Tuesday, December 20, 2011

When You Pray and God is Silent

Zacharias was performing his priestly service in the Temple when suddenly the angel Gabriel appeared to the right of the altar and said, "Zacharias, your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son" (Luke 1:13). To grasp the significance of this announcement, we must remember that he was "advanced in years" (Luke 1:7) and could very well have been 80 years old. The same Greek phrase "advanced in years" is used in Luke 2:37 of Anna, who was 84.

Elizabeth and Zacharias probably got married around age 20 or earlier and started praying for a child.  Every day for 5 years they pray, but no answer.
Ten years pass. "Lord, please answer our prayer." No answer.
Fifteen years. "God, have we done something wrong? Don't you love us?" No answer.

Elizabeth passes the age to give birth. She turns 60, then 70, then 80. They can't understand why God never answered, yet they both continued to walk blamelessly, and refused to blame God or get angry with Him. Then Zacharias is "chosen by lot" to serve in the Temple that day.  This position of service was decided by lot, and once he was chosen, this was the only time he could serve in the Temple during his lifetime. It was on this day that Gabriel shows up, calls Zacharias and Elizabeth by name, and tells them their prayer had been answered. Yes, the prayer that they prayed 60 years before!

What can we learn from this? Several things:
1.God hears our prayers, even when it seems like He doesn't.
2.He will answer the prayer in His timing, which usually isn't ours.
3.God's delays are not His denials.  Don't give up trusting Him.
4.Angels know our names and where to find us.  Gabriel called them by name and later he knew exactly where to find Mary (Luke 1:26-27).
5.We must continue to faithfully serve God, even when we don't understand. Zacharias and Elizabeth continued to faithfully serve God when they didn't receive a child.  Many people turn bitter if the answer doesn't come when they expect it, but not Z & E.
6.The longer we have to wait, the better the answer will be.  The child of Zacharias and Elizabeth was John the Baptist, whom Jesus said was the greatest of the Old Testament prophets.  John fulfilled the prophecy of Malachi 4:6 and was the one who paved the way for the Messiah.  John's ministry made the ministry of Jesus more effective, and that's why He needed a forerunner prophet to prepare the way.

Which brings us back to Zacharias and Elizabeth. They had no idea that their prayer for a child as a young married couple started a chain reaction of events that would change the world.  And so if you've been praying for something and God seems silent, just remember your role models, Zacharias and Elizabeth. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Identity Theft

More than 9 million people have their identity stolen every year. Crooks want your personal information so they can impersonate you and charge your credit card without your knowledge. Now, more than ever, it's important to protect your identity.

Satan also wants to steal your identity and give you a false one. When Jesus was baptized, His Father spoke from heaven saying, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased" (Matt. 3:17). Immediately after this, Jesus went into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Satan said to Him, "If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread" (Matt. 4:3). The devil was trying to get Him to doubt who He was.  

You don't see Jesus saying, "Well, I thought I was the Son of God, but now I'm not so sure. Maybe I need to check out my magical powers. Pass me one of those rocks."  Satan knew if he could get Jesus to doubt His identity, He would also question everything else His Father told Him. Instead of trying to prove who He was by misusing His power, Jesus simply chose to believe what His Father had said.

The devil will try to steal your identity by planting lying thoughts in your mind about who you are. Sometimes he uses people to put false labels on you such as, "You're stupid." "You're ugly." "You're gay." "Can't you do anything right?" Don't listen to every thought the pops into your mind! It could be Satan "phishing" for your identity. He wants you to bite on the lie and believe something that's not true. Your identity comes what from you believe about yourself, even if it's a lie.

Here's what the Heavenly Father says about you.  If you have received Jesus Christ into your life, you have a new identity.  You are a new person and your old life is gone (2 Cor. 5:17).  God says you are now a child of God (1 John 3:2).  You're not just a citizen of earth, but now you're also a citizen of heaven (Phil. 3:20).  Do you believe what God says, or are you believing a lie?
http://www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com/

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Parable of the Apple Orchard

A farmer went into town to get a haircut. He brought an apple with him from his orchard to give to the barber. The barber took a bite and said, "This is the most delicious apple that I've ever eaten. Where did you get it?" The farmer replied, "I grew it in my orchard. You can come out and pick as many apples as want. Just call me first and I'll take you out there."

A couple of weeks later, the barber was driving by the farmer's orchard and remembered his offer to let him pick apples. He pulled his car over, got out, and picked an apple. He took a bite and it was the most bitter apple he had ever tasted.  He went to another tree, grabbed an apple, and it too was sour. He tried one more tree with the same results.

When the farmer came back to get a haircut, the barber said, "I stopped by your orchard and picked some apples, but they were all bitter and weren't like the really good tasting one that you brought me."

The farmer said, "Remember, I told you to call me first. I planted bitter apple trees along to road because people kept stopping and stealing my apples.  Once they taste my bitter apples, they don't come back. The delicious apples are planted further away from the road."

Satan uses this same tactic to keep people away from God.  He plants the most bitter and vocal church members out front for everyone to see and hear. Unbelievers are turned off by them and will say, "If that's what God is like, I don't want any part of Him!" Satan misrepresents God through "church-going" people who might not even be saved and don't act like Christ-like.

David said, "Taste and see that the Lord is good" (Ps. 34:8).  I can't taste something for you. You must do it for yourself. Just make sure are truly tasting the Lord and not a bitter apple that's pretending to be sweet. Once you've tasted the true God, you will see that He is good!
http://www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com/

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Invisible Fence

When my friend Joe Hamlet acquired a Golden Retriever, he wanted to make sure that his dog "Gipper" wouldn't get hit by a car, so he installed an "invisible fence" around his property. He buried an electrical wire a few inches deep under the soil, which was connected to a small box that sent out a signal to a receiver in the dog's collar.

Whenever Gipper walked near the property line, the collar chirped, which warned him to back away. If he ignored the warning and started crossing the boundary, he received a shock from the invisible fence, which taught him to stay inside the area. After a few chirps and shocks, his dog started figuring out where he could and couldn't go. If Gipper wandered near the road, he would hear a chirp. He didn't want to get shocked again, so he would move back into the yard.

God has put an "invisible fence" inside everyone called a conscience, which warns us when we're about to do something wrong. Romans 2:15 says, "The law (is) written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them."

If you are a Christian, the Holy Spirit will warn you, like sending out a chirp, to keep you from going to the wrong places.  Are you listening to Him?  If you ignore the warnings, you may be heading for the shock of your life. That doesn't have to happen. Do what's right and follow the Holy Spirit.  God will always bless you when you do the right thing. 
[Note: Joe Hamlet has written a book about his dog called "The Gospel According to Gipper."  To read a sample chapter, go to www.joehamlet.org ]

http://www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com/

Monday, November 21, 2011

Where's My Pie?

Carol wanted to do something nice for her neighbor Mrs. Smith, so she baked a pie and carried it next door. When Mrs. Smith opened the door, she was surprised to see her holding a pie. She replied, "For me? Oh, thank you so much! You just don't know how much I appreciate it! You are so thoughtful for doing this! Thank you!"

Because Mrs. Smith liked the pie so much, Carol decided the next week to bake another one. When she took it over, Mrs. Smith opened the door and said, "Thank you so much. You are so kind!"

She took another pie over the following week, and Mrs. Smith simply replied, "Thanks."
Carol took another pie over the next week and Mrs. Smith responded, "You are a day late with that pie."

The following week she baked her another pie. This time her neighbor said, "Try using a little more sugar and don't bake it quite as long. The crust has been a little bit hard lately. And next time, I want cherry filling. Did it ever occur to you that I might be getting tired of apple?"

The next week Carol was so busy, she wasn’t able to cook for her neighbor. When Carol passed walked her house on the way to the store, Mrs. Smith stuck her head out the window, yelled, "Where's MY PIE?!"

It's easy to take our blessings for granted, isn't it? When God keeps sending blessings to us, we start thinking that we deserve them. Instead of being thankful, we start complaining. The process happens so slowly we don't realize that it's happening to us.

Jesus healed ten lepers but only one returned to thank Him (Luke 17:12-19). If you were to ask the nine lepers who didn't return if they were thankful for being healed, they would probably say, "Of course we're thankful." But we know that they weren't!  Most people don't view themselves as ungrateful.

My question to you is, "Are you thankful for what God has done for you?" You will probably say, "Yes." My next question is, "How many times did you thank God yesterday?" Twenty times? Thirty times? None?  True thankfulness is always expressed through words, deeds, and gifts. Using those three things, let God know how thankful you are, starting right now.  God loves to be thanked!
http://www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com/

Monday, November 14, 2011

Finding Diamonds in the Sewer

Roy Parrino has a job that you probably wouldn't like. Roy works in a sewer, where he helps clean out 650 miles in the Los Angeles area. Parrino says, "You really have to psych your mind up for it. You're going into the filthiest environment there is. It's like being inside a big toilet." How can a person who works in a sewer get excited about going to work every day?

The first day on the job, Roy climbed out of the sewer holding a 2-carat topaz ring that he had found. But that's not all. Parrino has found gold necklaces, bracelets, and even diamond rings while working in the sewer. When Roy goes down into the sewer, he starts looking for diamonds!

Maybe you think that the job where you work, or some person that you know, is like being in a sewer. God has placed diamonds and every sewer and it's your job to find them! There's good and bad in every situation, and you get to choose what you'll focus on. When the cameraman inside your heart zooms in on your blessings, you will give thanks. When the camera zooms in on your problems, you'll complain.

The Scripture says, "In everything give thanks for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thess. 5:18). Many people think that "God's will" is finding the right job, the right house to buy, or the right person to marry, but none of those things can be blessed without having the right attitude. It's God's will for us to have a thankful attitude--every day, all day long.  It grieves the Holy Spirit when we complain when we're surrounded by blessings.

God wants you to search for the diamonds in your situation, even it's in a sewer. Seeing the good in your situation and giving thanks to God is what He wants to hear from you. http://www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com/

Monday, November 7, 2011

I Love Me, I Love Me Not

To love self, or not to love self. That is the question. Jesus said, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matt. 22:39). He says to love yourself. I love me.
Jesus also said, "If anyone come to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:26). Here He says to hate yourself. I love me not.

When we read these verses that seem to contradict each other, it makes us wonder, "Should I love me, or love me not?" If God loves me, shouldn't I love me? And here's another question. If Jesus commands us to love everyone, including our enemies, why is He now telling us to hate our next of kin?

In those days, the word "hate" didn't always mean to stop loving someone. The word "hate" is an idiom or expression of preference, where one person is preferred over another. Jesus said no one can serve two masters because he will hate the one and love the other (Luke 16:13), which means to prefer one over the other.  Likewise, when the Scripture says to hate self, it means to hate selfishness, not the person that God created you to be. To "die to self" means to stop selfishness, not commit suicide.

A prison chaplain told me that prisoners commit crimes because they hate themselves. He said, "If they don't respect themselves, why would they respect others?" He teaches them that God loves them and so they can love themselves, and in turn love others.  Jesus created you and died for you so that you can be with Him forever. It only makes sense that it's right to love yourself as God loves you.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Choosing Your Chair

It's interesting what Jesus notices. He noticed how people gave their offerings in the Temple treasury (Mark 12:41-44). Jesus noticed how the invited guests at a wedding feast were picking out the places of honor for themselves (Luke 14:7-11). They were scrambling to get to the most prestigious seats.

At these feasts, the guests sat on a couch that had 3 seats around a table called a "triclinium." Nine people could be seated at a time. The most important seat was in the exact middle, and the 2nd and 3rd most important were to his right and left. Remember, James and John wanted to sit on Jesus' right and left in His kingdom (Mark 10:37). Seats 4-6 were to the right side, and seats 7-9 were on the left. If you looked at the triclinium, you could instantly see who was #1 in importance and who was #9. People would arrive early so they could sit in the seats of honor. They wanted to look more important than others. Their self-esteem and significance was determined by their chairs!

We don't find significance in chairs today. Or do we? Yes, we still have chairs today, although they don't look like chairs. Here are some "modern-day chairs" that people sit in, trying to feel significant: Popularity, the brand of clothes you wear, your number of Facebook friends, the car you drive, the house you live in, your salary, educational degrees, your physical appearance, your success, your job title, and trying to be famous.  Although these things aren't wrong in themselves, many people use them to determine their self-esteem.

Jesus told the invited guests, "But when you are invited, go and sit in the last seat."  Why would He tell us to do that? It's because He doesn't want our significance determined by a chair. God wants us to find our self-esteem in relationship to Him. We'll talk more about that next week.
http://www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com/

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Prodigal Son's Repentance

In the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-23), we see a process where God brings someone who has rebelled to the place of repentance.  Here are some of the steps:
1. Rebellion against the father (v.11-12) The son asked for his inheritance even though his father was still living. He loved the father's money more than he loved the father. We always rebel on the inside before it shows on the outside.
2. Rejection of the father's presence. (v.13) Not many days after this, he gathered his belongings and went on a journey to a foreign country.  It doesn't take long for the outward separation of a rebellious heart to manifest itself. His father didn't chase him down the road, begging him to return because he knew nothing he could say would change his rebellious son's mind.
3. Removal of God's provision. (v.14) After the son spent everything he had, a famine hit the land. It always does. God will remove His blessing and provision to bring the person to repentance. Some people don't realize what they have until it is taken away.
4. Realization of his true condition. (v.17) The son got a job feeding pigs, which every Jew despised. This wasn't what he had in mind when he left home. He finally "came to his senses" and realized he had made a big mistake.
5. Repentance in his heart (v.18-19) Repentance always produces a change in heart. People who repent don't point fingers at others and accuse them. The son took the blame and said, "I have sinned against heaven."
6. Returning to his father (v.20) The change in his heart changed his behavior. He decided to go back home to work as a hired man for his father.
7. Reconciliation with his father (v.20). When his father saw him coming down the road, he ran to embrace him. He didn't run after him when he left, but he did run to him when he returned because his heart was drawing toward him. "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you" (James 4:8). That's a direction where you're going.
Where are you in your relationship with God? Are you running away from Him or toward Him? If you will change your heart, He will run to embrace you!

Monday, October 10, 2011

God's Providential Will

There are three parts to God's will.
1. God’s Perfect Will
This is what God wants to happen. We are in God's perfect will when we obey Him.  Romans 12:2 says “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” The greatest blessings are when we follow God's perfect will.

2. God’s Permissive Will
This is when God allows us to choose our own path. We are in God's permissive will when we disobey Him. Acts 14:16 says, “He permitted all the nations to go their own ways.” Everyone has a right to make their own decisions, even if it is a wrong decision!  God’s permissive will went into effect when Israel chose Saul to be their king. It wasn’t what God wanted, but He allowed them to do it. We always suffer the consequences when we choose our own way over God's.

3. God’s Providential Will
This is when God overrules the permissive will. Eph. 1:11 says, “We have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.” Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery, but God later promoted him to be a ruler in Egypt.  Years later, when Joseph was reunited with his brothers, he told them, "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good" (Gen. 50:20). The "big hand" and the "little hands" were both working at the same time. It's like a chess game that God is playing with people on earth. God uses evil people as pawns in His hand to accomplish His purposes.  It will be hard for you to see this until you totally submit yourself under His hand. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

What does Faithfulness Mean?

Are you faithful? Jesus said, "He who is faithful in a very little thing is also faithful in much" (Luke 16:10). Here's what faithfulness means.
1. Faithfulness means excellence. Excellence doesn't doing more things, but doing things better. It means doing our very best in every situation because we believe that the Lord is watching us.

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?" The young man 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, not by outside pressure.

4. 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 to the finish line. Don't drop out before then, like so many people. The race you're running won't be over until you die. Be faithful until death. He promises great eternal reward if you will.
You are being evaluated in this life so you can be rewarded with something much greater in the next life. But are you being faithful?
http://www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com/

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pit Stops

God gave Joseph two dreams that he would become a ruler over his brothers. His brothers were filled with hate and jealousy, and planned to kill him.  Instead, they changed their minds and threw him in a pit in the wilderness, trying to keep his dreams from coming to pass (Gen. 37:5-24). 
Along life's highway, sooner or later someone will throw you into a pit in an effort to kill your dreams.  The dream is the destiny that God has for you. The pit is the obstacle that tries to kill your dreams. Here are three facts about the pit.
1.The pit was planned by God.
The pit was actually an abandoned cistern, which someone had dug to collect water.  God had led his brothers to Dothan (although they were unaware of His leading them) because that was where the pit was. Someone had to dig that pit at an earlier time without realizing God would use it as a holding tank to save Joseph's life. So that pit had a divine purpose. If the pit hadn't been there, his brothers would have killed him on the spot.
2.The pit makes us think the dream has died.
When Joseph was at the bottom of his pit, it didn't look like he would be a ruler in Egypt one day. There wasn't even one shred of evidence inside that dark pit that God was with him, or that his dreams would come to pass. But He was with him, and his dreams did become reality. Keep holding on to your dreams in times of darkness!
3.The pit makes us more dependent on God.
His brothers stripped Joseph of the multi-colored coat his father had given him (Gen. 37:23). When we are in the pit, we are stripped of our pride. We come to the point of helplessness. We re-examine our priorities. The pit refines us, which takes us to a new level of spiritual growth.
Eventually Joseph came out of the pit and fulfilled his destiny.  So will you.
http://www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com/

Monday, September 12, 2011

Doubt makes us Double-Minded

Scientists once studied a snake that had two heads. Each head had a mind of its own and wanted to control the body. One moment it would crawl one way, and then the other mind would take over and the snake would crawl in a completely different direction.  The double-minded snake is a picture of a person who doubts--he can't make up his mind.  One mind tells him yes, while the other mind tells him no, and he wavers between the two.  Here is how doubt can affect us.
1.Doubt makes us unstable in all our ways. James 1:8 says, "A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways." The Greek word for unstable means "restless" and "unsettled." It's like being on the waves of the sea that take you up and down. Doubt takes us up and down on an emotional roller-coaster, which makes us unstable.
2.Doubt keeps us from making decisions. I knew a man who would say, "I think I need to do this" and then a little while later, "I think I need to do that."  Then he would ask, "What do you think I should do?" He wanted someone else to make his decisions for him because he couldn't decide.
3.Doubt keeps us from making commitments. A doubter won't make a commitment because it means you've got to be sure about what you want to do. Doubt takes away that certainty.

The way to stop doubt is to put a filter on your mind. An open mind is like an open window--it needs a screen on it to keep the bugs out!  You must learn to discern God's voice and screen out those voices that contradict it. When you stop the negative thoughts from entering, your doubt will leave.

Monday, September 5, 2011

No More Than You Can Handle

I know a man who was helping unload a U-Haul truck of someone who was moving. He was inside the truck, handing out large pieces of furniture for the men to carry into the house. This man’s four-year-old grandson also wanted to help.

The grandfather knew he couldn't give the little boy heavy objects to carry like a dresser. Instead, he handed him little boxes, small appliances, and light objects. He knew the limitations of the four-year-old child, and he wouldn't give him any more than he could handle.

In the same way, our Father in heaven knows our ability and strength, and He’s not going to give us any more than we can handle. First Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation (Greek-"test") has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted (or "tested”) beyond what you are able to handle.” God knows our limits and He’s not going test us with more than we can bear.

However, sometimes He will let the test take you to your limit.  Just ask any athlete who's ever been in the weight room. The only way he can get stronger is if he lifts something heavier than he's lifted before. God knows your limit, and while He may allow you to go the edge so you can experience His power, He will never allow you to go over the edge.
http://www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com/

Monday, August 29, 2011

Trusting God Through Storms

In Mark 4:35-40, the disciples were on the Sea of Galilee when a huge storm hit. Waves were crashing over the sides and filling up their boat. Jesus was sleeping in the stern as the disciples panicked.
Perhaps you are going through a storm and your boat is filling up. What should you do when the storm hits?

1. Remind God of His Promises.
Before they set sail, Jesus told them, “Let us go over to the other side.” He didn’t say, “Let us go under” or “Let us go half way to the other side, and then we’ll sink to the bottom of the sea.” He promised them ahead of time that they would arrive safely. If they would have remembered His Words and trusted Him, they would not have panicked.
We find many places in the Bible where people reminded God of His promises.  You can tell Him, “Lord, you told me in Matt. 6:34 to not worry about tomorrow, so I’m going to trust what you said.” “Lord, you told me in Heb. 13:5 that you will never fail me or forsake me.” “Lord, you said in Phil. 4:19 you would provide all my needs.”

2. Put your trust in the Lord.
Psalm 56:3-4 says “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You . . . In God I have put my trust. I shall not be afraid.” To “put” means to transfer from one place to another. You put gasoline into your car by transferring it from the pump to the gas tank. You put valuables in your safety deposit box by transferring it from your home to the bank. So when you put your trust in the Lord, you transfer it from yourself to Him.

3. Believe that He is in control of your storm. 
The disciples went to Jesus and yelled, "Jesus! Wake up!" I can’t imagine Jesus waking up, rubbing His eyes, and saying, “Whoa! I had no idea that this storm was going on!” Of course He was aware of their situation. To calm down the disciples, Jesus spoke to the wind and waves and immediately it became calm. By stopping the storm, it proved that He had control over it. But most people miss the fact that the storm was also under His control when He was sleeping. Jesus knew that His Father was controlling the size of the waves and the amount of water in the boat.
Are you putting your complete trust in God when you're going through a storm, and when everything is fine?
http://www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com/

Monday, August 22, 2011

Walking by Faith, not by Sight

Second Corinthinans 5:7 says “We walk by faith, not by sight.” Does that mean we should close our eyes whenever we walk or drive down the road? Of course not. It means that as we go through life, we can't base our decisions simply on the things we can see, but we must also take into account what God has said.
Abraham had to walk by faith when God told him to leave his own country and go to an unknown land.  We can learn several things from him about how to walk by faith.

1. To walk by faith . . . you must hear God speak to you.
The Lord said to Abram, “Go forth from your country and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you. And I will make you a great nation and I will bless you” (Gen. 12:1-2).  Notice that his walk by faith began with God speaking to him. This trip wasn't Abraham's idea. It was God's. Abraham didn't leave his country because he was discontented, running from bill collectors, or didn't like the people of Ur.  He went on the journey because God told him to.

2.To walk by faith . . . you must obey even when you don’t have much information.
God said, “Go…to the land that I will show you” (Gen. 12:1) What’s surprising about this is how little information God gave him. No map. No compass. We want all our questions answered before we start walking by faith, but then it wouldn’t take faith, would it? But Abraham didn’t know where to go. Once he walked through the front door, he didn’t know what would happen next. But he took that first step by faith, trusting God to lead him. God said "to the land I will show you." He had to get down the road first, and then He would show him.

3.To walk by faith . . . you must believe He is guiding you, even if you have no proof.  Heb. 11:8 says,  By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.”  He left his house and just started traveling, having no idea where he would end up.  He had to trust that God was leading him even though he had no evidence of it.  After traveling 450 miles, he arrived in the land of Canaan and God finally spoke again, "To your descendents I will give this land" (Gen. 12:7).  The land turned out to be the Promised Land! 

When you walk by faith, you have no idea what will happen after you take the first step of faith.  Then you take a second step, then a third step, and eventually you end up where God wants you.  You don’t know where you are going, but God knows where He’s leading you. Just because you don’t know, doesn’t mean God doesn’t know. But if you will keep walking by faith, He will lead you to your Promised Land.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Church that Jesus Builds

After Peter told Jesus that He was the Christ, He replied, "Flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father in heaven...and upon this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell will not overpower it" (Matt. 16:17-18). This was the first time Jesus ever used the word "church."  The disciples were probably thinking, "What's a church?" 

The Greek word for "church" means "the called out ones." These are people who are called out of the world to follow Him and His ways. What kind of church is He constructing, and what is it supposed to look like? Here are some things about the church that Jesus builds:

1) It is built on revelation, not speculation. Jesus told Peter that His Father had revealed this truth to him. Reveal means "to pull back the curtain or veil," so that you see things that you've never seen before. Once you actually see who Jesus really is, it will change the way you think and act.  It is a life-changing experience.

2) It is built more on followship than leadership.  Jesus continually talked about following and said little about leading.  "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me" (Matt. 16:24). He was looking for followers who would deny themselves. Leadership becomes easy when you have people who are willing to follow. So where do the leaders come from?  The people who faithfully serve Him with godly attitudes become qualified to become the leaders in His Church. 

3) It will fight Satan and not other believers.  Satan is the enemy, not other Christians. Jesus said, "The gates of hell will not overpower it." Hell is Satan's domain. I've never seen a soldier attack anyone with a gate because it's not an offensive weapon.  A gate is designed to keep an invading army from taking it over.  The Church is called to plunder the devil's kingdom and set the captives free, and the gates of hell aren't strong enough to keep us out!  Satan knows this, so he plants lies through gossip and slander so that Christians will attack other believers instead of him.

4) It is built on submission to authority, not resistance to authority.  "Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable to you" (Heb. 13:17).  Contrary to popular belief, submission is not a curse word. Humility and submission are linked together, just as pride and rebellion are linked together. It's impossible to submit to authority without humility.  Humility is having a cooperative spirit.

5) It is built on love, joy, peace and not hate, anger, turmoil. Having a good attitude is a basic building block of His Church.  Gal. 5:20-22 tells us the works of the flesh are strife, outbursts of anger, dissensions, and factions, while the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, and peace.  James 2:19 says the demons also believe, and tremble.  They believe in God, but they still act like demons.  If our faith isn't producing the character of Christ in us, then something is wrong with our faith!
www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Three Parts of Faith

Jesus talked about the three parts of faith in Mark 11:22-24.
1)The object of your faith. v.22--He said, "Have faith in God." God is the object of our faith that we look to. It's easy to place faith in our money, our jobs, our own understanding, or something else. Is your faith truly in God, or something else that you think brings security?

2)The potential of your faith. v.23--Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it shall be granted you." Even though Jesus always told the truth, sometimes He would say "Truly, truly I say to you" because what He was about to say was going to be hard for them to believe. This was probably the most startling illustration He ever used--casting a mountain into the sea by faith! The mountain was the Mount of Olives and the nearest sea was the Dead Sea, which was 15 miles away. Jesus said that telling a mountain to be uprooted and transported 15 miles away actually was possible with faith! The mountain represents your problem and your faith is what can overcome that problem. What is the problem you are facing today?

3)The application of your faith. v.24--"Therefore, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." The word "therefore" means He is connecting what He just said, with something He is about to say. He is saying, "Take what I just said about moving a mountain by faith and apply it to everything you pray for." God doesn't just want us to pray, but to pray with faith, expecting God to answer.
To hear the entire message, go to http://www.churchoflivingwater.net/node/23 and click on Faith pt 1 "The Object of Your Faith."
http://www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com/

Monday, July 18, 2011

How Your Attitude Affects Others

Your attitude doesn't just affect you, but also everyone around you. An Army private was serving apricots in the chow line to the other soldiers. When the first hundred soldiers went through the line, he asked, "You don't want any apricots, do you?" Only 10% said they did.

When the next hundred soldiers came through the line, he changed the question and asked, "Would you like some apricots?" When he asked it this way, 50% of the soldiers wanted them.

He asked the next hundred soldiers who came through the line, "Would you like one bowl of apricots or two?" This time 50% of the soldiers wanted one bowl, and 40% wanted two bowls!

What changed? The apricots didn't change, but the way they were perceived did change. It changed from something they didn't want, to something they did want, to something that was so good they wanted more.

Your attitude and the way you talk about people affects others in the same way--either positively or negatively. God wants His children to be positive and encouraging. The apostle Paul said it like this, "Whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable, let your mind dwell on these things" (Phil. 4:8).

To listen to the entire message on optimism and pessimism, go to http://www.churchoflivingwater.net/node/23 and click on "The Empty Net Syndrome."

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Heavenly City & New Earth

This is the last in a series I've been teaching on Bible prophecy. Next week I'll have a new topic.

Many Scriptures tell us that this present earth will be destroyed with fire and God will create new heavens and a new earth (See 2 Pet. 3:7-10, Rev. 21:1, Isa. 65:22, Matt. 24:35). Seventy percent of Earth is covered with water, but the New Earth will not have any oceans (Rev. 21:1). The "heavens" that God will create are a new atmospheric heaven and a new universe.

The heavenly city (New Jerusalem) will descend out of heaven and will settle on the New Earth. The city will be in a cube 1,500 miles high, wide, and deep. It's slightly smaller than the moon and could accommodate 100 billion people.

Rev. 21:24 says, "And the nations shall walk by its light, and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it." The city will be so bright that it will illuminate the entire earth. Just like there are nations and kings on the present earth, so there will be on the New Earth. The "kings" of the earth are the people who were the most faithful servants of God in this present life. In the next life, those servants of God will be elevated to the highest positions. The kings of the earth will "bring their glory" into the New Jerusalem. Apparently the "glory" is something that's being produced on the New Earth, and the kings will have the privilege of bringing it into the city as an offering to honor the Lord.

Rev. 22:3 says, "The throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it (the heavenly city), and His bondservants will serve Him." In the next life we will have job assignments that will be like eternal hobbies. We don't know what these jobs will be because it's beyond our present knowledge, but the best assignments will be granted to those who were the most faithful on the present earth. After we die and stand face-to-face with God, our knowledge will be expanded and then we will understand (1 Cor. 13:12). To hear the entire message on eternity, go to http://www.churchoflivingwater.net/node/23 and click on End Times pt. 8--"Eternity"

Monday, July 4, 2011

Satan Released From Hell?

Immediately after Jesus returns at the Second Coming, Satan will be bound in the abyss for 1,000 years so that he cannot deceive the nations. When the 1,000 years are completed, the devil is released for a short time (See Rev. 20:1-3, 7). What does this mean, and why will God let Satan out of hell?
First we must understand that a new dispensation, which we call the "Millennium," will begin after Jesus sets up His kingdom on earth. You've probably haven't heard much teaching on this subject, but many Scriptures talk about this time period. (I recommend Mark Hitchcock's book 101 Answers to the Most Asked Questions About the End Times for further study.) Why is the devil released? Here are some facts that you need know:

1. The saved people who are alive at the Second Coming will enter Jesus' kingdom on earth in their natural bodies. (Matt. 25:34, Zech. 14:16)

2. Jesus will be king over the entire earth (Zech. 14:9, Ps. 2:6). This isn't taking place in heaven, but on earth.

3. The people who survived Armageddon will begin repopulating the earth. Isa. 65:20,23 says, "No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days...for the youth will die at age one hundred and the one who does not reach the age of one hundred shall be thought accursed...They shall not labor in vain or bear children for calamity, for they are the offspring of those blessed by the Lord." Satan is bound in hell during this time, but the people born during the Millennium will have a sin nature and will need to be saved. They must place their faith in Christ as their Savior, just as we do today.

4. The people living on earth during that time will be required to go to Jerusalem once a year to worship Jesus (Zech. 14:16). However, some people will refuse to go there and worship Him! (Zech. 14:17-18).

5. By the end of the 1,000 years, the planet will be covered with people. "The number of them is like the sand of the seashore" (Rev. 20:8). These people will have a sin nature but have never been tempted by Satan. So why is the devil released from the abyss? It's to test the people born during the Millennium to determine which side they are on.

"And [Satan] will come out to deceive the nations which are on the four corners of the earth" (Rev. 20:8).

Suddenly, the people on earth are faced with temptations they didn't have before, as the devil and his demons bombard them with rebellious thoughts. They surround Jerusalem in an attempt to overthrow Jesus and His throne. Immediately fire comes down and destroys them (Rev. 20:9). Satan is thrown into the lake of fire forever (Rev. 20:10). This time he won't get out.

To hear the entire message, go to http://www.churchoflivingwater.net/node/23 and click on "End Times pt 7: Life in the Millennium"

Monday, June 27, 2011

The "End of the World" is not the End of the World

When Jesus returns at the Second Coming, it will not be "the end of the world." There are two Greek words for "world." One word refers to the planet, while the other word means "the age," which is the way God deals with His people during a certain period of time. God will not destroy the planet when Christ returns, but this age as we know it will end. Then a new time period will begin called "The Millennium," which is the 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth (Rev. 20:4). What are some of the things that will happen during the Millennium?
1.Satan will be bound up in the abyss for 1,000 years (Rev. 20:3).
2.The saved people who are alive at the Second Coming will enter the kingdom in their natural bodies (Matt. 25:34).
3.The lost people who are alive at the Second Coming will be cast into hell (Matt. 25:41).
4.Jesus will be king over the entire earth (Zech. 14:9).
5.The curse on the earth as a result of Adam & Eve's sin will be lifted (Zech. 14:11) Thorns, thistles, and weeds will be gone. The earth will become like the Garden of Eden.
6.The animals will be changed back to their original state when they were created. (Isa. 11:6-9). After Adam and Even sinned, many of the animals became predators. They will become peaceful again. The wolf and the lamb will lie down together.
7.Sickness will be removed (Isa. 33:24).
8.The saved people who enter the Millennium will repopulate the earth. (Matt. 19:28) The word "regeneration" in verse 28 means repopulation.
9.The 12 apostles in their resurrection bodies will rule over the 12 tribes of Israel (Matt. 19:28).
10.Many children will be born to the saved people who entered the Millennium in their natural bodies (Isa. 65:23). This is one proof that the rapture cannot happen at the Second Coming. Resurrected people cannot reproduce offspring (Matt. 22:30). We know only saved people will enter the Kingdom. But if everyone is raptured at the Second Coming, every saved person would have a resurrected body and no one would be in a natural body.
That's why the rapture must happen some time before the Second Coming. The people entering the Millennium are the people saved after the rapture, and they are the ones in their natural bodies who will repopulate the earth.
11.At the end of the 1,000 years, Satan will be loosed from the abyss and will deceive the children who were born during the Millennium (Rev. 20:7-10).
To hear the entire message, go to http://www.churchoflivingwater.net/node/23 and click on "The Millennium."
http://www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com/

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Power of Peer Pressure

A study was done where 10 high school students were brought into a room. They were shown 3 lines of different lengths on cards labeled A, B, and C. The researcher instructed them to raise their hand whenever he pointed to the longest line.
But what one of the students didn't realize was that the other 9 students had been previously told to point to the second longest line. The purpose of the experiment was to test the effects of peer pressure on an individual.
When the 9 teenagers pointed to the wrong line, the lone teenager would get a confused look and then slip up his hand with the rest of the group. He knew it wasn't the longest line, but he didn't want to be the only one who didn't raise his hand. As they kept bring in new teenagers, they kept producing the same results. They found that 75% of teenagers would conform with the group and give the wrong answer!
1 Kings 11:2 says, "You shall not associate with them, neither shall they associate with you, for they will surely turn your heart away after their gods."
You can't do anything about peer pressure, but you can do something about your child's peers. As a parent, make sure your children are hanging out with the right friends. They need to be involved with the youth group Bible studies at church. If they don't make friends with the right crowd, they'll be submitting to the peer pressure of the wrong crowd.
To hear the entire message on this subject, go to www.churchoflivingwater.net/node/23 and click on "Parenting 101."
http://www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com/

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Pre-Tribulation Rapture

Will the Rapture happen before the 7-year Tribulation Period, where God pours out His judgments on the earth (Rev. 6-19)? I believe so. In Rev. 4, the apostle John is caught up into heaven and what he sees is interesting. Here are some clues that rapture takes place at this time.
1.He is seeing something happening in the future. Jesus tells him "I will show you what must take place after these things" (Rev. 4:1). What he is about to see is something that will take place in the future.
2.A door is open in heaven (Rev. 4:1). John has already seen Jesus in all His glory in heaven in Rev. 1:12-16, so why is it necessary for a door to be open in heaven? Many Bible scholars believe the door opens to let the Church in at the rapture. The next time heaven is opened is Rev. 19:11-14 and His Church is following Him out. Presumably the Church goes in at Rev. 4:1 and comes out in Rev. 19.
3."Come up here" (Rev. 4:1) This phrase is also used in Rev. 11:12 when the two prophets are killed, then resurrected, and ascend into heaven. "Come up here" could mean the Church is being called into heaven in Rev. 4:1.
4.The 24 elders are wearing crowns (Rev. 4:4). After John gets caught up into heaven, he sees 24 elders around the thrones wearing crowns on their heads. Why is this significant? Because Christians will be rewarded at the rapture. The rapture is a resurrection of those who have died in Christ (1 Thess. 4:16-17). Jesus said, "You will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous" (Luke 14:14). Peter said the crowns would be given out at the rapture (1 Pet. 5:4). Paul also said he would receive a crown at the rapture (2 Tim. 4:8). No one in heaven has been rewarded at this time. So if John is looking into the future and sees 24 elders wearing crowns, it must mean the rapture has taken place.
5.The Tribulation doesn't begin until Revelation 6. John sees that the elders have been rewarded in Rev. 4, and then Jesus takes the scroll in Rev. 5, and He breaks the seals on the scroll in Rev. 6, which starts the Tribulation Period. This shows the rapture happens before the tribulation, which means a "Pre-Tribulation" rapture.
To hear the entire message on this subject, go to http://www.churchoflivingwater.net/node/23 and click on "The Pre-Tribulation Rapture."
http://www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Rapture is No Joke

After radio preacher Harold Camping wrongly predicted the rapture on May 21, this billboard appeared along highways. Matthew 24:36 tells us that no one can predict the day or hour. If the Father didn't tell Jesus when it would be, why would He tell Harold Camping?
This false prophecy by Camping has made the rapture a big joke on the Internet and by late night comedians. But the fact is, the rapture IS are real event that's going to happen some day. First Thessalonians 4:16-17 says, "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout...the dead in Christ will rise first, then we who are alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air." The words "caught up" in the Latin Vulgate is "rapturo" which is where we get the word rapture. The Greek word means "to rapidly snatch up."
Jesus will come in the air to receive His Church to Himself and take us to heaven. He will not return to Earth at this time. John 14:3 says, "And if I go [to heaven] and prepare a place for you [in heaven], I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am [in heaven], there you many be also [in heaven]." The rapture is when He takes His Church to heaven, but the Second Coming is when we return with Him at a later time to Earth.
First Corinthians 15:52 says it will happen "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye." The Greek word for "moment" is atomos (where we get the word atom) and means "an indivisible unit." It will happen so quickly that it will appear to the unbelievers who have been left behind as if all Christians have disappeared.
To understand five differences between the rapture and second coming, go to http://www.churchoflivingwater.net/node/23 and click on "Rapture vs. Second Coming"
http://www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com/

Monday, May 23, 2011

Who is the Antichrist?

I hope you weren't duped by the TV preacher who claimed the rapture would happen last Saturday. Jesus said no one can know the day or the hour when He comes (Matt. 24:36). Many people have also tried to figure out who the Antichrist is. You can't figure that out either because "he will be revealed in his time" (2 Thess. 2:6).

The Bible speaks a lot about a man who gets his power from Satan and will rule the world just prior to Christ's Second Coming. He is called by many names: "the prince who shall come" (Dan. 9:26), the "little horn" (Dan. 7:8), the "willful king" (Dan 11:36), the "man of sin" (2 Thess. 2:3), the "beast" (Dan. 7:11, Rev. 11:7, Rev 13:1-8, 19:19-20, 20:10), and "the abomination of desolation" (Matt. 24:15).

In the last days, a ten-nation kingdom will arise out of the ruins of the old Roman Empire, which is depicted by 10 toes (Dan. 2:42,44) and 10 horns (Dan. 7:7,20,24, Rev. 17:7,12). The Antichrist will subdue 3 of these kings and take over the kingdom (Dan. 7:7-8, 24-25). He will then become a world ruler and control all buying and selling with a mark placed on the right hand or forehead (Rev. 13:2-8, 16-18). He will sign a 7-year treaty with Israel, which allows the Jews to rebuild their temple and start sacrificing again. In the middle of the 7 years, he will stop the sacrifices, walk into the temple, and declare himself to be God (Dan. 9:27, 2 Thess. 2:3-4.) This starts "the Great Tribulation" where God pours out most of the judgments on earth in the book of Revelation. The Antichrist will be thrown into hell when Jesus returns to earth (2 Thess. 2:8, Rev. 19:20.) To hear the entire message on this subject, go to http://www.churchoflivingwater.net/node/23 and click on "The Antichrist."

Monday, May 16, 2011

How Can the Bible Predict the Future?

How can the Bible predict future events when they haven't happened yet? It becomes simple once we understand three things.
1.God knows everything that will happen in the future. Isa. 46:9-10 says, "I am God and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done." Our awesome God can see future events, so He is able to tell us ahead of time what will happen. This also shows He is in control of those events or He would not be able to predict them.
2.God told His prophets what would happen in the future and they recorded His words in the Scriptures. Acts 3:21 says, "God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time." He spoke to the prophets, who were His mouthpiece and they recorded the prophecies about the future in manuscripts.
3.The prophetic Scriptures were copied and preserved until the prophecy was fulfilled. The original manuscript was carefully copied by scribes. To ensure accuracy, each letter of the manuscript was counted and rechecked. If they made one mistake, the manuscript was burned and the scribe had to start over! The manuscripts were continually copied and passed on throughout the centuries. The reason you have a Bible today is because of the incredible faithfulness of the scribes who very carefully copied the manuscripts for over two thousand years. I challenge you to copy just one page of your Bible without a single mistake and see how difficult this would be. (By the way, have you read the entire Bible through even one time?)
Now that we have the manuscripts, we can look back and see how hundreds of prophecies by Daniel, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Zechariah, and others have been fulfilled. Jesus fulfilled 315 Old Testament prophecies concerning His first coming, so we know the prophecies of the Second Coming will also come to pass. This just goes to show that you can trust the accuracy of the Bible, not just concerning future events, but everything else it says as well. http://www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com/

Monday, May 9, 2011

Limburger in Your Mustache

A little boy snuck into the bedroom of his grandfather when he was sleeping. He stuck some Limburger cheese on his mustache and then slipped out the room. A little while later, the grandfather woke sniffing. "This bedroom stinks," he muttered. He walked into the living room and said, "This living room stinks." When he entered the kitchen he griped, "This kitchen stinks too!" Finally he walked outside, took a whiff and yelled, "The whole world stinks!"
Some people have Limburger cheese in their attitudes and so wherever they go, it stinks. Discontentment is a restless spirit that can never be satisfied. As a result, it goes on an endless search to find greener grass--that mythical place where everything is perfect. Contentment is just the opposite. It's having a peaceful spirit that has learned to be happy in every situation.
Do you have Limburger in your mustache? Paul said, "I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation" (Phil. 4:12). There's good and bad in every situation. Contentment comes by finding whatever is good in your situation, focusing on it, and making it bigger in your mind than your problems. To hear the entire message on this topic, go to http://www.churchoflivingwater.net/node/23 and click on "A Contented Heart."
www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Joyful Heart

A man walked by a table in a hotel in Las Vegas and noticed three men and a dog playing cards. Amazingly, the dog appeared to be winning. The man said, "That must be a very smart dog." One of the card players replied, "Nah, he ain't so smart. Every time he gets a good hand, he wags his tail!"


If you were a dog, would your tail be wagging today? If you are happy on the inside, it will show on the outside. Proverbs 15:13 says, "A joyful heart makes a cheerful face." If you have anger on your face, it's because you have anger in your heart. And if you have a big smile on your face, it's because you have joy in your heart.


Jesus said, "These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full" (John 15:11). The best advertisement for Jesus Christ is a joyful Christian. It has been said that 18th century evangelist George Whitfield had so much joy that people wanted to be saved just by seeing the joy on his face. Do you have that kind of joy? To hear the entire message on this topic, go to http://www.churchoflivingwater.net/node/23 and click on "A Joyful Heart."

Monday, April 25, 2011

Removing the Sting of Death

A family was riding in their car when a bee flew in the window. The son in the back seat was allergic to bees and could die if he got stung. As the bee buzzed around the car, the little boy became terrified and was in a state of panic. Just then, his father reached out and snatched the bee out of the air. A few seconds later, the father let the bee go and it started flying around the car again. The son panicked again and asked, "Dad, why did you let it go? If it stings me I'll die!" The father said, "You don't need to be afraid any more. The bee only has one stinger and it stung me in the hand." He held up his hand for his son to see. "Now it can't hurt you because its stinger is gone." When Jesus rose from the dead, He removed the sting of death. Referring to the resurrection of Christ, 1 Cor. 15:55 says, "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" Just as a bee loses its stinger when it stings someone, death lost it sting when it stung Jesus. For those who love Him, there is no pain in death. Death for the Christian is like going to sleep and waking up in heaven. To hear the entire message on this topic, go to http://www.churchoflivingwater.net/node/23 and click on "The Death of Death."

Monday, April 18, 2011

Old Testament Credit Cards

I'm sure you've gone to a restaurant and paid for the meal using your credit card. You ate the meal and then left without actually paying for it in cash. Your credit card was a guarantee that the bill would be paid sometime in the future. People who lived in the Old Testament used their animals as credit cards. They sinned against God and needed to pay the debt, so they "charged" their sins on spiritual credit cards through animal sacrifices.


They took their VISA cards (Very Important Sacrifice of Animals) to the Temple in Jerusalem where the transaction took place. The priests (the store clerks) sacrificed the animals on the altar (like scanning your credit card) and the client's sins were charged by faith to the future Messiah's account.


Millions of animals were sacrificed over the centuries, but not one drop of that animal blood could ever wash away sins (See Heb. 10:3-4). So why did God have them sacrifice so many animals? It was an object lesson for them. Without the sacrificial system, they would have never understood why Jesus had to die for their sins.


When Jesus died on the cross, He became the sacrificial Lamb and the sins of the world were poured into His body (John 1:29, 1 Pet. 2:24). When He said, "It is finished," He was declaring that the spiritual debt of sins had been paid. He paid for your salvation, but you must receive Him for the transaction to be completed. To hear the entire message, go to http://www.churchoflivingwater.net/node/23 and click on "What is Finished?"

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Worm in the Apple

Do you know how a worm gets inside an apple? Most people think that it burrows in from the outside, but that's not the case. The fact is, the worm actually comes from the inside. So how is it possible for a worm to be inside an apple without it coming from the outside? Here's how. When the apple blossom is on the tree, an insect comes along and lays an egg in it. As the apple starts growing, the egg hatches inside the heart of the apple. The worm comes out of the egg in the middle of the apple, and then it tunnels its way out. This is a picture of how thoughts get inside our hearts. Satan comes along and lays an egg in our hearts and minds. If we don't immediately reject it, the thought will stay there and grow inside our hearts. Once it's on the inside, it will eventually burrow its way out through our attitudes, words, and actions. Jesus said, "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders" (Matt. 15:19). If you've ever done any of those things, it's because Satan laid an egg and you didn't reject it. As I said in last week's devotional about the Crocodile Hunter, we must guard our hearts. "Guard your heart above all else, for out of it flow the springs of life" (Prov. 4:23). http://www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com

Monday, March 28, 2011

Using the Right Bait

Jesus said, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Matt. 4:19). If you aren't fishing, you aren't following! We fish for men by telling them about Jesus and that He is the only way to heaven. Bait is what attracts fish. If you want to catch fish, you must choose the right bait. Different kinds of fish don't all bite on the same kind of bait. A good fisherman knows how the particular fish thinks that he's trying to catch, and what kind of bait it will like. If you go deep sea fishing for marlins, you won't catch them using worms. They want a large chunk of bait. If you go trout fishing in a mountain stream, you will use a fly on top of the water. Catfish in a lake swim closer to the bottom and they like stink bait. Bluegills swim closer to the top and like worms and crickets. Just as fish are different, so are people. They all need the Lord, but everyone thinks differently. A person won't get saved until they realize they need to be saved. Not everyone is convinced in the same way, so here are some are the different kinds of bait to use, according to the person's need.

  • Fear of dying. Most people are terrified of dying because they don't know what lies beyond the grave. You can tell the person that Jesus died for them to take away the fear of death. (See Heb. 2:14-15)

  • Lack of purpose. Many people are asking, "Why am I here?" Tell them that Jesus came to give them a reason to live. (See John 10:10, 11:25-26)

  • Life is in turmoil. Tell them that Jesus can give them inner peace, even when going through trials. (See John 14:27)

  • Confused and need guidance. Tell them that God wants to guide them through life (See John 10:27, 14:6, 16:13)

  • Something is missing. Tell them that everyone has a God-shaped void inside that only Jesus can fill. (See John 10:10).
After explaining how they can be saved, be sure to lead them in a prayer of salvation. "Dear Jesus, thank you for dying for me on the Cross. Come into my life and save me. I will follow you for the rest of my life. Thank you for saving me. Amen." To hear the entire message on this subject, go to http://www.churchoflivingwater.net/node/23 and click on "Going Fishing." http://www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com/

Monday, March 14, 2011

Drifting from God

Every summer when I was a kid, our family would travel from Texas to Florida to go to the beach for a week. Every day I would dash into the water and lay on my inflatable raft. One day, I got on my raft and closed my eyes. I enjoyed the gentle waves rocking me like a baby, and wasn't paying attention to the shore.

When I finally looked up, I was shocked to discover that I drifted a long, long way from land. I hadn't noticed that I was being gradually pulled out to sea! Fortunately, I could still see land and hurriedly paddled back to shore.

I drifted away because I wasn't paying attention. Hebrews 2:1 says, "For this reason, we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it."

We drift away from God in the same way. We quit paying attention to Him, and little by little we move away. When we quit spending time with God each day by talking to Him and reading His Word, it's inevitable that we'll drift away from Him. It happens so gradually we don't even realize it. Then something happens and when we finally look up, we see how far away we are.

When I realized I was far from the shore, I didn't get back to the beach by drifting. I had to make an effort to go against the current and paddle my way back. And you must also make an effort to get close to the Lord again. Start talking to Him throughout the day. Meditate on His Word. Get back to doing what you used to do when you were close to Him.
To hear the entire message on this topic, go to:
"Drifting from God."