God Has The Biggest “BUT”

but-god1Have you ever been lied about or done wrong, and it seems the perpetrator got away with it?

From a human standpoint, it’s hard to reconcile the fact that one can do the right(eous) thing, and not get the expected result.

Joseph, in scripture, said a resounding NO to the advances of Potiphar’s wife. He said NO over and over, and stated that he would not sin against God by sleeping with another man’s wife. Where did it get Joseph? After Mrs. Potiphar lied about him, Joseph was thrown right into a dark prison cell.

How is that possible? Doesn’t the Bible say, “You reap what you sow?” Indeed it does, but the Bible never gives a time frame on reaping and sowing.

Joseph sat in that jail cell for two long years. It was unfair and incomprehensible. As Joseph sat there, an innocent man, he had a choice to make. He could be mad at life, mad at God, and say, “I’ll never serve God again. What good did that do me?”

Joseph did not look at what was happening at that moment in life, and let the moment define God. He continued serving God, continued being faithful to God and continued trusting God. He even started a jail ministry!

After Joseph was in prison for two years, he got up one morning not knowing his deliverance was about to come. He woke up, brushed his teeth, tidied up his cot, ate a not-so-great prison breakfast and did his regular slave work. BUT GOD! God said, “Today, it is finished!”   Before the sun went down that day, Joseph was living in a palace and was the second most powerful person in the land.

It only took Joseph THIRTEEN years to arrive at the palace. Thirteen years of faithfulness in less than stellar circumstances. Thirteen years of right(eous) decisions in less than stellar circumstances. Thirteen years of serving God with no expensive suits, no pricey chariots, no beautiful wife, no book publisher, no cool worship band and no television program. Just a man who chose to be faithful to the One He loved, and the One who loved him.

Don’t give up doing the right(eous) things in this life! We serve a God who is a “BUT GOD” kind of God. He is not limited by what is happening in your life at this moment. This “BUT GOD” that we serve has the biggest “BUT” in the room! He is at work in your life. He has the final word.

Never give up on God, for He never gives up on you!  One day, you will look back, and this will be your song:

“He’s been faithful, faithful to me,
Looking back Your love and mercy I see,
In my heart I question if You’re there, and I fail to believe
But You’ve been faithful, faithful to me.”

“You intended to harm me, BUT GOD intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” – Genesis 50:20

I Wasn’t Called To Fit In

Fitting inI’ve had a few sets of eyes rolled at me in my day. I’ve had venom spewed at me on Facebook a few times. I’ve been called out-of-touch, unrealistic, behind-the-times, judgmental and other great things. Why am I called these things? Because I refuse to compromise what I believe the Word of God says.

The pressure is on all of us as believers to be quiet, be accepting of everything, don’t offend anyone and just fit in. After all Christians are to love. What a ridiculous definition of Christian love! In order to show that I love, I must keep quiet and embrace what society is embracing. God never called me to fit in, but He did call me to stand tall and be a woman of the Word.

In the book of Daniel is recorded a story of three Hebrew men who would not bow to the king, which would mean compromising their devotion to God. God was the only one to whom they bowed and gave worship. As we read their story, we celebrate the deliverance of God. We shout, “Hallelujah!” That is certainly warranted.

Let us remember that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were living it in real time. Going into the fiery furnace, they confessed ahead of time that they did not know what the outcome would be. The outcome had nothing to do with their decision to stand for God. They were not concerned about fitting in, getting a position in the King’s palace or being popular. Their greatest concern was living a life that honored God.

While I am certainly not a hell-fire and brimstone preacher, I refuse to bow to a cry from a culture that says you have to fit in, that says you aren’t loving if you call anything sin. I want to live a life that honors God and His Word.

You see, I understand that I was called to preach the Good News that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. He is the way to the Father and eternal life in heaven. Oh, that’s not a popular message either. It’s okay! I’ll preach it anyway because I was not called to fit in!

“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” – Daniel 3:16-18


CoverI was to be the speaker at a conference in a city where I had been before. Much hard work was put into the conference, and anticipation was building. As I spent time with God and in study, I was excited about what He was showing me in His Word.

There was a woman who heard about the conference and was gung-ho to attend. She started talking it up with others, saying she had heard me teach before and “people would love it.” Her anticipation fed my excitement.

Later, after seeing my picture, the woman realized that I was not the woman she had remembered, so she was no longer interested in coming. That took the wind out of my sails a bit!

She made it known who she thought would be speaking, and it was a speaker with whom I was somewhat familiar. As I thought about the other speaker, I began to talk to myself. “She’s a better speaker than I am. She’s slimmer than I am. What do I have to say that anyone would want to hear? Why would anyone want to pay money to attend a conference just to listen to me? My gift is not good enough for me to travel across the nation?”  Negative thoughts assaulted my mind.

I had a flare-up of a disease called “comparisonitis.”

Comparisonitis can be a chronic, debilitating disease. It goes into remission when we’re happy, when we’re stroked by others or all is going well, but all too often, the moment something doesn’t go the way we want it too, it flares up.

I remember going to God  and telling Him why I couldn’t continue. Surely He had missed it when He called me, or maybe I even missed what I heard. As I wiped my tears and quieted myself before Him, it was almost as if He spoke audibly. “You are fearfully and wonderfully made. YOU – Barbara – YOU.” God did not try to convince me. He did not argue it with me. He just stated His truth and His opinion.

The Bible has quite a bit to say about being happy with who God made us to be. One of the most freeing verses that I have found is, “Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.” – Galatians 6:4.  That verse just shouts, “FREEDOM.” This tells me that all God wants and asks is that I give my personal best to whatever He has called me to do. I can be secure and satisfied knowing that God is pleased with me, and I don’t need to compare myself with anyone else. That is THE truth.

Do flare-ups of comparisonitis try to find their way into my life? Yes. What’s the best thing to do for it? Be me! If you feel yourself coming down with this disease, what’s the best thing you can do for it? Be you!