Sunday, December 9, 2018

Parable of Two Christmas Trees


Syndicated columnist Mike Royko once wrote about a poor couple shopping for a Christmas tree. On Christmas Eve they went to a tree lot that was about to close. They couldn’t afford a nice tree so they asked if the owner would sell them two of the worst looking trees for $3. He agreed to the nominal price for the sad pair of sparse spruce.

On Christmas Day the tree lot owner walked by the couple's apartment and saw a beautifully decorated tree through the window. Overcome by curiosity, he knocked on the door to find out what happened, and then learned “the secret.” The couple explained how they took the two trees and tied them together with wire. Each had one very bare side, but when merged together they created a full tree.

Reflecting on his wife who had died six years earlier, Royko finished the column with these words: “So that’s the secret. You take two trees that aren’t perfect, that have flaws…that maybe nobody else would want. But if you put them together just right, you can come up with something really beautiful. Like two people, I guess.” (One More Time, Mike Royko, 2000, p.185).

This is a picture of God’s intent for marriage where “the two shall become one flesh” (Mark 10:8). Two flawed people can make a better couple, not by arguing about their differences but by combining the best qualities of both people. Kind of like two Christmas trees, I guess.
****************************************************************************************************
Receive these devotionals (free) by email: You can subscribe in the box on the right at www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com (Your email will not be given out. You’ll receive an email when the new devotional is posted)

Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174
www.makinglifecount.net  Twitter: @KentCrockett

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Taking a Big Chance


In 1991, a Cuban pilot named Orestes Perez defected to the United States in a Soviet-made MiG jet. He told his wife, “Remember, even if it takes years, I will come back for you and my children.” He went to the news media, the United Nations, President Bush, and even Mikhail Gorbachev for help to bring his family to U.S., but got none.

Finally, he took matters into his own hands in December 1992. Perez borrowed a twin-engine Cessna 310 and flew out of a Miami airport to Cuba. He knew he could get shot down by flying into Cuban airspace, so he flew low to avoid radar. He landed the plane in Cuba on a two-lane highway in the middle of traffic where his family was waiting for him. A lady had traveled to Cuba with a hand-written note of instructions for his family to be walking down the road in orange shirts. When he landed his wife and two small sons ran to the plane, jumped inside, and flew back to Miami.

Fidel Castro branded Perez as a traitor and condemned him to death. But Perez said, “It was one chance in a million to sneak into Cuba and land on a busy road between cars. The possibility of being captured or gunned down was a high risk. But I was dying every day without my family.”

Sometimes you must be willing to take a big risk to do what is right. You must put your life on the line to do what God calls you to do. Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it” (Luke 9:23-24). Take the risk to follow Jesus. It’s worth it. www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com
****************************************************************************************************
Would you please consider giving a year-end gift to Making Life Count Ministries? All gifts are tax deductible. You can give by check or CLICK HERE to give by credit card.
     Our ministry receives 300,000 page views every year from all over the world.
     Over 27, 000 people receive our Devotionals through Twitter.
     Our Devotional page has over 337,000 page views.

Receive these devotionals (free) by email: You can subscribe in the box on the right at www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com (Your email will not be given out. You’ll receive an email when the new devotional is posted)

Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174
www.makinglifecount.net  Twitter: @KentCrockett

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

How to Change Someone's Mind


Have you ever changed tried to change someone else’s mind? I’ve never seen a debate team convince the opposing debate team to change their mind. Trying to force others to change their minds doesn’t work. You can’t change a mind that doesn't want to be changed.

For example, Aristotle believed that the heavier the object, the faster it would fall to earth. In 1589, it’s said that Galileo went to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and dropped two objects of different weights at the same time. They both landed at the same moment, disproving Aristotle’s theory. But some people living at that time refused to change their minds.

Dale Carnegie said, “Those convinced against their will are of the same opinion still.” In other words, a person’s heart must change before the mind will change. You cannot force a person to change what they believe but here are some things that will help.

1. Correct Information. Most people who had believed Aristotle’s theory did change their minds when they were presented with correct information. They had to admit that what they had previously believed was incorrect. Meaningful change comes from examining actual facts and not a questionable theory, no matter how popular it may be.

2. Hitting bottom. Some people have to suffer harsh consequences before they’ll change their mind and behavior. The rebellious prodigal son didn’t change until he “came to his senses” when he was eating with the pigs (Luke 15:17). It’s called learning lessons the hard way.

3. Unconditional love. Nothing can melt a hardened heart like unconditional love. An enemy is someone who thinks differently than you do, and Jesus told us to love our enemies (Luke 6:27). How can we love them? “For you yourselves are taught by God to love one another” (1 Thess. 4:9). God will show you how.

4. Pray for them. Why did Jesus tell us to pray for those who mistreat us? Obviously, it’s because prayer has something to do with changing them. He’s responding to our prayers by working on that person’s heart. When the heart changes, the mind will also change. www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com
****************************************************************************************************
Would you please consider giving a year-end gift to Making Life Count Ministries? All gifts are tax deductible. You can give by check or CLICK HERE to give by credit card.
     Our ministry receives 300,000 page views every year from all over the world.
     Over 27, 000 people receive our Devotionals through Twitter.
     Our Devotional page has over 337,000 page views.

Receive these devotionals (free) by email: You can subscribe in the box on the right at www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com (Your email will not be given out. You’ll receive an email when the new devotional is posted)

Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174
www.makinglifecount.net  Twitter: @KentCrockett

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thanks but No Thanks


It was the day after Thanksgiving. A family sat down to finish the leftover turkey and dressing and to say the blessing for the meal. One of the children said, “Hey, wait a minute, we don’t need to pray. We already thanked God for this yesterday!” It’s okay to thank God more than once for the same blessing. I’ve thanked God thousands of times for saving me, for my family, for His provision, and hundreds of other things.

But I make sure that I thank God for these things from my heart. If you ask people if they’re thankful, they’ll say, “Of course I’m thankful.” But you'd never know it by how many times they complain about things. They thank God for the food before they eat but then complain about the meal. I call it, “Thanks, but no thanks.” They’re saying thankful words but they aren’t grateful in their hearts. Jesus said, “This people honors me with their lips but their hearts are far away from Me” (Matt. 15:8).

The Lord wants us to be thankful because He loves to hear our appreciation for what He has done for us. God has given us far more blessings than we’ve ever thanked Him for. Paul writes, “In everything give thanks for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:18). God tells us to be thankful in every circumstance because He’s more interested in raising thankful children than giving us a perfect set of circumstances. 

So don’t wait until Thanksgiving to give thanks to God. Start thanking Him today for all the things He has done for you. He’s waiting to hear your appreciation. Just make sure that it’s coming from your heart.
****************************************************************************************************
Would you please consider giving a year-end gift to Making Life Count Ministries? All gifts are tax deductible. You can give by check or CLICK HERE to give by credit card.
     Our ministry receives 300,000 page views every year from all over the world.
     Over 27, 000 people receive our Devotionals through Twitter.
     Our Devotional page has over 337,000 page views.

Receive these devotionals (free) by email: You can subscribe in the box on the right at www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com (Your email will not be given out. You’ll receive an email when the new devotional is posted)

Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174
www.makinglifecount.net  Twitter: @KentCrockett

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Don't Let the Bear in Your Tent


A few years ago a man went camping in Glacier National Park in Montana. Campers should never take food into their tent because the smell attracts bears. This man caught some fish one evening and wanted to cook them for breakfast, so he brought them into his tent for the night. Sure enough, a bear smelled the fish, which invited it into the tent and mauled the man to death.

You don’t want to invite bears into your tent, and you don’t want to invite the devil into your life. Paul said, “Do not let the sun go down on your anger. Do not give the devil an opportunity” (Eph. 4:26-27). John Piper says, “Harbored anger is the only thing the Bible explicitly says opens a door and invites the devil in.” When you hold on to anger without resolving it, you’re opening a door and inviting Satan to attack you.

Peter Lord said, “More families have been destroyed by anger than alcohol.” We need to do everything possible to settle the situation that day. Something happens to us when we’re angry for more than a day. We push our anger down into the soil of our hearts, where it sits in darkness. This two-day-old anger then turns into the seed of unforgiveness. As we continue dwelling on it, it sprouts into the root of bitterness.

Someone told me, “A friend of mine keeps asking God to take away his anger but he doesn’t want to deal with the issues that are making him angry. He can’t figure out why he is still angry.” Is there an issue that’s making you angry that you need to settle? If you’ll fix your anger today, you’ll live tomorrow without turmoil. www.makinglifecount.net
****************************************************************************************************
BIBLE STUDY  How to Control Your Anger

Receive these devotionals (free) by email: You can subscribe in the box on the right at www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com (Your email will not be given out. You’ll receive an email when the new devotional is posted)

Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174
www.makinglifecount.net  Twitter: @KentCrockett

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Learning to Swim


When I was a kid I took swimming lessons at the neighborhood pool. The easy part was when I grabbed on to the side of the pool while someone held me up as I learned how to kick. Then came the hard part--learning how to float.

It was hard for me to believe that the water would hold me up without any effort of my own. I would try to float, but then my feet would immediately drop down so I could stand up. I didn’t fool anyone when I did that awkward “half swim” where I walked along the bottom of the pool while moving my arms like I was swimming.

The instructor kept telling me to trust him—that the water really would hold me up if I would just relax. But that was the problem. I couldn’t relax when I thought I was going to drown. Then one day, and I quit trying to float and just went limp. To my surprise I didn’t sink. For the first time in my life I floated—without any effort on my part. When I totally surrendered to the water and quit struggling, the water held me up.

That’s how we learn to trust God. Inwardly we go limp. We quit trying to trust Him and submit to His complete control. In absolute surrender, we say, “Lord, I’m totally depending on you to come through for me.” David continually put his trust in God and relaxed:
“I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever” (Ps. 52:8).
“In God I have put my trust” (Ps.56:4)
“In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid” (Ps. 56:11).
“My soul trusts in You” (Ps. 57:1)
“Trust in Him at all times, you people” (Ps. 62:8)
David learned how to float by relaxing and placing his complete trust in God rather than himself. And we must do the same. www.makinglifecount.net
****************************************************************************************************

Receive these devotionals (free) by email: You can subscribe in the box on the right at www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com (Your email will not be given out. You’ll receive an email when the new devotional is posted)

Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174
www.makinglifecount.net  Twitter: @KentCrockett

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Does Seeing Make People Believe?


King Herod had received so many reports of Jesus healing people and performing miracles that he had to find out the truth for himself. Perhaps if Jesus would perform a miracle as he watched, the king might become His follower. "Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad; for he had desired for a long time to see Him because he had heard many things about Him and he hoped to see some miracle done by Him” (Luke 23:8)

What a great opportunity for Jesus—to share truth with the king of Israel. Just think…if Herod would believe in Him, then maybe all the leaders in Israel and Rome would take note, and they also would follow Jesus. All He needed to do was perform one miracle, which He could easily do. So when they brought Jesus before him, Herod kept asking Him questions but Jesus refused to answer. Why? Didn't He realize that He was blowing a huge opportunity?

Jesus didn't answer or perform a miracle because He had already done miracles, which could easily be verified. But that wasn’t good enough for Herod. He wanted to see Jesus do a miracle with his own eyes, and then he would decide whether or not to believe in Him. The Pharisees watched Jesus miraculously heal a man’s withered hand, but did that change their minds? No. “Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians (supporters of Herod) against Him, how they might destroy Him” (Mark 3:6).

After Jesus rose from the dead, He could have appeared to Herod and said, "Remember Me? Now do you believe?" Instead, He didn't go to Herod or the high priest or the Pharisees, but He appeared only to those who already believed in Him. (1 Cor. 15:5-7). They first believed and then they saw.

I’ve often asked skeptics, if I can prove to you that the Bible is true will you believe? They'll typically keep arguing with me because they don’t want proof. It would mean they'd have to change their hearts and follow Jesus. And that’s why Herod wouldn’t have repented if Jesus performed a miracle.

To those who believe in Him, God makes this promise, "He who believes in Him will not be disappointed" (1 Peter 2:6). www.makinglifecount.net
****************************************************************************************************

Receive these devotionals (free) by email: You can subscribe in the box on the right at www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com (Your email will not be given out. You’ll receive an email when the new devotional is posted)

Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174
www.makinglifecount.net  Twitter: @KentCrockett