Sunday, May 16, 2021

Do You Need to Make Restitution?

A Manhattan, Kansas cable company received $300 in cash in the mail, along with an unsigned letter from a man apologizing for his actions and asking forgiveness. The letter-writer said when he was a sophomore at Kansas State University, he had pirated cable TV from an upstairs apartment.
 
He wrote, “I didn’t fully consider at the time how we were cheating your cable company out of revenues” and that he wanted to commit himself to the teachings of the Bible. The $300 was restitution for the cable TV signals he had taken without paying.
 
Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector in Israel and became rich by swindling people out of their money (Luke 19:1-10). One day he heard Jesus was coming to Jericho, so he climbed a tree to see over the crowd. Jesus looked up, called him by name and said He wanted to stay at his house. Zacchaeus told Jesus, “Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much” (Luke 19:8). Notice that Jesus did not tell him to do this. Zacchaeus decided on his own to make things right.
 
Restitution is God’s way of paying back to the rightful owner what was lost, stolen, or damagedThe restitution amount wasn’t equal to the crime, but often much more than the amount taken. The book of Exodus speaks about making restitution for a variety of situations. If a thief stole an ox and killed it, he had to pay back five times as much. If he stole a sheep, he had to pay back four times as much (Exodus 22:1).
 
If you’ve stolen something or damaged someone’s property, God will show you how much to pay. It will relieve your guilt, heal a relationship, and will be pleasing to the Lord.
www.makinglifecount.net  www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com
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BIBLE STUDY:  Answers to Theological Questions
 
PREVIEW Kent’s new book Amazing Stories & Daily Devotionals
CLICK HERE to read 28 devotionals (January 1-28)
 
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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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Sunday, May 9, 2021

"He Died the Same Way He Lived"

Dawson Trotman founded the Navigators discipleship ministry in 1933. His ministry focused on following up on new believers and mentoring them through one-on-one relationships to help them grow in their faith. One day, Dawson told his understudy, Loren Sanny, “What if I died and the Lord took me to heaven. Would you be ready to take over this ministry?” Two weeks later, Dawson was dead at age 50. Here’s how it happened:
 
On June 18, 1956, Dawson was the main speaker at the Word of Life Christian camp at Schroon Lake, New York. That afternoon, his friend Jack Wyrtzen invited Dawson and two girl campers to join him for a boat ride around the lake. One of the girls, Allene Beck, didn’t know how to swim, but accepted the invitation anyway.
 
As they sped around the lake, the boat hit a wave, throwing Dawson and Allene out of the boat. Allene panicked because she couldn’t swim. Dawson tried to save her, but she frantically fought with him. He then swam underneath her and lifted her up so that her head was above the water. When the boat returned, they pulled her out to the water, but Dawson never came back up. He had drowned while saving the girl’s life.
 
Billy Graham spoke at Dawson’s funeral saying, “Dawson died the same way he lived, by holding others up.” I’m sure Dawson must have thought about leaving behind his wife and five children when he made the decision to sacrifice his own life so the girl could live. Jesus said, “No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13 HCSB).
 
Loren Sanny took over as leader of the Navigators. Today the Navigators ministry serves in 50 countries and on many college campuses. When I was in college, a member of the Navigators came to our dormitory to teach a Bible study. God touched my heart during that Bible study, which was part of the reason I entered into ministry. I am another life held up by Dawson Trotman.  www.makinglifecount.net  www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com
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BIBLE STUDY:  If God loves everyone, why did He hate Esau?
 
PREVIEW Kent’s new book Amazing Stories & Daily Devotionals
CLICK HERE to read 28 devotionals (January 1-28)
 
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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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Sunday, May 2, 2021

Can You Recognize Wisdom?

A gem dealer was strolling down the aisles at the Tucson, Arizona Gem and Mineral Show when he noticed a blue-violet stone the size and shape of a potato. He looked it over, and then as calmly as possible, asked the vendor, “You want $15 for this?”
     The seller, realizing the rock wasn’t a pretty as the others in his bin, lowered the price to $10.
 
The stone has since been certified as a 1,905-carat natural stone sapphire, about 800 carats larger than the largest stone of its kind. 

It was appraised at $2,280,000To one guy it was a potato worth $10, but to another it was priceless.
If you don’t understand the value of wisdom, why would you want it? Job said, “Where can wisdom be found? Man does not know its value…Pure gold cannot be given in exchange for it, nor can silver be weighed for its price” (Job 28:12-15).
 
Wisdom is worth more than silver and gold, but to a foolish person it just looks like a potato. Many people don’t ask the Lord for wisdom because they don’t have a clue how much it would help them in life. Wisdom is the ability to see your situation as God sees it, which is beyond common sense. Wisdom is divine aid from heaven to help you make correct decisions.
 
Think how much heartache you could avoid if every decision you made was correct. That’s worth far more than silver and gold, and the amazing thing is that God will give it to you for free. James 1:5-6 says, "If any of you lacks wisdom (that's you), let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him."
BUT, if you don’t ask…well, you’re not going to get it.  
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Prov. 9:10).  
www.makinglifecount.net  www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com
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BIBLE STUDY:  How do we know the Bible is true?
 
PREVIEW Kent’s new book Amazing Stories & Daily Devotionals
CLICK HERE to read 28 devotionals (January 1-28)
 
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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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Sunday, April 25, 2021

A Little Mistake with Big Consequences

 
If you wanted to shut down an airport, how would you do it? Just go back for your camera. In 2001, a man who had passed through security screening at Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport realized he had left his camera bag behind. Rather than going through security a second time, he hurried down the up-escalator instead of going through the checkpoint.
 
Security personnel noticed the man on the run and were forced to take preventative measures. They immediately halted all departing flights and rerouted planes that were destined for Atlanta. Delta cancelled over 147 flights, 10,000 people were evacuated from the airport, and many were scrambling to book hotel rooms. Suitcase conveyor belts were stopped, keeping passengers from claiming their bags. The breach in security cost “tens of millions of dollars” according to the Hartsfield operations manager. Who would have thought that the decision to retrieve a camera bag would have caused this much trouble?

His one stupid decision created enormous problems that cost millions of dollars. Sometimes we don’t realize our decisions create consequences that can also affect others. It’s true when it comes to getting married, handling our money, and thousands of other decisions. Sooner or later everyone will sit at the banquet of consequences. “They will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes” (Prov. 1:30).
 
An impulsive decision is usually a wrong one because you haven’t thought it through. Take your time and think about the future consequences of your decision before making it. God’s Word has much to say about how to live and make correct decisions. Sometimes you will need to do something that’s inconvenient, like going back through security checkpoint again instead hurrying down the up-escalator.  And other times, you just need the courage to do what's right.  www.makinglifecount.net  www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com
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BIBLE STUDY: “Shall Not Kill, or Shall Not Murder?”
 
PREVIEW Kent’s new book Amazing Stories & Daily Devotionals
CLICK HERE to read 28 devotionals (January 1-28)
 
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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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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Forgetting the $220 Million Password

Stefan Thomas holds $220 million worth of Bitcoin in his digital wallet, but he can’t access it because he can't remember his password. He was gifted 7,002 Bitcoins in 2011 but he lost the paper which contained the password.
 
Here’s problem. The software used to create Bitcoin means that only the user has access to the password and there is no backup to get into the account.  He can only make 10 attempts to guess the right password and he’s already tried 8 times. Thomas has only 2 password attempts remaining before the system shuts down his digital wallet forever, which means he could never retrieve his $220 million.  
 
You’ve probably heard jokes about someone dying and needing a password to get into the pearly gates. It might be funny, but it’s not true. You don’t need to know a password to get into heaven, which will be much better than having $220 million. But you do need to know a person.
 
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father” (John 14:6-7). Christ also said many will try to get into heaven without knowing Him. He will tell them, “I never knew you” (Matt. 7:21-23).
 
“There is salvation in no one else (but Jesus); for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12)  Have you called out to Him to be saved? When you receive Him into your life, you won’t lose any sleep trying to remember a password.
www.makinglifecount.net  www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com
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BIBLE STUDY: What are ghosts?
 
PREVIEW Kent’s new book Amazing Stories & Daily Devotionals
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Making Life Count Ministries
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Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174
www.makinglifecount.net  Twitter: @KentCrockett

www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Died, but Not Dead

A six-year-old boy named David was taking a walk one day with his grandmother. They decided to detour through the local graveyard. Stopping to read the tombstones, Grandma explained that the first date on the tombstones was the day the person was born and the second date was the day the person died.
 
Why do some tombstones only have one date?” little David asked.
“Because they haven’t died yet,” she explained.
When they got back home, David told his mother about seeing the tombstones in the graveyard. “Mom," he said with wide eyes, "some people buried in the cemetery aren’t even dead yet!”
 
Leave it to a child to put a different twist on things. Easter puts the most amazing twist to the story of death. Because of the resurrection of Jesus, Christians who are dead and buried aren’t really dead at all.
Jesus told Mary, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live, even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26).
That’s a good question. Do you believe this?

www.makinglifecount.net  www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com
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BIBLE STUDY: If Jesus died on Friday how could He be in the grave for 3 nights?
 
PREVIEW Kent’s new book Amazing Stories & Daily Devotionals
CLICK HERE to read 28 devotionals (January 1-28)
 
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Making Life Count Ministries
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www.makinglifecount.net  Twitter: @KentCrockett
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Sunday, March 28, 2021

Seeing the Faults in Others but Not in Ourselves

D. L. Moody and Charles Spurgeon were two of the greatest preachers during the nineteenth century. Although Moody (left in pic) had never met Spurgeon (right in pic), he greatly admired the Englishman and arranged to meet him in London. After he traveled across the Atlantic, Moody found Spurgeon’s residence and knocked on the door.
 
Spurgeon answered with a cigar in his mouth. Moody was aghast. “How could you, a man of God, smoke that?” asked Moody. Spurgeon took the cigar from his mouth, put his finger on Moody’s huge stomach, smiled, and said, “The same way that you, a man of God, could be that fat.”
 
It’s easy to see the faults in others, but so hard to see them in ourselves. Someone has said, “Faults are like the headlights on your car; those of others seem more glaring than your own.”
 
Paul writes, “You are without excuse, every man who passes judgment…for you who judge practice the same things” (Rom. 2:1). We tend to see sins in others that we’re familiar with in ourselves. When I’m driving down the street, I’ll notice the cars that are exactly like mine. My eyes aren’t drawn to every car, but only to the ones that are like my own.
 
In the same way, judgmental people’s eyes are drawn to those same sins in others. They’re actually seeing what’s in their own hearts. Before you form a judgmental opinion about someone, make sure you’re not guilty of the same thing. Quit telling others to dim their lights when your own headlights are blinding them.
www.makinglifecount.net  www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com
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BIBLE STUDY: What is the “third heaven?
 
PREVIEW Kent’s new book Amazing Stories & Daily Devotionals
CLICK HERE to read 28 devotionals (January 1-28)
 
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Making Life Count Ministries
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Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174
www.makinglifecount.net  Twitter: @KentCrockett
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Sunday, March 21, 2021

Do You Need a Crocodile to Motivate You?

According to a news story out of Australia’s Northern Territory, a swimming coach has an unusual way of motivating his students to swim faster. After the swimmer dives into the pool, the coach throws in a live crocodile. The swimmers’ times have improved dramatically since he started using this new motivational technique.

The coach says he has timed the crocodile and gives the students a head start, knowing it won’t catch anyone. One swimmer said the coach’s way of motivating was “absolutely terrifying.” But no one can deny that the swimmers’ times have improved.

 

Well, that’s one way to motivate. I’m sure the swimmers can stay motivated as long as a crocodile is chasing them. That will work until you run out of crocodiles—or run out of swimmers.

Intimidation is external motivation, like sending a crocodile after swimmers. It’s not an enjoyable experience. It’s like saying, “The beatings will continue until morale improves.” Inspiration, on the other hand, is internal motivation. Instead of sending a crocodile after us, God motivates us by increasing the desire in our hearts.

Nothing is more motivating than compassion. Jesus was “moved with compassion” to heal a leper (Mark 1:41). He was “moved with compassion” to feed the multitude (Mark 9:34-43). The Lord inspires us through our desires because “where there’s no will, there’s no way.”

Philippians 2:13 says, God “is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” That’s much more effective, and more enjoyable, than being chased by a crocodile. Ask God to motivate your heart to do His will. That’s one prayer He loves to answer. www.makinglifecount.net  www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com
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PREVIEW Kent’s new book Amazing Stories & Daily Devotionals
CLICK HERE to read 28 devotionals (January 1-28)
 
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Making Life Count Ministries
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Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174
www.makinglifecount.net  Twitter: @KentCrockett
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Sunday, March 14, 2021

Don’t Plant Mysterious, Unsolicited Seeds

In 2020, thousands of Americans living in all fifty states received mysterious, unsolicited packages of seeds from China. Many of the seeds have been identified as flowers and vegetables, while others are suspect. If an enemy wanted to create problems in the U.S. environment, what could be more cunning than to slip in invasive, noxious bags of seeds among the good seeds and hope someone plants them?


Someone from Michigan said, “I planted them because I thought they were the strawberry seeds I ordered. They turned black and green mold, so I threw them away.” After a New Mexico woman planted the seeds she said, “Everything that’s in the garden where I planted them are having a hard time and are starting to die.” Agriculture officials warned, "Unsolicited seeds could be invasive and introduce unknown diseases to local plants, harm livestock or threaten our environment. Do not plant seeds from unknown origins."
 
Jesus told a parable about a man who sowed good seed in his field. “But while men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares also among the wheat, and went away. But when the wheat sprang up and bore grain, then the tares became evident also” (Matt. 13:25-26). When the slaves asked the landowner how the tares got into the field, the landowner said, “An enemy has done this!” (13:29).
 
The enemy’s goal was to destroy the wheat field. The workers were sleeping, unaware that the enemy was working under the cover of darkness. It wasn’t until later, after the crop grew, that it became obvious that an enemy had planted harmful seeds in the field.
 
I’m sure many of recipients of the mystery seeds from China believed it was a free gift from a kindhearted soul, unaware that the sender was hoping to get the noxious seeds planted in American soil. Beware when someone sends you with a gift that you hadn’t requested. You might find out later the present isn’t in your best interest. 
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PREVIEW Kent’s new book Amazing Stories & Daily Devotionals
CLICK HERE to read 28 devotionals (January 1-28)
 
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Making Life Count Ministries
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Sunday, March 7, 2021

When God Changes a Name

When Pepper Puryear was a boy, he had a dog named “Sic ‘em.” One evening, a man and his wife were riding horses, along with their daughter who was riding on a pony. Puryear’s dog ran into the street and started barking at the horses. The dog began circling the little girl on the pony as it became more aggressive. Pepper’s father jumped off the porch and tried to call the dog off by yelling, “Sic ‘em! Sic ‘em!”
 
The man on the horse thought he was urging the dog to attack his daughter! He grabbed a rope off his saddle, twirled it over his head, and lassoed the dog. Then he jumped off his horse and tied the dog’s legs together, just like he was tying up a calf in a rodeo. (The dog probably wished it had kept its mouth shut)
 
Pepper’s father explained to the man that the dog’s name was Sic ‘em and he wasn’t trying to unleash his dog on the man’s daughter. The cowboy strongly suggested that he change the dog’s name to Spot because Sic ‘em was sending people the wrong message.
 
Sometimes people, like dogs, need a new name. In the Bible, God would often give people a new name to establish a new identity. He changed Abram’s name to Abraham, which means “father of a multitude” (Gen. 17:5). He changed Abraham’s wife’s name from Sarai to Sarah, meaning “mother of nations” (Gen. 17:15). Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter, the “rock.” After Saul was converted, he became known as Paul. God wanted them to leave their past behind and pursue a new destiny.  
 
When you receive Jesus Christ into your life, the old things have passed away and new things have come (2 Cor. 5:17). He gives you a new destiny and will give you a new name in heaven (Rev. 2:17). Your heavenly Father will give you a new forever name because He “makes all things new” (Rev. 21:5). You are no longer Sic ‘em. Your new name is “Spotless.”
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PREVIEW Kent’s new book Amazing Stories & Daily Devotionals
CLICK HERE to read 28 devotionals (January 1-28)
 
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Sunday, February 28, 2021

All Things Are Possible With God

In 2011, fourteen-year old Taylor Hale suffered a brain hemorrhage due to a severe head injury. Doctors fought to save Taylor’s life, but her brain sank part way into her spinal column. Her brain “had turned to mush” and she was declared brain-dead. Doctors told her parents that no one comes back from that. Arrangements were made to take her off life support and discuss organ donation.
 
That afternoon, Jeff Stickel, a chiropractor and friend of Taylor’s parents, visited the hospital and asked if he could pray for her. They agreed. He put his hands on her neck and prayed for God to heal her, then he left. Later that afternoon, doctors turned off the life support that had helped her breathe since the accident.
 
Then something unexpected happened. Taylor struggled to take a breath under her own power. The medical staff reconnected her on life support. As the day went on, Taylor’s brain activity began to increase. She opened her eyes and moved her fingers and toes. The doctors told her parents they had no medical explanation for what was happening to her.
 
Taylor miraculously recovered, learned to walk again, and graduated from high school (see the before and after picture). But she did lose memory of her childhood and doesn’t remember the accident. Nevertheless, her recovery is nothing short of a modern-day miracle.
 
Doctors can’t explain what happened, but what about that prayer by Jeff Stickel right before they turned off the life support? Could that have something to do with it? No doubt about it. Jesus said, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God” (Luke 18:27)

WANT TO READ MORE AMAZING STORIES?  
PREVIEW Kent’s new book Amazing Stories & Daily Devotionals
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Sunday, February 21, 2021

Enjoy Life—Even if You've Been Wronged

A man watched a boy skating down the sidewalk on one skate. He said, “Don’t you know that you’re supposed to skate on two skates?” The boy told him, “Someone stole my other skate and that’s why I’m skating on just one skate.”
As the man walked away, the boy yelled, “Hey Mister, did you know that you can still have a lot of fun on just one skate?”
 
When someone wrongs you, it’s natural to get upset at that person. But you can’t be angry and enjoy life at the same time. That’s one reason why Jesus said, “Whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either” (Luke 6:29). Your happiness is more valuable than a coat, or a shirt, or a skate. God doesn’t want you to lose your joy just because someone took something away from you.
 
The early Christians kept their joy when their property was seized because they believed God would make it up to them. “You … accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better and lasting possession (Heb. 10:34).
 
Jesus doesn’t want us so attached to “stuff” that it affects our attitude. He said to “lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great” (Luke 6:35). If your neighbor borrowed your shovel but moved away and never returned it, don’t lose your joy over a shovel. Trust what Jesus said and consider it as an investment in your heavenly reward.
 
Remember this the next time someone mistreats you. If you’ll keep a joyful attitude, God will more than make up whatever you lost. And don’t forget to keep having fun on that one skate.
 
PREVIEW Kent’s new book Amazing Stories & Daily Devotionals
      
CLICK HERE to read 28 devotionals (January 1-28)


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Sunday, February 14, 2021

Love is Not Stingy

A man told a store clerk, “I’m looking for a Valentine’s card to show my wife how much I love her.” The clerk said, “Here’s a card for $4.99.” The man asked, “Do have any cards for a dollar?” Giving isn’t hard if we love the one we are giving to.
 
Perhaps no one in recent history was stingier than Hetty Green, who lived from 1834-1916. Hetty (seen in picture) is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's greatest miser. In the early 1900s she was the richest woman in America with over $95 million in the bank. That would be equivalent to being a multi-billionaire today.
 
However, she loved her money so much she wouldn’t let go of it. She wore the same dress every day for years and was nicknamed “the witch of Wall Street” because her black dress and hat made her look like a witch. She ate cold oatmeal because she didn't want to pay for the gas to heat it. Her son had to have his leg amputated because she took too long to find a free hospital to treat him. Hetty Green loved her money more than her own son!
 
Being generous to others keeps us from becoming stingy with our money. Psalm 37:21 says, "The righteous (person) is gracious and gives." Stingy people are not gracious and they do not give. Obviously we need to budget our money wisely and save some cash for emergencies, but we also need to use it to help others. Especially for those we love.
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BIBLE PROPHECY STUDY: The Beast with 7 Heads  and 10 Horns
 
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Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Kent's 365-Day Devotional Book is Now Available

Amazing Stories & Daily Devotionals is now available on Amazon.com as a Kindle eBook ($9.95) and paperback ($15.99). 

"For over 40 years I've collected unusual true stories from newspapers and other sources. I've included some of my best stories and biblical insights in this book." --Kent Crockett

    A Few Amazing Stories
·     Several heart-transplant patients began thinking their donor’s thoughts.

·     A swimming coach in Australia used a live crocodile to motivate his students.

·     A woman who couldn’t swim fell overboard on a cruise ship at night—and was rescued alive ten hours later.

·     In two cases of unusual deaths, one man was killed by a fish while another man was shot by a snake.

·     A man in England sneezed every two minutes for 37 years until they found the cause.

·     A man who worked in a sewer found jewels, gold bracelets, and diamond rings that had been flushed down toilets.

·     Two one-armed college football players set records at their schools.

·      A woman mistakenly threw away a mattress containing nearly $1 million inside.

 


Sunday, February 7, 2021

How to Forget God

In the days before cell phones, I read a story about married couple who were on a trip and stopped in Montgomery, Alabama to get gas. She walked into the convenience store as he filled up the car. After he had finished refueling, he climbed into his vehicle and continued driving to their destination.
 
Five hours later, he realized he had left his wife at the gas station! When he pulled into the next town, he asked police to help him get in touch with her, which they did. He embarrassingly admitted he hadn’t noticed her absence. Just imagine how she must have felt when she came out the store and the car was gone!
 
How could the husband forget his wife? Apparently when they were traveling, they didn’t talk to each other. If they had been carrying on a conversation, he would have noticed her absence if he turned to talk to her and saw her empty seat. But since they hadn’t been communicating with each other, it was easy for him to forget her.
 
That’s how we can forget God. If we aren’t regularly talking with God, we can easily forget Him. Deuteronomy 6:12 says “Watch yourself, that you do not forget the Lord.” We can forget God by widening the gaps in time that we talk to Him. Some people can go throughout the day and never talk to God or think about Him. One day without God stretches into one week, which extends to one month. Like the man forgetting his wife, we keep traveling down life’s road and we don’t even miss Him.
 
We will not forget the Lord if we’ll read His Word each day, talk to Him throughout the day, and remember to thank Him for every good thing He does.
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