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Grow & Go - June 2024

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Two of the Sweetest Words in Scripture . . . “But God”.                                    

"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:4–5)”.

As a follower of Christ, is there anything more pleasing to the ear than the richness of these words . . . “But God”? Our God gazed upon us, His sinful and rebellious Creation, and not because of anything good in us (Rom 7:18), but completely by His own sovereign and divine power, “made us alive together with Christ” (Eph 2:5). We were literally “dead in our trespasses” (Eph 2:4) when God intervened bringing those in Christ from death to life.

In my own life, there have been many “But God” moments that have occurred. When God in His infinite wisdom recognized that I needed a wife and gave me “an excellent wife” (Prov 31:10). “But God” also knew that a hobby would become an idol that consumed my life, and then use that idol to bring me to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ alone. “But God” gave my wife and I both a season to experience being foster parents and removed any fears we might have had of caring for children. In each of these “But God” moments of my life, our Creator had a plan to reveal my utter dependence on His providence, provision, and care. Countless Christians I have heard say – I have experienced this hardship, this great loss, or suffered greatly, “But God”.

In approximately 45 instances the phrase “But God” shows itself in the infallible Word of God. In Matthew 19:26, “Jesus looked at them and said, with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” In the passage leading up to this text, Jesus instructed the rich man about the difficulties and problems for Him to enter the kingdom of God and then to say, ‘But God can’. In many of these “But God” passages, you see a pattern. A pattern or moment where those “created in the image of God” (Gen 1:26-28) were in deep despair or turmoil, “But God” entered time and space to alter the situation. These two loving and kind words exhorted from the living Word explain to us how immeasurable the gift that Christ has paid a ransom for those who were once children of wrath.

The apostle Paul declared our lost state before Christ and then how much God loves us exclaiming “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rm 5:8). This does not mean that since we have been “born again” (Jn 3:3), our performance now must be perfect to see Heaven. This means that with all my imperfections, and our mess of sin, Christ demonstrates how much He loves us by paying the penalty we deserve on the cross. I hope that we can find rest in the finished work of Christ and recognize those “But God” moments that are conforming us, transforming us, more and more, day by day, into the image of Jesus Christ our Lord. This song below from The Worship Initiative (Shane and Shane) titled Oh But God  helps us see how God changed and is writing our story of redemption and I hope it encourages you to be reminded of your own “But God” testimony and praise Him.

“I was buried beneath my rebellion
Lost without hope of redemption
Blind in my need for a Savior
Oh but God
Crushed by the weight of my failure
Living the lie I created
Digging my grave without knowing
Oh but God
Rich in mercy how You loved me
Too much to let me stay lost
My salvation sent from heaven
Nailing my sin to a cross
Oh but God”.

Posted by Paul Willett with

Women On Mission - June 2024

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Missionary Of The Week

Jeri Whitfield
Asian Pacific Rim Peoples
Passage: Matthew 6:5-15
Focus: Matthew 6:9-13

As a 22-year-old International Mission Board Journeyman, Jeri Whitfield saw long-term missionaries commit their lives to God and the people they served. That was her model for missions-a missionary presence that creates gospel access and transforms lives. It’s still her desire today, 40 years later.

The first time she left Thailand, she’d finished a two-year Journeyman term. She returned to Thailand as a career missionary in her 40s. At age 55, she faced health concerns and made the difficult decision to retire early.

“My heart was still here. I didn’t feel like the job was done,” she shared. Once again, now in her 60s, she’s gone back to the field. Why does she keep returning to reach the nations through the International Mission Board? The answer for Jeri is simple. She’s committed her life to being a steadfast missionary presence, even though the commitment hasn’t been easy. God isn’t finished using her to reach the nations. “My experience with missions was that when you’re called, it’s for life,” she said.

THE COOPERATIVE PROGRAM takes the gospel to the nations and the neighborhoods. Your financial support through the Cooperative Program allows missionaries to fulfill the Great Commission call God has placed on their lives.

PRAY God would embolden Jeri as she so faithfully serves those in Thailand whom God has placed as a burden on her heart.

Posted by Women On Mission with

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