Monday, October 25, 2010

What is Halloween?

This is an articleWhat is Halloween? I wrote a while ago.

I am not given to observing or celebrating Christmas, Easter, Halloween or an other holiday. I take no offense by my brothers and sisters in the Lord who choose to observe or celebrate holidays. My participation in these holidays is to join in their celebration without any violation of conscience on my part.

What I do find amusing and sometimes baffling is the impassioned, but uninformed message from the pulpits throughout the church. This is especially true of Halloween. What Halloween has become is a mix of various things.Some see it as a celebration of Satanic rituals, others engage in costume disguise and trick or treating. None of these can obliterate the original intent of Halloween. Briefly, here is the intent of Halloween. See the article for more detail.

1.  People observed a day at end of harvest season when they would invoke and invite the spirits of loved ones who had died.
2.  People set out treats for the spirits of those dear ones in preparation of their visitation.
3.  People realized an open door to the spirit world also meant unwanted evil spirits could come upon them.
4.  People disguised themselves in scary apparel to appear as evil spirits in order to escape harm from unwanted evil spirits.

What has come to be known as Halloween was not a worship or celebration of demonic spirits. Halloween was the belief of the Druids of enjoying a time of fellowship . . . with the dead.

A lesson Christians can apply to Halloween:

Jesus has been raised from the dead in spirit and bodily form. He comes, not for a visit, but to live in the heart of the obedient believer. The believer in Christ has been freed from the fear of death and of Satan himself who HAD (past tense) the power of death and has no need to disguise himself or to engage with Satan. Satan lost his power of death through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

Christians do not seek contact or fellowship with the dead. We do not remember or serve a dead Christ, but a risen and living Lord and Savior.

Friday, October 1, 2010

22 days

On Wednesday September 08 I began a 22 day journey. The journey ended Thursday September 30.

I took to heart an idea which came to me in my Wednesday night Connect: 4 Bible study. As part of our discussion reference was made to the Psalms. Truth is, I have never been big on Psalms. Any reading in the Psalms was either a random verse here or there or if an entire Psalm it had to be a short one.

So, it was especially daunting as it was captivating to allow (how else could I say it?) the Holy Spirit to speak to me specifically as concerns Psalms 119: The longest Psalm . . . all 176 verses.

This Psalm follows immediately after the exact middle of the Bible, Psalm 118, which follows immediately after Psalm 117; the shortest Psalm, all two verses. Psalm 119 is written in groups of eight verses each with a heading denoting the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

Actually, I started on Thursday 19 and backtracked to Wednesday 08. Then, I started. I wrote in my notebook the Aleph (verses 1 thru 8) for Wednesday. Then, I wrote the Aleph and Beth (verses 1 thru 16) for Thursday. The next day on Friday I wrote the Aleph, Beth and Gimel (verses 1 thru 24) adding a daily eight verses every day always starting with the Aleph, Beth, Gimel, etc until the twenty-second day.

On the twenty-first day I wrote the: Aleph,Beth,Gimel,Daleth,He,Vav,Zayin,Heth,Teth,Yodh,Kaph,Lamedh,Mem,
Nun,Smekh,Ayin,Pe,Tsadhe,Qoph, Resh and Shin.

On the twenty-second day I wrote the:
Nun,Smekh,Ayin,Pe,Tsadhe,Qoph, Resh,Shin and Tav.

If just these two sentences of the Hebrew alphabet seem long you can began to appreciate a little bit the true length of the entire 176 verses of Psalm 119.

I knew it was going to be tough, but except for a momentary bit of a foolish, fickle thought my resolve was steadfast.

I did not do it for penmanship, flawless accuracy (though I was conscientious about accuracy) or memorization. I did not know what I would glean or what the Holy Spirit would instruct me, but I did and He did.

Since the start of our Sunday morning study on Romans I committed to reading not just the next few verses in preparation, but to reading the entire book every week. This is where I saw one of those blessings from the work of the Spirit in me through Psalm 119. I found the Psalm to be a record of my own journey of faith with my stumblings, waywardness, restoration and always, my love for the love of the Lord for me and my love for His word. It is He who has been ever faithful and steadfast with me.

As I read Romans, and read going forward, it is as through a template, virtually. Romans, as I am sure is true of all other New Testament writings is replete with the references or allusions to those ancient writings which so shaped and filled the lives of those who love the commandments, the testimonies, the ordinances, the law of the Lord as did the apostle Paul. One such reference, for example,
Then I shall not be ashamed.
After emptying four pens and filling one notebook I am all the more filled. Psalm 119 is not the longest Psalm in the Bible. It's become the Psalm closest and dearest to me. Take your journey.