Eagles Basketball Club: Devotional

Tuesday, March 12
Praise in Defeat



Praise in Defeat

Ready: 

“…The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”
-
Job 1:21 (NIV)
 

Set: 

After watching Texas quarterback Colt McCoy succeed for four years, not many would have predicted that his college career would end this way. Four years of preparation and hard work. (Five, if you count his time as a redshirt.) Four years of sacrifice and dedication. Four years of hoping and dreaming of hoisting the ultimate trophy. All of it came to one last shot at the national title. By the fifth play of the game, it was over. McCoy went down with a shoulder injury that took him out of the game he’d waited so long to play.

But if there ever was an example of faith and character, Colt McCoy displayed it last night. Try to imagine his disappointment and absolute helplessness as he stood on the sidelines watching his team compete without him. Absolutely heartbreaking. For even the strongest of Christians, it would have been an unbelievable test of faith. I know that if I had been in his shoes, I would have asked God why a thousand times and probably shaken my fist at the sky.

In the postgame interview, however, McCoy gave an example of true faith. “I never ask why,” he said. “God is in control of my life, and I’m standing on the Rock.”

“What? Come on, Colt! Aren’t you angry at God? Aren’t you sick to your stomach over what was taken away from you? This was your game! This was your time!” Nope. He was the picture of faith and humility, praising God for His sovereignty and paying tribute to his competitors and teammates.

There’s a similar situation outlined in the Bible, and it involves a man named Job. He had it all: wealth, family, health and status. In an unbelievable story, God allows Satan to strip everything away from Job because He knows that Job will remain faithful to Him. After losing livestock, servants and even his children, Job responds with one of the most remarkable statements in Scripture: “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised” (v. 1:21).

Sound familiar? I wonder if Colt McCoy had been reading Job in his quiet times this week.

Like Job, McCoy received an undesired and unplanned outcome. And, from his response, we can learn a great lesson. Yes, he was brokenhearted. You could see that in the emotion on his face and hear it in the quiver of his voice. But as a man of faith, he realized that he had been given a greater opportunity to model faith through disappointment.

It would have been very easy for McCoy to praise God while holding a trophy. While that would have been a great testament to the Lord, I think what he said last night after the game was a thousand times more powerful, if for no other reason than it was a thousand times more difficult.

At one time or another, life will bring us all to this point. We’re all going to be surprised by painful situations that we don’t plan. When those times come, how will we respond? Will we turn on God in anger for not giving us what we wanted? Or, will we respond out of humility and faith, knowing that our Lord IS in control and that He loves us regardless of situation and circumstance. Will we truly believe that He works in all things for our good (Romans 8:28) even when we can’t see or understand His plan?

Whatever you are going through today—whatever disappointments or losses you are experiencing, take the opportunity to evaluate your faith and to praise God. Ask Him to help you trust Him and be a model of faith to those around you. Remember, the world is watching. 

Go: 

1. When has life dealt you unexpected disappointment? How did you respond?
2. Have you ever questioned God when He gave you a different outcome than you desired?
3. How was Colt McCoy’s display of faith perhaps more powerful in defeat than in victory?
4. How can you model faith in disappointment today? 

Workout: 

Many of the Psalms, including 10-14
Psalm 113
Isaiah 61:1-3
Romans 8:28 



Tuesday, March 12
A Reason to Keep on Going



A Reason to Keep on Going

Ready: 

Let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and run with endurance the race that lies before us. — Hebrews 12:1

Set: 

Maybe it’s my athletic background as a player and as a coach, but there is  something in me that dislikes the word quit. Of course, at one time or another in our lives, we have all had to face that word in choices we have made. There will always be difficult circumstances in life—some so bad that it is hard to see an answer. It is at those moments that we are faced with the alternative of quitting. The world would make that choice easy, asking,“If you don’t like the way things are going, why don’t you just quit?” It applies to our marriages, our relationships, our jobs, and even to our faith.

At my first coaching job, I had a poster that made a difference in my life. It showed a football player at the end of a tough game—one his team was most certainly losing. He was dirty, tired, and sitting on the bench. His helmet was on the ground and his head was lowered, almost between his legs. He was whipped! The caption at the top of the poster read, “I quit!” At first glance it seemed like a terribly depressing scene. But as you looked closer, your eyes were drawn to the bottom right hand corner, and there could be found the message. In the corner was an empty cross and under it the words, “I didn’t!”

In our dark moments—those moments when we lose hope—we must remember that Jesus Christ never quit on us. When He was at His lowest, His love for us was greater than His temptation to stop. When we need a reason to keep on going—to not give up or quit—remember that the cross is empty. Jesus is not there any more. He is standing by us, ready to carry us, and He will never quit loving us. Now that’s a reason to keep on going!

Go: 

1. How does Christ empower you when things look hopeless?
2. How do you handle a player who wants to quit?

Workout: 

Extra Reading: Romans 5:1–11

Overtime: 

Lord, thank You for Christ, who never gives up on us! Amen.



Tuesday, May 18
Dirty Paws



Dirty Paws
Monday, May 17th, 2010

READY: 
"'Son,' he said to him, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'"
-Luke 15:31-32

SET: 
I once overheard of a group of coaches discussing what they were going to do with a certain player who had problems following the team rules. He’d had plenty of issues, but the final straw came when they found out he was caught up in drugs. Some of the coaches wanted to kick the young man off the team, but the head coach did not. He justified keeping the young man on the team by telling this story…

“I once had a new puppy,” the head coach said. “It would come into the house and track mud all over the place. My wife was very upset, to say the least. One day, I’d had enough. The dog had to go. But then I started thinking. I realized that I’d really not worked with or taught that puppy much of anything. The reason he was tracking mud in the house was because I had failed to do my job.”

The rest of the coaches listened as he told this story. And as the head coach finished, he related to puppy back to this young player. “Before we turn our backs on this young man, I want us to ask ourselves if we can honestly say that we’ve done everything we can to help him learn how to be a quality young man.”

In Luke 15:11-32, we read “The Parable of the Lost Son.” The lost son is just like the coach’s troubled player and his muddy dog. They all had dirty paws. But even with our filth and sin, Jesus chooses not to give up on us. He continues to love us no matter what we do or how far we fall. And, in life, we have the opportunity to extend the same enduring love to those around us. We don’t have to give up on people when they fall short. Christ will give us the strength and wisdom to know how to keep loving others just as He keeps loving us.

Today, when we see someone who is struggling—maybe a teammate of ours—may we not turn our backs on them just because they have dirty paws.