Sunday, July 22, 2018

Abraham's 3rd Test--The Sacrificial Offering


God tested Abraham’s faith in three different ways. Now we look at his third test.
The Lord promised Abraham he would have a son, but he had to wait 25 years before Sarah gave birth to Isaac. Several years after Isaac was born, God tested Abraham by asking him to offer his son back to Him (Gen. 22:1-2). The fact that this was a test means God wanted Abraham to offer him, but never intended him to be killed. God tests our faith to see if we really do trust Him.

What was the purpose of the test? The promises of future generations were in Isaac. Abraham had to trust God with his future, but the offering also foreshadowed what would happen to Jesus.
Abraham offered his only son. God offered His only SonIsaac carried the wood that would be used to offer him (Gen. 22:6). Jesus carried the cross that would be used to offer Him (John 19:17). Abraham believed God would raise his son from the dead (Heb. 11:19). God did raise His Son from the dead. 

As Abraham was about to sacrifice his son, an angel stopped him. A ram had its horns stuck in the brush and became the substitute sacrifice (22:9-14). The ram was at the right place at the right time. Abraham passed the test. He offered him just as God had said.

God rewards obedience. Years ago God called me to go to seminary to study for the ministry, even though I was broke. It would take three years and a lot of money to get my degree. I didn’t have any money but I did have a car. I decided to sacrifice my only possession in order to obey God. I planned to sell my car and use the money to pay for my first semester.
Just before I enrolled, God miraculously provided my financial need in an unexpected way, like the ram caught in the thicket. The provision paid my tuition and rent for the entire three years so I didn’t need to sell my car. I graduated without borrowing money.

Many people never experience God’s miraculous provision because they’ve never made a sacrificial offering to Him. “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Heb. 11:6). 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, July 15, 2018

Abraham's 2nd Test--Waiting on the Lord


God tested Abraham’s faith in three different ways. His second test was to wait for the Lord to come through with His promise. God promised Abraham and Sarah they would have descendants that would become a great nation (Gen.12:1,7, 15:5). Of course, having descendants meant starting with a first child. Abraham was 75 years old and Sarah was 65 when God spoke the promise. It seemed impossible to start with, but God didn’t tell him they would have to wait for 25 years before the baby was born.

Sarah 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). Abraham was “fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform” (Rom 4:21). When God fulfilled His promise, Sarah was 90 when she gave birth to Isaac and Abraham was 100.

God usually doesn’t answer our prayers quickly. The Lord is more concerned about you receiving His best than about how quickly you can get it. That means you’ll have to learn how to “wait upon the Lord.” David wrote, “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him” (Ps. 37:7). “Waiting on the Lord” means there’s an unknown gap in time between when ask God for help and when His answer arrives. It’s during this waiting period that you’ll be the most tempted to give up on God.

Patience trusts God without giving Him a deadline to come through. Maybe you’ve been waiting for God to bring you a spouse. Perhaps you’ve prayed for something and nothing has happened. Just because you’ve waited a long time doesn’t mean the answer is no. I can tell you from experience that several times I’ve had to wait years for the Lord to come through—and what He provided was FAR better than I could have imagined. God reserves the very best for those who leave the choice with Him—and it’s worth the wait! 
       Next week we’ll look at his third test. 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, July 8, 2018

Abraham's 1st Test--Stepping Into the Unknown


God tested Abraham’s faith in three different ways. His first test was when God told him, “Leave your country, your relatives, and your father’s family and go to the land I will show you” (Gen. 12:1). He had to leave everything behind to go into unfamiliar territory, which had to be scary.

A map drawn in 1525 of the east coast of North America, which is now in the British Museum, has some interesting comments on it. The mapmaker wrote across the areas of then unexplored land and sea the words: "Here be giants," "Here be fiery scorpions," "Here be dragons." The map later fell into the hands of the scientist, Sir John Franklin. He scratched out all the fearful markings and wrote, "Here is God."

Imagine the fear the early explorers felt when they read that map. The fear of imaginary dragons kept them from discovering new worlds. Fear of the unknown can keep us from discovering what God has planned for us. Abraham left for the unknown land because he believed “Here is God.” You will eventually be tested in this way, so here’s how to do it.

1. LEARN TO HEAR GOD SPEAK TO YOU. Don’t leave your current situation until you have a clear word from God. He will speak to you through thoughts in your mind, or a strong desire in your heart, or a change in your circumstances. He’s telling you to do something that you’ve never done before.

2. TAKE THE FIRST STEP. After hearing from God, you must take a step in the direction you believe He is leading you. Obedience means stepping into unfamiliar territory like Abraham. To get something you’ve never had before, you’ve got to do something you’ve never done before.

3. TRUST GOD TO LEAD YOU TO THE RIGHT DESTINATION. Abraham had to trust God with each step he took. We have no record of God speaking to him again until he reached the correct destination, which was 450 miles from his home. When he arrived in the land of Israel God said, “To your descendants I will give this land” (Gen. 12:7). And this is why Israel exists today.
Abraham passed the first test. Next week we’ll look at his second test. www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com  www.makinglifecount.net
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BIBLE STUDY: Don’t Be Afraid

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

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Life After Death


In 2013, a 37-year-old man went to sleep in his Florida home. He didn’t realize it would be the last day of his life. Sometime during the night, a sinkhole opened up under his house which literally took him to his grave. His body was never recovered.

You probably won’t die in a sinkhole but your last day on earth is coming. After you spend a few brief moments in this world, you’ll then spend the rest of your eternal existence in the afterlife. Life on earth is just a temporary world but it will determine what happens to you in eternity. There is a world beyond this world, which will last forever. Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36).

To enter heaven when you die, you must receive Jesus Christ as your Lord during this life (John 1:12, Rom 10:13). Salvation is a free gift and is offered to all, but it must be received by faith. Those who reject Jesus will spend eternity separated from Him and His kingdom.

The apostle Paul saw heaven and said it is “far better” than this world (Phil 1:23). Heaven is filled with eternal joy and ecstasy—and without any pain. (Psalm 16:11, Rev. 21:4). “Those who believe in Him will NOT be disappointed!” (1 Peter 2:6).

What will we do in heaven forever? Those who follow Jesus will have assignments, which will be privileges like eternal hobbies. “And there shall be no more curse…and His servants shall serve Him” (Rev. 22:3). Serving Him means He will have assignments for us in the next life. Heaven would be boring if we had nothing to do forever! After you’ve been saved—your faithfulness at your earthly job, your offerings to Him, and how you treated others—will determine the rewards you’ll receive and the privileges you’ll have in the next world (Matt. 25:21, 23, 1 Cor. 3:13-15).

You only get one shot at living on planet earth, so make it count! “Keep seeking the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Col. 3:1-2). www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com www.makinglifecount.net

CLICK HERE TO WATCH AN AMAZING VIDEO of a man who died and went to heaven. Ian McCormack was an atheist who called out to Jesus just before dying. His testimony is in 10 short video clips. Parts 1-4 explain how he was killed. Parts 5-10 explain what happened after he died and how he came back to life.
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Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174
www.makinglifecount.net  Twitter: @KentCrockett

Sunday, June 24, 2018

How to Catch a Monkey


How do you catch a monkey? Monkeys can move quickly through trees, so to catch one you have to trap it. Here’s how. Hunters will cut a small hole in a gourd, just big enough for the monkey to fit its hand through. They’ll put candy or food inside the gourd and fasten it to a stake in the ground.

When the monkey smells the food, it sticks its hand through the hole and grabs the food. The hole is small enough to put an empty hand through but not big enough to pull a fist out. If it would simply let go, it could easily get its hand out and get away. But the monkey refuses to let go because it wants the candy more than freedom. The hunter comes up behind and captures it.

Many people today grab the bait in Satan’s trap. Although the bait varies, one of his favorite baits is called “offense.” The Greek word for offense is scandalon, where we get the word “scandal.” Jesus said, “It is impossible that no offenses should come” (Luke 17:1). Some people are wounded by someone’s comments or actions and refuse to let go of their hurt. They’ll keep mulling the offense over in their mind until the wound turns into bitterness. Because they refuse to let go of the situation that hurt them, they give up their joy and freedom.

Are you someone’s monkey? Are you holding on to hurts that keep you in bondage? The only way to be set free is to LET GO of it. But it’s not just offenses. It might be an addiction. If you’ll let go and release it into God’s hands, He will give you something much better. 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, June 17, 2018

Parable of the Apple Orchard


A farmer went into town to get a haircut. He brought an apple with him from his orchard to give to the barber. The barber took a bite and said, “This is the most delicious apple that I've ever eaten. Where did you get it?” The farmer replied, “I grew it in my orchard. You can come out and pick as many apples as want. Just call me first and I'll take you out there.”

A couple of weeks later, the barber was driving by the farmer's orchard and remembered his offer to let him pick apples. He got out of his car and picked an apple. He took a bite and it was the most bitter apple he had ever tasted. He went to another tree, grabbed an apple and it too was sour. He tried one more tree and it was no different.

When the farmer came back to get a haircut, the barber said, “I stopped by your orchard and picked some apples, but they were all bitter and not sweet like the one you brought me.”
The farmer said, “Remember, I told you to call me first? I planted bitter apple trees along to road because people kept stopping and stealing my apples. Once they taste my bitter apples, they never come back. The sweet apples are planted further away from the road.”

Satan uses this tactic to keep people away from God. He plants bitter, hypocritical church-goers along the road to keep people from discovering the goodness of God. The hypocrites might not even be saved. Unbelievers are turned off by their hypocrisy saying, “If that's what God is like, I don't want any part of Him!” The unbelievers never go deep enough in their search for God to find out what He is really like.

David said, "Taste and see that the Lord is good" (Psalm 34:8). I can't taste something for you. You must do it for yourself. Just make sure that you’re sampling the Lord and not a bitter apple that's pretending to be sweet. Once you’ve tasted the true God, you’ll know in your heart that He really is good! 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, June 10, 2018

Staying in the Light


Did you know that a goldfish will lose its color if it doesn’t stay near light? If it stays in darkness for too long or if the light isn’t bright enough, the color of the goldfish begins to fade. Staying in the light is a lesson for us as well.

When Moses was on Mt. Sinai in the Lord’s presence, his face radiated with the glory of the God even after he came down from the mountain (Ex. 33:18-23, 34:29-35). Moses didn’t try to manufacture the brightness with his own ability. The light radiating from his face was a result of being in God’s presence. 

God “has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). Unfortunately many believers want to spend time with both light and darkness. Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me will not walk in darkness but will have the Light of life” (John 8:12) So how do we walk in the light? The only way we can reflect the glory of God is to spend time in His presence.

James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” We draw near to Him in our hearts by talking with Him in prayer throughout the day. We regularly read His Word and let Him speak to our hearts. We love Him and worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24) If we don’t actively seek the Lord (in the light), we’ll drift away from Him (into darkness). “We must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it” (Heb. 2:1). Drifting away doesn’t mean losing your salvation, but slipping back into our old ways. Then we lose our “color”—our joy, enthusiasm, and strength.

I pray you’ll decide today to stay in the light of God’s presence. He loves you, wants to speak to you, and will guide through this life.  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