Monday, October 31, 2011

Shining Light on Darkness

"Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."  Ephesians 5:15-16
This morning my dear friend Tanya shared with me a link to a blog (you can read it here) after a recent conversation we shared on the topic of Halloween. As mentioned in the blog, this is often such a touchy topic for Christians. I think this blog author hit the nail on the head when she shared that "We respect however the Lord leads each family individually." I grew up where as a family we never celebrated Halloween. It was considered an evil holiday so we shut our lights off and either went out for the night or stayed inside hoping to not have to deal with eggs in the morning. When Caleb was born, I felt led to not dress up, but to hand out candy, usually with a tract. However, once I moved down South and discovered that many Christians celebrated this holiday, I was surprised. I felt led to "try" it out. This was during the time where I was "removing the spiritual pole I had up my bottom" as I so often say, and I thought this may be a part of that process. For this season, God was truly working on my heart and making His Word alive to me. His law was becoming something I wanted because of my love for Him instead of a list of rules I was taught to follow. However, as Halloween approached this year, I examined the few years previous. After this day for the past 2-3 years, I always felt kind of "sick" - no peace... left wondering if what I did was right. So this year I decided to go back to my old way... no costumes, but handing out candy to be a light to those around me. I don't want to just do what I was brought up to do or to do what all my friends are doing. I want to bring glory to God! I wasn't sure how to accomplish this and that is where this blog was so great! It gave some practical ideas.

The blog also shared an article that John MacArthur taught on 10-31-09 (click here). In the part of MacArthur's sermon titled "The Christian Response to Halloween", he says this:  "Ultimately, Christian participation in Halloween is a matter of conscience before God. Whatever level of Halloween participation you choose, you must honor God by keeping yourself separate from the world and by showing mercy to those who are perishing. Halloween provides the Christian with the opportunity to accomplish both of those things in the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's a message that is holy, set apart from the world; it's a message that is the very mercy of a forgiving God. What better time of the year is there to share such a message than Halloween?"

So this is how we are doing Halloween this year...

The first thing I am doing is praying. I want to ask the Lord how I can be the best light to those around me for that exact day in history. It may mean staying home; it may mean going to a party dressed up. The key is, just as any other day, asking Him for His will for me and my family for that day.

Second, we are not celebrating... we are shining. I understand that most holidays are in place to celebrate something. The holidays I celebrate revolve around my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ - His birthday (Christmas), His resurrection (Easter), His provision (Thanksgiving), etc. Halloween represents evil, so the Rainwaters will not celebrate. We will, however, shine! I have turned on all lights in our house as a symbol. We are shining our light before men so that they may praise God too!
"The light of the righteous shines brightly, but the lamp of the wicked is snuffed out."  Proverbs 13:9
"In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16

Third, we are playing a worship music from a CD player next to our front door.
 "All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; they will bring glory to your name."  Psalm 86:9 

Fourth, we have great candy. I had originally bought these little boxes of Nerds. But after reading the other blog, we quickly ran to  Costco and got full size bars of the best... Snickers, Milk Way, Twix, Skittles, etc. We want to be generous
"One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.  A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed." Prov 11:24-25

Fifth, the gospel part. I am a bit disappointed I got this blog on Halloween because I would have loved to add this, but I am planning ahead for next year. I am praying the Lord shows me how best we can share His story of redemption with our community... a tract, a sticker, a Bible, a printout. Whatever it may be, I would love to plant the seed.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

Tonight at dinner, as Mark blessed the food, he added on to his prayer that as people approached our house they would feel peace and see the Light. We are doing what we feel God is calling our family to do and trusting Him for the rest.

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