I just picked up my copy of J. C. Ryle’s autobiography printed by Banner of Truth. I love the writings of Ryle. Though I have not ready everything by him,I hope to one day. One of his books that have impacted me more so than many other books is his book Holiness. I have read Iain H. Murray’s biography on Ryle, Prepared to Stand Alone and am drawn to Ryle. I love his insight and though he lived in the nineteenth century his writings still have weight today. I look forward to reading this book and giving a review once I finish.
I like books, more specifically I like biographies on Christians. I am drawn to reading about men and women who have gone before me. The author of Hebrews writes, “We are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1).” The author was referring to those mentioned in chapter eleven, the “hall of faith” chapter. But, I also believe it is referring to the believers who have gone before us in church history. I find myself as if I am a fly on the wall of their lives. I am drawn in, seeing their lives, God’s plan for them unfolding before me. Granted, when you read a biography it can somewhat be biased but a good biographer will share the good and the bad of that person. I am thankful that the Bible does that. It shares the flaws and the faith of those who are the examples before us. Ultimately they are pointing to Jesus in their lives and we should desire the same thing. You learn from them. You are inspired by them. You are thankful to God for them.
Let me encourage to read the lives of the saints before us. Let it be fan to your flame of faith and we can learn from them. Let the Lord use it to inspire you, challenge you, and encourage you. What Christians have impacted you and why? Please share, I would love to hear from you!
The Word of God Changes Us – Martin Luther
At our church, Harvest Christian Fellowship, Pastor Greg has started a series called World Changers. It is an in-depth look at Hebrews 11, the hall of faith chapter in the Bible. Through this series we get to study many different men and some women mentioned in the Bible who had great faith. The Bible mentions so many world changers, which we get excited to study, and we also know of countless other world changers throughout church history. I love the fact that God uses ordinary people and does extraordinary things. Every Wednesday we will be spending a few hundred words talking about a world changer in church history.
Martin Luther 1483–1546
October 31 is known by many as Halloween but it is also a day called Reformation Day. It is a day that the church remembers what took place almost 500 years ago with a man who was strong in his conviction about what the Bible says.
Continue reading “World Changer Wednesday: Martin Luther”
There is no ignoring Halloween. It is everywhere you go; from the store to your neighbor’s house, some form of decoration is pointing to Halloween. It is one of the most marketed days of the year. There are many arguments to how a Christian should view Halloween. Should we fight against it, ignore it, or should we embrace it? I don’t know if the answer is that simple. You can’t just overlook the fact that there are some demonic sides to Halloween; it is pretty blatant. There are arguments about the evil background and history of Halloween. On the other side is that the starting of Halloween was “All Saints Day” to remember the martyrs who have been killed for their faith and then through history this holiday merged with heathen practices.
Here are a few thoughts on a parent’s approach to Halloween.
1) Be cautious and wise.
There are some parents who don’t have a problem with their children participating in Halloween and they exercise wisdom and discernment. For example, they allow their children to wear a fun, innocent costume. They don’t see candy as something bad (just in moderation).
As a parent who allows their children to participate, you want to use wisdom by not letting your children be around something evil or scary so you pick which house is good to go to and which houses are not. We do live in a day and age when you need to be careful of strangers and you also know that you are called to protect your children.
Some parents may choose to participate in other ways. For example, they may bring their children to a church-run event such as the Harvest Fest. This limits what their children will be around and with whom. There are many places that are safe for kids to have fun, dress up, and have some candy.
There may be some parents who do not want their children participating in something that they view is spiritually compromising. I respect the family that makes a stand that their children are not participating in Halloween activities. A parent that takes this stand needs to communicate with their children about why they are making that stand, knowing that they will have questions from other people.
2) Teach your children.
Everything is a teaching moment. Though Halloween may have some superstitious backgrounds, as a parent you are not approaching Halloween that way. There is nothing inherently evil with dressing up for fun or eating candy. If you have toddlers this may happen every day (maybe not the candy part)! What matters is our approach as parents. Teach them that we follow the Word of God, that there are evil spirits and the devil, and he is not more active on Halloween than any other day of the year. What a great reminder for us to know that Jesus Christ is greater in us than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). Jesus is King and Lord and He has dominion and power over evil.
3) It is a day that you can use to witness to people who come knocking on your door.
You can choose to turn the lights off at your house or you can look at giving candy and talking to parents of kids as an opportunity. This is a great opportunity that you can use and be a light during a dark time. You can pass out witnessing tracts and candy. You can be friendly and start conversations with other parents.
On a day that points to death and despair, we have the gospel message of eternal life and hope. We should look at this as a perfect opportunity to share Jesus Christ with others!
Personal Note: I understand that not everyone will do what we do, nor do I expect that, but you may be curious how my family approaches Halloween.
We allow our children to dress up in something fun and innocent. We, in past years, have dressed up as a whole family. We communicate to our children that they can dress up and have candy. We invite family and friends as we go to Harvest for the Harvest Fest, where they have a great time, hear the gospel, and meet with the church family. We then spend some time in our neighborhood as I want us to use the opportunity to meet our neighbors and be somewhat present to them. I try to encourage our children that we can have fun but there are also dark and scary things about Halloween—but they are of God and have overcome those things, for “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4 NKJV).
What are some things that make you say, “That was awesome”? Maybe it is standing on the beach and watching the waves crash, hearing the thunderous sound and feeling the cool spray of the ocean’s mist on your face. Maybe it is sitting in an airplane and looking out the window at 40,000 feet and seeing how big the world is as you fly high above the ground. Maybe it is looking up at night and seeing the moon in the sky like a big pizza pie and the stars and everything that displays God’s handiwork. You can’t help but say, Awesome! These are just a glimpse or a snapshot of God’s glory and power.
Why is it important for us to be reminded of God’s glory? Continue reading “Being in Awe of God”