Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Don't Mess with the Snake

NEW BIBLE STUDY: The Judgment Seat of Christ. Did you know this judgment isn’t to punish you, but to reward you?
Don't Mess with the Snake
This week a security guard working at a hotel in Bali, Indonesia was killed when he tried to capture a 15-foot-long python. The 59-year-old man picked up the snake and put its head and tail on his shoulders, thinking he could easily handle the reptile. Imagine his horror when the python wrapped itself around his neck and strangled him. Bystanders watched the tragedy but were unwilling to help the man, fearing the same fate for themselves. The snake escaped into nearby bushes and hasn’t been found.

I’m sure this man felt confident that he could handle the snake, but he underestimated the power of the huge serpent. Many people make the same mistake when they play with a particular temptation, thinking they can walk away at any time. But to their horror they underestimate the power of the serpent and find that they cannot escape its grip.

Satan is called the serpent in the Bible (2 Cor. 11:3, Rev. 12:9,15) and his power lies in his ability to deceive people. He makes us think we can play with temptation and handle it, but it’s all a trap. Keep this story in mind and don’t underestimate the serpent’s power, or you could end up like that security guard.
Read studies on BIBLE PROPHECY and END TIMES at Making Life Count Ministries. Learn what the Bible teaches about the Antichrist, the Rapture, and the Second Coming.

Two books to help you enjoy life:
SlayingYour Giants ($8.99) is filled with numerous interesting stories, humor, and practical advice (for teenagers and adults). Includes a free discussion guide for small group studies.

The Sure Cure for Worry ($11.65) contains amazing true stories and will help the reader see God is in control. (For those who may doubt the existence of God and those who need guidance)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Simeon Prophesies Over Jesus

When Jesus was eight days old, Joseph and Mary took Him to the Temple in Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (Read Luke 2:21-35). Unbeknownst to them, an elderly man named Simeon was already waiting for them. The Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not die until he saw the Messiah, so that day the Spirit guided him into the temple complex. Simeon is an example for us in three ways.

1. Simeon knew how to hear from God. He lived close to the heart of God and had a passion to see the long-awaited Messiah. God spoke to him that he would see the Christ before he died.

2. Simeon knew how to be guided by the Spirit. The Holy Spirit guided him into the temple at just the right time when Joseph and Marry would arrive. When Simeon saw Jesus, he knew that He was the Messiah. Again we see how clearly this man was in touch with God. He didn’t have an angel pointing Him out. Immediately when he saw Jesus, he prayed, “Now Lord, you can let your servant depart in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation.” (2:29-30). This was another sign to Joseph and Mary concerning His identity.

3. Simeon knew how to speak God’s message. He prophesied to Mary that Jesus was appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel … and that a sword would pierce her own soul (v.34-35). This was not what Mary wanted to hear about her child! But obviously, God wanted her to hear it so she would know that He would become the sacrificial Lamb for the sins of the world. Years later, as she watched Jesus die on the cross, no doubt she remembered this prophecy of Simeon.

We all need to hear from God, be guided by the Holy Spirit, and boldly speak His truth to others. It all begins by drawing near to Him and being willing to do His will. www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com
Read studies on BIBLE PROPHECY and END TIMES at Making Life Count Ministries. Learn what the Bible teaches about the Antichrist, the Rapture, and the Second Coming.

Two books to help you grow in your faith:
SlayingYour Giants (ON SALE for $8.99) is filled with numerous interesting stories, humor, and practical advice (for teenagers and adults)
The Sure Cure for Worry (ON SALE for $11.74) contains some amazing true stories and will help the reader see God is in control. (For those who may doubt the existence of God and those who need guidance)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Why the Virgin Birth?

There is much more to the Christmas story than a baby laying in a manger. Who was this baby? Why did He come to earth? Why was it necessary for Jesus to be born of a virgin? A supernatural person required a supernatural birth. Here are reasons for the supernatural conception.

Reason #1: To prepare a body so He could be sacrificed for the sins of the world.
When Jesus left heaven to come to earth, God the Father prepared a body for Him in the womb of Mary. Heb. 10:5 says, “Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, "Sacrifice and offering You have not desired, but a body You have prepared for Me.” This is a conversation between the Word (Jesus) and God (the Father) as He is coming into the world. He says that the Old Testament animal sacrifices were not sufficient, so God prepared a body for Jesus to be the sacrifice for the sins of the world. This body was carried inside the womb of the virgin Mary when she was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:30-35, Matt. 1:20-25).

Reason #2: To have pure blood to cleanse people from their sins.
The blood that flows in an unborn babies arteries and veins is not derived from the mother but is produced through the male sperm. The mother contributes no blood at all. It is only after the male element has entered the ovum that blood can develop. Since Jesus had no human father, God created the pure blood in His veins with the ability to cleanse us from all sin.

Hebrews 9:22 says, “And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”  God made from one blood all the nations of the earth (Acts 17:26 NKJV). Because sinful humanity has a poisoned bloodstream, the virgin birth was necessary to provide Him with pure blood. When Jesus died on the cross, He entered the holy place in Heaven with His own blood to obtain eternal redemption (Heb. 9:12). It is only through His blood that we are cleansed of all sin (1 John 1:9).

Reason #3: To produce the Second Adam.
The New Testament refers to Jesus as the second Adam in Romans 5:12-21 and 1 Cor. 15:22, 45-47. The first Adam came from earth. The last Adam came from heaven (1 Cor. 15:47). The first Adam brought sin into the world. The second Adam, Jesus, brought righteousness into the world (Rom. 5:18-19). The sin nature is passed down from generation to generation, but through the virgin birth, the sin nature was circumvented and allowed the Son of God to be born in the same innocence that Adam was created.

Did you know that Isaiah’s prophecy of the virgin birth had a double fulfillment? Did you know there is a controversy over the Hebrew word for virgin? To read an explanation on these points, click on MORE ABOUT THE VIRGIN BIRTH.
Slaying Your Giants is filled with numerous interesting stories, humor, and practical advice (give to teenagers and adults)
The Sure Cure for Worry contains some amazing true stories and will help the reader see that God really is in control. (Give to those who may doubt the existence of God and those who need guidance from God)
Read 160 Bible studies at www.makinglifecount.net  

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Conquering the Giant of Fear

When Moses sent the 12 spies into the Promised Land, they came back reporting there were giants in the land. This scared the people of Israel so much that they spent the next 38 years in the wilderness!

To receive everything that God has promised to you, you must defeat the Giant of Fear.  I’ve attached a link to an 18-minute video of me teaching about the 4 weapons you will need to use.
To watch the video, click on this link: Conquering the Giant of Fear
If you have been blessed by these devotionals and Bible studies, would you please consider a year-end gift to this ministry?

You can give online: DONATE WITH A CREDIT CARD

If you would prefer to mail a check to “Making Life Count Ministries” send to:
Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174

Thank you so much for your prayers and financial support, which makes this ministry possible.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Christmas: What does "only begotten Son" mean?

Most Christians will tell you that Jesus is the only-begotten Son of God, but if you ask them what that means they cannot tell you. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” 

The Greek word for “only begotten” is monogenes and means “uniquely born” or “one-of-a-kind birth.” The conception and birth of Jesus was unique—nothing like it had ever happened before and will never happen again in the future.  He was conceived in the womb of a virgin by the Holy Spirit and is the only one who has two natures—divine and human; all God and all man. “Only begotten” does not mean that Jesus did not exist until the Father begat Him, which is what cults believe.

1. Jesus existed in eternity past as “the Word.” 
Jesus always existed as the Word (God) in eternity past. Micah 5:2 says His days are from eternity. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word (this was His name before “Jesus”) and the Word was with God (the Father), and the Word was God.”  This shows Jesus pre-existed as God before He came to earth and became man.

2. When Jesus left heaven to put on human flesh, “the Word” became “the Son.”
Cults teach that a father is older than a son, so Jesus must have come into existence at a point in time.  The Bible does not teach this. Jesus has always existed as God in eternity past, and the term “Son” refers to His humanity which began at His Incarnation. John 1:14 says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” This happened 2,000 years ago when He entered a human body and was named Jesus. The Word became the Son when He came to earth.

Dr. Walter Martin, author of The Kingdom of the Cults, writes:
There is no such thing as “the eternal Son of God.” Before Jesus took upon Himself a human form, He already existed with the Father. Hebrews 1:5-6 says that when He brings the first-begotten into the world, He says, “I will be a Father to Him, and He will be a Son to Me.” This is a reference to the Incarnation. It is a change of relationship when the Word takes on flesh—the Word becomes the Son.

The terms "Father" and "Son" describe the first two Persons of the Trinity (God and Jesus), after Christ came to earth. This proves that the terms “begotten” and “sonship” refer to His humanity and not His divinity. As God, He had no beginning, was not begotten, and was not a Son. As man, He was begotten in the flesh and became the Son.  The term "Son of God" reveals His two natures: Son (humanity) and God (deity).
To read more on this topic, click here: What does “the only-begotten Son” mean?
Are “Invisible Giants” attacking your mind?  Read Slaying Your Giants
Does the nation’s $17 trillion debt frighten you?  Read The Sure Cure for Worry

Read over 150 Bible studies at www.makinglifecount.net

Monday, November 25, 2013

Tear Bottles

NEW Bible teaching: Overcoming Temptation.”  (Click title to read)
Tear Bottle
God’s Tear Bottle
In Psalm 56:8 David prays, “You have taken account of my wanderings—put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?” David is referring to the custom of collecting tears in a tear bottle. These vessels were used to catch and preserve the owner’s tears during times of grief and sorrow. When ancient tombs have been opened, tear bottles have been found in large numbers. Each member of the family owned a tear bottle, which was considered one of the most cherished possessions because it represented all the heartaches and sorrows of the individual. When a person died, his tear bottle was buried with him.

On one occasion, Jesus was in the home of Simon the Pharisee (Luke 7:36-40). A woman came into the house and washed His feet with her tears. It’s unlikely she would have been able to cry enough tears to wash His feet, so it’s very possible that she took her tear bottle with her and poured her tears on His dusty feet. Those tears could not be replaced, so she might have been buried without a bottle of tears next to her in the tomb.

David’s prayer reminds us that God also has a “tear bottle” where He counts each pain and suffering, and remembers every tear that His children shed. Although you might be going through a difficult time right now and crying tears of pain and sorrow, God promises a better tomorrow to His children who trust in Him:
·         “Weeping may endure for a night (now), but joy comes in the morning (future).” (Psalm 30:5).
·         “Those who sow in tears (now) shall reap with joyful shouting (future).” (Psalm 126:5)
·         “For I will turn their mourning (now) into joy (future) and will comfort them and give them joy for their sorrow.” (Jeremiah 31:13)
·         “Blessed are those who mourn (now), for they shall be comforted (future).” (Matthew 5:4)
·         “He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes…there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain (future).” (Revelation 21:4)
Are “Invisible Giants” attacking your mind?  Read Slaying Your Giants

Does the nation’s $17 trillion debt frighten you?  Read The Sure Cure for Worry

Read 150 Bible studies at www.makinglifecount.net

Friday, November 15, 2013

How will God provide for you?

Does your situation look so desperate that it’s hard for you to imagine how God can intervene? Matthew 17:24-27 tells an amazing story about Peter catching a fish with a coin in its mouth. This story is recorded in Scripture for a reason—to show you that God can do the impossible to provide your needs.

Instead of writing this week’s devotional, I’ve attached a link to a 20-minute video of me teaching on this passage. I hope this teaching will encourage you to not give up hope, no matter how impossible your situation may be. To watch the video, click on this link: How Will God Provide for Me?
Read over 150 Bible studies at www.makinglifecount.net
Does the future scare you?  Read The Sure Cure for Worry
Are you depressed or feel rejected?  Read Slaying Your Giants

Friday, November 8, 2013

Turning Points

George Foreman is the former two-time world’s heavyweight boxing champion and known for his powerful knockout punches. On his 19th birthday, he got so drunk that he couldn’t remember what happened that night. The next day, he ran into a friend who had been badly beaten up. His eye was swollen and he had cuts and bruises on his face. George wanted to get revenge on the person who hurt his friend. He said, “Man, you look terrible! Who did that to you?”

His friend looked at him in disbelief and said, “Are you kidding me? You beat me up last night!”
George was stunned because he couldn’t remember beating him up. This was a turning point in his life. The hurt he inflicted on his friend jolted him so much that George never took another drink of alcohol after that. (George Foreman, God in My Corner, Thomas Nelson, 2007).

Although you might not physically beat up someone, have you ever verbally beat up someone? We can hurt others without realizing the damage we’ve done. Husbands and wives get into heated arguments and never realize they’ve shoved an invisible knife through their spouse’s heart. Without a turning point, it could lead them to the divorce court. Abusive parents scream hateful things at their children, never realizing how it has devastated them. Without a turning point, future generations could be affected.

Change doesn’t occur without a turning point. The only way to stop hurting others is for the light bulb to come on in our minds. Our eyes must be opened to the pain we have inflicted. The Prodigal Son didn’t change until “he came to his senses” in the pigpen. This was his turning point. He got up, and went back home with a changed attitude toward his father (Luke 15:17-20). Saul was on the road to Damascus to persecute Christians when he was struck down by a blinding light. This was his turning point. He changed from murdering Christians to preaching about Jesus (Acts 9:1-20).

Think back on your life. Have you ever had a turning point? Have you hurt your spouse, or your parents, or your children, or anyone, without realizing the damage you’ve done? It’s not too late to change. Today can be your turning point. Don't just say that you're sorry. Prove it with a change in behavior. 
ACCIDENT OR DIVINE INTERVENTION? We have 500-600 people who receive this devotional via email. Occasionally the email service goes crazy and sends out one of the previous Devotionals without telling us. This happened earlier this week when a devotional from last May on “Rejection” was accidentally sent out. We have no idea how that happened, but maybe God wanted someone to read it.
Read 150 Bible studies at www.makinglifecount.net
Does the future scare you?  Read The Sure Cure for Worry
Are you depressed or feel rejected?  Read Slaying Your Giants

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Are You a Bear Riding a Bicycle?

Satan is a clever dude and an expert in tricking people. He loves to counterfeit God’s ways to deceive Christians into thinking they are on the right path, but leading them in the wrong way. Legalism in the church is a counterfeit spirit that masquerades as “dedication to God” but it actually prevents people from walking in the Spirit and God’s grace. It is a system of rules to follow, which is enforced by a person or persons who act like spiritual policemen.

A legalist tries to control other people’s behavior through browbeating and threats. He or she is like the circus person who trains a bear to ride a bicycle. The bear feels awkward doing it, and is only doing it because of the trainer’s threats. Garrison Keillor once said, “A bear riding a bicycle can be trained to do it, but he would rather be in the woods, doing what bears do.”

God calls us to freedom (Gal. 5:13) but legalism calls people to bondage. The Holy Spirit inspires joyful service (John 15:11) but legalism produces dreaded duties. The Pharisees were the legalists of Jesus’ day. In Matthew 23:4-33, Jesus rebukes them for adding heavy burdens on people.

#1 Legalists are typically perfectionists who have unrealistic expectations of others.
Imagine being a pole-vaulter and the highest you’ve been able to clear is 13 feet. Your coach sets the bar at 17 feet. When you keep going 4 feet under the bar, he goes berserk and screams at you for not meeting the goal he set for you. A perfectionist is like that coach who sees everyone as a pole-vaulter who fails to make it over the bar. No one will ever be able to meet his expectations because he sets the bar way too high.

#2 Legalists are highly critical of others. A legalist has no room in his or her heart for God’s grace and compassion. They will often blast others in public and belittle them behind their backs. Those who are highly critical have very little love in their hearts, which causes them to only see others’ faults.

#3 Legalists force people to obey through threats, intimidation, and guilt trips. They will make condemning statements to make others feel guilty so they will conform to their wishes. The people being controlled are more concerned with pleasing the authoritarian figure than they are with pleasing God. They will attend church to make sure the legalist sees them in attendance rather than going to worship the Lord. People were afraid of the Pharisees and followed their rules “for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God” (John 12:42-43).

Lest we be misunderstood, God wants you to submit to those in authority in your church and be joyful in serving Him. Hopefully your church is filled with grace and the Holy Spirit, and led by those who love the Lord. Remember, though, that you get to choose your place of worship. If your church makes you feel like a bear riding a bicycle, it might be time to find a new circus trainer. www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com
Several people wrote us the link didn’t work to “Can Christian lose his salvation?” The link is working now, so please click on the link and print it for future reference.
We are excited that some students at a university in Kenya are using our studies at www.makinglifecount.net for a weekly Bible study. If you would like to start a study in your home, please email me kent @kentcrockett.com and I would love to show you how.
Read over 130 Bible studies at www.makinglifecount.net
Are you worried about the future?  Read The Sure Cure for Worry
Do you want to defeat depression, unforgiveness, and rejection?  Read Slaying Your Giants

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Where is Your Focus?

A study was done with two groups of basketball players of equal talent. One group was instructed to practice shooting baskets for so many hours. The other group was told to stay out of the gym, but to practice shooting baskets in their minds and making them. They were instructed to see themselves continually shooting basketballs and visualizing them going through the hoop.

When they played the next game, the players who had rehearsed shooting in their minds hit a higher percentage of their shots than the ones who actually practiced with basketballs! This experiment shows that what you focus on makes a difference in what happens.  

I’m convinced that whatever we focus on determines whether we are happy or miserable, whether we have faith or fear. When Moses sent the twelve spies into the Promised Land, they all saw the same land. However, ten spies were afraid because they focused on the giants in the land, while Joshua and Caleb had faith because they focused on the good land God had promised them (Num. 13:25-33). All twelve were in the same situation, but their difference was their focus.

Focusing on what’s good isn't a secular concept—it’s a biblical command. The apostle Paul told us to meditate with positive, uplifting thoughts: "Whatever is true…honorable…right… pure…lovely…admirable…let your mind dwell on these things" (Phil. 4:8).

We naturally see the giants in our situations. It takes the determination of Joshua and Caleb to focus on what’s good. Instead of thinking about every hurtful thing your enemy did to you, focus on one good thing about that person. Every time you see that person, think about that one good thing and nothing else. You will be surprised how your happiness will return and your enemy cannot torment you anymore.

Instead of only looking at the problems in your job or marriage, focus on something that’s good in your job and spouse. It’s easy to see your problems, but the blessings are also there—you just can’t see them because you’ve been focusing on the wrong things. You must continually look for what’s good if you want things to improve. See the basketball go through the hoop and making the winning shot.

Every day God sends you into the Promised Land and asks you to bring back a report on what you see. What will you report at the end of today?  www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com
Read over 130 Bible studies at www.makinglifecount.net
Are you afraid of the future?  Read The Sure Cure for Worry
Do you need to conquer depression, unforgiveness, or rejection?  Read Slaying Your Giants

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

10 Unusual Ways People Have Died

Call me weird, but I keep a file of unusual ways people have died. This morning I read about a man who had just pulled his car in a parking space when an abandoned apartment building collapsed and fell on his vehicle. If you had told him beforehand he would die that way, he would not have believed you. Here are nine more unusual ways people have died (These came from newspaper articles and are not urban legends).

·         A Brazilian man died when a cow fell through his roof and landed on him. His house was next to a steep hillside where the cow had been grazing.

·         A fisherman in Sri Lanka bled to death when a fish jumped out of the water and cut him on the neck with its fin.

·         A man in Iran was shot to death by a snake. He was trying to catch the snake alive and put the end of his shotgun on its head. The snake coiled around the gun and pulled the trigger.

·         A herdsman in Kenya was watering his livestock when he was stoned to death by wild monkeys.

·         A man at a Jets-Patriots pro football game was killed by a flying lawnmower. The entertainment at half-time was radio-controlled unusual-looking model airplanes. The flying lawnmower went out of control and flew into the stands where he was seated.

·         A man in Florida was sleeping in his bedroom when a sinkhole beneath his home opened up and sucked him in.

·         A man in London at his 100-year-old birthday party said, “Yes, I made it!” and immediately died.

·         Two passengers were dining on a cruise ship off the coast of France when a 26-foot high wave crashed through the glass windshield and killed them.

·         A man in South Carolina was jogging and listening to his iPod when he was hit from behind by a small plane that had lost its power and was making an emergency landing.

None of these people knew that death was just moments away. Have you ever thought about how you will die? Will you be cut by a fish tail? Shot by a snake? Killed by a flying lawnmower? Sucked into a sinkhole? Maybe your heart will just stop beating.

Life is short and death can happen at any moment. James 4:14 says, “You do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” Will you be ready when your time comes? If not, please read “How can I know that I’m going to heaven?”
Have a great day. It could be your last.
Read over 130 Bible studies at www.makinglifecount.net
Are you worried about the future?  Read The Sure Cure for Worry
Do you want to defeat depression, unforgiveness, and rejection?  Read Slaying Your Giants

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Announcing Kent's New Teaching Ministry

I'm excited to announce my new teaching and discipleship ministry:
Making Life Count Ministries 

Have you ever wondered how we got the Bible? Do you have questions about Bible end-time prophecies, how to answer cults, or how to answer evolution? The answers are all on our new website www.makinglifecount.net  Please bookmark the site and forward it to others. We have over 130 studies on the site with many more to be added.
  • Each week I'll add new Bible studies.
  • Each week I'll send out a new devotional.
  • Each week I'll add a new video Bible teaching (20-25 minutes).
Do you want to start a Bible study in your home?  Please email me and I'll show you how to get started. kent @kentcrockett.com  I'm especially interested in hearing from people in foreign countries.

I'd also love to speak at your church or event.  Just contact me and let me know.--Kent

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

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Leaving Your Offering at the Altar?

Jesus made a profound statement that most of us have overlooked.  He said, “Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering” (Matt. 5:23-24). Jesus is saying that a wrong horizontal relationship with man will block our vertical relationship with God.

Imagine a man taking his lamb to the temple to sacrifice as an act of worship. As he is about to hand his animal to the priest to place it on the altar, a thought pops into his mind. The worshipper remembers a disagreement he had with someone. His enemy stole some money from him, but he reacted in the wrong way by calling him hateful names. He realizes that he must forgive his enemy for wronging him, but he also needs to ask forgiveness for his hateful response.

Jesus tells him to leave his offering at the altar. Leave it there while he takes care of some business. There’s nothing wrong with the offering, so there’s no need to take it away. The offering is acceptable, but the worshipper’s attitude isn’t, and God is looking at his heart. This passage reveals that the Lord is aware of what we are offering Him, along with the attitude in our hearts, and also the personal conflicts we are experiencing.

The worshipper leaves his offering and walks three miles to where his enemy lives. He asks forgiveness for calling him those names and forgives him for stealing from him. His enemy returns the money, accepts his apology and they are reconciled, so he returns to the temple and finishes presenting his offering to God.

But suppose his enemy doesn’t want to be reconciled. Instead of being receptive, his enemy curses him out and slams the door in his face. What is the worshipper to do? God accepts that fact that he did everything in his power to resolve the difference. Perhaps his enemy will change his mind later and get right with him and God. The worshipper can now return to the altar with a clear conscience, knowing he did what Christ has asked of him.

Romans 12:18 says, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men” Notice 3 things:
·         “If possible.” This implies that the other person may not want to be reconciled. But it also means that resolving the conflict might be possible.
·         So far as it depends on you.” This puts the burden of peace-making on you. It will require humility on your part because pride wants the other person to come to you. Quit waiting for the other person to make the first move. You take the initiative and start the process.
·         “Be at peace with all men.” Conflict creates friction, but reconciliation brings peace.

If you will make the first move, you will find that God will also make a move by blessing you! He will always bless the one who takes the initiative in peacemaking. www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com

Visit Kent’s New Bible Teaching website: www.makinglifecount.net

Are you worried about the future?  Read The Sure Cure for Worry
Do you want to defeat depression, unforgiveness, and rejection?  Read Slaying Your Giants

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

When You Are Slandered

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ and living with integrity, you can expect to be slandered. Someone who doesn't like you (perhaps is jealous or feels threatened by you) will twist the facts to make you look bad. They think that by ridiculing you it will make them look better.
Jesus told His followers they would be hated by unbelievers, “I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you . . . If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:19-20). But He also said that persecution can come from religious people: “They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think he is offering service to God” (John 16:2). Sometimes the religious crowd can be harder on His disciples than unbelievers in the world.

The apostle Paul tells us that we will experience a deeper walk with God through “the fellowship of His sufferings” (Phil. 3:10). No one in their right mind goes searching for ways to experience pain. No one wants to suffer. In fact, we usually avoid it at all costs. Yet, as we seek to know God in a more intimate way, the forces of hell are unleashed upon us through evil people who hate us. Can you imagine how Jesus must have felt as He walked in total obedience to His Father, yet was constantly hated and slandered throughout His ministry?

You cannot learn “the fellowship of His sufferings” by reading books. You’ll only learn this level of anguish when people hate and slander you when you haven’t done anything wrong. People will gossip about you, and sometimes only you and the Lord know that you are blameless. What are you to do when you are hated and falsely accused?

1.Keep your integrity.  If you are blameless, don’t take the bait and react in an ungodly way. This is what Satan wants you to do.  When David was verbally attacked, he said, “Let integrity and uprightness preserve me” (Ps. 25:21).

2. Remain silent before your accusers. I’m not talking about if you are falsely accused of a crime. In that case, you should present evidence that you are innocent. But in most cases, it’s best to keep your mouth shut. You’ll wear yourself out trying to defend yourself to everyone. “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will also be like him” (Prov. 26:4). Even though many false witnesses lied about Jesus, He kept silent before them (Matt. 26:60-63, Acts 8:32). Always remember that God knows the truth and will bring justice on your accusers.

3. Draw near to God.  As you go through this painful experience, you will understand exactly how Jesus, the apostles, and the prophets felt when they were hated and slandered. Not many people are willing to walk down this lonely road, but the Holy Spirit will teach you deeper truths as you join in “the fellowship of His sufferings.”

4. Rejoice because your reward is great in heaven. Jesus said, “Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt. 5:10-11). Notice that these are false accusations, not truthful charges that you have actually done. God will make it up to you on the Judgment Day when you are rewarded.  Jesus said to “leap for joy” (Luke 6:23) because you will receive a great eternal reward for being persecuted.  www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com
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