We are certainly in some interesting times like we have never seen and God certainly has our attention.
My dear, precious friend and mentor Shirley Cashion chose "But God" as her words this year and focus... It really brought my attention to these 2 words throughout scripture and how the circumstances in which these words are used..
My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. Psalm 73:26, KJV
B-U-T, the adversative conjunction.
The word "But God” in Scripture often introduces the message of the gracious and compassionate intervention of God. This simple term captures the nature of our God. He redeems, resurrects, and makes all things new. Period.
Those two words, "But God" represent a contrast. As humans, we are sinful, left to our own devices we would destroy ourselves and our culture. In contrast to that gloomy picture the apostle now says, "But God..."
Over 40 times in the Bible you have those words, “but God,” and almost every time you find them, they bring an element of hope to a desperate situation.
I don't think any of us has any idea of what life would be like if God suddenly ceased his redemptive processes among us. I am sure that within hours there would be mass suicides all over the earth, because every bit of glory would be removed from life, every bit of joy, every bit of gladness, all those moments that we delight in when the family gathers around and gives us a sense of security, of warmth and joy together. All this would be gone. For these blessings come from God's activity among men, from God at work redeeming, reaching out, seeking to arrest the attention of men and women and boys and girls all over the earth. If all that suddenly ceased, life would become incredibly dull and drab and dreary.
Now, life teaches us that there are times when God does temporarily withdraw his blessing from life and his goodness from us, and invariably life then turns difficult to live.
I was reading this morning about the unbelievable impact on our world and what may be to come from the isolation, depression and grief the Corona Virus is bringing on our culture. Here are a few of the comments:
The national hotline providing emergency help to people suffering from emotional distress has received nearly nine times more calls than it did this time last year, with tens of thousands reaching out for help amid the coronavirus crisis. – ABC News
Forty-five percent of Americans say the coronavirus outbreak has taken a toll on their mental health, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll. – National Geographic
Experts say the protracted disruption to life could bring feelings of anger, depression, anxiety and even grief. The next few months may take a toll on the nation's mental health, but it is possible to mitigate the stress.
The Corona Virus is certainly teaching us many life lessons.
Our lives can change in an instant. God is in control of everything. .. We also know it may appear that God is silent during this time, BUT GOD can do anything!!!
Paul tells us that the result of the condition into which we are born. And the only thing which alleviates it is the mercy and the grace of God. It would always be that way -- every moment of life would be that way -- were it not for God's goodness poured out upon us, to the just and the unjust alike, in his attempt to reach us and arrest us.
So these words come through to us with great meaning: "But God..." The apostle is very careful to inform us immediately of what it is that moves God to act, and he focuses on that: "But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses ..." That was the condition in which we were found. But God began to move. What moved him? The first thing, the apostle says, is his mercy.
Interestingly enough, life often hangs on that one word and that which follows. When Paul wrote to his friends at Philippi, he told about Epaphroditus, who became ill, so ill that it seemed he would die. “Indeed he was ill, and almost died,” wrote Paul, adding, “But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow” (Philippians 2:27). With those words, “but God,” despair gives way to hope, and literally, death to life.
Look at the moral lives of the men and women who eventually became members of the church at Ephesus. They were morally bankrupt, depraved, and debauched. The largest single building in the city of Ephesus where Paul ministered, was a brothel adjacent to city hall. Families were not just hurting, they were fractured and divided. Men practiced fulfilling the lusts of the flesh; then, says Paul, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved)” (Ephesians 2:,4-5, KJV).
Every person who finds himself in desperate straits needs to visualize another sign. Reverse the color combination. Put red letters of hope against a black background of dark circumstances, and let the message read, “But God…” The darker the circumstances, the brighter the message of hope. Hang the sign in every doctor’s office, in the conference room of every marriage counselor. Put it in every pastor’s office, and on the wall of every church. Write it in your mind, and refuse to accept defeat.
God can turn around any given set of circumstances including the Corona Virus... . There is hope for your marriage, for your son or daughter, for the person who is so difficult, for the health situation which has caused you to wonder if you will ever get better. The message, “but God” isn’t one of a false hope. To the contrary, it is central the turning about-face of every person who has been converted, just as it was for the siinful men and women whom Paul later addressed as “saints” in the church.
MY FRIENDS, THIS IS OUR TIME TO SHINE. THIS IS OUR TIME TO KNOW GOD'S WORD IS TRUTH AND THE WORLD NEEDS TO KNOW WHY WE HAVE OUR FAITH AND TRUST IN HIM... BUT GOD... Can do anything... We have an opportunity right now to show Jesus to the world... Let's reach and and do what we can today ... a phone call to a senior citizen, a text to someone who is alone, a card, a message of hope, a song you send to someone letting them know you love them, a word of encouragement to those who are in despair. Fill yourself with God's word so you can share our hope in Him and remember
BUT GOD... He is faithful... we trust in Him and know He is at work......
Long ago, the Psalmist wrote these words, “My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever” (Psalm 73:26, KJV).
Ah yes, again, those words, “but God.” Add them to the despair of your life, and hope is born anew.
Now listen to this song and have joy today knowing BUT GOD!!!
📖 1 John 4:18
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.