By Pam Horton
Our pastor recently mentioned that there are 45 “but God” phrases in the Bible and 69 “but now” (NKJV). This caught my attention, so I did a little research.
“But God” gives us God’s action points. However, “but now” often requires an action on our part. It implies things were a certain way and will now be different.
Now that we have begun a new year, and certainly desire to leave the trials of 2020 behind us, let’s look at a couple of verses that might encourage us to move positively forward with a “but now.”
The first is Ephesians 5:8, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” (NKJV).
Many people would consider 2020 a year of darkness. For those without the saving grace of Jesus Christ, they don’t know anything but darkness. For those without faith, last year may have been harder than most, but not too far off from typical.
As Christians, we know the difference. We know the darkness yet have believed and received new light. We are instructed to walk in that light and to be a beacon to draw others to the Light that can bring them out of the darkness. Have you noticed friends, family members, or co-workers who seem to be going through a dark time? How can you reach out to them, to shine a light of hope into their lives, today?
The second is Colossians 3:8, “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth” (NKJV).
I used to hold my own when it came to swear words. Yet once I accepted Jesus as my personal savior, those words stopped. Okay, I’m not perfect. In fact, I was so frustrated with an internet service customer service person a couple months ago, that I said “damn.” When I mentioned it to my boys, they were shocked. The younger one, 31, said he had never heard me swear. It was a change that was made when I started living out my faith.
I think a “hypocritical Christian” is one of the biggest reasons people turn away from God. If we profess to be followers of Jesus, yet behave in a worldly manner, we are no different than those who don’t know Him. Our faith must shine brightly throughout our life, during the good and the bad, the happy and the sad. For we have the Light of the world abiding within us.
John 17:13 (NKJV) tells us that Jesus prayed to God with a “but now” (an action point): But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. Jesus took action. He approached His Father. This is our model, now is our time.
Even as we leave 2020 behind us, the pandemic, racial tension, political disagreements, and financial stresses may continue into 2021. As Christians, we have an opportunity to speak truth into the world so that others may have the joy of Christ within them.
It begins with “but now….”
Horton grew up believing in Jesus. As a teenager and young adult, she turned away from her faith for a few years. Once she came back around to understand that it's not about religion but a relationship, she began a never-ending quest to grow closer to God. Through this process, she has learned to Stress Less and Choose Joy. Pam has published eight non-fiction books that are available through Amazon. She has also written articles for the Military Counseling Initiative, Youth Worker, and is featured in "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grandparents." To learn more about how Pam encourages others to move positively forward, see: https://newdirectionlifecoaching.com/