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.

Mundane Monday: Get Up and Fight!

Curve Ball

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

The curve balls in this life weren’t meant to defeat us, but to challenge us to rise and play ball.

Scripture:

2 Corinthians 10:4

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”

I love baseball.  There was nothing like watching my son play and play hard.  But the imminent fear of a fly ball whacking you in the face was always looming in the corner of the minds of the spectators.

I have witnessed such incidences many times.  One woman was knocked unconscious and taken away by an ambulance, some ball players themselves were carried off the field and still other spectators foamed at the mouth for the opportunity to lunge and catch the ball . . . all pressing on, for the love of the game.

This past week I sat in the hospital for three days while my son had surgery for a broken femur – not from a baseball game, but from a slow bicycle ride.  His roommate, however, had several crushed bones in his face from a baseball.  My darling husband, too, also has a lump on his face from the time he took a shot from the ball himself.

Sometimes life throws you crazy curve balls.  The question is, do we pick up the ball dealt to us and play or let ourselves get socked by the balls and defeated when they come our way?  After sizing up the speed of a ball, my preference would likely be to dodge a fast ball if I do not think I have the ability to catch it.

I well remember pitching to my two older brothers who could whack the tape ball we played with to a lightning speed in no time.  Those lessons coached me well.  Stay alert!

But sometimes you do not have time to dodge a ball nor the skill.  Ugh, while I mention the words “dodge” and “ball” in the same sentence, another vivid memory appears in my mind as the last chosen on a team at school and the first one smacked with those balls. Oh, what fun, right?

Back to my sweet son.  We did not expect a casual bike ride to turn into three medical facilities, surgery and great pain.  It is still stupefying to consider how it happened.  But it did.  In the moment, I noticed I did not respond as I had before when traumatic times occurred.  There was a peace.  Unexplainable.  Sadness gripping my heart for my son, but a calm, nonetheless.

God gave a presence of mind to consider that where we were was temporary.  It was also allowed by Him and a mission.

Would we waste the brief opportunities that came our way with the people we would meet, or would we share Christ, our biggest blessing, our very life, to those around us?  One shot to handle the ball and to bring God glory.

My son is growing in his faith and it was absolutely precious to see Him have to depend on God and to grow in His strength and faith in Jesus.  As we read Scripture aloud and prayed in that hospital room, God did His part.  The hardest thing, though, was for my son to face His enemy – the pain he was in.  The only way to recovery was to walk through the pain and to make a choice to take the ball, the circumstances dealt to him, and push through. He had to choose to face his pain and get up and fight.

You see, our enemy throws sucker punches and sometimes we want to give up.  Dizzy and lying on the ground, it seems impossible to get up and fight.  But the only way to victory is to accept what happened and to fight.  Not with the weapons of this world.  It might be on our knees, reading His word or it might mean doing really hard things, but in the place of pain we have a Savior walking with us through it all, and it makes all the difference in the world.

Sometimes all you can do is hang onto Jesus’ robe and cry out.  That’s ok.  That is the best place to be, actually.  It can be easy to grow discouraged when challenges rise in our lives, in particular multiple balls coming our direction at the same time. We don’t expect them nor appreciate them often in the moment. Unless . . . we view them as an adventure and view ourselves as being in the hands of a loving sovereign God Who is sending us on a mission.  Will we accept?

Lord, help us to see You in all of life.  Help us to seek You as our coach in every circumstance and to not grow weary in well doing.

Seeing Deep Music Recording Project

website slide 1

Daniel 2:22

“He reveals deep and hidden things. He knows what is in the darkness, and light resides with him.”

I wanted to take a minute to write a personal note to you on my blog.  When I first began this blogging journey, I did not want anyone to know my name.  Hidden away with hurt and shame, I longed for healing and to help others who suffered as I did. By crying out to God myself for understanding, I wanted to serve you, my readers, with hope in the midst, and actually helped provide healing I so desperately needed, too.  Sometimes it is in the darkest moments where there seems to be no hope, that we can really see.  Sometimes an end is actually a beginning and death has to happen before new life can.

Trauma never makes sense and the timing of said trauma is never convenient.  But then that is perhaps what makes it so traumatic – it was not what we expected and not at that time.  The lessons learned in the severe flames or our deepest trials are burned into our souls for the rest of our days. The fruit of our pain can be a beautiful offering to those who might not have tasted of the same bitterness, or to those who know the surroundings well.

This is the purpose of this ministry – to see the deeper meaning of life’s sorrows through God’s word – through this blog and through music.  Thank you very much for encouraging my heart by coming by to fellowship with me on this blog.  If you have enjoyed this blog, then the music will I believe be an encouragement to you, as well. Stepping out to record music again after a 7-year break, I invite you to come visit my page at PledgeMusic and consider purchasing the music in advance to help fund the recording.  To find out more, you can visit the Pledge Music tab on this blog website or visit this link: http://www.pledgemusic.com/seeingdeep

Seeing deeper is a choice we make – to not be complacent and not dumb down our pain and instead cry out to God for meaning in the midst of our pain.  May He encourage you today that he does still hold all the answers to our every doubt, sorrows and wonderings.

God Bless You –

All for Jesus,

Denise

Worshipful Wednesday: Freedom and The Favor of God

Photo Credits thespiritscience.net

Photo Credits
thespiritscience.net

Psalm 3:1-8

Lord, how numerous are my enemies!  Many attack me. 2 Many say about me, “God will not deliver him.” (Selah) 3 But you, Lord, are a shield that protects me; you are my glory and the one who restores me. 4 To the Lord I cried out, and he answered me from his holy hill(Selah5 I rested and sleptI awokefor the Lord protects me6 I am not afraid of the multitude of people who attack me from all directions. 7 Rise up, LordDeliver me, my GodYesyou will strike all my enemies on the jawyou will break the teeth of the wicked. 8 The Lord delivers; you show favor to your people(Selah)

Psalm 4:1-3, 6-8

1 When I call out, answer me, O God who vindicates me! Though I am hemmed in, you will lead me into a wide, open place.  Have mercy on me and respond to my prayer2 You menhow long will you try to turn my honor into shameHow long will you love what is worthless and search for what is deceptive? (Selah3 Realize that the Lord shows the godly special favor; the Lord responds when I cry out to him6 Many say, “Who can show us anything good?” Smile upon us, Lord! 7 You make me happier than those who have abundant grain and wine. 8 I will lie down and sleep peacefully, for you, Lord, make me safe and secure.

David was fleeing for his life from his own son when he wrote this Psalm.  In a moment he, though he was King, lost the freedom He had.  When we consider all he had to go through prior to becoming King, the thought of returning to a similar state of hiding out in caves I am sure evoked thoughts of horror.  Once he had tasted of persecution and had the resulting freedom, he probably never anticipated going through it all again.  But there it was.  And from his own flesh and blood.

There is a war on freedom today, felt as far away as Syria and as near as a neighboring county.  Sometimes from strangers, sometimes from family and sometimes from those in authority.  The familiar struggle for power from the enemy of our souls is wrought upon those he would seek to control.  In particular among all of the freedoms we earn (not given), freedom of religion is perhaps chief among the freedoms that are the most difficult to maintain.

We dare not grow apathetic about our brothers and sisters who fight for their lives because of what they believe.  Nor can we disregard when basic freedoms threaten to be removed in our own country, county, city or town because of someone’s misinterpretation (ill-conceived or in ignorance) of the law.

Such was the case last night when the freedom to home educate children under the religious exemption statute in Virginia was being threatened.  I do not ever recall feeling more proud of home schoolers and fellow citizens than last night, seeing sincere mothers, fathers, children, citizens – speaking up for freedom, even though it might not have been their own freedom they fought for.

There is something inherently wrong about individuals or organizations thinking they have the right to come into someone’s home and tell a parent or a child what they should believe or what educational choice they should make for their child.  But last night, freedom won. Common sense won.  All present had the opportunity of seeing democracy fleshed out and felt the very amazing, patriotic feeling of seeing freedom being reinstated.  Much like those who first came to this country for the very same reason – freedom to worship their God and live before him in accordance with their convictions without interference – witnesses of last night’s debate once again thanked God for the freedoms we enjoy in this country.

A funny thing happens when basic freedom of religion is threatened.  God’s people cry out.  God hears.  People who had formerly forgotten that the freedoms gained must be maintained, suddenly ignite with a sense of purpose.  The joy felt when justice is given and the favor of God is apparent is indescribable.  Sometimes we have to almost lose a freedom to appreciate it all the more and recognize the favor of God that is upon us when we walk in accordance to His Word. Although I am certain my friends would have preferred not to undergo the persecution and threats they suffered, the result ended up in God receiving glory and their freedoms cherished by many.

Lord, help us to not take for granted the freedom we have to worship You.  May we cry out to You and see once again Your favor on our land, one nation under God.