816) Using Your ‘But’ (part two of two)

     (…continued)  Once you start looking, you will see that little word ‘but’ all over the place in the Bible.  It is a good word to remember in all of life.  As a person of faith, you will always want to keep putting the BUT in your story.  That is what I mean by using your ‘but.’  “Things are not going very well for me right now, BUT I know God is with me.”  “Much of what is going on in my life doesn’t seem to make much sense or have much purpose, BUT I know that God has promised to work out all things for my good.”  “I am having a bad day/week/year, BUT God has given me so many good days/weeks/years.”  “This is a painful time in my life, BUT the Bible says God can teach me and help me to grow in our faith through the painful trials I must endure.”  “I’m not yet what I want to be, and I know I’m not yet what God wants me to be, BUT I do know he has forgiven and is working within me.”  “I’ve been so ill for such a long time, and I’m getting sick and tired of being sick and tired, BUT I know that God can heal me if that be His will.”  Or perhaps, “The doctor just told me there is nothing more they can do for me, BUT God has already given me 61 good years, and I know that even when this life ends, I will go to live with the Lord in a far better home.”  By faith, we have to keep remembering to keep these ‘BUTS’ in our story.  Faith prays, and faith hopes, but then faith is always able to adjust and go deeper.  God always has another promise.  God always gets the last word.

     You have often been told to use your head.   I am suggesting also use your ‘but.’  Use it like these Biblical writers for the strengthening of your faith as you remember God’s past faithfulness.  Everyone has a story to tell of trouble in their life.  And every person of faith can tell a story of how God has brought them through, or, of how God’s future promises sustain them even in the midst of ongoing troubles.  Take a moment to consider your own stories of trouble, and how you can make the phrase “BUT GOD” a part of the way you tell the story of your life.

     We often wonder how we can share our faith with someone else.  One of the best ways you can share your faith with another is by just telling them your story, describing what Jesus means to you and how God has made a difference in your life.  And somewhere in your story, you can use your ‘but.’  That is what the former slave-trader John Newton was doing when he wrote, “I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see.”  You do not have to tell people what they need to do for God.  You can simply tell them what God has done for you.

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Storyteller is a wonderful new song about telling others the story of how God has been active in your life.  Right in the center of the song’s lyrics is the word BUT, as we hear of God’s presence in the dark times of the singer’s life.  Don’t miss the video at the link below, which not only sings about telling stories, but also tells a few stories of people whose lives were troubled, BUT GOD…

https://www.youtube.com/user/itsmorganmusic1

STORYTELLER, 2015, Sung by Morgan Harper Nichols (with Jamie Grace)

Written by Jamie Grace and Paul Mabury

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On a Sunday evening I’m looking back over all the years and where I’ve been

Looking at old photographs I’m remember you were right there, and you have been ever since

With every page that turns I see your faithfulness

Oh the mountain where I climbed

The valley where I fell

You were there all along

That’s the story I’ll tell

You brought the pieces together

Made me this storyteller

Now I know it is well, it is well

That’s the story I’ll tell

There were some nights that felt like

They would last forever

BUT you kept me breathing

You were with me right then

And all that you have done for me I could never hold it in

So here’s to me telling this story

Over and over again

Oh the mountain where I climbed

The valley where I fell

You were there all along

That’s the story I’ll tell

You brought the pieces together

Made me this storyteller

Now I know it is well, it is well

That’s the story I’ll tell

You hold the broken

You hear my every cry, every cry

My eyes are open I know that it is well, it is well

That’s the story I’ll tell

For years and years and years I’ll tell

That’s the story I’ll tell…

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Psalm 78:4b  —  …We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lordhis power, and the wonders he has done.

1 Peter 3:13-15a  —  Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?  But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed.  “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.”  But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.

II Corinthians 1:8-10  —  We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia.  We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself.  Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death.  But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.  He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again.  On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us.

2 Corinthians 4:6-9  —  For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.  But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

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My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

–Psalm 73:26