My title is not the words used by someone arguing with God… they are not the words of someone making excuses for /qw2/8disobedience, and they are not the words of someone who has a plan that is contrary to what God is presenting to them….It’s about God putting an end to the argument (But God)
This phrase which is the title of today’s message, is used over 250times in Scripture and that causes my spirit to leap for joy. It is God’s response to Satan’s challenge. It is the bottom line. It is the last word. “But God”, when viewed in relation to all the many challenges of life, it is what up is to down; what life is to death; what in is to out. “But God” stands firmly opposed to the negative roar of the world. We have a choice, to operate from the world’s perspective or from God’s perspective.
The world says no – “but God” says yes. The world says you can’t – “but God” says you can. The world says you won’t -- but God” says you will. The world says stop – “but God” says go. The world says don’t – “but God” says do it. The world says you’ll be defeated – “but God” says you are victorious!
“But God” scales the highest mountains in your way… marches through the darkest valleys, and sings the sweet songs of victory in the midnight hour. “But God” exclaims “I’m going to the enemy’s camp and take back what he stole from me!”
As Christians, may we all be challenged to speak words which bring folks together instead of tearing us apart. (We’ve all had moments we regreted….come on be honest) Do our words heal or hurt?
The more courageously the soldiers of the cross declare the truth of God and the more faithfully they live out the truth in their own life, the more they will be subject to assault. An old Puritan saying goes “He that stands near his Captain, is sure to be a target for the archers.
He will be accused of wrongs he did not do. He will be savaged by gossip, slander and backbiting. He will be ostracized and ridiculed. This treatment will come from the world and, sadly enough, it may sometimes come from fellow-Christians.
At such times, it is important to remember that the battle is not ours, but God’s. And we should claim the promise of Exodus 14:14:"The Lord shall fight for you, and you shall hold your peace". What this means is that we don’t have to defend ourselves or fight back. The Lord will vindicate us and reveal the greater truth and the greater outcome at the proper time.
The prayer of St. Augustine was "Lord deliver me from the lust of always needing to defend myself".....
The apostle John said “I must decrease that He might increase”.
In a time when the spirit of this world is dividing and tearing folks apart over everything imaginable…. Politics, religious convictions, lifestyles, and whatever wedge imaginable that can be driven between us…. Our Heavenly Father is using every means possible to bring us together to heal and restore us and bring us together for great accomplishments….
What would happen if we treated everyone, the way we would want God to treat us?
Ephesians 2:2 "It may well be that in times past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now working in the children of disobedience: v:3 Among whom we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even also as others. v4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love with which He loved us, v5 Even when we were without Spiritual life and in our sins, He has quickened us together with Christ, (for by grace ye are saved;) v6 And He has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. v7 That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus".
Within the 6 chapters, 155 verses, and 3,039 words, of Ephesians, Paul challenges his spiritual son Timothy and the city church he pastors, to be open and believe for Divine intervention individually and corporately.
He wants them and us as well, to know that it’s not over until God says it’s over, and He’s waiting to have the last word. Even when it looks like we’re not making a lot of headway at times.
In the midst of a violent storm, the captain realized his ship was sinking fast. He called everyone to the wheel house and asked, “Does anyone here know how to pray?" One man stepped forward. "Aye, Captain, I know how to pray." "Good," said the captain, "you pray while the rest of us put on our life jackets - we're one life jacket short." (that’s when you better know about Divine intervention)
I’ve come to compel you to stand firm to the last inning, the last pitch, the last hit of the game– there may be some close calls, but the outcome isn’t decided yet….wait until the last seconds tick off the clock… until the “home team” has had its chance at bat…..If you quit too soon, you’ll leave before the victory is realized. I want to tell you that the jury is still out in your situation – all the votes are not in – The great pinch hitter of all time, has not come to bat yet!
Winnie was scheduled for surgery which would have prevented her from having any more children, BUT GOD decided that a little girl named Karen was supposed to be part of our family…. And He healed her… My son Chris stuck his tongue in an electric outlet and would have died, BUT GOD knew the lives he was supposed to impact for the kingdom, and even though his cheek was melted, by the time he arrived at the ER it was nearly totally healed….
David was a year old when he swallowed about 4 dollars worthof dimes, pennies, quarters and nickles that I had left on the couch while I was changing clothes after church. We though it was strangely silent, so I looked in the living room and he was laying on the floor, already turned blue and not breathing… Satan wanted to kill him there, BUT GOD had me grab him by the ankle and swing him up and start slapping his back. It looked like a slot machine in Las Vegas! He tried to end all of our children before they could even get started….
Satan always begins to celebrate prematurely… Don’t let all his noise and all his blustering cause you to jump to conclusions…..
In Stephen’s sermon found in Acts 7:9, he retells the story of Joseph…. “And Joseph’s brothers, moved with jealousy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him”…. We are told in Genesis that they threw him in the pit…BUT GOD sent a caravan which was on it’s was to Egypt. He was sold to Potiphar as a slave, BUT GOD promoted him to head over Potiphar’s house…. He was falsely accused and sent to prison, BUT GOD, promoted him as head over the entire prison… It looked like the prison would be how his story would end, BUT GOD brought him before Pharaoh and promoted him to the Pharaoh’s personal assistant….That he might save his people alive….
Satan thought he had defeated the plan that God had for all of us, when he sent a serpent and got Adam and Eve kicked out of the garden. But he got completely blindsided, when in the midst of his celebration, a baby was born to a virgin in a little town of Nazareth! With that, Satan spent 33 years trying to stop the son of God, and finally thought he had killed him. Once again he let all the stops out in the celebration of all celebrations…. But in the midst of it… Jesus showed up in Hell and took the keys to death, hell and the grave…..
Let me read it again…. Ephesians 2:4 “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love with which He loved us, v5 Even when we were without Spiritual life and in our sins, He has quickened us together with Christ, (for by grace ye are saved;) v6 And He has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus”.
Don’t listen to the lies and discouraging words of the enemy. Realize that God still has the final word! See things from the Father’s perspective. Incline your ear and hear it today… “BUT GOD!”
Let me give you a few BUT GODS for this time in your life….
Genesis 50:20 – “But as for you, you thought evil against me,BUT GOD meant it for good, to bring to pass the salvation of many people”.
Psalms 73:26 – “My flesh and my heart may fail BUT GOD isthe strength of my heart, and my portion for ever”.
1 Corinthians 1:27 – “BUT GOD has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise and He has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty”.
May we get a fresh look at the God who interrupts Satan’s plans, who is the problem solver before you had a problem! He’s the God of this universe…. the God that created the heavens and the earth…. the God that upholds the trillions of stars by the word of His power…. He’s the Eternal one, the God who is from everlasting to everlasting…. He’s the Omnipresent One, the God who is present everywhere, He’s the Omniscient One, the God who is full of all wisdom and all knowledge…. He is the Just One, the God who executes judgment and righteousness…. He’s the God who is full of tender mercies, the God who forgives, who knows our frame and remembers that we are dust.
May we get a new revelation of Him, as Isaiah said, Isaiah 6:1"In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord, high and lifted up." – Isaiah is saying, “the year that I saw an earthly throne vacated I saw an eternal throne that was and is and shall be forever… in the year that I saw an earthlyking come to his grave, I saw an eternal King, seated on high, who will never die!
As we approach the July 4th celebrations that will take place around the nation…. Where we celebrate our independence… I am reminded that true liberty is not in independence but dependence on God! And true liberty here is in understanding that He sets us free to live forever with Him…. (oh grave where is your victory, oh death where is your sting?)
Listen to the words of Revelation 11:15 “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, Thekingdoms of this world are now become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and forever”. Satan says, this is my world, the hearts of men are following me, I have deceived them into believing “Live like hell, cause when you die, it’s all over”…
Our Lord is going to have the final “BUT GOD”… when this earth is under assault by Hell, like it has never been before…. When Satan seems to be unstoppable and his power invincible…. The truly unstoppable and irresistible One is going to step forward and show who’s in charge and has always been. Isaiah 59:19 “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him”.
Have you ever wondered why God didn’t finish the Devil off when He cast him out of heaven…. I’m glad you asked!!! Now the Deist believe that there is a God, that He created everything, but then He backed off and is just watching what we do with it all, without intervening in our actions… Surely they haven’t read the bible, to believe something like this!!!
Luke 10:17 “And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. v18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. v19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. (no expiration date)v20 Never the less, in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you, but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven”.
You need to believe and demand that your trials start workingfor you, and stop working against you. If God is for us then what can stand against us!!!
All through the bible we see that there were good and bad, faithful and flawed people that God used to accomplish His plan. As someone has said, "God can draw straight lines with crooked sticks."
In the words of William Cowper, a poet and hymn writer from the late 1700’s…. “God moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform, He plants His footsteps in the sea, And rides upon the storm. Deep in the hidden reservoirs, Of never failing skill, He opens up His plans Divine, And works His sovereign will. Letfearful saints fresh courage take! The clouds you fear and dread ,Are filled with mercy, and will break In blessings on your head.Do not judge the Lord by feeble sense, But trust Him for His grace, Behind a storms of Providence, behold his smiling face.His purposes will come to pass, Unfolding every hour. The bud may have a bitter taste, But sweet will be the flower. Blind unbelief is sure to fail, as it scans His work in vain. God is His own interpreter, And He soon will make it plain”.
When God intervenes, it may not look like you thought it aughtto….
Here’s some letters to God from children on that subject…. Six year old Joyce, wrote a letter to God about that…. “Dear God, thank you for the baby brother You sent, but what I prayed for was a puppy. Love you anyway…Joyce”
Little seven year old Peter wrote, “Dear God, Please send Dennis Clark to a different camp than mine this year. I would really appreciate it, your friend Peter”
We don’t always get what we want, but we get what we need!!! The Devil may have a plot but God has a plan!
Who else BUT GOD could take a cross that represented defeat – and turn it into a symbol of victory?
Who else BUT GOD could take a cross that represented guilt – and turn it into the symbol for grace?
Who else BUT GOD could take a cross that represented condemnation – and turn it into a symbol of freedom?
Who else BUT GOD could take a cross that represented pain and suffering – and turn it into symbol of healing and hope?
Who else BUT GOD could take a cross that represented death – and turn it into a symbol of life?
This is what Paul is saying, when he says 2 Corinthians 4:8 “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed… we are perplexed, but not in despair v9 We are persecuted, but not forsaken, cast down, but not destroyed”.
And with this as his perspective, Paul was able to say at that day of final accounting…. 2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. v8 “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing”.
Now notice those words… “that love His appearing”… I somehow think that Paul is not only speaking about the evacuation of Christians from this planet at the rapture, but he’s saying …. In all those things that I went through… beatings, shipwreck, stoning, left for dead, prison, and persecution… I would not have made it BUT GOD was always there to bring me out and bring me through it all! I made it because He always showed up!
Think about it church, we just may be the strongest at the moment we feel the weakest, for that is when we are more about the Lord and less about ourselves...He must increase, I must decrease.
The things that rattle the cages of the world, should have no effect on the disciple of Christ…. Because what looks like the end for them, is only the beginning for us!
2 Corinthians 4:16 “For this cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day”.
I like the idea of leasing a car instead of owning it… The lease company takes care of the regular service calls and check up(That’s what the Lord does for me as I stay in the word and prayer and obedience). He said he would renew my mind, renew my strength, recharge my spirit, and renew my vision. Listen, this body is on loan from God…I just need to bring it before him on a regular basis for check ups and service…He makes sure I get renewed on a regular basis! (Not retired…. But RENEWED! ) In my lease program, I get a new lease car every 3 years! And when this thing is over I’m going to get a brand new model!
Jesus said… Just ask me….and it would be given….
Matthew 6:10 “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. v11 Give us this day our daily bread”. Someone say with me, (I have daily bread, that renews me day by day!) That’s daily renewal!
Hebrews 4:16 “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need”.
Deuteronomy 33:25 “As the length of your days, so shall yourstrength be”.
Get re-fired, get re-energized, get re-inspired, get renewed and know that He who has anointed you is God, and the anointing breaks every yoke….and frees you from the spirit of weariness, the deception of abandonment, and the lie that “this is the way its always been so this is the way it will always be”!!! NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!!
STAND AND GIVE HIM PRAISE AND GLORY…. HALLELUJAH!
Behold the Lord says… “I will do a new thing, put out of your mind what happened before, or the way it was before. That is behind you, this is yet to come… Do not diminish what I am about to give you by comparing it to anything behind you. This is a new thing that I am breathing life into. You can’t wrap your head around it now, but when you see it and know it, then you will handle what you have only touched by faith and faith shall become sight. Even now it is springing forth. And my words to Thomas are my words to you… “handle it and know that it is of me, and it is glorious in your sight”… I will make a way where there is no way, I am straightening out the crooked places and making them straight. And the dry place shall be a place of rivers and fountains. I will honor you because you have honored me. I have chosen you before you chose me and I have honored you before you honored me…You shall yet understand why things were the way they were, and through it you shall give me greater praise… I have formed it just as I have shaped and molded you, that you should show forth my Praise!