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"Today's Word" with Skip Moen

Devotional for September 20

And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory". 1 Peter 5:4

Crown - The word for "crown" is the Greek word stephanos. This is not the crown of a king but rather the crown won in Olympic games or given as a symbol of merit. It is also the crown of flowers worn at a marriage by the bride or worn at a festival.

The same word is used to describe the crown of thorns worn by Jesus. There is great irony in the crown of thorns. It was meant as a mocking gesture, deliberately replacing the crown of a victory celebration with thorns to show defeat and insult, but God made it into the final symbol of true victory and redemption.

Here is another example of God's unique ability to take what the world considers insulting, degrading and useless and make it into something of incredible value. The crown of thorns was not the king's crown. We get the wrong picture in mind because we associate this crown with the placard "King of the Jews". The crown of thorns was supposed to signify defeat rather than victory. But God turned the tables on the entire human race. The victory of those people who killed Jesus became their greatest shame and defeat. The appearance of defeat in Jesus' life became the greatest victory the world has ever known.

God does the same thing every time a person wakes up to reality and sees the need for renewal. God takes the defeated lives that we present to Him and makes them into victory crowns of heaven. Peter was well aware of the crown of thorns. He saw it on the head of Jesus. And he felt it on his own head when he denied that he knew Jesus. Peter knew the pain of defeat. Jesus came to him and replaced that defeated life with a new crown of resurrected living. Defeat became the pathway to victory. It's the same with each of us. Until we reach the point of defeat, we have no need to be resurrected to a life of unfading glory. We think we can do it all. We have the wrong view of victory. Then life slaps us hard and we fall. That is exactly what we needed because we can only find the pathway to an "unfading crown" from the dirt of defeat.

When you hit the bottom (and you will), remember that all those thorns in your life are there to point you to Christ. Let His victory over the thorns be your victory too. Go for the flowers in the crown of heaven!

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"Today's Word" devotional, from Skip Moen . © 2008 is used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, September 20th, 2017
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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