Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Lord is Rich and Merciful

In my opinion, these are two of the most powerful words in the Bible: But God.

They are used most frequently by Paul and it seems as if he wants to remind us that we're not in control here. But God.

In one instance, in the book of Acts, Luke starts by quoting Peter's sermon on the Day of Pentecost. Peter reminds the Jews that they nailed Jesus to the cross, but He didn't stay dead forever. But God.

This Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. Acts 2:23-24

But God raised Him up again! In Paul's exhortation in the synagogue at Pisidian Antioch, he delivers the same message Peter did earlier.

When they had carried out all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the cross and laid Him in a tombtombtomb. But God raised Him from the dead; and for many days He appeared to those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, the very ones who are now His witnesses to the people. Acts 13:29-31

But God. Not only did God raise Jesus from the dead, but in His predestined plan He arranged for Jesus to appear to many so that they could be witnesses of His Lordship.

There's good news in these two little words: But God.

For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:7-8

But God demonstrates His love for us. While others would hardly die for a righteous man, God sends His son to die while we were YET sinners. He didn't wait for us to get better, to become perfect, to quit sinning. But God!

And again! When we were dead, He made us alive together with Christ.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:3-7

But God, whose very character is RICH in mercy, and because He loves us, even while we were yet sinners, did all of this:
1) made us alive with Christ
2) saved us by grace
3) raised us up with Christ
4) seated us with Christ in the heavenly places

and why? So that in the future He might show us the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us! This list is absolutely overwhelming. But God.

This "But God" phenomenon isn't limited to the most amazing gift that He's given us: Jesus Christ. It works itself out in daily life, in big and small ways. I can think of so many instances in my own life that I thought things were going one way and then, "But God." His ways are higher than my ways, and He intervenes at just the right time. He shows me where my plans are not according to His plan, and He sets me on a straight path.

I am so thankful for these "But God" moments. I am so thankful for a heavenly Father who knows me, loves me, and works things together for my good and His glory.

The Lord is Rich and Merciful
Words by Thomas Lynch

The Lord is rich and merciful,
The Lord is very kind;
O come to Him, come now to Him,
With a believing mind!
His comforts, they shall strengthen thee,
Like flowing waters cool;
And He shall for thy spirit be
A fountain ever full.

The Lord is glorious and strong
Our God is very high;
O trust in Him, trust now in Him,
And have security;
He shall be to thee like the sea,
And thou shalt surely feel
His wind, that bloweth healthily
Thy sicknesses to heal.

The Lord is wonderful and wise,
As all the ages tell;
O learn of Him, learn now of Him,
Then with thee it is well;
And with His light thou shalt be blest,
Therein to work and live;
And He shall be to thee a rest
When evening hours arrive.