Sports Spectrum Magazine Summer 2021

Devotionals from Fall 2015 print issue (Week 8)

SERIES: ACROSS THE SPECTRUM, LESSONS FROM THE SS STAFF

Monday: “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17

True Improvement

Playing basketball was always very important to me while growing up. While I sometimes thought that I could improve on my own, I eventually realized that I also needed teammates and coaches to help me realize my full potential. When I would practice alone, I would work on using my left hand to make layups, yet I would never consistently make them. Then one day before practice started, a teammate saw me struggling and gave me advice on how to position my arm to best make the shot. After practicing his method a few times, my approach improved dramatically.

Just as my teammate taught me a new approach to my shot, we should also be encouraged to counsel our neighbors and peers. It’s important to challenge and encourage one another in our faith, seeking to grow closer to God and make decisions that glorify Him. Proverbs 27:17 is a wonderful reminder that we can learn wisdom from our brothers and sisters in Christ.

By Allen Jordan, Sports Spectrum


 

Tuesday: “Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.” Proverbs 17:27

Keeping Cool

Basketball has quite a few subjective calls, so there’s bound to be a few times where a call does not go the way you want. At first, your initial reaction may be to get upset and yell at the referee, hoping he will reverse the call. In reality, once a call is made, even if it’s wrong, the referee will most likely stick to his call and continue the game. I have seen many bad calls firsthand, and the reaction that follows can have a huge impact on the game. Once during a game I was playing, my coach let his temper get the best of him, and he received two technical fouls before being ejected from the game. At the time, my team was winning by three points with about two minutes to go, but then our opponents scored on all four free throws, courtesy of our technical fouls. We ended up losing the game by one point.

As Scripture tells us in Ecclesiastes 9:17, “The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.” Sometimes we are too quick to speak before we think. Let’s take time this week to reflect on this lesson and show wisdom through silence, rather than voicing anger.

By Allen Jordan, Sports Spectrum

 


 

Wednesday: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

Tumbling Down

I was 13 years old, in my eighth year of competitive gymnastics, when I began suffering from painful back problems. I tried to push the hurt out of my mind, often practicing and competing in severe discomfort. Gymnastics was the only sport I’d known, and it easily consumed my childhood as I spent nearly 15 hours each week training. The fear of learning I was seriously injured was overwhelming at such a young age. Unfortunately, the doctors confirmed exactly what I did not want to hear: my back was fractured in two places. I was told I should never return to gymnastics, in order to prevent future injuries or permanent damage to my back.

When I heard those words, I immediately felt so lost, upset and confused. I remember thinking, “Why is this happening?” In trying times like this one, I learned to fully place my trust in God. While I had no understanding for this difficult situation, I knew that if this is God’s will, then I must trust His plan. Trusting in the Lord is believing His Word, through which we know that we have hope in His promises.

When I was 15 years old, I returned to gymnastics after doctors told me my back had healed and was stronger than ever. We serve an all-powerful, mighty God.

By Sarah Layne, Sports Spectrum


 

Thursday: “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” Proverbs 14:23

Less Talk, More Action

Sports are a world of fierce competitiveness. Players and teams are constantly striving to improve, seeking an edge over any and every opponent. This atmosphere, coupled with a national stage for performance, is the perfect storm to elicit “trash talk” among participants.

Arrogance and boastfulness have no place in pleasing God. This lesson from Proverbs 14:23 tells us that we have nothing to gain from talking and bragging, but rather it is working hard that will allow us to see success. If you’re a current athlete, former athlete, or even a fan, you’re aware that hard work in practice is what produces wins in games.

Similarly, off the field, if we work earnestly to strengthen our relationship with God, we will reap blessings a plenty. Praying steadfastly, becoming active in the local church and studying God’s Word are all ways that we can strive to work hard for His Kingdom. There is no question that with Christ in our hearts, we profit abundantly.

By Sarah Layne, Sports Spectrum


Friday: “To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction.” Proverbs 12:1

Grounded In Faith

In my 12 years competing in gymnastics, some of the most valuable lessons I learned were those applicable to all aspects of life. When I was 7 years old, I began training 12 hours per week. By the time I was in high school, I practiced nearly 25 hours each week, sometimes leaving school during my lunch hour for private lessons.

Through these years, I quickly learned the importance of time management, making sacrifices and prioritizing. With a strict schedule, I kept busy at homework, even in car rides to and from practice. In order to learn, both inside the classroom and the gym, it was important that I was disciplined. My coaches also taught me the significance of constructive criticism. Gymnastics is very detailed in terms of instruction, so when I received correction from my coaches, I knew that it was because they wanted to see me succeed and develop into a better athlete.

This Proverb teaches us that it is also imperative that we stay grounded in our faith. Maintaining and strengthening a relationship with Jesus requires discipline—discipline in reading the Word, attending church, praying, avoiding temptation. Through this commitment, we open up our hearts to know the Lord on a deeper, intimate level.

By Sarah Layne, Sports Spectrum


 

Weekender: “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” Ephesians 6:16 (KJV)

Going Long

How often would we fight off the fiery darts that come at us on a daily basis if we exhibited or asked for the faith from God to persevere? Begin today to ask God to help you in this area so that you don’t succumb to the enemy’s plans to hold you down.