November 1 HOPE
But those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
For an athlete, a critical factor is hope. Without hope for improvement or optimism, there is no power for the future. Yet an athlete can sometimes be criticized for having hope when the situation is tough. But to give up the hope would be to admit defeat. As a follower of Christ, hope is just as powerful. What God has promised- He will do. There will always be a reason to have hope for the future. Even though others may doubt, the Christian has no reason to doubt. What verses in the Bible has God used to give you hope?
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
For an athlete, determination is the key. That means giving it your all until your body quits on you. Push yourself to the limits. Until this happens, an athlete never knows how good he can be. He will surpass others with more talent but less determination. As a Christian, this is often overlooked. It takes passion and commitment to be all that you can be for Christ. Many Christians have failed to reach their potential because they have not given their all. What is holding you back from giving your all to follow Christ?
November 3 RULES
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
1 John 5:3
An athlete understands the power of rules. These rules help bind the team together and provide a structure to help the team succeed. Without the rules, the team would be in chaos and have no unity. To protect the team, a player who won’t obey the rules is often asked to leave. A Christian should understand the power of rules as well. They protect his family and himself from the consequences of evil. What things are you changing so that you can protect yourself and your family from negative consequences?
November 4 TEACHABLE
Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.
An athlete should be teachable. That means that he is always working to improve. Someone who is not teachable should not expect to improve. It is amazing how many top athletes hire private coaches to help them be all they can be. As a follower of Christ, we should not overlook the importance of being teachable as well. Someone who is not teachable will continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. What are you learning in order to break your bad habits?
6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Athletes work out their physical bodies so hard that they get short of breath. They do this because they want to win a championship. Those who won’t push themselves that hard should not expect to be winners. The spiritual life of a Christian should mirror that of an athlete. The effort required to grow as a Christian is just as demanding as physical exercise. You shouldn’t expect to grow if you won’t put out the effort. What are you doing so that you can grow spiritually?
A good name is to be more desired than great wealth,
Favor is better than silver and gold.
For an athlete, the level of desire is the key to success. Without desire, an athlete will eventually quit or settle for “good enough.” This means that his level of performance will go down. In contrast, an athlete that has more desire but less ability will surpass him. As a follower of Christ, desire is a key element as well. Without desire, a Christian will cease to grow and will sometimes fall away from following Christ. At the same time, someone who is not as gifted may make a greater difference for Christ. In what ways is your live making a difference for God?
November 7 NO QUITTING
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
At some point in every athlete’s career, he will have to face opposition. People will say things that aren’t true and also magnify every mistake that he makes. How he handles this is the test. Will he stay focused on playing the game, or will he allow this criticism to stop him. As Christians, there will be opposition. Some will speak lies about us, while others will magnify every mistake we make. How you handle this situation is the test. Is there something that would discourage you from living for Christ?
November 8 WHO ARE YOU LISTENING TO?
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Another thing an athlete has to decide is who to listen to. There are many people out there offering advice on what to do or what not to do. The thing to remember is that all the people who are offering advice do not face your consequences. Think carefully about who you listen to. The follower of Christ knows who he should listen to. The Bible contains God’s truth and can always be relied on to give good advice. What truth from God’s Word are you holding onto right now?
So then, dear brothers and sisters, be firm. Do not be moved! Always be outstanding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:58
As an athlete, there will be times when you have to stand firm in the face of criticism. Knowing what to do when people disagree with what you are doing is important. Sometimes criticism will help, and sometimes it can hurt you. Knowing what to stand on makes the difference. As a follower of Christ, there will be times of criticism as well. Knowing how to handle these times when people disagree with you is important. Explain any criticism you have received when trying to live for Christ.
November 10 CONSISTENCY
Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
Another key to an athlete’s success is consistency. For an athlete to perform well, it is important to practice consistently. Without consistent practice, the performance will suffer. With consistent effort, the performance will improve. Similarly, one of the keys to growth as a Christian is consistency in your personal Bible study and prayer. Without this consistency, your walk with God will suffer, and your life will be inconsistent at best. What time have you set aside to consistently spend time with God?
November 11 VALUE
Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
Who to listen to is key to an athlete’s success. The coach is usually the most important voice for the athlete. While everyone may have an opinion, the voice of the coach has the greatest value. His purpose is to help the athlete be all he can be. The Christian needs people like this in his life as well. The value of the Word of God is that it speaks to every situation with wisdom. The Bible is there to guide us to God and His will. Other people may have an opinion, but God’s Word is always right. Where do you go for advice?
November 12 CONFIDENCE
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7
As an athlete approaches a game, it is important to have confidence in his preparation. Without this preparation, doubt might exist in the back of an athlete’s mind about handling situations. This doubt can lead to a loss. Preparation is the key to confidence. As a follower of Christ, preparation is key to handling life’s challenges. Without preparation, life’s situations can be overwhelming and lead to failure. Preparation can bring confidence. How are you preparing to face life’s challenges?
Then he said to me, “Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words.
As an athlete, you can earn the right to be heard by your coach. If you are regularly not paying attention or not following the coaches’ instructions, he will not listen to you when you have advice. When you have proven that you are listening, you gain favor that will benefit you in the future. This parallels walking with God. If we don’t obey God, how can we expect Him to answer our prayers? When our lives are characterized by obedience, then God delights in answering our prayers. In what areas of your life are you reflecting obedience to God?
November 14 MY HELP
so that we confidently say,
“The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid.
What will man do to me?”
Athletes love to have another player around them to rely on when the going gets tough. This player can sometimes help them overcome a bad situation and stand with them when the going gets tough. When this player is not there, the game gets more challenging. For Christians, our help is found in the Lord. We can rely on him when the going gets tough. Without Him, all of our situations will be more difficult. There is not a situation that God can’t handle. Share a situation in your life when God helped you through a tough time.
November 15 RESCUE
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
As an athlete, there will be moments when you need the help of your teammates. If you haven’t been there for other players and haven’t been following the team rules, you can find yourself alone when things get tough. As a follower of Christ, we can count on the Lord’s help in tough times because of our obedience to Him. If our lives are not characterized by following His rules, we may find ourselves alone when times are tough. What areas of obedience have been improving in?
November 16 REFRESHING
For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.
One thing that athletes cherish is refreshment. In the middle of a game, something to drink, rest, and getting out of the weather can recharge both the physical and emotional energy of the athlete. This refreshing can improve the performance of the athlete for the rest of the game. The same is also true for Christians. Life can wear you down and make you tired. God can come and provide refreshing for you that will give you renewed physical, emotional, and spiritual energy. Describe what the refreshing of the Lord means to you?
November 17 SECURITY
But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.
2 Thessalonians 3:3
Athletes in many countries travel with security guards. These people are paid to keep them safe from those who would harm them. With the security in place, the athlete is free to focus on playing his sport. Without trusted security, the player would always be distracted, and his level of play would decline. As a Christian, there is never a doubt about whether we have a trusted security guard. God is always there, and He never sleeps. God does not ask for money. He only asks for obedience. How has God protected you in the past?
November 18 TEAM SUPPORT
Then when he arrived and witnessed the grace of God, he rejoiced and began to encourage them all with resolute heart to remain true to the Lord;
For an athlete being part of a team brings an extra benefit. Those who cheer for one player on that team are cheering for them all as well. The cheering they hear for the one player encourages them all because they are part of the team. As a Christian, you are part of a team as well. When our brothers in Christ are doing well, it should encourage us too. We should encourage our other team members to know that, at times, we will need some encouragement as well. Name five people you are encouraging?
November 19 HOME
Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
If you want to put a smile on an athlete’s face, tell him he is headed home. It is an interesting phenomenon. Players perform better, and their teams win more at home than on the road. Even a tired athlete is happy to be headed home. It is truly something to look forward to. A Christian should also be looking forward to going home. A home is a place of great joy, and all of life’s struggles will be over. For a Christian, there is truly no place like home. Decribe what heaven means to you.
November 20 DIRECTION
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
For an athlete, there often comes a moment when things aren’t going well, and if things don’t change, the game will be lost. It is at that moment that the athlete will look to the coach for direction and encouragement. From the coach, they look to find something to turn the game around. As a follower of Christ, we also have times when life is not going well, and things are bad. In these moments, we can look to the Lord to change the situation. Many times He will ask us to change things to improve the situation. What things in your life might God ask you to change?
November 21 MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
So we can say with confidence, “The LORD is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”
Every athlete wants to have a player on his team that you can count on when it gets tough. This is the guy that you call the most valuable player. The one that without him, you don’t stand a chance. You take courage just from his presence. For the Christian, the Most Valuable Player is Jesus. He is always there. You can count on Him when the going gets tough. He always knows what to do. With Him on your side, you are never defeated. What are you trusting God for right now?
November 22 RELIABLE
Such is the confidence and steadfast reliance and absolute trust that we have through Christ toward God.
2 Corinthians 3:4
For an athlete, one thing that brings confidence is finding reliable teammates. Having a reliable coach who is consistent in all areas helps an athlete know what to expect. Competent referees who call the sport consistently adds confidence. Also, having teammates that you can count on bringing the level of confidence to a higher level. For the follower of Christ, knowing that we can rely on God gives us the confidence to face all the trials of life. This confidence translates into hope. How do you face the trials of life when they come?
1 Peter 1:1-12
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Any athlete can be so bound up with their emotions that it hinders their performance. Feelings of fear, in particular, can bring about failure. These emotions can become a heavy burden that is difficult to bear and hard to get rid of. For the Christian, there is the same struggle with your emotions. Feelings of fear and failure can bring you down. However, the assurance of acceptance by God can set us free from these fears for the Christian. Name some fears that God has helped you overcome?
1 Peter 1:13-2:10
November 24 DREAMS
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.
Every athlete has dreams and aspirations. Some dreams are as simple as making the team, winning the game, and even as great as winning a championship. These dreams are the motivation that fuels daily practices. A Christian also has dreams and aspirations. These can be simple or great. These dreams are the fuel for daily living that helps to overcome the mundane. Christians have the advantage that even after the apparent loss of a dream, God can restore them. What are your dreams?
1 Peter 2:11-3:7
November 25 CELEBRATION
Then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”
All athletes enjoy the celebration. Whether it is a great play, winning a game, or a championship, celebrations are a big part of sports. Those moments of the celebration can make you forget days and years of practice and difficulties. Athletes love these moments and consider them an important part of the game. Christians also enjoy celebrations. Celebrating souls being saved and lives being changed are wonderful times. Struggles can be forgotten when you celebrate the victory. A celebration is an important part of a Christian’s life. What are you celebrating?____________________________________
1 Peter 3:8-4:6
November 26 REWARDS
Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.
Athletes know the reality of pain. They know about sweat, aches, and injuries. They know a lot about suffering that you never hear them discuss. Instead, they talk about their successes and wins. They know that the joy of winning is the reward, and it helps them to forget the pain.
As a follower of Christ, this is so true. All of the challenges and pain in this life are nothing compared to the joy we will one day share. We have something to look forward to. Though we know about pain, we should also know about rewards. What rewards are you expecting in heaven?
1 Peter 4:7-5:14
The Lord has done great things for us; We are glad.
Athletes are very good at giving credit to whom it is due. Whether it is a teammate or an opposing player, athletes are quick to praise another. It is usually undeniable who deserves the credit for a great performance, and we all enjoy recognition. As Christians, we also should be good at giving credit. We should always be giving credit to God. He deserves it. We also will have opportunities to praise each other. This produces thankfulness. What are you giving God credit for in your life?
2 Peter 1:1-21
November 28 NOT IN VAIN
Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel,
“I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit,
Who leads you in the way you should go.
For an athlete, you can give your best effort, but if your coach doesn’t give you a good game plan, you will lose. Hard work alone does not win championships. The ones who work hard and have a good plan to follow are the ones who enjoy winning. For a Christian, that means that we should be following the plan of God if we want to see something good happen. No matter how hard we work following our own plans, it is in vain. It will never accomplish what we want it to. What is God’s plan for you right now?
2 Peter 2:1-22
November 29 PEACEFUL
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.
2 Thessalonians 3:16
One goal of an athlete is to enjoy a peaceful life. When he has done well, he wants to spend a relaxing time with his family and friends. This time refreshes him to be able to go and compete well. People who don’t live a peaceful life will eventually not perform as well. A Christian longs to live a peaceful life as well. When he is living in obedience to God, he enjoys the benefits of that lifestyle. This peacefulness gives you time to recharge your emotional batteries to withstand the challenges of life. How is God recharging you?
2 Peter 3:1-18
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9
A certainty for every athlete is that of a challenging experience. These can happen every game or sometimes multiple times in one game. How you respond to them ultimately determines your outcome. When a player fails to respond to a difficult situation, it guarantees defeat. To get back up and compete harder gives you an opportunity for victory. Christians, many times, will face difficulties. How we respond to them affects our outcomes. We should never allow ourselves to be defeated. What are you currently fighting for in your life?
1 John 1:1-10