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Devotion of the Week

Devotion of the Week

They are calling Group G the "Group of Death" in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, consisting of Germany, Portugal, Ghana, and the United States. Merely advancing out of the group would be an incredible accomplishment, especially for the United States. The fact that it's a more difficult road for, say, a team like the United States, almost makes the journey more exciting. The greater the pain, the more scars there are, the greater the reward...

Atlanta Braves 24-year-old star Freddie Freeman lost his mom to cancer more than 10 years ago when he was in his early teens. At first, he asked the question many ask when a loved one is lost: Why? Why did this happen? Why did she have to go so soon? Why? Why? Why? Early on Freeman pushed God away, but a few years ago he came to the realization that God took his mom so she wouldn't have to suffer any longer...

"For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree." 1 John 5:7-8 The official slogan of the 2014 FIFA World Cup is "All in One Rhythm," or, in Portuguese, "Juntos num so ritmo." I love these four words. Not only is it a perfect description of the World Cup—how teams from around the world come together to participate in the sport of soccer, all in one rhythm— but it also makes me want to apply it to my own spirituality...

I’ve dislocated my knee twice while playing basketball. What’s just as frustrating as the dislocation itself, however, is what happens to the quad muscle after the injury. It shuts down. In order to get back out on the basketball court, even after two surgeries fixed my knee cap, I had to hook an electric stimulator up to my quad multiple times a day, for several weeks straight, just to fire up the muscle again. It was as if my quad completely forgot how to function, even after the surgery...

“…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 When everything is on the line, when everyone is watching, when you or your team are counting on you for the next shot or the next play—this is the situation that true competitors always dream of and want to participate in. As a golfer, I dream of sinking a slick, downhill, 20-foot putt on the 18th hole at Augusta National to win the Masters Tournament by a shot. No matter the sport, we all want to finish strong. We want to always be able to look back in time and say that we did our best and put it all on the line in certain situations.

Many of us struggle with the constant pressure to be perfect within athletics. We get caught up seeking unreliable affirmation through our performance, so when things don’t go our way we feel discouraged. Tryouts are a great example. We work day in and day out to prove we are worthy of a spot. Summers, we run sprints in the heat. Nights, we lift in the weight room. It feels like every second is spent honing our skills. But, the challenges don’t just stop after making the team. That’s just the beginning...

"Then he said to them all: 'Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.'" Luke 9:23 In the above passage, we see that Jesus tells us what's needed to be His disciple. We must deny ourselves, take up our cross each day and then follow Him. What does all of that mean, though? Baltimore Orioles slugger Chris Davis, who led the majors in home runs (53) and RBIs (138) last season, delves into that: "...As I got older, I realized it wasn't about going to church or managing your sin, but about daily dying to myself and surrendering my life to Christ..."

What does it mean to be rich? When Stan Musial signed his 17th contract in 1958, he became the first National Leaguer to make $100,000. He was rich. In 1975, Catfish Hunter signed as a free agent for five years with the Yankees, making more than $3 million. He was richer. In 2012, Albert Pujols signed a 10-year deal with the L.A. Angels for more than $250 million. He is very rich. There is a permanent way to become “rich.” When a person acknowledges he is a sinner and trusts in Jesus as his Sin-Bearer, he becomes rich in at least three ways. He becomes rich in grace...

Game 2 of the 2013 National League Championship Series was a classic for baseball purists. The St. Louis Cardinals beat the L.A. Dodgers 1-0 behind 22-year-old rookie pitcher Michael Wacha. Each batter Wacha faced represented the tying or go ahead run. The tension was thick in every inning...

I had the privilege of going to last year’s national championship game between Louisville and Michigan. I confess I knew nothing about either team, but as the game progressed, I was quickly captivated by a little, freshman guard on Michigan named Spike Albrecht. Albrecht, who was only averaging 1.6 points per game, caught fire from the 3-point line and single-handedly kept the Wolverines in the game. In 18 Big Ten games, he had 22 points total. In the national title game, he had 17 points in the first 11 minutes...

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