January 2, 2004
Encouragement for Today
Casting Your Crowns
The twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne (Rev.4: 10, NKJ).
Sometimes I'm overwhelmed by God's grace and mercy. As I dwell on His exceeding goodness, praise often immerges from my heart and cascades off of my lips, for He alone is worthy of all my benefits.
We should never forget that it was the Father's extraordinary love that called us out of darkness into the light so that we may know Him and His fellowship. God, alone, opened our eyes so that we could see the necessity of our salvation. It was the Lord, our Provider, who imparted to us the Holy Spirit so that we would have everything we need to live a life of godliness. God needs no one to accomplish His purposes. Still, He continues to show us His love by giving each of us a spiritual gift so that we can experience true joy as we serve Him and others.
While God graciously allows us to be co-laborers with Him, still, He does it all. In the Master's hand, we are only tools for accomplishing His kingdom purposes. It is the Lord, who independently gives us new life, purifies, and re-creates us. Yet, there are times when we steal God's glory. We steal His glory when we take credit for a job well done, while failing to acknowledge Him. We steal God's glory when we proclaim the success of our achievements, while knowing apart from Him anything we do is insignificant. At times, it is easy to keep the blessings for ourselves instead of offering them back to the One to whom they belong.
I'm reminded of the Israelites as they traveled the desert. They were desperately dependant on God for all their needs. Throughout their journey, the Lord graciously provided for them. Their clothes and shoes never wore out, and He even fed them bread from heaven.
The Israelites were instructed by God to gather only enough bread to eat for each day. However, instead of trusting God to provide their daily bread, some of them gathered extra. The next morning, they found that the bread had rotted and was unfit to eat. Our blessings are like that. If we hoard them for ourselves, they will only rot.
While it's acceptable to cheer for and encourage one another, don't forget to rejoice with the Father as well. Offer a sacrifice of praise to God for your blessings, because the victory is His alone. When we offer Him praise with a grateful heart, He'll continue to pour victories through us as we acknowledge the Victor. Otherwise, we will end up with rotten blessings.
The Bible says that when we seek the praise of others, we have already received our reward. Yet, there is a day coming when Christ shall return bringing our rewards with Him for the good works we've done. If we have already received our reward from men, then we won't receive His. Wouldn't you rather acquire His reward than anything man can offer? I know that I would! Besides, when we see our Lord face to face in heaven, it will be our desire to bow down before the One who sits on the throne, and with praise on our lips and gratitude in our hearts, cast all our crowns before Him; for He alone is worthy of all our benefits.
My prayer for today:
Lord, I praise you for allowing me to be a co-laborer with you. Forgive me for the times that I steal your glory. I know that apart from you I'm nothing, and that every good gift comes from you. In everything I do, may you receive all glory. In Jesus name-Amen.
Take time today to bless God for all His good gifts, and give Him back the blessings that are truly His.
In what ways do you sometimes steal God's glory?
How often do you thank Him for every gift, opportunity and blessing in your life?
Do you seek the praise of men more often than you seek the praise of God? Why?
How do you know that you serve to please the Lord?
What in your life gives evidence that you may be working to please people?
I am the Lord, that is my name; and my glory I will not give to another. Nor my praise to carved images. (Isaiah 42:8, NKJ)
Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? (Exodus 15:11, NKJ)
I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and I will glorify your name forevermore. (Psalm 86:12, NLJ)
You are worth O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for you created all things, and by your will they exist and were created. (Revelation 4:11, NKJ)
Through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men. (2 Corinthians 9:13, NLJ)
Radically Obedient Radically Blessed by Lysa TerKeurst
Women in Ministry by Mary Southerland
The Art of Helping by Lauren Littauer Briggs