Sunday, November 27, 2011

Casting Crowns

 By Susanne Dietze

In the center, around the throne (of God), were four living creatures….Day and night they never stop saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives forever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”  Revelation 4:6b, 8b-11

My kids bring home certificates from school every so often. Unlike when I was a kid (a statement that makes my kids’ eyes glaze over), my children receive an award for just about any achievement you can think of: participation in Jog-A-Thons, knitting in an after school program, and for being responsible enough to turn in homework. All worthy things, to be sure.

Some parents believe that honoring kids for their participation boosts self-esteem, especially for kids who aren’t necessarily tops in academics or sports. Others insist our kids receive too many accolades, fostering a sense of entitlement. Our generation didn’t receive a ribbon for participation, after all.

I see both sides, but that last bit is certainly true for me. I remember the first time I won something: a cake decorating contest in sixth grade. That blue ribbon, now faded purple and permanently bent, still sits in my top dresser drawer. It was just a little prize in a little contest, but I still feel a silly thrill of awe when I look at it.

I've since added a few more treasures to my metaphoric “trophy drawer,” things I poured myself into and for which, by God’s amazing grace, I was allowed to receive recognition, like a recommendation letter or a contest final.

I’m humbled by those treasures, but I’m also aware that anything good in my life came about because God allowed it, and He deserves to receive credit, praise, and glory for the things He's given to me, whether they're gifts or achievements. Our crowns, if you will.

“Holy, Holy, Holy,” is my favorite hymn. I love to imagine being in heaven, singing it to the God who lives forever and ever, who created me and in whom I have my being. I love to imagine what it will look like when, as the hymn says,

All the saints adore thee, casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea.

The same image comes from my favorite Charles Wesley hymn, “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling.”

…(we are) changed from glory into glory, till in heaven we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before thee, lost in wonder, love and praise.

Our crowns will represent a lot of things, perhaps, too many for me to discuss now. But I think they’ll at least partially symbolize all we’ve been given: our talents and abilities and achievements, big and small. And all will be laid at God's feet.

Too often I focus only on laying my suffering, sin, troubles, and flaws at the foot of His throne. He wants us to, of course.  One of the reasons Jesus died and rose again was so we could approach God and cast our cares on Him.

But He also deserves glory for all He’s done in and through us. You are a one-of-a-kind, talented, precious, gifted, beautiful person created by the God of all power, ability, love, and grace. You have a crown in heaven that no doubt outshines this one, the Imperial State Crown of Great Britain with its 140-carat ruby.

This Thanksgiving weekend, perhaps it’s appropriate to practice casting our crowns—big and small—before Him and lose ourselves in “wonder, love, and praise.”

What were you thankful for this Thanksgiving? Like me, do you ever imagine heaven?

Susanne Dietze has written historical-set love stories since she was in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she writes in the hope that her historical romances will encourage and entertain others to the glory of God. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne loves fancy-schmancy tea parties, travel, and spending time with family and friends. Her work has finaled in the Genesis Contest, the Gotcha! Contest, and the Touched By Love Contest. You can visit her on her personal blog, Tea and a Good Book,

photos courtesy of


  1. Aw, Susie, this is beautiful. Just lovely. I love to read Bible images of Heaven. I love hymns about Heaven, and yes, I think often about it.

    Thank you, Susie, for this bright blessing today.

    And yes, I am thankful for you and the other Inkies who bless me every day.

  2. I'm grateful for so many things. The phrase "when I was a kid" has special meaning around these holidays. The family I grew up in was somewhat dysfunctional, and I've had some truly horrific Thanksgivings. But I'm thankful for my calm little family, and the time we can spend together. I truly have the family I wished I'd had as a child.

    And heaven is only going to make it sweeter.

  3. Aw Suzie, I'm thankful for you, too. I have so much to be thankful for. God's blessed me richly.

    I'm glad to know I'm not alone in thinking of heaven. :)

  4. Barb, I'm so glad you enjoyed a good Thanksgiving with your lovely family. God is so good, isn't He?

    I didn't have a difficult childhood, but I can understand what you're saying and relate a bit. It struck me recently that one of the blessings of being an adult is being able to say (even if only to yourself), this is *my* life. This is how I'm going to celebrate holidays: with peace, open hearts, and love. Compromise has to be in there, too, but some things don't have to be tolerated.

    And heaven will be sweeter, indeed.

  5. Is anybody still eating turkey leftovers?

    I froze the rest of my turkey, but I still have a lot of homemade cranberry sauce.

  6. Sounds like you can make cranberry quick breads and freeze them, Susie.

    I tried to post this morning but it was a no-go. Your words really touched me. too often I go to the Lord with concerns only. Yes, I thank Him for blessings as I 'receive' (or make that 'notice') them, but your post made me think about thanking him for the gifts I have that make me, me.

    I think we get pretty caught up on the ways we feel we've failed to live up to our potential, when God is probably just wanting us to come as his children, with joy.

    Heaven? I look forward to the music. Hearing the angels sing. The banquet table. Meeting people and not being an introvert anymore. But it all feels like fantasy and for someone who needs to be busy all the time I'm wondering what I'll have to do (tee hee). Thankfully we'll have a whole new set of normal so I don't have to worry that I'll fall asleep in my heavenly pew.

  7. Yes, and amen!

    "Holy, Holy, Holy" is one of my very favorite hymns.

    There's really not much more to say. :)

    My "thankful for" list would fill up the internet, but I'm thankful especially for being a writer and getting to hang out with writer people and all the weird beings that live in my head. :D

  8. Ooh, good idea about the cranberry bread, Deb. I love cranberry bread. My sauce is full of apples and oranges, too, so I think it'd make good bread. Thanks for the tip.

    You're so right about the "new normal" in heaven. It's impossible to fully imagine what that will look like. Sometimes I'm so dissatisfied/tired/cranky/stressed etc that I think I'll always be that way. But I won't! All those things in me that leave me vulnerable to sin and stress and dissatisfaction will be healed.

    That right there is a big "thank you, God!"

    I'd never thought about not being an introvert anymore... :)

  9. DeAnna, isn't it awesome to have "people" in our heads? Our little created characters are such a part of us.

    What a blessing to have a fellowship with others who are made the same way we are.

    I'm glad you like "Holy, Holy, Holy" too. :)


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