Front Row Seat

God blesses through conviction not compromise. The same God we read about in the Old Testament is the same God of 2014. The difference is we have the Holy Spirit who comes to live inside of each one of us who believes to help us, direct us and intercede for us.

God is God and we are not. He is a God who desires to accomplish much through the life He gave each of us. He does allow us the choice. When I hear Albert Einstein’s quote, “A ship is always safe at the shore—but that is NOT what it was built for,” it makes me think of the Christian life. Just as a ship can’t go places and do what it was built to do when it sits on the shoreline, neither can we as Christians unless we leave the shore, leave our comfort and MOVE, MOVE, STEP OUT, STEP OUT!!!

When I read and study God’s Word related to the issue of compromise, I think of Daniel and his faith in God and his refusal to compromise. He was taken captive by the Babylonians who saw he could be trained and used to benefit the kingdom of Babylon. The captors sought to change Daniel. They wanted to give him a new identity. Daniel refused to compromise his faith in God even though his circumstances had changed. Daniel remained steadfast refusing to eat the “meal plan” of the Babylonians.

It wasn’t just that the food was rich or unhealthy but the meat had been used in sacrifices to idols. Unclean for Daniel to eat because he worshiped the true God. He risked his life to stay strong in his Faith. He didn’t allow his circumstances to alter his TRUST in God and his actions demonstrated just that. Look at Daniel 1:8, “Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods.”

If you continue to read the book of Daniel, you will see that Daniel’s refusal to compromise and the risk he took, based on his conviction of who God was and what he believed, brought rewards. What does that teach me in the year 2014? Risking for our faith and a trust in God, being obedient no matter what our circumstances……brings rewards. As I read the story of Daniel, I find there are many more risks/rewards for Daniel. All through Daniel’s life he influenced countless lives with his conviction of who God was and what God could and wanted to accomplish through his life.

Just look at Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego! They were three men who joined Daniel’s refusal to eat the unclean meal plan of the Babylonians. Daniel influenced them with not only his faith but his actions. While Daniel was placed in the palace court, because God had allowed him favor with King Nebuchadnezzar, the favor and protection of God was on Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They had been place over the affairs of Babylon. They were Jews but had been given important positions. Just stop for a minute and start to apply this story and its implications for me/you…….our conviction of who God is, if we love Him and are called according to His purpose…if we are determined not to compromise, we are going to be asked to “risk”. Is our conviction so strong that we will trust and be given “front row seats” of the power of God in our lives?

If you could interview Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego today, they could tell you about front row seats. They would tell you HOW awesome God’s hand was in their lives and that they would have never seen the greatness of God and His mighty power without EXTREME RISK for their faith! Let’s pick up in Daniel 3:12, “But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—who pay no attention to you, O king. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.” Upon learning this, King Nebuchadnezzar was so angry that he had the fiery furnace heated so over the top that when the guards threw Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego into the furnace, they were burned to death.

What happened to the “REAL RISK TAKERS”?…..They were untouched by the fire…….and when they looked into the fire, there was “the FOURTH MAN!” GOD!! When they were brought out of the fire, they didn’t even smell of smoke! Just stop….. and think about that FRONT ROW SEAT….FROM RISK……A RISKING OF LIFE…….FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE……I love reading the book of Daniel…..I encourage you to read the whole book……it is an account of CONVICTION, RISK, FAITH AND REWARDS…..GOD IS THE MAN! NO DOUBT…..

The bigger question today for 2014, and if you are a reader of the Back 9, who is God to you? Is He the God of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshah and Abednego??? Do you believe He has significance for your life? Are you facing difficult and harsh circumstances….? Are you thinking….that is an old story that happened so long ago… and thinking that God doesn’t exist today or that He doesn’t do the same amazing things?

From my own personal walk with God, I can say absolutely that God is the Man. HE is the same today as He was during Daniel’s life. He desires for anyone to have that “front row seat” of HIS AMAZING HAND OF protection and provision in their lives…….and the real responsibility lies in OUR CHOICE….TO BELIEVE, RISK, TRUST…….that all comes before the “FRONT ROW SEAT”. Neither Daniel nor Shadrach, Meshach, or Abednego knew the outcome of their RISK…..THEY JUST TRUSTED in God and allowed their FAITH TO be greater than their fear.

My personal testimony is that God can and will do amazing things but, in order for that to take place….it starts with me/you/us….. we have to make that choice. We have to choose to grow and know who Christ is….no one can do it for us….It is when we choose, we pray, we risk, we trust, we step …….that WE SEE GOD PERSONALLY AND ENJOY THE FRONT ROW SEAT of amazement and power…..I encourage you today…..take the step that only you can make. MOVE TO THE FRONT ROW! THE VIEW IS AWESOME!

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