otherwise pleasant neighborhood will be kept in
an uproar of trouble by a few trouble makers.
Human trouble makers are not to be compared with
some other kinds.
fortunate enough to have splendid neighbors.
Nevertheless in this good neighborhood there is
a great deal of trouble caused by certain ones.
The names of these trouble makers are not Jones,
and Adams, and Thompson, or anything of that
sort. There are three of these families of
trouble makers. Two of them are the 'ifs" and
the "maybes." Not far away live the "buts," who
are close relatives of the others. Most of these
belong to the "doubt" family or to their close
neighbors, the "unwillings."
and "buts" are a numerous brood. They are quite
vocal. They are always ready to make suggestions
to us. They are full of questions. They are
constantly reminding us of the uncertainty of
things, and not infrequently they make them
appear much more uncertain than they really are.
introduce some of the "ifs." Here is one, "If I
were just sure." This one suggests that you
don't really know. You should be a little more
certain. You might make a mistake.
are already acquainted with this one.
It says, "If
I were just sure I am saved"; "If I were just
sure I am right"; "If I could know so that I
could not question it."
times you have been tormented by this bad
neighbor! Perhaps you were satisfied for a time
about your experience, or about other things,
but this has been succeeded by questioning and
uncertainty an wondering. This "if" makes you
frequent visits, but i never a welcome guest.
You have to deal with him some way. Are you able
to do so satisfactorily P
is, "If I didn't feel so." Yes, you would like
to have pleasant feelings all the time, but that
can not always be. Whenever you have feelings
you dislike or that cause you trouble, this "if"
is ready to suggest that you should not be too
sure of your position. I says you should not
undertake any spiritual work until you feel
differently. You agree with it and say, "If I
didn't feel so, thenó"
brother to this "if" is, "If things didn't seem
so." To be sure things sometimes look out of
proportion. We have feelings that things are not
as they ought to be. We cannot get things to
seem right. We are troubled, restless, and
uncertain because of the trouble this "if" gives
"ifs" are twins. "If I were not tempted so," and
"If I were not tried so." Yes, how happy you
could be if it were not for these twins. But
they are your close neighbors. They visit you
every now and then. And how tormenting they can
be! If you could move away and leave them you
would rejoice. But if you should move they would
move with you. You must always expect to have
them as neighbors, so you must find a nay of
adjusting yourself to them, so that they will
not spoil your happiness or hinder your life.
that has brought terror to many a soul is, "It I
am not right." This "if" can visit you on nearly
any occasion. It has no manners. It may come in
the dead of night. It may come when you are
getting along Fell. It may come when you are
having troubles, when you are bothered, tempted,
or not feeling good physically. But whenever it
comes it tends to give you a spiritual shock. It
makes you ask the question, "What if I am
mistaken?" or sometimes, "What if I am
deceived?" A great many people suffer because
they fear to be deceived. It is needless to
suffer from such fear. God will not let an
honest soul be deceived with respect to his
relations with him. It is only the ones who will
not hare the truth to whom he sends delusions.
It is our privilege to know our situation and
not to worry about being deceived. Sin is
deceitful, but righteousness, never.
of the "doubt" family is, "If God don'tó." We
must have help from God. We put our frost in
him. But what if he should fail us? What if his
promises should not be fulfilled?
is, "if I fail." The possibility of failure is
ever before us and we can let this "if" be a
great barrier to all our efforts if we will.
Another "if" is, "If Satan shouldó." Yes, we can
imagine many things that he might do. We can
fear him and let this fear become a bondage.
This fear is a troublesome neighbor to many.
Another "if" is, "If circumstancesó." It is
always whispering about things that may happen.
It creates foreboding and fears of the future.
These are only a few of the "ifs" that live
close neighbors to many of us.
We now turn
our attention to the "but" family First, "but
I." It says, "But I am so weak." Then it shows
all our weakness. It calls our attention to the]
failures of the past. It pictures up how likely
we are] to fail in the future. Yes, we should
like to do this, that, and the other, but "my
weakness!" It also says, "But my ignorance, I do
not know how. If I try I shall only blunder."
much being said in psychological circles about
inferiority complexes. There are a great many
people who have a sense of inferiority. They
think others can do things better than they;
that others are better than they are. They think
they must always be in the rear of the
procession. They are always minimizing their own
abilities and their various good qualities.
"But" is the favorite word of this inferiority
complex. It can always imagine difficulties that
do not exist.
this family is, "But they." It is the expression
of man fear. "But they will say"; "But they will
think"; "But they will do." Many people are held
back, and their lives stunted, by constant fear
of what others think, say, or do.
the family is, "But if." This thing will happen,
that thing will happen, or the other thing will
happen. This obstacle will arise; that
difficulty must be met.
and "ifs" and all their kind have one spokesman
for them all that says the final word. When it
is pointed out to us that there are ways to
overcome all these troublesome neighbors, when
the victory way is made clear, when we are
exhorted to be free, to be our real selves, to
rise above these things, when our friends would
instill courage into us, then this spokesman is
heard. It is, "Yes, but maybe." It admits all
that has been said, but still it has some
additional fears to bring up.
you do with these "buts," these "ifs," these
troublesome neighbors of yours? You have to do
something with them. Sometimes you can ignore
them. At otter times you have to use other
methods to overcome them. Anyway, you must
overcome them before you will have learned the
secret of the singing heart. As long as you are
tormented by these you will not feel like
singing. It is possible for you to arrive at the
place and adopt the attitude that will enable
you to look all these "ifs" "d "buts" in the
face and then go unfalteringly on your way
You must put
them to rout with the sword of faith. You must
shield yourself from their darts when they
Assail you with the shield of faith. The "ifs"
and "buts" are what gives faith its opportunity.
Faith is intended e' en antidote for uncertainty
and fear. It will cure the worst case of it. It
will put to flight all your foes. It will
silence your questioning. It will soothe your
fears and quiet your troubled heart. It will
make you conscious of your strength. It will
enable you to overcome your temptations. It will
keep you steadfast through your trials. It will
enable you to trust regardless your feelings. It
will give you assurance.
girl taught by her teacher in school to
punctuate learned a lesson in natural things
that would be well for us to learn in spiritual
things. She cam home and told her mother what
she had learned. He' mother said, "Indeed, and
how did you do it?" "Well Mamma," said the
little girl, "It is just as easy as can be. If
you say a thing is so, you just put a hatpin
after it. But if you are only asking whether it
is so or not' you put a button-hook."
of course, represented a period, and the
buttonhook, an interrogation-mark. I fear some
of us have too great a supply of button-hooks.
We are putting them after too many things. We
need a greater supply of hatpins. Whenever God
says anything, whenever he makes us a promise,
be sure you put a hatpin after it. Your feelings
will tell you to use the buttonhook, but it does
not belong there. It belongs after nothing that
God says. So when you go to read your Bible get
a handful of hatpins. After every promise you
read put a hatpin. After everything God says,
put a hatpin. Then be sure that later you do not
replace it with a button-hook.
we need to put many hatpins after things in our
own life. Say, "God will not fail," then put a
hatpin after it. Say, "I shall not fail," and
the hatpin. Settle things, then put hatpins
after them and never allow yourself to change to
button-hooks. God wants us to be certain.
Faith is not
only the antidote for fear and uncertainty. It
is also the preventive of doubt and fear. Faith
is the anchor of the soul. Anchor yourself with
it by definitely exercising it each day.
In you life do what God
wants you to do. Do what duty demands, then make
God responsible for the contingencies. When you
work for anyone you obey his instructions, and
then you let him be responsible for the
consequences. That is exactly the way to do with
God. Do his will, do your duty, and then do not
be fearful of the consequences. Put the "ifs"
and "buts" to rout. Keep up your shield of
faith, wield your sword of f&ish, and you
will conquer these