Monday, July 31, 2017

A D V E R S I T Y
Jeremiah 29:11

Have you ever suffered an injury and wondered where the Lord was?  Why did He allow me to get hurt?  Could it be in God's plan for me to be injured?  Why me, why now?  Receive some assurance from the Lord in this scripture.


In Jeremiah's book of prophecy, at chapter 29 and verse 11 it says, "For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Surely the Lord has plans are not to harm us.  Rather, His plans are for our good.


When we encounter adversity in any form; injury, illness, conflict, strife, bad calls, or any other thing, it's easy to think that the Lord's not looking out for us.  Some even think that He's mad at us about something.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  In this verse He says that His plans are not to harm us.


Let's trust in the Lord's plans.  Let's trust His heart and His undying love to keep us from harm and to enjoy prosperity.


Bible Reading Plan:
Psalms 142
II Chronicles 13-16

Sunday, July 30, 2017

P L A N S
Jeremiah 29:11

Do you ever wonder if God has a real plan for your life?  Maybe as you think about the future, you see it as being fully a matter of your choices and will.  Is there ever a thought that maybe God has something in mind for you that would make you most fully satisfied and wholly fulfilled.  He speaks to us in today's Scripture.


In Jeremiah's book of prophecy, at chapter 29 and verse 11 it says, "For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Surely the Lord has plans for each of us individually, and plans for us collectively.


He says that these plans are to prosper us.  How would we be prospered in athletic terms?  Obviously we think of wins, trophies, medals and titles.  But how could we be prospered otherwise? 


We are prospered by the Lord when we display His character on the floor or in relationships with teammates.  We are prospered when our program signs new recruits and they come to aid us in our pursuit of excellence.  We prosper when the program gains notoriety for having done well athletically and in the classroom.  The Lord's hand is evident and his plan to prosper us is accomplished as we trust Him to work in our lives.


Lay it all on the line in today's competition and trust in the Lord's plans to prosper those who trust in Him.

Bible Reading Plan:
Luke 10:25-37
I Thessalonians 4:11-18

Saturday, July 29, 2017

F A I T H F U L N E S S
I Corinthians 13:6-7

Is there someone in your life you can count on to always be the same?  Who do you know that you would describe as steady, faithful, and consistent?


In First Corinthians chapter 13 and verses 6 and 7, the Apostle Paul writes, "Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."  This is descriptive of the kind of love God gives us and offers to us for sharing with others.


Love is something you can count on.  More than a fleeting emotion, it's a conscious exercise of one's will, a commitment between people.  That's how it can be always protecting, trusting, hoping and persevering. 

Take these attitudes into competition today as you commit yourself again to your teammates and coaches.  Love is the key, commitment makes it happen.


Bible Reading Plan:
Psalms 136
I Chronicles 29

Friday, July 28, 2017

O P P O R T U N I T Y
Matthew 26:11

Have you ever heard people speak of “once in a lifetime opportunities?”  Have you ever had one of those?  Did you recognize it at the time?


In Matthew chapter 26 and verse 11, Jesus talks about taking advantage of opportunity.  He says to his disciples, “The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.”  This followed Judas’ complaint about a woman who poured some very expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet, an act he saw as very wasteful.


The perfume cost about one year’s wages and this woman pours the whole thing on Jesus’ feet.  Why would Jesus not want it sold and the money given to the poor?  He knew what Judas didn’t, that His remaining days with them were very few.  This woman had taken advantage of a great opportunity to honor Christ.


Jesus told them that the poor would always be around, but He would not.  Their opportunity to be with Him was very short in duration.  It would not be the same in a week.


You have much the same situation today.  Tomorrow at this time your opportunity to play this game will be gone, forever.  It can never be revisited.  Competition will be around all season, but this game will be gone in about two hours.  Do as this great woman of faith did.  Take full advantage of your opportunity.  Expend all that you have to maximize your opportunity.  It won’t be the same tomorrow.

Bible Reading Plan:
Luke 9:18-27
I Thessalonians 1

Thursday, July 27, 2017

M O T I V A T I O N
Hebrews 10:24

What is it that best motivates you for competition?  Is it the sight of your parents in the stands?  The encouragement from your coach and teammates?  Maybe it's the prospect of being a champion.  The Bible speaks of another type of motivation.


In the Book of Hebrews at chapter 10 and verse 24 it says, “And let us consider how to stimulate one another toward love and good deeds.”


A different translation of that verse says "to provoke," to love and good deeds.  Many of us provoke one another when we compete, but it's not always toward love and good deeds.  The important thing is not to stimulate, but to do so toward these two objects.


The remaining question for us is, how?  We can certainly stimulate love and good deeds in our friends and teammates by showing them examples.  We can do so by encouraging words.  We can praise them when they're caught doing it right.  We can correct them when they do it wrongly. 


Take time to pray today and ask the Lord to use you to stimulate your teammates toward love and good deeds.

Bible Reading Plan:
Psalms 129
I Chronicles 15-16

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

R E P R E S E N T A T I O N
Mark 12:17

How much of your personal success do you owe to your team?  How many hours per week are reasonable for you to practice?  Who determines the proper amount of preparation that is necessary for each competition?  To whom are you responsible for the most important parts of your life?


Jesus spoke about such matters at Mark chapter 12 and verse 17, where it says, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.’  And they were amazed at him.”


Let’s think about this in athletic terms. 
• If you’re wearing the uniform of your school – you must give your allegiance to the leadership they’ve appointed for your team.
• If you’ve accepted a scholarship from a university – you must submit to your coaching staff.
• While you’re on your own time, away from team responsibilities – you must make your own choices about behavior.
• When you’re on your own – give God first priority as you direct your life.


As you compete today, be mindful that you represent a number of people beyond yourself.  You certainly represent your teammates, your school, your family and friends, and many of you represent your God.  Compete in such a way that they can each be proud of you and that displays your allegiance to each with pride.


Bible Reading Plan:
Luke 8:1-15
Colossians 2:16-23

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

H O N O R
Proverbs 3:25

What would it be like to receive a great inheritance?  Maybe there’s one coming to you someday; real estate jewels, heirloom furniture, money, who knows?  What would the most valuable inheritance be for someone of wisdom? 


Proverbs chapter 3 and verse 25 states, “The wise inherit honor, but fools He holds up to shame.”


It doesn’t take long to figure out which side of this equation is better for us.  He says that the wise inherit honor.  They don’t earn it, nor do they don’t find it.  They receive it like a gift from granddad.  They inherit honor, which often looks like favor with coaches and teachers.  Sometimes it looks like respect among teammates and opponents.  It always looks like personal dignity.


On the other hand, it says that fools are held up to shame.  Just holding them up to the light exposes their foolishness, thus bringing shame, disgrace and humiliation. 
Which would you rather receive, honor or shame?  You’ll attain more wisdom and thus honor and will accumulate less shame as you choose to surround yourself with friends who are wise and not foolish.


In today’s competition, display wisdom as you compete and you’ll inherit honor.  Act like a fool and you’ll be the subject of ridicule and shame.  Please be a credit to your team, coaches and your family by competing with greatness today.

Bible Reading Plan:
Luke 12:49-59
II Thessalonians 3:14-18
Psalms 150
II Chronicles 34-36

Monday, July 24, 2017

B O D Y    B U I L D I N G
Jude 20-21

What makes up the daily workouts that you use to build your body?  What is most effective in building up your mind?  How do you build your heart?  Today’s scripture has an answer to that question.


In Jude's letter to believers at verses 20 and 21 it says, "But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.  Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life."  Jude calls this group of men, "Beloved", as he deeply cares for them. 


Jude seems to say that building yourselves up through group prayer is a given, something that is normally expected of brothers in Christ.  He seems to say that everyone does this.  We will build ourselves up as a team by prayer, here he says prayer in the Holy Spirit.  When men pray together, the Spirit of God fills the place where we are gathered with His presence and we are thereby built up on our most holy faith.  Let's be as diligent to build ourselves up in prayer as we are to build ourselves up in the weight room.


The big idea that Jude wants them to know is in verse 21.  He says, "Keep yourselves in the love of God..."  Remember this is written to a group, not to an individual.  We keep ourselves in the love of God as a group through things like prayer as a group.  Through day to day living as teammates and friends.  Through caring enough about each other to encourage, admonish, confront, correct and to steer our teammates away from trouble.  We experience the mercy of the Lord Jesus and His eternal life when we keep ourselves (as a group) in the love of God. 


Let's begin today's competition with prayer as a group, building ourselves up on our most holy faith.  Then let's keep ourselves, as a group, in the love of God as we look out for the interests of the team, more than just our individual interests.  In doing so we'll experience the mercy of our Lord Jesus.

Bible Reading Plan:
Luke 12:35-48
II Thessalonians 3:6-13
Psalms 149
II Chronicles 30-33

Sunday, July 23, 2017

S T R E N G T H   A N D   C O U R A G E
Joshua 1:7

What are some essential qualities for an athlete to bring into competition?  Make a list.  I'm sure that your list will include strength and courage.  The Bible speaks of these often and one such instance follows.


In Joshua chapter 1 and verse 7 it says, "Be strong and very courageous..."  In times like these we need to bring a truckload of both strength and courage to the field of competition. 


The people that Joshua was leading were about to try to take possession of hostile territory and could lose their lives in the effort.  They were challenged to be strong and courageous.  How much more should we be strong and courageous in our pursuits?  The rewards for us are great and the risks are much less.


As you compete today, keep in the back of your mind Joshua's challenge to his players.  Be strong and very courageous!!  Bring strength and courage to every facet of today's competition.  You can make this a day of greatness. 



Bible Reading Plan:
Luke 12:22-34
II Thessalonians 3:1-5
Psalms 148
II Chronicles 28-29