Monday, April 14, 2014

God Wants You to Pay Your Taxes

Tomorrow is April 15, the deadline for paying your income tax. Did you know that it is God’s will for you to pay your taxes? You probably haven’t heard too many sermons on this because it’s not a popular topic, but it is in the Bible. Someone asked Jesus, “Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” He answered, “Render to Caesar the things that are Ceasar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Luke 20:22, 25). Jesus was accused of being “a friend of tax collectors” (Luke 7:34), which means that He wasn’t continually fighting against them. Paul adds, “For because of this you also pay taxes...render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due…” (Rom. 13:6-7).

No one enjoys paying taxes, but these verses helped me realize that since the Lord wants me to pay my taxes, I can do it honestly in obedience to Him. It doesn’t matter whether or not you agree with how the government spends your money. I’m sure that many Christians in the early church didn’t agree with how Caesar spent their money either! The Lord wants you to pay your taxes, not because you agree with all government spending, but because that’s what He commanded us to do.

Here are a couple of suggestions: First, take every legal deduction that you are allowed, but don’t cheat on your taxes by claiming expenses that are not true. Remember, Jesus wants us to be honest. Second, pay your taxes as an act of obedience to God and it will give you a different perspective and motivation, which will take some of the pain out of it. You can pray, “Lord, I’m paying my taxes as an act of obedience because this is what You’ve told me to do.”

You might not agree with me on this topic, but as a follower of Jesus Christ I believe this is the right thing to do. www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com
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NEW VIDEO TEACHING (10 minutes): "7 Signs of the End-Times"  Four signs have come to pass, but 3 other signs might be a while before being fulfilled.

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Looking for a great book for SMALL GROUP STUDIES?  Slaying Your Giants is filled with interesting stories and Biblical insights, and includes a free 20-Lesson Discussion Guide in the back of the book.

The Sure Cure for Worry Learn to trust God no matter what you are going through.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Oxymorons

An oxymoron is when two words with opposite meanings are joined together, such as:
Act naturally
Found missing
Good grief
Sanitary landfill
Small crowd
“Now, then…”
Civil disobedience
Numb feeling
Unbiased opinion
Jumbo shrimp
Soft rock
Pretty ugly
Only choice
Boxing ring
Liquid gas
Same difference
Tight slacks
Definite maybe
And how about this one …“No, Lord.” It’s an oxymoron to say Jesus is your Lord when you refuse to obey what He says. Jesus said, "And why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46) 

When you become a disciple of Jesus, you agree to obey Him. So when the Holy Spirit tells you to quit your immoral behavior, clean up your impure mouth, or correct your negative attitude, do you say, “No, Lord” or “Yes, Lord”? He is not your Lord unless you say "Yes" and then follow through with the change.
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Read 200 free BIBLE STUDIES at www.makinglifecount.net 

THE PERFECT BOOK FOR SMALL GROUP STUDIESSlaying Your Giants is filled with interesting stories and Biblical insights, and includes a free 20-Lesson Discussion Guide in the back of the book.

The Sure Cure for Worry Learn to trust God no matter what you are going through.


Friday, March 28, 2014

Helping the Other Team Win?

Philippians 2:4 says, “Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” When was the last time you chose second place to help someone else win?

Something extremely unusual happened in 2008 at a softball game played by Western Oregon and Central Washington University. At stake was a bid to the NCAA’s Division II playoffs. “Never in my life had I seen anything like it,” said Central Washington Coach Gary Frederick. “It was just unbelievable.”

Central Washington was leading 2-1, when Western Oregon sent one of their worst hitters to the plate. Five-foot-two-inch Sara Tucholsky had never hit a home run in her entire life, but this day would be different. Against all odds, Sara hit a pitch over the center field fence for an apparent three-run home run. All she had to do was run around the bases.

But when Tucholsky got to first base, she collapsed on the base path, having torn her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her right knee. Her injury made it impossible to finish rounding the bases, which meant she would not be credited with the only homer in her lifetime.

The rules prohibited her teammates from helping her around the bases. If they touched her, she would be called out. As Sara lay on the ground, the first basemen from the opposing team, Mallory Holtman, asked the umpire if the rules also disallowed the other team from carrying her around the bases. The umpire said nothing in the rulebook prohibited the opposing team from helping her.

Holtman asked a teammate to lend her a hand. The two of them picked up Tucholsky and resumed her homerun walk, pausing at each base to allow her to touch the bag with her uninjured leg. By helping her complete her home run, they were also risking losing the ballgame, which would keep them from going to the playoffs.

“We started laughing when we touched second base,” Holtman said. “I looked up and saw the entire Western Oregon team in tears.” Tucholsky said, “My whole team was crying. Everybody in the stands was crying. My coach was crying.” The Central Washington players ignored their goal of winning and going to the playoffs so they could help their injured opponent.

Western Oregon went on to win the game 4-2. By helping their opponent win, Central Washington was eliminated from the playoffs. Some things are more important than winning ball games. When you deny yourself to help another person, it brings a smile to God’s face. When was the last time you chose to take second place? (Slaying Your Giants by Kent Crockett, Hendrickson Publishers 2013, pp.112-113). www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com
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NEW BIBLE STUDIES at www.makinglifecount.net   
Bible Prophecy: “1260, 1290, and 1335days” explains what happens on these days in the books of Daniel and Revelation.
Need to Keep the Sabbath? Is it necessary to keep the 4th commandment?
Not Under Law  Now that we are under grace, what keeps people from sinning?

VIDEO on “The Antichrist”  This will be a world ruler will control all buying a selling by making everyone receive a mark on their right hand or forehead. www.makinglifecount.net 

The Sure Cure for Worry Learn to trust God no matter what you are going through.

Friday, March 21, 2014

A Pessimistic View of Psalm 23

This will give you a smile from my book Slaying Your Giants

Commentary on Psalm 23 
by Ima Whiner

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
“Shall not want”? Give me a break. I want lots of things. I’d like to have a nicer house, a better job, and a pay raise. I want people to do what I say, when I say. And I wouldn’t mind winning the lottery either.

He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.
I have a problem with the words “makes me.” That sounds a bit legalistic to me. First you say I can’t want things; now you’re making me do things. 

He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
I don’t want to be guided down the paths of righteousness. I prefer the more scenic routes. How about leading me to Hawaii for a change? What about Vegas? I’m getting a little tired of the paths of righteousness. The next thing you know, you’ll be leading me down a dark alley.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for You are with me.
What am I doing walking through the valley of the shadow of death? I thought I was supposed to be lying down in green pastures. Did you take a wrong turn, or what? And you call yourself a Shepherd?

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
To tell you the truth, a rod and staff are not my idea of comfort. A rod and reel, I’ll take. A back massage would be even better. Skip the rod and staff.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
Great. Out of all the restaurants in the world, you choose the one where my enemies like to eat. I’m sure I’ll relish every bite of that meal.

You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.
I don’t want any oil on my head. I prefer shampoo. And for goodness sake, can’t you stop pouring before my cup overflows? What kind of waiter are you anyway? How would you like to have hot coffee spilled all over your hand?

Surely goodness and loving-kindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
I don’t want to be confined to a house forever. That sounds like a prison. It might be nice to step outside once every thousand years or so. I never will understand why so many people love the Twenty-third Psalm.
(Kent Crockett, Slaying Your Giants, Hendrickson Publishers, 2013, pp. 116-117) www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com 
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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Drawing a Boundary Line


FACT: Some relationships will put you in bondage. Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to keep this from happening. You probably know of a spiritually unhealthy and bossy individual who is uncomfortable to be around. This person acts authoritatively and might pose as a leader, but is actually a “controller” who is driven to make everyone do what he or she says.

These arrogant people won’t take anyone else’s advice because in their minds they always know what’s best. They manipulate others through intimidation, fear tactics, and mind-control. Those who live under their thumb are afraid to do or say anything that will upset them. You know that you’re under their control if you find yourself walking on eggshells whenever you are around them.

It takes tremendous courage to stand up to a domineering person and not be intimidated. God says, “Do not fear their intimidation” (1 Pet. 3:14). The Holy Spirit doesn’t use intimidation and pressure to guide His people. Drawing a boundary line will keep dysfunctional people from taking control of you. Without any boundaries, abnormal people will use you and abuse you.

You may not be able to control what others do, but you can control what you allow others to do to you. You must draw a boundary line to keep the bullies out, but allow the friendly people in. Richard Innis says, “Healthy boundaries are to protect ourselves from toxic people, from controlling and manipulating people, con artists, abusive people, and those who want to use us for their own ends.”

When Paul was being pressured to conform to those with ulterior motives, he drew a boundary line and stood firm against them: “But it was because of the false brethren who have sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage. But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour” (Gal. 2:4-5).

Contrary to popular belief, God does not call you to be friends with everyone. In some cases, He wants you to stay away from them and even says, “Do not even eat with such a one” (1 Cor. 5:11). You can be friendly to everyone, but you must use wisdom in selecting your friends. Choose those who will encourage and build you up, not browbeat and intimidate you. Remember this important truth—God has called you to peace, not bondage (Gal. 5:13). www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com  
www.makinglifecount.net  Making Life Count Ministries
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Many CHURCHES AND SMALL GROUPS are studying Slaying Your Giants which includes a 20-Lesson Discussion Guide. It’s filled with interesting stories, humor, and practical advice about how to conquer 20 giants (fear, depression, discontentment, anger)

WATCH THIS UPLIFTING MUSIC VIDEO by Nicole C. Mullen "Holy Captivated"

The Sure Cure for Worry contains amazing true stories and gives indisputable proof that God is in control and He doesn’t want you to worry.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Hypocrisy of the Pharisees

A businessman’s office wall was covered with award plaques and framed documents. On the wall was a diploma from the Harvard Business School, a “National Salesman of the Year” award, and a letter from the President of the United States. A visitor was impressed by his honors and asked, “How did you manage to accomplish so much in such a short time?” “It really wasn’t that hard,” the man replied. “I have a sign-printing business.”

Hypocrisy is trying to impress others by pretending to be something that we’re not. Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites 14 times in the book of Matthew alone. They performed their religious duties “to be seen” by men (Matt. 6:1). “To be seen” in Greek is theathemai, which is where we get our word “theater.” Jesus was saying that a hypocrite is an actor who plays a role. The actors on the Greek stage performed in the theater to be seen by an audience. Their reward for their performance was the applause they received from the spectators.

The hypocritical Pharisees were merely religious actors, playing the role of a righteous person in the “theater” of street corners, synagogues, and the temple. They longed for the praise of men, which was the reason they performed so many righteous deeds in public. When they received compliments and applause from their admiring audience, Jesus said, “they have received their reward in full” (Matt. 6:2).

The Pharisees serve as a warning to not become actors, who do the right things but with the wrong motives. We are hypocrites if we say that we believe God’s Word but live in a way that doesn’t line up. The antidote for hypocrisy is to live with a “sincere heart” (Heb. 10:22) and “love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith” (1 Tim. 1:5). The apostle Paul told us there is only one audience we need to please: “For am I seeking the favor of people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ” (Gal. 1:10)

Check your heart. Keep doing what’s right, and do it to please God.

Have you read about the strange customs of the Pharisees? Click on Who were the Pharisees? Be sure to read the 26 Questions, which helps to identify Modern-Day Phariseeism.
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Slaying Your Giants is filled with interesting stories, humor, and practical advice about how to conquer 20 giants (fear, depression, discontentment, self-image, anger, and more)

The Sure Cure for Worry contains amazing true stories and helps the reader see God is in control.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

No More Olympic Gold Medals?

Suppose that gold, silver, and bronze medals would no longer be awarded at the Olympics. How would that affect the contestants? Some athletes would refuse to participate. Others wouldn’t train nearly as hard. Envisioning winning a gold medal is what motivates athletes to get through extremely grueling training. Some athletes train for hours every day for four years to run a 10-second race!

The Scriptures reveal that God will reward His faithful followers with something much greater than a gold medal. These eternal rewards are designed to motivate us to live correctly during our short stay on earth.  They will not be given to every believer, but only to His children who have cheerfully sacrificed and served Him.

You only have a window of time to win them. Rewards can only be earned after you are saved—in the time-space between the moment of salvation and the day you die. I believe receiving these rewards will be thousands of times more exciting than winning an Olympic gold medal, and they will have something to do with our eternal assignments, which will be like special privileges. It’s hard for us to grasp, but winning a heavenly reward will actually improve your eternal experience!

God could have kept the truth about eternal rewards a big secret that would be revealed after we die. Instead, He told us about them to motive us to live for the next world. I’ve heard some Christians say, “I don’t care anything about rewards in heaven. Going to heaven is good enough.” Although that sounds humble, that statement is an insult to God and rejects everything He has revealed about rewards. Consider a few verses:
  • “Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great” (Matt. 5:12)
  • “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matt. 5:20).
  • “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great” (Luke 6:35)
  • Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever” (1 Cor. 9:24-25 NIV).

Always keep in mind that the Lord is watching your attitude, giving, and service to determine your position and assignments in the next life. We need to be more motivated to win these heavenly rewards than an athlete is to win an Olympic gold medal!  

For more info on eternal rewards, read The Judgment Seat of Christ and Rewards in Heaven.
Follow me on Twitter @KentCrockett  
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Slaying Your Giants is filled with interesting stories, humor, and practical advice about how to conquer 20 giants (fear, depression, discontentment, self-image, anger, and more)

The Sure Cure for Worry contains amazing true stories and helps the reader see God is in control.