Monday, December 28, 2009

Put Your "Baby" in God's Hands

When Pharaoh ordered all the Hebrew baby boys to be killed, the mother of Moses, Jochebed, did something that didn't make sense to the logical mind. She put her baby in a wicker basket and hid him in the reeds by the Nile River (Exodus 2:3). Moses could have been eaten by crocodiles, or the basket could have been swept downstream. But Jochebed put Moses in God's hands and trusted Him to take care of her infant son.

The day will come when you must put your baby in God's hands. The "baby" represents anything that's important to you. It could be your job, something you own, a relationship, or it might even be your child. Perhaps you're fearful or worried that something will happen to your baby. You won't find peace of mind until you let go and transfer ownership of your "baby" into God's hands. The Lord is perfectly capable of handling the situation that you've given to Him.

What happened to Moses after his mother let go of him? A few minutes later, Pharaoh's daughter just happened to go to that spot on the river and found baby Moses. Then, by an act of God's sovereignty, Pharaoh's daughter paid Jochebed wages to raise her own son! (Ex. 2:5-9) And not only that, the Lord later used Moses to deliver the Hebrew people from Egyptian bondage.

When we place our babies in God's hands, it not only releases us from fear and worry, but the Lord is now free to do great things with what we've surrendered to Him. What do you need to put in God's hands?
Keep looking up!
Kent

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Divine Appointments

A divine appointment is when God leads someone, who usually doesn't know he or she is being led, to a certain place, at the perfect time, to accomplish a specific purpose. The Bible records hundreds of these divine appointments, and Joseph and Mary's trip to Bethlehem was not only a divine appointment, but also fulfilled an ancient prophecy.

In the Old Testament, Micah prophesied 700 years into the future and pinpointed the town of Bethlehem as the birthplace for the Messiah. "But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah . . . from you One will go forth from Me to be ruler in Israel, His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity" (Micah 5:2). Out of all the cities on the entire planet, God circled tiny Bethlehem on the map.

Now here's the problem. The virgin Mary and her husband Joseph lived in Nazareth, not Bethlehem (***see note on Nazareth below). They had no intention of traveling to Bethlehem to give birth, so how would they get there to fulfill the prophecy?

In what can only be described as an act of God's sovereignty, the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census be taken, which required everyone to return to their original cities (Luke 2:1-5). This forced Joseph to return to Bethlehem because he was of the house and family of David. Caesar was just a pawn in God's hand, and the Lord used a pagan king to get Mary to Bethlehem at just the right time to give birth to Jesus and fulfill Micah's prophecy!

NEVER FORGET THAT GOD IS IN CONTROL. Even when humans misuse their free will. Even when evil seems to be prevailing. God can overrule what man does, and He always has the last word. Always.
Have a Merry Christmas,
Kent
***I led a tour group to Nazareth in October 2008, where we saw a wine press hewn out of the bedrock and a rock quarry that dated back to the 1st Century. To see pictures of these, go to http://www.nazarethvillage.com/research/content/wine-press

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Judgment Seat of Christ

Are you ready to stand before God? That day is coming. "For we must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body" (2 Cor. 5:10). If you are a Christian, you are reading about yourself in this verse. Actually, this is something to look forward to.

You might wonder, "If God has forgiven all my sins, why am I going to be judged for what I've done?"
When you accepted Christ as Lord and Savior, all your sins were forgiven. This judgment isn't to examine your sins. It's to evaluate your faithfulness to determine your rewards in heaven.

The Greek word for judgment seat is "bema." After an athlete in biblical times won an event, he would go stand before the bema seat in the coliseum to receive his reward. A wreath would be placed on his head, similar to an Olympic champion receiving a gold medal. At the judgment seat of Christ, each believer will receive a reward from the Lord according to what we have done for Him during our lives on earth. This is why Jesus encouraged us to "lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven" (Matt. 6:20) and Paul said, "Run in such a way that you may win" (1 Cor. 9:24).

Your rewards will determine your eternal assignments in heaven--what you'll be doing in the next life. Yes, you will have a job in God's kingdom! We will serve Him forever, which means will be fulfilling God's assignments (Rev.7:15). Heaven would be like hell if we had nothing to do forever. Jesus said these rewards are so exciting that, if we could see them, we would "leap for joy" (Luke 6:23).
See you at the bema,
Kent
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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Taking Inventory

David McLennon got his first job at age 13 working at a small-town grocery store. One day the store owner said, "It's time to take inventory." David had never heard that word before, so he asked, "What does that mean?"
"It's a time when we make a list of everything in the store," the owner explained.
"Why do you do that?" David asked.
"Well, it's easy to forget what's in the store. Only by counting each item can we actually know everything that we have."

Since this week is Thanksgiving, it's time to take inventory of everything we have. Do you realize that you live better than most kings have lived throughout history? Don't believe me? Here is a list of things that most of us have, but kings never had at their disposal:

TAKING INVENTORY: Things you have that kings never owned
Air conditioning. Heating. Thermostats to regulate both. Ceiling fans. Natural gas. Electricity.
Hot and cold running water in your house. Indoor toilets. Toilet paper. Soap. Shampoo. Conditioner. Toothpaste. Toothbrush. Deodorant. Floss. Mouthwash. Hairspray.
Appliance stores. Refrigerators. Freezers. Ovens. Stoves. Microwave ovens. Crock-Pots. Electric lights (just flip a switch). Television. Internet. Radio. Telephones. Cell phones. Computers. DVD players. Movie theaters. Watches. Clocks. Closets full of clothes and shoes. Sunglasses. Suntan lotion.
Grocery stores. Fresh vegetables. Fruit from all over the world--pineapples, mangoes, bananas, grapes, apples, oranges. (Remember, kings didn't have all these foods). Canned foods--every thing imaginable. Frozen foods--dinners that are already prepared for you! Ice cream.
Medical doctors. Medical equipment. Hospitals. Ambulances. Pharmacies. Medicines to treat nearly every sickness, headache, heart problem, and pain relief. Vitamins. Eyeglasses. Hearing aids. Dentists to treat broken teeth. Orthodontists. Dermatologists.
Automobiles. Gasoline. Airplanes. Airports. Taxis. Buses. Mechanics. Paved roads. Rest stops.
Restaurants--fast food, Chinese, Italian, Mexican, American, pizzas.
Music--iPods, CDs, satellite radio. (I could go on, but the list would be too long!)

Do you now understand that the average person today is wealthier than the richest people who have lived throughout history? It's a shame that most people have never truly thanked God for each one of these incredible blessings. In fact, they complain that they don't have enough!
Thanksgiving shouldn't be once a year. It should be every day. "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good" (1 Chron. 16:34).
Keep looking up,
Kent
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Sunday, November 15, 2009

No Strings Attached

Have you ever wondered why God sent Moses to tell Pharaoh to "let My people go"? The Lord could have led the Hebrews out of Egypt without getting Pharaoh's permission, but God wanted to give Pharaoh a chance to "let go." He needed to "take his hands off" the Hebrews and release them from slavery. If he had listened to Moses and let go, he could have avoided the ten plagues. But, he didn't heed God's warning and so he had to suffer the consequences.

Lots of people today have "Pharaohitis." They're holding on to people in their minds that they need to let go. Maybe they've been hurt by someone and won't forgive. God says to let the person go. Or, they're involved in an unhealthy relationship and the Lord commands them to let the person go. Some people have lost a loved one either through death or a breakup, and even though years have passed, they still haven't let go. Others are "controllers" and will try to make everyone do what they want. God says to them, "Let My people go so that they might serve Me" (Ex. 8:1).
You can let go by cutting the string that connects you to that person. As long as the string is attached, you're in bondage to that individual. Imagine taking a pair of spiritual scissors and cutting the string in Jesus name. Tell the Lord that you are releasing the person into His care and that there are no more strings attached. Now when that person tries to pull strings, it doesn't affect you because the connection has been broken.
Keep looking up!
Kent
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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Your Time is Running Out

Do you know the difference between a clock and an hourglass? A clock has revolving hands, which gives the illusion that time goes on forever. An hourglass, on the other hand, reminds us that time is running out.

In Psalm 90, Moses reminds us that our brief time on Earth is running out. He says "As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years . . . for soon it is gone and we fly away" (v.10). He then offers a bit of advice for all of us, in v. 12:

1. Count your days. Moses says, "So teach us to number our days . . . " We usually say, "I'm 25, or 45, or 65 years old" because we count our days from the time we're born. But I think Moses is telling us to count our days from the other end--from death. And that's assuming we make it to 70 or 80. No one is guaranteed the next breath. "Counting our days" means that we realize that life is short, and we have a ever-diminishing amount of time left.

2. Make your days count. Moses continues, "that we might present to Thee a heart of wisdom." Once we realize every day is a gift from God, we make our lives count for Him. You can only do this if you've given your life to Christ. Once you've done that, live to please Him in all that you do, which is presenting to God "a heart of wisdom." You'll not only make the most out of this life, but you'll also be rewarded in the next life too.
Keep looking up!
Kent
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Monday, November 2, 2009

"Do the Opposite"

In an episode of Seinfeld, George Costanza was frustrated because every decision he had made and his every instinct had turned out to be wrong. Jerry says, "Here's your chance to do the opposite. If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right." George realizes that Jerry is on to something. If he would act and react completely opposite of his normal actions and reactions, he might have better results. George made a decision to alter his behavior and said, "Yes! I will do the opposite!"

It turned out that Jerry was right. Whenever George did the opposite of his normal reactions, the situation always turned out in his favor.

It was Jesus, not Jerry, who first came up with the idea to "do the opposite." He said in Luke 6:27-28 when people hate you, do the opposite and do good to them. When people curse you, do the opposite and bless them. When people mistreat you, do the opposite and pray for them. I know that it's not the natural way to react, but if you'll do what Jesus says, He will give you the supernatural ability to do it. And you just might be pleasantly surprised at the results because of your change in behavior.

Keep looking up!
Kent
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IMPORTANT NOTE: If you'd like to receive my devotionals by email, you can subscribe at http://www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com/ . You MUST click on the link in the email you'll received from Feedburner. (Many potential subscribers have forgotten to do this last step)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bees in the Promised Land

While Timmy was playing in the yard, a bee stung him on the hand. He ran to his mother, crying, "I hate bees! I wish God had never made them." His mom put some ointment on the sting and said, "Let me get you something that will cheer you up. Do you want some toast and honey?"

Timmy perked up. "Yeah I'd love to have some honey!"
"Are you sure?" she asked. "You hate bees, but it takes bees to make honey." Tim looked at his toast and honey, which he was holding with the hand that had been stung. "Hmm. I never realized that bees had a good side!"

And so it is with life. Everything has a good side and a bad side, including the Promised Land. Moses sent twelve men into the land of Canaan to spy it out. The spies saw the land "flowing with milk and honey" but they also noticed the giants living there. Israel would have to fight the big guys to obtain the land that God had promised them. (See Numbers 13)

When they returned, ten spies gave a frightening report, saying they shouldn't go into the land because the giants would win. Joshua and Caleb said just the opposite--that the land was fruitful and God would give them victory over the giants. Although all 12 spies looked at the same territory, they came to different conclusions because 10 focused on problems and 2 focused on blessings. What we choose to focus on determines whether we're terrified or hopeful!

What does this have to do with your situation? You are "spying out the land" where you now live and are giving daily reports on what you see. Are you looking at your problems and missing what God has promised? Are you like the 10 whiners, or the 2 winners? You choose.
Keep looking up!
Kent
Feel free to email this devotional to your friends. IMPORTANT NOTE: If you'd like to receive my devotionals by email, you can subscribe at http://www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com/ You MUST click on the link in the email that you'll receive from Feedburner. (Many potential subscribers have forgotten to do this last step)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Facing the Giants

Many of the incidents recorded in Scripture teach us valuable lessons that we can apply to our lives today. When David killed Goliath (1 Samuel 17), we discover some truths about how to approach our "giant" problems. Let's examine some facts about this famous battle and David's secrets to gaining victory.
1. We must first conquer our fears before we can conquer the giant. Everyone in Israel was afraid to face the giant. "When all the men of Israel saw the man, they fled from him and were greatly afraid" (17:24). David was the only one who wasn't afraid. We can't enter any battle trembling in fear, but must be totally confident of winning.

2. We must trust God to stand behind His covenant. David stood firm in God's covenant and asked, "For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?" (17:26). Circumcision was a sign of God's covenant. David understood the "uncircumcised" giant was no match for him because David had God's backing and Goliath wasn't under the covenant. Every child of God is under the New Covenant and we must trust the Lord to come through, even when the enemy taunts us.

3. We must remember God's faithfulness in past battles. As a shepherd, David had killed a lion and a bear that tried to attack his flock (17:34-36). These experiences were training exercises to get him ready for Goliath. David acknowledged this when he said, "He trains my hands for battle" (2 Sam. 22:35, Ps. 18:34, 144:1). He reflected on God's faithfulness, knowing that the God who gave him the skills to kill the lion and bear would also give him victory over the giant.

4. We must follow God's instructions and not man's. King Saul tried to equip David for battle by putting his bronze helmet and armor on him. David had never worn soldier's armor before and could barely walk (17:38-39). If he had tried to fight Goliath in the typical way he would have been killed! Instead, God had him use a rock and sling. We must listen carefully to the Lord about how to attack the problem, which might not be the way it has always been done.

5. We must give God the credit for giving us the victory. David didn't take credit for slaying the giant but wanted the Lord's name to be exalted, "that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel" (17:46). And that prophecy was fulfilled. It's 3,000 years later and people all over the world know about David killing the giant through the God of Israel.

Now go kill that giant you are facing today.
Kent
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Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Purpose for Joseph's Pit

Joseph was thrown into a pit in the wilderness by his brothers. They had planned to kill him, but Reuben suggested that they throw him into a nearby pit instead (Gen. 37:18-22). It was no accident that the pit just happened to be where they were. God had planned in eternity past for it to be there, knowing that it would one day serve a divine purpose. It was an ordained pit! Notice three things about this pit:

1. The pit kept Joseph from being killed.
His brothers fully intended to kill him and saw the pit as a way to get rid of him without shedding blood (v.22)
2. God made sure the pit was dry (v.24). If water had been in it, Joseph would have drowned.
3. The pit was used as a holding tank until the Ishmaelite traders came by and escorted him to Egypt (v.25-28). It was no accident that the traders just happened to travel by that route at just the right time. God was leading them (without them knowing it) so they would take His servant to the desired destination. And it was there that the Lord eventually made him a ruler!

Sooner or later, someone is going to throw you into a pit. When it happens, keep in mind that the Lord has a purpose for your pit. Although your enemy had the first word, look for God to have the last word. He is just using your pit as a holding tank to get you to a better place. And He will, if you will keep your heart right and not get bitter at your brothers.
Keep looking up! (Even when you're at the bottom of the pit)
Kent

Sunday, September 27, 2009

What's on the Inside?

Several children in a park watched a man release helium-filled balloons. The man let go of a white balloon, which floated up into the sky. Then he released yellow and red balloons, which also flew up and away. An African-American boy asked him, "Mister, if you let go of a black balloon, will it go up?" The man replied, "Son, the color on the outside has nothing to do with it. It's what's on the inside that makes it go up."

Do you lack confidence or feel discouraged? Remember that it's what's on the inside that makes you go up. Quit looking at yourself, or your circumstances, which can easily drag you down, and look to the One who can lift your spirit up. If you are a Christian, you have the Spirit of the Living God inside you! "The Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you" (Rom. 8:11). God is "able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us" (Eph. 3:20).

If you are deflated, ask the Lord to fill you with the Holy Spirit. He will lift up your spirit on the inside and give you the encouragement that you need (See Rom. 15:5).
Keep looking up!
Kent
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Previous devotionals can be found at http://www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com/ in the archive.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Be Content With What You Have

A dog carrying a bone in its mouth was crossing over a bridge. He looked into the water and saw a dog with a bone that looked a lot more desirable than his own. Not realizing he was looking at his own reflection, he let go of his bone to grab for the other dog's bone... and ended up with neither.

Many people have made the same mistake as that dog. They've given up what they had to get something that they thought would make them happier. Unfortunately, the dream for something better turned out to be only an illusion, and then they couldn't get back what they gave up.

The key to happiness is to "be content with what you have" (Heb. 13:5). Contentment isn't having everything you want, but wanting everything you have. Has it ever occurred to you that the things you now have were once things that you were desperately trying to get? But somehow you lost your appreciation for those things because you took them for granted.

Make no bones about it, you can be happy in your current situation. If you will start thanking God from your heart for each and every item in your possession, your appreciation will increase and you will find the contentment that you've been looking for.
Keep looking up!
Kent
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Previous devotionals can be found at http://www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com/ in the archive.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Astronaut's Space Suit

Do you see the astronaut on your left? No, you don't. You're actually looking at the astronaut's space suit, and the astronaut is the person living inside that suit. The space suit allows him to live a little while on the moon, and then he will return to earth.

Just as an astronaut needs a suit to live in space, your earthly body is your "space suit" that allows you to live on this planet. Through your "space suit" you breathe oxygen, drink water, and eat food. But one day you'll shed the outfit, which is the day you'll die.

Even if you live to be 100, your time on earth is extremely brief compared to eternity. "You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away" (James 4:14). At the moment of death, your spirit will be released from your body and you'll leave your space suit behind for everyone to view at the funeral. Meanwhile, if you're a Christian, your spirit will be immediately ushered into the presence of the Lord, where you'll live forever (See 2 Cor. 5:8).

You can prepare for that day if you will receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. If you would like more information about knowing God in a personal way, please contact me. http://www.kentcrockett.com/contact.html
Keep looking up!
Kent

Monday, September 7, 2009

Two Heads Aren't Better Than One

Scientists studied a two-headed snake and discovered that each head had a mind of its own. One moment it would crawl one way, then the other mind would take over and it would slither in a completely different direction. Both heads were competing to control the body.

Like that two-headed snake, we can be double-minded when we listen to voices other than God, which makes us unstable in all our ways (James 1:8). A marriage is double-minded when the husband and wife constantly fight, each wanting their own way. A church is double-minded when it's divided over issues, each side struggling to be in control. Christ is not divided, so at least one group isn't listening to God.

The cure for double-mindedness is to humbly surrender ourselves to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Paul wrote, "Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose" (Phil. 2:2). When married couples, churches, and confused individuals seek the please the Lord above all else, they will be of one mind. But everyone must decide for themselves if they want God to take control of their lives, or if they want to keep slithering their own way.
Keep looking up!
Kent
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Previous devotionals can be found at http://www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com/ in the archive.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Having Trouble Sleeping?

A single mom and her little girl were getting ready for bed. The daughter, who was afraid to sleep alone, said, "Mommy, I can't sleep because I'm afraid. Does God ever sleep?"
"No, God never goes to sleep," she replied. The Bible says, "He who protects Israel will neither slumber nor sleep." (Ps. 121:4)
The daughter relaxed and said, "Well, as long as God is awake, I can go to sleep. There's no need for both of us to stay up!"

Do you have trouble sleeping? God wants to deliver us from our "sleep fears." He says, "When you lie down, you will not be afraid. When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet" (Prov. 3:24).
If your mind races with stressful thoughts, fix your full attention on the Lord. "The steadfast of mind Thou will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in Thee" (Isa. 26:3).

If you are afraid someone might break into your house, ask God to protect you and then go to sleep. "In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for Thou alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety" (Ps. 4:8). When someone asked Alexander the Great how he could sleep so soundly in the midst of danger, he replied, "My trusted lieutenant is watching over me." If he could sleep in peace because a man was protecting him, shouldn't we trust our all-powerful God to protect us?
Keep looking up!
Kent
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Previous devotionals can be found at http://www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com/ in the archive.

Friday, August 28, 2009

You Can't Go Back in Time

Perhaps you've seen the movie The Time Machine. How would you like to borrow that contraption, travel back in time, and change some things in your past? If you're like most people, you've done some things that you'd like to undo. But the fact is, the past doesn't even exist. The only way you know about it is in your memory. If you are being tormented by something "back there," it's because you're holding on to it in your mind. If you want to be set free from a bad experience in your past, here are three things to do.

1. Ask Jesus to forgive you. He died for all your sins on the cross (not just some) and will forgive you, if you'll ask Him. God says, "I will remember their sins no more" (Heb. 8:12).

2. Forgive and let go of the people who have hurt you. You are handcuffed to each person you don't forgive. That's why you can't get them out of your mind! Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the cuffs and sets you free.

3. Forgive yourself. Once Jesus has forgiven you, you have no right to keep punishing yourself. "If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed" (John 8:36).

If you've done these three things, you don't need a time machine to change anything. All you need to remember is to not look back.
Keep looking up!
Kent
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Previous devotionals are found at http://www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com/ in the archive.

Monday, August 24, 2009

American Idols

Do you have an American idol? It won't look like those carved statues in Africa. Those are African idols. American idols are a lot more attractive than that and much harder to recognize. In fact, most Americans will deny that what they are worshipping is an idol.

An idol is anything we love more than God. And what might that be? Let's see . . . how about money? Yeah, that might be one. Do you think all those people in Las Vegas throwing dice would admit that? Or the people who buy lottery tickets?

What about football? When 80,000 people pay outrageous ticket prices and scream their heads off for their team to win, could that be considered worshipping an idol? I love to watch college football, but at one time it was one of my idols. Any hobby can easily become an idol if we let it control us. I used to get extremely depressed whenever my team lost. Then it dawned on me that it wasn't God controlling my emotions, but my idol. Clothes, music, cars, houses, movie stars, and rock stars can also be false gods that we worship.

God said, "You shall not make for yourself an idol . . . you shall not worship them or serve them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God" (Ex. 20:4-5). Whatever you worship, you will serve. Take a look at what you serve (what gets your money, time, and interest) and you will find what you worship. I hope that it's the Lord.
Keep looking up!
Kent
Previous devotionals can be found at http://www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com in the archive.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Dead Man Found 2 Years Later

The body of a man reported missing lay undiscovered for 2 years because police searched the wrong property. The irony was he was at home the whole time. When Walter Bellman passed away in his home in England in January 1998, a neighbor reported that he had not seen Bellman for 5 days. "We went in and searched the flat, but found nothing," said a Sussex police officer, who didn't realize they had looked in the wrong place. Two years later in January 2000, Bellman's nephew contacted police because he hadn't received a Christmas card from him in 2 years. This time the police searched the correct address and discovered his remains.

How is it possible that a person wasn't missed by anyone for two years? It was because Mr. Bellman was a loner. He chose to cut himself off from fellowship, so he had no friends. I'm sure he had his reasons. Maybe someone hurt his feelings, so he withdrew from everyone to protect himself. Perhaps he viewed relationships as a waste of his time. Whatever the reason, when he died, nobody noticed.

Loneliness can be deadly. Peter Lord has said, "The poison of non-fellowship kills so slowly you don't realize it's happening." God has created us so that we need each other. "Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another" (Heb. 10:24-25).

If you're lonely, you can solve the problem. Dale Carnegie said, "You can make more friends in 2 months by becoming interested in other people than you can in 2 years of trying to get other people interested in you." Pick up the phone and call someone. Get involved in a small group Bible study. Go help your neighbor. Do it today.
Keep looking up!
Kent

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Turtle on the Fence Post

The late Alex Haley, who wrote Roots, had a unique picture on his office wall of a turtle sitting on top of a fence post. Whenever someone asked about it, Haley would say, "If you see a turtle on a fence post, you know that he had some help. Any time I start thinking, 'Wow, isn't this marvelous what I've done?' I look at that picture and remember how this turtle, me, got up on that post." (Leadership as cited in The Best of In Other Words, 1996, 135).

A turtle can't get on top of a fence post unless a hand picks it up and places it there. Likewise, we can't receive a promotion without the hand of God putting us there. He may even place us in a lower position to teach us some valuable lessons. "For not from the east, nor the west, nor from the desert comes exaltation; but God is the Judge; He puts down one and exalts another" (Ps. 75:6-7).

That means we shouldn't be envious of those who have received a promotion, or be the least bit upset if we've been passed over for one. Advancing to a higher position is ultimately in God's hands.
Keep looking up!
Kent
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Previous devotionals can be found at http://www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com/ in the archive.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Where's that smell coming from?

A boy sneaked into his grandfather's bedroom while he was sleeping and put some Limburger cheese in his mustache. After grandpa awoke, he muttered, "This bedroom stinks." He walked into the living room and commented, "This living room stinks." Trying to get away from the smell, he rushed into the kitchen. "Good grief. This kitchen stinks too." Finally he ran outside, sniffed, and yelled, "This whole world stinks!"

Some people have Limburger cheese in their attitude, so everywhere they go, it stinks. Their job stinks. Their marriage stinks. Their church stinks. Everything stinks. And they can't seem to figure out that the problem isn't with everyone else, but their own stinking attitude.

Air freshener won't take away the smell. A negative, critical spirit comes from an ungrateful heart, so to change the atmosphere around us we must start being thankful. Psalm 105 says, "Oh give thanks to the Lord . . . Let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad" (v.1,3). So today, instead of complaining about your boss, spouse, or kids, look for reasons to thank God for them. You'll be amazed how that will clear the air.
Keep looking up!
Kent
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Previous devotionals can be found at http://www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com/ in the archive.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Overboard in the Atlantic Ocean

In 2002, a crew member on a Norway cruise ship fell overboard one evening into the Atlantic Ocean. She couldn't swim. The crew discovered she was missing 4 hours later when she failed to show up for a late roll call. The ship captain had a tough decision to make. With over 1,000 passengers who paid to go to St. Martin Island in the Caribbean, should he take them to their destination, or should he go back and search for the body? He decided to turn the ship around, ignoring the hostile protests from upset passengers.

After back-tracking over 4 hours, by now the sun had come up. Even though it's nearly impossible to spot someone in the high seas due to waves and whitecaps, passengers gathered on deck to help look for the proverbial needle in the haystack. Suddenly a passenger shouted, "There she is!" Unbelievably, she wasn't floating face down. She had been treading water for 10 hours, not knowing the ship would return!

Now, change perspectives and see it through this woman's eyes. Imagine how she felt after plunging into the water, watching the lights of the cruise ship disappear into the night. Can you see her frantically splashing in the water, teaching herself to dog paddle, just keeping her head barely above water? Think of her fear of being eaten by sharks in the ditch dark.

The chances of surviving were a million to one. Her only option was to tread water throughout the night and pray for a miracle. Now imagine her excitement when she sees the ship appear on the horizon, heading her way, and soon to rescue her! This was one of the most amazing incidents of survival at sea in recent memory.

This incredible rescue is what it's like to be saved by God's grace. We are all in a situation much more desperate than this woman's, drowning in a sea of sin. We're treading water during our time on earth. If we go under, we will descend into hell forever. We have no hope of being saved!

Yet, God does the impossible and comes looking for us. Jesus said, "What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in open pasture, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it?" (Luke 15:4). He has come looking for you! We can't save ourselves any more than that woman lost at sea could save herself. "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." (Eph. 2:8) All we can do is cry out in desperation. "Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved." (Rom. 10:13)

If you want to be saved, simply pray, "Jesus, please save me! Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I believe you rose from the dead. I give you my life." If you prayed to be saved, please contact me through http://www.kentcrockett.com/
Kent
Please feel free to forward this email to your friends.
Previous devotionals can be found at http://www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com/ in the archive

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Story on Your Face

In the 1800's, a couple of gold prospectors discovered a large vein of gold. They wanted to keep their discovery a secret so others wouldn't find out. When they went back into town to buy supplies, neither of them said a word to anyone.

However, as they started back to the mountains, everyone in town was following them with picks and shovels. Although they didn't say anything, the story of their gold discovery was written all over their faces!

Proverbs 15:13 says, "A joyful heart makes a cheerful face." Whatever is in our hearts will show up on our face, whether it's anger, depression, worry, or joy. Our faces tell a story of what's taking place inside our souls. The good news is we get to decide the headlines people will read. What's your story today?
Keep looking up!
Kent
Feel free to forward this email to your friends.
Previous devotionals can be found at http://www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com/

Monday, June 22, 2009

Deal or No Deal?

In 2008, a woman on the "Deal or No Deal" TV show had made it down to the last two suitcases. One case contained $1 million, while the other only had $5,000. The banker offered her a deal of $530,000 if she would quit playing. She was guaranteed to take home over a half million dollars, or she could turn down the deal and take a 50-50 chance at winning the $1 million. What would you do?

The crowd yelled for her to go for the million. A family member begged her to take the guaranteed $530,000. She listened to the audience and yelled, "No deal! I KNOW I'm going to win the million dollars!"

They opened the suitcase she had picked. Imagine her anguish when she saw it contained $5,000. She had made the wrong choice and forfeited $530,000!

Everyone on earth 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, we 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 can keep living for yourself and take your chances. Which will it be? "Deal" or "No Deal"?
Keep looking up!
Kent

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Understanding Why You Get Angry

Do you understand why you get angry? It's because things aren't going the way you would like. Either a person is doing something that you don't want him to do, or he's not doing something that you want him to do. You're angry because someone or something isn't meeting your expectations.

If you let others determine how you feel, you'll have a miserable life. And it's unlikely that your anger is going to fix whatever problem is bugging you. "For the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God" (James 1:20). Ask yourself a couple of questions.

1."Am I placing unrealistic expectations on others?" If we're honest, much of our anger comes from our own stubborn opinions. The problem isn't with them, but with us. Instead of trying to make the other person change, we need to soften our hearts and stop demanding that he or she performs to our expectations. This alone could solve many marriage problems.

2."Am I angry over something that I can't change?" It's easy to get angry over the government's wasteful spending of our money, but for most of us, we can't do anything about it. Getting angry over things we can't change only steals our joy and makes us miserable. And that's just not worth the trade.
Keep looking up!
Kent

Monday, June 15, 2009

Fulfilling Your Drives in the Right Way

God told Adam and Eve they could eat from all the fruit in the Garden of Eden except for one tree which was off-limits (Gen. 2:16-17). If they had been eating the fruit God had provided for them, they wouldn't have been hungry for the forbidden fruit!

The Lord gave them a hunger drive and then provided legitimate food to fulfill it. We are tempted whenever we try to fulfill our God-given desires in an illegitimate way. If we will fulfill our drives in the right way, it cuts off the urge to fulfill them in the wrong way. That's why the pecan pie looks so tempting before eating the Thanksgiving dinner, but becomes repulsive after we've stuffed ourselves with turkey and dressing. The pie doesn't appeal to you like it did before because you fulfilled your hunger drive.

The opposite is also true. If we've been eating forbidden fruit, we won't be hungry for legitimate fruit. The first bite of the forbidden fruit is always the sweetest, but it becomes less enjoyable with each bite and creates a craving that can't be satisfied. Before long, we're addicted to forbidden fruit. An addition only partially satisfies, so it requires you to keep consuming more and more, while sucking the joy and happiness out of your life.

To be set free from the addiction, we must learn from the prodigal son, who was eating with the pigs when "he came to his senses" (Luke 15:16). He finally realized how miserable he was, and decided to change meal plans by returning to his father. We must get so disgusted that we make the decision to stop eating the off-limits fruit and return to God's provision.

Galatians 5:16 tells us, "Walk in the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh." The only way to overcome lust of any kind is through a genuine work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. We just don't have enough power within ourselves to overcome temptations. However, the Holy Spirit does have the power to change our desires, and if we'll submit to Him, the desires of the Spirit will displace the yearnings of the flesh.

As we grow in our love for God, the love for forbidden fruit dwindles. So the next time you are tempted, instead of saying no to fruit, say yes to Jesus.
Keep looking up!
Kent

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Distance from Your Forbidden Fruit

A boy was lying under a farmer's apple tree, looking up at the apples. The farmer saw him at a distance and yelled, "Hey you! Are you trying to steal my apples?" The boy yelled back, "No sir, I'm trying not to!"

Most of us are "trying not to" yield to temptation. And the more we try not to, the more we give in. Mark Twain once said, "I can resist everything but temptation." So can you! That's why we need to find a better way to deal with our weaknesses.

Like the little boy, Adam and Eve were standing under the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, examining the fruit (Gen. 3:6). If they had kept their distance from the tree, they wouldn't have been swayed by its charm. The magnetic pull of temptation grows stronger the closer we get to the forbidden fruit, but it weakens the further away we get. It's very easy to pick forbidden fruit at an arm's length, but it's impossible at a hundred yards away.

Adam and Even could have broken the attraction if they had immediately turned around and run away from the tree. That's the tactic we must use. Instead of fighting the temptation, we must program our minds ahead of time to flee from it. First Corinthians 6:18 says, "Flee immorality." It doesn't say to resist, but to run.

Rather than "just say no" to your temptation, "just run away" from it. Avoid going to the places where you fall. Stop stocking the fridge with ice cream. If necessary, disconnect the computer or TV. Quit hanging with the people who pull you down. This creates a distance, or a buffer zone, between you and the magnet where it loses its grip on you. But that's not all we should do. We must also "walk in the Spirit" which I'll talk about next time.
Keep looking up!
Kent

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Do You Believe Gossip?

A wise schoolteacher sent a note to all parents on the first day of school: "If you promise not to believe everything your child says happens in school, I'll promise not to believe everything your child says happens at home."

Don't believe everything you hear! Instead, be skeptical when you hear scandalous information about someone. A woman in North Dakota committed suicide because the gossip around town said that her husband was having an affair. The facts came out later that the rumor wasn't true, but the damage had already been done.

Before you believe questionable tidbits about someone, make sure you verify the information with two other sources. Second Corinthians 13:1 says, "Every fact is to be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses." This is a Scriptural safeguard to keep false accusations from destroying a person's reputation.

The next time someone tries to tell you gossip, just remember that the person who gossips to you, will also gossip about you!
Keep looking up!
Kent

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Being the #1 Fan

When Brett Favre was quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, he didn't have to wonder who was his #1 fan. It was 12 year-old David Witthoft. David wore the same Brett Favre football jersey every day for over 4 years!

For 1,581 straight days, Witthoft put on the Packers shirt to let everyone know the person he admired the most. When fellow students looked at David, they thought of Brett Favre.

When the Scripture tells us to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 13:14), it's not talking about wearing a Christian T-shirt every day. It means that our behavior and attitudes should reflect God's love in such a way that when people observe us, they see Jesus Christ.

Whenever people treat you unfairly, you'll stay calm and pray for them. Instead of requiring others to meet your expectations, you'll joyfully serve them. That's how everyone will know you're His #1 fan.
Keep looking up!
Kent

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Do You Like the Way You Look?

Have you ever wondered why Michael Jackson keeps having plastic surgery to reduce the size of his nose? The story behind the nose is a sad one. Michael's physically abusive father constantly mocked him, telling him that he was ugly because his nose was too big. As you can see from the picture on the left, he looked just fine. But apparently Michael believed his father's lie, and that's why he has submitted to so many surgeries to change his appearance.

Do you like the way you look? The father of lies, who is also known as Satan, plants thoughts in our minds to hate ourselves and the way we look. If we believe the lie, we'll then question God by saying, "Why did you make me like this???" Scripture gives the answer, "The thing molded will not say to the molder, 'Why did you make me like this?' will it?" (Rom. 9:20) God, of course, is the molder and we are the clay. The Lord didn't make a mistake when He made you!

The way to overcome self-hatred is to pray, "Lord, thank you for making me the way that I look. I accept myself as your creation!" David told God, "I give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. . . and my soul knows it very well" (Ps. 139:14).

It's a liberating thing to come to the place where you can embrace the way you look. Have you done this? If you haven't, you'll constantly be thinking about that plastic surgery you need.
Keep looking up!
Kent

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Defeated by a Trumpet

In the war of the Rhine in 1794, the French took over an Austrian village without striking a blow. Here is how they did it.

The French were planning to attack the village at 10 o'clock at night. However, the 600 Austrian soldiers who were defending the city had found out about the attack and were ready for it. Instead of attacking, the French sent their trumpeter Joseph Werck into the city under the cover of darkness, who slipped in with the Austrian troops.

At 10 o'clock, Werck blew his trumpet for the Austrian soldiers to rally, and then a few minutes later he sounded for them to retreat. The Austrians, deceived by the signal, immediately retreated, and the French soldiers captured the village without any opposition! (Quote, August 1992, p. 248)

Just as the Austrian soldiers gave up when they heard the deceptive command of the French trumpeter, we can do the same when we listen to our fears. Satan tells lies through his trumpet, trying to keep us from doing God's will.

When the devil tries to makes us retreat through intimidation, God's Word tells us, "And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled" (1 Pet. 3:13). Which command are you going to obey--Satan's trumpet or God's Word?
Keep looking up!
Kent

Monday, May 18, 2009

Cheating to Win

Several years ago, a high school basketball coach in Kansas cheated in a game by making an illegal substitution. One of his players was injured in the first half. At halftime, the coach made the switch. He asked the injured player's identical twin, who was not listed in the official scorebook, to put on his brother's uniform and pretend to be him. The twins looked so much alike that no one could tell the difference. The twin wore his brother's number and led the team to victory.

But the sweet taste of winning didn't last for long. The coach couldn't live with his guilty conscience. "After the game, my conscience bothered me," he said. "What I did wasn't right. I voluntarily turned myself in to the state."

What motivates people to cheat? Cheaters think they'll benefit by taking the dishonest route. Students cheat on tests. Adults cheat on income taxes. Philanderers cheat on their spouses. Athletes cheat by taking steroids. They don't realize that God is watching and won't allow them to enjoy what they get. "Bread obtained by falsehood is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel." (Prov. 20:17). The Lord refuses to bless illegal methods and will replace the initial pleasure with misery.

Proverbs 11:1 says, "A false balance (cheating others) is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight (honesty) is His delight." Merchants in biblical times would cheat their customers by using two sets of weights when buying and selling. They placed lighter stones on their scales when they were selling and heavier stones when they were buying. In that way, they would make an illegal profit with every transaction. They forgot that God was watching them and placed a curse on their ill-gotten gains.

Instead of cheating, try a different approach. Why not simply do what is honest and trust God with the outcome? If we will seek to please the Lord, we'll do what's right--even if it means giving up the immediate profit. But don't forget the end of the story. God promises that He will more than make up the difference for you in eternity. And sometimes He'll even do it in the here and now.
Keep looking up!
Kent

Monday, May 11, 2009

Am I Deceived?

I laughed when I read a quote by an Army spokesman, "We know of not a single case where the enemy successfully used camouflage against us." The fact is, a deceived person doesn't know that he is being deceived. The scripture continually warns us to not be deceived.

A few days ago, two Mormons came to my front door. One of them told me that he knew the Book of Mormon was true because he was sincere and he felt it was true in his heart. I told him that many people are sincerely wrong and that truth will stand up to the facts. I gave them a paper I had written, proving that Joseph Smith had copied out of the King James Version when he fabricated the Book of Mormon, which was supposedly written around the time of Christ. Joseph Smith had copied the italicized words out of the 1611 King James Version, which were not in the Greek text, but were added by the translators to give clarity of thought.

How could the italicized words get into a document supposedly written 1600 years earlier? Any thinking person, who wants to be undeceived, would have to know that Joseph Smith copied them when he wrote the fictional document called The Book of Mormon.

Even as Christians we can fool ourselves. We can be in denial and refuse to acknowledge those hurtful attitudes that are so easily seen by everyone else. Augustine once said, "Before God can deliver us, we must undeceive ourselves."

How can a person get undeceived? Simply by being honest with yourself and with God. Pray, "Lord, if I am deceived, please show me the truth." Ask Him to show you if an attitude needs to be corrected. David prayed, "Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my anxious thoughts, and see if there be any hurtful way in me" (Ps. 139:23-24)
Keep looking up!
Kent

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Use Your Blind Eye

When Lord Horatio Nelson was fighting the Battle of Copenhagen, his senior officer Sir Hyde Parker, also known as "Old Vinegar," hoisted the flag signaling retreat. Nelson deliberately put his blind eye to the telescope and said, "I don't see it."

If Nelson had obeyed the order to retreat and fled from his enemy, he never would have won the battle and captured 12 Danish ships! (Kent Crockett, I Once Was Blind but Now I Squint, Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2004, p. 139)

Keeping the right perspective is also a battle. When we're going through a difficult time, we're tempted to quit our jobs, quit our marriages, quit trusting, and quit praying. But we can't surrender to discouragement. If we lose heart, we'll lose the battle.

When the enemy hoists the retreat flag, we need to put our blind eye to the telescope and our good eye on God. Hang in there. Don't give up. "For consider Him who endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart" (Heb. 12:3).
Keep looking up!
Kent

Saturday, April 25, 2009

How You Can Be Happy--Right Now!

If you could win an Olympic medal, which would you prefer--the silver or the bronze? A study of Olympic medal winners produced some surprising answers. You would assume that the silver medal winners would be happier than the bronze medalists since they received a higher honor, but that wasn't the case. The bronze medalists, who came in third place, were found to be happier with their performance than the silver medalists, who finished in second place.

The former Olympians explained how they felt about their medals. The third-place winners were thrilled just to have won a medal. The silver medalists, on the other hand, felt like losers because they didn't come in first place.

This just goes to show that what happens to you isn't nearly as important as how you perceive what happens to you. (Kent Crockett, I Once Was Blind but Now I Squint, Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2004, pp.1-2) Your happiness is being determined by how you view your current circumstances.

Although it's unlikely you'll win an Olympic medal, you do get to choose how you interpret what happens to you. Writing from a Roman prison, the apostle Paul said, "I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am" (Phil. 4:11). "Content" simply means to be happy no matter what your situation may be. Paul wasn't born with this attitude. He had to learn it. And so do you.

Every circumstance has something positive in it, and something negative. Contentment is an attitude of the heart that always looks for what's good in every situation. It sees God's hand overruling what evil people do and will ultimately bring a better result. It views life as a privilege rather than a right. It understands that every good thing we have is a gift from the Father. Contentment is always thankful, while discontentment always complains. Even when it wins a silver medal.
Keep looking up!
Kent