But God

But God

One of my favorite phrases in the Bible is “but God.”

The phrase is peppered throughout Scripture. And it makes my heart smile every time I come across one of those verses.

They bring a vertical perspective to my horizontal circumstances.

They remind me that my circumstances are not permanent.

And they proclaim that when my situation appears hopeless, the God of hope is still on His throne.

Check out some of my favorites:

  • Genesis 50:20 (ESV)

You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…

  • Psalm 49:15 (ESV)

But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me.

  • Psalm 73:26 (ESV)

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

  • Romans 5:8 (ESV)

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

  • I Corinthians 1:27 (ESV)

But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise.

 

Life is difficult, but God is real.

Problems multiply, but God is the original problem solver.

People will disappoint, but God is faithful.

Satan attacks, but God is our defender.

 

What other “But God” statements can you add to this list?

 


One Word Update – Wrong Word for 2018?

Gratitude

By most people’s standards, I picked the wrong word for 2018.

For several years now, instead of making new year’s resolutions, I’ve practiced selecting one word to focus on each year. Actually, it’s not so much that I select the word, it’s more that it’s the word I believe God gives me.

As I posted this past January, my word for 2018 is gratitude.

My husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at the beginning of 2017, and after chemotherapy, radiation, and more chemo, was declared to be in remission by October. When I selected gratitude as my word, we had not yet learned of the remission. Still, as we waited for my husband’s PET scan results, I knew the choice I had to make. To choose gratitude regardless of whether the cancer was still present. To hold on to thankfulness, no matter what.

Sadly, the cancer returned with a vengeance early this year. It metastasized, yielding a terminal prognosis. We are walking that journey today.

If gratitude is based solely on pleasant experiences, then I did, indeed, select the wrong word for 2018.

But despite the hurricane-force winds ripping through my circumstances, one thing will never change. Because of my relationship with Jesus Christ, I will always belong to my heavenly Father. And I have the comfort of knowing my husband has the same assurance.

We’ve been given the gift of eternal life. The incomparable gift of eternal life. A gift that will always eclipse our physical circumstances. It overshadows the worst diagnosis and outlasts the saddest prognosis. And it speaks hope into our brokenness.

So yes, gratitude is still my word for 2018. It’s still the right word for 2018. I’m grateful for the forty years of life my husband and I have shared together. Despite the terminal prognosis, I’m grateful for the remaining time—however limited—we do have, whether months, weeks or days. And I’m grateful for the presence of the Holy Spirit, who is upholding and strengthening us during circumstances that would otherwise be unbearable.

Surely that is reason enough to always be grateful. Grateful for what I have, regardless of how long it will last. Grateful for who I have, regardless of the soon-to-be fulfilled prognosis. And grateful for who I—and we—belong to, because He is holding us close and wrapping us in His love.

Did you choose “one word” for 2018?
Share your update…


Running Out of Time

Running Out of Time

We’re careful about how we spend our money. And we’re careful about exhausting our energy reserves. We’re also careful about how we spend our time…or are we?

When I worked in the corporate world, I taught training sessions on time management. The components of time management in the business world are well known. Prioritizing, planning, and staying organized are all habits of an efficient person. And all for the goal of saving time.

But what are we saving it for? What if time isn’t a thing to be managed? What if the purpose of time is something else?

All too often, I’ve fallen into the trap of viewing life as a rat race, filled with things I have to do and crowding out the things I want to do. It’s so easy to forget that we get to do life together. It’s a privilege. And a joy.

Yes, we have responsibilities and jobs. Obligations and chores. But what if those duties are simply components of our life that provide the resources and abilities to do the things we want? To be with the people we want to be with?

Jobs and careers consume us. So we come home exhausted, only to face a never-ending to-do list. Worse yet, studies have shown that we spend less than 2 minutes a day in meaningful communication with the ones we love. I don’t know about you, but most days I feel as if I’m chasing the clock. Constantly running out of time.

It’s so easy to lose balance. To forget that work isn’t meant to consume us. To forget how important the people in our life are to us.

Until they’re not there anymore.

Time is a limited resource. Once it’s spent, it’s gone. Never to be reused. Never to be recycled. And never to be recovered.

Enjoy the time you have with the people you love. Relish the moments. Create memories to savor. Memories that will keep those people emotionally close even when they’re no longer physically close.

So pay attention to the prompting of the Holy Spirit when He nudges you to make that phone call. Meet that person for coffee or lunch. Take time to listen—really listen—to your spouse or your children instead of turning up the volume on the television.

Gratitude is my “one word” for this year. Be grateful for what you have and who you have. Prioritize the important over the urgent. People over phones. Face-to-face interactions over Facebook posts.

People aren’t perfect. Life isn’t perfect. And time is limited. The people in your life won’t always be there. Be grateful for the time you have with them…while you still have them.


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