Daily Devotional for Sunday March 18, 2018

NCAA Basketball Tournament and a Word of Encouragement for You Today

NCAA Basketball Tournament and a word of encouragement for YOU today!!!

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***DAILY PERSONAL PRAYER FOR YOU: Dear Lord, help me to never forget how each life is from you and precious. In this culture that puts little value on a human life, let ME stand for you and the fact ALL LIFE IS FROM GOD! May I find courage and strength to never waiver or fail to speak up for this most precious of all gifts! In the name of Jesus I pray. AMEN!

Last Friday night the University of Maryland-Baltimore County became the first No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1 seed in the history of the NCAA men's basketball tournament, upsetting Virginia 74-54. For those who play sports or enjoy watching sports, you will recognize this next phrase. It is something coaches often tell their players before a big game, like I am sure the coach of UMBC told his team before going out to take on the 1 seed in this year’s NCAA tournament..."Leave it all on the field."

It basically means to give everything you have. Don't hold anything back. A sporting event has a predetermined amount of time in which it is played. The goal is to give your very best effort in that amount of time, since when the event is over, it is too late to effect the outcome. In that amount of time, you have to give everything you have to help your team be victorious. There is no reason to hold back, since when the event is over, it won't matter.

How much our Christian life is like a sporting event, YET OF INCREDIBLY GREATER SIGNIFICANCE! We have a predetermined amount of time . . . our life. When it is over, it is too late. The only difference in this analogy is that God is the official clock-keeper, and we do not have the advantage of knowing how much time is left.


Can you imagine a football team playing a game when they did not know how much time was left on the clock. The game could end at any time. A strategy designed for a 60-minute contest would dramatically change, and coaches would be looking to score on every play, since they never would know when it would be their last play.

At this point, you may be a little confused about what point I am trying to get across to you today. It is simply this. While so many things in the world are distracting us and taking our focus off the Lord, the simple fact is that we are here to serve and glorify Him with our lives. THAT purpose must never be lost in our daily lives. Achieving that goal must never be forgotten in the business, the hustle and bustle of this world we live in.

We are very much like an athletic team in the sense we are here to win, win for Jesus. By accepting Him into your heart and life, you have already won your battle for the eternal destination of your soul, but the game does not end there. You are now part of a team, God's team, and the team has a goal to share the message of hope and love through His Son Jesus Christ. As part of that team, you are expected to do your part.

Let me say right up front. I get so much email from people who are down on themselves because they feel they don't do enough. Let me say this very clearly. GOD DOES NOT EXPECT YOU TO BE WHO HE HAS NOT CREATED YOU TO BE, GOD DOES NOT EXPECT YOU TO GIVE WHAT HE HAS NOT GIVEN YOU, AND GOD DOES NOT EXPECT YOU TO DO THINGS HE HAS NOT GIVEN YOU THE ABILITY TO DO.

This time every year the NCAA Basketball Tournament is held. Sixty-four teams start out, though they have added a 4 pre-tourney play-in games in recent years. One of the wonders of this tournament is the small, mostly unknown schools who do well. They are able to compete with larger schools, who have better players because they play a complete-team game. Each player has his role, accepts that role, and plays to the best of his ability.

As part of God's team, we too have a role to play. God has given us gifts and talents to play the role He calls us to each day. Through our lives He will often change that role, but will always equip us and make us adequate to perform the job He has called us to play. Rather than focus on others and their roles, let us concentrate on the role He has called us to play and do our very best.

I love you and care about you very much. God has made each one of us special. Not only are we created in His image, but we are part of God's team. The great thing about God's team is NOBODY sits on the bench. We are ALL in the game, ALL the time! My word for you today is, "Leave it all on the field." You see my friend, when the game is over for us as individuals, it is over.

We don't know how much time we have left to compete, to serve Him. So every morning we must wake up, get out on the field of play, and give everything we have. Too long, God's team has dogged it. That is an athletic term for not giving their best effort. Too many of God's players have been resting on the sidelines. Too many of God's players are back in the locker room watching TV, having a cold drink, and taking it easy.

There is nothing wrong with taking some time out from time to time to rest, but the battle rages on, the game continues, and now more than ever, God needs His team on the field competing with everything they have! Some may say, "We already know that our team wins at the end, why should we try so hard?” Fair question. The answer is the people on the other team. Not only do we know God wins, but we know what happens to those on the losing team. THAT is our motivation for fighting every day, to help as many on the other team as possible come over to God's team.

I will be praying for you today. Let this word today be a wake-up call, a call to action. Get out on the field and give God 100% of your effort. We don't know how long we have to play, so don't hold anything back.


In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ, Bill Keller