Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween, God's Holiday

One year, I was a pumpkin for Halloween. Another year, I was superwoman. But I only know that from pictures; I have only one real Halloween memory - being privately a little scared of the "witches" who came to our door for candy.

You see, when I was very young God graciously directed my parents' attention to the satanic origins of Halloween; and we stopped celebrating it.  For years I only thought of it as the devil's holiday.

However, stop and think with me a moment. When Satan claims as his something that belongs to God, is God really just going to pretend not to notice? And who do all the days of the year belong to?

Every day belongs to God, of course; and it recently came to my attention that when Satan tried to steal October 31st, he did little more than play into God's hand. Because naturally, when Satan picks a fight with God, he can hardly win! Or even come close!

"According to ATS [the American Tract Society], there are more conversions to Christ through the use of tracts during Halloween than there are during any other holiday. ATS is contacted by hundreds of people each year who say that their faith began with a Halloween tract. The ministry also says that each of these contacts also represents another 100 people who put their faith in Christ but just didn't make it known to the organization." Here's the article.

I am still grateful that my parents shielded me from the dark side of Halloween. And I would encourage Christian parents to shield their children. But if Satan has his people out tonight, and if there is any way we can reach out to them (without getting pulled in), it seems like a perfect time for it!

Friday, October 18, 2013

He Who Safely Keepeth

He who safely keepeth,
Slumbers not, nor sleepeth;
Though by all the world forsaken,
Wherefore should I fear?
That which He hath spoken
Never can be broken,
Who shall harm the trusting heart 
When He is near?

He will keep me ever,
Where no pow'r can sever
From my heart, the love that hides me
In His secret place.
There in faith abiding,
All to Him confiding,
Through His Spirit I am sealed
An heir of grace.

~ Lyman Cuyler (aka Fanny Crosby)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

An Angry God?

It was 1741. Jonathan Edwards was preaching a GOOD sermon about the coming judgement, a sermon entitled "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." Preachers wrote down their sermons back in those days, so we still have this particular sermon today; I've read it, which is why I can say confidently that it was good.

However, the phrase seems to have stuck and to have colored our view of the Almighty. Many think of Him as an angry God. They think of Him as quick to anger and sadly deficient in love (Jonah 4:3).

Sin does anger God; but He is hardly some cruel tyrant, intently watching us and just hoping somebody'll mess up so He can give them a good thrashing and His arms a good workout.

Here is what Jonah 4:3 really says:

"You are a gracious and merciful God, 
slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, 
One who relents from doing harm."

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

October . . .

Happy October, everyone! :) It's a special month for me. Not only is it part of my favorite movie, October Baby.

It's also part of a book I really like, October Song, of whom I recently got to meet the author.

What's more, it's the month of my accident. 

Why does that make it special? Well, let me explain. A lot of people don't like storms, even in nature. And while I'm not saying I like unnatural storms - I definitely don't - I do absolutely love the natural kind! They really show how big God is, and they seem SO happy to me! Good smells, sounds, everything! I know there can be disastrous storms, but I've not been around for very many at all.

For the Christian, no storm is disastrous, but every storm is just one more thing God is busy working for our good! So one day, we will thank Him for it, as hard as that may be to imagine right now. Some are calling my accident a "storm." It was certainly difficult for my family, and there are things about my life now that I could wish were different. But I already know a little (not all!) of why He allowed it.

1. This summer one of the times I gave my testimony at camp, I found out later that a girl trusted Christ that night.
2. He showed my family the body of Christ in action like they had never quite seen it before.
3. He showered me with expressions of His love so that I could never, ever doubt it. 
a. the ambulance right behind me when I wrecked
b. a whole plethora of cards, letters, and visitors - bringing flowers, CDs, and my favorite ice cream
c. thousands praying for me from at least 4 continents, including people I didn't know
d. et cetera, et cetera!

I get to see life through different eyes, and I know more about how to interact with disabled people (#1 - they're still people!). Strange as it may sound, I'm very thankful for my accident and feel like I have a rare privilege. I should add that it is one that I hope nobody who reads this gets to share with me! :) Anyway . . . that's why October is such a special month for me. :)