Casting Crowns

even-smaller-bug-light112 God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. ​  – James 1:12 NLT


God lifts up those that are humble and lowly, so they should be thankful. God brings down the rich, so that they realize they can’t help themselves. They need God just as much as those that are poor. When we go to the grave, we can take nothing with us. Rich or poor, when we meet Jesus face to face, the thing that matters is that we have accepted Him as our Savior. All the material things that we have on earth are meaningless when we reach heaven. We shall all be tested and made to endure temptations. If we endure those temptations and stand before God approved, we will be given the Crown of Life. Do not confuse the Crown of Life with salvation. Salvation is a free gift from God, the Crown of Life is something we earn while we are on earth and it is given to us in heaven. That is why we are admonished to lay up our rewards in heaven and not material things here on earth. Earthly rewards fade away, but heavenly rewards are eternal. The Crown of Life is one of 5 crowns that we can earn. These crowns are not for us to wear and strut around heaven showing them to everyone. The purpose of the crowns is for us to cast them at the feet of Jesus to give Him glory and Honor.
 
Rev. 4:9-11 NLT


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 05-23-2017

The Prophecy Fulfilled

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16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. — Luke 2:16 NLT
All  the things had happened just as Gabriel had told Mary.  Having never known a man, she conceived a child fathered by the Holy Spirit.  A fleshly Mother and a Spiritual Father, so it was that He became fully man and fully God in the flesh.  Just as God had promised hundreds of years earlier, He sent a Redeemer to save us who would also one day reign as our King. He had to live as a human to experience all the temptations we experience and never fail the test.  He had to choose and mentor men to carry on His message to a lost world. Through the Holy Spirit, He is still choosing and mentoring people to carry that message to their families, neighbors, friends and people around the world.  Today, on the day that we celebrate as His birthday, let each of us give Him the only thing we can give to our King. Our souls and our commitment to accept the plan He has for each of us.  Then it will truly be “Joy to the World, the King has come.” 
May each of you have a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 12-25-2016

A Time For Celebration!

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10 And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”
— Nehemiah 8:10 NLT
 
 

After the work on the walls of Jerusalem had been completed and the gates were hung in place, Ezra gathered all the people together and took a census.  Then he sent them all home.  They reassembled in Jerusalem and asked Ezra to read to them all of the Book of the Laws of Moses.  As Ezra and the scribes read the laws, the people wept remembering their disobedience.  They realized how much God had forgiven them and how he had brought them safely back to Jerusalem.  They had seen how God had provided everything they needed to rebuild the walls.  Though the enemy came close shouting insults and discouragement, God had protected them while they finished the work.  Ezra and the priests explained to the people that this was not a day for weeping but a day for rejoicing and celebration. There are times in our lives, when some things need to be rebuilt.  When some unexpected event has shaken our faith, we need time to rest and heal.  Perhaps a close friend has broken our trust or one of our spiritual leaders has fallen from grace. The enemy will come close whispering discouraging words in our hear.  God will protect us through the storm and when the skies are clear, it will be a time for rejoicing and celebration for us just as it was for the Israelis in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah.

Psalm 30:1-5 NLT

Post 07-28-2016

Trust and Obey

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8 He may have a great army, but they are merely men. We have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles for us!” Hezekiah’s words greatly encouraged the people.
— 2 Chronicles 32:8 NLT
 When Hezekiah became king of Judah, he tore down false idol and restored the Temple.  He brought back the priests and the Levites and re-established the worship services according to the words that Moses had recorded.  The people had joined in and given their tithes and gift offerings with joy and celebration.  It was a time of restoration in the land of Judah. Hezekiah had faithfully carried out his work.  As we know, satan does not like to see the work of God carried out successfully.  The only plan satan has is to see what God is doing and react to it.  So, God allows him to bring Sennacherib and the Assyrian army to attack Judah and Jerusalem.  Sennacherib had been successful in taking some of the walled cities of Judah and now his army had arrived at Jerusalem.  Hezekiah continued his work of restoration by completing the walls of Jerusalem and building an outer wall as well. He encouraged all of the inhabitants of Jerusalem to continue in their work and worship of the true God of Israel.  Hezekiah had faith that God would deliver the city from danger.  He understood that it was God that had made his efforts successful and not the power of man.  So, when he saw a great army of “mere men” arrayed against him, he trusted his God to deliver him and he was right in doing so.  Hezekiah and the priests cried out to God and God delivered them by sending an angel to destroy the Assyrian army. When we are obedient to God we do not have to fear regardless of what the situation looks like from a human standpoint.  “Trust and obey, there’s no other way”.
Post 06-05-2016

Under the Spout!

even-smaller-bug-light110 Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”11 “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? — John 4:10, 11 NLT

This Samaritan woman had gone through five husbands and was now living with a man that was not her husband and she still had not found the peace and the happiness for which she was looking.  How many of us have chased after what the world calls happiness and found it to be emptiness?  We turn to the world looking for something to fill that emptiness and that void in our hearts.  The pleasures and happiness brought by a new possession or a new experience turn out to be short-lived.  All the fads and the “new” things promising eternal joy turn out to be nothing more than smoke and mirrors.  The devil tells us you just need a little more of this or a little more of that.  Happiness is just around the corner, he promises, and we continue the chase.  And it will always be a chase, because what we are looking for and what we really need can not be bought.  It has already been purchased lock, stock and barrel by Jesus at the Cross and it isn’t for sale.  He owns the whole supply and it is given freely to those who give up the worldly chase and turn to Him for forgiveness.  Stop running and chasing every new thing.  Sit at the feet of Jesus and drink in the living water.  Don’t take a little sip and leave, grab the bucket and pour the water on your head. Immerse yourself in His Word and peace and joy from a never ending stream will flow through your mind and body continuously.  Get under and stay “under the spout where the glory comes out”.  That is anyhwere the unadulterated Word of God is preached and taught.  Find a place where you can immerse yourself in God’s Word every day and joy and peace will chase after and overcome you.
 
165 Those who love Your law have an abundance of peace, and nothing along their paths can cause them to stumble. — Psalm 119:165 The Voice
Post 02-07-2016

Shepherds, Why This Jubilee?

even-smaller-bug-light1No army, no weapons, no royal garments, no worldwide proclamations, an announcement made to shepherds in a field. Just a poor couple in a lowly situation giving birth to a baby. Nothing unusual going on here, happens all the time.  And, yet, this is how God’s plan began to unfold.  Although it was well documented in the Old Testament, few chose to believe the prophecies, Because they refused to believe, this event came like a sneak attack in the midnight hours, in the most unlikely of places. No army, just one person and that person was a baby.  No wonder, the enemy never saw it coming.  How could anyone know that it was God Himself?  His redemption plan required Him to become flesh with real blood flowing through His veins. That blood would have to be shed to fulfill the law and redeem us from our sinful state.  It would be years later before the world realized what had taken place then and who arrived on the scene that night.  

13 Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. — Isaiah 7:13, 14 NIV

Immanuel, God with us!  The people didn’t believe it in Isaiah’s time and very few believed it,  that night,  years later in Bethlehem.  But, yet, there, in a manger laid the living proof that God had put aside all His glory and came to earth to win the battle for us.  Such magnificient, incomprehensible love demands our allegiance, our praises and our worship!  Such unimaginable love is more than reason enough to celebrate all the time, not just one day a year!
 
Shepherds, why this jubilee
Why your joyous strains prolong
Say what may these tidings be
Which inspire your heavenly song
Gloria, Gloria
Gloria, in excelsis Deo
Gloria, in excelsis Deo
Come to Bethlehem and see
Him whose birth the angels sing
Come adore on bended knee
Christ the Lord, the new born King
Gloria, Gloria
Come to Bethlehem and see!  The invitation is still open!  
Will you come?  Will you believe?   If not now, when? 
Post 12-25-2015

He Just Keeps On Giving!

even-smaller-bug-light11  A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2  The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—
3  and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. — Isaiah 11:1-3 NIV

 ​This passage from Isaiah is one of the many prophecies about Jesus in the Old Testament.​  It gives us several of the characteristics of Jesus; wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge and the fear of the Lord.  Notice that not only did He have the “fear of the Lord”, but He delighted in that fear.  Though, He was God, He came to us as all man.  As a man, His access to divine knowledge was limited.  He did this voluntarily so that He might live as all man so that He might be an example to us.  
 

6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.– Phil 2:6, 7 ESV

​We, as humans, have access to that same Spirit.  In fact, that Spirit lives inside each of us. ​ He gave us this Spirit as a gift.  So, our lives should exhibit those same characteristics, at least to some degree.  To what degree depends completely on our commitment to spend time in His presence praying, meditating on His Word, and listening to His voice.  The reason we need to do this is that there is so much more Jesus wants to give us but He will not force it upon us, we have to ask Him for it and delight in receiving it.  How can we know that He will give us more?
 

32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? — Romans 8:32 NIV

4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. — Psalm 37:4 NIV

Post 12-18-2015