Sunday, December 30, 2018

How to Handle Criticism


The Pharisees kept trying to find fault with Jesus even though He was sinless. “And the scribes and the Pharisees were watching Him closely …in order that they might find reason to accuse Him” (Luke 6:7). If Jesus couldn’t escape criticism, neither will you. Do you know any of these critics?

Perfectionist Pete. Quick on the flaw. No one can ever reach his unattainable expectations, including himself.
Sarcastic Sally. Cuts others down by using snide remarks to make herself look better.
Teasing Tom. Makes jabs by joking. Rips others apart under the guise of humor. Excuses himself by saying, “Can’t you take a joke?”
Gossiping Gilda. Talks about people behind their backs but not to their faces. Exaggerates others’ faults and shows no mercy.
Angry Allen. An “in-your-face” guy. His anger boils over and reprimands you face-to-face, not caring how it devastates you.
Preying Pauline. Exposes others’ faults through prayer requests. “We need to pray for Marlene. I think she might be pregnant and doesn’t know who the father is.”
Jealous Jane. Feels threatened by others and points out their imperfections to make her rivals look ugly.

How can we handle being criticized? The same way Jesus did. He only sought to please His Father and ignored His critics. Paul said, “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.” (Gal. 1:10). Seek to please God more than people and the sting of criticism won’t bother you. www.makinglifecount.net
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BIBLE STUDY: Resolving Conflicts

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www.makinglifecount.net  Twitter: @KentCrockett

Sunday, December 23, 2018

The Blind Girl Couldn't See the Toys


At Christmastime in 1897, a newspaper reporter in Boston saw three little girls standing in front of a store window full of toys. One of them was blind. He overheard the other two trying to describe the toys to their blind friend. The reporter said he never thought of how difficult it would be to explain what something looks like to someone who is blind. He wrote a story about the three girls for his newspaper.

Two weeks later, the reporter attended a gospel meeting conducted by Dwight L. Moody. He wanted to write a critical article attacking the evangelist. To the reporter’s surprise, Moody quoted from his newspaper article about the three girls at the toy store window.

Moody said, “Just as the blind girl couldn’t visualize the toys, so an unsaved person can’t see Jesus Christ in His glory.” Moody preached that God opens the eyes of anyone who acknowledges his sin and accepts Christ by faith. The newsman was touched by Moody’s words and realized he was a blind man who needed his eyes opened. That day he accepted Jesus as his Lord.

People who are in darkness cannot see. “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel” (2 Cor. 4:3-4). Jesus said, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness (John 8:12). Everyone is like that reporter and only Jesus can open our spiritual eyes. Have your eyes been opened? If so, you’ll see God and live your life differently. www.makinglifecount.net 
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Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174
www.makinglifecount.net  Twitter: @KentCrockett

Sunday, December 16, 2018

How Could the Bethlehem Star Stop Over a House?


We all know the Christmas story about the wise men from the east following the star to Bethlehem. "And lo, the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them, until it came and stood over where the Child was . . . and they came into the house and saw the Child" (Matt. 2:,9,11). Was this a literal star that they followed? Let's think about that.

How could a literal star go before them and stop over a house? The heat from a star would have burned up the house, not to mention the entire planet. Some people think the star was millions of miles away and it just looked like it was over the house from the wise men's vantage point. However, if the wise men had walked around to the back door instead of the front door, the star would have been behind them and not over the house. The star must have been something else.

Many Bible scholars believe it was a supernatural phenomenon—that God created what looked like a star to lead them to the Messiah. He did something similar to this in the Old Testament when He led the children of Israel through the wilderness by cloud and by fire. "The Lord was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night" (Ex. 13:21). 

Others believe the star may have been a brilliant angel that led them to the house. Angels are also called stars in Scripture (See Rev. 1:20, 9:1, 12:4,7-9, Job 38:7, Isa. 14:12). Since a host of angels appeared to the Jewish shepherds to announce where the child would be found (Luke 2:11-12), God may have used an angel to lead these Gentiles from a foreign country to find Him. This would explain how the star moved and knew where to stop at the correct location.

By the way, the wise men didn’t come to the manger on the night He was born but sometime later. When they arrived, Joseph and Mary had moved into a house (Matt. 2:11). But don’t get upset when you see the wise men depicted in a manger scene display. It’s not a theological problem and the manger scene reminds us that Jesus came for both Jews and Gentiles.  www.makinglifecount.net  www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com
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Making Life Count Ministries
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Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174
www.makinglifecount.net  Twitter: @KentCrockett

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Parable of Two Christmas Trees


Syndicated columnist Mike Royko once wrote about a poor couple shopping for a Christmas tree. On Christmas Eve they went to a tree lot that was about to close. They couldn’t afford a nice tree so they asked if the owner would sell them two of the worst looking trees for $3. He agreed to the nominal price for the sad pair of sparse spruce.

On Christmas Day the tree lot owner walked by the couple's apartment and saw a beautifully decorated tree through the window. Overcome by curiosity, he knocked on the door to find out what happened, and then learned “the secret.” The couple explained how they took the two trees and tied them together with wire. Each had one very bare side, but when merged together they created a full tree.

Reflecting on his wife who had died six years earlier, Royko finished the column with these words: “So that’s the secret. You take two trees that aren’t perfect, that have flaws…that maybe nobody else would want. But if you put them together just right, you can come up with something really beautiful. Like two people, I guess.” (One More Time, Mike Royko, 2000, p.185).

This is a picture of God’s intent for marriage where “the two shall become one flesh” (Mark 10:8). Two flawed people can make a better couple, not by arguing about their differences but by combining the best qualities of both people. Kind of like two Christmas trees, I guess.
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Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174
www.makinglifecount.net  Twitter: @KentCrockett

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Taking a Big Chance


In 1991, a Cuban pilot named Orestes Perez defected to the United States in a Soviet-made MiG jet. He told his wife, “Remember, even if it takes years, I will come back for you and my children.” He went to the news media, the United Nations, President Bush, and even Mikhail Gorbachev for help to bring his family to U.S., but got none.

Finally, he took matters into his own hands in December 1992. Perez borrowed a twin-engine Cessna 310 and flew out of a Miami airport to Cuba. He knew he could get shot down by flying into Cuban airspace, so he flew low to avoid radar. He landed the plane in Cuba on a two-lane highway in the middle of traffic where his family was waiting for him. A lady had traveled to Cuba with a hand-written note of instructions for his family to be walking down the road in orange shirts. When he landed his wife and two small sons ran to the plane, jumped inside, and flew back to Miami.

Fidel Castro branded Perez as a traitor and condemned him to death. But Perez said, “It was one chance in a million to sneak into Cuba and land on a busy road between cars. The possibility of being captured or gunned down was a high risk. But I was dying every day without my family.”

Sometimes you must be willing to take a big risk to do what is right. You must put your life on the line to do what God calls you to do. Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it” (Luke 9:23-24). Take the risk to follow Jesus. It’s worth it. www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com
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