Vol. 7, No. 8
Priscilla's Page *Editor's Note*
~ Page 16 ~
Several years ago I was listening to a sermon tape by one of the ministers in the brotherhood, and he made the statement every time the phrase "but God" appeared in Scripture, the situation completely changed! His statement captured my attention, so I started making a concerted effort to notice the many "but God" passages. Several of these dramatic "but God" passages will be noted from Scripture. When God is involved, the word "but" becomes magnanimous!
When Isaac was born, Sarah saw Ishmael scoffing; so Sarah told Abraham to cast Hagar and her son Ishmael out because he would not be heir with her son Isaac. Abraham was very displeased because Ishmael was his son as well. However, Genesis 21:12 changed everything. "But God said to Abraham, 'Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called'" (emphasis added). God gives Abraham further assurance that the situation was under control when he told him, "Yet I will also make a nation of the son of the bondwoman, because he is your seed" (Genesis 21:13). God can take our worst mistakes and make them work to his honor and glory.
When Joseph's brothers sold him into Egyptian slavery, they were more startled and perplexed than words could say when they were brought face to face with him years later! After their father Jacob had died, they were certain Joseph would take his revenge on them. "Joseph said to them, 'Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive'" (Genesis 50:19-20). God can take the most adverse situation we could possibly find ourselves in and work it out for our good to fulfill his plan and purpose in our lives.
When Saul was anointed king, Samuel the prophet said there was no one like Saul among all the people. However, Saul eventually disobeyed God, which resulted in God's rejection of him as king. Samuel told him God had torn the kingdom of Israel from him and had given it to a neighbor of his who was better than he was. Saul came to know that David was to replace him as king and not his son Jonathan. Saul was outraged and made numerous attempts on David's life to the point that David had to flee and hide out in caves. "And David stayed in strongholds in the wilderness, and remained in the mountains, in the Wilderness of Ziph. Saul sought him every day, but God did not deliver him into his hand" (2 Samuel 23:14). We experience God's provision and protection when our ways please him.
In the parable Jesus tells about the rich farmer, we hear him boasting about his bumper crop. He is so filled with his self-made status he decides he must tear down his current barns and build greater ones. He said to his soul he had many goods laid up for many years; to take his ease; eat, drink and be merry. "But God said to him, 'You fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?" (Luke 12:20). It is always an eternal mistake to put worldly possessions, anything or anybody before God.
When Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, he made it very clear that neither he nor Peter nor Apollos were anything in comparison to the Lord Jesus Christ. Then, he asked them a question: "Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed as the Lord gave to each one?" (1 Corinthians 3:5). The point is driven home in the next two verses: "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gives the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase" (1 Corinthians 3:6-7). We as children of God must understand the power to save is in the Word--not in the person who is preaching or teaching that Word!
When Paul wrote the church at Philippi, he told them about his brother, a fellow soldier and worker who ministered to his needs. His name was Epaphroditus and he had been very ill. "For indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow" (Philippians 2:27). God's mercy upon us endures forever because we are children of his through our obedient faith.
The ultimate in God's power was demonstrated when he raised Jesus Christ from the dead! As Paul preached in the synagogue at Antioch, he related a brief history of God's love and protection for his people before Christ was born. He told them how the Jews had turned against Christ during his public ministry, and they asked Pilate that he should be put to death. "Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb. But God raised Him from the dead" (Acts 13:29-30).
God's unsearchable wisdom and power is once again shown in his love for us! "For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:7-8). Our lives as Christians are lived in love, joy and gratitude to God because he did for us what we could not do for ourselves when he allowed his Son to be sacrificed for our eternal redemption!
I went to the beauty parlor to look for a spiritual makeover,
But the lady said, "What you need I cannot offer."
Then I went to a clothing store to get refashioned,
And the lady said, "The latest fashions are nice,
But what I have cannot suffice."
So then I went to a professional designer to get my spirit restored.
The man said, "There have been hordes,
Wanting this but I knew something was amiss
When you came so listen to this."
"You want a makeover-a specific one surely you must be making fun.
"You must know
That a nice pink bow,
Will not work at all.
Who you need is someone who won't fall
Down from a bridge if it cracks,
But one who knows all the facts.
Our heavenly Lord is the only One
To call on with matters such as this.
It is not your clothes nor your hair
Nor a dress that needs repaired.
It is your soul that needs restored
To the Lord.
He will give you the grandest makeover of all
In summer, winter, spring or fall.
He's the one to call,
So don't hesitate;
You know you can't wait.
"A spiritual makeover is a requirement that we all need.
It will start with a good deed.
Then we shall be with our Lord,
And walk with him who holds the mighty sword
With the breastplate of righteousness,
The Lord will give a spiritual makeover for those in need
Who are like a dying spiritual seed.
He will make you bloom
Through the sinful gloom.