Sunday, August 12, 2018

Finding Significance in a 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 middle and the 2nd and 3rd most important seats were to his right and left. 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 the most important and who was the least.

People rushed to the seats of honor because they wanted to look more important than the other people there. Their self-esteem and significance was determined by their chairs!

We don't find significance in chairs today. Or do we? Yes, people still pick out their chairs today, although they look different from the ones in Jesus’ day. When we’re young, popularity is the chair that brings significance. As we grow older, the chairs change to our job title, financial success, or a nice home in a gated community. Although these things aren't wrong in themselves, God doesn’t want any of these things to determine our significance.

Then Jesus said, "But when you are invited, go and sit in the last seat" (Luke 14:10). Why did He say to take the least important seat? Because He doesn't want our significance determined by a chair. If we will humble ourselves in this life, we will be promoted in eternity. “For everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted” (Luke 14:11). So humble yourself and take the least important seat. Yes, Jesus will notice it. www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com  www.makinglifecount.net
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CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT Who were the Sadducees?

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Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
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www.makinglifecount.net  Twitter: @KentCrockett

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Don't Quit!


Persistence means refusing to quit. You’re determined to overcome the obstacle that stands in your way. But after you’ve battled a while without a breakthrough, it’s easy to get tired and discouraged. Persistence means to keep going until you cross the finish line. The turtle beat the hare because it kept plodding along. Here are four things that will keep you from giving up:

1. Don’t let discouragement enter your heart. Discouragement will kill your motivation. Once you quit in your heart, you’ll then quit in your actions. God says, “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary” (Gal. 6:9).

2. Keep moving forward a little bit at a time. I read about a woman who planted over 50,000 daffodil bulbs in her backyard, one at a time—for over 50 years. If you’ll keep doing a little bit over a long time, you’ll accomplish a lot. When Israel entered the Promised Land, they had to cut down an entire forest with axes—one tree at a time (Joshua 17:15-18).

3. Don’t let rejections deter you. Andy Andrews wrote The Traveler’s Gift, which was rejected by 53 publishers. The 54th publisher accepted it and the book made The New York Times bestseller list. Obviously, 53 publishers were wrong in their evaluation. What if Andy had quit submitting his manuscript after the 53rd rejection? He would not be a bestselling author.

4. Keep praying until the answer comes. “Jesus was telling them…at all times they should pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1). Jesus is the one who answers prayers and He specifically told us to not stop praying. Sometimes it takes a long time before the answer comes, so keep being persistent. According to Jesus, the answer is on its way. Don't quit until you cross the finish line. www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com  www.makinglifecount.net
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BIBLE STUDY Are There Degrees of Sin?

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Saturday, July 28, 2018

Moses' Big Mistake


When Israel was in the wilderness they had no water to drink. They came to a mountain and the Lord told Moses, “Assemble the congregation and speak to the rock before their eyes that it might yield its water” (Numbers 20:8). Moses was probably thinking, “What? You want me to talk to this rock? That’s not going to work. I have a better idea, I’ll hit it a couple of times with my rod.” (Jesus said with faith it’s possible to speak to a mountain and cast it into the sea). Moses struck the rock twice with his rod. Because he disobeyed, he wasn’t allowed to enter the Promised Land.

It seemed like an innocent mistake. At an earlier time Moses used his rod to hit a rock to bring forth water (Ex. 17:6) but this time God changed the method. Now instead of hitting it, God wanted him to simply speak to the rock to get water. He wanted Moses to obey Him and not depend on the method he used the last time. Just because it worked that way before doesn’t mean God wants us to keep doing it that way.

The amazing thing is—even though he disobeyed God and hit the rock, the water still gushed out. What’s the lesson here? People can produce impressive results without having God’s blessing. Filthy movies can be blockbusters, but it’s not because God is in it. Drug dealers make lots of money even though God opposes what they’re doing. Obeying God is more important than looking successful in other people’s eyes. 

Moses died in the wilderness because he didn’t obey what God told him to do. Don’t make the same mistake. Do what the Lord says, even if it’s something as silly as talking to a rock. www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com  www.makinglifecount.net
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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Abraham's 3rd Test--The Sacrificial Offering


God tested Abraham’s faith in three different ways. Now we look at his third test.
The Lord promised Abraham he would have a son, but he had to wait 25 years before Sarah gave birth to Isaac. Several years after Isaac was born, God tested Abraham by asking him to offer his son back to Him (Gen. 22:1-2). The fact that this was a test means God wanted Abraham to offer him, but never intended him to be killed. God tests our faith to see if we really do trust Him.

What was the purpose of the test? The promises of future generations were in Isaac. Abraham had to trust God with his future, but the offering also foreshadowed what would happen to Jesus.
Abraham offered his only son. God offered His only SonIsaac carried the wood that would be used to offer him (Gen. 22:6). Jesus carried the cross that would be used to offer Him (John 19:17). Abraham believed God would raise his son from the dead (Heb. 11:19). God did raise His Son from the dead. 

As Abraham was about to sacrifice his son, an angel stopped him. A ram had its horns stuck in the brush and became the substitute sacrifice (22:9-14). The ram was at the right place at the right time. Abraham passed the test. He offered him just as God had said.

God rewards obedience. Years ago God called me to go to seminary to study for the ministry, even though I was broke. It would take three years and a lot of money to get my degree. I didn’t have any money but I did have a car. I decided to sacrifice my only possession in order to obey God. I planned to sell my car and use the money to pay for my first semester.
Just before I enrolled, God miraculously provided my financial need in an unexpected way, like the ram caught in the thicket. The provision paid my tuition and rent for the entire three years so I didn’t need to sell my car. I graduated without borrowing money.

Many people never experience God’s miraculous provision because they’ve never made a sacrificial offering to Him. “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Heb. 11:6). www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com  www.makinglifecount.net
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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Abraham's 2nd Test--Waiting on the Lord


God tested Abraham’s faith in three different ways. His second test was to wait for the Lord to come through with His promise. God promised Abraham and Sarah they would have descendants that would become a great nation (Gen.12:1,7, 15:5). Of course, having descendants meant starting with a first child. Abraham was 75 years old and Sarah was 65 when God spoke the promise. It seemed impossible to start with, but God didn’t tell him they would have to wait for 25 years before the baby was born.

Sarah was the first woman in history to go through menopause before she got pregnant. “By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised” (Heb. 11:11). Abraham was “fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform” (Rom 4:21). When God fulfilled His promise, Sarah was 90 when she gave birth to Isaac and Abraham was 100.

God usually doesn’t answer our prayers quickly. The Lord is more concerned about you receiving His best than about how quickly you can get it. That means you’ll have to learn how to “wait upon the Lord.” David wrote, “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him” (Ps. 37:7). “Waiting on the Lord” means there’s an unknown gap in time between when ask God for help and when His answer arrives. It’s during this waiting period that you’ll be the most tempted to give up on God.

Patience trusts God without giving Him a deadline to come through. Maybe you’ve been waiting for God to bring you a spouse. Perhaps you’ve prayed for something and nothing has happened. Just because you’ve waited a long time doesn’t mean the answer is no. I can tell you from experience that several times I’ve had to wait years for the Lord to come through—and what He provided was FAR better than I could have imagined. God reserves the very best for those who leave the choice with Him—and it’s worth the wait! 
       Next week we’ll look at his third test. www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com  www.makinglifecount.net
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Sunday, July 8, 2018

Abraham's 1st Test--Stepping Into the Unknown


God tested Abraham’s faith in three different ways. His first test was when God told him, “Leave your country, your relatives, and your father’s family and go to the land I will show you” (Gen. 12:1). He had to leave everything behind to go into unfamiliar territory, which had to be scary.

A map drawn in 1525 of the east coast of North America, which is now in the British Museum, has some interesting comments on it. The mapmaker wrote across the areas of then unexplored land and sea the words: "Here be giants," "Here be fiery scorpions," "Here be dragons." The map later fell into the hands of the scientist, Sir John Franklin. He scratched out all the fearful markings and wrote, "Here is God."

Imagine the fear the early explorers felt when they read that map. The fear of imaginary dragons kept them from discovering new worlds. Fear of the unknown can keep us from discovering what God has planned for us. Abraham left for the unknown land because he believed “Here is God.” You will eventually be tested in this way, so here’s how to do it.

1. LEARN TO HEAR GOD SPEAK TO YOU. Don’t leave your current situation until you have a clear word from God. He will speak to you through thoughts in your mind, or a strong desire in your heart, or a change in your circumstances. He’s telling you to do something that you’ve never done before.

2. TAKE THE FIRST STEP. After hearing from God, you must take a step in the direction you believe He is leading you. Obedience means stepping into unfamiliar territory like Abraham. To get something you’ve never had before, you’ve got to do something you’ve never done before.

3. TRUST GOD TO LEAD YOU TO THE RIGHT DESTINATION. Abraham had to trust God with each step he took. We have no record of God speaking to him again until he reached the correct destination, which was 450 miles from his home. When he arrived in the land of Israel God said, “To your descendants I will give this land” (Gen. 12:7). And this is why Israel exists today.
Abraham passed the first test. Next week we’ll look at his second test. www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com  www.makinglifecount.net
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BIBLE STUDY: Don’t Be Afraid

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Sunday, July 1, 2018

Life After Death


In 2013, a 37-year-old man went to sleep in his Florida home. He didn’t realize it would be the last day of his life. Sometime during the night, a sinkhole opened up under his house which literally took him to his grave. His body was never recovered.

You probably won’t die in a sinkhole but your last day on earth is coming. After you spend a few brief moments in this world, you’ll then spend the rest of your eternal existence in the afterlife. Life on earth is just a temporary world but it will determine what happens to you in eternity. There is a world beyond this world, which will last forever. Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36).

To enter heaven when you die, you must receive Jesus Christ as your Lord during this life (John 1:12, Rom 10:13). Salvation is a free gift and is offered to all, but it must be received by faith. Those who reject Jesus will spend eternity separated from Him and His kingdom.

The apostle Paul saw heaven and said it is “far better” than this world (Phil 1:23). Heaven is filled with eternal joy and ecstasy—and without any pain. (Psalm 16:11, Rev. 21:4). “Those who believe in Him will NOT be disappointed!” (1 Peter 2:6).

What will we do in heaven forever? Those who follow Jesus will have assignments, which will be privileges like eternal hobbies. “And there shall be no more curse…and His servants shall serve Him” (Rev. 22:3). Serving Him means He will have assignments for us in the next life. Heaven would be boring if we had nothing to do forever! After you’ve been saved—your faithfulness at your earthly job, your offerings to Him, and how you treated others—will determine the rewards you’ll receive and the privileges you’ll have in the next world (Matt. 25:21, 23, 1 Cor. 3:13-15).

You only get one shot at living on planet earth, so make it count! “Keep seeking the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Col. 3:1-2). www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com www.makinglifecount.net

CLICK HERE TO WATCH AN AMAZING VIDEO of a man who died and went to heaven. Ian McCormack was an atheist who called out to Jesus just before dying. His testimony is in 10 short video clips. Parts 1-4 explain how he was killed. Parts 5-10 explain what happened after he died and how he came back to life.
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Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
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Sunday, June 24, 2018

How to Catch a Monkey


How do you catch a monkey? Monkeys can move quickly through trees, so to catch one you have to trap it. Here’s how. Hunters will cut a small hole in a gourd, just big enough for the monkey to fit its hand through. They’ll put candy or food inside the gourd and fasten it to a stake in the ground.

When the monkey smells the food, it sticks its hand through the hole and grabs the food. The hole is small enough to put an empty hand through but not big enough to pull a fist out. If it would simply let go, it could easily get its hand out and get away. But the monkey refuses to let go because it wants the candy more than freedom. The hunter comes up behind and captures it.

Many people today grab the bait in Satan’s trap. Although the bait varies, one of his favorite baits is called “offense.” The Greek word for offense is scandalon, where we get the word “scandal.” Jesus said, “It is impossible that no offenses should come” (Luke 17:1). Some people are wounded by someone’s comments or actions and refuse to let go of their hurt. They’ll keep mulling the offense over in their mind until the wound turns into bitterness. Because they refuse to let go of the situation that hurt them, they give up their joy and freedom.

Are you someone’s monkey? Are you holding on to hurts that keep you in bondage? The only way to be set free is to LET GO of it. But it’s not just offenses. It might be an addiction. If you’ll let go and release it into God’s hands, He will give you something much better. www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com www.makinglifecount.net
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Making Life Count Ministries
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Sunday, June 17, 2018

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 got out of his car 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 and it was no different.

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 not sweet like the one 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 never come back. The sweet apples are planted further away from the road.”

Satan uses this tactic to keep people away from God. He plants bitter, hypocritical church-goers along the road to keep people from discovering the goodness of God. The hypocrites might not even be saved. Unbelievers are turned off by their hypocrisy saying, “If that's what God is like, I don't want any part of Him!” The unbelievers never go deep enough in their search for God to find out what He is really like.

David said, "Taste and see that the Lord is good" (Psalm 34:8). I can't taste something for you. You must do it for yourself. Just make sure that you’re sampling the Lord and not a bitter apple that's pretending to be sweet. Once you’ve tasted the true God, you’ll know in your heart that He really is good! www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com www.makinglifecount.net ****************************************************************************************************

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Making Life Count Ministries
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Sunday, June 10, 2018

Staying in the Light


Did you know that a goldfish will lose its color if it doesn’t stay near light? If it stays in darkness for too long or if the light isn’t bright enough, the color of the goldfish begins to fade. Staying in the light is a lesson for us as well.

When Moses was on Mt. Sinai in the Lord’s presence, his face radiated with the glory of the God even after he came down from the mountain (Ex. 33:18-23, 34:29-35). Moses didn’t try to manufacture the brightness with his own ability. The light radiating from his face was a result of being in God’s presence. 

God “has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). Unfortunately many believers want to spend time with both light and darkness. Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me will not walk in darkness but will have the Light of life” (John 8:12) So how do we walk in the light? The only way we can reflect the glory of God is to spend time in His presence.

James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” We draw near to Him in our hearts by talking with Him in prayer throughout the day. We regularly read His Word and let Him speak to our hearts. We love Him and worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24) If we don’t actively seek the Lord (in the light), we’ll drift away from Him (into darkness). “We must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it” (Heb. 2:1). Drifting away doesn’t mean losing your salvation, but slipping back into our old ways. Then we lose our “color”—our joy, enthusiasm, and strength.

I pray you’ll decide today to stay in the light of God’s presence. He loves you, wants to speak to you, and will guide through this life.  www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com www.makinglifecount.net ****************************************************************************************************

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Making Life Count Ministries
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Sunday, June 3, 2018

When a Person's Conscience Stops Working


Have you noticed that many people’s consciences aren’t working? Nearly every week a psychopath shoots up a school, concert, or mall. Violent people are bullying and attacking others on social media using the most hateful and filthy words. Sexual immorality is rampant, even with those who claim to be Christians. Don’t people have consciences anymore? Perhaps the following story explains what has happened.

Years ago I rented an apartment located next to some railroad tracks. I was soundly asleep on the first night when a train came roaring past my room, blaring its horn. Immediately I jumped out of bed with my heart pounding, as I covered my ears to block the noise. After the train passed, it took me a while to get back to sleep.

The next evening, the same thing happened. I covered my head with a pillow and went back to sleep. Each night after that, I briefly woke up and then quickly went to sleep. As I kept ignoring the train horn, I eventually learned to sleep through the night without waking up.

This explains what has happened to many people’s consciences. God has put a conscience inside everyone where people instinctively know the difference between right and wrong. “Their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them” (Rom. 2:15).

When their conscience convicts them they’re doing something wrong, they keep ignoring the warning (like me ignoring the blaring train horn) and they eventually learn to not hear it anymore. Their consciences stop working. The Bible calls this a “seared conscience” (1 Tim. 4:2, Eph. 4:18-19), meaning their conscience loses sensitivity and fails to respond.

We’re seeing an increasing number of people in the world with seared consciences. That’s why they commit mass murders in schools and restaurants. This is why so many people “call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isa. 5:20). The only remedy is that they will turn to God and come to repentance. www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com www.makinglifecount.net ****************************************************************************************************

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Making Life Count Ministries
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Saturday, May 26, 2018

"Beware of Dog"


A salesman was making his first visit to see a farmer. As he walked down a long dirt road he saw a big sign that read, “Beware of Dog.” He paused for a moment and decided to keep going. As he got further down the road he saw another sign: “Warning! BEWARE OF DOG!” He gulped and thought about turning around, but decided to proceed. His longing to make the sale was greater than his fear.

Finally, when he arrived at the farmhouse, he saw a puppy sitting on the front porch, wagging its tail. When the farmer answered the door the salesman asked, “Do you really expect that little dog to keep people away?” “No,” the farmer replied. “I expect the signs to do that.”

Most of the time, the thing that we dread won’t be as bad as we think. The actual dreaded event isn’t as tormenting as worrying about all the things that could go wrong. Worry and Faith both make assumptions about the future. Worry assumes the worst will happen, but faith (in God) assumes the best will happen.

Did you know that 92% of the things people worry about will never happen? You’re probably thinking, “Yeah, but what about the other 8%?” The other 8% will either not be as bad as you think, or God will give you the grace to get through it. That takes care of 100% of your fears—if you will trust the Lord with them. This is why David could say, “I sought the Lord and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4).

Don’t let fear and worry drain you of your joy and strength. Instead, trust God to control your life and every event in your future. It will make your life a lot more enjoyable. www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com www.makinglifecount.net ****************************************************************************************************
NEW SERMON: Fishing Lessons” (How to Fish for Men)

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Saturday, May 19, 2018

Can a Camel Get Through an Eye of a Needle?


Jesus said, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." (Matt. 19:24). A camel was the largest animal in Israel and a needle had the smallest opening. People in that day believed that a rich person was the most likely to make it into heaven. By combining these three things, Jesus created a totally impossible situation. The disciples were stunned in disbelief and said, “Then WHO can be saved?” (19:25).

Theologians over the centuries have tried to change the meaning of the text, trying to turn the impossible into the possible.  
In the 5th century, a person copying manuscripts changed the word "camel" (which is kamelon in Greek) to kamilon, meaning a rope or cable. The problem is, you can’t get a cable through the eye of a needle either. I have a hard time getting a thread through one.

In the 15th century, the opposite was tried—to enlarge the needle’s eye. Someone came up with the idea that the "eye of the needle" wasn't really a needle after all, but a small gate entrance to a city. According to this theory, the camel had to leave its load and crawl on its knees to get through the gate. Apparently when the architect designed the gates he forgot about all the camels needing to get inside the city!

But that theory isn’t correct either. Luke, who was a physician (see Col. 4:14), used the Greek word in Luke 18:25 for a surgeon's needle proving it was not a small gate. Jesus was literally talking about that big, lumpy animal going through a tiny, little hole.

What’s the point of Jesus' teaching? No one, whether rich or poor, is going to enter into heaven without God doing a miracle to get him or her there. A camel can go through the eye of a needle if it’s passed molecule by molecule through the eye and reassembled on the other side. Jesus said, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26), meaning ONLY GOD can get you there.

All you can do is realize how impossible it is to get into heaven and call out to God to save you. You can pray, “Lord, I can’t do anything to get myself into heaven but I believe you can get me there. Jesus, I believe you died for my sins so I can be forgiven. Come into my heart and save me. I give you my life.” If you sincerely prayed that prayer, the camel just went through the eye of the needle.  www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com  www.makinglifecount.net

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Making Life Count Ministries
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