and observe before you make someone a close friend. For a believer in Christ, this is excellent advice as well. Our close friends can either help us to walk with Christ or help to draw us away. We should take our time and observe so that we can choose wisely. Our friends can exert a significant influence on our lives. What do you look for in a friend?
2 Chronicles 11:1-13:22
July 25 CONSISTENCY
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:58
Every athlete strives to perform consistently. They want to play well all the time. One of the keys to this is practicing the same way. Another key is feeding your body the same way daily. For an athlete to perform well consistently, self-discipline is a must. Christians know that God is consistent. To consistently live as He asks us, we must have a steady diet of God’s Word and strive to live out what they are learning. This type of life is a daily choice. What areas of your life do you need more consistency?
2 Chronicles 14:1-16:14
July 26 REPUTATION
In view of this, I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men.
As an athlete, your reputation always precedes you. If you play well, it affects how the other team schemes to win. If you have not played well, then the other team may think they can take advantage of you to win. Reputations are earned, not given. For a follower of Christ, we should realize whose team we are on. He is the ultimate winner. The enemy seeks to hurt us by making us doubt Him. We can trust Him and not fear Him. What areas of your reputation need improvement?
2 Chronicles 17:1-18:34
DON’T FORGET THE REWARDS
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
An athlete should never forget there are rewards. Hard work gets their body in shape. Repeating drills can improve their skills. Listening to the coach helps them to follow the game plan. And the combination of these things can lead to victories. Likewise, Christians should remember that studying the Bible teaches us how to live; prayer helps us connect with and hear God. Obeying God is the key to fulfilling His will and having a fulfilled life. What rewards in heaven are you seeking?
2 Chronicles 19:1-20:37
July 28 BLOSSOM
“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”
Like an athlete, a flower has a short career. It does not last forever. Knowing that their career is short, an athlete should focus on shining the brightest. It takes effort to shine brightly. Flowers are remembered for their beauty; athletes are remembered for their efforts. Christians likewise must realize that our lives can blossom like a flower. It takes the right food(the Word of God) and following the Son for the power. We will be remembered for how we shine. What are in investing your life in that will last forever?
2 Chronicles 21:1-23:21
July 29 DEPENDABLE
For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end,
Athletes know that during a game that they need to depend on each other to achieve success. One characteristic that is valued highly is being dependable—being where you are supposed to be and doing what you should be doing increases your value to the team. For a Christian, we have no one more dependable than God. He is always there. What He says, He does. You can count on Him. What freedom that gives us in life. What areas of your life show dependability?
2 Chronicles 24:1-25:28
“For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.
Sometimes, athletes begin to think if only the rules were a certain way that things would be better. They mean that it would be more to their liking—never stopping to think of the impact on others. The rules apply to everyone equally so that no one has an unfair advantage over anyone else. It’s not just athletes that think like this. Everyone has felt this way at one point or another. God’s rules apply to everyone equally, and no one has an advantage. What changes need to happen in your life?
2 Chronicles 26:1-28:27
July 31 YOUR WORD
You are my friends if you do what I command.
Athletes value trust. They expect you to do what you say you will do. Your words gain or lose value by how your life matches up to them. When your actions don’t match your words, then trust decreases. As a follower of Christ, our words and actions should be the same. God has set the example because He never forgets to keep His Word. Our testimony of God becomes more powerful when we keep our Word. Are their areas of your life that demonstrate obedience?
2 Chronicles 29:1-36