Sunday, February 7, 2016

Becoming a Self-Feeding Christian

On the way home from church, a little boy asked his father, “Dad, how do you spell God?” The father spelled it out for him. He was thrilled his son was showing interest in spiritual things at such a young age. A few seconds later the boy asked, “Dad, how do you spell Zilla?”

Spiritually immature people are more interested in Godzilla than God. If you want to grow spiritually, it requires that you have an intense hunger to know spiritual things. When you surrender your life to Jesus Christ, you are born spiritually become a spiritual baby. And just like babies require milk, so do spiritual babies. Peter writes, “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the Word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation” (1 Peter.2:2).

Babies require someone else to feed them, and the same is true with spiritual babies. It’s okay for a baby to be a baby, but it’s not okay for a baby to stay a baby. A baby will eventually grow into an adult, but a spiritual baby doesn’t automatically grow with time.

You could have been saved 30 years ago but have the spiritual maturity of a 6-month old. The writer of Hebrews says, “You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead…you are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food” (Heb. 12:12-13 NLT). That’s like a 40-year-old sitting in a high chair with mouth wide open, waiting to be fed. You will never mature spiritually until you become a self-feeding Christian. Here’s how:

1. Read the Bible every day.  You can start by reading for 10 minutes a day. Choose a book of the Bible, such as Mark. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you as you read. Slowly read a few verses from chapter 1 and think about what it’s saying. Don’t be in a hurry. If you read verses 1-8 today, mark the place and start with verse 9 tomorrow. Eventually you will read through the entire book of Mark, and then you can do the same with the book of Acts. If you miss reading for a day, don’t worry about it. Start the next day where you left off.

2. Write down what you’re learning. Buy a notebook and use it as your spiritual journal. Write the date and Mark 1:1-8 with your observations. As you continue to do this, you will be amazed at the encouragement you’ll receive from God’s Word.

3. Consider following a “Read through the Bible in a year” plan. This requires reading about 45 minutes a day to get through the entire Bible. I recommend where you can buy a notebook that is already marked with the verses to read and shows you how to use the S.O.A.P. method of writing daily devotions.

HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BIBLE? READ 71 Answers to Bible Questions

Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174 Twitter:  @Kent Crockett

Monday, February 1, 2016

God & Satan's Chess Game

The sovereignty of God over the events here on earth can be compared to a chess game between the Lord and the devil. People are the pawns. A clear example of this chess game between good and evil is demonstrated by what happened to Joseph (Gen. 37-41).

Satan made the first move. Joseph’s brothers hated him, so they threw him into a pit in the wilderness (37:18-24).
Then God moved His chess piece. Although Joseph didn’t know it at the time, God wanted him in Egypt, so He sent a taxi to pick him up. Midianite traders passed by on their way to Egypt and his brothers sold him to them. God directed their steps on the right path at the right time (37:28). 

The devil made another move. After arriving in Egypt, the Midianites and sold him as a slave to Potiphar, who was Pharaoh’s officer (37:36).
God moved again. The Lord caused all that Joseph did to prosper (39:2-3).

Satan made a temptation move. Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph (39:7). 
God moved on Joseph’s heart. Joseph ran away from the temptation (39:12).

The devil made a false accusation move. Potiphar’s wife twisted the facts and lied about Joseph, which landed him in prison (39:14-20).
God moved again. The Lord again caused him to prosper (Gen. 39:21-23). He interpreted the dream of Pharaoh’s cupbearer, who was also in prison, that he would be restored to his office in three days. Joseph asked that he mention him to Pharaoh and get him out of prison (40:9-14).

Satan made his move. The cupbearer forgot about Joseph for two more years (40:23).
God moved again by crowning him. The Pharaoh has a couple of dreams that couldn’t be interpreted. The cupbearer finally mentions Joseph to him, who interprets the dreams. As a reward, Pharaoh promoted him to ruler over Egypt (41:1-43). God wins!

You see, if you live to please God, it doesn’t really matter what others do to you. They are just pawns in His hand, and He will make sure you win. Twitter:  @Kent Crockett

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Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Satan Can Plant and Remove Seeds

Jesus told a parable, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. . . The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’” (Matthew 13:24-28)

In this parable, the enemy came at night and sowed weeds in their field while the slaves were sleeping. They didn’t realize what the enemy had done because it wasn’t obvious at first. But after the wheat and tares sprang up together, the slaves couldn’t understand how tares got in the field when the landowner had only sown good seed. The landowner explained to the slaves that his enemy had done it. Even though he hadn’t seen the enemy do it, he figured out the tares came from bad seed that was sown by someone who hated him. Here are 2 tactics that Satan uses:

1. Satan can remove good seed planted in people’s hearts. In the Parable of the Sower (Matt. 13:3-23), Jesus said the evil one has the ability to snatch away good seed sown in a person’s heart (v.19). The good seed is God’s Word (Mark 4:14) which will produce good fruit (13:8), so the devil’s first tactic is to attack the Bible. When someone hears God’s Word, he or she must decide to receive and act upon it. If someone doesn’t do this, the evil one can actually take it away, presumably through making the person forget about it before it can take root.

2. Satan can plant immoral seeds in people’s hearts. His second tactic is to plant immoral seeds in people’s hearts while they are “sleeping.” This means they aren’t aware of what’s happening to them in the spiritual realm. The enemy isn’t noticeable when he tempts people. He plants his tares in people’s hearts and it is not until later that the harmful consequences become obvious.

He’s busy sowing seeds of hate and discord, seeds of unfaithfulness in marriages, and discontentment in people’s hearts. The world is in such a mess today because the immoral seeds sown by the devil have taken over the field. Yet some people have never figured out their troubles began as tiny seeds sown by a spiritual enemy while they were sleeping.

How can you prevent tares from being sown in your heart? By staying spiritually aware and refusing to let him trespass on your property. “Let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober” (1 Thess. 5:6). Let the good seed produce its good fruit, and keep the corrupt seed from entering your heart. If it’s already in there, you can pull the weeds out (repentance) and let the Holy Spirit germinate God’s Word in your heart. It will change your life. Twitter:  @Kent Crockett

NEW BIBLE STUDY: "What was Urim and Thummin?

Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Reaping What We Sow

Reader's Digest told a story about a company that glued a tiny seed to a brochure that was advertising their product. The brochure said, "If you have the faith as a mustard seed in our product, it will produce profound results for you." Several months later, a customer wrote back saying, "You will be very interested to know that I planted your mustard seed and now I have a beautiful plant covered with tomatoes!"  It was a tomato seed, not a mustard seed. Keep two principles in mind:

1. We reap what we sow.  Galatians 6:7 says, "Don't be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap." If a farmer plants corn, he’s not going to reap okra. If you plant watermelon seeds, you will reap watermelons, not asparagus. I can look at a field of wheat and tell you exactly what kind of seed was sown, even though I wasn't there to watch the farmer plant it. We always reap the kind of seed we plant.

The Scripture warns, "Don't be deceived" because many people think they can sow evil seeds and not suffer any harmful consequences. But they will. On the other hand, wise people sow good seeds because they want to reap a good harvest.  And they will.

2. We reap later than we sow.  What we are planting doesn’t become obvious until much later. The consequences, whether positive or negative, will be delayed—sometimes for years. People who do evil will not get away with it. And people who do good will be thrilled when the harvest comes. Galatians 6:9 says, "Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary." 

So keep planting good seeds. And don’t lose heart if nothing seems to be happening. The harvest is coming!  @Kent Crockett

Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

5 Reasons to Not Fear 2016

Worrying is fear of the future. A husband told his wife, “Why are you always worrying? It doesn’t do any good.” She replied, “Yes it does. 98% of the things I worry about never happen.”

My book The Sure Cure for Worry explains that the only way to be completely free from worry is to place your complete trust in God. 
Worry never trusts—and trust never worries. You cannot worry and trust God at the same time. One forces out the other. Here are five reasons you can live with confidence in 2016.

1. God is in control of the world’s events. If you are going to trust God with your future, you have to believe that He is in control. Click here for Proof God Controls the World.

2. Jesus specifically told us to not be afraid of the future. When Jesus prophesied concerning the events preceding the end of the world, He said, “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not frightened” (Matt. 24:6). He told us to not be afraid because He is in control of what happens to us.

3. Jesus gives us His peace in every circumstance. “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid” (John 14:27). God’s peace is far superior to what “the world gives.”

4. When you completely trust God, He promises to direct your steps. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Prov. 3:5-6). The Lord will show you what to do in every situation.

5. You must release your problems into God’s hands through prayer. Prayer is the way you hand your concerns over to the Lord, which results in having a peaceful life (Phil. 4:6-7). 

Have you put your complete trust in the Lord? If you are still worried and uptight, you are still holding back. When you surrender your life to Jesus, you will feel the weight lifted off your soul (Matt. 11:29).  Twitter: @Kent Crockett

Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174

Monday, December 28, 2015

Keeping Your New Year's Resolutions

One man said, "Here it is February and I've kept every one of my New Year's resolutions. Yep, I've kept every one of them in an envelope in my desk." Why do so many resolutions fail? Three things are required to make a lasting change in your life: 
1) A decision to make a change
2) A point in time when it begins 
3) The power to make it happen.

New Year's brings the first two. We make lists of the things we've decided to change and then mark January 1st on the calendar as the starting point. We soon find out they don’t stick because we don't have the will-power to follow them through.

The reason is we're trying to conquer the desires of the flesh by using the strength of the flesh. The "flesh" in the Bible means our natural desires and impulses, which causes the problems we're trying to resolve. When we try to change using our own strength, we fail because "the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" (Matt. 26:41). The flesh isn’t strong enough, nor is it willing enough, to make the change.

Quit depending on your own strength and yield yourself completely to the Lord for His power. Then you will "be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man" (Eph. 3:16). God promises to give you the power through the Holy Spirit to make the changes in your life that He desires, which is a whole lot better than making more resolutions that you can’t keep.  @Kent Crockett

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Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174

Monday, December 21, 2015

Why Did the Angels Appear to Shepherds?

It was like any other night. The shepherds were pulling the night shift near Bethlehem. Little did they realize that a host of angels would suddenly appear to announce the most significant event to ever happen on earth—the birth of a baby who was God in the flesh.

You’d think that the angels would appear to the high priest and the Sanhedrin, who were the religious leaders in Israel. Why did God chose shepherds to be the first to receive the good news? Although the Pharisees and Sadducees appeared to be pious to everyone else, the Lord knew the corruption and evil that lurked in their hearts.

On the other hand, the shepherds were humble and were probably raising sheep that would be sacrificed in the temple. Perhaps they sat around the campfire, discussing the Scriptures concerning the Messiah being the sacrificial Lamb who would die for the sins of the world.

An angel suddenly stood before them and announced, “Today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord…You will find the baby wrapped in cloths, and laying in a manger” (Luke 2:8-14). Then, a multitude of angels appeared, praising God. Maybe the Lord sent only one angel to make the announcement, and then sent the multitude of angels to confirm the message.

If I were one of the shepherds, I would have asked, “Are you going to give more details about how to find this baby? How about drawing us a map?” The angel could have said, “Take a right at the tax collector's office, go down three blocks to the Bethlehem Inn and ask the innkeeper how to get to the stable. It’s the first manger on the left. You can't miss it. It’s the only one with a baby inside.”

In spite of the poor directions, God made sure that the shepherds found the baby. And if you are willing to search for Christ, He will make sure that you’ll find Him as well.  @Kent Crockett

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Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174