VIDEO Casting Crowns

And cast their crowns before the throne.  Revelation 4:10

The contemporary praise and worship group Casting Crowns began in Daytona Beach, Florida, with youth pastor Mark Hall, who ministered at the First Baptist Church in 1999. Initially a student worship band, Hall recalls that when the group started, they were studying Revelation 4 and singing Chris Tomlin’s song that says, “We fall down, we lay our crowns at the feet of Jesus.” That was the inspiration for their name.

Hall went on to say, “For me, as a believer, if you’re not careful, little things will rise up in your life and become important. And it will create distance between you and God; and these little kingdoms don’t have to be bad things, sometimes they can be good things. They just take our focus away, and we have to let these kingdoms fall and fall before Him and make sure that we are setting apart Christ as Lord in our lives.”

The Bible talks about the five crowns that will be awarded to faithful believers—the crown of life, the incorruptible crown, the crown of righteousness, the crown of glory, and the crown of rejoicing.

If we live wholeheartedly for Christ, we will receive a crown to cast at His feet in heaven.

We do not desire rewards for the reward itself, but because rewards are a reflection of Christ’s approval of us. Erwin W. Lutzer


The Purpose of Life, Revelation 4:10-11 – Pastor Chuck Smith – Topical Bible Study

Treasure the Moments

[God] has made everything beautiful in its time. Ecclesiastes 3:11

Su Dongpo (also known as Su Shi) was one of China’s greatest poets and essayists. While in exile and gazing upon a full moon, he wrote a poem to describe how much he missed his brother. “We rejoice and grieve, gather and leave, while the moon waxes and wanes. Since times of old, nothing remains perfect,” he writes. “May our loved ones live long, beholding this beautiful scene together though thousands of miles apart.”

His poem carries themes found in the book of Ecclesiastes. The author, known as the Teacher (1:1), observed that there’s “a time to weep and a time to laugh . . . a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing” (3:4–5). By pairing two contrasting activities, the Teacher, like Su Dongpo, seems to suggest that all good things must inevitably come to an end.

As Su Dongpo saw the waxing and waning of the moon as another sign that nothing remains perfect, the Teacher also saw in creation God’s providential ordering of the world He’d made. God oversees the course of events, and “He has made everything beautiful in its time” (v. 11).

Life may be unpredictable and sometimes filled with painful separations, but we can take heart that everything takes place under God’s gaze. We can enjoy life and treasure the moments—the good and the bad—for our loving God is with us.

By:  Poh Fang Chia

Reflect & Pray

What are some things you’re afraid to try because of life’s unpredictability? How can you lean on Jesus as you step forward in courage to forge new friendships and deepen relationships?

Thank You, loving Father, for watching over all seasons of my life. Help me to trust in You and enjoy the life You’ve given me

Seek Eternal Life

John 3:16-18

Each of us has a sin debt that we owe to God, but we’ve got no way to pay for it. None of our solutions—living a moral life, being religious, or doing more good deeds—can take care of our problem.

God Himself has provided the solution—one that both satisfies His justice and grants us mercy. He sent His Son to pay the penalty we owed, and Jesus was qualified because He never sinned (2 Corinthians 5:21). He willingly took our place on the cross and experienced the full measure of the Lord’s wrath against our sinfulness. In dying for us, Christ secured our salvation.

Unfortunately, however, some people have heard this news and rejected it. They’re like the rich young ruler who placed his trust in material possessions and turned his back on the truth. Others refuse to even listen, and some think they’re heaven-bound on the basis of their good deeds. But only those who have entered into a relationship with Jesus will be welcomed into heaven.

If you’re wondering, How can I have eternal life? there is only one answer: through faith in Jesus Christ (John 14:6). When we trust in Jesus and surrender our life to Him, He becomes our personal Savior and Lord.

Learn by Example

“But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them.” (2 Timothy 3:14)

When Paul wrote these words to Timothy, they were in the midst of his foreboding prophecy of coming apostasy and persecution. Furthermore, he knew that he himself would soon be executed and that these might well be his final teachings to his young disciple and to others through him. It is remarkable that in such a setting the Spirit of God impelled him to use the example of his own life as the best and most fitting climax to his great ministry. “Just keep on believing and doing what I have been teaching you—that which you have seen put into practice in your own life.” These teachings and practices had just been recounted in verses 10-11, and what a remarkable summary they provide of a genuine Christian life!

Doctrine—my teachings, sound and true to God’s Word
Manner of life—my Christ-like behavior and habits
Purpose—my sole aim, to honor God and do His will
Faith—my faithfulness to His Word and its demands
Longsuffering—my patient forbearance
Charity—my showing true Christian love
Patience—my cheerful endurance in hard times
Persecutions—the unjust opposition heaped upon me
Afflictions—sufferings and tortures that I endured

The apostle Paul had maintained this strong and consistent Christian testimony for over 30 years following his conversion and could, in all good conscience and true humility, cite his own example as a true teaching aid for others to study and follow.

May Paul’s example be ours, and may our lives likewise become true examples of Christianity for any who are watching us today. HMM

Shed The Gloomy Voice of Unbelief

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

—Hebrews 11:1

 

The voice of unbelief says, “Yes, I’m a believer. I believe the Bible. I don’t like those modernists, liberals and modern scientists who deny the Bible. I would not do that for the world. I believe in God, and I believe that God will bless.” That is, He will bless at some other time, in some other place and some other people. Those are three sleepers that bring the work of God to a halt. We are believers and we can quote the creed with approval. We believe it, but we believe that God will bless some other people, some other place, some other time—but not now, not here and not us….

If we allow the gloomy voice of unbelief to whisper to us that God will bless some other time but not now, some other place but not here, some other people but not us, we might as well turn off the lights because nobody will get anywhere….

The average evangelical church lies under a shadow of quiet doubting. The doubt is not the unbelief that argues against Scripture, but worse than that. It is the chronic unbelief that does not know what faith means.   RRR152, 157

Lord, today I claim three words to take with me through the day—now, here, us. Thank You that I can claim these and they can change my life. Amen.

 

Some Worrisome Characteristics

I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it.
—1 Corinthians 3:2

 

Religion lies in the will and so does righteousness. God never intended that such a being as mankind should become the mere plaything of his or her feelings. The only good that God recognizes is the willed good. The only valid holiness is a willed holiness. That is why I am always a little suspicious of the overly bubbly Christian who talks too much about himself or herself and not enough about Jesus.

Then, I am always a little worried about the “hope-so” Christian who cannot tell me any of the details of his or her Christian experience.

And, finally, I am more than a little concerned about the professing Christian whose experience does not seem to have resulted in a true inner longing to be more like Jesus every day in thought, word and deed. MMG018

God wants us while we live to prove in our own experience all things that have been written in the Bible and to bind the Bible in a new and living edition of flesh and blood in our own lives. TFG077

 

We Are Called to be Saints

1 Corinthians 1:2

When a man receives Christ, he gets more than he asked for. Most of us, taking our first steps toward Him, are seeking simply for pardon and experience real relief when we are assured that our sins are forgiven. Becoming more fully acquainted with the Bible and its teaching, we learn of what happened to us on that red-letter day. We were regenerated (born again), adopted (placed in God’s family), made heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ and much more.

The blessings received at conversion, either present or potential, are so immense that I have a feeling it will take all eternity to learn how much we received when Jesus came into our hearts.

We are given a new title immediately; we are called “saints.” It is one of the names for followers of Christ in the New Testament. Fellow believers, we are saints. What privileges the title implies, and what responsibilities!

There must be no downgrading of the greatness of God’s initial work of grace in the soul. For if a Christian is, at the moment he becomes a Christian, called a saint, that implies momentous things. First, that he has begun to be holy. One cannot receive Christ sincerely, Christ in His purity and burning love, and deliberately hold on to sinful practices, or carelessly tolerate evil thoughts and words.

Just as the new Christian regrets any lapse into sin and longs to be holier, so the title “saints” which he bears is a promise that he will indeed be made more Christlike, by grace. For a saint is a person in whom the Holy Spirit is producing an ever-growing resemblance to Jesus Christ.

It was Chrysostom who said that parents should always give a new baby a great name; it would provide the child with an ideal after which to strive. Turning possibilities into actualities is the Holy Spirit’s specialty! The God who sees the end from the beginning is the God who bestows a name that is a prophecy, and then proceeds to fulfill that prophecy.

Claiming us as His own, describing us as saints, our saving God sets our eyes on the heights. Let there be no doubt about it: God wants and intends to bring to completion the good work He has begun in you. He is faithful! (Philippians 1:6)

Edward Read, Burning, Always Burning