Monday, December 28, 2015

Keeping Your New Year's Resolutions

One man said, "Here it is February and I've kept every one of my New Year's resolutions. Yep, I've kept every one of them in an envelope in my desk." Why do so many resolutions fail? Three things are required to make a lasting change in your life: 
1) A decision to make a change
2) A point in time when it begins 
3) The power to make it happen.

New Year's brings the first two. We make lists of the things we've decided to change and then mark January 1st on the calendar as the starting point. We soon find out they don’t stick because we don't have the will-power to follow them through.

The reason is we're trying to conquer the desires of the flesh by using the strength of the flesh. The "flesh" in the Bible means our natural desires and impulses, which causes the problems we're trying to resolve. When we try to change using our own strength, we fail because "the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" (Matt. 26:41). The flesh isn’t strong enough, nor is it willing enough, to make the change.

Quit depending on your own strength and yield yourself completely to the Lord for His power. Then you will "be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man" (Eph. 3:16). God promises to give you the power through the Holy Spirit to make the changes in your life that He desires, which is a whole lot better than making more resolutions that you can’t keep.  @Kent Crockett

WATCH MUSIC VIDEO: "Nothing Without You" by Bebo Norman

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

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Prison Inmates' Christmas Play

Several years ago, the inmates in a maximum security prison decided to act out the Christmas story for the other prisoners. Because none of the props could be brought in, all the costumes had to be made from what they could find inside the prison.

A mop was used for Mary’s hair. A ski mask with cotton balls glued on a sock was used as sheep. A cardboard box became the manger. Everything was falling into place, except for one problem. They needed a baby Jesus. They couldn’t use a baby doll because nothing could be brought in. Someone suggested that Mary could just hold a blanket with nothing inside. Everyone said that wouldn’t do. They were running out of ideas.

On the day of the performance, the prison chaplain came running to the group of actors and said, “I think I found something that you can use for baby Jesus.” Now the play could go on. 
The Christmas story was portrayed beautifully and the inmates were enjoying the performance.

They came to the scene where the prisoner with the mop on his head playing Mary was about to reveal her baby—the Christ child. Mary picked up a blanket from the manger (the cardboard box) and carefully unwrapped it. Inside the blanket was not a doll, but a cross that had been hanging in the chaplain’s office. A cross in the manger—what a perfect example of why Jesus came to earth!

Jesus born—to die. That’s an incredible thought. He left heaven and took on a human body was so that He would die on a cross for your sins. He was physically born 2,000 years ago, but He wants to be spiritually born in your heart today. And that’s the complete Christmas story.  @Kent Crockett

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

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

670 Trillion Hairs and Counting

Do you ever wonder if God really knows what’s going on in your life? Jesus revealed an amazing fact when He said, “Indeed, the very hairs on your head are numbered” (Luke 12:7). The average number of hairs on a person’s head is 100,000. Most people shed about 100 hairs a day, and since the world’s population increases by 200,000 people each day, the total number of hairs on the planet is in constant fluctuation.

The world’s population is approximately 6.7 billion. If we multiply that number by 100,000, we find that God is keeping track of 670 trillion hairs on people’s heads. And that’s not counting the beards! We would not have known this incredible fact about God’s knowledge if Jesus hadn’t told us. (The Sure Cure for Worry, Kent Crockett, Chosen Books 2013, p.72).

So why did Jesus tell us this? To assure us that God does know what’s going on in our lives. Our faith will grow as we grasp how great and powerful our Lord is. If God knows the smallest details about everyone in the world, can you see how it would be wise for us to completely surrender our lives to Him?

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

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

How to Change a Vicious Dog

My friend Mike is a mailman for the U.S. Postal Service. When he first started delivering mail, he encountered a number of vicious dogs when he carried packages to the customers’ doors. The dogs were usually behind a fence, but it was quite unnerving to come so close to barking and growling dogs that would love to tear him apart.

He carried a can of pepper spray just in case dog ever came to attack him. But then he decided to try something different. He bought a bag of dog biscuits, and whenever he delivered a package to a door, he would toss the barking dog a treat. He kept doing this with every dog on his route. Now whenever he delivers a package, the dogs aren’t barking at him. Now they’re wagging their tails and are excited to see him! And that’s how you can change a vicious dog.

What works for dogs also works for people. Paul writes, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him. And if he is thirsty, give him a drink. For in so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head” (Romans 12:20). Your enemy is someone who barks and growls at you like an aggressive dog who wants to tear you apart. When you do something kind for your enemy, it heaps burning coals on his head, which makes him ashamed of the way he has been mistreating you. As you continue to show kindness, the barking will stop, and the tail wagging will eventually begin. And that’s how you can change a vicious enemy.

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

Friday, November 6, 2015

Speaking Their Language

In 2001, a man in New York City went to the top of a building and threatened to jump off. He had a problem with his girlfriend and thought life wasn't worth living anymore. Policemen tried using a bullhorn to send a loud message to him. They didn’t realize that the man couldn’t hear a word they were saying--he was deaf!

One policeman realized the bullhorn would never work so he tried a different tactic. He had been a volunteer teacher of sign language in a deaf school. He went to the top of the building, and by using sign language, signaled a message to him which convinced him to not jump. He was able to reach him when the other method failed because he knew how to speak his language.

Perhaps it’s hard for you to talk with your spouse, your child, or someone else you know. You've tried using the bullhorn but it hasn't worked. You can open the lines of communication by learning how to speak their language. If you will talk about what interests them (such as their hobby), it will open the door to speak about other things. 

The apostle Paul said, "To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some." (1 Cor. 9:22). He didn’t compromise his beliefs, but he found a way to get on their wavelength, which led to talking to them about the Lord. Remember, if you will talk about what interests them, eventually they will start talking about what interests you. And that’s what makes relationships work.

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

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Resolving Conflict

Are you experiencing conflict in a relationship that you want resolved? People who are offended build walls around themselves as a defense mechanism. Here are some steps to bring down the walls.

1. Pray for wisdom (James 1:5). Ask God to show you how to handle your situation. Every relationship is unique and the Lord can give you insights concerning what to do.

2. You make the first move (Romans 12:17-18). Don’t wait for the other person to take the initiative. God wants you to take the first step. The Lord will send His blessing on the one who makes the first move in peacemaking.

3. Give a gift to the other person (Luke 6:27-28). After Jacob cheated Esau out of his birthright, Esau planned to kill him. Years later, Jacob sought to reconcile with Esau by giving him hundreds of goats, camels, cows, and donkeys (Gen. 32:13-14). The huge gift brought down the walls around Esau’s heart and they reconciled (Gen. 33).

4. Find common ground. Common ground can make people forget their differences. You will find liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans hugging each other and giving high fives—if they are pulling for the same football team that scores a touchdown! Conflict comes from magnifying your differences, but resolution comes from magnifying what you have in common.
For more information about resolving conflicts (and 9 other problems) read 10 Secrets to Life’s Biggest Challenges by Peter Lord with Kent Crockett, Chosen Books).  

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

Monday, October 19, 2015

Believing Things That Aren't True

We don’t necessarily act on what is true, but what we believe to be true. Joseph’s brothers lied to their father Jacob. They covered Joseph's coat with blood and showed it to their father, which implied that he had been killed by a wild animal. Jacob said, “Joseph has surely been torn to pieces.” He mourned for his son for many days (Gen. 37:33-34). It wasn’t true, but Jacob believed the lie for 13 years until he found out Joseph was alive.

Some people believe things that aren’t true about God. They’re angry at Him because they think He’s to blame for all tragedies. They are acting on what they believe to be true—but their beliefs are incorrect.

Some people believe things that aren’t true about themselves. They’re depressed and think there’s no reason to live. They are acting on what they believe to be true, but it’s a lie. As long as you’re alive, God has a plan for your life and a purpose to fulfill.

Many people believe things that aren’t true about others. King Saul believed that David wanted to seize his throne as king, which wasn’t true. But Saul acted on what he believed to be true and spent his entire life trying to kill David.

Use discernment and sort out fact from fiction. Don't be so quick to believe gossip about others. Ask the Lord to show you if you’re believing things that aren’t true. Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:32). Once you start believing the truth about God, yourself, and others, then your reactions will get straightened out too. And that might fix some of your problems.
WATCH & LISTEN TO SONG OF THE MONTH: “Hallelujah for the Cross” by the Newsboys.
Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Learning From Your Mistakes

I once stayed in a motel that had a very high star rating in the book published by the motel chain. After I checked in, I realized I had made a huge mistake. The place was on a bad side of town and was filthy. The room had an odor and a bug crawled on the floor. Dirty towels were piled up hallway, which no one picked up for hours.

After my trip I decided to write a nice letter the national hotel office and told them I had always stayed in their motels because we trusted their star system. I requested they lower their rating in their guide to a one-star on this particular motel to honestly reflect its quality so other customers would know what to expect.

A few weeks later I received a letter from the national office thanking me for my comments and offered me a free night’s lodging—in the same motel! Did they read my letter? Were they trying to reward me or punish me?

Some people keep repeating the same mistakes because they haven’t learned from them. Proverbs 26:11 says, “Like a dog that returns to its vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.” Even though the dog got sick by whatever it ate, it goes back and recycles it. It’s even worse than the original meal that made it sick!

We’ve all made mistakes, but our worst mistakes can be our best teachers if we will learn from them. Don’t keep beating yourself up over the mistakes you’ve made, but learn from them. You can share your bad experiences with others to keep them from making the same mistake—like “don’t stay at that filthy motel.”
NOTE: I’ve been sporadic lately about sending out these devotionals because I’ve been busy writing a new book If God Knows My Needs, Why Should I Pray? It will be published by Hendrickson Publishers in May 2016.

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

Friday, September 25, 2015

Nathanael Under the Fig Tree

There’s a huge wall around the heavenly city where the foundation stones are inscribed with the names of the twelve apostles (Rev. 21:14). When those apostles decided to follow Christ, they had no idea that their names would be recorded on the walls of the heavenly city for all eternity!

Nathanael sat under a fig tree one day, perhaps asking God if he would ever see the Messiah during his lifetime. “Lord, will I ever live to see the Messiah so I can follow Him? Lord, can you see me under this fig tree?” Sometime later, Philip comes to him and says, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth. Come and see.” (John 1:45-46).

As soon as Jesus saw Nathanael, He said, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” They had never met, but Jesus knew everything in his heart. Like a computer program scanning for viruses, He scanned Nathanael’s heart and couldn’t find any deceit. Jesus told Nathanael, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you” (1:48). Even though Jesus wasn’t anywhere near the fig tree, He could see him and knew what he was thinking.

Jesus told him, “Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these.” He not only knew Nathanael’s past, but also his future. Nathanael would be a disciple of Jesus and would see Him perform many miracles. And after Nathanael died, he had to be pleasantly surprised when he arrived in heaven and saw his name inscribed on a foundation stone.

Have you ever wondered if God knows what’s going on in your life? Just as Jesus saw Nathanael under the fig tree, He sees where you are right now. You may be sitting in a chair in your living room, but He sees what you are going through. When you trust Jesus to save you, your name won’t be chiseled on a foundation stone in heaven, but it will be recorded in the Book of Life (Luke 10:20), and that’s why Jesus said you need to rejoice. 

Listen to Song of the Month: Rebecca St. James “Shine Your Glory Down”

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

Thursday, September 10, 2015

One More Night with the Frogs

The Pharaoh of Egypt had been keeping the Hebrew people in slavery, so God sent Moses to tell him, “Let My people go, that they may serve Me” (Ex. 8:1). When Pharaoh refused to set them free, the Lord sent 10 plagues on Egypt, which included swarms of insects, locusts, and frogs.

After frogs invaded every house, Moses asked Pharaoh to decide when he wanted him to get rid of the frogs. Pharaoh answered, “Tomorrow.” (Ex. 8:9-10). Why would anyone want to spend one more night with the frogs when you can get rid of them now?

Perhaps he thought the frogs would go away on their own during the night. But the real reason for the overnight delay was he was wrestling with giving up control. He couldn’t keep millions of people in bondage and receive freedom from frogs. It was one way or the other. And every time he told God no, his heart hardened a little bit more.

Many people today want to live ungodly lives—but they still want God’s blessings on them. You can’t have it both ways. You must give up one to get the other. Everyone must decide what they really want most in life. Which do you want more? Freedom or frogs?

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

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Modern-Day Pharisee Test

The Pharisees were more concerned with performing religious rituals than connecting with God. We can easily get sidetracked and become modern-day Pharisees. The questions below will examine your motives and will reveal if your relationship with God goes beyond the four walls of a church.

1. Do you view a church building as “God’s house”?
2. Do you believe that Church is something you go to?
3. Do you "go to church" so that the pastor will see you in attendance?
4. Do you give your offerings without ever thinking about the Lord receiving them?
5. Do you give your offerings mainly because you feel pressured by the pastor to tithe?
6. Do you read your Bible because you want others to know you are doing it?
7. Do you serve in your church or elsewhere because you want others to respect you?
8. Do you look down on people who don’t attend church?
9. Do you ever sing to God in worship when you’re not in church?
10. Do you pray more when you are away from church or when you’re in church?
11. Do you ever tell God that you love Him?
12. Are you the same person away from church as you are when you’re in church?

Ask God to show you the correct answers and if something needs to change in your life. “But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5).

Slaying Your Giants is filled with interesting stories, humor, and practical advice about how to conquer 20 giants (fear, depression, discontentment, self-image, anger, and more)

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

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Legalism of the Pharisees

The Pharisees were the false religious teachers who constantly opposed Jesus. There were 613 commands in the Old Testament but the Pharisees created over 1,500 additional “fence laws” for the people to obey. They believed the best way to keep people from breaking God’s Law was to build a protective barrier around that Law, even though the Lord never told them to do this. The people of Jesus’ day were burdened down by man-made legalistic rules that God never commanded.

Exodus 20:10 says not to work on the Sabbath day, so the Pharisees created 39 types of prohibited work so no one would break the Law. Here are some of their fence laws:
***You could not spit on the Sabbath because it would disturb the dirt and you would be guilty of plowing.
***You could not swat a fly on the Sabbath because you would be guilty of hunting.
***A woman could not look at her reflection because she might see a gray hair and pluck it out, which would be doing work.

They created loopholes to get around some laws.
***If your house was burning down on a Sabbath, you could not carry clothes out of it. However, you were allowed to put on several layers of clothes as the house was burning down. You could leave without breaking the law because you were wearing them instead of carrying them.
***You could not travel more than 3/5 mile from your house on the Sabbath. However, you could leave food 3/5 mile from your home on the night before, which would make it permissible to travel twice the distance without breaking the law.

Your relationship with God should be a joy, not a job. If you aren’t enjoying your relationship with Him, something is wrong. Maybe you’re trying to follow man-made legalistic rules instead of loving the Lord. Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, and the second greatest is to love your neighbor as yourself. “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40).

To get your priorities corrected, you might need to unchain yourself from legalistic rules. You might need to change churches. You might need to re-examine what you believe and make sure it lines up with the Scriptures. Life is too short to get it wrong. Do whatever it takes to set yourself free from legalism.

To read more about the strange customs of the Pharisees: Who were the Pharisees?

Slaying Your Giants is filled with interesting stories, humor, and practical advice about how to conquer 20 giants (fear, depression, discontentment, self-image, anger, and more)
The Sure Cure for Worry contains amazing true stories and helps the reader see God is in control.

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

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

God Has a Purpose for Your Pit

Joseph was thrown into a pit in the wilderness by his jealous brothers. They planned to kill him, but his brother Reuben suggested they throw him into a nearby pit instead (Gen. 37:18-22). It was no accident that the pit just happened to be at that spot. Someone came at an earlier time and dug the hole, and then abandoned it—never realizing that God had guided him to do that. The Lord knew that a pit needed to be at that exact spot, which would one day save Joseph’s life. It was an ordained pit. Notice three things:

1. The pit gave them another option so that Joseph wouldn’t be killed. His brothers intended to kill him (Plan A) but the pit gave them another way to get rid of him without shedding blood (Plan B). Rueben told his brothers, “Shed no blood. Throw him into this pit…but do not lay hands on him”—that he might rescue him out of their hands, to restore him to his father (37:22).

2. God made sure the pit was dry. “Now the pit was empty without any water in it” (37:24). Normally these pits collected rainwater, but this one didn’t. If water had been in it, Joseph would have drowned. God made sure the conditions were right for Joseph to live.

3. The pit was used as a holding tank until the Midianite traders came by, bought him as a slave and escorted him to Egypt (37:25-28). It was no accident that the traders just happened to travel by that route at just the right time. God was leading them (without them knowing it) so they would take Joseph to the ordained destination. The Lord orchestrated a divine appointment to exalt him to be a ruler in Egypt.

Sooner or later, someone is going to throw you into a pit. When it happens, keep in mind that the Lord has a purpose for your pit, just like He had a purpose for Joseph’s pit. Even though it’s not the best of circumstances, it’s keeping something worse from happening to you. Your enemy might think that he has won by rejecting you, but God always has the last word in your situation. He is using your pit as a temporary situation to get you to a much better place. And He will, if you will keep trusting God, keep your heart right and not get bitter at the one who threw you in the pit.

Do you have questions about the Bible? Read 66 Answers to Bible Questions

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

Friday, July 24, 2015

From Fame to Shame

In the 84th Boston Marathon in 1980, Rosie Ruiz (pictured) was the first woman to cross the finish line. As she climbed to the winner's podium to accept her wreath, officials noticed that she looked remarkably fresh and sweat-free for having run two hours and 32 minutes.

Upon investigation, no one could remember seeing her during the race. Monitors at the race checkpoints hadn't seen her, nor had any of the runners. Finally, a few members of the crowd came forward to reveal that they had seen her jump into the race during the final half mile and sprint to the finish line. Rosie was disqualified, stripped of her title, and became another member of the Hall of Shame.

Before we condemn Rosie for cheating, let me ask if you have ever cheated on a test? What about cheating at golf? Cheated on your taxes? Cheated on your spouse? Kept the extra change the cashier gave you? Probably so. We have no right to cast stones. We’re all members of the Hall of Shame. We've all done things we're ashamed of. "There is none righteous, not even one." (Romans 3:10).

The good news is God can forgive cheaters. "If you, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with Thee." (Psalm 30:3-4) If you need forgiveness, call out to Jesus with a sincere heart. He will wipe the record clean and give you a new start—so you can finish running the race of life as a winner.  

Find answers to many questions about the Bible at

Monday, July 13, 2015

In the Line of Fire

A couple of men were in the wilderness when they found out someone had set a fire that was out of control. The winds whipped the flames toward them and they knew they could not outrun the fire. It looked like there was no way to escape and they would surely die.

One of the men prayed for wisdom. Then he pulled out a match and set the grass in front of him on fire. 
The other man said, “You fool! Now we’re surrounded by fire!”
The man said, “We won’t die. Wait until this fire burns down and then step over here on the burned-down place.”
“I still don’t understand what you are doing.”
“The burned-down grass is a safe place for us,” he explained. “You see, the fire cannot come where the fire has already been.”

The fire of God’s judgment fell on Jesus when He died for your sins on the cross. If you want to be safe from God’s judgment, you must stand where the fire has already fallen—for the fire cannot come where the fire has already been. Jesus has already paid for your sins, and when you receive Him as Lord, you will be safe on the Day of Judgment. The fire cannot touch those who stand with Him.

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

Monday, July 6, 2015

When the Light Turns Green and Cars Don't Move

A number of years ago my friend Max Wilkins had stopped at a traffic light and was waiting for it to change. An elderly woman with a walker started hobbling across the street in front of his car just before the light turned green. The driver behind Max couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t go with the green light, so he started honking his horn.

As Max continued to wait for her, the man behind him stuck his head out the window and started yelling. Max got out of his car and walked back to the angry driver. He stuck out his keys and said, “If you want to run over her, then go ahead!”

By this time the hothead could clearly see the elderly lady inching her way across the street. He finally realized what kept Max from moving forward. Max could see something that the other driver couldn’t.

When we’ve prayed and are waiting for the answer to come, we can’t understand why God isn’t moving forward. From our perspective we see a green light. So we start honking our horn at God, never realizing He can see things that we can’t.

The Lord will often delay the answers to our prayers for reasons we don’t fully understand at the moment. It’s during these times that we must place our trust in the all-wise God who cares for us and knows what He’s doing—even when it might not make sense to us.

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

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Running to the Wrong Goal

In the 1929 Rose Bowl, a University of California football player, Roy Riegels, picked up a fumble by Georgia Tech and raced 65 yards toward the end zone. He was tackled on the 1-yard line--by his own teammate.  Why did a player on his team tackle him? Because after picking up the fumble, Riegels had gotten turned around and was running toward the wrong goal line! A few plays later, Georgia Tech scored a safety and went on to win the game 8-7. Riegels has gone down in history as "Wrong Way Riegels."

Many people today are like Roy Riegels--running toward the wrong goals in life. Some people are running after pleasure. Others are running after money or fame. They never realize until it's too late that they've been heading in the wrong direction. Proverbs 14:12 says, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death."

The right goal in life is to love God with all our heart and seek to please Him in all we do. "We have as our ambition . . . to be pleasing to Him" (2 Cor. 5:9). So if you've been running in the wrong direction, don't get upset when people tackle you before you cross the goal line. They're just trying to do you a favor.

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

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Bumpy Bus Ride

A pastor was riding on a bus down a bumpy road. A young man on his way to college was seated next to him. The minister asked, “Are you ready for the temptations you will face in college?”
"I’m not worried about that,” the young man replied. “I have strong will-power."

The pastor took a pencil from his pocket and said, "I can make this pencil stand up on my Bible even though the bus ride is bumpy." 
The student said, "I don't think you can do it."
"Look, I’m doing it," the minister said.
“Yeah, but you didn't tell me you would hold the pencil up with your hand."
"I didn't have to tell you. Have you ever seen a pencil stand up on its own without someone holding it?"

He let go of the pencil, which immediately fell over. He said, “Son, let this be a lesson to you. The only reason you can stand is because God is holding you up with His hand." 

First Corinthians 10:12 says, “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” We only stand by God’s grace (Romans 5:2). If God were to remove His hand of grace we will fall too.

Humble yourself before the Lord and depend on His grace to hold you up. He is able to bring you through any difficulty. “For my grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).

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

Monday, June 1, 2015

The House That Doesn't Exist Anymore

This is the house in New Orleans that I grew up in. The picture was taken after Hurricane Katrina wiped out the neighborhood and it was later bulldozed. The house doesn’t exist anymore, but in my mind I can still see every room. Even though the house is gone, it still lives in my memory if I choose to think about it.

Many people are haunted by things they’ve done in their past. Perhaps you've done some things that you are ashamed of. We all have. It’s those haunting memories that become the baggage from the past we are carrying today. But we don’t have to stay chained to our past.

When you accepted Christ into your life, the old house of your past was destroyed and doesn’t exist anymore. He has replaced your old life with a new life and has good plans for your future. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!”(2 Cor. 5:17).

Now that your past has been dealt with, you don’t need to “go there” in your mind anymore. Rather than thinking about bad memories of the past, “set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Col. 3:2). Jesus has given you a new start and a reason to live. You might not have started well but you can finish your life well. Make a decision to forget the past and press forward to what God has called you to do. (Phil. 3:13-14).  

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

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

5 Things to Do Before You Kick the Bucket

You’ve probably seen the “Before You Die” books like 1000 Places to See Before You Die, or 50 Places to Play Golf Before You Die.  The movie The Bucket List follows the same theme of making a list of fun things to do before you kick the bucket. Last week an extreme sports athlete was killed in Yosemite National Park while attempting a parachute jump from a 3,000-foot cliff. Someone commented, “At least he died doing what he loved.” (What is that supposed to mean? Have fun even if it kills you?)

I’ve created a bucket list that isn’t about having fun before you die, but the best way to leave this world and enter the next life.
#1 Accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. This is the most important decision you will ever make because it determines your eternal destiny.
#2 Tell your family you love them. I know a woman who said her mother had never told her, “I love you.” When her elderly mother was on her deathbed, she finally said, “I love you.” The daughter broke down sobbing because she finally heard the words she longed to hear her entire life.
#3 Apologize to those you have hurt. You might be surprised how a sincere apology can heal a relationship.
#4 Forgive the person who hurt you.  You’ll stay chained to that person until you forgive. Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the chain and sets you free.
#5 Enjoy every day of your life. Jesus came to give you abundant life. Enjoy the day, the hour, the moment. Once it’s gone you can’t get it back. 
Don't put off doing these things because you don't know how much time you have left before you kick the bucket.

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

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Sermon the Potter Preached

In Jeremiah 18:1-6, God told the prophet Jeremiah to go to the potter’s house. After he got there, the potter preached a sermon to him in a visual way concerning the future of Judah (Israel), but the message applies to us as well. Here are three lessons from the potter’s sermon:

Lesson #1  God is in the process of molding you.  Everyone is in the process of being molded, either by the Holy Spirit or the pressures of this world. Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold.” (Phillips Translation). To be molded by God, we are told to “humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God” (1 Peter 5:6).

Lesson #2  God’s plan for you may not be obvious at first.  Jeremiah 18:3 says the potter was “making something” on the wheel. What he was making wasn’t obvious at first. The potter had a plan in his mind concerning the vessel he wanted to make. Romans 9:20 says, “The thing molded will not say to the potter, ‘Why did you make me like this’ will it?” Put your trust in God, even when the plan is unclear and you don’t understand.

Lesson #3  If you make a mistake, remember that God isn’t finished with you.  “But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter, so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make” (Jeremiah 18:4). The potter detected a flaw in the clay because a gritty substance resisted his touch. Even though the clay was marred, the potter didn’t throw it away. He made it into another vessel.
Perhaps you’ve rebelled against God and resisted His will for your life. And maybe you’ve suffered the consequences and think life is over. The Lord has not abandoned you and still has a plan for your life. If you will submit to Him, He will complete the work that He wants to do in you.  

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

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Story Your Face Tells

In the 1800s a couple of prospectors discovered gold and wanted to keep their discovery a secret so others wouldn't find out.  When they went back into town to buy supplies, neither of them said a word to anyone. But as they started back to the mountains, everyone in town was following them with picks and shovels.  Although they hadn’t told anyone about finding gold, their discovery was written all over their faces.

Your face is connected to your heart. Your facial expressions are the newspaper headlines telling the story of what's taking place inside your heart. If you are angry it will show up on your face. If you are depressed, it’s obvious to everyone. But Proverbs 15:13 says, "A joyful heart makes a cheerful face." Joy cannot be suppressed. It will always make a person smile.

We can decide the headlines people will read on our faces. What we think about determines our emotions—and this determines our facial expressions. We can change our moods by changing what we think about. Joy comes from not only thinking positively, but also seeing God’s hand at work in our lives and trusting Him with the outcome of every circumstance. “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right …whatever is praiseworthy—think about these things” (Phil. 4:8).

What is the story your face is telling today? 

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