Posts Tagged “Acts”

Resting at the River’s Edge provides an opportunity to participate in reading through the Bible in a systematic way. Here’s more details about the plan and our schedules.

Join the conversation as we read together each month. E-mail me, leave a message on the Apprehending Grace Facebook page, or post a comment at the end of any blog. Let’s share the treasures God drops in our spirits as we read!

Also, NEW in 2012 are our RARE bookmarks. Click on the link below to download them.

Use the tracking method that works best for you – the schedule provided in this blog, the downloadable half-page PDF or bookmark. All provide the same schedule.

Above all, enjoy God as you read! Let Him speak to you!
Sandy

Download All 2012 Bookmarks Here

Download only the March/April 2012 Bookmark Here

Download a Half-Page PDF of the April Reading Plan Here

Here’s April’s reading plan:

April 2012 Resting at the River's Edge Reading Schedule JPG

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Resting at the River’s Edge provides an opportunity to participate in reading through the Bible in a systematic way. We’re following a two year plan (2012 and 2013) that has us reading the New Testament each year and the Old Testament stretched over the two years. Each month our reading plans also provide a column titled “Additional.” This column provides readings that will allow you to read through the entire Bible (that is, the complete Old and New Testaments) during the year 2012.

Join the conversation as we read together each month. E-mail me, leave a message on the Apprehending Grace Facebook page, or post a comment at the end of any blog. God has treasures for each of us as we read. Let’s share them!

Also, NEW in 2012 are our RARE bookmarks. Click on the link below to download them. Each bookmark provides two months of Resting at the River’s Edge reading schedules and is great for tracking your readings. (We found an “oops” in the bookmarks we uploaded last month – we forgot to include Feb 29 in the schedule. The bookmarks have been updated to reflect the additional day we get this year.)

Use the tracking method that works best for you – the schedule provided in this blog, the downloadable half-page PDF or bookmark. All provide the same schedule.

I pray that you enjoy your time with God as you read each day.
Sandy

Download All 2012 Bookmarks Here Download only the March/April 2012 Bookmark Here Download a Half-Page PDF of the March Reading Plan Here

Here’s March’s reading plan:

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1   To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven.
2    A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
3    A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to rebuild
4    A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
5    A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
6    A time to search and a time to lose.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
7    A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak up.
8    A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NIV)

4But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. 5God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. 6And because you Gentiles have become his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, and now you can call God your dear Father. 7Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, everything he has belongs to you. Galatians 4:4-7 (NLT)

Scripture says that there is “a time for every purpose under heaven.” Under heaven means here on earth. It also says “When the time was right” or “When the fullness of time had come” God sent His son…

When you put those Scripture together, I get excited.

There was a story in the news earlier this year about a study done by the Oxford Dictionary. The Oxford Dictionary is the dictionary to beat all dictionaries. Here in America, when we think of dictionaries, we think of Webster. In London, they think of Oxford. The study identified the 25 most commonly used nouns. The noun that is used more than any other noun is the word “time”. Also in the list of top 25 nouns are year, day, and week. So 4 of the top 25 words relate to time… The world is obsessed with time!

So obsessed that the US Government has two different agencies that are responsible for keeping the “official time” of the United States. Seems to me that one agency would be sufficient.

I think the reason we’re obsessed with time is because we can’t control it. It continues moving forward no matter what we do. Sometimes it seems to move more quickly and sometimes more slowly, but no matter what we do, it continues on.

We try to control it. We talk about managing our time. I googled “time management” and got 43,900,000 hits! Nearly 44 MILLION!

That made me curious, and since searches are so quick and easy, I decided to google just the word “time.” There were more than 14 BILLION references to the word time.

Yes, I’d say we’re obsessed with time.

I think we’re also obsessed with time because we don’t really understand it. Sometimes it seems to move quickly, sometimes it drags. It seems to just disappear sometimes and when we’ve taken an unexpected nap we can become totally disoriented – largely because we can’t figure out what day/time it is.

In all this stress over time, there is reason to rejoice and have peace. Let’s look at some of the things Scripture tells us about time.

1) God exists outside of time. Now I don’t understand what that means or how that happens, I just know that it is. Scripture is clear that God is eternal. That means He existed before time began and he will exist after time ends. There was never a time when He didn’t exist and there will never be a time when he won’t exist.

Isaiah 57:15 says that God  “inhabits eternity” – in other words, He lives in eternity.

In Isaiah 43:13, the Lord Himself says this: “From eternity to eternity I am God.”

Another phrase that you’ll find many times in the Bible is “from everlasting to everlasting.” It’s often used with an exhortation to “praise Him, because He lives from everlasting to everlasting.”

2) God created time.

1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

3And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
Genesis 1:1-5

At the moment God created the first day, He created time as we measure it. The creation continues story by identifying what God did during the first seven days of the existence of time as we know it. Since God created time, we can trust Him with our time. When I am stressed because I have too much to do and too little time, I can take a step back, remember that God created and controls time, and rest in Him.

3) God has a purpose for our time and wants to be involved in our lives.

Did you ever wonder why you were born when you were born? I think girls especially sometimes look at history books and maybe they see the pretty clothes of the Victorian era or some other time and they begin to wish they had lived in another time.

Acts 17 tells us something interesting about the time in which we live:

26From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 
Acts 17:26-27

Ecclesiastes 3 says that there is a time to be born and a time to die. This passage says the same thing, but it goes a bit further. It says that God determines the time for us to be born and the time for us to die. He also determined the exact places where we should live. Why? So that we would seek Him and reach out to Him and find Him.

God’s actions throughout history have been aimed at one goal – that we would seek Him; that we would reach out and find Him. It’s so important to God that we have a relationship with Him that He sent His Son to earth. He understood that it can be hard for us to understand what we can’t see. So Jesus said “I’ll go! Send me.” Then He stepped out of eternity and stepped into time.

And that was such a climactic event in all of human history, that time is measured before and after it. We live in the year 2011 AD – in other words, 2011 years after Jesus lived.

4But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. 5God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. 6And because you Gentiles have become his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, and now you can call God your dear Father. 7Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, everything he has belongs to you. Galatians 4:4-7 (NLT)

This passage says that God sent His Son, Jesus, to buy freedom for us so that we could be adopted as God’s own children. And when we are adopted as His own children, everything He has belongs to us.

God’s highest purpose, is to give each of us an opportunity to be adopted as His son or daughter.

Romans 5 explains how that happened:

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.
Romans 5:6

“At just the right time” Christ “died for us sinners.” You see, even when we find God, we have a problem. That problem is called sin. We have lived our lives apart from God, doing what seemed right to us, not doing what God considered right. There is a punishment due for that sin – a penalty. The penalty, Scripture says, is death. So that we might escape eternal death, Jesus stepped in and said “Father, I’ll die in their place.”

Again, Romans 5:6 says:

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.
Romans 5:6

The passage continues with one of my favorite verses in all of Scripture:

8But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. 9And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s judgment. 10For since we were restored to friendship with God by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be delivered from eternal punishment by his life. 11So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God—all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us in making us friends of God.
Romans 5:8-11

“Now we can rejoice,” Scripture says, because when we believe what Scripture teaches and trust Jesus for our life, God adopts us as His sons and daughters and all that He has is ours. Remember, one of the things He has is eternal life…He lives in eternity. When we trust Jesus, we will live in eternity with God. Yes, He has still appointed a time for us to die, but it’s not an eternal death, it’s merely a crossing from this life into life with God for eternity.

Like I said earlier in this blog, I don’t understand eternity. You know what? That’s OK, because what I do know is that spending eternity with God is a GOOD thing. When my time on this earth is done, when God’s purposes for my life on this earth are accomplished, God has appointed a time for me to die. But He is arranging the events of my life so that I will seek Him and find Him.

When your time on this earth is done, when God’s purposes for your life are accomplished, He has appointed a time for you to die. In the meantime, He’s arranging the events of your life so that you will seek Him and find Him. If you haven’t found Him, I encourage you to continue to seek Him. You can read more about how to find Him here. The time is right! ’Tis the season.

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Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”
Acts 26:32

These words have always haunted me. Poor Paul. If only he had not uttered the words “I appeal to Caesar” in the last chapter! But he did and now a few days later King Agrippa states plainly to Festus, the civic and military leader of Judea (of which Jerusalem was a part and where Paul was arrested) that Paul could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.

It seems to me that I’d have been thinking “If I had only kept my mouth shut! Now look what I’ve gotten myself into. I’ve already been in prison for nearly a week and now they say I could have been set free.” I would have been frustrated.

The story continues. As a result of Paul appealing to Caesar, he was sent to Rome – not an easy trip we learn. Terrible storms buffeted the ship for more than two weeks and they were eventually forced to abandon ship at the small island of Malta. The narrative makes it clear that was windy, rainy and cold.

I think we so often romanticize Scripture narratives. The citizens of Malta join them on the beach and build a fire for them. Beach party! Not quite – let’s picture this as it really is – after more than 2 weeks of being battered by storms, their ship breaks apart and they swim to shore. It’s still raining and windy and cold. They are soaking wet, their clothes and hair are being whipped around their body as they search for wood to help make a fire in the rain. The 276 passengers and crew from the ship now have no ship to serve as their home away from home and to take them where they are going. No food to sustain them. No clothes to change into. It’s not a beach party, it’s a disaster and they feel devastated. And it all could have been avoided if Paul had not appealed to Caesar. But he did, so the story continues.

After three months on Malta, they set sail again for Rome.

Mini-Lesson in the Narrative
Upon arrival in Rome, Paul is greeted by believers who had heard he was headed to Rome and traveled a distance to see him. Scripture records:

At the sight of these men Paul thanked God and was encouraged.
Acts 28:15b

I’m thinking Paul needed the encouragement. It doesn’t say that Paul was discouraged, but it makes a point of including this half-verse saying that he was encouraged. The Apostles were great men of God, but they were still humans and I think God, in His grace, sent those believers to Paul simply to encourage him. The short lesson from this half-verse is that God knows when we need encouragement and He sends people to encourage us. Isn’t he a wonderful, compassionate and loving God?

Having arrived in Rome, you’d think Paul would have his day in court – have his opportunity to appeal to Caesar and get on with his life. The lesson of this narrative, though, is that God wants us to be a witness for Him throughout all the interruptions in our life. While on the island of Malta, Paul prayed for those who were sick and they were healed. Undoubtedly (knowing Paul), he was not only healing the sick, but also sharing the Truth about Christ at every opportunity. Upon arrival in Rome, the trial he had been waiting for seemed to have been delayed…

30For two whole years Paul stayed there [in Rome] in his own rented house [being guarded by a soldier while awaiting trial] and welcomed all who came to see him. 31Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.
Acts 28:30-31

What began in false arrest, imprisonment and hardship resulted in Paul’s opportunity to “boldly and without hindrance” preach the Gospel and teach about Jesus to believers and non-believers alike in Rome.

When I am tempted to regret something I’ve done that seems to have changed the circumstances of my life for the worse, it’s important to remember that we don’t yet know the end of the story. (Well, we know the final end of the story – that I will spend eternity with God – the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – in heaven, a place so unimaginably great that anything I consider pales in comparison to it; but that’s a different blog.) But in the midst of life on this earth, we don’t yet know where our circumstances are leading us in Christ. Continued obedience to Him and His Word might just be leading us to years of unrestrained opportunity to preach and teach about Jesus. Let’s not diss the Lord and His activity in our lives by keeping our eyes on the storms and hardship around us when those very storms and hardships are just the scenery on the journey to serving Him.

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Hi Folks,

I’ve heard that some are having trouble downloading the May 2011 Resting at the River’s Edge recommended reading schedule. I have uploaded new files and hope they do the job.

There are always three ways to access the reading schedules:

From the Series page, you can click on the “Resting at the River’s Edge – Reading Through the Bible in 2011” link. That link takes you to this page – the blog entry for each month’s reading.

From the Downloads page, you can click on “Resting at the River’s Edge – Read thru the Bible in 2011” link. It will take you to this page that allows you to download the schedule for each month.

As my mom would say, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. (I used that expression recently and the person I was talking with asked me if I wanted to skin a cat. No, I do not, but you get the idea.) 🙂

Each of the links to the actual schedule take you to the same file, however, so if one approach doesn’t work for you, you’ll have little success trying other approaches. If you have any problems with the link, please let me know. It works at this end, but…

Blessings on your week, friends, and keep reading! God will speak to you!
Sandy

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Resting at the River's Edge Logo 2010-2011

Watching the Church Grow & Develop and Reading some Poetry

As we Rest at the River’s Edge in May, we’ll spend most of our time doing two things:

  • Watching the church grow and develop as we read through the book of Acts
  • Enjoying poetry as we read some Psalms and the Song of Songs (often called Song of Solomon)

As spring develops, don’t lose focus on what’s important, but feel free to take your Bible and notebook outside and enjoy some spring weather!

Blessings, Sandy

The recommended reading schedule for May is below.

To download a PDF of May’s recommended reading plan, click here.

 

Watching the Church Grow & Develop and Reading some Poetry

As we Rest at the River’s Edge in May, we’ll spend most of our time doing two things:

Watching the church grow and develop as we read through the book of Acts

Enjoying poetry as we read some Psalms and the Song of Songs (often called Song of Solomon)

As spring develops, don’t lose focus on what’s important, but feel free to take your Bible and notebook outside and enjoy some spring weather!

Blessings,
Sandy

 

 

 

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7Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.

8Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. 9Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision.
Acts 12:7-9

As I read this passage this morning, I was struck by Peter’s quick obedience. Awoken from his sleep, Peter does exactly he’s told…without questioning why or who or how. I am challenged by this, are you? While He hasn’t sent angels and shining lights, God occasionally makes His will known to me in other ways. I’m sorry to report that typically at those times, I am more apt to ask why and how before I obey.

I tend to have a cautious and slow moving faith. I want to embrace all of God, but I want to avoid foolish adventures that appeal to my emotions or personality but are not of God. I am sure that sometimes I wrap my hesitancy to obey in the mature sounding desire to test all things and make sound judgments – instead of recognizing it for what it is – fear of the unknown, fear of change, complacency, comfortable with life as I know it or just plain laziness. I don’t what to be the person who embraces those things, but they creep into my life so easily. Sometimes, I have to remind myself that I want to pursue God with all my heart instead of being lulled into complacency by the things of the world.

There are times to be cautious and move slowly and there are times for quick obedience.  For those of us who tend to be stuck in the slow and cautious mode, I pray that Peter’s example will inspire us to quick obedience when God says “Quick, get up!”

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42They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Acts 2:42-27

As I’ve been reading the first couple of chapters of Acts, three things have impressed me greatly. This passage from Acts 2 gives us a glimpse of each of them.

1.   Devoted
Notice in verse 42 that it says the new believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching. During Lent, I studied a bit about its history. In the early church, new believers were baptized only once a year on Easter morning. For several weeks before their baptism, the believers went through a period of preparation. Every resource I read described the new believers as “devoting” themselves to prayer, repentance, fasting and giving. I have been so taken with this word. Am I devoted to studying Scripture? Am I devoted to giving? Am I devoted to fellowship with other believers? I am hard-pressed to answer those questions affirmatively. Which ultimately leads to the question “Am I devoted to the Lord?” I have been working on my devotion to the Lord over the past month.

2.   Giving
Verses 44 and 45 present a common theme in the early chapters of Acts. The believers provided for those among them who could not provide for themselves. “Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.” Notice it doesn’t say that their tithes provided for the needs of everyone. It says that when there were needs, they sold something to meet that need. That’s much different from me giving my tithe or an offering from my paycheck. There is both a difference in the attitude toward possessions and a willingness to sacrifice that goes beyond the perspective most of us have about giving. Giving an offering which makes me unable to purchase something I want is one thing; selling something I already own (and therefore have some degree of emotional attachment to) is something else altogether. This attitude is further described in Acts 4:

32All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.… 34There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.
Acts 4:32, 34-35

I am challenged to truly view all I own as belonging to the Lord. I might say that everything I have is God’s, but when was the last time I sold something purely to give the proceeds to someone in need? The closest I’ve come is having a garage sale with the proceeds going to a missions trip I was taking. Selling items in a garage sale, which was part of my preparation for moving to a new home anyway, is an example of selling things I no longer needed or wanted. It’s not an example of me selling something of value solely to give the proceeds to someone in need. How about you? Have you asked God lately what He might want you to sell so that you can give to someone in need?

3.   Talking about Jesus – Everywhere
Verses 46 and 47 give us a hint at something we see throughout the early chapters of Acts – that the people were constantly talking about and praising God. Do you freely talk about the Lord and praise Him? I’ve found that the more devoted I am to studying His Word the more I see Him at work all around me. And the more I see Him at work all around me, the more thankful I am to know Him. And all that leads to me talking about Him more. Many of us have allowed society to convince us that talking about our faith and the object of our faith is taboo. The early Christians talked about Jesus everywhere they went. I’m becoming convinced that being devoted to Jesus has little meaning if my devotion isn’t obvious – not just by the way I live, but also because I talk about it and about Him. If faith is the most important thing in my life, how can I not?

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Jesus’ Teaching, Miracles, Crucifixion and Resurrection;
The Church is Formed; and Jewish History from a Religious Viewpoint

This month  during our Resting at the River’s Edge readings we’ll finish the Gospel of Luke, begin the book of Acts and read through 1 Chronicles and part of 2 Chronicles.

I’ve so been enjoying the Gospel of Luke – Jesus’ story written from the perspective of a historian and doctor. We’ll be reading the last half of the book – pages jam packed full of the teachings and miracles of Jesus followed by His crucifixion and resurrection. Don’t simply read through Jesus’ teachings – imagine that you are in the crowd of listeners and ask God to reveal how His message should impact your life.

In the book of Acts we’ll read about how the  Church was formed as the Apostles and disciplines, under the power of the Holy Spirit, preach God’s message with accompanying signs and wonders. Again, I encourage you to put yourself in the scenes – how would you have reacted when Saul wanted to meet with your fellowship shortly after he became Paul? What would your position have been when the topics of circumcising gentiles and eating meat sacrificed to idols were discussed? And what do the Acts of the Apostles – that is, the great miracles they performed – mean for your life today?

The books 1 and 2 Chronicles are among those that record the history of the Jews from the last judge (Samuel) and the establishment of the first king (Saul), to the exile of the nation to Babylon. (The other books are 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings.) 1 and 2 Chronicles provides Jewish history from the perspective of the priesthood. (Last year we read 1 and 2 Kings which were written from the perspective of the prophets.) You might say that Kings provides the political record and Chronicles provides the religious record.

We will see in the books of 1 and 2 Chronicles a God who is faithful to His covenant with Abraham even when Abraham’s descendants are unfaithful to Him. We will also see the cycle of God blessing His people when they obey His will and disciplining them when they disobey. As you read, think about how you would have responded in each situation. Would you have remained faithful to God? How would you have responded to His discipline?

Lots of great Inspired Words to read and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts. May God bring them alive as you read during the month of April. Blessings, Sandy

The recommended reading schedule for April is below.

To download a PDF of April’s recommended reading plan, click here.

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In yesterday’s blog, “But” Out, I encouraged all of us to leave the “but” out when giving thanks. Often we know that we have much to be thankful for, but… And that “but” robs us of the joy of the blessing. I am blessed to have a nice home, but it needs a new roof and I can’t afford one right now. I am blessed to be able to write this blog, but there’s so much more I want to do with Apprehending Grace Ministries and I simply don’t have the time. In each case, I rejoice over the blessing, but before that rejoicing is fully enjoyed, the “but” steals all or part of my joy. So let’s choose to leave the “but” out so that we can fully enjoy the blessing!

There is, however, a time for putting the “but” in, and that’s when we are focusing on the “buts” of God. Two of my favorite phrases in the Bible are “but God…” and “but the Lord…” They are the phrases that indicate a tremendous change in circumstance that would not have happened had it not been for a sovereign move of our Lord on behalf of an individual or group of people. There are many verses in the Bible where you’ll find these phrases. I’ve organized a few of them according to the action God took when He sovereignly interrupted others’ lives throughout history. We can count on God to do the same thing in our lives.


God’s Supernatural Protection

Day after day Saul searched for [David], but God did not give David into his hands.
1 Samuel 23:14b

You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor, but the Lord is their refuge.
Psalm 14:6

I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me.
Psalm 118:13

A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all.
Psalm 34:19

We can trust God to protect us when we are in danger and when others attack us or seek our destruction.


God’s Supernatural Care and Provision

But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.
Genesis 8:1

I love this verse – “But God remembered Noah…” It gives me confidence that when I have stepped out for Him, as Noah did, He will remember me and send whatever is needed to care and provide for me.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalm 73: 26

Sometimes we can’t see what God is doing – in the natural it seems that our flesh and heart are failing. Even in those times, God can be our strength and we have the promise that He is our portion (or inheritance) forever.

God’s Supernatural Move to Accomplish His Will
I love this category of verses. God moves in and through the lives of people, despite their circumstances and abilities, to accomplish His will. I love it because of the promise that His plan will be accomplished and I love it because it promises that He can use me despite my circumstances and abilities.

[Joseph is speaking to his brothers and says] “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

21“We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 22Before our eyes the LORD sent miraculous signs and wonders—great and terrible—upon Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household. 23But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land that he promised on oath to our forefathers.
Deuteronomy 6:21-23

9Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him 10and rescued him from all his troubles. He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt; so he made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace.
Acts 7:9-10

In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.
Proverbs 16:9

14Amos answered Amaziah, “I was neither a prophet nor a prophet’s son, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. 15But the LORD took me from tending the flock and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’
Amos: 7:14-15

But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.
Jonah 1:17

God can intervene in the midst of our rebellion. Sometimes that intervention is unpleasant because God knows what is required to get our attention and turn us around. Jonah repented in the belly of the great fish and cried out to the Lord for help. God did just that and Jonah went on to preach to the Ninevites who all repented and turned to the Lord.

God’s Supernatural Insight

Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7b

God’s Supernatural Healing

Indeed he [Epaphroditus] was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow.
Philippians 2:30


God’s Supernatural Salvation

Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him.
2 Samuel 14:14

This is another of my favorite verses. Death seems so final and irreversible…“But God…devises ways…” I love serving a God of infinite possibilities.

But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself.
Psalm 49:15

23This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.
Acts 2:23-24

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

This is the verse that God used most when I was struggling to understand Him and trust Him with my life. I was resisting Him, but He loved me through it.

4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions…And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:4-7

We were dead in our transgressions and sins, “but God” chose to give us life. Not just any life, but life in Christ. And He chose to raise us up with Him and seat us with Him in heavenly realms. Why? So that in the coming ages He might show us the incomparable riches of His grace.

“But God…”
No matter what our circumstances are, we can trust that God will move to change them. In an instant, our story will change from “I am in great need” to “but God provided for me;” or “but God delivered me.” I didn’t include all the instances of God interrupting the flow of history and changing life circumstances. If you’ve been reading the references, you noticed that the verses come from both the Old and New Testament and cover from the beginning of time through all of eternity. God has always been at work in the lives of His people (and often in the lives of those who deny Him) and He always will be.

Yesterday we were encouraged to leave the “but” out of our thanksgiving. Today, I am encouraging to put the “but God” into our circumstances. Trust the God you know to meet your needs, whether they are for healing, provision, comfort or salvation. He has proven Himself faithful over the millennia – why should we choose to believe the lies of satan that He will abandon us now?

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