The Stunning Conjunction

Clements 180822 But-God.png

Do you remember the joy of learning the eight parts of Speech? What a blessing!

My favorite part of speech is the conjunction. So, what makes it beautiful?

Conjunctions are words that link other words, phrases or clauses together to form a sentence. Without them, speech would really be dull, like: I love pizza. I love sweet tea. I don’t like cleaning up the mess. However, when you sprinkle in some conjunctions, things smooth out: I love pizza and sweet tea, but I don’t like cleaning up the mess.

There are common conjunctions we use every day, like: for, and, nor, or, yet, so and but. However, not all conjunctions are created equal because my favorite conjunction is “but.”

The word “but” is a conjunction because it connects two clauses together, but it may also inject a contrasting thought. For example: “I was going to church with you, but decided to go by myself.” If you made that statement, the word “but” reveals you decided to do the opposite of what you said first. The word “but” turned the thought, plan and flow 180 degrees in the opposite direction.

So, where in the world am I going with this, you ask? Please keep reading.

Julie Ackerman Link wrote a great devotional for “Our Daily Bread,” that was published on August 1, 2012. It began: “Howard Sugden, my pastor when I was in college, preached many memorable sermons. After all these years, the one titled, ‘But God…’ still makes me stop whenever I come to those words in the Bible.” She then shared some of those “But God…” verses that encouraged her to remember God’s righteous intervention in human affairs. With appreciation to her article, here are a few thoughts that cheer my soul when I see that stunning conjunction standing before the word for deity—But God….

“You meant evil against me; But God meant it for good, in order to . . . save many people alive” (Genesis 50:20)—Reminds us that God’s providential care can overcome evil intentions.

“Their beauty shall be consumed in the grave . . . . But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, for He will receive me” (Psalm 49:14-15)—Reminds us that God’s promised resurrection is stronger than physical death.

“We…were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 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” (Ephesians 2:3-5)—Reminds us that God’s rich mercy can save us despite our sinful nature.

The nations shall rush on like the rushing of many waters; But God shall rebuke them and they will flee far away, and shall be chased like the chaff in the mountains before the wind” (Isaiah 17:13)—Reminds us that, though nations seem mighty, God will rule over them.

“My flesh and my heart may fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26)—Reminds us that though we die, God is our eternal Savior.

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; But God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it” (1Corinthians 10:13)—Reminds us that though we face temptation, God will faithfully provide an escape.

“I will say to my soul, Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry. But God said to him, You fool! This very night your soul is required of you” (Luke 12:19-20)—Reminds us how foolish it is to seek material possessions and ignore God.

You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner, or to visit him; But God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean. (Acts 10:28)—Reminds us that it displeases God when we discriminate against others.

“And Jesus said to them, You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, But God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15)—Reminds us to seek to please God, not men.

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard…the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10)—Reminds us that God has unimaginable things in store for all who love Him.

“I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:6-7)—Reminds us that only God should receive the glory for our service.

“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)—Reminds us that Christ’s love for sinners was demonstrated when He died on the cross for every one of us.

“They took Him down from the cross and laid Him in a tomb. But God raised Him from the dead” (Acts 13:29-30)—Reminds us that we serve a risen Savior.

Whenever you feel discouraged, look up some “but God” verses and be reassured of God’s involvement in your life as you love and serve Him. Let His promises light up your life!

Author: Larry E. Clements

Follower of Christ, fortunate to be husband to Pat, father of 5, grandfather of 12, writer, associate pastor of Pauline Baptist Church

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