Feedback Friday: To Bake or not to Bake

wedding-cake

Christian Bakers Fined $135K

for Not Working Gay Wedding Continue Fighting for Their Freedoms

 

In the news today – it is hard to fathom being fined $135K because you turn down providing a service to a client. It is pretty customary that a provider of a service can turn down a paying client for a variety of reasons.

But the prevailing philosophy that has blinded the eyes of many calls out for”tolerance” while simultaneously urging intolerance to another person’s conviction.

The people who espouse this philosophy of tolerance often proudly display the common bumper sticker proclaiming that we all “Co-Exist”. The message of this bumper sticker seems to be accepting – but it is not so appealing when we really examine the statement. To exist alongside another person is not fellowship or agreement, nor tolerance, after all. It is merely breathing the same air.

To demand a service be provided is not respecting or tolerating the other person’s freedom to choose. It is using political dogma to try and force another person to go against the very core of what they believe in. Does not sound like coexisting to me. Sounds kind of bossy and judgmental – the very thing they accuse other people of because they have a conviction. Not just any conviction – but a freedom to believe and to act on that belief that was paid for with the blood of those who fought for our religious freedom in the first place in this country.

The mindset that says everyone has to do what we want does not fly so well if it went the other direction.

The people who want to force their “freedoms” only want freedom for themselves while denying the freedom of those with different beliefs at the same time.

When the law tries to mandate to whom service must be provided it overrides our basic freedom of choice. So many applications for this reality. Should a musician be forced to play for a wedding if they are unable to make the date? Should a Catholic Hospital permit abortions? Equally as egregious as the religious freedom breech that the Kleins who own “Sweet Cakes” endured, “In 2014, a New York Christian couple were fined $13,000 for refusing to allow a same-sex couple to have their wedding ceremony on their family farm, which they live on and also rent out for event”(Smith, Samuel. Christian Post).

What do you think? Does someone have the right to demand that their wedding be hosted on your property? Common sense should prevail on this one.

Does personal preference mean we hate others or are discriminatory? No. It means we all have a choice of what convictions we choose to live by and those personal beliefs should not be questioned and certainly not devalued or judged. If we do not live by what we believe in, we don’t truly believe in them at all.

Let me know what you think. I know we might not agree on this, and that’s ok. We have the freedom to think for ourselves. Hopefully in a respectful manner. 🙂

Philippians 4:5

Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do.

Remember, the Lord is coming soon.

Sabbath Reflections: Great is Our God

bible-at-9-11

The past two weeks God has been impressing upon my mind a need to proclaim His greatness, in particular as we remember the 15th anniversary of 9/11.

I put together a video and slideshow for our worship service today to commemorate just some of the many miracles God did during the devastating events of 9/11. It was awesome to reflect on how God is so much bigger than any sorrow this world brings.

In my search to find footage that glorified God, I was really struck by a couple of videos I found. Here is a link to the video I created, splicing together two videos I discovered on the internet: 9/11 Remembrance. The amazing thing about the video I picked which shared the testimony of the finding of pages of the Bible being fused to metal at Ground Zero was that the very Scripture the Bible was turned to was the same passage our pastor chose to preach from today.

So today, as we contemplate God’s goodness, mercy, grace and strength which sustain us at all times, I want to share lyrics from my song, “Comfort to the Weary”, which was penned in 2002 and played in the heart of Ground Zero, New York City for a 24-hour time period. The lyrics still vividly remind me of our need for God’s comfort now, more than ever. See the slide show I created here: Remembering 9-11 Slideshow. To God be the glory in all things at all times. He is our ever present help in time of need.

 Comfort to the Weary (c) 2002 Denise Pass

There’s a man on a New York downtown corner, Holding our a picture of his wife;

Holding on to hope with his heart filled with grief;

He’s wondering if God really cares at all.

       He gives comfort to the weary, strength to the weak.

       Healing for the wounded heart and power to the meek.

       He knows all your pain and burdens, all your angst and strife;

       And in the midst He’s there with you, though the pain cuts like a knife.

       He is there – He is there.

   There’s a girl who doesn’t have a daddy anymore,

Wondering why he had to die.

Men in a plan full of hate took his life away,

Now she’s wondering if God really cares at all…

 He is there – Jehovah Jireh, my Provider – the LORD God Almighty.

       He’s our Rock, Jehovah Rapha, the LORD our Healer – He’s there for you and me.

I don’t know what plans the LORD will have for you today,

Or what pain you’ll have to bear.

But I know what’s meant for evil will be used for good –

We serve a living God who cares for you…

Lord, please open the eyes of our nation to see our sin and need of You. Have mercy on us and help us to trust in You.

Truthful Tuesday: Politics and God

god-and-politics_big

(c) Photo Credits cccomaha.org

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Still people want to remove God as if that could ever be achieved. The Creator of all that exists is not so easily dismissed.

Scripture of the Day:

 

Romans 13:1
 

“Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.”

Daniel 2:21

“He changes times and seasons, deposing some kings and establishing others. He gives wisdom to the wise; he imparts knowledge to those with understanding.”

When we bring up the topic of God and politics, I can hear some already before this post is begun, stating that there is a separation of church and government. This fallacy has been propagated so much it has contributed to the degradation of our society.

Studying history reveals that church was to influence government, but government was not to mandate religion. Still people want to remove God as if that could ever be achieved. The Creator of all that exists is not so easily dismissed.

God already knows the end of all things, so it would seem that politics are inconsequential to Him and to us – but He still has a role for us to play – and He is in control of it all.

What can we do when feathers are flying and it seems that the possibility of a candidate we did not want to be installed in office is very likely?

Pray.  

1 Timothy 2:1-4

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

We are commanded to pray for our leaders and government. Most of the time it seems people would rather speak against our leaders. It is understandable – they are fallible and often ungodly. But even so, God is in complete control of our government systems and the politics of man. When we partner with God and pray, we are part of accomplishing His will.

Educate ourselves. While man tries to frame up his viewpoint in a way that influences man and frets about who might win the election, we can seek to find the truth of the matter and not just swallow the media’s spin.

Get involved. By all means, vote. Maybe even volunteer to help the candidate you are supporting. Pray and study to know who would represent your Christian values who actually has a chance of winning. Expecting a staunchly Christian candidate in a post-Christian era is probably not realistic.

God is wondering if we might place our trust in Him and pray for His will to be done. Perhaps we might pray for the salvation of our next President and recognize the reality that no matter what happens, our Sovereign God will use it all for His glory and our good.

It is at first unsettling when we consider the fragile future in light of the prophecies in Scripture, but for the believer we know that every aspect of what is transpiring on the world stage was already spoken of by God. He is sovereign and in complete control. Amen.

Lord, You are all omnipotent, omniscient, and You own it all. Help us not to worry but to seek to glorify You in all our circumstances.

Sabbath Reflections: Nation on its Knees

Prayer Can Move the Heart of God and Man

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Prayer can move the heart of God and man.

Scriptures:

Psalms 99:4

“The King is strong; he loves justice. You ensure that legal decisions will be made fairly; you promote justice & equity in Jacob.”

Proverbs 21:1

“The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD like channels of water; he turns it wherever he wants.”

As we near the culmination of a lively political race in just a little over a couple of months, the LORD reminded me while I was praying for both candidates that He is much bigger than our election. He not only controls the outcome, but is our great, sovereign God over all. He rules the entire universe, every government, every people, every land – and is able to affect the heart of our next President. It is to that end that I will pray.

Our nation needs more now than ever a people committed to pray for her. May we fill the next eleven weeks with intercession for our nation and for both candidates to turn their hearts back to God. Will you join me? We each play a key role in the next election – praying – and prayer can move the heart of God and man.

Oh God, this great land is Yours and Yours alone. Help us to not forget that truth. Help our people to turn from sin and to see Your worth is far above the worship of lesser things. Please draw our nation back to You and cause our leaders to bow to no other God but You. Move in the hearts of our Presidential nominees and help them to see their need of salvation. Your will be done. We trust You, Lord, to place Your person in office.

True Freedom – Happy 4th of July!!

Galatians 5:1

“For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not be subject again to the yoke of slavery.”

Isaiah 61:1

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners;” 

Romans 8:1-2

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.”

Many images come to mind when I contemplate what freedom means.  Imagery of a soldier, willingly choosing to fight to keep our land free from danger; thoughts of our founding fathers, tirelessly making sure our constitution protected our rights and freedoms; and an innocent God-man, choosing to lay down His life to purchase our freedom.

Freedom is not cheap.  It is the most expensive gift someone can give and receive.  Yet after it has been received it is often quickly forgotten what sacrifice was given to provide such a gift.  We can begin to deviate from what that freedom really was intended for if we are not mindful.  Freedom FROM sin, not freedom FOR sin.  Freedom to live in freedom, but not to use that freedom to infringe on other people’s freedoms.

As we remember the hard fought for freedom in the United States of America – won on the backs of those who laid down their lives so we could become a new nation, may we never forget the chief purpose – to be able to worship freely.  They saw a bigger purpose for our nation than just the American Dream of living lavishly.  We can still be a lamp to the world if we will remember the true freedom we were meant to have in this land – freedom to worship our living God.  We cannot let this hard-fought-for freedom die so easily.

Political correctness threatens to stifle our consciences and silence true Christianity, replacing it with dead religion that offers no hope nor true freedom.  In the name of freedom we are told people should have freedom of speech, yet Christians are told they cannot pray, the ten commandments are removed and a marine is disciplined for not removing her Scripture from her desk.  In the name of freedom, people demand offensive cakes be made and sue the ones who will not make it, denying the freedom of choice and conscience that the bakers have.  In the name of freedom, people proclaim their right to murder the unborn for their convenience, while the voices of those who cannot speak for themselves are silenced forever.

Our freedom is being taken from us little by little.  Do we perceive it?

We can still be a source of light to the nations if we do not forget our heritage.  Christ is the hope of all the nations and the only One Who really sets us free.

The ultimate freedom is the freedom from sin.  Freedom from bitterness.  Freedom to choose righteousness.  Freedom to love your enemies.  Unlike the freedom this world affords, the freedom Christ purchased is forever.  May true freedom reign in our hearts and our land.  To God be the glory!

Lord, thank You for setting my heart free twenty-seven years ago – I will never be the same.  Heal our land, LORD! Capture our hearts again and revive our hearts for you, Jesus.  Have mercy on our sins and make this nation Yours!