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Two Words That Change Everything

by Victor Knowles

The apostle Paul gives us a grim view of ourselves when he says we were once dead in our transgressions and sins. How can there be any hope for someone who is dead in their sins? But everything changes when Paul goes on to say, “BUT GOD, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love for us with which he loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together in Christ” (Ephesians 2:4). How does this make you feel? Exuberant, I should hope! From a spiritual corpse to a living Christ follower!   

     As you read through your Bible, you will find a number of times when these two words, or their equivalent, enter the picture and change everything. Here are a few encouraging examples! “O Israel, you are destroyed, BUT YOUR HELP IS FROM ME” (Hosea 13:9 NKJV). From apparent destruction to divine reconstruction!  What God did for Israel, He can do for any nation who turns to Him.

      Joseph said to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, BUT GOD INTENDED IT FOR GOOD to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20 NIV). God can take what others intend for evil and turn it into something good!

     Paul preached that although Christ was crucified under Pontius Pilate, was taken down from the tree, and was laid in a tomb, that was not the end. He went on to say, “BUT GOD RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD” (Acts 13:30 NKJV) and that “through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you” (v. 36). What Satan hoped was the end of Jesus was trumped by God when He raised His Son from the dead. Note: The next Sabbath day “almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord” (v. 44). The Resurrection of Christ is the ultimate “BUT GOD” event in history! Let’s tell that story!

     When you and I were still without any spiritual power, “at just the right time” Christ died for the ungodly. Paul told the Christians in Rome, “Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possible dare to die. BUT GOD DEMONSTRATES HIS OWN LOVE FOR US IN THIS: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:7-8 NIV). How does that make you feel? Grateful? Thankful? Worshipful?

      Ever feel hemmed in by your troubles or harassed at every turn? Paul and his traveling companions certainly did. “For when we came into Macedonia, this body of ours had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn — conflicts on the outside, fears within. BUT GOD, WHO COMFORTS THE DOWNCAST, comforted us by the coming of Titus” (2 Corinthians 7:5-6 NIV). Once again God steps into the picture in the person of Titus. You can be a Titus to someone in distress.

     When Paul was on trial for his life, no one came to his support. How sad! “At my first defense, not one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. BUT THE LORD STOOD AT MY SIGHT AND GAVE ME STRENGTH, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth” (2 Timothy 4:16-17 NIV). Even if everyone deserts you, God will not!

     Today you may be frozen by fear, BUT GOD can remove those fears when you turn fearful imaginations into prayerful petitions. You may be discouraged “thinking all is lost,” BUT GOD can alter your situation when you “count your many blessings and name them one by one.” You may be taking a long time to recover from an illness, BUT GOD can renew your strength and cause you to “mount up with wings like eagles.”

     God is greater than any problem you may have. “His power can make you what you ought to be; His blood can cleanse your heart and make you free; His love can fill your soul, and you will see: ‘Twas best for Him to have His way with thee!”

     Write the words “BUT GOD” on a place where you can see them every day. And remember: When God enters the picture, everything changes!

 

Victor Knowles is head of POEM (Peace on Earth Ministries) and a minister of the Gospel.  He lives in Joplin, MO.

 




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I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:13