Sunday, January 20, 2019

Deal or No Deal?

The popular TV show “Deal or No Deal” is back on the air. The game is played with 26 numbered suitcases containing from one cent to $1 million. The contestant doesn’t know which case has the million dollars. The player chooses to eliminate cases one at a time. Each case is immediately opened to reveal the amount inside. 

The banker then offers the player a guaranteed amount of money to quit playing. If the offer is refused, the player keeps choosing suitcases to possibly win more money or lose it all.

A woman on one episode had eliminated all but two suitcases. One case contained $1 million while the other only had $5,000. She was offered a deal of $530,000 if she would quit playing. She could take home over a half million dollars, or she could turn down the deal and take a 50/50 chance at winning $1 million. No one in their right mind would turn down the deal.

The audience yelled for her to go for the million. A family member begged her to take the guaranteed $530,000. She refused the offer and yelled, "No deal! I know that I'm going to win the million dollars!" They opened the suitcase she had picked. It only contained $5,000. She made the wrong choice and forfeited $530,000!

Everyone is playing Deal or No Deal with their souls. Jesus said, "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Mark 8:36-37). Like the woman choosing between the two suitcases, you must choose between two eternal destinies—heaven or hell.

Jesus died for your sins and is offering you a guaranteed deal—eternal life. If you will give your life to Him, He will rescue your soul for all eternity. Or, you ignore His offer and take your chances. Which will it be? Deal or No Deal? 
Click here to find out how to make the right deal with your soul.  
www.makinglifecount.net
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Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174
www.makinglifecount.net  Twitter: @KentCrockett

Monday, January 14, 2019

Death is Like Falling Asleep and Waking Up


Passing through death’s door can be a terrifying thought if we don’t believe what Jesus said about it. What will it be like? The Bible says death for the Christian is like sleeping. When Lazarus died, Jesus compared it to sleep (John 11:13). Paul also referred to a believer's death as sleep (1 Cor. 15:51). It doesn't hurt when you go to sleep, does it? No. In fact, many people look forward to sleeping.

A little boy asked his mother what death was like. She said, "Do you remember when you fell asleep in the living room? Your father picked you up and carried you to your bedroom. When you woke up, you found yourself in another room. Death for a Christian is like that. You go to sleep in one room and wake up in another room. You fall asleep on earth and wake up in heaven."

Jesus took the sting out of death for those who love Him, so you don’t need to be afraid of it (1 Cor. 15:55, Heb. 2:15). Our body stays behind awaiting resurrection but our spirit immediately goes to be with the Lord. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8). Click here to find out how you can find peace with God.   www.makinglifecount.net
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Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174
www.makinglifecount.net  Twitter: @KentCrockett

Monday, January 7, 2019

Getting the Buttons in the Right Order


As you start the New Year, it would be wise to evaluate your priorities, which are the things that are most important to you. We all have things that are more important to us than other things. Here are four ways to identify your priorities.
1. What you have a passion for.
2. How much time you spend with it.
3. How much money you spend on it.
4. What you choose it over. 

The buttons on a shirt represent priorities. If you get the top button of a shirt buttoned wrong, all of the other buttons will be out of order. If I take the bottom button of the shirt and put it in the top hole, the shirt will get messed up. Let’s just say the bottom button is golf. There’s nothing wrong with golf but it’s a bottom button in life. To get the buttons in the right order, it starts with God being the top priority.

Button #1: God. Jesus said the top button is to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind (Matt. 22:37). Seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33). Read some of God’s Word every day and talk to Him throughout the day.

Button #2: Your spouse. If you’re married, that means your spouse is your number two priority. You made a vow to God at your wedding to honor your spouse and forsake all others.

Button #3: Your children. Love them and teach them about God. Take care of their spiritual needs before you enroll them in sports or dance classes. Many kids grow up with the wrong values because their parents instilled the wrong priorities in them.

Button #4: Your job. You can serve God at your job by doing excellent work. “Whatever you do, 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. 3:23-24).

Button #5: Your ministry. I know a pastor who put his ministry as his highest priority—until he almost lost his family. He said, “I gave my life away to strangers and neglected my own household.” You can have an effective ministry and still have a healthy family life.  

Button #6: Your hobbies. God wants you to rest. Recreation is like therapy, so it’s good to have a hobby that you enjoy doing. But it’s a bottom button. Don’t put it in the top hole. 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, December 30, 2018

How to Handle Criticism


The Pharisees kept trying to find fault with Jesus even though He was sinless. “And the scribes and the Pharisees were watching Him closely …in order that they might find reason to accuse Him” (Luke 6:7). If Jesus couldn’t escape criticism, neither will you. Do you know any of these critics?

Perfectionist Pete. Quick on the flaw. No one can ever reach his unattainable expectations, including himself.
Sarcastic Sally. Cuts others down by using snide remarks to make herself look better.
Teasing Tom. Makes jabs by joking. Rips others apart under the guise of humor. Excuses himself by saying, “Can’t you take a joke?”
Gossiping Gilda. Talks about people behind their backs but not to their faces. Exaggerates others’ faults and shows no mercy.
Angry Allen. An “in-your-face” guy. His anger boils over and reprimands you face-to-face, not caring how it devastates you.
Preying Pauline. Exposes others’ faults through prayer requests. “We need to pray for Marlene. I think she might be pregnant and doesn’t know who the father is.”
Jealous Jane. Feels threatened by others and points out their imperfections to make her rivals look ugly.

How can we handle being criticized? The same way Jesus did. He only sought to please His Father and ignored His critics. Paul said, “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.” (Gal. 1:10). Seek to please God more than people and the sting of criticism won’t bother you. www.makinglifecount.net
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BIBLE STUDY: Resolving Conflicts

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

Sunday, December 23, 2018

The Blind Girl Couldn't See the Toys


At Christmastime in 1897, a newspaper reporter in Boston saw three little girls standing in front of a store window full of toys. One of them was blind. He overheard the other two trying to describe the toys to their blind friend. The reporter said he never thought of how difficult it would be to explain what something looks like to someone who is blind. He wrote a story about the three girls for his newspaper.

Two weeks later, the reporter attended a gospel meeting conducted by Dwight L. Moody. He wanted to write a critical article attacking the evangelist. To the reporter’s surprise, Moody quoted from his newspaper article about the three girls at the toy store window.

Moody said, “Just as the blind girl couldn’t visualize the toys, so an unsaved person can’t see Jesus Christ in His glory.” Moody preached that God opens the eyes of anyone who acknowledges his sin and accepts Christ by faith. The newsman was touched by Moody’s words and realized he was a blind man who needed his eyes opened. That day he accepted Jesus as his Lord.

People who are in darkness cannot see. “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel” (2 Cor. 4:3-4). Jesus said, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness (John 8:12). Everyone is like that reporter and only Jesus can open our spiritual eyes. Have your eyes been opened? If so, you’ll see God and live your life differently. 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, December 16, 2018

How Could the Bethlehem Star Stop Over a House?


We all know the Christmas story about the wise men from the east following the star to Bethlehem. "And lo, the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them, until it came and stood over where the Child was . . . and they came into the house and saw the Child" (Matt. 2:,9,11). Was this a literal star that they followed? Let's think about that.

How could a literal star go before them and stop over a house? The heat from a star would have burned up the house, not to mention the entire planet. Some people think the star was millions of miles away and it just looked like it was over the house from the wise men's vantage point. However, if the wise men had walked around to the back door instead of the front door, the star would have been behind them and not over the house. The star must have been something else.

Many Bible scholars believe it was a supernatural phenomenon—that God created what looked like a star to lead them to the Messiah. He did something similar to this in the Old Testament when He led the children of Israel through the wilderness by cloud and by fire. "The Lord was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night" (Ex. 13:21). 

Others believe the star may have been a brilliant angel that led them to the house. Angels are also called stars in Scripture (See Rev. 1:20, 9:1, 12:4,7-9, Job 38:7, Isa. 14:12). Since a host of angels appeared to the Jewish shepherds to announce where the child would be found (Luke 2:11-12), God may have used an angel to lead these Gentiles from a foreign country to find Him. This would explain how the star moved and knew where to stop at the correct location.

By the way, the wise men didn’t come to the manger on the night He was born but sometime later. When they arrived, Joseph and Mary had moved into a house (Matt. 2:11). But don’t get upset when you see the wise men depicted in a manger scene display. It’s not a theological problem and the manger scene reminds us that Jesus came for both Jews and Gentiles.  www.makinglifecount.net  www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com
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Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174
www.makinglifecount.net  Twitter: @KentCrockett

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.
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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