Sunday, July 28, 2019

Crosses Traded Here

According to legend, a Christian who was weary from carrying his cross passed through a small village. He noticed a sign in front of a store that read, "Crosses Traded Here." Thinking his load was unfair and his cross too heavy, he decided to enter the store. He was amazed to discover it was filled wall to wall with crosses. He told the owner, "My cross is really heavy. I’d like to trade it for a different one."

The owner replied, "Very well. You can trade your cross for any one of these crosses carried by the saints throughout the ages. Choose the easiest one."

The man compared the crosses for size and comfort. He picked one up, but it was much heavier than his. The next cross was even heavier. He kept picking up crosses but they were all too heavy. Finally, he came to the last cross and picked it up with ease. "I'll trade my cross for this one," he told the owner. "But sir," the owner replied, "that is the cross you carried in here!" (Slaying Your Giants p.161, $7.99)

Jesus said to take up your cross daily (Luke 9:23). But what does that mean? Some people wrongly believe that carrying your cross are the burdens God adds to your load for following Him. NOT TRUE! Carrying your cross means there are people in this world who will persecute you for following Jesus. The world hated Jesus so much that they nailed Him to a cross, and they will also try to crucify His followers through hate, slander, and persecution (John 15:18). "For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you and example to follow in His steps" (1 Peter 2:21).

If you think your cross is too heavy, remember that God will give you the grace and love to withstand the hate you are receiving. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).
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Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174
www.makinglifecount.net  Twitter: @KentCrockett
www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Have You Been Conditioned to Respond?


Does the name Pavlov ring a bell? Ivan Pavlov proved that two stimuli repeatedly linked together can produce a conditioned response. He observed that dogs would salivate when they were about to be fed. Pavlov rang a bell each time prior to feeding the dogs so they would associate the bell-ringing with dinner time. This conditioned them to salivate in the anticipation of being fed because bell ringing and eating were linked together.

This explains why you crave popcorn when you go to the movies. You’ve eaten popcorn so many times as you’ve watched movies that popcorn munching and movie watching are connected together. Now you cannot watch a movie without eating popcorn—and you’ll even pay outrageous prices to get it!

Let’s suppose a dog named Fido was frequently beaten by his master. The recurrent blows conditioned him to associate the stick with pain. One day a boy picked up a stick to play fetch with him. When the dog sees him with stick in hand, a bell rings in his mind and he runs away with his tail between his legs.

Now, replace Fido’s name with your name, and replace the stick with hurtful words. After someone has repeatedly mistreated you, you’ve been conditioned to either fight back or run away. Husbands and wives who continually argue and fight have been conditioned to react to each other. They’ll say, “You always (fill in the blanks)” or “You never…”

But God wants you to follow different instructions: “Not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead” (1 Pet. 3:9). Don’t let abusive people condition you to react in the wrong way. Instead of returning the insult, turn it around and condition them to soften their hearts with your blessings. It’s God’s way. www.makinglifecount.net
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Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174
www.makinglifecount.net  Twitter: @KentCrockett
www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com

Sunday, July 14, 2019

What If The Words You Say Come to Pass?


When George Foreman was a small boy, his father planted a seed of greatness in his mind about his future. His dad often raised George’s hands over his head as if I had just won a boxing match, and he’d shout, “George Foreman, heavyweight champion of the world! Stronger than Jack Johnson. Hits like Jack Dempsey!” (George Foreman, God in My Corner, p.116)

He planted an idea in his mind at 4 years old and continued saying it until he was a teenager. His words became reality. George became boxing's Heavyweight Champion of the World—twice!

When Gideon was hiding from the Midianites, an angel appeared and said, “The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior” (Judges 6:12). Valiant warrior? He hadn’t even fought a battle yet! But that angel could see his future and planted the idea in his mind of what he would become. Gideon defeated the Midianites and led Israel as a judge for forty years. And it all began with declaring him to be a courageous warrior.

Parents can shape their children’s destinies by speaking encouraging words about what they can do, almost like a prophecy about their futures. Fathers who lived during the Old Testament days would bless their children concerning their futures. They believed their prophetic words would come to pass one day, which they did.

Don’t curse your children by saying, “You can’t do anything right.” Instead, speak words of blessing to them, “You’re going to do well in life. God has good plans for you!” www.makinglifecount.net
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Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174
www.makinglifecount.net  Twitter: @KentCrockett
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Monday, July 8, 2019

Softball Team Helps Their Opponent Win


An incredible display of sportsmanship occurred when Western Oregon played Central Washington University in 2008. At stake was a bid to the NCAA’s Division II playoffs. With Central Washington leading 2-1, Western Oregon’s Sara Tucholsky hit an apparent three-run homerun. All she had to do was run around the bases.

But when Tucholsky reached first base she collapsed, having torn a ligament in her knee. She couldn’t finish rounding the bases and her run wouldn’t count. The rules prohibited her teammates from helping her around the bases. If they touched her, she would be called out. 

But then a player on the opposing team, Mallory Holtman, asked the umpire if the rules disallowed the other team from helping her. The umpire said nothing in the rulebook prohibited them from assisting her.

Holtman and a teammate picked up Tucholsky and resumed her homerun walk, pausing at each base to let her touch the bag with her uninjured leg. “We started laughing when we touched second base,” Holtman said.
“I wondered what this must look like to other people. The entire Western Oregon team was in tears.” “My whole team was crying,” Tucholsky said. “Everybody in the stands was crying. My coach was crying.”

Western Oregon won the game 4-2. Central Washington forfeited the playoffs so they could help their injured opponent. Some things, like helping a hurting person, are more important than winning ball games. (Slaying Your Giants, p.112, $7.99)

Jesus said, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:39). When you swap places with others to feel how they hurt, you've taken the first step toward loving your neighbor as yourself. www.makinglifecount.net
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Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174
www.makinglifecount.net  Twitter: @KentCrockett
www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com

Monday, July 1, 2019

Surrender Your Weaknesses To God


When Mordecai Brown was a child, he dreamed of becoming a professional baseball pitcher. His dream was dashed when his hand was mangled in a farm accident that severed his index finger, part of another finger, and broke his other fingers. The bones were not set properly so they healed in a deformed position. Even so, he tried rehabilitating by throwing rocks at knotholes on the barn wall. Over time he not only learned to throw again, but was able to throw an unusual curve ball because of the odd position of his fingers.

Amazingly, Mordecai, also known as “Three Finger,” became a pro baseball pitcher, winning 239 games in the major leagues and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Brown’s handicap enabled him to throw pitches with an unconventional movement that left batters bewildered—the curve ball that Ty Cobb called the most devastating he ever faced.

God loves to use your handicaps and weaknesses to confound those who feel superior.  “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong” (1 Cor. 1:27).

Surrender your weaknesses to God and then watch Him work through you. The Lord told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). Once you see God using you, don’t take credit for it. Give Him all the glory. www.makinglifecount.net
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Receive these devotionals (free) by email: You can subscribe in the box on the right at www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com (Your email will not be given out. You’ll receive an email when the new devotional is posted)

Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174
www.makinglifecount.net  Twitter: @KentCrockett
www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com