Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Are You Avoiding Getting Alone with God

Has it been a while since you have had time alone with the Lord? Is the hectic pace of life militating against your relationship with Him? Do you need to schedule some “alone time” with God as soon as possible?

     Please don’t feel an ounce of condemnation as you consider this issue. I have to admit that I regularly answer “yes” to all the above questions. The pace of life is often so frenetic that it seems impossible to get a breather. During those rare moments of down time, other pressing options usually push aside the prospect of spending extra moments with the Lord.

     I’m not bringing up this topic to make you uncomfortable. Instead, let’s take this letter as an opportunity to dig a little deeper in a commonly neglected area of our spiritual lives.

 
The Best Option

     Recently, my wife, Cindi, and I were having lunch with Christian friends who are partners in ministry. At the time of our get-together, I had begun some study on the theme of being silent in the Lord’s presence—and my thoughts were starting to gel.

     At one point in our conversation, the Lord confirmed to me that writing an article on this theme might be on target. It was when our friend, Karen, referred to a decision she needed to make: “I could talk with a number of my friends about what to do. But really, I just need to get alone with God to find out His answer.”

     I don’t remember much else of what was said in the next few minutes. I was too busy scribbling a note to myself for the title of this letter: “Getting Alone with God.”

     What are the benefits of having private time with the Lord? What outcomes can we expect when we intentionally seclude ourselves with the Lord? There are as many possible results as there are reasons to draw apart. We see this point in one particular chapter from the life of Jesus which sheds additional light on this need in our lives.

 
The Need for Time Alone

     In Matthew 14, we read how Jesus responded to the disturbing news that his cousin, John the Baptist, had been beheaded by wicked King Herod. “When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself” (v. 13).

     Why did Jesus insist upon getting away? Perhaps He needed interaction with the Father to process this news, to grieve in solitude over the loss of His cousin, or simply to strengthen Himself in prayer. Without question, John’s martyrdom was a solemn reminder of what lay ahead in His own life and ministry. We don’t know all the reasons for the seclusion, but Jesus’ first instinct on this occasion was to be by Himself with the Father.

     Was Jesus able to get all the “alone time” He needed? Unfortunately not.

     Similar to what we often experience, the demands of everyday life pressed in on the Savior. The crowd of people seeking His ministry inserted themselves into His private time—and true to His compassionate heart, Jesus did not ignore them. Instead, He responded to their need, feeding the multitude who had tracked Him down.

 
A High Priority

     It is significant to note what Jesus did immediately after that “interruption.” What was His next step after ministering to the hungry crowd? He made sure that He got right back into isolation with the Father.

     “Immediately Jesus made [invited, strongly urged] His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray” (vv. 22, 23).

     By this time, the Messiah must have been exhausted. Yet time alone with the Father was such a high priority to Him that He went right back to it. We see this as a recurring pattern in the life of Jesus. Even after a full day of demanding ministry, our Savior would find a secluded place to be together with the Father—sometimes for the entire night.

     Is there a secret here that we need to see for ourselves? A missing element of great value for our own spiritual growth and well-being? What if we were to set this same priority—carving out time alone with the Lord, no matter how hectic our schedules might be? We might be amazed by what the Lord says to us when we do.

 
Unexpected Answers

     Early in our marriage, Cindi and I experienced a surprising, somewhat undeserved outcome from drawing near to the Lord. At that time in our lives, I was not the most sensitive or spiritually mature husband, and Cindi herself was going through a rather dry season. As we talked about our struggles, she said, “I just feel really distant from the Lord right now, like I can’t even approach Him. Would you pray for me?”

     Somewhat reluctant to pray, and not being in the strongest condition myself, I began a rather halting, but honest prayer for my wife: “Lord, we’re not in the greatest shape here, and Cindi is feeling far from You. So, we don’t know what else to do right now except to simply come to You.” A few moments of silence ensued, and then Cindi began to weep.

     “The Lord just spoke to me,” she said, still weeping. "He said, ‘I missed you.’”

      Who knows what answers will come when we draw away to be with the Lord? What unexpected encouragement might the Lord supply? Maybe—as in the answer to Cindi—we will realize the Lord is even more eager to be with us than we are to be with Him.

 
A Direct Message

     Derek Prince deals with the priority of getting alone with God in a teaching entitled “Taking Time to Wait on God.” It is a unique message—containing a wide variety of helpful topics laced with very direct language that occasionally borders on stern admonition.

     You will pick up a little of the flavor of Derek’s tone in the excerpt below. (Later in this letter, we will let you know how you can have this entire helpful message for your own.)

     Clearly, one principle reigns supreme in all Derek shares here: the primacy of making our relationship with Jesus Christ the foundation of our entire lives.

 
     Let no one ever interfere with your personal connection with the Head [Jesus Christ].

     Pastors are wonderful people, but they cannot take the place of Jesus. The function of a pastor is not to be your head—it is to help you cultivate your relationship with the One who is your Head. It is not to tell you the answers to all your problems—it is to show you how to find the answers for yourself from Jesus.

     Some people are lazy; they just want some human being to solve all their problems. It doesn’t work that way. And some leaders are despotic; they want to take control of people. I have been through all that and, thank God, I’ve come out of it. I have no desire to be in it again.

     You have to have your own personal relationship with Jesus. You have to be able to hear Him speak to you. You have to be able to be directed by Him. You have to have something inside you that tells you when He’s pleased and when He’s not pleased. You have to be sensitive to the Head.

 
A Key to Our Relationship

     Are you sensing a growing conviction that you need to spend more time with the Lord? My goal in asking is not to make you feel bad. As Derek himself said in another part of the message quoted above: “And so, my desire is to help you. Not to accuse you; not to condemn you—but to help you.”

     Through what has been shared so far, you may feel the need to prioritize getting alone with God. If you sincerely desire to commit yourself to that pursuit, let’s tell the Lord together by making the following declaration. Are you ready?

 
     Lord, You are in charge of my entire life. My life’s purpose will become clearer only as I get in Your presence and receive strength and stamina to carry me forward.
 
     Dear Heavenly Father, You and I need to spend more quality time together. Please forgive me for neglecting that aspect of spiritual discipline in my relationship with You.
 
     With this declaration and prayer, I place getting alone with You at the top of my priority list. With Your help, I will carve out specific times to spend with You—both to listen in silence and to pour out my heart to You.
 
     Please help me follow the example Jesus set for all of us in His relationship with You, Father—finding time to be alone with You to confirm Your will and direction for every aspect of my life. I want to—and by Your grace, I will.

     Starting today, I make this solemn commitment to You. Amen.

 
Every Step We Take

     The step we have just taken is going to require a dose of added discipline in our lives. The good news, as you and I know so well, is that every step taken to deepen our relationship with the Lord results in unexpected rewards—both earthly and eternal. Who knows what will emerge from the declaration and prayer you and I have made today?

     Such a significant commitment has to be reinforced—and we want to help in that regard. The teachings of Derek Prince can provide substantive encouragement as you set your face to move forward. It is our privilege to make these materials available to you—so please take us up on our offer to help.

     Let’s start with a free audio offer for “Taking Time to Wait on God.” As I said, this message may surprise you with its variety and candor. Often, Derek refused to pull any punches in what he shared—but he always spoke out of love and concern. Please click here to download this message, and soak in it to reinforce the pivotal step you have taken today.

 
Stronger Relational Ties

     You and I are called together for such times as these—and to fulfill His purposes for us, we will need to prioritize time alone with the Lord. We hope you will continue to rely heavily upon the resources we can provide, sharing your testimonies of the progress you are making. Your continuing involvement with us—especially through your prayers and financial support—represent a strong bond of relationship between us in the family of God. It is an honor to stay in touch with you in these significant days.

     Our prayer is that you will grow increasingly stronger in your relationship with the Lord, serving Him faithfully in the days ahead. As you well know, stability in the Christian life doesn’t come without a price. But from the example set by Jesus, our Savior, we have discovered one of the main components we need for growth and progress.

     Are you ready to put this principle in place? Jesus modeled it so clearly for us—one of the pivotal factors in a flowing relationship with the Father—getting alone with God

Skipping Out On God?

Has it been a while since you have had time alone with the Lord? Is the hectic pace of life militating against your relationship with Him? Do you need to schedule some “alone time” with God as soon as possible?

     Please don’t feel an ounce of condemnation as you consider this issue. I have to admit that I regularly answer “yes” to all the above questions. The pace of life is often so frenetic that it seems impossible to get a breather. During those rare moments of down time, other pressing options usually push aside the prospect of spending extra moments with the Lord.

     I’m not bringing up this topic to make you uncomfortable. Instead, let’s take this letter as an opportunity to dig a little deeper in a commonly neglected area of our spiritual lives.

 
The Best Option

     Recently, my wife, Cindi, and I were having lunch with Christian friends who are partners in ministry. At the time of our get-together, I had begun some study on the theme of being silent in the Lord’s presence—and my thoughts were starting to gel.

     At one point in our conversation, the Lord confirmed to me that writing an article on this theme might be on target. It was when our friend, Karen, referred to a decision she needed to make: “I could talk with a number of my friends about what to do. But really, I just need to get alone with God to find out His answer.”

     I don’t remember much else of what was said in the next few minutes. I was too busy scribbling a note to myself for the title of this letter: “Getting Alone with God.”

     What are the benefits of having private time with the Lord? What outcomes can we expect when we intentionally seclude ourselves with the Lord? There are as many possible results as there are reasons to draw apart. We see this point in one particular chapter from the life of Jesus which sheds additional light on this need in our lives.

 
The Need for Time Alone

     In Matthew 14, we read how Jesus responded to the disturbing news that his cousin, John the Baptist, had been beheaded by wicked King Herod. “When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself” (v. 13).

     Why did Jesus insist upon getting away? Perhaps He needed interaction with the Father to process this news, to grieve in solitude over the loss of His cousin, or simply to strengthen Himself in prayer. Without question, John’s martyrdom was a solemn reminder of what lay ahead in His own life and ministry. We don’t know all the reasons for the seclusion, but Jesus’ first instinct on this occasion was to be by Himself with the Father.

     Was Jesus able to get all the “alone time” He needed? Unfortunately not.

     Similar to what we often experience, the demands of everyday life pressed in on the Savior. The crowd of people seeking His ministry inserted themselves into His private time—and true to His compassionate heart, Jesus did not ignore them. Instead, He responded to their need, feeding the multitude who had tracked Him down.

 
A High Priority

     It is significant to note what Jesus did immediately after that “interruption.” What was His next step after ministering to the hungry crowd? He made sure that He got right back into isolation with the Father.

     “Immediately Jesus made [invited, strongly urged] His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray” (vv. 22, 23).

     By this time, the Messiah must have been exhausted. Yet time alone with the Father was such a high priority to Him that He went right back to it. We see this as a recurring pattern in the life of Jesus. Even after a full day of demanding ministry, our Savior would find a secluded place to be together with the Father—sometimes for the entire night.

     Is there a secret here that we need to see for ourselves? A missing element of great value for our own spiritual growth and well-being? What if we were to set this same priority—carving out time alone with the Lord, no matter how hectic our schedules might be? We might be amazed by what the Lord says to us when we do.

 
Unexpected Answers

     Early in our marriage, Cindi and I experienced a surprising, somewhat undeserved outcome from drawing near to the Lord. At that time in our lives, I was not the most sensitive or spiritually mature husband, and Cindi herself was going through a rather dry season. As we talked about our struggles, she said, “I just feel really distant from the Lord right now, like I can’t even approach Him. Would you pray for me?”

     Somewhat reluctant to pray, and not being in the strongest condition myself, I began a rather halting, but honest prayer for my wife: “Lord, we’re not in the greatest shape here, and Cindi is feeling far from You. So, we don’t know what else to do right now except to simply come to You.” A few moments of silence ensued, and then Cindi began to weep.

     “The Lord just spoke to me,” she said, still weeping. "He said, ‘I missed you.’”

      Who knows what answers will come when we draw away to be with the Lord? What unexpected encouragement might the Lord supply? Maybe—as in the answer to Cindi—we will realize the Lord is even more eager to be with us than we are to be with Him.

 
A Direct Message

     Derek Prince deals with the priority of getting alone with God in a teaching entitled “Taking Time to Wait on God.” It is a unique message—containing a wide variety of helpful topics laced with very direct language that occasionally borders on stern admonition.

     You will pick up a little of the flavor of Derek’s tone in the excerpt below. (Later in this letter, we will let you know how you can have this entire helpful message for your own.)

     Clearly, one principle reigns supreme in all Derek shares here: the primacy of making our relationship with Jesus Christ the foundation of our entire lives.

 
     Let no one ever interfere with your personal connection with the Head [Jesus Christ].

     Pastors are wonderful people, but they cannot take the place of Jesus. The function of a pastor is not to be your head—it is to help you cultivate your relationship with the One who is your Head. It is not to tell you the answers to all your problems—it is to show you how to find the answers for yourself from Jesus.

     Some people are lazy; they just want some human being to solve all their problems. It doesn’t work that way. And some leaders are despotic; they want to take control of people. I have been through all that and, thank God, I’ve come out of it. I have no desire to be in it again.

     You have to have your own personal relationship with Jesus. You have to be able to hear Him speak to you. You have to be able to be directed by Him. You have to have something inside you that tells you when He’s pleased and when He’s not pleased. You have to be sensitive to the Head.

 
A Key to Our Relationship

     Are you sensing a growing conviction that you need to spend more time with the Lord? My goal in asking is not to make you feel bad. As Derek himself said in another part of the message quoted above: “And so, my desire is to help you. Not to accuse you; not to condemn you—but to help you.”

     Through what has been shared so far, you may feel the need to prioritize getting alone with God. If you sincerely desire to commit yourself to that pursuit, let’s tell the Lord together by making the following declaration. Are you ready?

 
     Lord, You are in charge of my entire life. My life’s purpose will become clearer only as I get in Your presence and receive strength and stamina to carry me forward.
 
     Dear Heavenly Father, You and I need to spend more quality time together. Please forgive me for neglecting that aspect of spiritual discipline in my relationship with You.
 
     With this declaration and prayer, I place getting alone with You at the top of my priority list. With Your help, I will carve out specific times to spend with You—both to listen in silence and to pour out my heart to You.
 
     Please help me follow the example Jesus set for all of us in His relationship with You, Father—finding time to be alone with You to confirm Your will and direction for every aspect of my life. I want to—and by Your grace, I will.

     Starting today, I make this solemn commitment to You. Amen.

 
Every Step We Take

     The step we have just taken is going to require a dose of added discipline in our lives. The good news, as you and I know so well, is that every step taken to deepen our relationship with the Lord results in unexpected rewards—both earthly and eternal. Who knows what will emerge from the declaration and prayer you and I have made today?

     Such a significant commitment has to be reinforced—and we want to help in that regard. The teachings of Derek Prince can provide substantive encouragement as you set your face to move forward. It is our privilege to make these materials available to you—so please take us up on our offer to help.

     Let’s start with a free audio offer for “Taking Time to Wait on God.” As I said, this message may surprise you with its variety and candor. Often, Derek refused to pull any punches in what he shared—but he always spoke out of love and concern. Please click here to download this message, and soak in it to reinforce the pivotal step you have taken today.

 
Stronger Relational Ties

     You and I are called together for such times as these—and to fulfill His purposes for us, we will need to prioritize time alone with the Lord. We hope you will continue to rely heavily upon the resources we can provide, sharing your testimonies of the progress you are making. Your continuing involvement with us—especially through your prayers and financial support—represent a strong bond of relationship between us in the family of God. It is an honor to stay in touch with you in these significant days.

     Our prayer is that you will grow increasingly stronger in your relationship with the Lord, serving Him faithfully in the days ahead. As you well know, stability in the Christian life doesn’t come without a price. But from the example set by Jesus, our Savior, we have discovered one of the main components we need for growth and progress.

     Are you ready to put this principle in place? Jesus modeled it so clearly for us—one of the pivotal factors in a flowing relationship with the Father—getting alone with God.


 
All the best,
 Dick signature
Dick Leggatt
President, DPM–USA
 

Sunday, February 07, 2016

The Gift of Sleep

Psalm 127:1–2
Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.     NASB

 
     That pictures the only way to true security and success. It’s relying on the Lord’s oversight, the Lord’s blessing, the Lord’s provision. We can work hard, we can build, we can stay awake, we can lose sleep and be so busy with all that we are seeking to accomplish and put all our effort into it, but without the Lord’s blessing it will come to nothing. There is no security outside of God, His blessing and His provision.

     But if we are laboring in the blessing and the provision, in the will, of the Lord then there’s that sweet and beautiful promise, “He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.” When you’ve done what God requires you to do, you can lie down and sleep, you can relax. You don’t have to stay awake and worry, because God gives even while you’re asleep. The results of your labors will be apportioned to you.

     You see, ultimately we don’t depend on our own effort, we depend on God’s faithfulness, and God’s faithfulness is committed to reward that which we do in His will. If we build in the will of God, the house will stand. If we watch in the will of God, the city will be secure. Security is found only in God.

 
—Derek Prince

To listen to Derek's original audio on our website click here.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

What if there is no Burning bush today?

We see the wonder of our God and long for His power and Majesty to be manifest in our daily routine. He is calling us to see and experience His other attributes, perhaps His mercy, his faithfulness or that we simply enjoy the wonders of what we take for granted in our life and all around us. While we are looking for the thunder and lighting we might just appreciate the wonder of hearing and the beauty of sound, or be amazed that we have been given the gift of sight and all there is in His creation to see in the most common of things or events.
When there are no burning bush moments we may be tempted to be bored, discouraged or even complain but have you read His Word today and witnessed how He is with us in all the events of life. Are you ready, are you willing and are you thankful for all the other amazing blessings of our life with God or as I call it the Enoch life. Gen 5:22-24 and Hebrews 11:5-6.
Perhaps the river of God which flows out from His throne is not erupting in revival fire today, God has not gone on Vacation but longs for us to walk with Him to know that He is alive and active in our life and world today.
 Have you invited Him into your day, your thoughts, activities and behavior?
Walk with God today, seek His heart, Walk in His ways and embrace the wonder that God the creator and sustainer of all that exist longs to have you walk with him' to live a life of passionate participation in Him. In him we live and breathe and yes exist.
Need a little wonder in your life today. If you have never taken an anatomy and physiology course look into how your eyes are constructed and how it is we have the gift of sight or learn about the wonder of how our ears allow us to hear or our lungs cause us to breathe. These are but a small sample of His wondrous ways. Look for others all around you and in your life today. There may not be a burning bush but there are His wonders and His wonder-filled ways to experience if we are willing to see and enjoy them.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

What is God

One of the Challenges I see for many followers of Jesus today is understanding who God is and what He is really like. 
The best way to discover God and His ways is to read the Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to show you God in His fulness and to do as Enoch did and walk daily with God allowing Him to be a part of every area of your life. 
Another supporting study in Discovering God and what He is like is to study His attributes. One such study by Ann Spangler is mentioned below and if you go to our ministry FB page you can read sample.
A great way to study the attributes of God is to read and pray about how who He is can be applied to your life today. It can be used as a daily guide to His Greatness.

Use the Link below to read a sample.https://www.facebook.com/AGILife

Saturday, January 02, 2016

The Founders Bible

Much of what what the Founding fathers of the United states believed and wrote was Preached in the Pulpits of America before it was written into our foundational documents. Learn this and more in the Founders Bible. I encourage you to check it out at Find Out More Click Here
"The Bible is a practical guidebook for day to day living, and its active use by previous generations built the intitutions and culture of America.
Did you know:
- John Adams cited Jeremiah 17:9 as the basis for the America constitutional separation of powers
- The logo and motto of the first American hospital was (and still is) Luke 10:35
- The discovery of jetstreams in the air was based on Ecclesiastes 1:6, and the discovery of jetstreams in the ocean was the result of Psalm 8:8
- The first American telegraphic message between the cities was Numbers 23:23
- The consitutional prohibition against bills of attainder was based on God's declaration found in Ezekiel 18:20
- The Bible verse emblazoned around the famous Liberty Bell is Leviticus 25:10
- The reading of Psalm 35 had a direct and dramatic impact upon the first American congress
Learn these facts and so many more in The Founders' Bible! It contains hundreds of brief articles showing the practical application of the Bible to daily living as well as over 150 historical biographies. It is filled with insightful quotes about the use and impact of the Bible from American Founding Fathers and statesmen from across the generations. Discover what it was that made America great!
Features:
2272 pages with beautiful illustrations throughout the Bible with over 900 of those pages of articles by David Barton, Biblical commentary, and information about how the founders of America used the Word of God when forming a nation."
Font: Weidemann (size is comparable to most 11pt-12pt font sizes)
Version: New American Standard Bible (NASB

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Context, Context Context.


I am neither supportive of nor against any political candidate. Yesterday however we saw the most egregious and illustrative event in recent News reporting. People took 1/2 of what was said and made it the story. This is alarming and foolish. Note the word that was not reported "Until" I am not sure how to solve the issue at hand but it would be nice if we could actually respond to all that is said and not edit something to fit our emotional preferences.

"Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States UNTIL our country's representatives can figure out what is going on.
Ok, so maybe it was inarticulate but how can we ever have a discussion with one another over the things if we are not willing hear or see the whole STATEMENT or issue???????????????????????
CONTEXT, CONTEXT, CONTEXT!!!
"Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States UNTIL our country's representatives can figure out what is going on.

Ok, so maybe it was inarticulate but how can we ever have a discussion with one another over the things if we are not willing hear or see the whole STATEMENT or issue??????????????????????? CONTEXT, CONTEXT, CONTEXT!!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Celebrating Thanksgiving In America

Celebrating Thanksgiving in America
By David Barton http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=17984

The tradition introduced by European Americans of Thanksgiving as a time to focus on God and His blessings dates back well over four centuries in America. For example, such thanksgivings occurred in 1541 at Palo Duro Canyon, Texas with Coronado and 1,500 of his men; 1 in 1564 at St. Augustine, Florida with French Huguenot (Protestant) colonists; 2 in 1598 at El Paso, Texas with Juan de Oñate and his expedition; 3 in 1607 at Cape Henry, Virginia with the landing of the Jamestown settlers; 4 in 1619 at Berkeley Plantation, Virginia; 5 (and many other such celebrations). But it is primarily from the Pilgrim’s Thanksgiving celebration of 1621 that we derive the current tradition of Thanksgiving Day.
The Pilgrims set sail for America on September 6, 1620, and for two months braved the harsh elements of a storm-tossed sea. Upon disembarking at Plymouth Rock, they held a prayer service and then hastily began building shelters; however, unprepared for such a harsh New England winter, nearly half of them died before spring. 6Emerging from that grueling winter, the Pilgrims were surprised when an Indian named Samoset approached them and greeted them in their own language, explaining to them that he had learned English from fishermen and traders. A week later, Samoset returned with a friend named Squanto, who lived with the Pilgrims and accepted their Christian faith. Squanto taught the Pilgrims much about how to live in the New World, and he and Samoset helped forge a long-lasting peace treaty between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians. Pilgrim Governor William Bradford described Squanto as “a special instrument sent of God for [our] good . . . and never left [us] till he died.” 7
That summer, the Pilgrims, still persevering in prayer and assisted by helpful Indians, 8 reaped a bountiful harvest. 9 As Pilgrim Edward Winslow (later to become the Governor) affirmed, “God be praised, we had a good increase of Indian corn”; “by the goodness of God, we are...far from want.” 10 The grateful Pilgrims therefore declared a three-day feast in December 1621 to thank God and to celebrate with their Indian friends 11 – America’s first Thanksgiving Festival. Ninety Wampanoag Indians joined the fifty Pilgrims for three days of feasting (which included shellfish, lobsters, turkey, corn bread, berries, deer, and other foods), of play (the young Pilgrim and Wampanoag men engaged in races, wrestling matches, and athletic events), and of prayer. This celebration and its accompanying activities were the origin of the holiday that Americans now celebrate each November.
However, while the Pilgrims enjoyed times of prosperity for which they thanked God, they also suffered extreme hardships. In fact, in 1623 they experienced an extended and prolonged drought. Knowing that without a change in the weather there would be no harvest and the winter would be filled with death and starvation, Governor Bradford called the Pilgrims to a time of prayer and fasting to seek God’s direct intervention. Significantly, shortly after that time of prayer – and to the great amazement of the Indian who witnessed the scene – clouds appeared in the sky and a gentle and steady rain began to fall. As Governor Bradford explained:
It came without either wind or thunder or any violence, and by degrees in abundance, as that ye earth was thoroughly wet and soaked therewith, which did so apparently revive and quicken ye decayed corn and other fruits as was wonderful to see, and made ye Indians astonished to behold; and afterwards the Lord sent them such seasonable showers, with interchange of fair warm weather as, through His blessing, caused a fruitful and liberal harvest, to their no small comfort and rejoicing. 12
The drought had been broken; the fall therefore produced an abundant harvest; there was cause for another thanksgiving. The Pilgrim practice of designating an official time of Thanksgiving spread into neighboring colonies and became an annual tradition. 13And just as those neighboring colonies followed the Pilgrims’ example of calling for days of thanksgiving, so, too, did they adopt their practice of calling for a time of prayer and fasting. The New England Colonies therefore developed a practice of calling for a day of prayer and fasting in the spring, and a day of prayer and thanksgiving in the fall.
The Thanksgiving celebrations so common throughout New England did not begin to spread southward until the American Revolution, when Congress issued eight separate national Thanksgiving Proclamations. (Congress also issued seven separate proclamations for times of fasting and prayer, for a total of 15 official prayer proclamations during the American Revolution. 14)
America’s first national Thanksgiving occurred in 1789 with the commencement of the federal government. According to the Congressional Record for September 25 of that year, the first act after the Framers completed the framing of the Bill of Rights was that:
Mr. [Elias] Boudinot said he could not think of letting the session pass without offering an opportunity to all the citizens of the United States of joining with one voice in returning to Almighty God their sincere thanks for the many blessings He had poured down upon them. With this view, therefore, he would move the following resolution:
Resolved, That a joint committee of both Houses be directed to wait upon the President of the United States to request that he would recommend to the people of the United States a Day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer. . . .
Mr. Roger Sherman justified the practice of thanksgiving on any single event not only as a laudable one in itself but also as warranted by a number of precedents in Holy Writ. . . . This example he thought worthy of a Christian imitation on the present occasion. 15
That congressional resolution was delivered to President George Washington, who heartily concurred with the request and issued the first federal Thanksgiving proclamation, declaring in part:
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor. . . . Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November [1789] . . . that we may all unite to render unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection. 16
That same year, the Protestant Episcopal Church (of which President Washington was a member) announced that the first Thursday in November would become its regular day for giving thanks, “unless another day be appointed by the civil authorities.” 17 Following President Washington’s initial proclamation, national Thanksgiving Proclamations occurred only sporadically (another by President Washington in 1795, one by John Adams in 1798 and again in 1799, one by James Madison in 1814 and again in 1815, etc.); 18 most official Thanksgiving observances occurred at the state level. In fact, by 1815, the various state governments had issued at least 1,400 official prayer proclamations, almost half for times of thanksgiving and prayer and the other half for times of fasting and prayer. 19
Much of the credit for the adoption of Thanksgiving as an annual national holiday may be attributed to Mrs. Sarah Josepha Hale, the editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book, a popular lady’s books containing poetry, art work, and articles by America’s leading authors. For two decades, she promoted the idea of a national Thanksgiving Day, 20contacting president after president until Abraham Lincoln responded in 1863 by setting aside the last Thursday of that November. The Thanksgiving proclamation issued by Lincoln was remarkable not only for its strong religious content but also for its timing, for it was delivered in the midst of the darkest days of the Civil War, with the Union having lost battle after battle throughout the first three years of that conflict. Yet, despite those dark circumstances, Lincoln nevertheless called Americans to prayer with an air of positive optimism and genuine thankfulness, noting that:
The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the Source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God. . . . No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, Who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. 21
That remarkable Thanksgiving Proclamation came at a pivotal point in Lincoln’s spiritual life. Three months earlier, the Battle of Gettysburg had occurred, resulting in the loss of some 60,000 American lives. It had been while Lincoln was walking among the thousands of graves there at Gettysburg that he first committed his life to Christ. As he later explained to a clergyman:
When I left Springfield [Illinois, to assume the Presidency], I asked the people to pray for me. I was not a Christian. When I buried my son, the severest trial of my life, I was not a Christian. But when I went to Gettysburg and saw the graves of thousands of our soldiers, I then and there consecrated myself to Christ. 22
The dramatic spiritual impact resulting from that experience was not only visible in Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Day proclamation (and also his 1864 call for a day of prayer and fasting) but especially in his 1865 Second Inaugural Address.
Over the seventy-five years following Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation, presidents faithfully followed Lincoln’s precedent, annually declaring a national Thanksgiving Day (but the date of the celebrations varied widely from proclamation to proclamation). In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt began celebrating Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of each November, and in 1941, Congress permanently established that day as the national Thanksgiving holiday. 23
As you celebrate Thanksgiving this year, remember to retain the original gratefulness to God that has always been the spirit of this – the oldest of all American holidays. (Below are representative examples of the scores of Thanksgiving proclamations penned by various Founding Fathers.)
[Congress] recommended [a day of] . . . thanksgiving and praise [so] that . . . the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts and . . . join . . . their humble and earnest supplication that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive [our sins] and . . . [to] enlarge [His] kingdom which consisteth in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. 24 Continental Congress, 1777 – written by SIGNERS OF THE DECLARATION SAMUEL ADAMS AND RICHARD HENRY LEE

[I] appoint . . . a day of public Thanksgiving to Almighty God . . . to [ask] Him that He would . . . pour out His Holy Spirit on all ministers of the Gospel; that He would . . . spread the light of Christian knowledge through the remotest corners of the earth; . . . and that He would establish these United States upon the basis of religion and virtue. 25 GOVERNOR THOMAS JEFFERSON, 1779

[I] appoint . . . a day of public thanksgiving and praise . . . to render to God the tribute of praise for His unmerited goodness towards us . . . [by giving to] us . . . the Holy Scriptures which are able to enlighten and make us wise to eternal salvation. And [to] present our supplications...that He would forgive our manifold sins and . . . cause the benign religion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to be known, understood, and practiced among all the inhabitants of the earth. 26 GOVERNOR JOHN HANCOCK, 1790

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Endnotes

1. Library of Congress, “Thanksgiving Timeline, 1541-2001” (at: http://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/presentationsandactivities/presentations/thanksgiving/timeline/1541.html).(Return)

2. Library of Congress, “Thanksgiving Timeline, 1541-2001” (at http://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/presentationsandactivities/presentations/thanksgiving/timeline/1564.html).(Return)

3. Texas Almanac, “The First Thanksgiving?” (at http://www.texasalmanac.com/history/highlights/thanksgiving).(Return)

4. Benson Lossing, Our Country. A Household History of the United States (New York: James A. Bailey, 1895), Vol. 1, pp. 181-182; see also National Park Service, “The Reverend Robert Hunt: The First Chaplain at Jamestown” (at http://www.nps.gov/jame/historyculture/the-reverend-robert-hunt-the-first-chaplain-at-jamestown.htm).(Return)

5. “Berkeley Plantation,” Berkeley Plantation, (at: http://www.berkeleyplantation.com/). (accessed November 17, 2008).(Return)

6. William Bradford, History of Plymouth Plantation (Boston: Little, Brown & Co, 1856), pp. 74, 78, 80, 91.(Return)

7. William Bradford, History of Plymouth Plantation (Boston: Little, Brown & Co, 1856), p. 95.(Return)

8. William Bradford, History of Plymouth Plantation (Boston: Little, Brown & Co, 1856), p. 100.(Return)

9. William Bradford, History of Plymouth Plantation (Boston: Little, Brown & Co, 1856), p. 105.(Return)

10. Mourt's Relation or Journal of the Plantation at Plymouth, Henry Martyn Dexter, editor (Boston: Jim Kimball Wiggin, 1865; reprint of 1622 original), p. 133. See also William S. Russell, Guide to Plymouth and Recollections of the Pilgrims (Boston: George Coolidge, 1846), p. 95, quoting from a letter of Pilgrim Edward Winslow to George Morton of London, written on December 21, 1621.(Return)

11. Mourt's Relation or Journal of the Plantation at Plymouth, Henry Martyn Dexter, editor (Boston: Jim Kimball Wiggin, 1865; reprint of 1622 original), p. 133. See also Ashbel Steele, Chief of the Pilgrims: Or the Life and Time of William Brewster (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co, 1857), pp. 269-270.(Return)

12. William Bradford, History of Plymouth Plantation (Boston: Little, Brown & Co, 1856), p. 142.(Return)

13. DeLoss Love, Jr, The Fast and Thanksgiving Days of New England(Boston: Houghton,, Mifflin & Co, 1895), pp. 87-90.(Return)

14. See the Journals of the Continental Congress (1905) for June 12, 1775; March 16, 1776; December 11, 1776; November 1, 1777; March 7, 1778; November 17, 1778; March 20, 1779; October 20, 1779; March 11, 1780; October 18, 1780; March 20, 1781; October 26, 1781; March 19, 1782; October 11, 1782; October 18, 1783.(Return)

15. The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States (Washington: Gales & Seaton, 1834), Vol. I, pp. 949-950.(Return)

16. George Washington, Writings of George Washington, Jared Sparks, editor ((Boston: Russell, Odiorne and Metcalf, 1838), Vol. XII, p. 119, Proclamation for a National Thanksgiving on October 3, 1789.(Return)

17. The American Cyclopaedia, A Popular Dictionary of General Knowledge, George Ripley and Charles A. Dana, editors (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1876), Vol. XV, p. 684, s.v., “Thanksgiving Day.”(Return)

18. See, for example, H. S. J. Sickel, Thanksgiving: Its Source, Philosophy and History With All National Proclamations (Philadelphia: International Printing Co, 1940), pp. 154-155, “Thanksgiving Day- 1795” by George Washington, pp. 156-157, “Thanksgiving Day – 1798” by John Adams, pp. 158-159, “Thanksgiving Day – 1799” by John Adams, p. 160, “Thanksgiving Day – 1814” by James Madison, p. 161, “Thanksgiving Day – 1815” by James Madison, etc.(Return)

19. Deloss Love, in his work The Fast and Thanksgiving Days of New England, lists some 1,735 proclamations issued between 1620 and 1820, in a non-exclusive list. Of those, 284 were issued by churches and 1,451 by civil authorities. Of the civil proclamations, 1,028 were issued prior to July 4, 1776, and 413 from July 4, 1776 to 1820. Of the church issued proclamations, 278 were issued before July 4, 1776, and six afterwards. These, however, are only a portion of what were issued; for example, the author personally owns hundreds of additional proclamations not listed in Love’s work. While the exact number of government-issued prayer proclamations is unknown, it is certain that they certainly number in the thousands.(Return)

20. Appleton’s Cyclopedia of American Biography, James Grant Wilson & John Fiske, editors (New York: D. Appleton & Co, 1888), Vol. III, p. 35.(Return)

21. Abraham Lincoln, The Works of Abraham Lincoln, John H. Clifford & Marion M. Miller, editors (New York: University Society Inc, 1908), Vol. VI, pp. 160-161, Proclamation for Thanksgiving, October 3, 1863. See also, The American Presidency Project, “Abraham Lincoln: Proclamation – Thanksgiving Day, 1863” (at: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index/php?pid=69900&st=&stl=).(Return)

22. Abraham Lincoln, The Lincoln Memorial: Album-Immortelles. Osborn H. Oldroyd, editor (New York: G.W. Carleton & Co, 1882) p. 366, Reply to an Illinois Clergyman.(Return)

23. The National Archives, “Congress Establishes Thanksgiving” (at: http://www.archives.gov/legislative/features/thanksgiving/); see also Pilgrim Hall Museum, “Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamations 1940-1949: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman” (at: http://www.pilgrimhall.org/ThanxProc1940.htm), Proclamation 2571: Days of Prayer: Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day, November 11, 1942, referring to a “joint resolution of Congress approved December 26, 1941, which designates the fourth Thursday in November of each year as Thanksgiving Day.”(Return)

24. Journals of the Continental Congress (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1907), Vol. IX, p. 855, November 1, 1777.(Return)

25. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Julian P. Boyd, editor (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1951), Vol. 3, p. 178, Proclamation Appointing a Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer, November 11, 1779.(Return)

26. John Hancock, Proclamation for a Day of Public Thanksgiving(Boston, 1790), from an original broadside in possession of the author.(Return)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

10 Reasons I Kissed Halloween Goodbye


michelle-blake2I used to have a love affair with Halloween. In fact, you might have called it an obsession. Even several years after I gave my heart to Jesus, I still harbored a pretty decent crush on costume shops, individually wrapped miniature candies, and “good” spookiness, all in the name of fun. 
Even when I started to feel a little uncomfortable with it, I purposed that I would simply tone it down a little and not let it consume too big a part of my heart. Just a little flirting once a year, because surely my one true Love knew my heart belonged to Him. Just like my husband wouldn’t mind at all if I spent a little time with old boyfriends once a year — you know, just for old times’ sake. After all, he wants me to be happy and would never want me to miss out on any fun.
You know I’m kidding, of course. My husband would have nothing to do with that sort of thinking. And neither did the Holy Spirit. After a few years of ignoring His gentle tugging on my heart, I finally decided to prayerfully consider giving up Halloween.
The more I learned, the more I became convinced that this “holiday” (a word that means “holy day,” by the way) was not honoring to God in any way. I began to see that my refusal to give up Halloween was evidence of a divided heart — but Jesus wants my whole heart.
Ever since deciding to “just say no” to Halloween, I can honestly tell you that the blessings and joy of obedience are far greater than any fun I ever had “celebrating.” 
And since many people, even Christians, think my decision is odd or even legalistic, I finally decided to put together a list of the top ten reasons I kissed Halloween goodbye.
1. Halloween glorifies evil, not God.
It’s no secret that Halloween is all about witches and ghosts and fear and death. Haunted houses, Hollywood movies, even neighborhood patios are graced with blood and dead bodies and axe murderers … giant replicas of poisonous spider and cobwebs … scary organ music, skeletons, and gravestones. Can anyone deny that this holiday glorifies Satan and every evil thing?
“Oh, but our family only dresses in good costumes,” we are quick to point out, as if somehow sugarcoating the evil with smiling pumpkins and sparkly Disney princess costumes somehow changes the meaning of the celebration. 
I too continued to dress up for several years, but no matter what creative spin I put on it, eventually I could no longer justify that anything I was doing in respect to this holiday was honoring to God. Sure, my costumes were cute. Sometimes they were even sophisticated, clever, funny, or smart. But none of those things changed the fact that the holiday itself glorified evil, and I could no longer lend my talents and attention to remain part of it.
Most of us know that Halloween is one of the highest, most holy days for witches and Satanists. Even though we ourselves may not be involved in the practice of witchcraft, we give credence to the holiday by celebrating it. If we abhor evil, should we not also abhor any day designated to celebrate it? The Bible says to avoid even the appearance of evil.
“Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” —1 Thessalonians 5:21-22
It also doesn’t take a rocket scientist to discern that the Halloween is all about fear. Scary costumes, haunted houses, and horror movies are designed for no other purpose than to frighten us. Seeking out opportunities to be scared is, on this day at least, the highest form of entertainment. If we do not have a spirit of fear, should we even acknowledge a day whose purpose is to invoke a spirit of fear in us?
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, and of power, and of a sound mind.” —2 Timothy 1:7
2. If the seed is bad, the fruit will be bad.
Halloween has never been a Christian holiday. The foundations of Halloween are occultic, and the symbols and traditions we continue today all have roots in pagan practices. God tells His people over and over again to avoid all pagan rituals and traditions.
Halloween derives in part from the occult traditions of the Druids, the pagan priests of the Celts, whose fall festival was the precursor to Halloween as we know it. “To ancient Druids, the end of October commemorated the festival of the waning year, when the sun began his downward course and ripened grain was garnered from the fields. Samhain … was celebrated with human sacrifice, augury and prayers; for at this season spirits walked, and evil had power over souls of men.”1
When the first Christians came to America, they knew of Halloween’s occult beginnings and banned its celebration.2
“[B]ecause of Christianity among so many of the settlers, Halloween celebrations were not celebrated until the 1800’s when several immigrants from Ireland and Scotland introduced their Halloween customs. They brought various beliefs about ghosts and witches with them. Other groups added their own cultural influences to Halloween customs. German immigrants brought a vivid witchcraft lore, and Haitian and African peoples brought their native voodoo beliefs about black cats, fire, and witchcraft.”3
Today, we have become so accustomed to the traditions of men that we refuse to question them. Even Christian families have been honoring this holiday for generations. But doing so ignores the fact that this festival in no way honors God, and in fact celebrates the very practices God abhors:
“When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer [pharmakeia], or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.” —Deuteronomy 18:9-11
Putting a Christian label over the top of a pagan practice does not make it pleasing to God. In fact, we are to get rid of all pagan practices and have no part of them:
“These are the statutes and judgments which you shall be careful to observe in the land which the Lord God of your fathers is giving you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth. You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. And you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and burn their wooden images with fire; you shall cut down the carved images of their gods and destroy their names from that place. You shall not worship the Lord your God with such things.” —Deuteronomy 12:1-4
God doesn't want us to keep the ways of the world and sprinkle Christianity on top. He wants us to elevate Him alone: His ways, His philosophies, His deliverance, His celebrations. Any other practice is sin and eventually bears bad fruit.
3. Don’t dine with demons.
Samhain was the one day of the year when the dead were allowed to come back into the world and commune with the living. People traditionally set a spot for the dead at their table, inviting them in. Since there was also the possibility that evil spirits would come looking for them, people took to “guising” themselves for protection. In other words, it’s okay to dine with demons — as long as you wear a costume to protect yourself.
“You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.” —1 Corinthians 10:21
So are we really supping with demons? Sharing food with someone represents a sacred connection. Adam and Eve first ate with God in the garden, but then chose to share an apple without God in the presence of Satan. Jesus spent much of his time on earth dining with sinners, because that is who He came to save. The last thing Jesus did before He was crucified was to share a meal with His disciples, and He commands us to continue remembering Him in that way until He comes again. When we see Him in heaven, it will be at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb! 
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” — Revelation 3:20
Satan is the world’s greatest counterfeiter, so he tempts us to sit at his table and join his feast (festival, festivity) by making it as attractive as he can. He knows we won’t say no if his festival looks like pure evil, so he’s let us create our own G-rated version that we aren’t as likely to resist.
But God says, “For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? … And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God.” —2 Corinthians 6:14-16
4. Halloween is an excuse to flaunt sexuality.
It’s true. Halloween is becoming more risqué every year. In fact, sometimes I think its real name is “Dress Like a Porn Star” Day. Girls dress more provocatively, and at much younger ages, on this day than any other. There seems to be an unwritten competition to have the raciest costume. For those passing on ghoul or gore, the only other worthy goals seem to be shock and immodesty. 
“But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.” —Ephesians 5:3-8
I can vouch from personal experience that when we put on a costume, we often detach ourselves, sometimes ever so slightly, from our inhibitions. After all, it is much easier to act a tad bit naughty when our real identity is hidden. It’s almost as if bad behavior is somehow excused when we are in costume — and it’s much easier to explain in the morning: “I wasn’t actually sinning; I was just staying in character.”
Even though we are not to have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, we prefer to emulate them and parade them on our Facebook pages as if they are somehow deserving of honor. 
“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.” —Ephesians 5:11-12
5. We play how we practice.
This is one of my husband’s favorite sayings. He is usually referring to table manners with our sons: If you use a knife and fork correctly at the kitchen table, then you won’t have any problems when it counts — when you’re at a nice restaurant with your employer or meeting your future wife’s parents for the first time. How we practice spills over into real life.
The same applies to Halloween. We think we can entertain the macabre, erect gravestones in our front yards, and prop dead “bodies” on our front porches. “Oh, but they’re not real,” we demur. Then we are appalled when a 17-year-old has a fascination with dead bodies and decides to act on his morbid desires. 
Do we really have any right to be shocked or even surprised when some among us decide to act out in real life the fascination with evil we insist on holding dear? We can't have it both ways: if we choose to be entertained by evil, we should be prepared for the time when it becomes reality.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this work, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” —Ephesians 6:12
Let us not drop our guard for a moment, or even camp out one night a year “for fun” on the side of the enemy.
6. Are we causing others to stumble?
Even if we don’t believe it’s dangerous to dabble in the ancient pagan practices of Druid priests, have we given any thought to the impact our actions might have on others? 
The Bible tells us just how important it is that we not lead His children astray (Matthew 18:6) or cause them to stumble (Mark 9:42). If we present witchcraft, promiscuity, and the occult in a fun and seductive manner now, are we opening the door to involvement in those practices in the future?
Will our children learn values we want them to learn by participating in this “holy day,” or would they learn better values, perhaps even courage, from seeing us stand up against evil even when our culture says it’s fine? It probably goes without saying, but what values are we impressing on our children when we send them trick-or-treating? Is the lie “give me your candy or I’ll play a trick” really becoming of anyone? 
If we forego Halloween but give our children a substitute celebration instead, are we sending the message that “I am trying to compensate because I think you’re missing out on something really amazing”? I want my children to believe what I myself believe: that we have been given something so much better than this! No more bobbing for apples in the church basement (a pagan fertility ritual, by the way) when I have true joy in knowing God’s true Son!
7. Be faithful in the small things.
For many Christians, the thought of whether to celebrate Halloween is a small issue, maybe even a non-issue. After all, it’s only one day a year. And what harm is there really in a handful of Snickers miniatures and a pillowy pumpkin costume?
Let me answer that this way: 
First, our character, integrity, and devotion to God is evident in the small things. If we can't be faithful in the small things, how will our hearts be faithful in the big things?
“He that is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much: and he that is unrighteous in a very little is unrighteous also in much.” —Luke 16:10
So, yes, even something as seemingly small as how we handle Halloween is important. 
Second, God has told us to focus on what is pure, noble, right, lovely, and admirable (Philippians 4:8). Is Halloween any of these things? No, and therefore it is unworthy of any of our time or thoughts.
Third, “the Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” —1 John 3:8 
If God came for the purpose of destroying the works of Satan, why do we then try remember, imitate, and even elevate those very things? 
How do we expect we will be able to keep ourselves faithful when the big temptations come alone when we can't even say no to glorifying evil in what we do for fun?
“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” —James 1:27
But we've joined forces with the world. In fact, instead of keeping ourselves unspotted, we have become one giant spot with it — we are so much alike no one can tell where the world ends and the Church begins.
We need to start keeping ourselves pure in the small things, so that we will be able to stay pure and undefiled in the big things. 
8. God wants to bless us — but not in the way the world blesses.
For those of us who love Jesus, why is it so important to entertain the macabre and flirt with the dark side for one day, one week, or one month out of the year, instead of delighting in the joy the Lord Himself has set before us? 
“Thus says the Lord, ‘Do not learn the way of the Gentiles; Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the Gentiles are dismayed at them. For the customs of the peoples are futile....’” —Jeremiah 10:2
We often say we don't want to deprive our children of candy, of dressing up, of the "fun" they have by participating in this holiday. But God has already told us the customs of the world are futile! 
Is this is the kind of happiness we want for our children, we are clearly setting our standards too low. Seek first God's kingdom and His righteousness, and He will provide all of the other things we need. 
“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” —Psalm 37:3-4
God in His divine sovereignty did not give us Halloween for our entertainment. Instead, we thought we were missing something and we hijacked it! Just like Eve in the garden, we believed Satan’s lie that God was withholding something good from us. God, however, has far better things in store for us than candy corn and parlor games. Why do we continue to grovel in the plastic sandbox when God has given us the entire beach?4
We continue pouring time and money into what is overall something that has no lasting fruit and does not in any way glorify God. Would our time be better spent in prayer, teaching our children about the real dangers their friends face by dabbling in the occult? As a Christian, I don't want to spend even a penny of my money on a $7-billion-a-year event that is so dishonoring to God. As a nation, it is painfully evident where our hearts are. 
“Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” —Luke 12:34
9. There is sin in the camp.
Even if we think our costumes are not sinful (as if it’s the costume that’s the problem and not the fact that we are still giving reverence to the holiday itself), what about others who have decided that there is nothing wrong with their costumes either? After all, they aren’t really practicing witchcraft, just dressing up as witches. So do we excuse the dressing up but draw the line at Ouija boards? What about pretending to cast spells? We have made ourselves the judges of what is good and evil instead of following God’s command to avoid even the spoils of the enemy.
I have two words to say to that kind of thinking: Remember Achan. 
In Joshua 7, Israel was accursed and could not even stand before its enemies because just one man, Achan, had taken the spoils of Jericho, when God had said no one was to touch them. By the sin of one man, the entire nation was judged.
“Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.” —Joshua 7:8-12
It's just a holiday — what’s the big deal? The darkness of Halloween is devoted to destruction and is in no way honoring to our Father of lights (James 1:17) — and no orange and black sugar coating will make it so. God is a jealous God, and all pagan beliefs are sinful in God’s eyes. We can’t choose how much or even how nicely we want to celebrate. 
And we need to help hold each other accountable because we may all bear the judgment for sin in the camp.
At this time in history more than ever, we are in great need of God’s mercy on our land:
“If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” —2 Chronicles 7:14
Yet how many of us are truly humbling ourselves and turning from wickedness? We say we are followers of Christ, but we refuse to surrender in complete obedience to His Word in even the simple act of turning from a holiday that glorifies evil.
If still we refuse to repent and seek God’s wisdom in every aspect of our lives, we should not be surprised when God further removes His hand of blessing and protection from this great land. 
10. Come out from them and be separate.
Perhaps the reason I finally let go of Halloween was precisely because I didn’t want to. 
If that sounds like a contradiction, let me explain. You see, the very fact that I kept coming up with reasons and excuses so I could continue celebrating eventually led me to question my motives. Why was I hanging on so tightly? Was it possible that my celebration of Halloween had become an idol to me? Certainly it appeared so, because still I embraced the traditions of men even when I knew God’s heart on the matter. 
“Therefore come out from them and be separate from them, says the Lord.” —2 Corinthians 6:17
God wants His people to be holy, which means to be set apart. If everyone else is doing something, and I’m doing it too, that is a good time to examine myself to see if I’m really in the faith. If people don’t look at me and think I am peculiar (1 Peter 2:9) — if I fit right in with our culture and no one can tell I am any different — then I am probably doing something wrong. 
The Bible doesn’t say that we should have less up do with darkness than other people do; it says have nothing to do with evil. By even acknowledging and associating with the holiday, I was giving credence to it in my life and opening myself to deception. 
It is my prayer that everyone who follows Christ will be open to prayerfully seeking God’s wisdom about the traditions of man.
“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.” —Ephesians 5:6-10
Here are additional Bible verses you can review as you prayerfully seek God’s wisdom regarding whether your family should continue to celebrate Halloween: