Sunday, September 17, 2017

When You Don't Understand

Have you ever watched a magician levitating a person? You know it must be a trick, but you can’t figure out how he does it. You think, “That’s impossible. He’s defying the law of gravity! How is it possible for him to do that?” You’re baffled because you don’t understand how he does it. But suppose the magician were to tell you the secret to his trick. After he explained how he did it, you’d say, “Oh—NOW I understand!” 

We usually start doubting God when we have questions that don’t seem to have an answer. Something bad happens and we don’t understand why God would allow it. It’s an unanswered question. And so we’re left wondering what’s going on and why He won’t let us in on the secret.

God doesn’t always let us in on what He’s doing. Deuteronomy 29:29 says, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us.” The secret things are the perplexing mysteries that we’ll never understand in this life. Although the Lord may not answer every question during our lifetime, He promises to answer them after we get to heaven.

First Corinthians 13:12 says, “For now (in this life) we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face (when we stand before Him). Now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.” In the next life He’ll explain every secret thing to us and then we’ll say, “Oh—NOW I understand!” 

Until that day comes, God wants us to place our complete trust in Him. He knows the answers to every question that baffles us. He doesn’t do magic tricks but promises to turn the bad things that happen around for good to those who love Him (Rom. 8:28). But remember--with our limited knowledge we won’t be able to figure out how He does it. www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com  www.makinglifecount.net
******************************************
Having a problem trusting God? Read The Sure Cure for Worry. It gives reasons why we can trust God even when we don’t understand.

Many Bible study groups and churches are studying Slaying Your Giants. A separate Study Guide provides Q&A for small group discussion (up to 20 Lessons).
****************************************************************************************************
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

Sunday, September 10, 2017

What is a Living Sacrifice?

In the Old Testament they offered dead animal sacrifices to God. In the New Testament, we offer ourselves as living sacrifices. Paul wrote to Christians in Rome, “I urge you…to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Rom. 12:1). Notice 4 things:

1. This offering is voluntary not mandatory. Paul does not say, “I command you” but “I urge you.” He writes to those who are already Christians and saved by grace. We offer ourselves as a living sacrifice—not to get saved but because we are saved.

2. Dedicate your body to God. Only you can surrender your body. Jesus had to live in a body to accomplish God’s will on earth, so we yield our bodies to Him so He can live through us and do His will. We choose to live for Him each day and not for ourselves. If the living sacrifice crawls off the altar, get back on.  

3. Your sacrifice is both living and holy. Holy means set apart and devoted to God. This means we abstain from sexual immorality (1 Cor. 6:18). “Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you…and you are not your own. For you have been bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:19-20). Holy sacrifices are well-pleasing and “acceptable to God.”

4. Living for Him is how we worship Him. He says, “which is your spiritual service of worship.” Worship and service are tied together. Whatever we worship we also serve. “You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only” (Matt. 4:10)

PRAYER: “Lord, you gave your life for me, so today I choose to live for you. I present my body to you to honor you and to do your will. What would you like for me to do today?” www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com  www.makinglifecount.net
****************************************************************************************************
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

Saturday, September 2, 2017

The Rest of the Story (Romans 8:28)

Paul Harvey had a radio show called “The Rest of the Story.” He'd talk about someone who overcame obstacles, but he kept the person’s identity a secret until the end when would reveal it and say, “And now you know…the REST of the story.” Once you heard the ending, you then understood how all the pieces came together.

Romans 8:28 is the Christian’s “Rest of the Story.” God promises to turn the bad things that happen to His followers around for good. It says, “For we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” This verse doesn’t say 4 things, which helps us understand what it does say.

1. It doesn’t say “We hope” but “We know.” A boy always read the end of the book first. When his mother asked why, he said, “It’s better that way. No matter how much trouble the hero gets into, I don’t have to worry because I know it’s going to end well.”
Paul did not say, “I’m writing this letter to lots of people so I can’t say for sure how your situation will turn out. Good luck!” Even though Paul didn’t know what his readers were going through he says we can know for sure God will work all things together for our good.

2. It doesn’t say all things are good, but that He works all things together for good. Bad things happen to everyone because we live in a broken world.  If Satan can turn good into evil, why can’t God turn evil into good? Joseph was sold into slavery and unjustly thrown into prison. If you didn't know the ending you would think God had abandoned him. Instead, God used those injustices to get him to the right place and promote him to a ruler in Egypt (Gen. 37-41).

3. It doesn’t say God does this for everyone, but for those who love Him. Rom 8:28 “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God,” This is a promise to His followers but isn’t a guarantee to everybody.

4. It doesn’t say for our happiness, but for His purpose. “…to those who are called according to His purpose.” The Lord wants to accomplish His purpose in our lives. God may not have the first word in everything that happens but He does have the last word. Although bad things happen, God says, “I have the last word and my purposes will be accomplished.”
And now you know…the REST of the story! 
****************************************************************************************************
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

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Don't Bow Down to Idols

Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar made a huge golden image and ordered everyone to bow down and worship it. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who were believers in the true God, refused to bow down, even under the threat of being executed (Daniel 3).

Today in our society, people order us to bow down to the idols of political correctness, fake news, the lie of evolution, and sexual immorality. Unfortunately, many people who claim to be Christians are bowing their knees to these idols. Are you bowing down? Three things are needed to stand up for the truth and to not bow down:

#1 We must be absolutely convinced the Bible is true. If you aren’t convinced the Bible is God’s Word, you will sooner or later bow down to idols. Did you know that every archeological excavation in Israel has confirmed the truth of the Bible? Did you know the Bible proves itself as true through fulfilled prophecies that have come to pass? God spoke to the Old Testament prophets about what would happen in the future. They recorded hundreds of predictions—and they all came to pass.

#2 Faith inside your heart must be greater than outward pressure. The pressure to bow to man-made idols is becoming greater every day. If you squeeze a cracker in your hand it will crumble because the outward pressure is greater than the inward strength. But you if squeeze a baseball, nothing will happen because the inside is greater than the outside.

#3 We must love the Lord more than this world. When we love the Lord we commit our lives to Him. Your life on earth will soon be over but you will exist forever either in heaven or hell. “Love not the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him…and the world is passing away, and also its desires, but the one who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15,17).

One day every person who has ever lived will bow down to Jesus and confess that He is Lord (Phil. 2:10-11). This doesn’t mean that everyone will eventually be saved. Those who did not worship Him while on earth will not spend eternity with Him in heaven.  
****************************************************************************************************

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

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Lessons From Mary and Martha

When Jesus and His disciples arrived in Bethany, Martha invited them into her home. Jesus goes into the other room and starts teaching, but Martha rushes into the kitchen and starts preparing a meal for the crew. She’s running around the kitchen gathering ingredients, and it really bothers her that her sister Mary hasn’t lifted one finger to help. Mary had followed Jesus to the other room to listen to Him.

Think about it. God is in a human body sitting in her living room, revealing truths hidden from the beginning of time, but Martha is too busy to listen. Meanwhile, Mary is taking in every word. Finally, Martha stomps into the room and interrupts the Bible study. With hands on her hips, she commands Jesus to do something. “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Tell her to help me." (Luke 10:40)

Martha expects Jesus to say, “Martha, you’re so right!  Doesn’t anyone here remember my teachings on being a servant?  Take a look at my servant, Martha. Mary, you could learn a few things from her. Now go help Martha fix my favorite meal!” Instead He says, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part.” (Luke 10:41-42). 

Mary and Martha represent two different ways to live:
#1 We can serve God—but do it with a bad attitude. Martha was serving, but she wasn’t serving cheerfully. It drove her crazy that Mary wasn’t helping. Being bothered means everyone and everything gets on your nerves. What annoys you and gets on your nerves?  The problem really isn’t with other people, but our attitude inside our hearts.

#2 Being worried and bothered means our focus is wrong. Martha was “worried and bothered” because she focused on “many things.” Mary was focused on “one thing.” Martha was constantly stressed-out about everything. She continually worried about the future. Little things always bothered her. She wasn't enjoying life because she focused on events rather than God.

#3 God wants us to choose to spend time with Him. I’m not sure what Jesus was teaching that day, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was, “How to Not Be Worried and Bothered.” Jesus told Martha, “Only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part.” What did she choose?  She chose to hear Jesus speak to her heart.

How do we spend time with God? I’ve made it a practice to read God’s Word every day. I’ll pick a book of the Bible, start in chapter 1, read a portion, and ask God to speak to my heart. I’ll jot down in a journal or on my computer what I’ve learned. The next day I start where I ended the day before. After I’ve read the entire book, I’ll choose another book of the Bible. If you’re not spending daily time with God, I hope you’ll start today. www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com  www.makinglifecount.net
****************************************************************************************************
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

Sunday, August 13, 2017

God Will Reward Your Faithfulness

When you receive Jesus Christ as your Lord, God saves you by His grace alone. But many people don’t realize that their rewards in heaven will be determined by their faithfulness in serving Him after they’ve been saved. The few brief moments you live on earth will determine what you’ll be doing in heaven forever.

God is evaluating your faithfulness in this life because He wants to reward you with something much greater in the next life (Matt. 25:21, Luke 19:17). Life on earth is a test. He wants us to be faithful where you are right now, with what you have right now. Faithfulness means:

1. Faithfulness means excellence. Excellence doesn't mean doing more things, but doing things better. It’s doing your very best in every situation because you believe the Lord is watching and you want to please Him (Eph. 5:10).

2. Faithfulness means integrity. Integrity means being above reproach morally, even when no one is watching. A store owner interviewed a young man for a job and asked, "If I hire you to work for me, will you be honest and truthful?" He answered, "I'll be honest and truthful whether you hire me or not."

3. Faithfulness means dependability. Dependable people can be relied upon to fulfill their commitments. When a job is assigned to a dependable worker, the boss never has to worry if the job will get done on time. Your faithfulness is determined by the commitment in your heart and not by outside pressure.

4. Faithfulness means sacrifice. Sacrifice means giving up something now to get something better later. When you cheerfully give your offerings to Him, you’re laying up for yourself treasure in heaven (Matt. 6:19-20).

5. Faithfulness means perseverance. Jesus said, "Be faithful until death and I will give you the crown of life" (Rev. 2:10). Faithfulness means you keep running until you cross the finish line. The race you're running won't be over until you die. Be faithful until death. He promises you a great eternal reward if you will.

“Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, KNOWING that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58). For more about God rewarding our faithfulness read Making Today Count for Eternity.  www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com  www.makinglifecount.net
****************************************************************************************************
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

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Imaginary Movies in Your Mind

When was the last time you watched a movie? Not at the mall, but the imaginary movies in your mind. Satan has produced a number of films he wants you to watch. He projects imaginary movies on the screen of your mind, trying to stir up ungodly emotions so you’ll react in the wrong way.
A seat is reserved for you. Admission is free. The popcorn is ready and the show is about to begin. All Satan asks is for you to believe what you see even though none of it has yet happened.

The Worry movie plays in your mind and you see every tragedy happening to you or someone you love. The Angry movie stars foolish people who keep doing things you don’t like, trying to steal your joy. You are the star of the dark Depression movie where you seemingly have lost all hope. The Temptation movie shows you doing something wrong without any consequences. Killers watch the Murder movie before they do the crime. You’ve probably seen the Jealousy movie, Envy movie, and Rejection movie. Have you ever noticed how the movies in your mind never have a happy ending?

This is why 2 Corinthians 10:5 says, "Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." Notice we must carry out a two-step process—stop and replace.

STOP THE MOVIE!Casting down imaginations.” You don’t have to keep watching it. You can turn off the movie by commanding the thoughts to leave in Jesus’ name. You realize Satan has made the movies and you’re determined to shut down his operation. When you take a stand against him, he’ll leave and take his movie projection with him. “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7)

REPLACE IT. “Bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” It’s not enough to cast down the imaginations. We also need to replace it with right thinking. Don’t leave the lot vacant but build a godly house there. If we’ll dwell on godly thoughts (Phil. 4:8) we’ll be happy both now and in the future.
FOR MORE about the movies in your mind read Slaying Your Giants.
****************************************************************************************************

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