But God!

I sense that many are walking into 2021 with feelings of trepidation, and rightly so. 2020 certainly didn’t turn out to be the year we had dreamed of. There is a feeling that we need to tiptoe softly, tentatively, nervously into 2021, not expecting anything. Fear of the unknown weighs heavily, and we almost dare not hope for things to be different. I totally understand.

Two words have shaped my life in a huge way, however. But God. I should be dead in my sin, but God. So many bad decisions along the way, but God. Knowing our wonderful Abba Father the way I do, I know there is going to be a ‘But God’ in 2021. Does 2021 have the potential to be as bad as 2020 was? No doubt. But God!  

A quick search of the Bible reveals dozens of scriptures that contain a ‘but God’! “But God remembered Noah,” “But God did not give David into his hands,” “But God will redeem me from the realm of death” and “But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever!” The best one of them all is in Acts 13:29-30: “When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the cross and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead.”

We certainly don’t have the answers—only questions about what 2021 may or may not bring. But we do know our God is a redeemer. He has not only redeemed our very lives through His death on the cross, but He redeems each one of our stories. We know that God has plans for us for this year, and we know He has put us here for a purpose. Even though the storm clouds of fear, anxiety, and worry may gather on the horizon, let’s look for the ‘But God’ in 2021—the ‘But God’ that raises us from the dead, brings dry bones to life, and gives us strength, purpose and vision! May He fill your year with surprises, joy, and pleasure around every corner. May your year be filled with ‘But God!’

Happy 2021 dear friends!!

The Christmas Star

Last night we climbed up a small hill near our home and waited with great anticipation as the sun set in glorious golden colours.  I held my breath as the sky became deep blue, would we see the Christmas Star?  We missed it on the 21st as it had been cloudy but tonight was a crisp, clear, night and stars were beginning to twinkle. 

Suddenly, there above the horizon, the Christmas Star appeared, bright, beautiful, glorious!  “There it is!” I shouted in excitement. A magnificent gift from above!  As I stood and took in its sparkling edges, I thought to myself, am I gazing at the very same star that the Wise Men followed so many years ago, and I smiled to myself, wrapped up in the warm glow of His love.  In a year filled with so many difficulties the God who spoke the planets into existence, the God who sprinkled the heavens with a trillion sparkling lights, gave us this miraculous gift of the Christmas Star.  A reminder that He. Is. Coming.  An invitation to seek out the newborn King!

It all reminded me of a sticker I had once seen on a car – ‘Wise men still seek Him!’  So many of us know and love the story of the wise men and have watched many a Christmas nativity play and perhaps have even acted in one!  This may be our frame of reference but something wonderful jumped out at me when studying those Wise Men.

Matthew 2 tells us that the Magi, who saw the star, travelled a considerable distance to Jerusalem to seek out the King of the Jews.  Once in Jerusalem, they enquired of King Herod, the chief priests and scribes, all who knew and studied the scriptures, where the Christ was to be born.  These incredible scholars of the Word of God immediately quoted Micah 5:2; “But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the rulers of Judah, for out of you shall come a Ruler who will shepherd My people Israel.”   The Christ will be born in Bethlehem of Judea.  Interestingly these learned men, scholars of the scriptures, chose not to seek out the Messiah, the Saviour, even though he was born only 5 miles away! They knew the scriptures well, but were not changed by them.

In contrast the wise men headed off to Bethlehem and Matthew 2:10 tells us; “When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.”  From this we can deduce that the star had not been visible during the whole of their travels.  The star had appeared many months before guiding the Magi to the general area, it then appeared again in Jerusalem leading them to the King.  These Wise Men heard the Word of God and they acted upon it.  In faith they travelled on to Bethlehem and were overjoyed when they saw the star again.  The wise men stood on the scriptures, sought the Christ, and found Him!

So, this Christmas, the question that remains is – will you seek Him?  Will you take the time to stand on faith, believe that God’s Word is true and seek the Newborn King?  Knowing that this King will not forever be newborn, but is in fact your Saviour, your Redeemer, the one who came to draw you to Himself because He cares for you!  Knowing that this tiny baby came to earth to go to the cross, taking on your sin and mine, because He loves you!  Wise Men still Seek Him!

Tonight, another clear night, I am going to climb my hill again and watch the sun set in all its splendour and marvel at this year’s gift of the Christmas Star, perhaps I’ll imagine I’m a wise man and in faith I will set off into the unknown, knowing that if I seek Him – I will find Him!