Sunday, August 18, 2019

What Could Be Better Financial Security Than That?


A few years after we got married, Cindy told me what she was thinking on our wedding day as she walked down the aisle, I hope he will take care of me! In 1977, I had a part-time janitor’s job making $3 an hour while I attended seminary. What could be better financial security than that?

I had preached four sermons in my life by the time I had graduated from seminary. You’d think that hundreds of churches would come knocking at my door begging me to be their pastor. But not even a single church called. What could be better financial security than that?

After graduating, we loaded up a U-Haul truck and moved to Garden City, Kansas to plant a church. We had only been there one time, had no job, only a few dollars saved, and no place to stay. What could be better financial security than that? 

But we did trust God to provide for us. We never missed a meal, paid our bills on time, and constructed a church building debt-freeIt was like when Jesus sent out His disciples to preach and said, “Take nothing for your trip, neither a walking stick, bag, bread, money, or extra clothes” (Luke 9:3). 
Later He asked them to recall when He sent them out empty-handed: “‘When I sent you out without money belt and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?’ They said, ‘No, nothing’” (Luke 22:35). God provided everything they needed.

He promised to provide for those who trust Him. What could be better financial security than that? www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com  www.makinglifecount.net 
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Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174
www.makinglifecount.net  Twitter: @KentCrockett
www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Try Doing the Opposite


Willard Harley in his book His Needs, Her Needs says relationships work like a bank account where you make deposits and withdrawals. Deposits are pleasant and friendly interactions with others, like smiling and speaking words of encouragement. Withdrawals are angry and hurtful encounters with others, such as frowning, criticizing, and arguing. If you’re making more deposits than withdrawals with an individual, you'll have a replenishing relationship. But if you’re making more withdrawals than deposits it will become a draining relationship and it will eventually go bankrupt.

In a Seinfeld episode, George Costanza was frustrated because every decision he made had turned out to be wrong. Jerry says, "Here's your chance to do the opposite. If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right." George realizes Jerry is on to something. If he acted completely opposite of his natural reactions, he might have better results. George said, "Yes! I will do the opposite!" By doing the opposite he found every situation always turned out in his favor.

It was Jesus, not Jerry, who said to "do the opposite" in Luke 6:27-28.
“When people hate you (withdrawal), do good to them (deposit).
When people curse you (withdrawal), bless them (deposit).
When people mistreat you (withdrawal), pray for them (deposit)”
In other words, respond to your adversary in the opposite way you would naturally react.

To make a valid deposit in another person's account, it must be in a currency that's acceptable to the other person's bank. What you like to receive may not be what others like to receive. My wife's "relationship bank" likes to receive flowers as deposits. However my bank doesn't accept flowers. My bank likes to sports paraphernalia as deposits. To build a relationship, give them something they would like to receive.

You can turn a bad marriage into a good one by building up the account balance. Stop making withdrawals (arguing) and make ongoing deposits into your spouse's relationship bank (having fun together). If you’ll make more deposits than withdrawals, the relationship will change from negative to positive. And you can take that to the bank. www.makinglifecount.net
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Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174
www.makinglifecount.net  Twitter: @KentCrockett
www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com

Sunday, August 4, 2019

The End of Your Rope is the Beginning of Hope


Do you live where never is heard an encouraging word and the skies are cloudy all day? And no one appreciates you, right? I hear ya. Sometimes you must get to the end of your rope to experience God in a new way.

During the 1930s, dozens of men were holding ropes to a dirigible (an airship similar to a blimp) to keep it from floating away. Suddenly a gust of wind caught one end of the dirigible, lifting it high off the ground. Some men immediately let go of their ropes and fell safely to the ground. But one man kept clinging to the rope as the nose of the dirigible arose to greater heights. He continued to dangle high in the air for forty-five minutes until he was rescued. Reporters later asked him how he was able to hold on to the rope for so long. “I didn’t hold on to the rope,” he replied. “I just tied it around my waist and the rope held on to me.”

Has discouragement drained every ounce of energy out of your heart? Does the end of your rope mean the end of your hope? Nope. Psalms 42:5 says, "Why are you in despair O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God." 

The end of your rope is the beginning of hope. It’s the place where you stop trusting in you and start trusting in God. The end of your rope is where you discover that God’s mercy and grace to hold you up. Instead of letting go of your rope, let the rope hold you up. Put your hope in God. www.makinglifecount.net 
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Making Life Count Ministries
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Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174
www.makinglifecount.net  Twitter: @KentCrockett
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Sunday, July 28, 2019

Crosses Traded Here

According to legend, a Christian who was weary from carrying his cross passed through a small village. He noticed a sign in front of a store that read, "Crosses Traded Here." Thinking his load was unfair and his cross too heavy, he decided to enter the store. He was amazed to discover it was filled wall to wall with crosses. He told the owner, "My cross is really heavy. I’d like to trade it for a different one."

The owner replied, "Very well. You can trade your cross for any one of these crosses carried by the saints throughout the ages. Choose the easiest one."

The man compared the crosses for size and comfort. He picked one up, but it was much heavier than his. The next cross was even heavier. He kept picking up crosses but they were all too heavy. Finally, he came to the last cross and picked it up with ease. "I'll trade my cross for this one," he told the owner. "But sir," the owner replied, "that is the cross you carried in here!" (Slaying Your Giants p.161, $7.99)

Jesus said to take up your cross daily (Luke 9:23). But what does that mean? Some people wrongly believe that carrying your cross are the burdens God adds to your load for following Him. NOT TRUE! Carrying your cross means there are people in this world who will persecute you for following Jesus. The world hated Jesus so much that they nailed Him to a cross, and they will also try to crucify His followers through hate, slander, and persecution (John 15:18). "For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you and example to follow in His steps" (1 Peter 2:21).

If you think your cross is too heavy, remember that God will give you the grace and love to withstand the hate you are receiving. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).
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Making Life Count Ministries
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www.makinglifecount.net  Twitter: @KentCrockett
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Sunday, July 21, 2019

Have You Been Conditioned to Respond?


Does the name Pavlov ring a bell? Ivan Pavlov proved that two stimuli repeatedly linked together can produce a conditioned response. He observed that dogs would salivate when they were about to be fed. Pavlov rang a bell each time prior to feeding the dogs so they would associate the bell-ringing with dinner time. This conditioned them to salivate in the anticipation of being fed because bell ringing and eating were linked together.

This explains why you crave popcorn when you go to the movies. You’ve eaten popcorn so many times as you’ve watched movies that popcorn munching and movie watching are connected together. Now you cannot watch a movie without eating popcorn—and you’ll even pay outrageous prices to get it!

Let’s suppose a dog named Fido was frequently beaten by his master. The recurrent blows conditioned him to associate the stick with pain. One day a boy picked up a stick to play fetch with him. When the dog sees him with stick in hand, a bell rings in his mind and he runs away with his tail between his legs.

Now, replace Fido’s name with your name, and replace the stick with hurtful words. After someone has repeatedly mistreated you, you’ve been conditioned to either fight back or run away. Husbands and wives who continually argue and fight have been conditioned to react to each other. They’ll say, “You always (fill in the blanks)” or “You never…”

But God wants you to follow different instructions: “Not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead” (1 Pet. 3:9). Don’t let abusive people condition you to react in the wrong way. Instead of returning the insult, turn it around and condition them to soften their hearts with your blessings. It’s God’s way. www.makinglifecount.net
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Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
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www.makinglifecount.net  Twitter: @KentCrockett
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Sunday, July 14, 2019

What If The Words You Say Come to Pass?


When George Foreman was a small boy, his father planted a seed of greatness in his mind about his future. His dad often raised George’s hands over his head as if I had just won a boxing match, and he’d shout, “George Foreman, heavyweight champion of the world! Stronger than Jack Johnson. Hits like Jack Dempsey!” (George Foreman, God in My Corner, p.116)

He planted an idea in his mind at 4 years old and continued saying it until he was a teenager. His words became reality. George became boxing's Heavyweight Champion of the World—twice!

When Gideon was hiding from the Midianites, an angel appeared and said, “The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior” (Judges 6:12). Valiant warrior? He hadn’t even fought a battle yet! But that angel could see his future and planted the idea in his mind of what he would become. Gideon defeated the Midianites and led Israel as a judge for forty years. And it all began with declaring him to be a courageous warrior.

Parents can shape their children’s destinies by speaking encouraging words about what they can do, almost like a prophecy about their futures. Fathers who lived during the Old Testament days would bless their children concerning their futures. They believed their prophetic words would come to pass one day, which they did.

Don’t curse your children by saying, “You can’t do anything right.” Instead, speak words of blessing to them, “You’re going to do well in life. God has good plans for you!” www.makinglifecount.net
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Making Life Count Ministries
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www.makinglifecount.net  Twitter: @KentCrockett
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Monday, July 8, 2019

Softball Team Helps Their Opponent Win


An incredible display of sportsmanship occurred when Western Oregon played Central Washington University in 2008. At stake was a bid to the NCAA’s Division II playoffs. With Central Washington leading 2-1, Western Oregon’s Sara Tucholsky hit an apparent three-run homerun. All she had to do was run around the bases.

But when Tucholsky reached first base she collapsed, having torn a ligament in her knee. She couldn’t finish rounding the bases and her run wouldn’t count. The rules prohibited her teammates from helping her around the bases. If they touched her, she would be called out. 

But then a player on the opposing team, Mallory Holtman, asked the umpire if the rules disallowed the other team from helping her. The umpire said nothing in the rulebook prohibited them from assisting her.

Holtman and a teammate picked up Tucholsky and resumed her homerun walk, pausing at each base to let her touch the bag with her uninjured leg. “We started laughing when we touched second base,” Holtman said.
“I wondered what this must look like to other people. The entire Western Oregon team was in tears.” “My whole team was crying,” Tucholsky said. “Everybody in the stands was crying. My coach was crying.”

Western Oregon won the game 4-2. Central Washington forfeited the playoffs so they could help their injured opponent. Some things, like helping a hurting person, are more important than winning ball games. (Slaying Your Giants, p.112, $7.99)

Jesus said, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:39). When you swap places with others to feel how they hurt, you've taken the first step toward loving your neighbor as yourself. www.makinglifecount.net
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Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174
www.makinglifecount.net  Twitter: @KentCrockett
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