Daily Devotional for Tuesday February 6, 2007

A Super Win for a Super Coach and Man of God

(1 Samuel 17:34-37 )

There's an old saying, > "Nice > guys finish last." I've never agreed with that statement and on Sunday > night it was once again proven to be wrong when the Indianapolis Colts > beat > the Chicago Bears 29-17 in Super Bowl 41. The Colts are lead by their > coach, Tony Dungy, who is the ultimate "nice guy" in sports. He doesn't > yell at his players, he doesn't unleash tirades strewn with curse words, > you'll never hear of Coach Dungy breaking furniture or attacking > cameramen. > In this "win at all costs" era of high-priced professional sports, Coach > Dungy actually believes faith and family comes before football. He lives > his faith on and off his job as the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. > > While the national media wanted to focus on the fact Dungy was the first > African-American head coach to win the Super Bowl, Dungy was much more > interested in letting people know that while he is proud of that > accomplishment, he wanted everyone to know that first and foremost he was > a > Christian man who loved Jesus Christ! He is an unashamed follower of > Christ > who is always willing to be part of any event that is designed to promote > the Christian faith. While Dungy appears to be timid and soft-spoken, he > is > a bold and powerful spokesman for the cause of Christ! > > It was not an easy road to that moment Sunday night as Tony Dungy hoisted > the Vince Lombardi Trophy over his head, symbolic of being the world > champion of professional football. For years he was passed over for head > coaching positions despite the fact he was clearly qualified to take the > next step from being a coordinator to a head coach. Finally in 1996, he > got his break when the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers hired Dungy after their > top two choices turned down the job. Dungy inherited a franchise that had > a > history of losing, one of the worst in all of pro sports. > > However, in 6 seasonS, Dungy turned the Bucs from a perennial loser into a > winner. Despite 3 successive trips of the playoffs, he was fired when > ownership determined that Dungy simply couldn't win the big game. The > very > next season, with Dungy's successor John Gruden at the helm, the Bucs won > the Super Bowl with virtually the same players. This only fueled the > conversation that Tony Dungy was a good coach but he simply couldn't win > the > big game. > > Coach Dungy was not out of work long. He was immediately hired by the > Indianapolis Colts who had a great offense but a horrible defense. > Dungy's > specialty was defense and he came to Indianapolis with the job of > rebuilding > the Colts defense and leading them to the Super Bowl. The Colts have had > much success in the 5 years Dungy has been their head coach. Over the > past > 3 seasons, they have been one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl, but > always fell short. Again, the talk of Dungy not being able to win the big > game was always front and center with each season-ending playoff loss. > > ALL OF THAT TALK IS NOW OVER. TONY DUNGY HAS NOT ONLY WON THE SUPER BOWL, > BUT BASED ON HIS COACHING RECORD, HAS NOW ALL BUT ASSURED HIMSELF A PLACE > IN > PRO FOOTBALL'S HALL OF FAME. MANY WILL POINT TO HIM BEING THE FIRST > AFRICAN-AMERICAN TO WIN THE SUPER BOWL, BUT TONY DUNGY WILL TELL YOU THAT > WHILE HE CONSIDERS IT AN HONOR TO BE ABLE TO BREAK THAT BARRIER, HE IS > MOST > PROUD OF HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST! > > Many of you are fighting battles in your life today, just like Tony Dungy > has fought in his life. I want to share with you today a word of > encouragement to help you see victory in whatever battle you may be facing > in your life today. While you have to sit down and formulate a battle > plan, > a strategy to win, the most important element of all is having the > confidence to win. YOU CANNOT WIN A BATTLE IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE YOU CAN! > Let > me say that again. YOU CANNOT WIN A BATTLE IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE YOU CAN! > Before you sit down to put together your battle plan, you must first have > the confidence that you CAN WIN! > > Most of the national experts said the Chicago Bears would beat the > Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl. Had the Indianapolis coaches and > players gone into that football game with that attitude, there is no > battle > plan in the world that would have allowed them to win that game. I > guarantee > you that every expert in the day of David gave him no chance to defeat > Goliath. Had David went into that battle with that attitude, there is no > way > that he would have defeated Goliath. YOU CANNOT WIN A BATTLE IF YOU DON'T > BELIEVE YOU CAN! > > So, the logical question is where does this belief come from? It comes > from > our past experiences with God. You see my friend, the Bible proclaims that > God is immutable, never changing. It tells us that Jesus Christ is the > same > yesterday, today, and forever. What that means is the same God who led you > to victory in the past is the same God who will lead you to victory > today!!! > The great warriors of Israel had NO CONFIDENCE that they could beat > Goliath, > but David did. How could this young man, a non-warrior, have such > confidence? Because of his PAST EXPERIENCES WITH GOD! > > In the anchor verses for this Devotional found in 1 Samuel Chapter 17, > David > tells Saul that he can beat Goliath because in the past, as he was > watching > his father's sheep, he had to kill a bear and lion that had tried to kill > the sheep. He simply said that the same God who gave him victory over the > bear and lion was the same God that would give him victory over Goliath. > David had the full confidence in knowing that the same God who led him to > victory in the past was the same God that would lead him to victory now. > > My word to you today is that no matter what your "giant" is, the same God > who delivered you in the past is the same God who will deliver you today! > I > don't care what your battle is, God won't let you down. Does that mean > that > you can just sit back and achieve victory? Of course not. You still have > to > prepare a battle plan, you still have to go out and execute your battle > plan > just like David did but the key is, you can go into that battle with the > full confidence and knowledge that the same God who led you to victory in > the past is the same God that will lead you to victory today!!! > > I love you and care about you so much. I hurt today because I know that > many > of you are facing incredible battles in your life but I want you to take a > few moments right now and remember the battles that you have had in the > past. Remember those times in your life when you had to depend totally on > God and how He led you to victory. Encourage yourself today by thinking of > those impossible situations that you faced in past years, situations that > looked overwhelming. Remember how you called out to God for help and how > God > gave you a plan of attack and as you faithfully executed that plan, you > got > victory over that situation. THAT IS THE SAME GOD WHO WILL LEAD YOU TO > VICTORY OVER WHATEVER SITUATION YOU FACE TODAY!!! > > I will be praying for you today, praying for you to see victory in > whatever > battles that you are facing. As you look to God for a battle plan, as you > look to God to help you execute that battle plan, never forget that the > same > God who has led you to victory in the past, is the same God who will lead > you to victory today. Tony Dungy is a winner. Not because he wins > football > games, or because his team won the Super Bowl, but because of his > relationship with Jesus Christ. It is his faith in Christ that has seen > him > through the difficult times and now to victory. Today, it is your faith > in > Christ that will see you through your difficult times and lead you to > victory. HAVE THE CONFIDENCE TO WIN!!!