Friday, May 30, 2014

How to Spread Gossip

A woman in a certain village spread a slanderous story about her boss. Later she regretted it and asked his forgiveness. He said, “I forgive you but I want you to do something. I have a large bag of feathers that I want you to take to the town tower. Go to the top and scatter the feathers to the wind.” She did as he requested and returned.

He said, “Now go gather the feathers and bring them back to me.” She said, “But that’s impossible. They are scattered everywhere.” “That’s right,” he replied. “I forgive you. But remember that the false information you spread about me is scattered everywhere and it cannot be recalled.”

You can destroy a person’s reputation by sharing gossip. It’s not wrong to talk about other people—IF you follow certain guidelines. Make sure it passes 3 tests.

1. MOTIVE TEST: What is my motive in sharing this information with others?
Ask yourself why you are sharing it. Would God be pleased if you shared it? People who are jealous or envious will gossip about someone because they are insecure and are trying to destroy the person they are slandering. If your heart is pure proceed to test #2.

2. ACCURACY TEST: Have I verified that this information is accurate?
"Every fact is to be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses" (2 Cor. 13:1). This is a safeguard to keep false accusations from destroying a person's reputation. Most gossip is inaccurate because it is usually started by someone who has an evil agenda. Then the information gets changed and distorted as the story goes from one person to another. 

If you hear gossip about someone, be skeptical and assume it isn’t true. During a sermon I asked the congregation, “If you have heard gossip about yourself, and part or all of it wasn’t true, please raise your hand.” The entire congregation raised their hands! I told them, “Take a look at all the raised hands and remember this the next time you hear gossip about someone. You can safely assume that part or all of it isn’t true.”

3. NECESSITY TEST: Am I sharing this information with someone who actually needs to hear it? Does the listener have a real need to know the information and can help address the issue? If so, go ahead and share it. At this point, talking about the other person isn’t gossip because your motive is right, the information is true, and there is a need to know.

Scripture instructs us to not befriend a gossip. “He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets, therefore do not associate with a gossip” (Prov. 20:19). Don’t even eat lunch with a gossip because sooner or later the gossiper will be spreading rumors about you. Remember that whoever gossips to you will also gossip about you! www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com  www.makinglifecount.net

NEW BIBLE STUDY: If Jesus never sinned why did He need to be baptized? He was baptized for three reasons.

Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174
Thank you to all who support this discipleship ministry. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

When God Punishes Your Enemies

It might surprise you that God promises to punish your enemies. Romans 12:19 says, “Never take your own revenge, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” Sometimes we forget that God loves justice and He is the only one who can administer the correct amount of punishment.

The apostle Paul realized the importance of letting God punish his enemies instead of taking matters into his own hands. He said, “Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. The Lord will repay him according to his deeds” (2 Tim. 4:14). And God will repay those who have harmed you as well, but first He wants you to try to make peace with them.

Romans 12:18 says, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” God wants you to make the first move at peacemaking. Sometimes your attempt to make peace will soften the other person’s heart and the relationship can be healed. But what if the other person never changes? It’s tempting to take your own revenge, but this is when you need to “leave room for the wrath of God.”

1. If you take your own revenge, you are trying to play the role of God. Getting revenge is a right that belongs to God. He says, “Vengeance IS MINE.”

2. If you take your own revenge, God will back off from what He intended to do.
God says, “Oh, so you want to do it? That is what I wanted to do. I can get vengeance better than you, so if you do it your way, it will interfere with what I want to do.”

3. If you take your own revenge, it means that you don’t believe God will correct the wrong. You must believe that God is just and He will hold the person accountable who hurt you.

When will God get vengeance? It might be in this life, the life to come, or both now and later. If the other person never apologizes and makes things right, you can rest assured that the Lord knows how to settle the score correctly. www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com

NEW BIBLE STUDY: How will God resurrect the dead from dust? This study explains how He will bring back the bodies of people who have disintegrated or have been cremated.

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

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Sneaking Suspicion

After David killed Goliath, women danced in the streets and sang victory songs. Saul smiled when they sang, “Saul has killed his thousands. . .” Then the women sang the second stanza: "And David his ten thousands" (1 Sam. 18:7). When Saul heard them praising David more than himself, jealousy consumed him. He said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, but to me they have ascribed thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” An evil spirit came on Saul and he “looked at David with suspicion from that day on” (1 Sam. 18:9,10).
Here are three characteristics of jealousy:

Jealousy is suspicious. Saul “looked at David with suspicion” until his dying day. Jealousy views people as suspects who are guilty.

Jealousy feels threatened. Jealousy is rooted in insecurity and will attack the perceived threat. Saul tried to kill David by throwing a spear at him (1 Sam. 18:11).

Jealousy never trusts. Saul had a sneaking suspicion that David was plotting to overthrow him. David had no such intentions but Saul chose to believe the lies in his mind instead. Even when David gave him proof by sparing his life, Saul wouldn’t change his mind and continued to persecute David.

Jealousy destroys relationships and this is why it is dangerous. It can kill marriages. Instead of drawing a person closer, it has the opposite effect and drives the other person away through accusations. Even though jealousy primarily operates in romantic relationships, it can also be found in the secular workplace between co-workers, in political campaigns between candidates, and even in church when someone else is praised for their spiritual gifts.

James tells us where these thoughts are coming from. “If you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic” (James 3:14-15).

The way to conquer jealousy is to humble yourself, let Jesus be your greatest love, and place your situation in God’s hands. For more information about how to overcome jealousy, read chapter 18 in Slaying Your Giantswww.kentcrockett.blogspot.com 
www.makinglifecount.net   Making Life Count Ministries

NEW BIBLE STUDIES: How did Jonah stay alive in the whale for three days? Did Jonah breath inside the whale or did he die?

Did two different people write the Book of Isaiah?  Some modern-day “scholars” deny that Isaiah wrote the book. This study disproves that theory.

Who wrote the Book of Hebrews?  Hebrews in the only book in the New Testament where the author is unknown. However, it was likely written by one of these three people.

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

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Analyzing Envy

Envy gets upset when someone else makes a lot of money, buys a nicer house, drives a better car, is promoted to a higher position or is elevated in status. Is someone coming to your mind right now? That’s the person you envy. Coveting wants what others have, but envy wants them to lose it! It wants to deprive them of the blessing.

Jesus warned us about these sinful attitudes when He said, “For from within, out of people’s hearts, come evil thoughtsdeeds of covetingenvy…” (Mark 7:21-22). If you are envious, it means you're not trusting God to provide for you and you're not thankful for what you have. Here is how to identify envy.

1. Envy COMPARES.  Envy compares what we have with what others have. We look at their salary and think it’s too much. It bothers us when we see their status and what they own because they appear to have it better.

2. Envy COVETS.  We desperately want what they have. God warns us about coveting in the 10th Commandment, "You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife...or anything that belongs to your neighbor" (Exodus 10:17). 

3. Envy COMPLAINS. Envy complains when someone else gets a raise or receives a promotion. In the parable of the vineyard workers, the laborers complained against their employer because they thought they deserved more than the other workers. Their boss said they were envious because they didn't like him blessing their fellow employees (Matthew 20:1-15). Do you complain when a co-worker gets a raise but you don't? Envy gets upset and complains when others are blessed.

What is the Secret of Happiness?  Instead of looking what others have, choose to focus your attention on God and His provision for you. Make a decision to be content in your current situation and thankful for everything you have. And finally, be thankful when someone else is blessed. It's only then that you’ll experience true peace and happiness. (Excerpt from Slaying Your Giants chapter 17, “ENVY: The Possession Obsession.”) www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com  
www.makinglifecount.net  Making Life Count Ministries
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NEW STUDY: Who wrote the Book of Hebrews?  Hebrews in the only book in the New Testament where the author is unknown.  However, it's likely that one of three people wrote it.

The Sure Cure for Worry  proves that GOD IS IN CONTROL and you can trust Him to take care of the problem that worries you.
A GREAT BOOK for SMALL GROUPS Slaying Your Giants is filled with interesting stories and Biblical insights, and includes a free 20-Lesson Discussion Guide. 

Read 200 free BIBLE STUDIES at www.makinglifecount.net 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

God's Waiting Room

When you go see the doctor the receptionist says, “Please have a seat in the waiting room.” Although you’re ready to see the doctor, you’ve got to wait until the doctor is ready to see you. So you’re forced to sit in an uncomfortable chair, thumbing through outdated magazines, trying to pass time until the nurse calls your name. Everyone in that room is doing the same thing and that’s why it’s called the “waiting room.”

God also has a waiting room. When you are waiting for an answer to prayer, you’re seated in God’s Waiting Room. "Waiting on the Lord" is the gap in time between your prayer request and when God's answer arrives. During the delay, your faith is being tested simply because you don't know how long you will have to wait.

King David must have been squirming in his waiting room chair when he wrote, "How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?" (Psalm 13:1-2)

When you are seated in the Waiting Room, nothing appears to be happening. You have no evidence that God is at work outside the four walls. You’re kept totally in the dark about what's going on. Everyone who has ever walked with God has spent time in the Waiting Room because this is where He stretches our faith and patience to new levels.  What should we do while waiting?

1. Continue to pray. Although it seems like God isn’t listening, He is still hearing your prayers. Remember, it’s a test, and only a test.

2. Don’t complain. The longer you wait, the more tempted you will be to start complaining, and the waiting room turns into the whining room. Find ways to thank God even though you don't know what's going on.

3. Remove your deadline for the answer. Trust the Lord to bring the answer whenever He wants. Usually the delay simply means that the timing isn't right. Not everything is in place yet. When all the pieces of the puzzle come together then God will make it happen. "He has made everything appropriate in its time" (Eccl. 3:11).

The time will come when the nurse calls out your name and says, “The doctor will see you now.” Until that time comes, keep reading God’s Word while you wait. (Excerpt from Slaying Your Giants chapter 14, “God’s Waiting Room.”)
www.makinglifecount.net  Making Life Count Ministries
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The Sure Cure for Worry  proves that GOD IS IN CONTROL and you can trust Him to take care of the problem that worries you.

SONG OF THE MONTH Video is “Starts With Me” by Tim Timmons

Looking for a good book to study in a SMALL GROUP? Slaying Your Giants is filled with interesting stories and Biblical insights, and includes a free 20-Lesson Discussion Guide.

Read 200 free BIBLE STUDIES at www.makinglifecount.net