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Devotional of the Week

Devotional of the Week — Strong In The Lord

In the 1970’s the Pittsburgh Steelers won four Super Bowls. Part of the reason was that their offensive front four could all bench press 500 pounds. Their superior strength protected Terry Bradshaw well and opened huge holes for Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier. The weight room is a vital part of athletic programs today in professional, college and even high school sports. Strength training pays off in football, basketball, and other sports as well...

Devotional of the Week — Breaking the Mold

Doug Flutie was someone who didn’t fit the prototypical quarterback. He only stood 5-feet, 9 inches tall, but he had a strong arm, a huge heart and a belief that his team could win. On Nov. 23, 1984, with six seconds left on the clock, and Flutie’s Boston College team trailing the defending national champion Miami Hurricanes, fans saw all of Flutie’s qualities and more...

Devotional of the Week — Starting a New Chapter

At the end of the 2013 MLB season, the greatest closer of all time, Mariano Rivera, will hang up his Yankee uniform and retire at the age of 43. The Yankees closer for the last 17 years is still excelling at an age most players, and pitchers specifically, are long gone from the game, and he was just named the 2013 MLB All-Star Game MVP. It’s unlikely there will ever be another like him. And yet, while the watching world believes his purpose on this earth is coming to an end, Rivera believes it is only beginning...

Devotional of the Week — Miss Kay, An Example of Patience

Kay Robertson looked out in the parking lot of the place she was working and saw her husband, Phil, slumped over in his car, his head on the steering wheel. Several months prior, Phil had said he didn’t want to be around his wife or his children. He told them this, then he left. Alcohol was his love, and his wife and children were a distant second...

Devotional of the Week — Being Open With God

R.A. Dickey, last year’s National League Cy Young winner, has been through some difficult times. In our cover story on pages 42-47 of our most recent print issue (log in here to read), he says: “I remember really being angry with God, like, ‘How can You take me to the precipice of a new start and then allow this to happen?’ You want answers, and I talk to God like He’s real. He already knows what I’m feeling, so why hide it? I’m not going to sugarcoat it, and so if I’m angry, I’m angry. If I’m sad, I’m sad. I’m not going to pretend to be somebody I’m not. I did that for too long...”

Devotional of the Week — Give Yourself a Break

In the 1934 World Series between the Cardinals and Tigers, Dizzy and Paul Dean (featured in the picture with Babe Ruth) combined to pitch in 5 of the 7 games, each working on short rest. In the 1946 Series, Harry Brecheen pitched in 3 of the 7 games, working on short rest. In 1964, 1967 and 1968, Bob Gibson pitched 3 of the 7 games. More recently, Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson of the Diamondbacks together pitched in 5 of the 7 games against the Yankees in 2001. Many of these times the results were positive, but not always...

Devotional of the Week — Prone to Doubt

Sometimes I think about all the things Jesus did and why He did them. Not just the core stuff, like rising from the dead and all, but all the little stuff. Like appearing before 500 people, or chilling with the apostles for 40 days, or all the little miracles—which aren’t really little, but compared to conquering death and defeating sin, kind of are. My ESV study Bible theorizes why Jesus did what he did: “Jesus appeared multiple times to his disciples and gave them many proofs to strengthen their faith..."

Devotional of the Week — Time to Choose

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...

Devotional of the Week — Inspiring Heroes

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...

Devotional of the Week — Fall in love with saving grace

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...

Devotional of the Week — We are limited, but God is not

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...

Devotional of the Week — Success won’t change Webb Simpson

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...

Devotional of the Week — Dwelling on joy

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...

Devotional of the Week — Living intensely

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...

Devotional of the Week — Sovereign control

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...”