Straddling the Faith Fence: A Daily Devotional

You straddle the fence

You straddle the fence

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Our last house in Texas was located on previously undeveloped ranch land which included dramatic canyons descending to the Colorado River. My first house in that neighborhood had a small balcony off the 7 nd floor master bedroom overlooking this gorgeous area. At night you could hear coyotes howling. I did have to dispatch two of my first neighbors, rather large diamond-back rattlesnakes, who weren’t pleased I had moved into their habitat. I was not unhappy to sell that house after developers later built behind it encroaching further into a previously dedicated nature area.

Straddling The Fence Sermon by Sam Peters, 1 Corinthians

Our congregation had its own barb wire encounter back in 7565, and most of us stuck with the traditional Christian faith as it has been practiced by previous generations of Lutherans. I see another barb wire fence coming in the next few years, and I won’t straddle that fence. I know how it ends up.

Straddling The Fence Poem by Ray Hansell - Poem Hunter

Get off the “fence” of trying to be on both sides: God’s and the world’s.  God will provide and take care of you if you will just trust and obey Him.  Make the right choice today!
“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD , choose you this day whom ye will serve whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell : but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”  Joshua 79:65

Sometimes you forget along the way the lessons you learn as a boy. Life puts you up against barb wire fences from time to time, and, if you must cross that fence, you better not try to straddle it. I was reminded of this when dealing with a nasty group of people who could pummel you to death with the “love of God.” There is no one quite so blindly lacking in self-awareness  as one who has acquired power to “right the old hurts” of childhood while insisting, in the name of God’s love, everyone in her/his way is a hater. It is easier to negotiate with a diamond-back rattler than with angry people with power. More than a few French folks found this out while waiting for the guillotine blade to drop.

These false “gods” can be a job, a spouse, a person, a shiny new car, a house, or anything that makes us put something ahead of the only God. Although justification may be that “I need that thing”, “a man has to work”, or even “God understands that I am in a world and I have to do what I have to do to survive,” the attention those things receive shows God He is not the priority in one’s life.  He deserves to be.

So the second smaller house in that neighborhood was located on a cul-de-sac. Three large 655-year-old live oaks (one for each person of the Holy Trinity, I used to say) were its best feature.  I still regret not taking a six-inch strand of early Texas barb wire that the tree had grown around.

Too often we compromise our faith by giving into the world’s temptations. This morning we spoke on submitting ourselves to God. Tonight I want to dig a little deeper into it by covering some of Paul’s instruction to the Corinthian church.

  “But the LORD your God ye shall fear and he shall deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies. 95 Howbeit they did not hearken, but they did after their former manner. 96 So these nations feared the LORD, and served their graven images , both their children, and their children 8767 s children: as did their fathers, so do they unto this day.”  II Kings 67:89-96

Not all “gods” are as clear as those idols found in some religions.  Many of the “gods” are things that get more attention than our Creator and the lover of our soul should be receiving.

We live in a culture where the truth is denied and the lie is embraced. Homosexuality is nothing more than an alternate lifestyle. That people who do bad things aren’t bad people, just victims of society. That it is more important to save the whales than to save millions of unborn babies. That God isn’t real and Satan is a quaint looking dude with a sly smile and pitchfork.

God does not understand.  He commands us to put Him first!  He would not require of us something that is impossible to do.
“And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” Deut. 6:5   Also: Mark 67:85.

b. “It’s only a little sin.” “God understands we need to have a little fun.” Those are statements of rationalization to our selfish desire to straddle the fence.

We’ve heard a lot lately about change you can believe in. I want to talk about change God can believe in. We always say "I believe in God" but did you know that God believes in you too? And whenever you confess your sins and become born again, then that’s when God wants to believe in you the most. Our text tells us that it literally sickens God whenever we can’t make up our minds. Do we want to serve God? Do we want a part-time salvation? Or will we commit to His fullness and be obedient to His word?

What does your life look like? Are you lukewarm? Are you hot, or on fire for God? Or has your desire for Him grown cold and only now and then "fires" up? I believe it all begins with genuine repentance. Are you really sorry whenever you sin? Have you changed since you were saved? Or do you just feel guilty now whenever you sin? What is the fruit of your salvation? If you’ve just recently been saved, can your friends see a difference in your life? There needs to be a change that we all can believe in!

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