Halloween

This year I have seen a lot of posts about Halloween and how Christians should respond to it. I’d love to throw in my two cents.

It’s generally accepted that Halloween originated with the Celts  and their New Year Festival called Samhein. In this featival they would dress up to ward off ghouls and ghosts. There were great bonfires and animal sacrifices to keep evil spirits away, not to invite them in.

While they were misled and pagan, still it was not a truly Satanic festival.

This type of festival was present in many cultures as a harvest festival, a time of rejoicing

The Catholic Church then Christianized it to the become All Hallows’ Eve, All Hallows’ Day, and All Saints Day, the same way Christmas was Christianized from a pagan holiday. You can look up the history Halloween on a Catholic site and get a pretty detailed report.

Yes, it’s true, there are plenty of people who turn Halloween into a celebration of Satan and demons and darkness. Just like there are plenty of people who glorify Santa on Christmas and people who have pre-marital sex on Valentine’s Day.

There are plenty of people who are oblivious to any meaning of Halloween and just use it as an excuse to get candy on sale from the store.

By letting kids, or adults, celebrate Halloween, they are not thrusting their soul into Lucifers face saying “Here! I dressed up and asked a stranger for candy! My soul is now your slave!”

Thats ridiculous

Halloween in the States has become much more of a time when everyone gets to pretend they are someone or something they are not. We get to socialize, have fun with our friends, get creative, and develop seven cavities in one night.

I think what gets me most is the churches response to Halloween activities. They encourage churches to host “Hallelujah Festivals” or “Light Festivals” to counter the evils of Halloween. So instead of your kids dressing up and going door to door for candy (which is strictly Satanic and inherently evil) they instead get to dress up and play games to win candy, which is praising the Lord

They are still all doing it for the same reason. Kids just want candy.

Don’t get me wrong, church festivals can be fun and a good way for kids to stay warm and socialize with their church buddies. My problem is the demonization of going trick-or-treating even though it’s the same exact thing.

When you get down to it, Celebrating Halloween as a Christian is the same as any other day you celebrate. Don’t worship Satan.

 

Let’s Toss Him off a Cliff

Have you ever wanted to throw someone off a cliff?

Luke 4:16-27 talks about Jesus making people so incredibly mad that they wanted to toss Him over a cliff.

You now what He did? He went to the synagogue on Sabbath and read from the Old Testament. I encourage you to read the passage to get the whole story.

Jesus read a prophecy from Isaiah about Himself, actually, pointing out who He was and what His mission was.

He recognized the authority of the Old Testament.

Jesus was in His hometown and He knew that His people were going to ask Him to perform the kind of miracle he had other places. But he said that His hometown wasn’t the place to do it and he quoted Old Testament stories about Elijah and Elisha.

His people got so mad that they literally drove Jesus out of town, to the edge of a cliff, and were about to throw Him off. Jesus eluded them and walked away.

He didn’t apologize for making them angry. He didn’t try and appease them. He knew He was in the right, so He just walked away.

Jesus made people angry and it wasn’t a sin. He did not do it on purpose, they got angry because they were convicted or because they were so set in their ways that they didn’t want to budge, not even for God.

My goal for this blog is not to upset people, contrary to what I’ve been accused of. It is not to judge people, contrary to popular belief as well. My goal is to spread the Word of God. And I’m sorry, but if you are a Christian, shouldn’t that make you happy?! I use Bible verses in context for it, it is not simply my feelings, like many Christians are entirely too reliant upon.

I am trying. I am trying so hard to do what God has called us all to do. Why do you attack me for it? What is more loving than sharing God’s Word? What is more loving than leading people to Him? Answer me that before you accuse me of being hateful.

Spreading the Word (Not What you Think)

(Psst. It’s not by sharing verses on Facebook.)

Seriously, it’s a pet peeve of mine, when all people do is share verses on Facebook instead of actually talking about what the Bible is saying. Like, yeah, verses are great, but you have to understand them and their application.

And you can’t share God’s Word with other people by just repeating it like a parrot.  It will mean absolutely nothing to non-believers. They don’t read verses and think “Wow! That’s so amazing. God is great. My life is changed.” No, they challenge them. And if all you can do is give them more verses instead answering the question in a practical way, you will never reach anyone.

It’s different if you’re dealing with a Christian. If THEY won’t accept verses in context then something is wrong with their faith or their perspective on things. It’s God’s answer book to us. As a Christian, you either believe all of the Bible or you don’t. You can’t pick and choose.

With that being said, my mom and I read John 4: 27-42 today. It was Jesus finishing up with the Samaritan woman at the well and how he changed the lives of all these Samaritans. Pretty awesome stuff.

Jesus said that His first priority was to do the Will of God, always. He denied himself food and rest in order to talk to people about God.

He foretold the revival/conversion in Samaria, which was pretty epic since it was the Samaritans He was talking about.

A cool thing that people don’t seem to realize is that Jesus knew everything about this adulterous, sinful woman and still loved her. He’s like that with us. No matter what you’ve done in your past, God loves you and is ready to forgive you, You just have to ask and repent.

Jesus delighted in His work more than anything in the world. He loved it more than taking care of himself. Jesus got so excited about telling people about God that His disciples couldn’t help but get excited with Him.

Near the end of this passage He used a metaphor of harvest time for spreading the Word of God, which is why I started out my blog post the way I did. By using this little metaphor, He told the disciples that they shouldn’t be waiting for a harvest time to come. It was harvest time now. He was telling them not to wait to tell people about God, that you can do it anytime and the best time is now.

Also, when reaping the harvest, everyone must do His share. If you don’t do the work, you don’t get the benefits. No free stuff. Work.

Now, I don’t believe that works get you to Heaven, but Jesus said there was a reward in heaven for people who spread His word, so obviously it’s important. You can’t rely on others to do your part though. You have to get out for yourself and share the Word. You have to do more than parroting Scripture, however. Jesus didn’t do that. It made it relevant, applicable. We have to do the same.

As always, I pray that I am in the right to say this, but I believe God has put these issues on my heart for a reason. I have felt led to blog about sharing the Word, and my Bible study this morning was conveniently on that exact topic, so it seems like this is what God wants me to talk about.

Please consider the words I have said and let God change your heart if it needs to be.

Adultery and Living Water

The Samaritan Woman at the Well. John 4: 4-26

First of all, to all the people who have tried to use this against me, Jesus pointed out the woman’s sin almost right off the bat.

He told her how she was sinning.

Ok, let me start at the beginning. A Samaritan and a Jew walk up to a well. No, this isn’t the start of a bad joke I promise. The Jew talks to the Samaritan, which is crazy, because Jews just don’t do that. It’s “below them.”

She can tell He is a Jew and is super confused. She talks to Him anyway.

Jesus asks for a drink of water and she asks how a Jew could ask for anything from a Samaritan.

Jesus replied by saying that if she knew who she was talking to, she would’ve asked for water back, the kind that completely satisfies your thirst.

I like how Jesus really drew people in with the way he spoke. He was all mysterious and wise and weird, and it made people ask more questions, get involved in the discussion. He was a very talented speaker.

So, then He explains how this water quenches all thirst and the woman’s like, ‘well give me some so I don’t have to haul water all the time. It’s messing up my back.’

Jesus replies with ‘go get your husband and come back.’

I imagine this made the woman a little fidgety, if she had any clue at all who she was talking to. She admits that she has no husband.

Jesus tells her she was right the say that because she has had, in fact, FIVE husbands (no way all those men died) and pointed out that she was living in adultery.

If you don’t believe divorce and remarriage is adultery then read Romans 7:2 and Matthew 5:32. I can give a couple more references if you still don’t believe the Bible.

This. Is. Important. He tells her straight up that she is an adulterous woman. There was no sugarcoating, no super-sweet “I love you but you really shouldn’t be doing this…”

NO

Jesus was like, “You’re living in sin. Cut it out.”

She realized He must be a prophet and He starts telling her that the Samaritans are wrong in worshipping what they do not know and that soon people will worship in spirit and in truth.

A couple things to point out here. First, historically Samaritans worshipped idols AND had a fear of the Lord. They tried to mesh their culture with the Jews’ and cover all the bases. But it doesn’t work that way.

Believe it or not, that’s happening in today’s world, the modern day Church. People pick and choose what they want to keep from the Bible (mostly verses out of context and a supposed “faith”) but at the same time they worship the world and it’s idols, such as science and the word of people instead of God’s Word.

Jesus said people must worship in spirit and truth. Several times the Bible refers to the Word of God as truth. Seriously, take the Bible seriously. It is super important!

I realize that I need to work on the part where I show people how God can fix things, but the first step is pointing out the wrong, the sin. Warning against it. Trying to steer other Christians clear of it.

I do NOT see many Christians doing that at all. I know this theme pops up a lot in my blog, but I’m very passionate about it. Really, what’s more important than trying to lead people closer to Christ?

I pray that people don’t only challenge my words, but that they make people think. It seems like too many people just want to argue with me and don’t actually take the time to consider that what I say might actually be right. Don’t count me out just because I’m young. Maybe I’m still clinging to a scrap of child-like faith that others have already discarded as juvenile.

I try my hardest to take the Word of God seriously, literally, and I look to it for answers. I don’t know a better source for answers. Please, fellow Christians, instead of arguing with me right off the bat, pray about it, read the Bible on the subject, and then see if there is really something that I’m doing incorrectly.

Thank you so much for reading!

Back to the Rosin

Dance starts back up today!

After an insanely long break it’s back to the hardwood, metal bars, and oh-so-glorious rosin.

Tonight I get to teach the first class of the semester and I’m looking forward to it.

I bought 95 new songs, I have some new experience under my belt and I am feeling prepared. New leotards don’t hurt either 😉

I honestly don’t know if I’m looking forward to teaching or actually dancing more. I love both so much. I love working and seeing improvement in myself, but seeing improvement in the girls I teach is very rewarding too.

I have mixed feelings about the upcoming show, but hopefully it’ll be great. It’ll at least be cute.

I thank God so much for my dance family and the opportunities I get with it. I am so blessed by ballet.

For my lovely dancers reading this, can’t wait to see you this week! Love you all!

I Tell You the Truth

Jesus really liked that phrase. I mean it’s fair, He was telling the truth. I don’t quite know what to make of his persistent use of “I tell you the truth” so I’m just going to leave it at that.

Today we read John 3:1-21.

PAUSE

Break out your Bible.

Read it.

It’s worth it.

The first thing about this passage is Nicodemus. He didn’t go to Jesus to question Him. He went to Him to state that he believed that Jesus was God. To support Him (Ah, that must feel nice. 😛 I kid, I kid.)

Jesus still used this as an opportunity to teach. He told Nicodemus that the only way to see or enter the Kingdom of God was to be born again.

Now, this was a pretty radical idea to Nicodemus and everyone else. They didn’t understand the phrase, I don’t think. Jesus explained the difference between the Flesh and the Spirit quite well.

He put a lot of emphasis on being born again and how it is the ONLY way to enter Heaven. Just take a moment and ask yourself if you have been born again.

In the second part of the passage, Jesus references the Old Testament (If it was relevant to Him and His teaching, it’s relevant to us.) He talked about Moses lifting up the snake in the desert, and how the Son of Man must also be lifted up.

We need to keep our focus on Jesus. As Christians, we need to lift Jesus up for others to see Him. Are we doing that in todays society? Not the vast majority of us. It’s a Sunday thing. We go, we sing, we pray, then we forget about it on Monday. That’s not how it should be. We are a broken church. The only way to be the church Jesus intended us to be is to lift Him up above petty politics and what humans want.

God did not send Jesus to judge the world, but to save it.

NO, this is not a verse that can be used to say we should not judge others. Another word for judge as used in this verse is ‘condemn’. So calm down there. As I’ve mentioned before, the Bible still tells us to judge our fellow Christian and warn against sin.

The last bit of the passage talks about Judgment from God, righteous judgment, and how He has already judged those who choose to follow darkness.

I think it’s powerful how Jesus said that God sent Light into the world (Jesus) but men loved the darkness (sin) too much to go to the light.

You know how, as a kid, almost everyone is afraid of the dark. But then we grow up and we realize that it’s silly and childish and that the dark is nothing to fear. I think we’re wrong. Darkness is terrifying, on a spiritual level. It’s what separates us from God. Why aren’t we as afraid of THAT darkness as we were afraid of the actual darkness as a five-year-old? We need to claim child-like faith again. We should still be afraid of the dark.

In conclusion, you should read 1 John 1:6.

One thing I want to say about me blogging mostly to believers; It’s very important to share the Word with non-believers, to try to get them to come to faith in Jesus. But if we have huge problems in our theology, how can we do that efficiently? If we are not examples of Christ, not exclusively His loving nature but all aspects of Him, how can we paint an accurate picture of what the church is? That is why I blog to a believing audience for the most part. I’m trying to share how I think we all need to act more like Christ before we tell others how they ought to. Look at yourself first. Do you look like Christ? I don’t as much as I would like to, but that’s why I’m doing this Bible study. I’m figuring out what Jesus looked like.

Flipping Tables

One of my favorite parts of the Bible: when Jesus got angry.

I’m actually going to start with  John 2:1-11, which is  Jesus turning water into wine. That was his first miracle. Also look at John 7:6.

An important point is that Jesus knew when He was supposed to do things. He said it wasn’t His time to perform his first miracle. That being said, I don’t really know why he did it if it wasn’t His time, but He must’ve had a reason.

Yay, now it’s time for flipping tables! Read John 2:12-25. It’s awesome. It makes me happy.

Jesus went and cleansed the Temple because a bunch of idiots were turning it into a business. Jesus walked in, saw all this happening, and made a whip.

He made a whip.

He didn’t walk through calmly saying “You really shouldn’t be doing this, friends, but if you feel like it’s the way you were born, or if you just love everyone, it’s ok.”

No. He went through driving people out with a whip and flipping their money changing tables over. He yelled at them to get out because His father’s temple was not a place of business. He had some really awesome righteous anger.

Jesus was not meek. He was not always gentle and kind. I do not know why people paint him that way. He took action, he was aggressive, he was physical..

One of the verses says something about zeal for his Father’s house consuming Him. The Greek word for zeal translates into jealousy. He was jealous for His father’s house because it was not what it was meant to be. It had become taken over by the world. It was no longer a place of reverence. People were changing money and selling doves.

This brings me to a concern about today’s mega churches. A lot of the times they have coffee shops, stores, something. They are selling things in their church, and I don’t know how they justify that.

I think it’s ok if it’s a fundraiser, but if people are getting paid to work it or it pays for a pastor’s salary or something, it’s a business and it’s wrong. It’s just plain disrespectful.

One more point to draw from His actions was that he spoke out against what they were doing wrong, not against them as people. He didn’t attack anyone personally. I strive to do that in my blog and I think I do a decent job of it. I speak out against sin without involving a certain people group as best I can.

If you look from Jesus CONVERTING water to wine and then CLEANSING the Temple right after, you see what He does in us. After we convert, we are cleansed, we are renewed. Jesus has wonderful power, let Him work it in you.