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Victory 365: Daily Motivation for a Champion's Heart
by Various Authors
Learn More | Meet Various Authors
In sports, time-outs give athletes and coaches a chance to strategize for upcoming challenges. Similarly, in life, we need to take time-outs to think about our purpose as members of God’s team. FCA is excited to present you with a collection of devotions that will challenge you to play and live for the glory of God. Each devotion is written from an athletic perspective and will encourage you to be more like Christ both on and off the field. Every morning, set aside a special quiet time to be with God. During this spiritual training time, talk to God and let Him speak to you through the Bible. There are many effective methods that can be used for your daily time with God. One method that we recommend is the PRESS method.
The PRESS Method
Begin your quiet time by thanking God for the new day, and then ask Him to help you learn from what you’re about to read. Prepare yourself by
• clearing your mind and being quiet before the Lord
• asking God to settle your heart
• listening to worship music to prepare your spirit
• asking God to give you a teachable heart
Begin with the devotionals provided in this book. Also, try reading a chapter of Proverbs every day (there are thirty-one chapters in the book of Proverbs, which makes it ideal for daily reading), one psalm, and/or a chapter out of the Old or New Testament. You might consider beginning with one of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John), or one of the shorter letters, such as Ephesians or James.
Ask yourself the following questions with regard to the passage you read:
• Teaching: What do I need to know about God, myself, and others?
• Rebuking: What do I need to stop doing—sins, habits, or selfish patterns?
• Correcting: What do I need to change in my thoughts, attitudes, or actions?
• Training: What do I need to do in obedience to God’s leading?
Do one of the following:
• Discover what the passage reveals about God and His character, what it says or promises about you, and what it says or promises about others (such as your parents, friends, or teammates). Write your thoughts down in a personal journal.
• Rewrite one or two key verses in your own words.
• Outline what each verse is saying.
• Give each verse a one-word title that summarizes what it says. Share
Talk with God about what you’ve learned. Also, take time each day to share with another person what you learned during that day’s study. Having a daily training time is the key to spiritual development. If you commit to working through these 365 devotionals over the next year, you will establish this as a habit—one that will be vital to your growth in Christ.
If you are committed to establishing this daily training time with God, fill out the box below.
I will commit to establishing a daily habit of spending time with God.
Today’s Date __________________________________________
We invited athletes, coaches, team chaplains, and FCA staff to contribute their time, talent, and experience in writing these devotions. These writers come from diverse backgrounds and include representatives from a variety of sports, including baseball, soccer, basketball, football, lacrosse, track and field, and others.
READY A verse or passage of Scripture that focuses or directs your heart and mind. Turn to the Scripture reference in your Bible and read it within the overall context of the passage.
SET A teaching point (a story, training point, or thought taken from a sports perspective) that draws a lesson from the passage.
GO A question that will help you examine your heart and challenge you to apply God’s truth to your life—on and off the field.
WORKOUT Additional Scripture references to help you dig deeper.
OVERTIME A closing prayer that will help you commit to the Lord what you have learned.
To receive the daily email devotional “FCA’s Daily Impact Play,” go to www.FCA.org.
DAY 1Let’s Go!
READY “Moses gave the men these instructions as he sent them out to explore the land. . . . ‘See what the land is like, and find out whether the people living there are strong or weak, few or many.’”—Numbers 13:17–18 (NLT)
SET It’s common for coaches to use scouts to help them understand their opponents’ strengths and weaknesses. After God set His people free from slavery under the Egyptians, God told Moses to send out twelve men to scout Canaan—the land He had promised to them—and to come back with a report. After forty days, they returned with a full report. Although the land was bountiful, there were also powerful men described as giants and fortified cities. The opposition looked unbeatable.
But the reward for victory would be sweet if the Israelites would go for it. Ten men said, “No way!” Only two said, “Let’s go!”
Caleb and Joshua must have entered Canaan with optimism, believing they were gathering intelligence so they could take the land God had promised. Their faith was bigger than their fears. The other ten let their fears overwhelm their faith.
What about us? Will we shrink back when challenges come? Or will we rely on God’s presence, remember His promises, and go with power? GO If you were one of the scouts sent to Canaan, would you have said, “Let’s go!”? Why or why not?
WORKOUT Numbers 13; 2 Kings 6:8–17
OVERTIME Lord, help me to approach every assignment You give me with optimism and enthusiasm. Help me to see the possibilities instead of the problems and say, “Let’s go!” Amen.
Worship in Sport
READY “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.”—Romans 12:1 (NLT)
SET Time, concentration, and the intentional neglect of other pursuits are just a few sacrifices you make to compete in sport. Think of the physical toll your sport takes on your body. Bruises, and sometimes broken bones, are too often part of an athlete’s life.
As you experience such sacrifices, how conscious are you that these may be presented to God as holy, pleasing, and spiritual acts of worship? As surely as God is pleased with the service of singing in church, He is pleased with however you express your love for Christ in sport.
Part of presenting our bodies as living sacrifices is shaped by how we do it. Rather than squeezing into the world’s way of competition, our minds and hearts are renewed and transformed through study, fellowship, and prayer. In this daily process of sacrifice, our experiences in sport are fashioned into God-honoring worship. This enables us to wisely perceive the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God on and off the field of competition.
GO What do you sacrifice daily as a part of your life in sport?
WORKOUT Colossians 3:23–24
OVERTIME Father, the world of sport is full of Your grace and glory. My life is surrounded by Your merciful power. I revel in moments of quiet communion and in hours of furious activity. I commit this day to You. Amen.
DAY 3View of the Head Coach
READY “God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.”—Matthew 5:8 (NLT)
SET There was a little girl in an art class who had a hard time sitting still and listening to the teacher. But one day, the teacher noticed the girl listening intently before she began to draw. As the teacher watched, she asked about her drawing.
“Erica, what are you drawing?” asked the teacher.
“A picture of God,” the girl replied.
“But no one knows what God looks like,” the teacher replied.
“They will in a minute,” she said.
As athletes and coaches, we need to ask: “What does God look like to me?” Is He a God I turn to only when I’m injured? Is He a God that I know will be there for me whether I win or lose?
Often, our views of God are based on worldly experiences:
• If our coach is harsh, so is God.
• If our teammates let us down, so will God.
• When fans love us, so does God.
The problem is that our focus is on the world instead of its Creator. As Christian athletes, we play for the One who loved us so much that He sent His Son to die for us. Our views of God shouldn’t be based on our performances or worldly praises, but on God’s perfection. GO As a Christian athlete, what words would you use to describe God? WORKOUT Psalm 16:8; Psalm 103
OVERTIME Lord, I trust You with my talents, my team, and my heart because You are good, loving, and faithful. Help me not to see You through worldly eyes, but through the eyes of Jesus. Amen.
DAY 4Quick Word of Prayer
READY “Never stop praying.”—1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NLT) SET We say it all the time: “Let’s have a quick word of prayer.” The underlying message here is, “Before we get to the important stuff, let’s rush through the God stuff.” But prayer isn’t something to hurry through to get to the work. Prayer is the work!
Prayer was never intended to be confined to a pre-game blessing or the start of a meal. It’s a nonstop conversation. It needs to be the driving force in our lives because it’s our greatest weapon against the enemy and our greatest connection to the Father.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Paul encourages us to pray without ceasing. He tells us to keep the lines of communication with God open at all times and to live a life of prayer. Jesus modeled and encouraged that by frequently getting away to pray, telling us to stay connected to the Father and to ask for things in His name.
If we want to live and compete at our potential, we must learn to pray. Prayer is what makes us, molds us, and matures us. It helps us handle every situation, on the field and off, with spiritual maturity and grace. Instead of praying really quickly, let’s be quick to pray and watch Him work in and through us.
GO How can you be quick to pray without praying quickly?
WORKOUT Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 4:6–7
OVERTIME Father, forgive me for praying quickly when I should be praying constantly. Help me to be quick to pray without hurrying through prayer. Teach me to pray, Lord. Amen.
DAY 5Living On Purpose
READY “My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings.”—Philippians 3:10
SET I’ll never forget my middle school coach, Coach Harris. Our team of girls would huddle eagerly around him, eyes filled with excitement and readiness. What in the world could get a group of middle school girls so focused for a midweek practice at 3 p.m.? Purpose. Coach Harris consistently filled our minds with goals and purpose. We never lost a game that season, but most importantly, we never lost the important purposes Coach instilled in us.
In The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren states, “Everyone’s life is driven by something.” Warren explains that drive can be defined as “to control, to guide and to direct.” As athletes and coaches, we have endless pressures driving us: the desire for approval, wanting to be remembered, the hope of being perfect, etc. If we’re not careful, the purposes we focus on can be self-centered and temporal.
In Philippians 3, the apostle Paul looks to a more eternal purpose: “to know Him.” What if we competed and coached with the purpose of growing in our knowledge of Jesus and focused on leaving a lasting impact through our relationship with Him? Sport can be a limitless way to create a lasting legacy for Jesus if we live, coach, and compete with His purposes.
GO What drives you in athletics? In life?
WORKOUT Philippians 3:13–15; 2 Peter 1:3–11
OVERTIME Lord, I know You created me for a life of significance: to love You and love others through You. Give me the grace to live this life focused on Your purposes. Amen.
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