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But God...Scripture Memory 5

By Pastor Phillip Howle
web posted September 10, 2014

RELIGION – Christians take themselves pretty seriously. We can be temperamental and get our feelings hurt easily. We are always on the look for media bias or people not saying “Merry Christmas.” I have gotten in trouble for my sense of humor before. Some folks just need to relax and laugh a little. I wanted to entitle this week’s column “Best But In The Bible.” But clearly that would offend some, so in good taste I resisted the urge to do so.

However, I do think that word “but” is one of the most important and powerful words in all of Scripture and our lives.
Think about how “but” works in your life.  I need to stop smoking, but I just can’t. I need to start taking better care of myself, but I don’t have time. I need to stop yelling at my spouse and kids so much, but I have so much on me all the time! I need to pray more, but I don’t have time. I need to be in church, but the people there are hypocrites. You see that “but” is pretty big and dramatically affecting your walk with God and the quality of your life.
The word “but” is a conjunction that implies a sudden change of direction in the thought. And when we see this word in the Bible it’s important to understand every word that follows it, especially if the phrase is but God...! So let's consider some of these amazingly powerful “buts” found in the Bible!

  • Genesis 50:20 “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
  • Nehemiah 9:17 “They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them.”
  • Psalm 49:15 “But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself.”
  • Psalm 73:26 “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
  • Isaiah 40:8 “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.”
  • Jonah 2:6 “To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O LORD my God.”
  • Matthew 19:26 “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
  • Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • 1 Corinthians 1:27 “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.”

The memory verse this week for us comes from Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  This is another verse from the Roman’s Road. We have seen Romans 3:23 and 6:23. This week Romans 5:8 adds another brick to the path.
One of the saddest things that people tell me is “I might come to church when I get my act together and straighten up.” I suppose our world has ingrained this in people through their whole lives. I have two sons and they can get so dirty, that we bar them from coming inside our home. We tell them to take their clothes off and here comes the hose pipe! They know they are dirty and unfit to come in our home as they are.

This same truth carries to us as we come to understand and approach God. We think we must be clean and right before God will accept us. But God doesn’t come into our lives and demand we clean ourselves up before we approach him. He loves us when we’re messy, then he makes us clean. God didn’t simply say the words, “I love you.” He proved his love through Jesus giving his life for us on the cross. God doesn’t love us because we fix ourselves; he loves us even in our sin, and invites us into Jesus’ righteousness. He gives us the very cleanliness and perfection of His Son!

So if ever you feel too dirty or sinful to approach God, remember this verse! If you have a friend who thinks they are not worthy of God, share with them this verse. If you understand the reality of this verse, then thank God for His love and acceptance of you!  Also, what “buts” in your life are holding you back from being the person God desires for you to be?

Pastor Phillip

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