Posts Tagged With: saved by grace

The Darkness of Halloween

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Excited children masquerading as witches, pirates, devils, ghosts, Dracula and other creatures bounding through the neighborhood, going from door to door shouting “Trick or Treat” … the party at school or a friend’s house where they tell ghost stories, bob for apples or tell fortunes… the visit to the community “haunted house” and homes decorated with witches, skeletons and eerie looking grinning Jack O Lanterns… It must be Halloween! Sounds like harmless fun, doesn’t it? But there is a dark side to Halloween you should know about, a side that I never liked because it was associated with evil, the devil, fear, death, and violence. That side of Halloween always gave me “the creeps.” And after a thorough study of Halloween I know why I felt that way because BENEATH HALLOWEEN’S CANDY COATING IS A HISTORY OF DIABOLICAL EVIL.In these next few days, I will share with you some of my findings relating to THE DARK SIDE OF HALLOWEEN. I will share with you briefly three things.

  1. The History of Halloween
  2. The Heroes of Halloween
  3. The Harm of Halloween

 

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THE HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN

Halloween is a “religious day” but it is NOT a Christian day. Tom Sanguinet, former high priest in the Celtic tradition of Wicca (witchcraft) said “The modern holiday we call Halloween… has its origins in the full moon closest to November 1st, the witches’ New Year. It was a time when the “spirits” (demons) were supposed to be at their peak power and revisiting the earth planet.” He went on to say, “Halloween is purely  and absolutely evil, and there is nothing we ever have or will do that would make it acceptable to the Lord Jesus.”

What is the man talking about, you might be asking yourself? Let me explain. The origin of Halloween isthe Celtic Festival of Samhain, lord of death and evil spirits. Long before Christ (at least 2025 years), Druids in Britain, Ireland, Scotland, France, Germany and other Celtic countries observed the end of summer by making sacrifices to Samhain. The Celts considered November 1st as being the day of death because the leaves were falling, it was getting darker sooner and temperatures were dropping. They believed Much Olla, their sun god was losing strength and Samhain, lord of death, was over powering him. Further, they believed that on October 31st Samhain assembled the spirits of all who had died during the previous year. These spirits had been confined to inhabit animals’ bodies for the past year, as punishment for their evil deeds. They were allowed to return to their former home to visit the living on the eve (Oct 31st) of the Feast of Samhain. Druid priests led the people in diabolical worship ceremonies in which horses, cats, black sheep, oxen, human beings and other offerings were rounded up, stuffed into wicker cages and burned to death. This was done to appease Samhain and keep spirits from harming them. It was clear to see that HALLOWEEN HAS ALWAYS BEEN A CELEBRATION OF DEATH.

Which brings me to my next point. How were these sacrifices obtained? Druid priests and people would go from house to house asking for fatted calves, black sheep and human beings. Those who gave were promised prosperity and those who refused to give were cursed and threatened. In addition, it was likely that all of the “wandering spirits” would get hungry. If you set out a treat for them, they would not trick or curse you. Hence we have THE ORIGIN OF TRICK OR TREAT. “Trick or Treat is a reenactment of the Druidic practices. The candy has replaced the human sacrifices of old, but it is still an appeasement of those deceptive evil spirits. The traditional response to those who do not treat is to have a trick played on them. When you give out Halloween candy, you are, in essence providing  a sacrifice to false gods. You are participating in idolatry says the former high priest of Wicca, Tom Samhain.

Did you know that even the Jack O Lantern has its origin with these pagan practices? In the book, Occult Conceit the author says on page 190, “The candlelit pumpkin or skull served as a signal to mark those farms and homes that were sympathetic to the Satanists and thus deserving of mercy when the terror (“trick or treat”) of the night began.” Further, an old edition of The World Book Encyclopedia says “The apparently harmless lighted pumpkin face of Jack O Lantern is an ancient symbol of a damned soul.”

What about COSTUMES? They originated with these terrible Druid death rites also. As people and animals were screeching in agony while being burned to death the observers would dress in costumes made of animal skins and heads. They would dance, chant and jump through the flames in hope of warding off the evil spirit.

It is obvious that Halloween is a pagan day rooted in the worst kind of pagan rituals and worship. The Bible urges Christians to “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness…” (Ephesians 5:11). Though Halloween is diluted somewhat there is obviously nothing Christ honoring about the day. It is a pagan sacrifice day and the Bible warns Christians “… the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that you should have fellowship with devils” (1 Corinthians 10:20). Halloween is the devil’s day!

 

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THE HEROES OF HALLOWEEN

You could not celebrate Halloween without the WITCH. The oldest known illustration of a witch, dates back to the pre-Columbian era. The drawing shows the pagan goddess Tlazolteolf naked, wearing a pointed-hat and riding a boom stick. Where you find witchcraft you will find nudity, divination, gross immorality and occult practices just to name a few. According to the Old Testament of the Bible witchcraft and the whole spectrum of the occult were capital crimes, punishable by death. In the New Testament, in Galatians 5:20, witchcraft is listed among those things that are to be renounced by believers. In fact, Acts 19:18,19 records how that those who became Christians renounced all dealings with the occult and burned any occultic material they had. Popular west coast Bible teacher, Dr. John MacArthur expresses it clearly enough when he says, ‘Dressing up like witches, ghosts, or goblins is incompatible with a Christian’s testimony. Furthermore, many of the customs of Halloween are associated with the worst kind of pagan ceremonies; they are usually centered on the sinister things such as demons, witchcraft, and superstition.’

The other heroes of Halloween aren’t any better. Consider Dracula. Did you know he was a real person? He lived from 1431 to 1476. During his six year reign this demented maniac massacred 100,000 men, women and children in the most hideous ways. He devised a plan to rid his country of the burden of beggars, handicapped, sick and aged. He invited them to a feast at one of his palaces. He fed them well and got them drunk. Then he asked them, “Do you want to be without cares, lacking nothing in this world?” They yelled “Yes!” Dracula then ordered the palaced boarded up and set it on fire. No one escaped. This tragic event was the original House of Horror.

The overwhelming majority of Halloween Heroes are evil, demented or demonic. That should not surprise us. Halloween is the devil’s day! But there is something else that concerns me even more…

 

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THE HARM OF HALLOWEEN – Halloween is a dangerous day and here are the reasons why…

HALLOWEEN IS FOCUSED ON VIOLENCE – In January of 1988, I stopped at a restaurant to pick up a bite to eat before my next appointment. I picked up a paper on the way in. As I was eating I came across Ann Landers column entitled “Parents must tackle violence.” The parent wrote “I heard something today that made my hair stand on end… Last October, the teacher of a fourth grade class asked her students to write a short essay on what they would like to do most to celebrate Halloween. Eighty percent of her 9 year olds expressed the wish to “kill somebody.” Where do children get such ideas?” she asked.

The answer is a simple one Halloween accentuates mutilation, murder, blood, guts and gore. It even glorifies it! I well remember seeing the large picture in the newspaper of a mutilated corpse in a blood stained bathtub. It was utterly repulsive. The accompanying article lauded a community organization’s youth work using this “haunted house.”

The truth is, millions of people, and likely your kids will be exposed to some of the almost endless string of TV programs, videos, community and church activities that GLORIFY MUTILATION, TORTURE, and BIZARRE MURDERS this Halloween. Now before you say “it won’t hurt them, it’s only fantasy,” perhaps you should consider what a horrified mother discovered in her teenage son’s diary. She read, “Last year I stole a car at Halloween and ran over a kid and killed him for the Devil. I plan on doing it again this year.” The boy is now incarcerated.

HALLOWEEN IS HARMFUL BECAUSE OF ITS FOCUS ON VIOLENCE. Don’t you see the paradox. When we read of a violent murder any other time we gasp. But we laugh, tease, call it fun and glorify the same things when Halloween comes. Halloween’s focus on VIOLENCE breaks down the inhibitions of our children toward murder. They have difficulty separating between fantasy and fact. And that is taking it’s toll on our society. There is another reason Halloween is harmful.

HALLOWEEN IS HARMFUL BECAUSE OF THE EMPHASIS ON FEAR. I read an article in The Milwaukee Journal entitled “Haunted house fun: It could become a nightmare for kids.” It started out “ITS JUST FOR FUN, you know that. But to a young child, a trip through a “haunted house” created for Halloween could be a nightmare.” Fear is no joke. Fear is a powerful and often damaging emotion. The writer of the article quoted developmental psychologist Marvin Berkowitz of Marquette University. Berkowitz said “Some haunted houses can frighten an adult.” Children must “go in with the right mental set. Make sure they know it’s going to be a fun scare, not a real scare.” The article went on the say, “Even the most careful parents can misjudge the kid’s traumatized and shricking, you hold him and comfort him. Give him physical security.” The question is, why expose your child to such traumatizing influences? They serve no useful purpose. In fact long lasting emotional problems can develop as a result of the frightening experiences that are encountered at Halloween activities, such as going through a “haunted house.”

BUT there is another aspect I want to share with you relating to fear. Dr. Grace Ketterman M.D. says in her book, You and Your Child’s Problems: How to Understand and Solve Them. “A tragic by-product of fear in the lives of childen as early as pre-adolescence is the interest and involvement in supernatural occult phenomena.” Which leads me to the next point.

HALLOWEEN IS HARMFUL BECAUSE OF ITS FOCUS ON THE OCCULT. The two most frequent ways childen are introduced into the occult are through rock music (secular) and Halloween. I was introduced to the occult at a Halloween party. Tragically, more and more children are being introduced to the occult by teachers in the public schools. And unfortunately, Halloween is one of the two Holidays that public schools celebrate. They choose Halloween (and Valentine’s Day) because supposedly there is no “religious” significance. How wrong they are about Halloween. To be sure, there is no Christian significance to Halloween but it is obviously a religious day.

Our forefathers recognized Halloween’s assocation with the occult. The Pilgrims banned celebrating Halloween in America. The ban lasted until 1845. At that time multiplied thousands of Irish emigrants flooded into New York because of the Irish Potato Famine of 1845-46. They brought Halloween with them and gradually it spread throughout the rest of the country.

 

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ALTERNATIVES

An increasing number of people are seeing the dangers associated with celebrating Halloween. Christians, when exposed to the dark side of the day, are deciding that celebrating it is not pleasing to the Lord Jesus Christ. Wise parents are replacing Halloween with family night activities. Others are have “GLORY GATHERINGS” where all references to Halloween are removed and wholesome games are played. Christian songs are sung and Christian videos are shown. Others are using Halloween as a night to pass out Gospel tracts. How pass this out? Don’t dress in a costume, walk around your area, putting these into people’s sacks, you can do over 100 an hour, more than people coming to your own door. Where to get Gospel tracts? www.chick.com, www.livingwaters.com, or local Christian bookstore. And don’t forget to pray over the people who receive the tracts. Whatever you do, “Be not overcome of evil, but over comecome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).

I hope you will carefully consider the information I have related in short series in the past few days on “The Dark Side of Halloween” and decide NOT to celebrate Halloween. But there is an even more important decision you should make first. That is deciding to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. Here’s what to do.

REALIZE that God loves you – John 3:16; Romans 5:8

RECOGNIZE that you cannot be saved from sin by your own good works – Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5

ADMIT that you are a sinner separated from God – Romans 3:23

REPENT of your sins – Luke 1:5, Luke 3:19

CALL upon Christ in faith, believing that He died for your sins and arose from the dead – Romans 10:9

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Happy 4th of July!

Celebrate the 4th of July with Video Gaming’s Finest Fireworks!

Celebrate the 4th of July with Video Gaming's Finest Fireworks!

During the American Revolution, the legal separation of the Thirteen Colonies from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that had been proposed in June by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia declaring the United States independent from Great Britain rule. After voting for independence, Congress turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision, which had been prepared by a Committee of Five, with Thomas Jefferson as its principal author. Congress debated and revised the wording of the Declaration, finally approving it on July 4. A day earlier, John Adams had written to his wife Abigail:

The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.

Adams’s prediction was off by two days. From the outset, Americans celebrated independence on July 4, the date shown on the much-publicized Declaration of Independence, rather than on July 2, the date the resolution of independence was approved in a closed session of Congress.

Historians have long disputed whether Congress actually signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, even though Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin all later wrote that they had signed it on that day. Most historians have concluded that the Declaration was signed nearly a month after its adoption, on August 2, 1776, and not on July 4 as is commonly believed.

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  • In 1777, thirteen gunshots were fired in salute, once at morning and once again as evening fell, on July 4 in Bristol, Rhode Island. Philadelphia celebrated the first anniversary in a manner a modern American would find quite familiar: an official dinner for the Continental Congress, toasts, 13-gun salutes, speeches, prayers, music, parades, troop reviews, and fireworks. Ships were decked with red, white, and blue bunting.
  • In 1778, from his headquarters at Ross Hall, near New Brunswick, New Jersey, General George Washington marked July 4 with a double ration of rum for his soldiers and an artillery salute (feu de joie). Across the Atlantic Ocean, ambassadors John Adams and Benjamin Franklin held a dinner for their fellow Americans in Paris, France.
  • In 1779, July 4 fell on a Sunday. The holiday was celebrated on Monday, July 5.
  • In 1781 the Massachusetts General Court became the first state legislature to recognize July 4 as a state celebration.
  • In 1783, Moravians in Salem, North Carolina, held a celebration of July 4 with a challenging music program assembled by Johann Friedrich Peter. This work was titled “The Psalm of Joy.” This is recognized as the first recorded celebration and is still celebrated there today.
  • In 1791 the first recorded use of the name “Independence Day” occurred.
  • In 1870, the U.S. Congress made Independence Day an unpaid holiday for federal employees.
  • In 1938, Congress changed Independence Day to a paid federal holiday.

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But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians 3:20

 

Every year on July 4th America remembers its freedom from British rule, but as citizens of heaven who are only incidentally American citizens, we daily have a more significant liberty to celebrate.

 

What freedom do citizens of heaven have to celebrate?

 

Freedom from bondage

  • Luke 4:18  “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed,

 

Freed by Christ

  • John 8:32-36  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone.  How can you say that we shall be set free?” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.  Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

 

Freedom is universally desired

  • Heb 2:15  and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
  • 2 Pet 2:19  They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity–for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.

 

Freed from the law of sin and death

  • Rom 8:2  because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

 

Freed from the bondage of satisfying God’s law

  • 1 Cor 9:21  To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.
  •  Gal 2:4  This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves.
  •  Gal 4:22-23  For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman.  His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise.
  •  Gal 4:30-31, 5:1  But what does the Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.”  Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.  It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

 

Freed from the sins committed under the first covenant

  • Heb 9:15  For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance–now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

 

Freed from our sins by his blood

  • Rev 1:5  and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,

 

Freed from accusation

  • Col 1:22  But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation–

 

Freed from the power of sin

  • Rom 6:7, 18, 20, 22 because anyone who has died has been freed from sin … You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness … When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness … But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

 

Caution: Do not think your freedom is permission to sin

  • 1 Pet 2:16  Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.
  • Gal 5:13  You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.

 

Free to approach God with confidence

  • Eph 3:12  In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

 

Freed from spiritual blindness

  • 2 Cor 3:16  But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17  Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

 

Freed from the curse of a decaying body

  • Rom 8:21  that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.  
  • 1 John 3:2  Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

 

Free to be a slave to others

  • 1 Cor 9:19  Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as
    possible.
  • 1 Cor 10:29  the other man’s conscience, I mean, not yours. For why should my freedom be judged by another’s conscience?

 

Caution: Don’t let your freedom from the law lead others to violate their consciences

  • 1 Cor 8:9  Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.

 

Freed by the law of love

  • James 1:25  But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.
  • James 2:12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom

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