Why Believers Can’t Afford To ‘Ride The Fence’

As our faith comes under fire – with today’s attack on religious liberty – we must remember that God uses fire to purify our faith.

Fire draws a line in the sand: Are we in or out? With Him or against Him?

There is no in between.

We’ve heard some say, “I’m just riding the fence, sitting quietly, waiting to see what happens.”

To them we respond, “The devil owns the fence. Choose which side you’re on, and jump to it. Besides, you can’t stand strong on top of a fence.”

The Supreme Court’s ruling on gay “marriage” made it painfully obvious that religious liberties, especially for Christians, are now in the cross-hairs of the militant, secular agenda that is fundamentally changing our country.

This means we need to get off the fence and stand up. We’ve got to decide beforehand, i.e., today, what we’re going to do when our faith is actually under fire.

Here’s some encouragement.

God’s purification of our faith is nothing new. Believe it or not, millions of Christians before us have suffered persecution – or pressure, like we have in America – and God is still God, we are His children. So our Father will take care of us. All we’ve got to do is be faithful and willing to stand.

Jesus encourages us, saying, “Therefore, everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.”

Be sure, it will cost us something when we confess God before men – speaking of His boundaries that bring His blessings. Are we willing to follow Him whatever the cost?

A few biblical men show us the way forward, and their stories actually reveal something quite similar to what we may experience in America soon. As they stood firmly on God’s side of the fence, the nation where they were living turned against them quickly.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were living as Jewish exiles in Babylon around the year 600 B.C. During that time the king of Babylon decided to make a golden image and force everyone to bow to it – (hang on to the phrase: force to bow).

The choice was simple: Bow or burn.

These young men refused and faced the furnace. God delivered them, the king was forever marked, end of story. Well, not really.

One of their good friends, fellow Jewish brother in exile, Daniel, was also forced to do something against his will. Only, he was forced not to bow.

Sorry, we know this could get confusing, but that’s how the devil works.

Anyway, Daniel was told by the king of Babylon that he could not pray to anyone but the king. But, in Christ-like fashion, Daniel proverbially “buggy-whipped” the king’s decree by bowing in full view for all to see. (BOOM! Gotta love courage.)

Into the lions’ den he went, but “God shut their mouths.” Daniel was delivered, Babylon was marked again, end of story. Well, not really …

Throughout history – before and after these young Jewish men – believers in God have been forced to bow to godless agendas/decrees/ordinances/laws, yet they’ve refused, and suffered intense persecution.

At the same time people of faith have been forced not to bow to God/His boundaries/His laws/His words – yet they chose to bow in reverence and faced the fires of persecution as well.

Either way, persecutors want God’s faithful to be obedient to man, not God – to bow or not to bow, depending on the circumstances.

And their easiest targets are the fence sitters.

You see, there’s no balance on top of a fence, because there’s no foundation for your feet. You simply have to hang on as tight as you can because your feet have nothing to stand upon.

Today, we’ve decided – like our brothers in the Lord before us – not to straddle the fence but to stand upon the solid ground of courage, on God’s side. We will not bow to godless agendas – even in the form of laws. And we will bow to Jesus, His ways, and His words, no matter the cost.

So if you find yourself straddling the fence, please move to God’s side and trust that He’s got your back. We have nothing to fear, and we can’t forget that Jesus is in heaven speaking about our courage to the Father.

Are you excited to be alive?! God created us and put us here on the earth for such a time as this! So let’s stand to our feet on God’s side of the fence and embrace the fire that purifies our faith.

 

   by BENHAM BROTHERS

http://barbwire.com/2015/12/13/why-believers-cant-afford-to-ride-the-fence/

The God Who Speaks

Psalm 25 5 Lord Teach Lead Me
Hebrews 1:1-2

Throughout human history, God has been speaking to mankind in various ways. His prophets and apostles were moved by the Holy Spirit to proclaim and write His words, but His ultimate expression came through the birth of His Son Jesus Christ. Today, most believers acknowledge that God speaks primarily through Scripture, yet the voice that dictated the Bible has not ceased. Through His Holy Spirit, the Lord still communicates to every Christian who listens with an open and receptive heart.

Consider the wonder of having a God who speaks—not a distant deity who thunders orders and admonishments from heaven, but one who actually wants to have a conversation with you! Why? Consider the following:

-God loves you and desires a relationship with you.

-He wants you to know Him personally through an intimate communication.

-He longs to encourage you to trust Him. As you experience the fulfillment of His words, your faith grows strong.

-He wants to guide you. The Lord has a good purpose for your life and is willing to direct your decisions and ways so you can experience all He has planned for you.

In the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, it’s easy to take for granted this invaluable privilege of communication with God. Take time this week away from the distractions to listen to the God who wants to talk with you.

Life in the Blood

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” (Leviticus 17:11)

This great verse contains a wealth of scientific and spiritual truth. It was not realized until the discovery of the circulation of the blood by the creation scientist William Harvey, in about 1620, that biological “life” really is maintained by the blood, which both brings nourishment to all parts of the body and also carries away its wastes.

Its spiritual truth is even more significant. The blood, when shed on the altar, would serve as an “atonement” (literally “covering”) for the soul of the guilty sinner making the offering. In fact, the “life” of the flesh is actually its “soul,” for “life” and “soul” both translate the same Hebrew word (nephesh) in this text. When the blood was offered, it was thus an offering of life itself in substitution for the life of the sinner who deserved to die.

Human sacrifices, of course, were prohibited. No man could die for another man, for his blood would inevitably be contaminated by his own sin. Therefore, the blood of a “clean animal” was required. Animals do not possess the “image of God” (Genesis 1:27), including the ability to reason about right and wrong, and therefore cannot sin. Even such clean blood could only serve as a temporary covering, and it could not really “take away” sin. For a permanent solution to the sin problem, nothing less was required than that of the sinless “Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Hebrews 9:12). Since His life was in His blood, He has “made peace through the blood of his cross” (Colossians 1:20). HMM

The Sharp Blade of the Plow

Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you. —Hosea 10:12

The fallow field is smug, contented, protected from the shock of the plow and the agitation of the harrow…. But it is paying a terrible price for its tranquility: Never does it see the miracle of growth; never does it feel the motions of mounting life nor see the wonders of bursting seed nor the beauty of ripening grain. Fruit it can never know because it is afraid of the plow and the harrow.

In direct opposite to this, the cultivated field has yielded itself to the adventure of living. The protecting fence has opened to admit the plow, and the plow has come as plows always come, practical, cruel, business-like and in a hurry. Peace has been shattered by the shouting farmer and the rattle of machinery. The field has felt the travail of change; it has been upset, turned over, bruised and broken, but its rewards come hard upon its labors. The seed shoots up into the daylight its miracle of life, curious, exploring the new world above it. All over the field the hand of God is at work in the age-old and ever renewed service of creation. New things are born, to grow, mature and consummate the grand prophecy latent in the seed when it entered the ground. Nature’s wonders follow the plow.

Lord, make me a cultivated field. Do the hard work of the farmer in my life today. Amen.

Spiritual Pride: Asking God Once Is Enough

Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving. Colossians 4:2

I have met Christians who insist that it is wrong to pray for the same thing twice, the reason being that if we truly believe when we pray we have the answer the first time; any second prayer betrays the unbelief of the first!

There are three things wrong with this teaching. One is that it ignores a large body of Scripture; the second is that it rarely works in practice, even for the saintliest soul; and the third is that, if persisted in, it robs the praying man of two of his mightiest weapons in his warfare with the flesh and the devil—intercession and petition.

For let it be said without qualification that the effective intercessor is never a oneprayer man, neither does the successful petitioner win his mighty resources in his first attempt!

It must be noted that such a teaching will very often result in an unconscious spiritual pride.

One has but to note the smug smile of superiority on the face of the one-prayer Christian to sense that there is a lot of pride behind the smile. While other Christians wrestle with God in an agony of intercession they sit back in humble pride waiting it out. They do not pray because they have already prayed. The devil has no fear of such Christians. He has already won over them, and his technique has been false logic.

Glory to God

The spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you. 1 PETER 4:14

When the Holy Spirit comes among us with His anointing, we become a worshiping people!

Now, that does not mean that all Christians everywhere must all worship alike—but that under the guidance of the Holy Spirit believers everywhere are united in their praises to God.

When Jesus came into Jerusalem presenting Himself as Messiah, there was a great multitude and there was a great noise. Very often our worship is audible, but I do not believe it is necessarily true that we are worshiping God when we are making a lot of racket. But I think there is a word for those who are cultured, quiet, self-possessed, poised and sophisticated. If they are embarrassed in church when some happy Christian says, “Amen!” they may actually be in need of some spiritual enlightenment.

If some believer’s “Glory to God!” really bothers you, it may be because you do not know the kind of spiritual blessing and delight the Holy Spirit is waiting to provide among God’s worshiping saints. I can only speak for myself, but I want to be among those who worship!

Dear Lord, I pray that my worship of You will always be from my heart and without any earthly manipulations or distractions. What a joy it will be to one day stand with all the saints in heaven and worship You as King in spirit and in truth.