Friday, October 19, 2012

Reclaiming Halloween

About a week or so ago I posted about how we've been rethinking Halloween and what that means for our family this year so I thought I'd come back and share what we plan to do.

Fortunately, this year Halloween falls on a Wednesday so our church has decided as a missions opportunity to hold a trunk-or-treat and invite the neighborhood to come. Oh, I can hear it now:
Come on, so you change the name a little and do it in the church parking lot instead of your block, how's that really different?

Well, truthfully it doesn't have to be. We could dress up, throw candy at some kids and go home no different than if we'd done nothing at all. The actions by themselves are worthless, empty filthy rags without God.

Or we could plan a bunch of stuff and invite God to come and hope He blesses it. "Hey, God look at all we're doing here for You! What would You do without us?" type of thing. That would be worthless too and maybe worse because we're deceiving ourselves as well as others.

But here's where it's at for me and why it makes sense for our family:

Recently our pastor said something that really stuck with me - God can take something meant for evil and reclaim it for His glory. He can. And does. The story of Joseph is a good example of God doing this, Moses is another. As Christians, we don't have to hide inside while darkness gathers around us, we can allow God to use us to fulfill His mission!

Here's another thing, God gives certain commands in the Bible and those commands are not contingent on the calendar. There's no out just because it's October 31 any more than thinking we only need to tell others about God on Christmas and Easter. 1 John 5:3 says, "This is love for God: to obey His commands." and in John 15:14 "You are my friends if you do what I command.".

  • We are commanded to put Him first.

  • We are commanded to love our neighbor.

  • We are commanded to serve. The first time I typed sever...yikes!

  • We are commanded to spread the gospel.

I'm sure some will disagree but for us these commands apply here. This is something that we are to do every day, and I think that this is an opportunity to do it on a larger scale than we could otherwise.

God is the focus, we are the followers.

We can't do the work, only God can, but we can be obedient to His commands and I don't think that we would accomplish that effectively by either boycotting Halloween by hiding in our houses or embracing Halloween as willing participants. This is the way that we feel God is leading our family to spend this time, it may look different for yours. I'd love to hear your thoughts and plans in the comments!

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Lord, I am so thankful today for your loving care for me. Even though I don't deserve it you lavish me with your love. Thank you that even though my window is broken, I can still see the wonder of your creation through it, and although my bank account is empty, I've never felt richer in you. Thank you for the beautiful bluebirds in my back yard, for opening my eyes to your Word, for sermons that pierce my heart, and for friends that hold me accountable. I am so grateful. Help me to remember that You are all I need, nothing more.  I am resting in You. Amen.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Trusting God With Our Kids

Sounds strange doesn't it? If anything, God should be the ONLY one we trust with our kids, but the reality of it is that my thoughts and actions don't always line up with what I know to be true. The school bus is a glaring example in my life of where I love God, but I don't necessarily trust Him, and a lesson for me in learning to give Him my all.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating the other end of the spectrum where we send the kids out to play on the freeway and expect God to do the babysitting! We are responsible for our children and accountable to God for them. I'm saying that I've realized that when I keep my kids on a short leash, it's sometimes because I feel like I have to do God's work to keep them safe. In other words, subconsciously I think God might try to take them early, so I hover over them to keep anything bad from happening to them, as if I can thwart the plans of God. This isn't something I do consciously or intentionally, but when I have the sense of dread when I send them out, or go against my husbands wishes (and the limits of our gas budget) to drive them to school myself, rather than put them on the bus, my actions reveal what is really in my heart.

I believe that part of my fear and doubt began on April 26, 2010 when a beautiful high school girl in my area got off the school bus and simply disappeared. You can read about her story and her parent's tireless efforts to find her here: . I pray for Ali and her family often as I can't imagine what they are going through and my heart hurts so badly for them. Please take a moment to look at their website and send prayer their way. Unfortunately, there are many other families searching for loved ones, you can find more information at the Laura Recovery Center website.

As frightening as that is, however, it should give us a healthy respect of our surroundings & make us cautious, which is biblical (Proverbs 14:16), not handicap us with fear, which is not. I think that part of what causes us as parents to take this fear too far is simply the reluctance to give God our all, which includes our children. But if I do this I've made an idol, not just of my kids, but of my ability as a parent to protect them.

So maybe you're still thinking, jeez lady, what's the big deal? My kids have been riding the bus since kindergarten! Here's the thing about the bus: it's not the bus. It's the way my fear and distrust makes me see the bus. If transportation wasn't an issue, it'd be something else because it's the situation of my heart that's the issue here, not the external circumstance that exposes it.

Why shouldn't I trust my children to Him? He made them after all and gave them to me as a gift (Psalm 127:3). He loves them more than I ever can!

I'll come back in another post to explore what The Bible has to say about God's sovereignty and our children but today I will be a doer of the word and live out my faith instead of just talking about it. Today my child rides the bus home from school and I WILL NOT FEAR.

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Friday, October 12, 2012

What I Know Now

One of the blogs I've started following recently is having a blog link-up to share stories of life lessons to share with others so I thought I'd share mine:

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
I became a christian at a young age but for years no one would have known that, or maybe even believed it if I had told them. See, I felt like once I had accepted Christ I was done and could do whatever I wanted after that safe in the knowledge that I was saved. What I know now is that I wasted years of my life pursuing things that brought me little joy when I could have had the peace and joy that comes from having a relationship with God. I had traded the truth of God for a lie and eventually my lukewarm lifestyle caught up with me. I was burned out from trying to do it all on my own and not sure where to turn.
I remember being so overwhelmed with everything that I wished I had my own sensory deprivation chamber that I could hide in to escape the world! Unfortunately, I didn't have one at my disposal so one night when I just couldn't take any more I did the next best thing, I shut off all the lights, the TV and everything else and just lay on my couch in the dark wondering if I was going crazy. At first it was weird just laying there, then kind of relaxing, and all of a sudden the most amazing thing happened. A commercial for a church in my area popped in my head and in an instant I knew what was missing. A relationship with my Savior! It was time for this prodigal daughter to come home.
That was years ago and I can't say that since then everything's been easy or that I don't sometimes need a reminder of who is in charge but what I know now is that if you're feeling overwhelmed & weary, it's time to stop trying to do it on your own. Lay your burden down & turn to your Heavenly Father for rest.

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

I am full!

Remember the old coffee commercial slogan, "Fill it to the rim...with Brim."?

I have no idea if Brim is still around (I'm a Folger's girl myself, and I'll keep the caffene thankyouverymuch) but the catch phrase was clever enough to stick in my then too young for coffee brain and came to mind as I read the scripture passage this morning.

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.
Colossians 2:9-10
Fullness seems to be a theme in Colossians. Paul mentions it more than once in chapter 1 and includes it in both verses here. Fullness means 'filled to capacity' so the thankfulness he speaks of in verse 7, as well as love and other fruits might be considered an outpouring or overflow because we are filled completely with Him. If I am filled with Christ, the things of Him will be an outpouring of that fullness.
Here's another thought, usually when I've finished a big meal I stop eating. Why? I'm full so I don't want any more. If I try to keep eating after I'm full what will happen? I may make myself sick, I'll probably gain more weight than necessary and can become unhealthy. In the same way when I have Christ I am full and complete and have everything I need in Him. However, if I start to doubt that and feel like I need something more to fulfill me I can become spiritually unhealthy. Just like my body shows to the world when I've taken in too much, my life will reflect if I'm trying to take on too much. If that happens I may need to stop what I'm doing and go back to verse 8.
What about you? Are you full?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Rethinking Halloween

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
Colossians 2:8
Oh boy. This might be a controversial post if anyone actually read my blog but me...ha ha. 
I'm sure that we all know something that fits the description, maybe a certain movie or book that you could tell in an instant wasn't Godly but others around you were deceived. For me that would be something like horoscopes, which seems obvious but yet several of my christian friends get them daily on Facebook so maybe it's more deceptive for others. I think the real deception is that it becomes so commonplace that it's the norm. You don't question it because it doesn't occur to you do do so.
Several times we have rented movies and to me the messages are so blatantly ungodly that I can't watch it but when I say something it's met with eye rolls and "it's just a movie". I want to say, "No, that's what the devil wants you to think, guard your heart!". Other times I realized something that I'd never questioned before went against the Word of God when I watched it again at a later time.
This is why it is so important to know scripture by heart and to be in the Word daily. As I get deeper into God's word I see so much more clearly the things that aren't from Him. Things that not long ago were acceptable to me are now seen in a whole new "light", if you know what I mean.
Here's a recent example from an unlikely source: Pinterest. I've really enjoyed Pinterest and I've found some great ideas on there. In fact, most of the dinners I've made lately I found on Pinterest! Anyway, I follow a lot of craft, home decor and educational bloggers on Pinterest and about a month ago I joined a christian pinners group as well. As it turned to fall, I noticed something shocking that I'm not sure if I would have recognized if I hadn't seen it in this manner. Suddenly, next to all the pictures of Christ, scriptures and uplifting posts were witches, skeletons, and ghosts. Mind you that these weren't hard-core horror images, just cutesy craft projects for Halloween but even so the difference between the two was shocking and made an impact on me in a way that I'm not sure even words would have done. It really brought home the verses that question what darkness has in common with light and made me question some of the things that I accept just because they are tradition.

"See to it" implies action. We must actively examine what philosophies or world views that we listen to, read, see, etc and make sure that they line up with what is in the Bible, like the Bereans in Acts 17:11.
So here's my challenge:  This week I'm rethinking Halloween and what it means for our family. My GMG friends already know but I'll share later what we plan to do instead.
Think about the things that you've read and watched in the last few days. What philosophies are you being exposed to? Are there any traditions you go along with just because it's what you've always done?  For the next few days be intentional about questioning what you read, watch and hear. See if anything surprises you that you might not have noticed otherwise.  Most importantly - spend time reading the Bible & pray! Ask God for wisdom and to show you the things that don't line up with His word and trust that He will do it.
Linking to: Women in the Word Wednesdays at

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Words of Encouragement

...the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:26-27
These two verses are so encouraging to me! How blessed we are to be on this side of the cross in history and to be able to look in God's word to see how this all plays out. How blessed we are to have the complete Word of God to read and learn from. Even in this modern age there are many who don't have that luxury still. How comforting to know that the mystery has been revealed through the gospel.

So what is the mystery that has been revealed? Ephesians 3:6 states,
This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
And how amazingly wonderful is it that we, as Gentiles, have been grafted into the family of God, as heirs no less, to have the hope of glory in Christ Jesus in us!

I know that we sometimes complain because the days are evil and things are not as simple as they used to be but we have been given the gift of seeing the mystery revealed and knowing the promise that it means for us. "For ages and generations" that wasn't possible to know, but we do! Something that as Gentiles is more than we could have hoped for. Not only that but we have the ability to simply open our bible and read how God wove it all together...praise God! That is an amazing treasure yet most of the time it doesn't even occur to us how fortunate we are.

Lord, Thank You so much for including us in your family. Help us to live lives worthy of the calling we have received and in appreciation for all you have done. Amen.
For more information about the mystery and what it means, see Ephesians Ch. 2 & 3.

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