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Devotion of the Week

Devotion of the Week

Early in sports seasons, it’s not uncommon for teams to struggle to find their true identity. The basketball team can’t figure out whether to play up-tempo or more half-court. A football team with outstanding running backs gets infatuated with its quarterback and relies too much on the passing game, before finally realizing it needs more of a balanced attack...

Eric Liddell is one of my favorite athletes, not because he was a runner (track and field is one of my favorite sports) and not because he was a winner (he won the 400 meters at the 1924 Olympics) and not because he was a world record holder (his winning time in the Olympics broke the previous world record). It was because he was able to compete in the sport and accomplish all of his feats while honoring God. His story is inspiring, and should be for any Christian, for all of those reasons...

I remember the summer I fell in love with golf. I was in seventh grade and my two best friends and I all had junior memberships at a small, nine-hole golf course called Hendricks County Golf Course in Danville, Ind. We played golf every day. Some days, my dad would drop us off at the course at 6 a.m. and pick us up after work at 6 p.m. One day, the three of us walked 54 holes. When I put my clubs in my dad’s trunk at the end of the day, I rode home talking nonstop, looking forward to the next day...

Tampa Bay Rays star Ben Zobrist was on the world stage recently when he played for the United States in the World Baseball Classic in March. But Zobrist was on an even bigger stage in 2008, when the Rays faced the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series. Zobrist saw it as an opportunity where he could give God the glory if the Rays could win. When his team lost, though, he was baffled—but only for a short time...

I went to hear Webb Simpson speak at Forest Hill Church in Charlotte, N.C., one evening this past winter. He spoke transparently about his faith, family and success. The pastor of Forest Hill, David Chadwick, asked Simpson about temptations on the PGA Tour. Simpson talked about how he stepped on Tour and everyone started treating him like he was special. People wanted him to sign autographs. He had 60-year-old volunteers calling him “Mr. Simpson.” When he had his breakout season in 2011 and won the U.S. Open in 2012...

Major League Baseball knuckleball pitcher R.A. Dickey had the best year of his career last season. He made his first All-Star Game appearance, had career-bests in victories (20), ERA (2.73) and strikeouts (230), and he won the National League Cy Young award—the highest achievement for a pitcher. And all of that came after releasing his autobiography, Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball...

My youngest daughter stood in line for three hours to get an autographed copy of “One Last Strike” by Tony LaRussa. It is his story of the improbable 2011 World Series run by the St. Louis Cardinals. She gave it to me for Christmas. I read the whole book in two days. It paints a good picture of how LaRussa thinks. Simply put, his philosophy for competing is “win through process.” On offense, play to make one run by making each at-bat count...

Los Angeles Dodgers star Adrian Gonzalez realizes that God’s sovereignty, His control, can’t be usurped. But he doesn’t use that as an excuse to not work hard, as he told Sports Spectrum in an interview. “My relationship with Christ allows me to take a step back from things and not put too much pressure on myself...”

Yadier Molina is perhaps the best defensive catcher in baseball. His prowess at throwing out base-stealers (45 percent) is among the elite in the majors. His 41 pick offs rank first in the National League, “light years” ahead of second place. He has five consecutive National League Gold Gloves and one Platinum Glove, given to the best among all Gold Glove recipients for that particular season...

“This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.” Psalm 18:30 (ESV) Boxer Robert Guerrero has one of the most inspiring journeys and stories I’ve ever encountered in my journalism career. When you look at all of the setbacks he has had (read his story here), you wonder if he’s a modern Job: destined to suffer for some of his life. The interesting thing about Guerrero is that he never got down. Even in the heat of the fire, he would tell his manager, Bob Santos, “It’s okay, Bob, God has something bigger for us.” “He never said, ‘Why is this happening?’” Santos says of Guerrero. “It was always, ‘God has something bigger for us. I know God has something bigger for us, Bob. Keep trucking. Keep trucking...’”

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