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Daily Devotional: Epic Fails

Daily Devotional Overview:

This 14-day reading plan explores the stories of men and women of the Bible who messed up big time, but people that God still chose to use for His purposes. Learn from some of the Bible’s heaviest hitters while being encouraged in your own walk with God.Daily Devotional: Epic Fails – Day 3

Key Scriptures:

  •  2 Samuel 11:1-27
  •  2 Samuel 24:1-25
  • 1 Kings 1:29

Devotional:

A boy–the youngest in a large family–chosen out of obscurity to be the next king of Israel. A teenager inexperienced in war up against an infamous giant; granted victory with a slingshot. A young man with access to the king and given in marriage to a princess. A soldier granted triumph over his enemies and the adoration of a country.

David was a man after God’s own heart–the only to be described so poetically–who had everything a man could ever want. He perseveres through every trial, holding firm to his faith in God in incredibly dark storms. Through his early battles as an adult, David didn’t waver or doubt his circumstances but believed that God would be good to him. And He was good, indeed. Rarely do we see such obvious favor on a person as we see on David.

After the many years as king, things began to take a turn for David; not because God’s favor diminished, but because David grew complacent. When David should have been at war, his lack of obedience left him in a vulnerable place that led him to temptation, and ultimately, sin. David had an affair with a married woman named Bathsheba, conceived a child with her, and had her husband killed in war.

No doubt being in the wrong place leaves us vulnerable to temptation, which can lead to sin if not careful. Thankfully God forgave David but it did cost him his child.

The fact that David also had many wives led to great trouble. With many children born into a divided family a family feud was inevitable. David’s eldest son raped his half-sister, and her full brother then killed the firstborn son when David would do nothing to reprove the man. That same son who committed murder would then drive David out of the city and attempt to overthrow him as king. These heartaches could have been avoided if David had stayed true to God’s word, but he let his desires for women get the best of him.

Another major fail of David is the census he conducts in 2 Samuel 24 which God had commanded to Moses not be done. As a result of giving into the temptation and playing into pride, God judged Israel for three days–70,000 men died. When the angel reached out his hand to destroy Jerusalem, God grieved and had mercy on His people.

David’s mistakes affected thousands of people, and ours affects others as well. No sin or mistake is kept hidden; they cannot remain only your burden. Through it all, however, God is good and He uses it for His purposes. I love what David shares at the end of His life as he reflects on God. In 1 Kings 1:29 he proclaims,

“And the king swore, saying, ‘As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my soul out of every adversity.’”

David made mistakes and he admits he’s been through a lot as a result, BUT, through it all God was there for him. And God is there for you.

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Daily Devotional: Epic Fails

Daily Devotional Overview:

This 14-day reading plan explores the stories of men and women of the Bible who messed up big time, but people that God still chose to use for His purposes. Learn from some of the Bible’s heaviest hitters while being encouraged in your own walk with God.Daily Devotional: Epic Fails – Day 3

Key Scriptures:

  • Judges 16:4-31

Devotional:

Samson was born to a woman who for many years was barren. But then an angel of the Lord appeared to her and told her she had conceived, and provided some guidelines for her and her son. The key rule she had to follow concerned her son, who was to save Israel from the Philistines. She was told to not let a razor touch his head, for he was to be a Nazarite.

Samson was born and did keep this one law for much of his life, although many of the unspoken Nazarite laws he did not. He married a Philistine woman and had sexual relations with women he was not married to. He ate honey from a dead animal, which would have been unclean. I also can’t help but pick up a hint of pride and disrespect for his parents. Perhaps his greatest weakness was women; he struggled with lust more than once.

However, God had divinely chosen Samson, and His favor was on the man for many years and indeed used him in many ways. From what we read in the Bible, Samson killed 1,030 Philistines before being captured by them. He made such a huge dent that he caught the attention of the Philistine leaders and was pursued by them on multiple occasions.

It’s not until he gives into his lust for Delilah that he is captured. Three times Delilah asks Samson what his weakness is, and three times he lies. Three times the Philistines rush in to capture Samson and each time he prevails. You’d think at this point Samson would dump her, or at least not tell Delilah his true source of strength. But he doesn’t, and the fourth time he is asked he does tell her where his strength comes from. At that, she cuts his hair when he’s sleeping and the Philistines capture him. The great Samson is blinded, mocked, and left to the status of a prisoner, all because of his lust for women and lack of obedience.

His hair begins to grow back, and at a party with thousands of the most powerful Philistines he prays to God for strength one final time to bring the building down in a final blow to Israel’s enemies. I’m so moved by his prayer because it’s the most humble and God-focused prayer he utters. Having been stripped from it all–physical strength, freedom, sight, pleasure, pride–Samson finally finds a spiritual strength he always lacked.

Samson’s epic fail was a thirst for the things of this world, fulfilling lust, and not learning from his past mistakes. His story shows us that pursuing these things will only bring us down and hurt us. That refusing to learn from our past will be our fall. Take cues from your pitfalls and draw boundaries that will protect you from repeating the past.

I’m thankful to see that Samson finished strong; he connected with God and went out victoriously. Even though he didn’t steward his gift well, God still graciously blessed him for His purposes and, in the end, used him greater than ever before. With his final breath, Samson killed more Philistines than he had in his whole life up to that moment.

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Daily Devotional: Epic Fails

Daily Devotional Overview:

This 14-day reading plan explores the stories of men and women of the Bible who messed up big time, but people that God still chose to use for His purposes. Learn from some of the Bible’s heaviest hitters while being encouraged in your own walk with God.Daily Devotional: Epic Fails – Day 3

Key Scriptures:

  • Exodus 32:1-35
  •  Numbers 12:1-16

Devotional:

Aaron and Miriam were the siblings of Moses and played a significant part in Israel’s journey out of Egypt. Aaron was appointed a prophet and Miriam a prophetess in the nation of Israel, leaders chosen purely out of God’s grace.

Their first major mistake–and it’s a big one–comes to play in Exodus 32 while Moses is on Mount Sinai receiving the 10 Commandments from God. While Moses is up there Aaron was left to oversee the nation. It’s really quite sad what happens next. Moses had been up on the mountain for a while and the people began to worry. So Aaron proposes they make a golden calf to worship. Moses is literally hearing from God about the sin of idolatry and the people are below doing this very thing.

The people form a golden calf and begin making offerings and worshiping it, which led to sin and immorality. God informs Moses of what’s happening and he is very angry, understandably. In fact, we learn in Deuteronomy 9:20 that God was so angry with Aaron He wanted to kill him until Moses interceded. But then Moses sees it all for himself and is angry as well, confronting Aaron. It gets worse here as Aaron blames the people and lies to say the calf appeared on its own in the fire (which Aaron had fashioned with his own hands).

I really want to shake my head at Aaron in disappointment and admonish his mistake because it’s so obvious what he did was wrong. But then I take a look at my own life and I can’t say I’m any better. Chances are you can’t either if you’re honest. I know I’ve had a time or two I lost sight of God–felt like He was distant–and out of fear or discouragement I turned to something unhealthy in this world.

Moving on, there is a moment in Numbers 12 when both Aaron and Miriam undermine and disrespect their brother Moses, who is the appointed leader over the people of Israel. I’m truly intrigued by this story because there are so many layers to it. On the surface they seem to be opposing Moses for marrying a Cushite; someone outside of their community. Perhaps they looked down upon Moses for marrying her? Another suggestion is that Miriam (who led the charge against Moses) was jealous her position as a female leader in the community would be threatened by his wife. Maybe it was an excuse for other ill feelings they had against Moses. Perhaps the best answer lies in their own envy of Moses’ leadership as stated in verse 2.

The Lord hears this conversation and immediately calls them and Moses together to address the situation and take up defense for Moses (a subtle reminder God takes up our cause!). At that God addresses their envy. Yes, they are prophets and He speaks to prophets through dreams and visions, but Moses is more than a prophet. With Moses alone does He talk with face to face. God makes it clear there is a distinct difference in His relationship with Moses. He then brings leprosy upon Miriam and she is cast out of the community for seven days.

Again, I can’t help but see Miriam and Aaron’s sin in my own past. Comparison, which leads to envy, inflicts us all at one point or another. May we be reminded to check our own comparison of others lest we become envious and sin in our heart, against others, and against God.

Aaron and Miriam made mistakes–idolatry, lying, envy–but God was still gracious, loving, and forgiving towards them and used them to be leaders in the nation of Israel in a very pivotal time in history.

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Daily Devotional: Epic Fails

Daily Devotional Overview:

This 14-day reading plan explores the stories of men and women of the Bible who messed up big time, but people that God still chose to use for His purposes. Learn from some of the Bible’s heaviest hitters while being encouraged in your own walk with God.Daily Devotional: Epic Fails – Day 3

Key Scriptures:

  • Exodus 2:11-15

Devotional:

A murderer isn’t often thought of as the first choice for spiritual leadership. In fact, we label those who fall into this dangerous category as the unforgivable and cast them to the fringe of society. However, God doesn’t operate as we do and His ways are higher than ours! Moses is a perfect example of this.

For the first 40 years of his life, Moses grew up in Pharaoh’s house where he had everything he could ever want–power, money, prestige, notoriety–yet like any man growing up in an idolatrous world, there was a major gap between who he was born to be and where he currently was.

There is a time in Moses’ life when he is living in Pharaoh’s house yet knows he is truly Hebrew. He’s out walking and observes an Egyptian slave driver beating a Hebrew. Moses murders the Egyptian and buries him in the sand. The next day he realizes there were witnesses and soon the news travels to Pharaoh, who attempts to kill Moses. Moses flees to the land of Midian and this is where his 40-year journey with God begins.

Moses, who had been one of the most powerful people in the world and had all the comforts he could ever want now lived in obscurity shepherding flocks for his father-in-law, Jethro. He spent long days and nights in the wilderness on his own; evenings under the stars contemplating life and his purpose as he sat with the animals. Conversations with God about the dreams in his heart and reconciling how he could be used for God’s glory out in the wilderness.

Moses spent a long time in Pharaoh’s house and in the world. I believe that Moses spent 40 years in obscurity so that God could pull those things from the world out in order to make Moses into the leader he would use to bring Israel out of captivity. We often fantasize Moses’ great years of ministry and leading Israel towards the Promised Land, yet we overlook his 40 years in the wilderness. We want his influence but not his preparation.

To you who feels lost in the desert, longing to see one dream come true, hold on. If you’re still bursting to move forward, take a moment to evaluate where you’re at. Chances are there is something from your time spent in the world God is trying to get out through some pruning.

God took a murderer from the world’s stage, sent him into obscurity overseeing sheep, and transformed that man into a great leader who would deliver a nation. Now that’s a powerful testimony if I’ve ever heard one.

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Daily Devotional: Epic Fails

Daily Devotional Overview:

This 14-day reading plan explores the stories of men and women of the Bible who messed up big time, but people that God still chose to use for His purposes. Learn from some of the Bible’s heaviest hitters while being encouraged in your own walk with God.

Key Scriptures:

  • Genesis 25:29-34
  •  Genesis 27:1-46

Devotional:

If there was ever a shady character in the Bible that God redeemed in a big way it was Jacob. The guy’s name literally means “deceiver” if that tells you anything. Today, we will take a look at this man who started out as a cheater and ended as the father of a nation.

Abraham had a son named Isaac, who had two sons named Esau and Jacob. The two sons were twin brothers born seconds apart, which is where it all started. Jacob came out of his mother’s womb clasping at the heel of his older brother Esau. From that point on, Jacob was not content to be who God had birthed him to be. He wanted the birthright and blessing that belonged to the firstborn, his older brother.

In Genesis 25 Esau comes home from a long day of hard work, starving. Jacob has stew but when Esau asks for some, Jacob says that if Esau wants some stew he has to sell his birthright to him. Aside from the fact that Esau made a dumb move, Jacob shows pretty lousy character here. The guy is willing to let his brother starve for a birthright–something that belonged to Esau–which is incredibly manipulative.

It gets worse. In Genesis 27, as their father Isaac lies on his deathbed, Jacob deceives his father into thinking he’s Esau in order to steal the blessing. He dresses up and talks like Esau; he even flat out lies to his father when asked who he is.

Rightly so, Jacob fears for his life upon stealing Esau’s blessing and he flees. But this is the start of God’s transformation in Jacob’s life. Over the next few chapters and decades, God teaches Jacob who is in control. Interestingly enough, Jacob himself ends up being deceived by his future father-in-law, Laban.

Jacob ends up facing many trials over the years, but God moves mightily in his life. In fact, he ends up restoring the relationship between Jacob and Esau. Perhaps the most transformative moment in Jacob’s life took place in Genesis 32 over one restless night. Heading back to Esau with his growing family, Jacob wrestles with God, and by the end of the experience, God renames Jacob to “Israel,” which means, “God strives,” “God rules,” “God heals,” or “he strives against God.”

At this pivotal point, Israel is forever changed after his experience with God almighty.

God can metaphorically rename you once you’ve wrestled with Him and declared a new way of life His way. He can and wants to transform you and your life completely! It’s okay if you wrestle with Him to get there. Ultimately He reigns and prevails, changing your life like no other can (not even yourself).

If there is one thing that echos from Jacob’s story to today is the transformative power of God. Jacob was a deceiver who eventually became the father of God’s chosen people, Israel. God birthed His nation from a manipulator who was willing to deceive his own family.

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Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional Overview:

In this daily devotional, you will reignite your motivation to dive into God’s Word as Pastor James MacDonald guides you through six things God Himself promises His Word to accomplish in those who hide it in their hearts. We’ll look at Psalm 19 and examine the reality that Scripture has the power to transform; bring wisdom, joy, & justice; enlighten; and stabilize its teachable readers.

Key Scriptures:

  • Hebrews 4:12

Devotional:

God Promises His Word to be Justice-Rendering

The judgments of the Lord set a path of justice through human history that will ultimately right every wrong and silence every rebel.

God’s Word promises justice. Deep within the heart of every person on the face of the earth is a sense of right and wrong and a longing for justice—both personally and in our world. God made us to look for and long for true justice.

Psalm 19:9b says, “The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether” (NKJV). Sometimes we might suppress that God-given hunger for justice, but then we see crime and evil in our society escalating at a sickening pace, and our yearning for justice can become terrifically difficult to handle.

So how do you cope with this? The only way I know is to keep in mind that we have a God of perfect justice.

“The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.” The word “judgments” describes God’s verdicts, pronouncements of consequence, and punishment for sin. When God makes a judgment, it is true and altogether righteous. Though the final judgment of God will happen in the future, the Bible tells us what His verdicts will be. God is not capricious like our human judges; He doesn’t operate according to His moods or personal circumstances. We can be confident that the Lord will judge fairly, precisely, and consistently with all He has told us in Scripture—at exactly the right time.

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Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional Overview:

In this daily devotional, you will reignite your motivation to dive into God’s Word as Pastor James MacDonald guides you through six things God Himself promises His Word to accomplish in those who hide it in their hearts. We’ll look at Psalm 19 and examine the reality that Scripture has the power to transform; bring wisdom, joy, & justice; enlighten; and stabilize its teachable readers.

Key Scriptures:

  • Psalms 73:2
  • Psalms 73:23-26

Devotional:

God Promises His Word to be Stabilizing

The fear of the Lord is without blemish and brings stability to every person in every generation who turns to Him.

Psalm 19:9a says, “The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever” (ESV). Fear is the attitude of the heart that seeks a right relationship to the fear source. When you have the fear of the Lord, you have something in your heart that makes you want to be in a right relationship with God. The fear of the Lord is like a wall around your behavior that hems you in and protects you from making bad choices. It’s the fear of the Lord that causes you to avoid certain behaviors that would displease Him and bring negative consequences.

The Bible is a book that instructs us on how to relate to God properly—that is, in the fear of the Lord.

Hebrews 10:31 tells us, “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (NASB). Yet into His hands we all will fall someday, and the Bible is the book that tells us how to get ready. If you fear God in this life, you will not have to fear Him in the life to come, because the fear of the Lord is clean. By that the Bible means that the fear of the Lord is “without blemish”; it is “undiminished, uncompromised, and without delusion or defilement.”

The Word of God is not only clean, but it is “enduring forever.” How badly we need a source of stability when circumstances shake our world. We never have to worry that God’s Word may be out of date or in need of revision; it is just as relevant as it was the day it was written. Circumstances may change, cultures and world leaders may come and go, but God’s Word is always current because it deals with two things that never change: the God who made us and the deepest needs of the human heart.

In every place, in every generation, in every century, in every millennium the Bible is a source of stability for all who turn to it.

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Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional Overview:

In this daily devotional, you will reignite your motivation to dive into God’s Word as Pastor James MacDonald guides you through six things God Himself promises His Word to accomplish in those who hide it in their hearts. We’ll look at Psalm 19 and examine the reality that Scripture has the power to transform; bring wisdom, joy, & justice; enlighten; and stabilize its teachable readers.

Key Scriptures:

  • Psalms 94:19

Devotional:

God Promises His Word to be Enlightening

The commands of God are so crystal-clear that they bring light into the darkness in every human heart.

God’s Word eliminates darkness. “The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes” (Psalm 19:8b, ESV). Commandments are orders or divine decrees—the things God insists that we do and keep on doing. One version translates pure as “radiant.” This is the idea of the absolute absence of impurity.

The world we live in is very dark, and the book God wrote has the power to dispel all that darkness and confusion. If you are struggling this moment with a lot of questions about your life and the world we live in—if you struggle to reconcile what you see with the existence of a loving God—you really must get into the Book where He explains all of that. If you do, without a doubt you will discover that “the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.”

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Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional Overview:

In this daily devotional, you will reignite your motivation to dive into God’s Word as Pastor James MacDonald guides you through six things God Himself promises His Word to accomplish in those who hide it in their hearts. We’ll look at Psalm 19 and examine the reality that Scripture has the power to transform; bring wisdom, joy, & justice; enlighten; and stabilize its teachable readers.

Key Scriptures:

  •  Psalms 139:23-24

Devotional:

God Promises His Word to be Transformative

The law of the Lord is so comprehensive that it’s able to totally transform the inner person.

Psalm 19:7 says, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul” (NKJV). I love that phrase, “the law of the Lord.” The word law means the Torah, “the law for life, rule for living.” When God’s Word is spoken of as law, it means the norm or the standard by which every action is measured. So whose law is it? The Bible is the law “of the Lord.”

God says about His own Word that it’s “perfect.” The word perfect means literally “all-sided” or “many-faceted.” It means “all encompassing” or “thorough in every respect.” In fact this “law of the Lord” is so comprehensive that we are told that it is effective in “converting the soul.”

What Scripture is telling us is that God’s Word is the answer to our soul problem. To paraphrase what is written: “God’s law is so totally comprehensive that it is able to convert a soul.” The word convert is fantastic. Some translations use the English word “revive” or “restore,” but the most accurate meaning is “transform.”

God promises that His law is so totally comprehensive that, whatever the condition of the individual soul, His Word can transform it from top to bottom, from inside to outside, from past to future.

Scripture changes you to the very core of who you are as a person.

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Daily Devotional Overview:

Hear from NFL athletes about their faith in action. In this five-day devotional, watch videos from NFL stars Drew Brees, Ryan Tannehill, Matthew Slater, Matt Forte and Demario Davis. They discuss topics such as the daily refreshment in God’s Word, prayer, salvation, baptism and the courage to tell others about Jesus. Included with these videos are daily devotionals written by author and speaker Randy Alcorn. We love bringing these devotionals to you. To see more sports and faith content please visit www.SportsSpectrum.com

Key Scriptures:

Devotional:

Day 5: The Courage to Share Jesus – Matt Forte

First, watch what Matt Forte has to say about The Courage to Share Jesus.

Next, read the message below from Randy Alcorn and meditate on the verses that follow.

Jesus did the hard work of redemption. He calls us to do our part: sharing the Good News with those who desperately need Him (which is everyone!).

I’ve shared Jesus with people on sidewalks, planes and tennis courts. Some friends think I’m a natural-born evangelist. But I’m not! I relate to Matt’s honest confession that evangelism can be uncomfortable, but God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. My biggest challenge is choosing to open my mouth. Once I do, the Lord graciously gives me the words.

Even the Apostle Paul requested that the Ephesian believers “pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the Gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should” (Ephesians 6:19–20, NIV). If Paul needed prayer for boldness, who doesn’t?

Suppose your unbelieving friend has been diagnosed with cancer. He’s on your heart, and you feel God wants you to share Christ with him. Does it take courage to do that? Absolutely. But compare it to the courage of martyrs around the world who are killed for publicly affirming Jesus!

I’ve asked myself while sitting next to someone on a plane, “If I share the gospel with this person, what’s the worst that can happen? That they disapprove of me or think I’m strange? If they do, so what?”

What’s more important: my momentary discomfort or the possibility of their eternal comfort?

When you know you need to share your faith with your friend or family member, ask people to pray for courage for you and a soft heart for him, then seek an opportunity and actually open your mouth. Once you start speaking the Good News, it gets easier because you’re committed. It’s easier when you remember it’s not about you – it’s about Jesus and the other person’s desperate need to know Him.

To me, there aren’t many joys comparable to leading someone to Christ. It’s thrilling and exhilarating. It’s also great to sow seeds of Good News that may not bear fruit until later. May we say with Paul, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16 ESV). And may we daily ask the Lord to give us opportunities to share His “good news of great joy” (Luke 2:10 ESV). Let’s prayerfully share that Good News, and trust God for the results!

If you got something out of this devotional and want to join us in taking the Gospel to the world through the lens of sport, please visit www.SportsSpectrum.com/membership

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