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Showing posts with label Halloween. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Halloween. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

“Safe from the Slutty Pumpkin” – Halloween Reflections - Purity 1186


“Safe from the Slutty Pumpkin” – Halloween Reflections - Purity 1186

Purity 1186 10/31/2023  Purity 1186 Podcast

Purity 1186 on YouTube:



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a brilliant autumn showing of color and the double image of a white footbridge reflected in waters beneath a pleasant blue sky comes to us from Lisa Warner who shared this “peak” experience on social media back on October 1st after her visit to the Cranberry Lake and the Wanakena Footbridge.  

Well, It’s the Tuesday, the last day of the month, and little holiday called “Halloween”, and I don’t know whether or not October 1st was officially the “peak” of Fall Foliage or not but I can tell you that 30 days later the colors have faded and many of the trees are bare skeletons compared to there full fall leaves glory.  With the falling of the leaves, comes Halloween and the terrifying prospect that “Winter is Coming” but before we shriek in terror over the possibility of white precipitation, yes I superstitiously will not say the S-word because although I don’t quite believe that our words make things happen, I have seen some “prophecies” fulfilled in my day and don’t wish to unwittingly predict something I would rather not see until December.  

But as we leave the month of October behind today, the elephant – our huge human skeleton- what is the deal with that people?- in the middle of the room today is “Halloween” and the controversy of whether or not Christians should shun it or turn this macabre fall festival into a celebration of Jesus over the powers of darkness, in some sort of “opposite day” where what is evil is a reminder of what is good.  

While I will pass the buck over to Break Point Ministries’ John Stonestreet, to give y’all a commentary of whether we should or shouldn’t celebrate Halloween with two of his articles “Too Boo or Not to Boo (https://breakpoint.org/to-boo-or-not-to-boo-2/) and “Honoring the Witness of All Saint’s Day” (https://breakpoint.org/honoring-the-witnesses-all-saints-day-2/) where Stonestreet shares Chuck Colson’s thoughts about the meaning of “All Hallow’s Eve” as anticipation of All Saints Day.  The links are on the blog for you to check out and ponder and to remind us all that the dead that Christians are to celebrate this time of year are NOT GIAGANTIC HUMAN SKELETONS erected for spooky mischief but are the departed faithful servants and martyrs from the body of Christ.  

Personally, I have mixed feelings about Halloween. As a child and a member of “cultural Christianity” where we were mostly nominals of a liturgical church tradition and practical atheists with a paradoxical mix of cheap grace and a works performance theology – saying “we believe” but not really knowing or obeying God’s word seriously and still “hoping for heaven”, I was raised as an enthusiastic “trick or treat”-er and considered Halloween to be a time to collect free candy, play pranks (aka perform criminal acts of theft and or vandalism), and watch scary movies and considered those who discouraged us from celebrating Halloween to be “religious extremists” who were just as scary if not scarier than any ghost, ghoul, or goblin that you would run into on a spooky October evening.  

I also have had a strange fascination and attraction to the thrills and chills of the horror genre sparked from my first “too early” exposure to John Carpenter’s Halloween.  I barely saw the first opening scenes of that movie as a kid but that “first-person” murder scene and Carpernter’s haunting soundtrack were enough to scare me good and cause me to seek that thrill and build the capacity to “not be scared” for most of my childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood.

 I have a confession, I still watch horror movies – not the slasher type stuff- that’s gross and pointless evil that men do stuff – no I prefer tales where there are supernatural aspects – where Satan’s dark spiritual forces are faced and defeated, something that doesn’t happen too often these days, as the horror genre seems to prefer unhappy endings where evil wins or promises to come back in the next sequel.  

But the truth is, that evil does not win. Jesus defeated the forces of darkness through his death and resurrection and all the “ghosts”, demons, and followers of Satan are on borrowed time and will face God’s wrath on judgment day, when Christ comes back to rule and reign.  

And this is the truth that sort of puts a damper on me celebrating Halloween like I used to.  I know that the dark macabre things that surround Halloween are “anti-Christ” – they don’t represent God’s kingdom and can be used by the spiritual forces of darkness to lead people away from the truth about reality and lead them into sin. 

Beliefs like “There’s no such thing as ghosts” quickly can turn into “There is no such thing as the Devil… or God.”  So total disbelief in the Spiritual isn’t a neutral position – it denies God and Jesus. You can’t abstain. A vote for any other spiritual expression or life philosophy other than trusting in Jesus is a vote for self-destruction.  

As for the sin – fantasy is another word for lie, and so it shouldn’t be surprising that Halloween which encourages us to wear masks would deceive us into believing we can have some “harmless fun” that engages the lust of the flesh.  Drunkenness, drug use, sexual promiscuity, and gluttony are all on the menu tonight – and no they are not harmless – they are bondage to the flesh – joy substitutes that will lock you in chains of addiction and leave you feeling ashamed, guilty, or plain empty when the light of day comes.  

So what should a Christian do tonight?

Well not that stuff, some Christians are deceived into thinking its all harmless- it isn’t – others think Halloween is absolutely evil – they are probably closer to the truth – but as we bear the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and are called to be salt and light to the world – to be in the world but not of the world and the go into the world to make disciples’ – we could choose to use Halloween to reach people we wouldn’t meet otherwise.  

As Christians, we are free and so we have liberty to choose our own way on this one.  We can isolate and shun Halloween, we could celebrate and confess and repent of it later, or we could use it as a part of our mission to tell people about Jesus.   Faith in Christ saves us – not our performance on a particular day of the week or our “political or theological stance” on a mostly secularized holiday – So we should pray about it and see what the Holy Spirit would guide us to do.  

Me? I don’t get trick-or-treaters “down by the River” and my house is not decorated for Halloween and won’t be lighted to attract any if they should speed by on State Route 9J.  So that is not much of a concern. 

I haven’t received any Halloween party invites so you can mark me “safe from the “slutty Pumpkin” and other than some low carb- Pro Crunch bars,  I didn’t buy any sweets this year so you can mark me safe from overindulging on candy too.  

As for watching a scary movie on All Hallow’s Eve, I’m not sure. I may watch the Peanut’s Halloween special that I have on DVD for old times sake or I could watch any number of horror movies available in my video library or that are online to stream.  But lately, I have discovered that the more I follow the Lord the less I have of an appetite for that stuff and often find myself seeking Christian alternatives to occupy my time.  

For those who are serious about not celebrating Halloween, I would recommend watching something to do with the Reformation. Martin Luther did “set it off” on All Hallow’s Eve so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to pay homage to our brother in Christ by watching the Luther Documentary on YouTube (https://youtu.be/6VK0p-tuuao?si=Xr29pImglQPzlLPT)  

So I’m not sure what I will do tonight. I have school work and ministry preparation to take care of still and may just spend my evening taking care of those things and won’t have the time for any spooky entertainment.  But no matter what I do, whether I choose to watch a horror movie or not, I will rest easy knowing that I am safe because of my faith in Jesus and that if I follow Him, I will never go too far astray.  

So keep walking and talking with God.  Be kind to those who don’t know the Lord or those who claim to but don’t seem concerned about the things they do that may go against what He says. God leads people to repentance through His Holy Spirit so all we can do is speak the truth in love and encourage others to find and follow Jesus.   

    

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For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .

Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick Google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. (https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Scripture-Reference-Counseling-Kruis-ebook/dp/B00CIUJZT2?ref_=ast_author_dp )

This morning’s meditation verses come from the section on Blame Shifting.

Genesis 3:12-13 (NKJV)
12  Then the man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate."
13  And the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

Today’s verses fall under the first point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Blame Shifting.

 1. Adam and Eve tried to shift blame.

 

Today’s verses point to the fact that we try to pass the buck. Adam tried to blame Eve and Eve tried to blame the serpent for their sins.

Right from the beginning, from the fall of man , we see that we try to shift the responsibility for our sins from ourselves to somebody else. “They made me do it.” Or The Devil made me do it, the serpent,

Ultimately, we are all personally responsible for the things we choose. So we can’t believe for somebody else. We have to put our faith in Jesus personally and repent of our own sin personally. 

So don’t do that.

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As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we are sharing from A. W. Pink’s – The Arthur Pink Anthology  - a collection of A.W. Pink’s tracts brought together in one book, and dispersed here on the blog for your encouragement.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase A.W. Pink’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for free as a PDF at many sites, but printed copies of collections of A.W. Pink’s books are available for purchase wherever Christian books are sold. 

The Arthur Pink Anthology – 1

1 John 2:2  - Part 1

There is one passage more than any other which is I appealed to by those who believe in universal redemption, and which at first sight appears to teach that Christ died for the whole human race. We have therefore decided to give it a detailed examination and exposition.

And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). This is the passage which, apparently, most favors the Arminian view of the Atonement, yet if it be considered attentively it will be seen that it does so only in appearance, and not in reality. Below we offer a number of conclusive proofs to show that this verse does not teach that Christ has propitiated God on behalf of all the sins of all men.

In the first place, the fact that this verse opens with “and” necessarily links it with what has gone before. We, therefore, give a literal word for word translation of 1 John 2:1 from Bagster’s Interlinear: “Little children my, these things I write to you, that ye may not sin; and if any one should sin, a Paraclete we have with the Father, Jesus Christ (the) righteous.” It will thus be seen that the apostle John is here writing to and about the saints of God. His immediate purpose was two-fold: first, to communicate a message that would keep God’s children from sinning; second, to supply comfort and assurance to those who might sin, and, in consequence, be cast down and fearful that the issue would prove fatal. He, therefore, makes known to them the provision which God has made for just such an emergency. This we find at the end of verse 1 and throughout verse 2. The ground of comfort is twofold: let the downcast and repentant believer (1 John 1:9) be assured that, first, he has an “Advocate with the Father;” second, that this Advocate is “the propitiation for our sins” Now believers only may take comfort from this, for they alone have an “Advocate,” for them alone is Christ the propitiation, as is proven by linking the Propitiation (“and”) with “the Advocate!”

In the second place, if other passages in the New Testament which speak of “propitiation,” he compared with 1 John 2:2, it will be found that it is strictly limited in its scope. For example, in Romans 3:25 we read that God set forth Christ “a propitiation through faith in His blood.” If Christ is a propitiation “through faith,” then He is not a “propitiation” to those who have no faith! Again, in Hebrews 2:17 we read, “To make propitiation for the sins of the people.” (Heb. 2:17, R. V.)

In the third place, who are meant when John says, “He is the propitiation for our sins?” We answer, Jewish believers. And a part of the proof on which we base this assertion we now submit to the careful attention of the reader.

In Galatians 2:9 we are told that John, together with James and Cephas, were apostles “unto the circumcision” (i.e. Israel). In keeping with this, the Epistle of James is addressed to “the twelve tribes, which are scattered abroad” (1:1). So, the first Epistle of Peter is addressed to “the elect who are sojourners of the Dispersion” (1 Pet. 1:1, R. V.). And John also is writing to saved Israelites, but for saved Jews and saved Gentiles.

Some of the evidences that John is writing to saved Jews are as follows. (a) In the opening verse he says of Christ, “Which we have seen with our eyes.… and our hands have handled.” How impossible it would have been for the Apostle Paul to have commenced any of his epistles to Gentile saints with such language!

(b) “Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning” (1 John 2:7). The “beginning” here referred to is the beginning of the public manifestation of Christ—in proof compare 1:1; 2:13, etc. Now these believers the apostle tells us, had the “old commandment” from the beginning. This was true of Jewish believers, but it was not true of Gentile believers.

(c) “I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known Him from the beginning” (2:13). Here, again, it is evident that it is Jewish believers that are in view.

(d) “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that Antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us” (2:18, 19).

These brethren to whom John wrote had “heard” from Christ Himself that Antichrist should come (see Matthew 24). The “many antichrists” whom John declares “went out from us” were all Jews, for during the first century none but a Jew posed as the Messiah. Therefore, when John says “He is the propitiation for our sins” he can only mean for the sins of Jewish believers.*[1]

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Arthur Walkington Pink, The Arthur Pink Anthology (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2005).

Monday, October 31, 2022

Happy Halloween – Satan’s Favorite Tricks and Treats - Purity 876


Happy Halloween – Satan’s Favorite Tricks and Treats - Purity 876

Purity 876 10/31/2022 Purity 876 Podcast

Good morning, 

Today’s photo of the sun peaking through a section of a post-peak autumn forest comes to us from yours truly as I felt moved to capture a few scenes of the Autumn season as it seems to be quickly slip sliding away as I walked along them west side of Wait Rd on Saturday.  

Well, Happy Halloween, although I suspect that some people would have been a lot happier if All Hallows Eve had fallen on a Friday or Saturday. But I know that those who may have wished that undoubtedly didn’t let the actual day of Halloween get in the way of celebrating it enthusiastically over the weekend. 

I myself, volunteered at a “Harvest Festival” that was a Harvest Festival in name only as the event hosted by Operation Adopt a Soldier at Gavin Park in Wilton featured a Haunted Hayride and gave out prizes each night for the best Halloween Costumes. So even though today is the day, for many Halloween is all but over as most of us have celebrated it already and won’t be doing much tonight as Tuesday morning and its work responsibilities will be coming quickly. 

However, today is the day and for some Halloween is their favorite holiday and they will be celebrating with all the gusto they can muster and may even arranged to take All Saints Day off in anticipation of the need to rest and recover from their less than Holy festivities.   

And in light of the great enthusiasm some have for Halloween, I have to ask the rhetorical question:  

If you like Halloween more than Christmas, does that mean you are going to hell?  

I’m just saying, if you take delight in a holiday that celebrates the macabre and dark supernatural things of this world more that the celebration of the coming of Jesus Christ, is there any way that you have a place in God’s kingdom?

Or is Satan just driving around today looking at all the homes that are decked out with decorations that display witches, zombies, and ghosts and smiling and maybe singing that 1980 Queen Hit: “Another One Bites the Dust”?   

I don’t mean to take lightly the fact that some will be separated from God and be confined to a realm where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, but when I see people literally proclaiming that what is evil as good in such an outlandish fashion, some will be dressing up as Satan today, as a devil, a demon, it makes me see just how sinister the prince of darkness is and how well he has tricked most of mankind to dismiss his actual existence and subsequently reject the Lord and His word which warns us to have nothing to do with darkness.  

While today could serve as the most stark example of people either intentionally or unwittingly aligning themselves with the forces of darkness,  Satan delights in deceiving us in subtle ways as well.   

Satan disguises himself as an angel of light as well and so it doesn’t matter to him which of the many highways of hell that he diverts you to, He just doesn’t want you to put your faith in Jesus and decide to follow His narrow path that leads to the fruit of the Spirit in this life and ultimately to eternal life with God.   

I was reminded this weekend of how Satan uses the traumas of our human existence to convince us that we can be so broken that even God can’t heal us and that we need something other than God to find peace in this life.  

In my ministry work for Freedom in Christ ministries I have encountered Christians that have believed all kinds of lies about themselves that have kept them bond to sin and feeling defeated.  One man who is on prescription medication for depression and anxiety confessed that he believed that he would always be depressed and that he sort of indicated that his hope lied in the abilities of his physicians to get the medications “just right”.   

While I would never dissuade people from seeking medical treatments for physical ailments, I have trouble advocating medication as the way to peace.  Better life through chemistry is the methodology of addiction and I don’t care if they are street drugs found in a back alley, some herbal treatment found in a zen garden, or distributed by a pharmacist through doctor’s orders when we look for a physical substance to provide peace, we should really question if this was God’s plan for your life, that the only way to find peace was through taking or ingesting something.  

As someone who has worked in the mental health field as a counselor, I have seen the dangers of dependence on medications and becoming “put in the system” of mental health. I have seen people with relatively minor problems who once were somewhat self-sufficient become worse after they were diagnosed and told of their chronic problems. 

Did their conditions worsen on their own or did they become indoctrinated in a system of belief that told them they were a hopeless case, that they should never go off of their meds and that they were basically incapable of taking care of their selves?  

In mental health circles, there is much care but little hope for healing as the narratives surrounding mental maladies are that they incurable and the best we can do is manage the symptoms.  

But Christ said something else.  

John 14:27 (NKJV) HE said:
27  Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

The world offers peace though medication, drugs, money, material possession, and creating the right circumstances or human relationships.   Tonight, Halloween offers sweet treats and wicked thrills from the safety of hiding behind a mask in the shadows of darkness

But Christ offers a different type of peace. He offers us peace with God and He invites us into the light of His truth and righteousness where we need not be ashamed and we need not hide.  And through faith in Him, Christ offers healing for our souls.  

Long before any antidepressants or anxiety medications were developed. Christ offered us peace and through walking in the Spirit we can know it, along with love, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, patience, self-control, and joy.  He offers these things freely through faith and through His invitation to know Him and follow Him in the way we live our lives.   

So don’t celebrate the dark things of this world or take delight in your dark habits that will ultimately fail to satisfy, instead seek the Lord and the peace that found in Christ Alone.  That’s right keep walking and talking with God and you will see the truth and know the peace that comes from Him.

  

     

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Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Chronicles 28:9 (NLT2)
9  “And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the LORD sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.

Today’s Bible verse reminds us of the need to seek the Lord, because if we do we will find Him. So although short time this morning I made a point to share this verse because within in it there is the hope of peace and eternal life with the Lord.

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As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we continue sharing from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

The Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 5

On theExtraordinaryof Christian Life

The Enemy—the “Extraordinary” continues

In the New Testament, the enemy is always the one who hates me. Jesus does not even consider the possibility that there could be someone whom the disciple hates. Enemies should receive what sisters and brothers receive, namely, love from Jesus’ followers. The actions of the disciples should not be determined by the human actions they encounter, but by Jesus acting in them. The only source of the disciples’ action is the will of Jesus.

Jesus speaks of enemies, that is, of those who will remain our enemies, unmoved by our love; those who do not forgive us anything when we forgive them everything; those who hate us when we love them; those who insult us all the more, the more we serve them. “In return for my love they accuse me, even while I make prayer for them” (Ps. 109:4). But love must not ask if it is being returned. Instead, it seeks those who need it. But who needs love more than they who live in hate without any love? Who, therefore, is more worthy of my love than my foe? Where is love praised more splendidly than amidst love’s enemies?

This love knows no difference among diverse kinds of enemies, except that the more animosity the enemy has, the more my love is required. No matter whether it is a political or religious enemy, they can all expect only undivided love from Jesus’ followers. This love recognizes no inner conflict within myself, even between my being a private person and my being an officeholder. In both cases I can be only one who follows Jesus, or I am no follower of Jesus at all. I am asked, how does this love act? Jesus says: bless them, do good to them, pray for them without condition, without regard for who they are.

“Love your enemies.” While the previous command spoke only of defenseless suffering from evil, Jesus here goes much further. We should not only bear evil and the evil person passively, not only refuse to answer a blow with a blow, but in sincere love we should be fond of our enemies. Unhypocritically and purely we are to serve and help our enemies in all things. No offering which a lover would bring to a beloved can be too great and too valuable for our enemies. If, because of love for our kindred, we are obliged to offer our goods, our honor, and our life, then in the same way we are obliged to offer them for our enemies. Does this, then, make us participants in the evildoing of our enemies? No, for how should that love which is born not of weakness but of strength, which comes not from fear but from the truth,[141] become guilty of the hatred of another? And to whom must such love be given, if not to those whose hearts are suffocating in hate?

“Bless those who curse you.” If our enemies curse us because they cannot bear our presence, then we should lift our hands to bless them: “You, our enemies, be blessed by God; your curse cannot harm us, but may your poverty be filled by the riches of God, by the blessing of God, against whom you rail in vain. We shall willingly bear your curse, if only God’s blessing comes over you.”

“Do good to those who hate you.” Words and thoughts are not enough. Doing good involves all the things of daily life. “If your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink” (Rom. 12:20). In the same way that brothers and sisters stand by each other in times of need, bind up each other’s wounds, ease each other’s pain, love of the enemy should do good to the enemy. Where in the world is there greater need, where are deeper wounds and pain than those of our enemies? Where is doing good more necessary and more blessed than for our enemies? “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”[143][1]

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 139–140.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Harmless Halloween Fun? Paranormal and Persecution Ponderings - Purity 875

 

Harmless Halloween Fun? Paranormal and Persecution Ponderings - Purity 875

Purity 875 10/29/2022 Purity 875 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a multicolored October Sky comes to us from Rocco Saya the man behind  Celestial Blue Photography, (https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100069048257152), who shared this scene from Oswego NY back on October 23rd reporting that he hadn’t picked up his camera in two weeks due to his “massive preparations for Halloween” but that he took a break for the sunset and was rewarded with a “perfect way to end the day in fall.”

Rocco truly has pulled out all the stops in decorating his home for Halloween and if you are in Oswego area in the evening hours you can stop by 157 E 9th Street to see it for the next week, but he suggests stopping by on Halloween night because he will be synchronizing music with the light show as his way of saying: Happy Halloween.  If you aren’t near the shores of Lake Ontario and want to see a preview of what Rocco has done there is a link (https://fb.watch/gsErl-8ksW/) to a post on the Celestial Blue Photography page on the blog today that provides a video of Mr. Saya’s Halloween Decorating Triumph.

Well it is Saturday of Halloween weekend, and it is my prayer that we all have a good and SAFE weekend, I know that Halloween is not until Monday but I am sure that won’t stop many a Halloween custom party from happening between now and then and I know from my past, that mischievous youth may take to the streets tonight or tomorrow to wreak havoc in their communities with acts of destruction or vandalism.  I also know that the bars will be profiting off of and encouraging its patrons to lose their inhibitions and to drink deep and to make some wicked connections with the safety of masked anonymity.

As much as Halloween can be considered to be just “harmless” fun for our youth with costumes and trick or treating, this celebration of all things spooky really is revealed as a dark holiday by its rebellious, destructive, and licentious spirit that condones mischievous pranks, tricks, fantasy, and overindulgences in the sins of the flesh.

But beyond these evidences that can easily be seen there are the spiritual forces of darkness that are unseen but remain very real that delight in our society turning toward the darkness in the name of fun and which actively seek to steal, kill, and destroy.

As my attempt to share the truth that the Bible declares about the “paranormal” aspects of life, I am sharing an excerpt from Freedom in Christ’s Ministries blog from this week called: Halloween: The Paranormal (https://blog.ficm.org/blog/halloween-the-paranormal).   FICM USA’s board member Dr. Jonathan Carol continues his second installment regarding Halloween by writing:

So what is the paranormal? Should I be scared? Is it real, or is it all fake and pretend?

Some paranormal “occurrences” are nothing but fraudulent hoaxes. Yet some paranormal activities are very real and spiritually significant.

1 John 4:1 “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God” (ESV)

Are ghosts real? Can my dead relatives come back to talk to me? What about familiar spirits and spirit guides? Can a place be haunted? Is it wrong to talk to or hunt ghosts? Is it wrong to go to haunted houses?

Any real “ghost” sightings or hauntings are actually disguised demons trying to gain your attention and affection. They either want you to 1) be afraid of their powers, 2) be self-confident in your abilities, or 3) be distracted from God by being absorbed into whatever experience they are presenting. Avoid the temptations of these experiences and flee from their evil.

2 Corinthians 11:14 “even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light”

What’s the one sure-fire thing I can do to survive paranormal attacks? (FYI: Don’t miss this!)

Real “paranormal” activities and beings are clearly demonic when they fail to accurately point to Jesus and His biblical truth, love, and righteousness. The only way to survive such paranormal attacks is by repenting of sin and being born again with saving faith in Jesus Christ.

Christians, if you ever come under paranormal/demonic attack, there is only one strategy for success. Don’t try to fight these spiritual battles in your own power, seek Jesus and His truth. Repent from sin. Walk in righteousness. Renew your mind with His truth (Romans 12:1-3) and “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

James 4:7–8 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

 

"Study Satan’s tricks, and acquaint yourself with his tactics." William Gurnall

What is evil? What is good? How can I know what is true and what is false? Which is the best book on this topic? Who is the best person to talk to on this topic?

There is a spiritual battle raging around us between the followers of Christ against the unseen spiritual forces of evil (Ephesians 6:12). Although many authors and books seek to describe this warfare, the best place to start and finish is in the Bible. If you are a Christian, the Bible is your weapon as a “sword of the Spirit” who is within you. Don’t go unarmed into battle, cite the Scripture with your lips and with your life.

Ephesians 6:16–17 “In all circumstances take up…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”

"Do not pretend you want to be led into truth if you will not bother to study the whole Word of God." William Gurnall

Is it ok to watch paranormal movies and TV shows? Read books and blogs? Is there any harm in Zombies? Pok√©mon? Cartoon witches? Avatars? Vampires? Werewolves? Should Christians “celebrate” Halloween?

Sometimes we face complicated decisions that are best left up to Christian conscious. We should study God’s Word, evaluate our motivations, consider the potential impact on our Christian obedience and witness, and prayerfully seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

If a Christian finds peace about participating in Halloween activities, they must use wisdom. Many faithful Christians have a clear conscience about participating in certain Halloween activities by taking with precautions about their destinations, costumes, and behaviors. Some believers see Halloween as a wonderful witnessing opportunity in which their neighbors and strangers will visit their homes or community outreach events (Galatians 5:13 and 1 Peter 2:16).

1 Corinthians 10:23–24 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.”

What if I am just a “normal Christian”? Does this subject really affect me? Am I safe from all of this paranormal and demonic stuff? How can I prepare for future attacks (spiritual, mental, marriage, etc.)? How can I live with ongoing struggles and suffering? What if Satan doesn’t leave me alone?

The lessons of Halloween carry over throughout the year. Everyday we all face spiritual battles where “we do not wrestle with flesh and blood” (Ephesians 6:10-20). We must daily prepare as we go into spiritual battle. As we mature in our faith, our perspective and passions may change or grow regarding the details of Halloween. May we seek to use our Christian freedom in ways that honor Jesus and share His light with a dark and dying world. May we live with joy in our salvation and move forward with bold courage against Satan and his demons!

Luke 10:17 “The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!’”

For more about spiritual warfare in the early church, summaries of some of Neil Anderson’s most important works, or  A Bible reading plan for 2023, Dr. Carl invites us to  www.spiritualwarfare.blog/free-books for some of his free e-books and writings on the various subjects regarding our faith and spiritual warfare.   

So tonight as I will be volunteering at the last installment of Operation Adopt a Soldier’s Harvest Festival and Haunted Hayride at Gaven Park in Wilton NY, probably as a bouncer for the “bouncy house”,  I will be sure to encourage everyone I encounter to be kind to one another and to be safe in their celebrations and if I get the chance I will remind them that the darkness, no matter how prominent it may seem around Halloween or in our culture, has been defeated in the person of Jesus Christ on the cross and I will tell them that they can participate in that victory by putting their faith in Him and by continually walking and talking with God.

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Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

2 Corinthians 4:9 (NLT2)
9  We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.

Today’s Bible verse reminds us that our Christian faith may not always be a bed of roses and that we may be knocked down from time to time in our walk of faith but it assures us that no matter whether we are hunted down, we are not abandoned by God and even if we get knocked down, we are not destroyed.  

Hunted down? Yup, in the Bonhoeffer’s Discipleship Lesson I presented the other night, the German theologian warned of a time of coming persecution and while we in the relatively safe confines of the US may say we don’t see it, an article on Forbes (https://www.forbes.com/sites/ewelinaochab/2022/01/20/one-in-seven-christian-minorities-under-threat-in-2022/?sh=58e956a77d2d) states that:

“According to the research, the persecution of Christians has reached the highest levels since the World Watch List began nearly 30 years ago. “Across 76 countries, more than 360 million Christians suffer high levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith – an increase of 20 million since last year.” 312 million Christians live in the top 50 countries alone. One in every seven Christians live under at least high levels of persecution or discrimination for their faith.”  

“An increase of 20 million since last year”!  So although we in the US are mostly only socially ostracized and encouraged to remain silent in our faith by our Post Christian culture, other Christians in the world aren’t waiting for the persecution to come, it’s already here and it is apparently increasing at an alarming rate. And this is being reported by Forbes, not exactly some right wing reporting agency trying to disseminate Christian propaganda. So as we move forward, we need to really know who we are in Christ and know the truth of today’s verse.  

We may be hunted down someday because we are Christians. We may be knocked down because of our faith in Christ. But we will never be abandoned by God and we will never be destroyed. 

But that only applies to those in Christ: Jesus said in

Matthew 10:28-33 (NKJV)
28  And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29  Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will.
30  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31  Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.


32  "Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.
33  But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.

So take courage and comfort if you have made Christ your Lord and Savior because in Him we are safe, we are never abandoned, and we are never destroyed.  

But don’t just rest in your safety, let those you know who aren’t Christians learn the truth: that they need Jesus, and encourage them to seek the safety, acceptance, security, and significance that is found in Christ alone.

 

 

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As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we continue sharing from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

The Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 5

On theExtraordinaryof Christian Life

The Enemy—the “Extraordinary”

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies; bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who abuse and persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:43–48).

This is the point in the Sermon on the Mount where we encounter for the first time the word which summarizes everything in it: love. Immediately it is put into the clear-cut context of love for our enemies. Loving one’s kindred is a commandment that could be misunderstood. Loving enemies makes unmistakably clear what Jesus intends.

“Enemy” was no empty concept for the disciples. They knew it well. They met enemies daily. There were those who cursed them as destroyers of the faith and lawbreakers; there were those who hated them because they had left everything for Jesus’ sake and did not highly value anything but communion with him; there were those who insulted and scorned them for their weakness and humility; there were those who persecuted them, who feared a growing revolutionary danger in the group of disciples and were intent on destroying them. One kind of enemy were the representatives of a people’s piety, who could not tolerate Jesus’ claim to exclusive and complete loyalty. They were armed with power and respect. Another enemy, which would be apparent to every Jew, was the political enemy in Rome. The Jews experienced powerful oppression from that enemy.[133] In addition to these two inimical groups, there was all the personal enmity which anyone encounters who does not participate in the norms of the majority: daily defamation, humiliation, and threats.

To be sure, nowhere in the Old Testament is there a statement which commands us to hate our enemies. On the contrary, we find the commandment to love our enemies (Exod. 23:4f.; Prov. 25:21f.; Gen. 45:1ff.; 1 Sam. 24:7; 2 Kings 6:22; and elsewhere). But Jesus is speaking here, not of natural enmity, but of the enmity of God’s people against the world. Israel’s wars were the only “holy” wars[135] the world has ever known. They were God’s wars against the world of idols. Jesus does not condemn that enmity, otherwise he would have to condemn God’s entire history with God’s own people. Instead, Jesus affirms the Old Covenant. His only concern is to overcome enemies, to achieve victory for God’s community. But in this command, once again he released his community of disciples from the political form of the people of Israel. As a result, there will be no more wars of faith. God promised that we would gain victory over our enemies precisely by loving them.

Loving one’s enemies is not only an unbearable offense to the natural person. It demands more than the strength a natural person can muster, and it offends the natural concept of good and evil. But even more important, loving one’s enemies appears to people living according to the law to be a sin against God’s law itself. Separation from enemies and condemning them is what the law demands. But Jesus takes God’s law into his hands and interprets it. To overcome enemies by loving them—that is God’s will which is contained in the law.[1]

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Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

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These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 137–139.