Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Monopoly Game

Dr. James Dobson once played the Monopoly game with his family where he won the game by collecting all the houses and money. After the game ended, he tossed all the pieces back into the box and realized this is exactly what many people do with their lives—collecting houses and money as if that’s all there is to life. Then when they die, everything they own is thrown back into the box and someone else plays with what they owned.

You can’t take anything with you when you die (1 Tim. 6:7), but you can send it ahead. Jesus said, “Lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven” (Matt. 6:20-21). If you are a follower of Christ, God has entrusted things for you to manage during this life. When you give to His kingdom and help others in need, you are laying up treasure for yourself in heaven. Your earthly resources are being transformed into something much more valuable that will last forever. This earthly life is simply a temporary world to get us ready for what we’ll be doing in His eternal kingdom.

It takes faith to let go of money and lay it up as treasure in heaven because you won’t see what you’ve laid up until after you die. But according to the promise of Jesus, whatever you’ve sent to heaven during your life on earth will be multiplied and waiting for you in heaven. I believe that “treasure in heaven” will be rewards, which are our eternal assignments according to our faithfulness.
      Your life doesn’t have to end like a Monopoly game. You can start today preparing for the next life by faithfully managing what God has given to you. 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

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Why You Feel the Way You Do

Your feelings follow your thoughts like a caboose lags behind a locomotive. If your "thought locomotive" goes into the valley, then your "feelings caboose" will follow it into the valley. But if the locomotive goes up a mountain, the caboose lags behind the train at first but it will eventually follow it up the mountain

Here’s a test to show how thoughts affect moods:

1. When I’m happy, I’ve been thinking _______________ thoughts.
2. When I’m sad, I’ve been thinking ________________ thoughts.
3. When I’m angry, I’ve been thinking _______________ thoughts.
4. When I’m depressed, I’ve been thinking _____________ thoughts.

The answers are: 1. happy 2. sad 3. angry 4. depressing
Do you see the correlation between the way you think and the way you feel? What you think about produces the mood you are in. Your thoughts tell your emotions what to do. Emotions simply respond to the information that is fed to them.

If you watch a horror movie, you’ll be afraid even though you know the movie isn’t real. If you watch a sad movie, you’ll cry. A comedy will make you laugh and put you in a happy mood. If you’re depressed, it’s because you've been dwelling on depressing thoughts. Some depression is caused by other factors, but it’s primarily caused by dwelling on negative thoughts, which produces the feelings of depression.

What you think about is the problem, but it’s also the solution to the problem. If your thoughts affect your emotions, then your moods can be reversed by changing the way you think. Philippians 4:8 tells us to dwell on positive, healthy thoughts. Paul says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; I will say it again, rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4). Thinking positively releases endorphins that correct the chemical imbalances caused by depression. Although God didn't explain to us the medical reasons for rejoicing, He did tell us "a joyful heart is good medicine" (Proverbs 17:22). (Slaying Your Giants, pp.179-180)

Do you want to change how you feel? Decide today to change what you think about. 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

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Calming the Storm

Jesus was on the Sea of Galilee with His disciples when a fierce storm hit. Waves were crashing over the side and the boat was filling up with water as Jesus slept in the stern (Mark 4:35-41). The disciples panicked because the ship would soon go under. Jesus was in the stern, the lowest place in the boat and the first to fill up with water. He’s covered with water—but He’s sleeping!

This is the only incident in the Bible where it specifically states Jesus is sleeping. The disciples are screaming in fear but Jesus is at perfect peace. The disciples woke Him up yelling, “Don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” From their viewpoint, it looked like God wasn’t in control and didn’t care about them. But this was a laboratory experiment to teach His disciples—and us—that He’s in control, even when our world is falling apart.

If they hadn’t awoken Jesus, He would have slept through the entire storm. I can’t imagine Jesus waking up and saying, “Whoa! I had no idea this storm was about to sink the boat. Why didn’t you wake me up sooner?” Jesus could sleep because He knew His Father was in control even when He wasn’t awake.

Jesus commanded the winds to be still and the sea became perfectly calm (Mark 4:39), which proved He was in control of the storm. The disciples were amazed He could actually calm the storm simply by speaking words. And He can calm you as well. He says to your heart, “Peace, be still. Do not be troubled. Don’t be afraid.” Listen carefully, and you’ll hear Him whispering those words to your heart.

You’ll never be able to sleep through the storm like Jesus did until you first rest in the fact God is in control. God is still with you, even if He appears to be sleeping and unconcerned. If the Lord doesn’t calm the storm you’re going through, He will keep you calm as you go through the storm. Either way removes fear and brings peace.  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

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Claiming God's Promises

It’s not enough just to know about God’s promises. We must receive the Scriptures for ourselves to make them a reality in our lives (Heb. 11:33). When prospectors discovered gold during the California Gold Rush in the 1800s, they had to “stake a claim.” Staking a claim meant they had to drive posts into the ground to claim the marked property as their own. This illustrates what it means to claim God’s promises.

You can’t see God, but you can see His promises recorded in the Bible. He wants you to stake a claim on them, which means to receive them by faith as your own personal property. Many people in the Bible chose to believe what God had promised, even when their situations looked impossible.

God promised Sarah she would have a child—and she gave birth at 90 years old. She was the first woman in history to go through menopause before she got pregnant! “By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised” (Heb. 11:11). Her husband Abraham was “fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform” (Rom 4:21).

Staking Your Claim: For example, if you aren’t sure God will forgive your sins, you can pray, “Lord, I receive your promises for myself. I’ve received Jesus and claim your promise that I’m your child (John 1:12). You’ve promised to forgive my sins (Eph. 1:7) and remember them no more (Heb. 10:17). You became sin for me and gave me your righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21). I stand in your righteousness, not mine (Rom. 4:5)."

The fulfillment of each promise is God’s responsibility, but it’s up to us to trust Him to come through. He fulfilled every promise He made to Israel. “Not one of the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.” (Joshua 21:45) Have you staked your claim? 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

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Shake It Off!

“Shake it off” means don’t let certain nagging thoughts bother you. For example, you’re bothered because you can’t please people who will never like you. If you follow Jesus, the Lord wants to guard your heart and mind with His peace (Phil. 4:6-7).

Jesus told His disciples, “And whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet” (Matt. 10:14). He told them not to let rejection bother them, but to shake it off and move on. If we let rejection stick to us, we’ll carry it with us wherever we go. That’s why we must shake it off.

The apostle Paul was on a ship that struck a reef. The passengers were stranded on the island Malta, and the natives built a fire to keep them warm. As Paul placed a stick on the fire, a viper came out the woodpile and fastened itself to his hand. He shook it off into the fire and suffered no harm (Acts 28:5).

Satan is a snake (Rev. 12:9) and wants to attach himself to your spirit so he can inject his venom. When the snake bites, you can either let it hang on—or you can shake it off. People who are bitter are full of venom because they didn’t shake it off when it first bit. When Paul shook off the snake, he suffered no harm. And if you’ll shake it off, you won’t either.

When people hate and reject you, shake it off. Don’t let condemning thoughts that aren’t from God to bother you. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace because it trusts in You.”  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

Sunday, April 23, 2017

What Did Jesus Write in the Dirt?

Some Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery to Jesus and asked if she should be stoned to death (John 8:3-11). Instead of answering, He stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger. He told them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” He stooped down again and wrote on the ground. Beginning with the oldest man, they all left one by one. So what did He write?

Since the Bible doesn’t record what He wrote we can only speculate. Scripture tells us they left “one by one” starting with the older men. Whatever He wrote convicted them. He probably wrote individual messages to each, from oldest to youngest. Since He addressed “the one without sin” He probably wrote their own specific sins, including adultery.

Some scholars speculate He wrote the names of women with whom they had committed that sin. Could it be that the Pharisees didn’t accuse the man caught in the act because he was in their group? It’s possible they were all guilty of adultery, which meant they would have to stone each other!

After her accusers left, she called Him “Lord” (v.11). Jesus replied, “Neither do I condemn you.” Many people quote this verse saying “don’t cast stones” and “I don’t condemn you,” but they omit the rest of the verse, “Go and sin no more” (8:11). Jesus didn’t want her to keep committing adultery but told her to live a godly life. He says the same to us when we come to Him—He cleanses us from sin but also calls us to live a life that’s pleasing to Him. 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

Sunday, April 16, 2017

IF Jesus Rose From the Dead, THEN. . .

So what difference does Jesus’ resurrection make? If He rose from the dead, then…
1. It verifies that everything Jesus taught is true. Heaven is real, Hell is real, Angels are real, Satan and demons are real, etc.

2. It proves that Jesus is the correct spiritual leader to follow. Jesus is the only way to heaven (John 14:6)—not Mohammed, Buddha, or anyone else. “There is salvation in no one else; there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12)

3. It establishes the fact that Jesus is more powerful than death. “But now Christ has been raised from the dead” (1 Cor. 15:20).

4. It means He’s still alive today in heaven. He ascended into heaven (Acts 1:9). He lives in an eternal kingdom beyond this world (John 18:36).

5. It means everyone will stand before Him to be judged. “For we must all stand before the judgment seat of God” (Romans 14:10)

6. It gives assurance to all His followers there’s no need to fear death. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies” (John 11:25)

7. It means everyone who believes in His resurrection will be saved. “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom. 10:9).

Out of all the events that have occurred in the history of the world, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most important. And that means those who trust in Him have a reason for living.
If you aren’t sure that Jesus rose from the dead, I encourage you to watch the movie Case for Christ (NOW IN THEATRES). Click to WATCH MOVIE TRAILER. Based on a true story of an atheist investigative journalist, Lee Strobel, who set out to disprove Jesus’ resurrection.
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Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174
www.makinglifecount.net  Twitter: @KentCrockett