Thursday, January 31, 2008


Winning Edge Devotions Day 1

PSALM 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

It is hard to put into words how much I hurt when we lose. Sometimes, it is a playoff loss and we shed a lot of tears over a senior playing his last game. As a coach, I live with the emotions of winning and losing weekly. In sixteen years, I have tasted the highs of state championship wins and the devastation of last second losses.
In some strange way, these experiences are a blessing. I have had to learn about failure. I have to find a way to put the pain aside and keep moving. I have to learn how to keep loving my family and performing my duties.
I don’t find many people who deal a lot with failure. The parents at my school are very successful. As Americans, we love to win and have experienced success a lot more than failure. In 1999, I was coaching a team that experienced losing in a regular season game for the first time in four years. In 1998, that same team had a perfect season (15-0) to claim the State Championship!
At our team meeting the following Monday I told them, “If all the game of football had taught you was winning, then you missed out on one of its best lessons”. We have to learn how to lose. Coach Bear Bryant is often quoted as saying, “Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser.” And even though this quote gets a lot of laughs from the crowd, it hides a truth in life. We often lose, especially when it comes to really living life as God intended. I never want to like losing, in fact I hate it- but I better learn how to live with the reality that I am going to lose at times.
In Psalm 51, David had experienced devastating losses. In spite of historic wins and unprecedented success, David did the unthinkable. Not only did he commit adultery, but he also added deceit and murder to his dark thoughts and actions.
The entire Psalm outlines the spiraling cancer of sin and guilt. This proud champion had stopped depending on God and was slipping into unrelenting depression. After being confronted by Nathan, David realized his only hope- ‘I have to go to the Lord and cry for mercy’.
In spite of the intense feelings of failure, David reached out for his only hope. All he could offer was a broken heart. In tears and anguish, he humbly pleaded for a Savior!
Have you ever felt that broken? You had such good intentions and a great start, but once again you failed. You hear the voice of cynics telling you that you are a miserable failure. There may even be the voice of your enemy telling you that you will never win. Don’t give up! Cry out to the Lord and let Him get to work repairing all the brokenness and picking up the fragments of failure.
Our Lord is a God of new beginnings. He created the beauty of new mercies each morning and spoke the idea of forgiving seventy times seven! He wants to cleanse us and give us a new start. That includes…!
After a loss, you feel incredible depths of despair, but you have to get up. Christ will help you as you reach out to Him. He forgave David and He wants to restore you. There is an old saying, “It matters not if you try and fail and try and fail again. What matters is if you try and fail and fail to try again.” The day after a loss, I am up and ready to start working on a win.

Lord, I pray that for the next 30 days, You will show yourself as the God of New Beginnings. Help me experience the cleansing of grace and a willingness of spirit. These have to come from You, because I fell like such a loser. Teach me Your ways and give me Your heart!

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