Monday, October 31, 2011

Hallowed be Your name!

I'm about to bare my soul.  It won't get racy, but you might get uncomfortable.  As my disclaimer right up front: No, I don't think I'm `better', I'm not thinking of anyone in particular, even you, I'm not looking down my nose at anyone, and as with everything I write on my blog, I really hope and pray that what I'm about to share with you is Truth prompted by the Holy Spirit.  Something else I want to stress: this is for those who profess to follow Jesus.

Now that you're prepped and have had plenty of time to click `next blog'...

In our country, we as believers have not been gathered together and forced to worship an idol or be thrown into a fiery furnace.  (Dan. 3:1-18)

In our country, we have not had to choose to swear allegiance to a king in place of God. (Dan. 6)

In our country, we are not encouraged to offer up our children to a mouth of burning metal. (1 Kings 11:33)

Satan has been subtle in his traps.  The subtle traps that we define as `culture' and `tradition' and `fond childhood memories' but in reality are just Satan's ploys to draw us away from the TRUTH!  Remember,

"Enter through the narrow gate.  For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." Matt. 7:13-14

When we are following the traditions of a culture, we should always! question it.  Almost 100% of the time, it is not glorifying to a holy God.

And I'm talking about Halloween.  "The Devil's Holiday" as at least one country calls it.  Why do we as Christians think it's okay to participate in this?  There is nothing glorifying to God or redeeming in it at all.    At all.  If you as a parent want to dress your child up to look cute and let him feast on candy, please do it on a different day!  It's not the child dressed as a lion or the candy in itself that is of Satan.  It is what the day stands for.


Death is a corruption of the Father's original plan.

Death is glorified in horrific images, dark decor, and other themes.  Evil should not be made light of.  It is very real and the only way we are able to laugh in it's face is in the name of Jesus.  Every single practice on Halloween has extremely evil roots and most of it doesn't need research to find out what they are - it's pretty obvious.

The fact that this day so much focuses on children makes it even more abhorrent to me.

"The night is nearly over; the day is almost here.  So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light." Romans 13:12

To get a little edgy, let me just say that many, many Christian parents have never thought why or wherefore about Halloween because they grew up celebrating it.  However, some of these same Christian parents will question routine vaccinations given to their children unknowingly placing their child's physical well-being at higher rank of importance than their spiritual health.

What cultural practices have you shed because you are `children of light' who should have nothing to do with deeds of darkness?  And if there was ever a definition that fits Halloween to a T, it is `deeds of darkness'.

"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.  Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.  For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret."  Ephesians 5:8-12\

To address some comments before they are made (I may have done a few other posts on this subject before!), no, I don't think we are letting Satan win by "giving him the day".  Absolutely not!  He wins when he can blind the ones who claim to know the Truth into giving in.  We should have nothing to do with it!  Nothing.  Church `alternatives' are just soft-serve ways for parents to avoid putting their foot down about what's right and really actively teaching their children about the subtleties of Satan.

Yes, I know the Christmas tree is a pagan symbol.  The difference is that now it has no relation to the pagan symbol it once was and can be used in such a God-glorifying way.

Yes, I respect fellow believers who have convictions to open their doors to their neighbors and shine the light of Jesus on such a night.  In fact, we've tried to do this in the past.

I would plead with you to seriously think about what you choose to do on this night, what you choose to expose your children to, and who you choose to honor.  As believers, we need to be working to honor God in ALL we do.

"I am the Lord; that is my name!  I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols." Isaiah 42:8

Ways to communicate the true message of Halloween to your children:
* As you pass decorations (graves, ghosts, skeletons,), talk to your children about how those are symbols of death and use it as an opportunity to praise Jesus because He has conquered death and we as His followers have the hope of eternal life!
* Focus on something totally different but still pertinent to the day, such as the Reformation!
* Talk about how the world views death and why they like to make a joke of it.  Why would this be a victory for Satan?  (If Satan can convince you that death is to be taken so lightly, you will never feel the need for a Savior).
* Talk about how we are commanded in God's Word not to fear (Isaiah 41:10) and to fill our minds with what is true, right, pure, lovely, and admiral (Phil. 4:8).
* Discuss ways to shine the light of Jesus on such a night - will you answer the door to children and share God's love through a tract or a blessing?  Will you have a special family night?  Will you spend the evening in prayer?

"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fall on my knees

We did something this fall that we've wanted to do for several years.

We planted bulbs!

I love to plant bulbs in the fall.  With every little hole I dig, and with each carefully-placed bulb planted, it's just a tiny deposit toward beauty for the spring.

It's like planting hope.

Lamentations 3:25-26
"The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord."

Because no matter how long Minnesota winters are, there is always the promise of springtime.  The promise that we start doubting sometime in March, the promise we feel betrayed by in April, the promise that usually reaches fulfillment sometime in May.

The older I get, the longer the winters, which is ironic, because the older I get the faster time seems to go as well.  I guess this is a good combination.

I need the hope of those bulbs.  Although I love fall, I am also reminded that it will be a lo-o-o-o-ng time before we frolic in the sprinkler again.

Down on my hands and knees, brushing away mulch to dig another hole, I'm reminded of the seasons of life - not just in regards to age, but in regards to stages - the stage of living with a lot, the stage of living with a little, the stage of being surrounded by little ones, the stage of seeing them leave.  The stage of dealing with this sin issue, the stage of dealing with that sin issue, the stage of dealing with this other sin issue, ....

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
"Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us a eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

I'm reminded of His Word - chock full of promises for us to claim in His name.  Like the bulbs, the promises are ours to hold onto, standing firm with faith that "spring" is coming.  And when spring does arrive, there are these beautiful markers of His faithfulness creeping up all over the place.

James 1:12
"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him."