Sunday, September 13, 2020

Defeated by Satan's Trumpet

In the war of the Rhine in 1794, the French took over an Austrian village without striking a blow. Here is how they did it. The French were planning to attack the village at ten o'clock at night. However, the six hundred Austrian soldiers who were defending the city found out about the attack and were ready for it.
 
Instead of attacking, the French sent their trumpeter Joseph Werck into the city under the cover of darkness, who slipped in with the Austrian troops. At ten o'clock, Werck blew his trumpet in the Austrian manner for the soldiers to rally, and then a few minutes later he sounded for them to retreat. The Austrians, deceived by the signal, immediately retreated, and the French soldiers captured the village without any opposition!
 
The Austrian soldiers ran away when they heard the French trumpeter sounding from them to retreat. Today multitudes of trumpets are blowing into our ears, telling us to give up without a fight. Satan tries to deceive us by blowing his trumpet of fear, trying to stop us from doing God's will.
 
The devil will try to make you retreat by intimidating you, but God says, “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you” (Deut. 31:6). Which command are you going to obey—Satan's trumpet or God's Word?
Over 270 printable Bible studies at www.makinglifecount.net
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BIBLE STUDY:  Do 2 Samuel 14 and 1 Chronicles 21 contradict each other?
 
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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, September 6, 2020

Standing Against "Group Think"

Dr. James Dobson told about a study that was done to test the effects of peer pressure on an individual. Ten high school students were brought into a room. A researcher held up cards with three different lengths on them labeled A, B, and C, and instructed them to raise their hand whenever he pointed to the longest line.

What one of the students didn’t know was that the other nine students were previously told to point to the second longest line. When the instructor pointed to the second longest line, the nine teenagers immediately raised their hands. The lone teenager would look at the other raised hands, and then would slip up his hand with the rest of the group. He knew it wasn’t the longest line, but he didn’t want to be the only one who didn’t raise his hand.

As they kept bringing in new teenagers for the experiment, the response produced the same results. Seventy-five percent of teenagers conformed with the majority and gave the wrong answer.

We are constantly bombarded with voices telling us that right is wrong, and wrong is right. This isn’t new. The prophet Isaiah warned, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness” (Isa. 5:20). Today we call the pressure to conform to the majority as “group think.”

When King Nebuchadnezzar told everyone in Babylon to bow down to the statue he had made, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down. Even when they were threatened with death, they refused to submit to “group think” (Daniel 3:1-26).

They are an example for us today. Don’t listen to the ungodly voices trying to force you to bow down and agree with them. Stand up for truth and don’t kneel to their pressure.

Over 270 printable Bible studies at www.makinglifecount.net

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Making Life Count Ministries
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Sunday, August 30, 2020

The Strangest Punch in Boxing History


Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Joe Louis and Mike Tyson are some of the most recognized boxers in the history of the sport. But you’ve probably never heard of C.D. Blalock, who also made boxing history.

In the 1930’s, Blalock stepped into the boxing ring to fight his opponent. In one of the oddest moments in boxing, Blalock took a swing at his opponent, missed, and ended up hitting himself in his own face. He staggered around the ring and fell unconscious on the canvas. C.D. Blalock was the only prizefighter to ever score a knockout against himself!

Many people today keep beating themselves up over things they’ve done. They throw an uppercut to the jaw over mistakes and wrong decisions they’ve made, instead of learning from it and moving on. They punch themselves in the face by hating themselves, instead of accepting themselves as God’s creation. Then they deliver the knock-out blow with the punch of guilt, instead of receiving God’s forgiveness and cleansing.

First Timothy 6:12 says, Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called.” When we beat ourselves up, we’re not fighting the good fight, but the bad fight. The good fight knocks out the lies of Satan and embraces God’s truth.

Stop beating yourself up. Get up off the canvas and finish the fight of faith. When you win the good fight, you will raise your hands in victory. “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us” (Rom. 8:37). 
Over 270 printable Bible studies at www.makinglifecount.net
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BIBLE STUDY:  Don’t Be Afraid!

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Making Life Count Ministries
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Sunday, August 23, 2020

Is There a Loose Cannon Inside You?


In the 1800's, a ship in the Atlantic encountered a bad storm. The crew heard crashing sounds below and hurried down to discover that a cannon had broken loose. 

As the ship went up and down over the waves, the cannon rolled from one side of the ship to the other and was ramming into the sides. The sailors were able to secure the cannon and get it under control.

It's not the storms on the outside that destroys us, but the storms on the inside. When our anger gets out of control, it becomes like the loose cannon that tears us up inside. If we don't get it under control, it will sink us.

Why do we get angry? It’s because others are doing something we don’t want them to do, or they aren’t doing something we do want them to do. What we want to happen and what’s actually happening aren’t matching up. Husbands and wives get mad at each other because their expectations aren’t being met. They blame each other for something they did or didn’t do. Their anger increases because they keep fighting over the same issues rather than talking things out and forgiving each other.

Many people get angry over things they cannot change. I know football fans who are still fuming over a referee’s bad call from years ago. Can they go back in time and change the ref’s call? No. Can they change the outcome of the game? No. 
Have they lost their joy? Yes.

Controlling your anger is like the sailors securing the cannon. It stops rage from tearing you up on the inside. “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city” (Prov. 16:23). 
Don’t let anger control you. You must control it.
Over 270 printable Bible studies at www.makinglifecount.net
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Making Life Count Ministries
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Sunday, August 16, 2020

Hunting for Hidden Treasure

In 2010, Forrest Fenn from Santa Fe, New Mexico, filled a treasure chest with a million dollars' worth of rare gold coins, gold nuggets, jewelry, and other valuable items. (See picture of Fenn's treasure box on the left). He hid it in the Rocky Mountains and invited the public to find it. He posted clues to the treasure's whereabouts in a poem published in this book The Thrill of the Chase.

As estimated 350,00 people hunted for the treasure. Many quit their jobs to dedicate themselves to the search, while others depleted their life savings. At least four people died searching for it.

Ten years later, in June 2020, Fenn announced that a man had located the chest and confirmed the discovery by a photograph the man sent him. "It was in the Rocky Mountains and had not moved from the spot where I hid  it more the ten years ago," Fenn said.

It's amazing that some people will go to unbelievable lengths to find earthly treasure, but will ignore everything Jesus taught about finding heavenly treasure. Thousands of people hunted for Fenn's hidden treasure, but few people are desperate enough to find the treasure Jesus said would last forever. 

Jesus said, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth....but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven" (Matt. 6:19-20). Treasure in heaven is hidden from you at the present time, but you'll find it after you die if you follow the clues in the Bible about where to find it.

Jesus said, "My reward is with me, I will  give to each person according to what they have done" (Rev. 22:12). That's the first clue. When you search for Jesus, the treasure is with Him.

Over 270 printable Bible studies at www.makinglifecount.net
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Making Life Count Ministries
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Sunday, August 9, 2020

A Case of Mistaken Identity?


When my wife, Cindy, gave birth to our second child, the doctor announced, “It’s a girl!”
I leaned over to Cindy and whispered, “It’s a boy.”

Cindy didn’t know whom to believe. She didn’t have a clear view of our newborn, so she had to decide who was correct. Should she trust our physician who had delivered hundreds of babies, or her husband, who had struggled with high school biology?

She knew our doctor was an expert and could tell the difference between male and female, but she also knew her husband wouldn’t lie to her. Cindy asked me, “Are you sure it’s a boy?” I directed her question to our doctor. “Isn’t the baby a boy? You said, ‘It’s a girl’, but the baby looks like a boy to me.”

Our doctor looked embarrassed. “Did I say girl? I’m sorry, I’ve delivered so many girls this week that ‘it’s a girl’ just came out automatically. Yes, it’s a boy.”
Our son hadn’t been out of the womb for one second and someone already tagged him with a wrong identity!

Perhaps you’ve been labeled with a false identity. Not by a doctor, but a classmate may have called you an ugly, derogatory name. It wasn’t true, but you believed it, and it’s still affecting how you view yourself. Jesus said, “Take care what you listen to” (Mark 4:24). Not everything you hear is true, and believing a lie will negatively affect the way you think.

Don’t let someone’s opinion change your mind about what you know is true. Renounce that lie and embrace your true identity in Christ. “Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new” (2 Cor. 5:17 CEV).
Over 270 printable Bible studies at www.makinglifecount.net
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Sunday, August 2, 2020

Temptations of Jesus #3--Shortcut to Glory


Satan has a Master’s degree in Trickonometry. Out of all temptations he could have chosen, Satan carefully picked three specific temptations to trick Jesus into sinning. Matthew 4:8 says, “Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory.” Luke adds he showed Him all the kingdoms “in a moment of time” (Luke 4:5).

You can’t see all the world’s kingdoms from any high mountain. The devil showed Him this by playing a movie in Jesus’ mind. In a split second, Jesus supernaturally saw all the kings on earth, their thrones, palaces, and their treasures. If the devil can tempt Jesus like this, he can also play movies in our minds to get us to do something wrong.

Satan said to Him, “All these things will I give You, if You fall down and worship me” (Matt. 4:9). If Jesus had bowed down and worshiped the devil, He would have disqualified himself from being the Savior of the world. Satan wanted Him to take a shortcut to ruling the world. He tempts people today to take shortcuts to get what they want. Of course, the devil is a liar and never would have given Him the kingdoms (John 8:44).

Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only’” (Matt. 4:10). Whatever you worship, you will also serve. Some people worship and serve things in this world. Most of their money, time, and attention are invested in a hobby or some other object of worship that will soon pass away. If you want to know what people worship, look at what they are serving.

Worshiping and serving God starts now, but we will also worship and serve the Lord throughout all eternity. “For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they shall serve Him day and night in His temple” (Rev. 7:15).
Over 270 printable Bible studies at www.makinglifecount.net
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Sunday, July 26, 2020

Temptations of Jesus #2-Jumping Off Temples


The devil took Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple and told Him to jump off. Satan quoted from Psalm 91:11-12 about God’s protection. “If You are the Son of God throw Yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will give His angels charge concerning You’; and ‘On their hands they will bear You up, lest You strike Your foot against a stone’” (Matt. 4:5-6).

Satan tempted Jesus with Scripture—the very words of God! Who would have thought that God’s Word, taken out of context, could be used to tempt someone? The devil wanted Jesus to believe in the ability of God while ignoring the will of God.

Satan, who was a rebellious, unholy angel, tried to teach Jesus about the protective responsibilities of the holy angels! The Father didn’t tell Him to jump off, so if Jesus had jumped, He would have obeyed Satan and not God. Angels aren’t obligated to catch people who follow the devil’s instructions.

Many Jews believed the Messiah would be revealed by suddenly appearing in the temple. Malachi 3:1 says, “And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple.” If Jesus would jump off and float safely down, the crowd in the temple courts would see it and He would receive instant acceptance as the Messiah. It made sense. Quick. Impressive.

Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:16, “It is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test’” (Matt. 4:7). In other words, Psalm 91 cannot be used to force God to act against His will. You must not force one verse to contradict another verse.

I’ve seen people impulsively “jump off temples,” thinking they can make foolish decisions and God will always protect them. Man shall live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God, not selected words taken out of context.
Over 270 printable Bible studies at www.makinglifecount.net
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Sunday, July 19, 2020

Temptations of Jesus #1-Turning Stones into Bread


Jesus was in the wilderness for forty days when He became hungry. The tempter said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread” (Matt. 4:3). The devil was trying to get Jesus to doubt who He was. The last thing He heard from His Father was at His baptism, when He spoke from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son” (Matt. 3:17). Now the devil questioned His identity as the Son of God and challenged Him to prove it.

What tool could Satan use in the wilderness? He tempted Jesus with a rock. He probably pointed to a stone that looked exactly like a loaf of bread. When you’re hungry, even rocks start looking good. The devil can even make unappealing things look attractive when you’re weak.

Jesus could prove He was God’s Son by simply telling the rock, “Change!” and it would instantly turn into bread. No one would ever know, and He could fulfill His hunger drive. Jesus had the power to do it. He performed His first miracle by turning water into wine, so converting stones into bread would be easy.

Since His Father hadn’t given any “daily bread” for forty days, the devil tempted Him to provide for himself. He tempts people today in the same way, “Don’t wait for God to answer. Provide for yourself.” People do all kinds of things they shouldn’t be doing because they refuse to wait on God to provide.

Jesus told the devil, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’” (Matt. 4:4 NKJV). Don’t spend your life chasing bread alone, or anything else that fulfills your cravings. Live by every word that God has spoken.
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Sunday, July 12, 2020

Why Some People Are Never Happy


A boy sneaked into his grandfather’s bedroom while he was sleeping and put some Limburger cheese in his mustache. When grandpa awoke, he muttered, “This bedroom stinks.” He walked into the living room and sniffed. “This living room stinks.”
Trying to get away from the smell, he rushed into the kitchen. “Good grief. This kitchen stinks too.” Finally he ran outside, sniffed, and yelled, “This whole world stinks!”

Some people have Limburger cheese in their attitude, and that’s why everywhere they go it stinks. Their job stinks. Their marriage stinks. Their church stinks. Everything stinks. They can’t figure out the problem is with their own stinking attitude.

Air freshener won’t take away the odor. The only solution is to remove the Limburger cheese from under your nose. It’s impossible to change an attitude without having a change of heart. Jesus wants to remove our stinking attitudes and replace it with joy. He said, “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full” (John 15:11).

He not only wants His joy to be inside us, but He also wants our joy to be full. “Full” means there’s no room for sticking attitudes. His joy permeates into our hearts, forces out pessimism, and changes our attitudes to be like His. “Let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad” (Psalm 105:3). You’ll be surprised how a joyful heart will clear the air.
Over 270 printable Bible studies at www.makinglifecount.net
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Sunday, July 5, 2020

Getting Along with the Skunk in Your Life


The grizzly bear is the most feared animal in the forest. It can terminate the life of any other creature with one swipe of its paw. But there’s one animal the grizzly bear will not attack. He has even allowed this animal to eat with him, although it is his adversary.

The animal I am talking about is the skunk. The grizzly bear doesn’t like the skunk, but he has decided it’s better to coexist with him than to create a stink. Sometimes it’s better to learn how to get along with the difficult person in your life than fight him and make your situation even worse.

If your problem is a co-worker or your boss, it’s better to get along with that person than to quit your job. Many people get irritated by the nuisance they work with, and in a moment of frustration quit their jobs. They end up only hurting themselves. It’s better to tolerate the situation than to be unemployed with no income. 

God has a purpose for the skunk in your life. That’s why He assigned you a seat next to him. He’s teaching you how to love skunks. “You yourselves are taught by God to love one another” (1 Thess. 4:9). It’s easy to love the lovely, but what about the skunk in your life? God will show you how to do it. Just don’t create a stink with him.
Over 270 printable Bible studies at www.makinglifecount.net
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Sunday, June 28, 2020

God Appointed You to Live on Earth at This Time


In 1864 during the Civil War, Henry was a student at Virginia Military Institute. When the Union army attempted to destroy a railroad that brought supplies to them, the VMI cadets were called up by the Confederate army to engage them at the Battle of New Market.
     During the battle, Henry was struck in the stomach by a Minni ball, but instead of penetrating his skin, the bullet miraculously bounced off. If the bullet had entered his body, he would have died in battle due to lack of medical aid. If he had died, you wouldn’t be reading this. Henry Stuart Crockett was my great grandfather. If he had died, I wouldn’t be here today.

If you climb up your family tree, you’ll find someone who barely escaped death. If that person had died, you would not exist. You are not here by accident. God determined when you would live on earth and where you would live. “He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation” (Acts 17:26). Out of all the centuries you could have been born, God appointed you to live at this time.

The Lord also created you with a purpose to fulfill. King David “served the purpose of God in his own generation” (Acts 13:36). Just as David accomplished God’s will during his time on earth, the Lord has a purpose for you to fulfill. If you will seek Him, He will show you your purpose in life. It’s not too late for you to get started.
Over 270 printable Bible studies at www.makinglifecount.net
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Sunday, June 21, 2020

Two Ways to Serve God and Others


Psalm 100:2 says, “Serve the Lord with gladness.” Sometimes we’re so busy serving the Lord, and maybe even doing an excellent job, but we don’t do it with a joyful attitude. The Sunday School Times told of an elderly Christian mother who was a shut-in, and had two daughters clean her house.

She said, “My two daughters take turns cleaning my small home. Jean comes and makes everything shine. Yet she leaves the impression that I’m an awful burden. But when Mary comes, no matter how dull the day or how low my spirit, she’s so cheery that my heart is tuned to singing. Above all, she makes me feel that she loves me. They’re both Christians, but what a difference in their attitudes! Mary has the extra touch of grace and does everything with a loving heart.”

One daughter served joyfully, while the other served because she felt obligated. The daughter serving grudgingly made her mother feel worthless, but the one serving joyfully made her feel valued.
Does it bother God when we don’t serve Him joyfully? Moses told Israel, "Because you didn't serve the Lord your God with joy and a cheerful heart, even though you had an abundance of everything, your will serve your enemies the Lord will send against you" (Deut. 28:47-48). Looks like our attitude does make a difference to Him.

Do you have a servant’s heart? Elisabeth Elliot said, “The best way to find out whether or not you really have a servant’s heart is to see what your reaction is when somebody treats you like one.” I might add, "and if you’re serving joyfully so you can please the Lord."
Over 270 printable Bible studies at www.makinglifecount.net
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