What is Halloween to You?

Oct 31st can mean a number of things to anyone in our world. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ you definitely have options on how to celebrate this day. Some of us will find ourselves enjoying a Fall Festival of some kind or we may be cruising through a local Trunk or Treat. If you have children then, dressing up as funny, silly or scary characters may be a part of your plans for that day as well. This day may include lots of sweet treats for certain; for children young and old. We will surely see lots of fall colors and decorations on this day too.

Others in our world may choose a more sinister or even evil practices as they desire to worship in ways that blaspheme God. But, there are many, many different ways to enjoy this holiday and it can mean so much more than ringing doors and saying, “trick or treat.”

If we return our thoughts back to history for a moment we may be surprised to find something of significance that occurred on Oct 31st of 1517 in Germany.

Martin Luther was a theologian, German monk, and a reformer of the early church. Luther became known among his peers, in the Middle Ages, who had a different point of view on faith than some of his colleagues who sought to worship in the Catholic faith. To summarize briefly, Luther sought to bring changes to the Catholic church that, in his lifetime, were creating many questions about the fundamentals of faith in God. More information about his tenets of faith and the events of his life can be found online in many places. Two places where I researched for this blog were; https://www.biography.com/ and https://www.christianitytoday.com

Oct 31st/Halloween

My main point in writing this blog is simply this; in our culture today, Oct 31st can be a day of worship and can provide us time to celebrate the freedom to practice our faith in God. Halloween can be so much more than candy corn, costumes, scary movies, and/or jack o lanterns with crazy faces carved in them.

If I choose to, I can take time to breathe a prayer of thanks to God for men (and women) like, Martin Luther, who shared his own ideas about faith and in so doing, helped create a time of reform for the church. This reformation helped the Bible to be translated into languages so people could read the scriptural texts for themselves. The reformation gave us all the chance to have a different point of view about God and about His grace for us. In having these differences, we can now fear no persecution because of those differences in our faith and belief in God. What a great day Halloween/Oct 31st really is; historically speaking.

Psalm 107 “Give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing Love.”

What is Halloween to you? How do you celebrate this day? Does Oct 31 hold any times of worship for you & your family? After this blog post, what changes, if any, do you need to make as you enjoy the many options of events and activities?

Lessons I Learned from 9/11/2001

Lessons I Learned from 9/11/2001

Where were you on September 11, 2001?

The day the Twin Towers Fell in New York, America

Almost twenty years have passed and I can still recall where I was when my small part of the world saw the terrifying events take place in New York that fateful September day. I was in seminary (Campbell Divinity School, NC) and sitting in a class with Dr. Pam Durso. She was professor in Church History.

Sitting with classmates, we were all shocked when another professor stepped into our room and told us what was happening with the terrorists as they flew planes into The World Trade Center. Still in shock at what was happening, my classmates and I began to form small prayer groups as we watched the events still unfolding on TV.

Many of my friends were mission minded and we all wanted to board a bus or a plane and help those in NY who were running down the street or, we wanted to help the fire fighters carry victims up and down those many flights of stairs. We wanted to do something but, helplessly we could only watch. We could also pray.

So, my classmates and I did. We prayed for the terrorists. We prayed for the President. We prayed for the world. We prayed for those running down the street from the ash falling form the sky. We prayed and we prayed. What else could we do? We were so helpless to do anything tangible yet, we could do the next most powerful thing; we could pray. The biblical book of James tells us, “the prayers of the righteous avail much.”

Only God know what those prayers did that day. What about you? Do you still find yourself praying, even these many years later, at times when you feel helpless?

Another lesson I learned during that time was from my friend, Roxann. She taught me not to live in fear. After those attacks in NY and in other places around America, more security in public places was becoming the norm. That fall and winter, our local airports were filled with military personnel to ensure safety. Even locally, security and safety were a number one issue for all of us.

My two friends, “R” and “G”, invited me to spend Christmas in Arizona with them; that meant, travelling by plane. Fear began to rise within my thoughts and wondered if I could really take the risk. But, having two great friends (who held my best interest at heart), their words and pleas were convicting and I agreed to go.

What an amazing adventure my friends and I had that Christmas! Such a treasured memory shared with two spiritual sister type ladies, I would have missed such a blessing If I had given into the fear.

How about you? What fears do you need to let go of so you can enjoy God’s gifts of adventure, friendships, and experiences? I pray that both you and I, dear reader, will continue to live in the help, hope, and joy of God’s Word and of His spirit. Living any other way is just not living!

What lessons has 9/11/01 taught you? What do you need that event to teach you? Where were you on 9/11/2001?

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Detours, Roadblocks, and Departures

traffic lights with red light on

I usually enjoy catching up on reading during the summer months. My local library always provides a reading challenge for bookworms of all ages and this year is no exception for me. I have had time to read about three or four different books and even began reading a couple of resource type books for writers. I have been able to participate in a summer tradition and it has been lovely.

What hasn’t been so great are the plans I had for my summer that will not become a reality. Due to my need for surgery, I am not able to vacation the way I would have liked to. I also cannot garden and create a beautiful display of fragrance and flower and herbs like I would love to do. I also can not really enjoy the sunshine as I have to recover and participate in physical therapy in order to be well. There are lots of disappointments I consider as I reflect on my summer.

Photo from Summer Book Club 2019

As a believer in Jesus and as one who tries to follow His teachings, I know that even in my disappointment, God can still bring something beautiful from my broken dreams and hopes. I think of scripture from Romans 8:28,

” We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him…”

I am reminded that with God there is always hope and that He promises to be with us/me always in life. God’s truth is just as He states in Romans, “He will and does make all things good” and so, I wait to see how God will surprise my life in the days ahead. I also choose to be grateful for those things He has provided for me so that I am a more healthy person. I can be thankful for a surgery that, though painful, brought healing. What a praise!

What about you, friend? What gives you hope today? Where do you turn for guidance when disappointments come? What has your summer been like? Can you count your blessings instead of grieving what you couldn’t have? Believe me, I am also speaking to myself as I write this.

I pray and hope that whatever events are taking place in your life this summer, you can still find reasons to rejoice and to be grateful. Choosing to praise may not be the easiest thing to do but, I am sure time spent in the narrow path of faith with God will lead us to peace. Isn’t such peace, hope, and joy as God gives priceless? Enjoy your summer and be blessed.