The Christian Life as “Power Walkers” and So Much More!

POWER WALKERS

The Using of “Mixed Metaphors”–

The picture above is a group of people getting ready to walk for a cause: Breast Cancer Walk.  This is of importance to me in particular since my wife went through surgery and radiation treatment for breast cancer over two years ago.  We both were forced to ‘walk through it.’

A mixed metaphor, in case you have no reference point, combines two or more images that don’t seem to make sense.  Some examples:

“You’ve buttered your bread…now lie in it.”

“Clearly we’ve opened a Pandora’s box…of worms.”

“Burning the midnight oil…at both ends.”

“Marching to the beat…of a dead horse.”

“Robbing Peter…to pay the piper.”

The apostle Paul mixes several metaphors in Colossians 2:6-7:

“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,  having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude”  (NASB).

Many commentaries that I have read during the writing of this blog believe the theme of the entire book, is a “hinge point” of Colossians.

On The FAITH Side…

The Colossians had received Christ JESUS as Lord and Savior and they had been taught the faith.

And On the PRACTICE Side…

They needed to continue to live in Him, built up in Him; becoming strengthened in their faith, overflowing with thankfulness in their everyday and sometimes hectic lives.  Boy, can we relate to the Colossians or what?

PAUL USES 6 -WORD PICTURES OF CHRISTIAN SPIRITUAL PROGRESS:

“For though I am away from you in body, yet I am with you in spirit, delighted at the sight of your [standing shoulder to shoulder in such] orderly array and the firmness and the solid front and steadfastness of your faith in Christ [that leaning of the entire human personality on Him in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness]”  (Colossians 2:5 AMP).

Raising the Standard

The First Word Picture–The Soldier (verse 5):

The first picture is a review  “…to see how orderly you are and how firm your FAITH in Christ is“, as part of God’s Army–solidly united against the enemy–standing shoulder to shoulder.  All the while as we practice discipline, we strive to obey our Commander and Chief.  We’re not to battle against each other, but to do battle with each other–raising the banner or flag in serving side-by-side!

The Second Word Picture–The Power Walker (verse 6):

POWER WALKERS

The Christian Life Must Be Lived Out!

How do we do that?  We must go from our heads, to our hands, and then to our feet!  When Paul says, “Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him.” Paul is reminding his readers, since they received JESUS by faith, so too they must WALK BY FAITH in His power.  That is the only way to make spiritual progress.

Moving with a purpose–

The verb continue; “to continue to live in Him” indicates a “continuous action”, moving in power.  Remembering the day of your salvation must be a present reality in your lives.  Our conduct must be consistent with His lordship and our worship should affect our walk; our practice must conform to our character, our principles, our INTEGRITY [see the Word Detective’s Archives: the post regarding INTEGRITY].

The Third Word Picture – The Tree (verse 7):

Our Roots Are Planted In Him

In this agricultural metaphor, just as a tree is “rooted”, we are to be grounded in the soil of God’s Word.  I like to call my Bible, 66 bags of “word seed” instead of 66 books of the Bible.

The tense of the Greek word means, “once and for all, having being rooted.”  Those who have truly received Christ Jesus are rooted in Him.  A tree puts down deep roots to find nutrition and to provide stability in the growing.

Likewise, we must go deep with Christ to find the fuel that we need to flourish during the storms of life.  This image most likely comes from the beautiful picture displayed in Jeremiah 17:8:

“For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters

that spreads out its roots by the river;

and it shall not see and fear when heat comes;

but its leaf shall be green.

It shall not be anxious and full of care in the year of drought,

nor shall it cease yielding fruit.”

When we are rooted in a relationship with JESUS, we will have everything that we need for life and for godliness.  2 Peter 1:3declares,

“For His divine power has bestowed upon us ALL things that

[are requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the

[full, personal] knowledge of Him Who called us

by and to His own glory and excellence (virtue).”

Just as a tree cannot thrive without any roots, we too cannot grow if we have not been grounded in “His glory and excellence.”

The Fourth Word Picture – The Building (verse 7):

Starting with a FOUNDATION

Paul now moves into a construction image to show us that our foundation is built on JESUS; where we must continue to add-on, so that we’re “being continually built up in Him.”

Ephesians 2:20 says, “You are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus Himself the chief Cornerstone.”

At our conversion, the construction process begins with a foundation first.  Then raised up and anchored with a cornerstone, helping align the whole structure in tying it together.

CORNERSTONE

 In the same way, as the chief cornerstone, JESUS holds everything together while providing alignment to our lives.

The CHURCH you’re attending right now wouldn’t be of much use with just a foundation in place.  A foundation is only the beginning of better things to come–the base is laid in order to build a strong building.

God doesn’t want us to STOP at conversion. Instead, He desires for us to construct our lives as in…  1 Corinthians 3:12:  “gold, silver, and precious stones” instead of using things that don’t last such as “wood, hay and straw.”   This is in order to be strong, building with solid materials.

Again, the tense of the verb [“continually”] indicates that the building keeps on going.  The Christian Life is not meant to be a one or two-story house, but rather a skyscraper that keeps going up and up!

The Fifth Word Picture – The Student (verse 7):

GRAD STUDENTS

The next METAPHOR in place:  “increasingly more confirmed and established in the faith, just as you were taught”.  We are to be students in God’s Grad School so our FAITH can be strengthened and established.

We are to be STUDENTS in God’s Graduate School–

When I mean STUDENTS in God’s Grad School, I don’t mean spending years in a Christian preschool.  Hebrews 6:1-3 in The Message Bible brings word picture into focus:

“So come on, lets leave preschool fingerprinting exercises on Christ and get on with the grand work of art.  Grow up in Christ.  The basic foundational truths are in place…But there is so much more.  Let’s get on with it!”

We are Disciples of Christ–

As STUDENTS, it becomes our responsibility to learn and know the Word of God if we are going grow in our FAITH.  Being disciples of Christ, we are to be always learning and putting ourselves in an environment of study and being strengthened on a regular basis.

It is important for every believer to plug into a small group whether at church or in a neighborhood.  However, you don’t want to just be a church with “small groups”… but a church that is made up of small groups.

The Sixth Word Picture – A River (verse 7):

An Overflowing River

The idea here is based on verse 7“abounding and overflowing with thanksgiving.”  Receiving instruction in biblical truth should produce inner JOY.  The more we understand grace, the more gratitude we will have.  JOY from Thanksgiving shouldn’t be experienced just on the Legal Holiday.  It should be continual!

Kent Hughes writes, “A thankless spirit betrays a life which is no longer focusing on the greatness of Christ.”  If you don’t feel like being thankful today, it is probably because you’ve taken your eyes off of JESUS and putting them on your problems instead.

A Christian LIVING IT OUT!

The two verses in Colossians 2, verses 6-7 challenges us to…

1.  GROW downward–being “rooted.”

2.  GROW upward–being “built up”.

3.  GROW inward–being “strengthened in the faith.”

4.  GROW outward–as we “overflow with thankfulness.”

As Paul mixes up his metaphors, he also changes his verb tenses in order to show what happened to us and what we are responsible for.  In the list of 6 Word Pictures, I was able to find only two active verbs:

1.  To live continuously in Him.

2.  To be continuously thankful to Him.

Our task is to live surrendered to His preeminence, His supremacy; and to abound in giving thanks to what God has done for us in Christ.

So in Christ JESUS, have a JOYFUL THANKSGIVING THIS YEAR and in each and every day!

INTEGRITY in a World of Change!

EVIDENCE FOUND IN THE “DIGGING”:  [Daniel 5:1-30]

INTEGRITY with CONSISTENCY–

One of the hardest aspects in living your life is INTEGRITY being consistent.  But first, let me give a secular definition of the word, then we will getter a better meaning set in our minds:

INTEGRITY:  A concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes.  In ethics, INTEGRITY is regarded as the honest and truthfulness or accuracy on one’s actions.  INTEGRITY can be regarded as the OPPOSITE of hypocrisy”  Quoted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

With all the problems we face throughout our lives, no wonder many fail to act and react consistently in each situation.

In this blog, I will continue my detective work; digging in the Biblical evidence contained in The Book of Daniel Chapter 5. 

DANIEL is now approximately eighty years old.  He would be considered by all standards in any society as a senior citizen.  But Daniel is again going to show each one of us that he is a man of integrity by living out his life according to his beliefs at the ripe old age of 80 years, like he did in his teens!  Can I get an AMEN if you are a senior citizen?

Enter…THE PROBLEMS:

The kingdom had changed and he finds himself in a world that had passed him by.  At one time, Daniel was the head of all the magicians, sorcerers and it now seems he is almost forgotten.  You might even say that Daniel is like many of our senior citizens today; even in our neighborhood churches.

The World HAS CHANGED!

It has gotten faster in almost every way.  Seemingly more violent and people’s problems seem to be more extreme and the consequences more dire!

While connectivity IS AVAILABLE to everyone, at any time through the internet and cell phones–many feel unconnected and alone.

Daniel Found Himself In A Similar Position.

—  He was still in a foreign land.

—  God had not miraculously delivered him to Jerusalem.

—  He was out of the loop, a Jew in Babylon.

—  His position of authority had changed.  He had not been called on to handle the situation.  Nor had he been invited to the party.

Tom Shrader, a lead teaching Pastor in Arizona says,

“The number one problem facing seniors today is apathy”,  The unwillingness to get involved in a “new world”.

THE EARTHLY KINGDOM WAS IN TROUBLE!

Sounding familiar to today’s world of current circumstances?  Belshazzar assumed the authority of king and the enemies were literally knocking at the front door (the gates) of this massively fortified city.  The city was strong but the kingdom was weak.

Rather than seeking GOD’S FAVOR, repent of his ways, Belshazzar throws a party exemplifying PRIDE in giving the annual kingdom banquet for all nobility:

“BELSHAZZAR THE king [descendant of Nebuchadnezzar] made a great feast for a thousand of his lords, and he drank his wine in the presence of the thousand”  (Daniel 5:1 AMP).

PRIDE LEADS TO SACRILEGE:

Not only was the king’s PRIDE on display before the other party goers at the height of out-of-control revelry but Belshazzar calls for the temple goblets.  Now these goblets were not the run-of-the-mill drinking cups.  The temple goblets that were called for were used in the honoring of the Lord God!

It was the ultimate in arrogance and pride.  Indirectly, the king was placing himself above God Almighty and thumbing his nose at God!

The Party’s Over!

God miraculously stops the party at its high point.  Looking at the Hebrew construction of the sentence indicates, at the very instant of drinking from the goblets and praising false gods, the finger appears to write on the wall:

[5]  “Immediately and suddenly there appeared the fingers of a man’s hand and wrote on the plaster of the wall opposite the candlestick [so exposed especially to the light] in the king’s palace, and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.    [6]   Then the color and the [drunken] hilarious brightness of the king’s face was changed, and his [terrifying] thoughts troubled and alarmed him; the joints and muscles of his hips and back gave way and his knees smote together”            (Daniel 5:5-6 AMP).

The Climax Is Building to a Boiling Point Now!

The party comes to a halt as the king was so filled with PRIDE and ARROGANCE and suddenly, he was now reduced to fear and trembling.

Imagine for one moment here, as drunk as they all were, the fingers, not the whole hand but the fingers of the living God begins to write on the wall by the lamp stand.  Belshazzar was literally changing colors while trembling before their eyes.  So much fear, he lost control of his lower body according to the original Hebrew.  In other words, the king probably just wet, peed his pants before all who had come to “party on”!

The King Needed A Solution…Now!

“The king cried aloud [mightily] to bring in the enchanters or soothsayers, the Chaldeans [diviners], and the astrologers.  The king said to the wise men of Babylon,  Whoever will read this writing and show me the interpretation of it will be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold put about his neck and will be the third ruler in the kingdom”  (verse 7 AMP).

I notice a footnote at the bottom of my Bible while studying this week concerning the words written on the wall in verse 25:  MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.

“For many people it may be difficult to understand why all the wise men, the magicians, the soothsayers, the Chaldeans, and the astrologers were unable to translate a few simple words, especially when Daniel’s prescribed education in languages was the same as their own–and he had no difficulty translating.  The answer is that any wise man who was present there probably could recognize the four inscribed words, but only the uncompromising man of God [man with INTEGRITY; a man of CHARACTER]–who knew God through daily fellowship and communion with Him, who was dedicated to Him that God could speak to him and through him–only such a man could tell what the words really meant. Blessed are those who dare to be a Daniel.

THE PROCLAMATION:

Daniel was a man of integrity even though he was in his 80’s and semi-retired, and God was going to use him in a powerful way; to touch the life of the king AND his nobles.  His reputation was preceding him.

The Queen Remembers–(verses 11-12).

Daniel again was called in to interpret the writing where others had failed.  Much like king Nebuchadnezzar’s last prophecy, this one also contained BAD NEWS for the king [Daniel 4:31-33]..

Daniel begins with a relevant history lesson concerning the past king and Almighty God.  He reminds king Belshazzar that the lesson he was going to lay on the king was not about him but about God.(verses 18-23).

One of those great moments occurred that Daniel had earned by being faithful to God all those years.  He was still a great man of INTEGRITY.

Daniel had shown over the years his character qualities of perseverance and consistency which are essential to all of us today in a life of integrity.

“INTEGRITY” RE-DEFINED AS A REFERENCE FOR WHAT’S COMING!

INTEGRITY equals soundness and wholeness and is often applied to a structure or a physical object such a girders in a bridge; an engine block; or a piece of pottery.  As we will soon see, INTEGRITY can be applied to people also with positive and negative results.

What happens if a bridge or a piece of pottery looses its integrity?  It collapses!  Can you visualize this same flaw happening to people in the world of change?  People collapse, societies collapse, churches close and all because of a flaw in the structure of INTEGRITY.

How Daniel Spent His Life:

Daniel spent his life telling people, not what they wanted to hear but what they didn’t want to hear.  Daniel wasn’t an “ear-tickler”!  Nor is the WORD Detective (Mel Thompson)!!

“Now the wise men, the enchanters, have been brought in before me (the king) that they might read this writing and make known to me the interpretation of it, but they could not show the interpretation of the matter.  [16] But I have heard of you, that you can make interpretations and solve knotty problems.  Now if you can read the writing and make known to me its interpretation, you shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of god put around your neck and shall be a third ruler in the kingdom”  (Daniel 5:15-16 AMP).

Now that my friends, even by today’s standards was a heck of a reward.  Purple cloth was a rarity and I’m sure gold had a higher value then…than perhaps today’s current value.

So the king is telling Daniel…”So here’s the deal Dan. Translate the message and your promotion and worth is on the way.”  And the Daniel response?

[17]  “Then Daniel answered before the king,  Let your gifts be for yourself and give your rewards to another.  However, I will read the writing to the king and make known to him the interpretation.”

THE BAD NEWS!  “MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPARSIN”

Daniel proceeds to give the king the BAD NEWS; Daniel’s prophecy is about to hit the fan!  (verses 26-28).

In short, the king was to die and his kingdom divided.  The man of INTEGRITY tells it like it is by faithfully delivering the news.  That kind of news isn’t what anyone wants to hear from anybody.

We live in a society that says, “don’t make waves”; “be politically correct.”   The refrains of modern societies come at a high price.  The PRICE TAG IS….the TRUTH!  [Read 2 Timothy 4:2-4].

Daniel made waves and didn’t care to be politically correct.  He gave the TRUTH that might have cost him his life.  He was again, a person of integrity.  Have I driven the point home by now in your reading today?

THE PRICE:.

“Then Belshazzar commanded, and Daniel was clothed with purple and a chain of gold put about his neck, and a proclamation was made concerning him that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom”  (Daniel 5:29).

Contrary to the offer made by the king in verse 17, here, in verse 29, the king gives Daniel his earthly reward as the result of the message rather than a bribe to give the message  It was Daniel’s INTEGRITY on display.

Daniel again was promoted not because of his relationship with the earthly king but because of his long-time relationship with his Heavenly King; promoted because of his faithfulness to God.

And Belshazzar’s Reward?

The king had been living his life arrogantly, ignoring the Most High God even though his father (Nebuchadnezzar) had proclaimed His greatness openly.  Belshazzar chose to rebel and sin instead of repent and obey.  THE RESULT WAS DEATH!

“During that night Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans was slain,  And Darius the Mede took the kingdom; he was about sixty-two years old”  (verses 30-31).

THE NEW TESTAMENT REVEALS THE  SPIRITUAL CONSEQUENCE:

Romans 3:22-23 reveals,  “the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God which comes by believing with personal trust and confident reliance on Jesus Christ (the Messiah).  [And is meant] for all who believe.  For there is no distinction,    Since ALL have sinned and are falling short of the honor and glory which God bestows and receives.”

Romans 6:23 says,  “For the wages which sin pays is death, but the [bountiful] free gift of God is eternal life through (in union with) Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Choices to make as the world is speeding up and not slowing down.  A CHOICE of FAITH, GODLY RELATIONSHIP, ETERNAL LIFE, or a life of SIN, DEATH FOR AN ETERNITY? 

“I NEED TO KNOW MORE ABOUT INTEGRITY?”

What Does the Bible Have to Say About Our Integrity As “Born-again” Believers?

(10) Reasons to ponder, about your own INTEGRITY:

1.  INTEGRITY means treating people fairly and honestly:

Leviticus 19:35-36; Deuteronomy 25:15; Proverbs 16:11-13

2.  INTEGRITY is giving your word and keeping it!

Exodus 8:28-32

3.  INTEGRITY will protect you.  Psalm 25, David prays that integrity and uprightness will protect him.  How can it?

“Let INTEGRITY and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for and expect you.” ~ Psalm 25:21.

Proverbs 2:7-8; 10:9; 11:3; 13:6

4.  INTEGRITY is more valuable than riches.

Proverbs 28:6; Daniel 5:17

5.  The Lord will test and judge your INTEGRITY.

1 Chronicles 29:17; Psalm 7:8

6.  It may be difficult to maintain your INTEGRITY in a changing world.

Job 2:3, 9; Proverbs 29:10

7.  The Lord hates lies and lack of INTEGRITY!

Zechariah 8:16-17

8.  Your character can be corrupted by the bad company you keep.

1 Corinthians 15:33

9.  INTEGRITY will be rewarded.

1 Kings 9:4-5; Nehemiah 7:2; Psalm 41:11-12

10.  Your INTEGRITY should set an example.

Titus 2:7

HALLOWEEN “Just Harmless Fun, Right?”

“Aren’t they CUTE?”

Many Christians believe participation in Halloween is a form of involvement in worthless deeds; “evil and darkness” as one source proclaimed.  However, many people today consider modern-day Halloween activities just harmless fun.  Something that they looked forward to as a kid and their children and grandchildren look forward to every October 31st.

I walked into a local large grocery chain store this past week and was overwhelmed by the sight and sounds of displays of Halloween decorations.  Masks, ghost sounds, Jack-o-lanterns, smoke blowing devices and on and on.  I have friends in the church who have said that they don’t participate in the actually trick or treating anymore but they love seeing their grandkids all dressed up as ‘bees and bee-keepers’ during Halloween.  Afterall, “they don’t dress up in ghost and goblin or evil costumes!”  All of these viewpoints, the worlds and some Christians traditional ideas, I thought would be worthy of a biblical investigations, including the traditions of Halloween; the ‘how and where’  these traditions came from.

“For once you were in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of Light [lead the lives of those native-born to Light].  For the fruit (the effect, the product) of the Light or the Spirit [consists] in every form of kindly goodness, uprighteous of heart, and trueness of life.  And try to learn [in your experience] what is pleasing to the Lord [let your lives be constant proofs of what is most acceptable to Him].  Take no part in and have no fellowship with the fruitless deeds and enterprises of darkness, but instead [let your lives be so in contrast as to] expose and reprove and convict them.  For it is a shame even to speak of or mention the things that [such people] practice in secret”  (Ephesians 5:8-12~Amplified version).

THE HISTORY BEHIND THE HOLIDAY

The two Celtic words Hallowed Evening came from ALL HALLOWED’S EV’N, and now we call it “Halloween”.  This is now even more popular than Easter, and rivals Christmas in retail sales of merchandise.  The roots of the festival come to us from Druid demon worship.  Witches were said to fly brooms over the crops to “teach” them how to grow.  It was a fertility myth.

When the first Roman catholic missionaries encountered these Druids, they met stubborn resistance because the inhabitants of Angle Land, Sweden, Neder Land, northern Germany, Fin Land, and Eire Land were very nationalistic.  The ritual we embrace as Halloween was originally called the Feast of the Dead, SAMHAIN (pronounced Sa-ween), and was on November 1st.  These pre-Christian Druids had the barbarians doing ghastly things.  It was a dreaded occasion, since it was thought that time stood still, and the souls of the dead walked the land.  Gifts, especially food, were left outside for these roaming ghosts, with hope that no harm would come to the households.  The Druids chose certain children to be burned alive on “bone-fires”, as offerings to the sun.  Parents tied yellow ribbons around old oak trees as prayers to the sun to have their children spared.  Anything here sound familiar to you?

The fat left over from the child was fashioned into a candle, and placed in a carved-out pumpkin, or a hollowed out vegetable with a “round” (sunshaped) design.  The victim was called Jack-of-the-lantern.  Prisoners and unlike people were burned alive in wicker cages shaped in the form of animals, and hung from trees.  All of this was ultimately to pay homage to the sun, Woden, or Odin.  As you might know, this Druid deity gives us our name for the 4th day of the week: Woden’s Day.

FROM “SAMHAIN” TO “ALL SAINTS”

Without forcing the Pagans to drop their practices but accept Christianity, the RCC merely made allowances to accommodate the barbarians, and called it “acculturation“.  They “sanctified” the Pagan rituals by absorbing and camouflaging them.  In the 7th century, the Pantheon at Rome was extracted from the barbarians, and made into a “cathedral” (Greek, katthedra, meaning seat, or throne).  “Pan Theon” means all Gods.  They re-named it the Church of the blessed Virgin and ALL MARTYRS.  Thus it changed from the worship of “All Gods” (Pantheon) to the center for honoring “All Saints”.

The day chosen to honor all the “hallowed” saints was first observed on the evening of May 13, and was known as ALL HALLOWS FESTIVAL.  This festival was officially authorized in 835 CE by pope Gregory IV after it was moved to November 1st, to coincide with the festival Samhain.  It began on the evening of October 31st, which was called All Hallowed Eve.

You now have the history behind the holiday and should understand that HALLOWEEN isn’t just harmless fun!  Satan has people in our modern era mimicking witches and the Druids of old.

WHAT IS THE BIBLE TEACHING ON HALLOWEEN?

“The priests shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the common or profane, and cause them to distinguish between the unclean and the clean”  (Ezekiel 44:23).

Is the WORD Detective a priest? Are you a priest, to teach God’s people, fellow believers in Jesus about the subject of Halloween? 

“And formed us into a kingdom (a royal race), priests to His God and Father”  (Rev. 1:6)

“[Come] and, like living stones, be yourselves built [into] a spiritual house, for a holy (dedicated, consecrated) priesthood”  (1 Peter 2:5}.

As believers in Christ Jesus, God’s Word says that we are priests, and it is our duty to teach God’s people the difference between what is holy and clean and what is unclean.

LIVING IN THE TIMES OF “WITCHCRAFT”

I was attending a church picnic years ago, where there were two twelve-year-old girls, who were laying down on a blanket reading and discussing with excitement, the new “Harry Potter” novel.  I mentioned to one of the mothers, “It’s probably none of my business, but do you approve of your daughter reading the contents of that book?”  Her answer: “I see no harm in her reading “Harry Potter” books. She never has like to read novels before but now she has got her face in these books constantly.”  We are living in a time when witchcraft is being revised in the media.  “Charmed” on television is teaching people the elements of witchcraft and sorcery and yet we say things like “it’s not real; it’s really harmless fun”. 

Have you noticed in the stores of late, how costumes and masks are generally more bloody, gory, and depraved each year?  The gruesome and grotesque and the occult are increasingly glorified in American society.  Not just on Halloween, but throughout the year in horror movies.

In my detective work of uncovering the churches reactions to Halloween, I ran across an article from an unknown author, originally published in the Colorado Christian news, October 1996:

My family does not celebrate Halloween or participates in it.  We do not believe that our children are “missing out”, and neither do they.  Other days are used for costumes and parties. We have found that Halloween provides an excellent time to remind our children that as Christians, we are different, and not of this world (Hebrews 11:13-16; 1 Peter 2:11).

HOW ABOUT CHURCH “HARVEST FESTIVALS”?  They are okay, are they not?

I remember in the ’70’s, our adult church Sunday School classes came to gather for a “Harvest Festival”.  We were to come as biblical characters, not dressed as the scary ‘creatures’ of Halloween.  Dianne [being small in nature] came dressed as Zacchaeus (Luke 18:18-25), who had climbed a Sycamore tree to see Jesus; and I came as…you quessed it, as the Sycamore tree; I carried her in ‘piggy-back’.  That’s better than ‘His and Her Towels’ previously costumed in another Festival Party. Oh so long ago and so foolish; lacking understanding.

“Harvest Festivals” maybe rational and with good intentions behind them but not the best approach.  ‘Harvest’  parties tend to make an assumption:  ‘Our children need something to take the place of Halloween since we won’t be participating in secular and pagan celebrations’.  The suggestion to our church kids is that they are missing out on something.

WE NEED TO TEACH THE CHILDREN

The fight isn’t against occultists, non-Christians, Christians that feel differently than we do about Halloween or institutions who promote and sell Halloween.  BUT who we are fighting with is…

“against the despotisms (oppressions), against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickeness in the (supernatural) sphere”  (Ephesians 6:12).

You might be thinking to yourself right now, “I’m not much into ancient history, or  a ‘WORD’ detective like you.  If my kids want to go out trick-or-treating on October 31st, it’s just harmless fun and I’m not going to interfere.”

SPIRITUAL WARFARE–is it fiction?  Or is it real?

If you haven’t read “This Present Darkness” by Frank E. Peretti in a long time or never read it, try reading it before Halloween is here again this year.  The painting of things we don’t see are brought to a clear and vivid expression through Mr. Perretti’s words.  Let me quote from the back of the 1988 best-selling novel:

“If you think spiritual warfare is mere fiction, think again. 

Set in unremarkable small towns perhaps like your own, pit ordinary Christians against extraordinary evil at the highest levels.  The stories told will challenge you to open your eyes to the spiritual battle that’s raging in your world right now.”

Is Halloween “Just Harmless Fun?”  Please don’t take my words, for you to decide the answer to that question.  Look to relevant Scripture and let Holy Spirit help you come to your own answer:

1 Thessalonians 5:21, 22  “test and prove all things…Abstain from evil in whatever form or whatever kind”

3 John 1:11  “do not imitate evil”

Romans 12:9   “hate what is evil [loathe all ungodliness, turn in horror from wickedness]”

Deuteronomy 18:9-14

Ephesians 5:11, 12

1 Timothy 4:1  “in latter times some will turn from the faith, giving attention to deluding and seducing spirits and doctrines that demons teach”   ( We are in those “times” today!)

1 Corinthians 10:21 You cannot partake of the Lord’s table and the demons’ table”—

2 Corinthians 6:14-17

Philippians 4:8

1 Corinthians 11:1

1 Corinthians 10:31

James 4:7, 8

Ezekiel 44:23; Revelation 1:6; 1 Peter 2:5  “The priests shall teach My people…to distinguish between the unclean and the clean”.  [We are the “priests” to convey the message about Halloween]

Proverbs 22:6  “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it”  [Parents?]

Matthew 18:6

Hosea 4:6  “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”  [Better get informed–NOW!]

John 3:19, 20

Romans 13:12

Ephesians 6:11-18

1 John 5:19  “We know [positively] that we are of God, and the whole world [around us] is under the power of the evil one”

2 Chronicles 7:14