Sunday, March 19, 2017

Parable of Two Houses

One man said, “My realtor sold me a two-story house. He told me one story before I bought it and another story after I bought it.” Jesus told a story about two houses, which explains a truth about two types of people.

The wise person built his house on a rock foundation, while the other built on a sand foundation. Both houses were fine for a while, but then a storm came. “The rain descended and the floods came and the winds blew, and burst against that house (Matthew 7:25,27). The storm came from above (rain), beneath (flood), all sides (winds). The house built on sand collapsed and “great was its fall” (v.27), but the house built on rock withstood the storm. Here are three observations about this parable:

1. Both people built houses but the difference was where they built. The wise person built his house on a rock foundation and “dug deep” (Luke 6:48) because he prepared for the future. The foolish person only thought about enjoying the present and built on sand because it’s much easier to sink posts into sand.

2. Both houses experienced the same intensity of the storm. The rain, floods and wind hit both houses. Just because you’re a follower of Jesus doesn’t mean you will escape trials. God will give you the grace and strength to endure the storm.

3. Both builders heard the words of Jesus, but only one obeyed. (7:24,26) Think about it this way: Jesus told both of them to build their house on the rock (Himself), but only one obeyed and did it. And that’s the point. Many people disobey what Jesus clearly said to do. They attend church but they live immoral lives. Jesus said you will know true believers from unbelievers by the fruit they produce (7:17-20).

Shady real estate agents (false prophets--7:15) will try to sell you sandy sites to build your life. Don’t listen to them. Jesus said the person who doesn’t obey Him will one day be destroyed. But the one who hears and obeys will stand. Are you obeying what Jesus said? 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, March 12, 2017

Do I Have Blind Spots?

Recently I was driving on the Interstate and wanted to change lanes. I didn’t know a car was slightly behind me on the right in my blind spot. My wife in the passenger seat told me about the car that was hidden from my view. I didn’t get angry with her for pointing out something that I couldn’t see. She was helping me, which kept me from getting in a wreck.

Just like we have blind spots in our cars, we’ve got blind spots in our lives. We have faults and weaknesses that we can’t see on our own. How can we possibly see something we are blind to? It takes humility and willingness to change.

1. Ask God to reveal your faults. King David knew he had blind spots, so he prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart, try me and know my thoughts, and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way” (Ps. 139:23-24). He realized God knows everything and would reveal harmful attitudes in his life.

2. Ask someone you trust. It hurts to hear someone point out our faults, but if we ask someone that we trust it will probably be accurate and easier to accept. A friend of mine once asked me, “If I knew something about you that you don’t know, would you want me to tell you?” He left the decision in my court, and I told him I did. He told me something I needed to hear and correct.

3. Your critics will gladly point them out. A critical person will probably exaggerate your faults, but ask God if there’s a grain of truth in his/her statement. Shimei cursed and slandered David, but David found a grain of truth in his criticism (2 Sam. 16:5-12).

When we see our blind spots and correct them, it keeps us from wrecking our marriage and relationships—which pleases God and brings His blessing.  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, March 5, 2017

Lead Parts and Minor Roles

Kent and Barbara Hughes attended a school play in which their daughter Holly played the lead character. She charmed the audience with her incredible acting ability, and her parents proudly applauded her brilliant performance.

Immediately after Holly’s play ended, they watched their son’s Christmas play. Unlike his sister, Kent Jr. had a learning disability and was given a minor role with only four lines. He had a hard time memorizing his part and worked on it from Thanksgiving to Christmas. But he never said his lines correctly even one time.

Now Kent and Barbara sat nervously as the spotlight shone on their son, who still didn’t know his lines. After hesitating for an excruciating moment, Kent Jr. quoted his lines perfectly for the first time! Kent and Barbara were absolutely thrilled with his performance. Even though their son and daughter had vastly different levels of ability, they were equally pleasing to their parents. (Making Today Count for Eternity, pp. 53-54).

Jesus told a parable where a master gave his slaves money to manage. He gave one slave 5 talents (bags of money), another 2 talents, and another one talent, “each according to his ability” (Matt. 25:15). The 5-talent slave produced five talents, and the 2-talent slave made two more talents. They both received identical praise from the master because they both did their best. We all have differing abilities, but we can all be equally pleasing to God.

Don’t be envious of someone with greater abilities (“Why didn’t God give me 5 talents?”). If God gave you the abilities of a 2-talent person, use your God-given ability to the fullest. If you are a 5-talent person don’t say, “Why did God place so much responsibility on me? I wish I were a 2-talent person. He’s got it easy.” God doesn’t expect 2-talent people to produce 5 talents, and He's not pleased when 5-talent people only produce 2 talents. God is pleased when we faithfully use the abilities He has given us.

Do you have a lead part in life, or is it a minor role? Remember all the world is a stage and God is the only audience you need to please. Make the most of what He has given 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, February 26, 2017

How God Views Your Job

When Crawford Hill was a boy he applied for a job at a local store. Mr. Peters, the store owner, told him to go into the attic. “You will find a long, deep box up there,” he said. “Sort through the contents and see what should be saved.”

Crawford spent hours separating usable nails and screws from things that should be thrown away. At the bottom of the box he found a $20 bill. He raced downstairs and said, “Mr. Peters, I found $20 in the box!” and handed the money to his boss. Mr. Peters smiled because he knew the boy could be trusted to work in his store.

The old junk box was just a test. Mr. Peters put the money at the bottom of the box to test his honesty. If he didn’t report finding the money, how could he be trusted with the cash register? He filled the box with junk to test his faithfulness. He wanted to see if Crawford would finish the job even though it seemed he was doing useless work. Crawford proved he was honest and faithful. Years later Mr. Peters retired and turned his business over to Crawford to manage. (Making Today Count for Eternity, pp.45-46)

Many people see their job simply as earning a paycheck, but God sees it with an eternal purpose. Life on earth is a test to decide eternal assignments for His followers. If you're a believer in Jesus, God is evaluating you to determine what you'll be doing in heaven forever (Matt. 25:21, Luke 19:15-17). Your attitude and faithfulness after you are saved determines your eternal rewards, which are privileges in the next life. (Rev. 22:3, 1 Cor. 3:13-14).

God told slaves that their jobs were important—they were serving Him and He would reward them. “Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth (bosses)…do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve” (Col. 3:22-24).

Whether you are the owner of company or a minimum wage employee, do your work with excellence. Be respectful. Remember that you’re serving the Lord and your work now will affect your eternity. If you’ll do that, He will give you a big promotion in the next life.

For more info about how your eternity is currently under construction, read my book Making Today Count for Eternity (click “Look Inside” for chapter 1)
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Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174
www.makinglifecount.net  Twitter: @KentCrockett

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Analyzing Zacchaeus

Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector in Israel and became rich by swindling people out of their money. He was Ebenezer Scrooge and Bernie Madoff wrapped up into one person. One day he heard Jesus was coming to Jericho, so he climbed a tree to see over the crowd. Jesus looked up, called him by name and said He wanted to stay at his house.
     Zacchaeus replied, “Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much" (Luke 19:8). Let’s play the role of a psychiatrist and analyze what changed him:

1. Change begins when the heart changes. A person’s heart must change before behavior will change. The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sins and our need to change. The rebellious prodigal son’s heart was changed when he “came to his senses” (Luke 15:17). He decided to leave his partying life and returned home to serve his father. When your heart changes, you’ll have the desire to live differently.

2. Change happens in a point in time. After Zacchaeus said he would repay those he had cheated, Jesus said, “Today salvation has come to this house” (19:9). The day before Zacchaeus met Jesus, he was an evil crooked man. But when he realized Jesus was the Son of God, he decided to walk in a new direction. He came down from the tree and declared out loud what he would do differently, “I will give…I will pay back.”

3. Change results in different behavior. If a person claims to know Jesus but there isn’t a change in behavior, then you must question whether it’s a genuine conversion. Zaccheus went with his money bag to those he had cheated and repaid them four times as much. Jesus didn’t tell him to do that. Zaccheus knew in his heart that’s what he needed to do.

Has your heart changed? What are you doing differently since you met Jesus? Let Zacchaeus be your role model. www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com  www.makinglifecount.net
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BIBLE STUDY: What does it mean to repent?

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

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Baggage on Your Soul

A burden is an invisible weight that you carry on your soul. Just like the man in the picture is loaded down with suitcases on his back, your soul can get loaded down with invisible baggage.

We acquire burdens (baggage) by continually mulling over problems that bother us. Rest for your body comes by sleeping, but only Jesus can give you rest for your soul. Jesus said, "Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…and you will find rest for your souls" (Matt. 11:28-30). We carry excess baggage because we haven’t learned from Jesus how to correctly think and live.

Here are a few burdens that weigh down our souls:
GUILT—refusing to believe that Jesus will forgive all your sins.
GRUDGES—wanting to punish those who have hurt you.
WORRY—refusing to trust God to take care of your problems.
DEPRESSION—the darkness that comes to your soul when you lose hope. Ps. 42:5 says, “Why, my soul, are you so downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God.”

To get rid of our baggage we must "Cast your burden upon the Lord" (Psalm 55:22). Notice that God does not automatically remove your burdens from you. He instructs you to cast them to Him. When you throw a ball, you must let go of it. After you cast your problem into God’s hands, the weight will be lifted off of your soul.
My book Slaying Your Giants ($5.99) gives detailed information on how to conquer depression, unforgiveness, guilt, anger, worry, discouragement and much more.
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Read Chapter 1--If God Knows What I Need, Why Should I Pray? ("Look Inside")

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

Saturday, February 4, 2017

People You Need to "Unfriend"

Although God tells us to love everyone, He doesn’t call us to be friends with everyone. We need to “unfriend” certain people who negatively influence us—and I’m not just talking about Facebook. Here are three types of people to unfriend:

1. People who gossip about others. “He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets, therefore do not associate with a gossip” (Prov. 20:19). Remember, the one who gossips to you will also gossip about you. Gossipers belittle and slander others to make themselves look better.

2. People with toxic attitudes. Toxic people will poison your spirit. They are controlling, manipulative people who will drain you emotionally, depress you, and make you feel guilty. “If anyone does not obey our instruction…take note of that person; don’t associate with him” (2 Thess. 3:14). Someone who is continually tearing you down is not your friend because “A friend loves at all times” (Prov. 17:17).
If you’re married to a toxic person, ask God to give you wisdom about what to do. If the relationship is abusive, you must protect yourself and your children. Consult with your pastor or a godly individual about the steps you should take.

3. People who claim to be Christians but don’t act like it. Paul said, “I am writing you not to associate with any so called brother if he is an immoral person…a reviler, a drunkard or a swindler—not to even eat with such a one” (1 Cor. 5:11). Their walk doesn’t match their talk, and they hypocrisy can trick you into compromising your integrity.

You don’t need to have a lot of friends—just a few. Spend your time with those who will encourage you and keep away from people with toxic attitudes and destructive behavior. 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