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
*****************************************************************************************
BIBLE STUDY: What does it mean to repent?

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, 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.
*****************************************************************************************
Read Chapter 1--If God Knows What I Need, Why Should I Pray? ("Look Inside")

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, 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
*****************************************************************************************

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, January 29, 2017

The Big Hand and the Little Hand

A mother had been teaching her son how to tell time. She saw him walk into the kitchen and called from the other room, “Johnny, do you see the clock in the kitchen?” “Yes, Mommy.”
“What is the big hand on?” 
The boy looked at the clock. “Eleven,” he yelled. 
“Good. Now, what’s the little hand on?” He answered, “A cookie.”

The little hands and the big hand are both involved in what happens on earth. The little hand is the human hand (our free will) and the big hand is God’s hand (God's sovereignty), which can overrule what the little hands do. When the Lowly little hands are doing their dirty work, it takes faith to see God's big hand being in charge. He has the Upper Hand.

When Joseph’s brothers betrayed him and sold him into slavery (little hands), God overruled their actions an exalted Joseph as a ruler in Egypt (big hand).
When Ezra traveled to Jerusalem, they arrived safely because “the hand of God (big hand) was over us, and He delivered us from the hand of the enemy (little hands)” (Ezra 8:31).
When the religious leaders of Israel crucified Jesus (little hands), Jesus paid for the sins of the world and God raised Him from the dead (big hand).  

That’s why the Scripture says, “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God” (1 Peter 5:6). The hand of God works in agreement with the heart of God. God’s hand is His power and God’s heart is His love. When you can’t see His hand at work, trust His heart.

What have the dirty little hands done to you? Stop looking at the little hands and keep your eye on God's big hand. His Upper Hand will work all things together for good (Rom. 8:28).
For much more on the big hand and the little hand, read The Sure Cure for Worry.
*****************************************************************************************
NEW SERMON:  “The Good Samaritan(You know the story, but do you know all the details?)

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, January 21, 2017

The Humility Test, Part 2

Jesus said, “Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4). The Humility Test will reveal areas of pride in our hearts. See last week for Part 1.

Question #5: Do you have trouble submitting to authority? Yes or No
“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution…Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable” (1 Peter 2:13,18). Anyone can submit if we agree with those in authority, it’s when those masters are unreasonable that we have the problem. The only way we can submit to unreasonable authorities is through a humble heart that seeks to please the Lord.

Question #6: Are you unwilling to do humiliating jobs? Yes or No
Jesus said, “Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all” (Mark 10:43–44). This statement was revolutionary. No one had ever taught humility was a virtue and a slave was important.

Humility is willing to do any job God asks no matter how insignificant or undignified it might be. Being a servant doesn’t necessarily mean having a lowly position, but having a lowly heart. A person can be in a high position and still maintain a servant’s heart.

Question #7: Do you look down on anyone? Yes or No
Pride sets itself up in a higher position so it can look down on others. Humility never looks down on anyone. God tells us to regard others as more important than ourselves (Phil. 2:3). Humility doesn’t mean we put ourselves down, but we lift others up. All people are equally valuable in God’s eyes, but from our viewpoint others should be considered as more significant.

Question #8: Do you brag about your strengths instead of weaknesses? Yes or No
Admitting our weaknesses opens the way to receive God’s power. Paul said, “I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me” (2 Cor. 12:9). Although it’s tempting to brag about our achievements, it’s better to keep silent and let the accomplishments speak for themselves. A chicken lays one egg and cackles about it, while a salmon lays 10,000 eggs and doesn’t say a word.

Grading Your Test
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, those are areas of pride in your life. “Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time” (1 Peter 5:5–6)

The only one who can humble “yourself” is yourself. Humility shines the spotlight on God, not ourselves. 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, January 15, 2017

The Humility Test, Part 1

Jesus said, “Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4). We have tests for nearly everything in life, but what about a test for pride? The Humility Test will detect areas of pride in our hearts.

Question #1: Do you depend on yourself more than God? Yes or No
Humility means being completely dependent on God to strengthen us (Rom. 5:2). A pastor was riding on a bus seated next to a college student. The minister asked, “Are you spiritually ready for the temptations that you’ll face in college?”
“I won’t have a problem,” the student replied, “I have strong willpower.”
The minister said, “I can make a pencil stand up on this book cover even though the road is bumpy.” The student said, “No way. You can’t do it.”
The pastor held the pencil up with his hand. The student said, “But you didn’t tell me you would hold it with your hand.” The pastor said. “Have you ever seen a pencil stand up on its own without someone holding it?” He let go of the pencil, which instantly fell over. The minister told him, “The only way you can stand is if God is holding you up with His hand.”

Question #2: Do you get upset when you don’t receive recognition? Yes or No
Pride loves to be worshipped. It craves attention and is greatly offended when it is overlooked. Jesus asked the Pharisees, “How can you believe when you receive glory from one another, and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?” (John 5:44). It’s not wrong to graciously receive recognition for job well done but don’t take pride in it.

Question #3: Do you think you deserve a higher position? Yes or No
When we humble ourselves, we understand that God determines who gets promoted and who doesn’t. “For not from the east, nor from the west, nor from the desert comes exaltation; but God is the Judge; He puts down one and exalts another” (Psalm 75:6). This means we shouldn’t be envious of those who are promoted, or be the least bit upset if we are passed over for promotion. Advancing to a higher position is ultimately in God’s hands.

Question #4: Do you compare yourself with others to find your self-worth? Yes or No
“When they measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding” (2 Cor. 10:12). If we compare ourselves with others we will become proud or discouraged—and neither are from God.   To be continued next week….

For more about the Humility Test and God rewarding humble people in heaven 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, January 8, 2017

Remembering & Forgetting, Part 2

Remembering means we choose the thoughts we dwell on. God wants us to remember some things and forget some things. Remembering will bring up feelings from the past—whether they’re good or bad.

Deut. 6:12 says, “Watch yourself that you do not forget the Lord.” Some people can go through the whole day and never think about God. Some can go an entire week without thinking about Him. We forget God by widening the gaps in time when we think about Him. We need to recall these three things:

1. Remember God’s faithfulness. God told Israel to remember how He faithfully led them through the wilderness (Deut.8:2). If we don’t remember God in the wilderness (hard times), then we won’t remember Him in the Promised Land (good times). If you are going through a time of uncertainty, remember that “Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass” (1 Thess. 5:24).

2. Remember God’s goodness. A man gave some candy to a little girl. The girl didn't say anything, so her mother said, "What do you say?" The girl said, "Do you have any more?" When God blesses us we need to remember to thank Him. 

Before Israel entered the Promised Land, God told them, “You will bless (thank) the Lord your God for the good land He has given you” (Deut. 8:10). He then warned them that they might forget Him after they received all His blessings: “Beware lest you forget the Lord your God…lest, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them…when all that you have multiplies, then your heart becomes proud and you forget the Lord your God” (Deut. 8:11-14). Remember that God is the source of your blessings.

3. Remember that you’re God’s child.  When you received Jesus as your Lord, you became His child, He forgave all your sins, gave you eternal life, and gave you His righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21). You have a new status in God’s eyes. Don’t forget that.

I’ve learned that I can remember these things by reading His Word every day, staying in contact with Him through prayer, and recalling all the good things He has done for me. It will work for you too. www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com   www.makinglifecount.net
*****************************************************************************************
WATCH MUSIC VIDEO “No Longer Slaves to Fear” by 3b4joy

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