But God

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					                                But God
Are you looking for a way out of a situation? Whether you get out or not
may very well depend on how you use once simple word; but. The word “but”
is a conjunction that joins two independent parts of a sentence together.
The way that you use the word “but” to connect two parts of a sentence can
enhance your faith or it can enlarge your fears. It can give you a way to
escape from the situation, or it can give you an excuse to stay in your
situation. The choice is yours. For example I can say, “I know it’s
raining, but I have an umbrella.” The way the word “but” was used
indicates that it doesn’t matter what the problem is, I’m not letting it
stop me. I will achieve my goal. I have faith that what comes after the
“but” will give me a way to escape to where I need to be. Or I could say,
“I wanted to go, but it’s raining.” The way the word “but” was used
indicates that there is a problem and I’m going to let it stop me. I will
not achieve my goal. I have fear of what comes after the “but” and
therefore I have an excuse to stay in the situation that I’m in.

“But” is a word of convenience that often tells what our real agenda is.
It could be a tornado watch, but if I have a pocket full of money, I’m
going shopping. It could be a thunderstorm watch, but if I don’t feel like
getting up off the couch, I’m not going to Bible study. The issue is not
the weather. When your mind is made up and your heart is set, when you
have faith and you see that way of escape, you will do what you want to do
and achieve your goals! So the problem is we haven’t aligned our goals
with God’s and we often see God’s plans as conflicting with ours.
Therefore we go to church, however, we use the word “but” the wrong way.
Then we wonder why God isn’t working things out in our lives. God is not
the problem. Our “but” is the problem!

Childlike faith “buts” God into a situation. To walk victoriously as
Christians we have to “but God” into our conversations and lives. The
Bible speaks of having childlike faith and that’s exactly what it takes.
For example, three children will be talking and one child will say, “I’m
going to make a super-duper spring shoe so I can jump over buildings”. The
second child will say, “Nobody can jump over buildings”. Then the third
child will say, “But God can!” They all agree that there’s a problem. They
all agree that man can’t solve it. They all agree that only God is able to
do what they want to do. They have faith that what comes after the “but”
is an all powerful force. Childlike faith “buts” God into a situation.

How can a child, or anyone else for that matter, develop such strong
faith? Romans 10:17 says faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word
of God. Somebody told those children about God and they heard it enough to
believe it! If you’re lacking faith to put your “but” in the right place
then you’re not hearing enough of the word of God! Faith cometh by
hearing, and hearing by the word of God. If you only read your Bible in
church on Sunday morning and you have your “but” in the right place that’s
great! But most of us need to hear it more often before it becomes real to
us. There’s no way that we can “but” God into our lives if we’re not
constantly in His word.

Human reasoning “buts” God out of a situation. Remember, faith cometh by
hearing, and hearing by the word of God. The young child starts life only
influenced by the voice of the parents. So if the parents teach that there
is a God, a Santa Claus, or a boggy man the child believes it because they
have heard it enough times. However, as children grow, they begin to hear
more. They hear from television, radio, friends, they read books, papers,
and magazines. Everything they hear does not line up with the word of God,
yet they are hearing it. If they’re hearing 40 hours of secular education
plus 20 or more hours of television and secular music each week vs only 3
hours of the Bible each week, what will they learn to have more faith in?
The ways of the world! God’s ways will seem backwards and strange to them.

People believe in heaven and hell BUT, they choose to live their lives
based on what people around them are doing. This happens to children as
well as adults. We want to serve God but we have excuses for not following
His directions. I know I should go to church today but. I know I should go
to Bible study but. I know I should go to prayer meeting but. I know I
should tithe but. I know I should fast but. I know I should read my Bible
and pray more but. In all those statements we fear what comes before the
“but” because it will cause us to adjust. In all of those statements we
identify with what comes after the “but” because that’s what we want to do
or believe we have to do. If you’re satisfied with your life just the way
it is keep, your “but” right where it is. If you want God to help you,
however, you need to ask yourself, “Is my “but” blocking my blessing?”

Look at Luke 16:15 to see how God views our “buts”. We have all of these
reasons in our minds why we can’t follow God but God knows our hearts. In
the world’s eyes, leisure is highly esteemed, watching TV is highly
esteemed, spending more money than we have is highly esteemed, sports is
highly esteemed, climbing the corporate ladder is highly esteemed. While
all of those are not bad things, God says if you place them above honoring
me, I can’t stand it! Three inches of snow may cause us to miss church on
Sunday but it could be six inches on Monday and it’s off to work we go!
That makes God scream! God wants to know how we justify that?

Every “but” that we offer up to God, no matter how we try to justify it,
is a way of saying I don’t trust you God. I don’t trust you with my time.
I don’t trust you with my money. I don’t trust you with my eating habits.
I don’t trust you with my career. I don’t trust you with my social life. I
don’t trust you with my plans for finding a spouse. God, I’m trusting you
will let me in heaven and I’m trusting that you will get me out of rough
situations but please, let me run the rest of my life my way.
What happens when I run my life? When I run my life I ruin my life. When I
run, I ruin. As a Christian, God is in charge of managing my life so when
I get mixed up in trying to run my life, I ruin it. When you put the
letter “I” in the word run you get “ruin”. All of us, to some degree, have
done some things trying to run our lives and ended up ruining it in some
way. Sometimes the damage is so severe, we see no way of fixing it. But
God can! It’s going to take each of us returning to a child-like faith,
however, to trust that God will fix up what ever has been messed up.

I know this is stepping on some toes. Mine hurt too! So let the healing
begin. Let’s go to the word of God and find examples of how we can “but”
God into our lives.

Genesis 31:7. Jacob worked for his father-in-law Laban who was doing him
wrong. Jacob told Rachel it doesn’t matter how my boss treats me, God is
only going to let it go so far. Your employer may not be treating you
right but God is a just God that oversees the overseer! God will take care
of you if you put your “but” in the right place. When your “but” is in the
right place your attitude is in the right place and God can go to work on
your behalf. Psalms 75:6,7. Some of us are looking all around for that
next promotion but we need to be looking up. We break our neck trying to
please man but God is the judge that is going to set us up.

Genesis 45:8. Joseph was sold by his brothers into slavery and ended up
being the ruler of the land that saved not only his family but the entire
nation. Joseph was telling his brothers, I have every reason and every
right to be mad at you because you tried to ruin my life BUT GOD had other
plans. When you have faith in God, you know He has a plan and therefore
you can forgive those who have done you wrong. You no longer say, “But God
he did me wrong” you say, “But God is working this thing out!” In Genesis
50:19,20 Joseph had another opportunity to confront his brothers. He could
have had them thrown in jail but he told them, “relax I’m not going to
play God!” He then told them you did something evil to me BUT GOD meant it
for good. Sometimes we can get so bent out of shape because of the evil
that is directed at us BUT GOD is working something out for us if we don’t
take matters into our own hands and start playing God. Joseph could have
easily said, “Your behind is mine!” yet he kept his “but” in the right
place.

Genesis 20:2,3. Abraham thought he had to play by the world’s rules in
order to keep his life, in order to progress in life. He felt hopeless and
powerless against the powers at hand. BUT GOD came in and spoke the words
to the king that Abraham didn’t feel that he could. In this world you may
think you are a powerless peon BUT GOD thinks more of you than that. God
will protect you and your interest when you are faithfully serving Him.
Don’t walk around holding your head down. You may not be in the esteemed
positions that others are in But God is above those positions!

Exodus 13:17,18. When Pharoah let God’s people go and they were on their
way to the promise land, going through Philistine was a short cut. The
people however, would have had to fight and see a lot of fighting. That
may have discouraged them and made them want to turn around. BUT GOD took
them another route. You and I may have seen some terrible things in our
lives BUT God has spared a lot of things from our eyesight that we don’t
even realize. We get mad at God when He takes us the long way and the
rough way but we have no idea of what God is shielding us from. God is
shielding us from more heartache and pain. God doesn’t want us to get
discouraged. We don’t realize what a blessing we are complaining about!
Many of us are still in this Christian race and have not turned around
because God has spared us from seeing and experiencing some ugly things.

Psalms 73:26. Sometimes I get tired BUT God is my strength. I don’t always
have to be strong. I don’t always have to be encouraged. It’s okay that we
get tired. It’s common to be discouraged in heart but it’s not okay to use
those as excuses for not pressing on! You have to stop looking at what you
are doing that doesn’t seem to be working but seems to get you tired and
discouraged. You have to start looking at what God can do. You have to
stop working so hard to fix your life and turn it over to Jesus.

I Corinthians 10:13. We need to understand that the temptations that come
our way are common to man. In other words, you are not justified giving in
to that temptation because of your individual circumstances. Other people
are tempted just as severely as you are. No man can stand up under all the
temptations of life and never fail BUT GOD is faithful. God is faithful to
provide us with a way of escape so that we can handle being tempted. The
problem is not that we can’t handle and escape temptation. The problem is
we don’t understand the importance of fleeing the temptation and so we
just stand there and look at it. We have come to enjoy the temptation.
We don’t allow God to be faithful when we are enjoying the temptation!
The house is on fire and God is in there with you saying, “Here’s a window
right here come on!” We respond, “Wait a minute God, I want to see how hot
it can get in here.” Before you know it, you got burnt, again!

Often we don’t really want to escape. We just want God to change His mind
and make an amendment to His word saying that this particular temptation
is now ok. God is faithful to help, we just have to want to be helped. The
Bible says that sin is pleasurable for a season. You and you alone have to
mature in your faith and say this season is over! Don’t wait around for
the sin to become unpleasureable. That usually doesn’t happen. In most
cases the only way it becomes unpleasureable is when it burns you often
enough and bad enough. Sometimes the pleasure of sin costs people their
health, their finances, their family, their job, their homes, their life
BUT GOD is faithful to help if and when you want to be helped.

Ephesians 2:3-6. All of us were out there walking in lust and sin BUT GOD
saved us. It wasn’t because we were perfect. It was because of His mercy.
Each of us can witness to the fact that since we got saved we have gotten
better at not sinning. We’re not perfect But God’s mercy has covered us.
If it works for salvation then it can work for sanctification. The lusts
and desires of the mind are not going to go away. BUT God can touch our
hearts so we can change our minds.

We were all sinners yet Romans 5:8 says, but God commended his love toward
us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. There was no
if, ands or buts about it. Jesus died for us! He didn’t wait for us to
become perfect. He just asked us to sit our “buts” down and ask Him into
our life.

These are just a few of many examples found in the Bible where people had
their “but” in the right place. In each situation the people saw that the
problem was big BUT God was bigger. This is a call for each of us to
return to childlike faith and realize that nothing works better in our
situation, nothing but God. Amen.

				
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