Fall 2021 SS Magazine

Devotionals from Fall 2015 print issue (Week 1)

SERIES: COLLEGE FOOTBALL, LESSONS FROM THE GRIDIRON

Monday “All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” I Samuel 17:47

Defending The Giant

For many years, inside the entrance of the Auburn Football training complex, painted on the wall were words from legendary Auburn coach Ralph “Shug” Jordan: “Always remember, Goliath was a 40-point favorite over David.” His message has served as a statement to all who walked through the training facility that you are never an underdog with God on your side.

The story of David and Goliath teaches us that there is no battle too big for our God. We serve a faithful Lord who is able to defend whatever struggle, pain, heartache or difficult situation that life may toss our way. As Christians, we must remember that with Christ in our hearts, we are victorious. God will intercede and see us through any storm.

By Sarah Layne, Sports Spectrum


 

Tuesday “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” Matthew 22:37-38

The Greatest Commandment

Have you ever received a fall wedding invitation in the mail and then rushed to your calendar to check if your friend’s big day falls on the Saturday of your team’s biggest game? Sadly, I have. And then I begin wondering: Will kickoff collide with the ceremony? How will I find a TV to still tune into the game? Maybe if there’s Wi-Fi I can manage to watch on my phone at the reception…

Where we invest our time and how we prioritize our schedules says a lot about who we are. Imagine if I put as much energy into spending quiet time with the Lord as I did wondering how I would succeed at watching a football game in the middle of a wedding. Sometimes we have to take a step back and realize what is really important in our lives. In Matthew 22, Jesus tells us to love the Lord with all of our heart, all of our mind and all of our strength. Take a minute today to evaluate your priorities. Is God first? Ask the Lord for wisdom on how to best manage your time and grow in your relationship with Him.

By Sarah Layne, Sports Spectrum


 

Wednesday “But the Lord still waits for you to come to him so he can show his love and compassion. For the Lord is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for him to help them.” Isaiah 30:18

Game Changer

I traveled to Tuscaloosa, Ala., in 2010 to watch my No. 2 Auburn Tigers take on the No. 11 Alabama Crimson Tide in what turned out to be one of the greatest comeback games I’ve ever seen. Down 21-0 at the end of the first quarter, I began to think my team’s dreams of an undefeated season and national championship hopes were coming to an end.

Then, just before halftime, Auburn defensive end Antoine Carter chased down Alabama running back Mark Ingram to halt another six points from the Tide, a score that would have likely sealed Auburn’s fate. Carter punched the ball out from Ingram at the Auburn 19 and recovered it as the ball bounced into the end zone.

The entire mood of the game changed in just one play. That’s all it took to provide a momentum shift that catapulted Auburn to a 28-27 victory over its archrival.

In life, we sometimes venture off the narrow path. We get down, we lose focus or control, and we may begin to doubt our ability to overcome adversity. Always remember that God will never abandon us. As stated in Isaiah 30:18, “But the Lord still waits for you to come to him so he can show his love and compassion.” God remains arms-opened, waiting for us to run to Him for guidance and love. All it takes is one prayer, one decision, one morning waking up and saying, “Today, I am going to turn my life around.”

By Sarah Layne, Sports Spectrum


Thursday “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23

A New Day

Losing isn’t easy, and it definitely isn’t any fun. But every now and then, we watch our favorite teams experience defeat, sometimes in a heartbreaking fashion as the seconds tick off the clock, other times as a giant blowout. In the instance of any loss, the focus quickly turns to how the team will respond and bounce back.

In 2012, Auburn’s football team suffered one of its worst seasons in the program’s history, sporting an upsetting 3-9 record. The on-field performances were frustrating for coaches, players and fans. Under new coaching direction in 2013, Auburn posted a 12-win season, falling only to conference foe LSU and the Florida State Seminoles in the national championship game. The team’s motto that year? “A New Day”.

Off the field, we also lose. We may lose a loved one, a job, or our beloved pet, but grief and sorrow is something we all have experienced. While other times it may be easier to bounce back from a loss than others, each day is a new day, and God’s promises remain.

As Scripture reads in Lamentations 3:22-23, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning.” Even when we feel as though we have lost everything, we can have hope in the Lord that He will heal our hearts. If we treat each day as a new day, we allow ourselves to move forward with the healing process, rather than dwell on our losses.

By Sarah Layne, Sports Spectrum


Friday “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.” Jeremiah 29:11

God’s Game Plan

Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn is well known for his offensive expertise. He is often referred to as a wizard or mastermind for the way he conducts the offense. Since taking the reigns at Auburn in 2013, his hurry-up attack methods are quick to deliver points for the Tigers. As the leader of the program, it’s the coach’s job to best prepare his players for the task at hand, teaching them the proper techniques and skills to be successful along the way.

Similarly, God has a game plan for our lives. As we grow in our faith and study His word, we glorify Him. Romans 8:28: says “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” We cannot imagine the bountiful blessings the Lord has prepared for us. Jesus tells us in Psalm 32:8, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.”

By Sarah Layne, Sports Spectrum


 

Weekender “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” Ephesians 6:10 (KJV)

Going Long

Meditate on this verse and how it encourages us to look to the Lord and not ourselves for strength.