Saturday, October 25, 2014

Halloween and the Covenant with Death

1 Corinthians 10:21, "You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons."

Ephesians 5:11, "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them."

I briefly wrote about Halloween a few years back but as each year passed, I noticed a shift in the evil that accompanied this “holiday” that is celebrated by believers and non-believers alike. I went shopping the other day and what smacked me right up side of my head and pushed right in front of my face was these horribly evil displays of Satanism. Yes, that is exactly what I said, Satanism, because that is exactly what it is celebrating! It's Satanic and it's all about the occult. This post may upset some people, it may anger some, but with prayers, it will enlighten more, but as a Christian who DOESN'T celebrate this day, or partake in the "Christian alternative Fall Festival" I feel overwhelmingly compelled to dig a little deeper into this dark pit to point out what this is all about. Clearly and precisely. I advise each of you to pray before continuing because this post will not be light. As a matter of fact, it will be going into places that not many want to go but ironically by attending Halloween events and trick or treat, they are participating and opening doors anyway!

I want to first begin by teaching briefly on the ornaments that are associated with Halloween. This will enlighten you as to the diabolical agenda this holiday has in store for our young ones. And keep in mind, the young ones are the very ones the Devil wants to corrupt, to condition and to steal. I will reference some of the info I will quote from but I will not promote or even give an idea to a curious mind. Where I do quote, and make clear reference to, are those who are NOT in the occult but who are either Christians exposing evil or journalists, historians or the like. I will paraphrase the few others so as not to give the "devil his due" if you will. It's important to hear some “truths” from the mouths of those who speak that language. Unfortunately, it is not the language of God.

Let's first start with the ornaments and then I'll give a little history of the origins of this diabolical celebration. The ornaments decorating Halloween came directly from the Druids and the occult. The popular associations of Halloween are ultimately derived from ancient Celtic and Druid pagan religious customs.
1) Witches - They are NOT harmless and there is NO such thing as a "good" witch. Witches are the queens of Halloween. ALL witches worship the devil. Although many vehemently deny this, it's been said by historians, and well documented in the witch's manual, that their "god" is the "lord of the underworld" (Satan), Baal, Baphomet and Lucifer. Lewis Spence was an author, journalist, anthropological scholar, and politician. He studied mythology and was well versed in the Druids and Celts. In one of his books he stated that some of the confessions of witches, besides their direct worship of the devil, they were obliged to show their abhorrence of the faith they had deserted by trampling on the cross, and blaspheming the saints, and by other profanations. The Lord God’s judgment upon witches should not be taken lightly! Exodus 22:18, "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live."

2) Jack-O-Lantern - These are the kings of Halloween with a very sinister origin dating back to the Druids once again. It arrives from the Druid’s ghastly reverence of the severed human head! They proudly decorated their houses and temples with severed heads and believed that the head housed the soul, hence the light, or candle, in the skull. The original jack-o’-lantern was not a pumpkin or turnip, but rather a severed human head! In the May 1977 issue of National Geographic, p. 603, it said, "Trophy, charm, or ornament, the human head figured prominently in Celtic life. Warriors hung enemy heads on their houses as a show of prowess, and Druids, believing that the head harbored the soul, placed skulls in sanctuaries to ward off evil." Carved and illuminated by a candle, they are symbolic of death and the spirit world. There was another purpose for Jack-O-Lanterns according to author Owen Rachleff. "The candlelit pumpkin or skull... served as a beacon for the sabbat and as a signal to mark those farms and homes that were sympathetic to the Satanists and thus deserving of mercy when the terror of the night (Halloween) began." (The Occult Conceit; page 190).

3) Masks and Costumes - These carry a long history of occult and demonic possession. Masks are specifically used as contacts to the spirit world in order to invite the spirit to "possess" them. In the World Book Encyclopedia, 2005 edition on page 263, it states, "In rituals, a person wearing a mask of a god or spirit often feels possessed by the supernatural being. . ." The early origin of costumes is repulsive. On the evening of October 31st, the Druids, who were the occultic priests and teachers of the Celts, ordered the people to put out their hearth fires. The Druids built a huge new year's bonfire of oak branches, which they considered sacred.  They burned animals, crops and human beings as sacrifices to their sun god Muck Olla and Samhain, their god of death. During this diabolical ceremony the PEOPLE WORE COSTUMES made of animal heads and skins. They then practiced divination, looked for omens in the struggle of the victims sacrificed in the fires, jumped over the flames or dashed through them, danced and sang. All of this was done to frighten the evil spirits away. In the 11th edition of Encyclopedia Britannica, volume 12, page 8578 it states, "It was the Druids belief that on the eve of this festival (November 1st, Celtic New Year) Saman, lord of death, called together the wicked souls (Spirits) that within the past twelve months had been condemned to inhabit the bodies of animals." Saman would then send these evil spirits to attack people on the eve before the November 1st celebration. The only way these people could escape was by assuming disguises and looking like evil spirits themselves. (See Christianity Today, October 22, 1982, p.32). Costumes and masks are getting generally more bloody, gory, and depraved each year. Unfortunately, the gruesome and grotesque and the occult are increasingly glorified in American society, not only on Halloween, but throughout the year. Costumes of ANY kind is still a representation of this original "sin."

4) Bats - One of the more prevalent animal shapes that are commonly used by these demons (or "familiars," as they are actually called) was the bat. Specifically the vampire bat when it was discovered in the 17th century. Bats and their blood were also used in the casting of spells (especially those of black magick). Tales of bats that drank blood circulated throughout Europe for centuries before the discovery of the vampire bat but it wasn't until the Spanish exploration of Central and South America that there was actual physical proof of their existence. So, it then became a natural association for a very dark holiday, a creature that lapse the life blood of it's prey in the dark of night.

5) Bobbing for Apples - This is also, not surprisingly, rooted in Pagan Druid and Celtic history. They valued highly, apple magick. According to the Atlanta Journal & Constitution, Associated Press quote, October 16, 1977, in A.D. 43 the Roman Empire was in solid control of the Celtic people. As a result of this control the idol worshipping Romans introduced another ceremony honoring their false gods to the already demoniacal Druid New Year's celebration. It was in honor of their goddess of fruit trees. They would try to grasp fruit, floating in water, without the use of their hands. This is the origin of BOBBING FOR APPLES. It also appears to have originated in the British Isles (Ireland and Scotland in particular), and that it originally had something to do with divination (fortune telling).

6) Owls - It's been historically documented that on Halloween night, the demons took the form of owls and were said to have traveled with Witches and their cats. Some were even believed to be Witches in disguise. Once again, this is referencing to some degree, familiar spirits which are NOT of the Lord God! An interest point to be noticed here is the owl was called a strix by the Romans. This word means "Witch." Ironically, or not, Bohemian Grove is a secret meeting place of "high elites" and their "mock" sacrifices and rituals are done around a huge giant OWL. Many a presidents and elite entertainers have said to have attended these meetings. One doesn't have to search too much to find this to be true.

7) Black Cats - In the 1959 edition of World Book Encyclopedia, under Halloween, it was noted that Druid priests believed that cats were once human beings but were reincarnated as punishment for evil deeds. Because of this they held cats sacred and involved them in their idol worship of October 31st and November 1st. Druids believed "the cat was sacred and...that cats had once been changed from being human & reincarnated into that form as a punishment for evil deeds."

8) Trick or Treat - If, for some reason, you'd forgotten to dress up or couldn't fool the demons by dressing in animal skins or other disguises, there was a sure way of exorcising them. You needed to set out a TREAT of food and fruit, and provide the wandering spirit with shelter for the night. Basically inviting a demon to reside for the night IN your HOME! If the demon was content and satisfied with the TREAT you offered, they would not TRICK you by casting an evil spell on you. In a shocking account of Trick or Treat written by a former witch, Irene Park,  she says, "...the Druids in Ireland would go through the neighborhoods and countryside on the eve of October 31st to collect offerings to Satan. They would carry lanterns, bags of money, and canes with very sharp points on the ends (currently known as leprechaun staffs, good luck horns, or fairies' wands). At each house, they would demand a specific amount. If the household would not or could not give the offering (penance or treat), the Druid would use the cane to castrate the male human or one of their prize animals." (From; Seven High Pagan Masses and Halloween by Irene A. Park; page 1) 

Jack Roper, occult researcher with C.A.R.I.S. (Christian Apologetics: Research & Information Service) says "...the time of the year where you have the highest rate of Satanic ritual crimes is Halloween. Around Halloween, one of the things you see are graveyard desecrations." And something else he said that put it very simply, "You would never see Jesus at a Halloween party. Halloween parties in churches are an abomination to the Lord." Halloween is an evil day. There is NO way around it! Halloween honors Satan, idol worship, immorality, demonic rituals and human/animal sacrifices. Halloween is not a day I want to celebrate because of what it has stood for and what it stands for today. I don't pass out candy. I don't participate in "Halloween" functions.  I Corinthians 10:20-21, "But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. v21) 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord's table and of the table of demons." Despite the public relations campaign to "sell" the public on the "virtues" of witchcraft, modern day witches and Satanists still worship demon gods & goddesses, practice bizarre & immoral sexual rituals, and certain groups offer animal and human sacrifices. Many animal adoption centers as well as the Humane Society will NOT adopt out ANY black cats for the month of October due to their fear of ritualistic abuse. More heinous is if you do a little research on missing children around this time of the year and you will find how those cases increase considerably as opposed to other times of the year. Children are Satan's target audience. PROTECT THEM FROM THIS DAY!

Owen Rachleff  wrote, "Halloween can be, and to many is, a deadly serious affair. [It] originated with pre-Christian Druids or Celts in Northern Europe, who marked the year by four seasonal festivals. The autumn feast took place on November 1st. Early Christians, desiring a part in the traditional festivities, created All Saints' Day to coincide with the pagan rites. Satanists--acting true to form--reversed the Christian procedure. Because November 1st was All Saints' Day (All Souls' Day, November 2nd, memorializes the dead), Satanists established October 31st as and "All Demon's Night." As surely as the Christian martyrs and saints dominated their own holiday, so did the demons permeate the preceding evening. All Hallows' Eve predictably became a time of spells, curses, and horrors for those who did not believe, but for the Satanists, particularly the witches, it was a joyous festival and major sabbat. So it remains in a diluted form, ironically celebrated by Christian society far more vigorously than All Saints' Day." (Quoted from The Occult Conceit - A New Look at Astrology, Witchcraft and Sorcery, by Owen S. Rachleff, from page 189-190.)

The original Halloween was a diabolical night of Baal worship and child sacrifice. And most of our current Halloween customs derived directly from Baal rituals! On November 1st was Samhain (Halloween) and fires were built as a thanksgiving to Baal. Baal is also a synonym for the devil. Halloween glorifies death in worship to Baal or the devil! The Druid festival of Samhain was a celebration of death. Plain and simple. The Druids were savage beasts to put it mildly. Strutting its evil death images of skulls, skeletons, ghosts, demons, devils and incarnate evil, today’s Halloween glorifies Death the same way the ancient times did. If one's eyes can't see this, I pray for the veil to be lifted because the darkness is extra dark on this ungodly holiday. The Samhain was an ancient Celtic harvest festival honoring and glorifying the Lord of the Dead. The May 1977 edition of National Geographic admitted that Samhain was a time when “firstborn children were sacrificed.” The Celts considered November 1st as being the day of death because the leaves were falling, it was getting darker sooner and temperatures were dropping. They believed that on October 31st Samhain assembled the spirits of all who had died during the previous year. They had been confined to inhabit animals' bodies for the past year as their punishment for evil deeds. Then on the eve of the feast of Samhain, October 31st, they were then given permission to return to their former homes to visit the living. Supposedly to protect these people, Druid priests led the people in diabolical worship ceremonies in which horses, cats, black sheep, oxen, human beings and other offerings were rounded up, stuffed into wicker cages and burned to death, hence the "burnt offering." This was done to appease Samhain and hopefully to keep the spirits from harming them. Nowhere in this do I find ANY THING to glorify the Lord! No matter how one tries to "replace" its meaning with a Christian "twist" it IS what it IS and ALWAYS WILL BE!

And at this part of the post, I want to point out the HARVEST FESTIVAL that was celebrated by these evil Baal worshipers, is what many Christian Churches TODAY try to REPLACE Halloween with as an "alternative" to trick or treat. It's the SAME thing! A Fall Festival is the same as the Harvest Festival. Please remember that GOD DOES NOT NEED TO BE AN ALTERNATIVE TO A SATANIC HOLIDAY!

The Devil glorifies death. Hebrews 2:14 says, "Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,"

Proverbs 8:36 says, "But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul; All those who hate me love death.”

Revelation 6:8 says, "So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth."

Now for a little more in depth study of the history of Halloween, some of which I just touched upon but will get into more detail. I want each and every reader to see, understand and have knowledge of this evil holiday and its roots. Our Pilgrim forefathers knew very well of the Halloween occultic roots. So much so that they banned celebrating Halloween in America at one point. Halloween wasn't celebrated in America until 1845. At that time, the multiplied thousands of Irish emigrants flooded into New York because of the Irish Potato Famine of 1845-46. And brought with them was the old Druid holiday of Halloween. Then gradually, the celebration of this day spread throughout the rest of the country. Halloween wasn't the original name of this Druid celebration, but rather, it began long before Christ among the ancient Celtic peoples (Britons, Gauls, Scots, Irish). They observed the end of summer with sacrifices to SAMAN (Shamhain). He was "the lord of death and evil spirits". This marked the beginning of the Celtic New Year. Before I continue, just a side note about the Saman. Depending on your source material, the Druid lord of death and evil spirits was called Saman, Samana, Shamhain or Samhain. All of these names referenced the SAME being. His particular "holiday" was called "The Vigil Of Saman" or Samhain (pronounced so-wein). Now what you probably don't know is that you have likely already seen a modern day version of SAMAN without even knowing it. This pagan god was shown as a ghostly, skeleton holding a sickle in his hand. He later became aptly known as THE GRIM REAPER. Coincidence? Doubtful!

Catholic missionaries swarmed Britain and Ireland seeking a mass conversion to Catholicism. Their orders in 601 A.D. were from Pope Gregory to cunningly and shrewdly convert the Druid rituals into Catholic rituals. The Catholics converted the ritual of Samhain into the festival of All Saint’s Day, a day of celebration and prayer to dead "Saints." Halloween begins well over 2,000 years ago in the British Isles. Here, we find the holiday stripped to its most essential element: a night when Celtic tribes communed with the spirits of the ancestral dead. These grand and glorious pagan celebrations were assimilated by the Catholic church. . . Rather than extinguish old customs, the church leaders provided Christian versions of them: from the Middles Ages on, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day replaced the ancient Celtic celebrations of the dead. (Bannatyne, Lesley Pratt, Halloween: An American Holiday, an American History, Facts on File, Inc., New York, 1990 p. x) The Catholic festival of All Saints Day was also known as All Hallows Day, with the word "hallow" replacing "saints." We'll visit "hallow" again later in the next paragraph. The day before All Hallows Day (October 31) was recognized as All Hallows Eve. Eventually, All Hallows Eve became Hallows Eve; hallow’even; hallow’en and ultimately today’s Halloween. So, in 835, Pope Gregory IV "blessed" All Saint’s Day as a sacred "day of obligation," and consequently on that same day, the Catholic Church officially "ordained" Halloween. Yes, they "ordained" Halloween! The very life and breath Halloween has been given, is due to the "blessing" from the Catholic Church. Samhain would have died many years ago if it weren't for the "ordination" of the Catholic Church. I know many people that may be reading this may not want to believe the Catholic Church did such a thing, but they did! Truth is truth. And sometimes, the old adage is true....Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction!

Furthering our knowledge of this covenant with death, we find a perverse and blasphemous twist concerning the name "Halloween." The word "hallow" means "holy, sanctify or consecrate." The popular Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9 begins with, ". . . Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. . ." The label "hallow" belongs to God the Father, Hallowed be thy name. Halloween was a night sacrificing young children to the worship of Baal. This practice goes on today! Satan doesn't change. It is no accident that the name of history’s most hellish and EVIL night that is glorifying "death and hell," happens to wear God the Father’s Holy name of "hallow." The blasphemous name of "Halloween" clearly bears the mocking fingerprints of Lucifer found in Isaiah 14:12, ". . . I will be like the most High." 

Dr. David Enoch, a former senior consultant psychiatrist at the Royal Liverpool Hospital and the University of Liverpool, states: "Halloween practices open the door to the occult and can introduce forces into people’s lives that they do not understand and often cannot combat. . . " This leads me to the dangers of the holiday. 1 Peter 5:8, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." On Halloween, he is seeking the weakest, the most vulnerable, the unwittingly, the distracted and the lost more heavily. I've heard many of people say this is just harmless fun, a night when children look forward to getting dressed up in their favorite "costume" and get as much candy as possible. Some people go as far as saying they don't allow their kids to dress up in "evil" costumes as a way to justify celebrating this death day. That never made any sense to me because even though they may not dress up like an evil person or character, the entire holiday is douses in evil starting with the decorations down to the begging.

Satan is "the god of this world" and 2 Corinthians 4:4 says, "whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them." And in 1 John 5:19 it says, "We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one" – not just the one night of Halloween! Our days of the week bear the names of pagan gods: Moon-day, Zues-day, Woden’s-day. Thor’s-day, Freyja-day, Saturn-day, Sun-day. Ever look on the back of the dollar bill? It clearly displays the satanic all-seeing "eye of Lucifer" in the pyramid. This earth is the devil’s playground as it is stated in John 14:30, "I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me." When Jesus Christ lived a perfect life and died for the sins of men, He qualified to dethrone Satan. The "god of this world" has been defeated! However, he remains active among us until the King of kings returns and sets up His government on earth. You can’t escape his wicked influence. But as David took Goliath’s own sword and cut his head off in 1 Sam. 17:51, we too can take one of Satan’s "swords" and cut some souls from hell. Knowledge is power and TRUTH sets us free!

The Satanic realm and the occult is very real and VERY dangerous! This celebrated death covenant day is no different! Before I outline the dangers of it, let me first remind you of all the marathons that show during this time of the year. The vampire shows, zombies, the occult movies, ghosts, death, dismemberment, blood and gore, not to mention all the other horrific shows and movies that are inundating the television and movie theaters. The supernatural movies lined up on display for "fright night" fun. These movies aren't the "King Kong" scary movies of old. These are all about demon possessions, eternal life giving vampires, ghosts and extremely graphic psychological "thrillers." Just some of the covers of the movies on sale during this time of the year and the commercial ads are enough to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up! I can't even imagine what watching one of them would do to me, much less to a young, undeveloped mind! The haunted houses, haunted hay rides, and all of the "theater of blood, guts and gore" are so advanced now that they are nearly real. And that, in and of itself, is frightening. These things are NOT harmless fun! These horror films and slasher films and all things having to do with the supernatural is a conditioning tool, and a desensitizing mechanism aimed to make society colder, more distant, more complacent about reality and towards other human beings.

All the graphic violence involved in each of these types of movies if seen enough, will eventually have an impact on many impressionable young minds. Not all. But MANY. And the "many" is what Satan and his minions are after. Behind each of the macabre movies, is someone, or more like many, who are "inspired" to write the stories. It takes a certain mind, a certain person, a certain type of person to come up with something so evil and diabolical and demonic in the first place. Who influences their writings? Who do they "channel" in order to come up with these ideas? Robert Englund who famously plays the mass murderer Freddy Krueger in the "Nightmare on Elm Street" series said he drew his inspiration from the late Ted Bundy, who violently raped and murdered more than 28 women. Englund told Slaughterhouse magazine, "I just read an article on Ted Bundy, so a lot of my imagery is based on him."  These inspired "actors" and writers are getting their inspiration from the devil and other evil people. I assure you, it isn't our Lord Jesus Christ! None of this is pleasing to our Lord and Savior!

Now to the harmful and dangerous day of Halloween. Let me begin by its emphasis on death and violence. Halloween is desensitizing our children by its glorification of violence, death, mutilation and gore. Adults are behind the actions as well and they too are being led down a darkened path. At the least, exposure to sadism, sexual violence, satanism, torture, mutilation and bizarre murders causes our kids to become calloused, numbed and indifferent to these behaviors. But, Harriet Kozkoff, who is a public TV producer told the press, "Entertainment is a powerful socializing agent in contemporary society. Slasher and horror movies...use violence and sexual arousal to maximize profits and are an inevitable prescription for conditioning sexual sadism into our pre-teen, teenage and young adult film fans." The majority of those kind of movies are aimed AT pre-teen, teenager and young adult movie goers, film buffs. I've known SOME parents who not only allowed their under 10 years old kids (as young as 5 in one case) to view these disturbing images over and over, but also took them to see them or buy the movies. Psychiatrist Dr. Thomas Radecki said, "Every year film violence and real-life violence continues to get worse. We must protest and stop this growing sadism in our homes, schools, and on our streets." Obviously, the problem is wider than just on Halloween and goes deeper, but TV programming and video rentals of violent horror films is at its all time peak during Halloween. The advertising and marketing is through the roof pushing the occult on everyone who is willing to go along for the "thrill."

Halloween is harmful because it emphasizes horror and fear. These two are specifically targeted to the "haunted house/haunted adventure and haunted everything" crowd. These haunted places of "fun" (if that's what they want to call it) are basically manufactured "traumas" and "fears" that are more than realistic with our technology and special effects. This is aimed to pretty much terrorize adults much less a child....and remember, children are the target audience in ALL of this. Why? Because they are the innocent, pure and the influenced. The haunted houses and places can scare the daylights out of an adult, who is totally aware of the "fake" show, but nonetheless, it still plays on the part of our psyche that is wired to "fear" these things, those unknown hidden things. Imagine being a child who not only has an undeveloped brain and is emotionally immature being literally traumatized going through the same places!? I shudder to think what their little minds think and imagine!

I recently watched a documentary about the new haunted houses and was utterly disgusted with the "trauma based" scare tactics and special effects they are using in some of these places! One particular place, of which I REFUSE to mention by state and refuse to give details on what it entailed, was more of a psychological trauma based fear induced frenzy that bordered not only on the insane, but on harassment. It was SO bad that not only did you have to sign a waiver, but they offered your money back to you IF you could complete the "journey" without tapping out. UNBELIEVABLE! It blew my mind.  I don't believe children should be exposed to such manufactured traumas. By exposing a vulnerable child to these kinds of traumatic events can have harmful consequences that run the spectrum from nightmares to emotional damage. Dr. Grace Ketterman, M.D. says in her book, You and Your Child's Problems, "A tragic by- product of fear in the lives of children as early as preadolescence is the interest and involvement in supernatural occult phenomena." Just like Satan wants it to be!

Halloween emphasizes the Occult to a blinding degree. It's not subtle. It's not hinted at. IT'S BLATANT! It not only piques the interest of many about the supernatural and the occult, but it lures them into such a strong curiosity that they "dabble" in the occult thinking it's harmless and innocent and even not real. Oh, but my brothers and sisters, it IS very REAL! Many children are introduced to occultic practices at Halloween parties. I know it seems to look like I'm focusing on the children and how it influences them, and I agree that I AM! For good reason. Halloween is AIMED and MARKETED for kids. Not adults. Adults will and do participate in it and the parties, but it's mainly a child's "holiday." Many kids get their first exposure to occultic horror movies at Halloween parties. After the initial exposure to the occult some, not all, children are attracted to the occult because of the power it offers them. Keep in mind, Satan tricks the fallen world with "false" powers. And to those young ones who are the most impressionable, well, it appeals to some of them. For others, they see it as the ultimate means of rebelling against there parents. Other things that lure children, young adults and even some adults later in life, to the occult is Fantasy Role playing games like Dungeons and Dragons, Black and Heavy Metal music that is otherwise called "death metal" and more often than not has Satanic songs, inferences or blatant blasphemous writings, Reading occult & satanic literature like the Harry Potter and Twilight Series, and Slasher/horror movies & sadistic pornography. Some people, some predisposed to influences, who would never involve themselves with the occult at any other time or on any other level, will ultimately experiment at Halloween parties with seances, Ouija boards, levitation, rituals and ritual sex.

Did you know that Devil's Night (the night before Halloween) is the worst night of the year for ARSON FIRES? Add to the trauma, more personal property is defaced and public buildings damaged at this time than any other time of the year. Law enforcement across the country have documented and reported that there are more grave yard vandalism and desecration occur on Halloween. Trick or Treat has become a night of "fear" because of drugs, razor blades, and other foreign objects are being found in the "goodies" being given out to the kids and in many areas, there have been xray machines set up to xray the bags to detect any objects that might have been put in the candy. Malicious Halloween pranks even kill people. People, this is NOT a night that anyone should celebrate!

Galatians 4:8-11, "But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods. v9) But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? v10) You observe days and months and seasons and years. v11) I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain." 

The amount of money that is spent on Halloween is only second to Christmas! And some studies have shown it surpassed Christmas. Every dollar you spend for decorations, for costumes, for face paints and make-up, for candy to pass out, and for ANYTHING that is Halloween related, is another dollar given to the god of this world and another dollar STOLEN from our LORD who blessed us with that money to begin with! Every dollar spent on the movies that show this garbage, is another dollar given to Satan to further his "kingdom." If this covenant with death is celebrated with your money, it is your money that is supporting the occult, the Satanic agenda and the darkness that propagates this day. All of that money could be going to buying bibles for people who don't have access to them. It could be going to feed the hungry in your area, or areas far away. It could be going to ANYTHING to further the Kingdom of God because there still is much to do and every dollar counts!

Halloween? Isn't the whole theme one of darkness, death, fear, terror, threats, destruction and evil? Absolutely! There are witches, broomsticks, bats, owls, ghosts, skeletons, death, skulls, and monsters. At Halloween there will be apple bobbing, divination, fortune telling, haunted houses, candles lit and spirits called up. There will be seances and Ouija boards used in the name of fun and excitement. There will be sacrifices of dogs, cats, rats, chickens, goats and even humans! You might say, "Well, we don't take it seriously." Or maybe, "Well, it's just harmless fun and nothing is wrong with it." But the devil takes it seriously and so does God. God knows it's not harmless fun which is why He warned us against it. He wasn't quiet about it either! This is particularly true when the Church, which He purchased with His own precious blood, builds houses of horror in its fellowship halls so that the little lambs who have been entrusted to its care can be terrified and opened up to invading spirits of fear and torment and confusion. Yes, this happens too! The devil did a good job at convoluting the minds of many and what we're seeing today is the result of his wiles. You can call a duck a horse, cow, cat, etc., but it is still a duck. You can call what you do at your church or in your neighborhood a "fall festival", "trunk and treat," "alleluia party", etc., but the bottom line is that you are still observing Halloween, even if you dress up as bible characters. Just because the name has been changed to a more "Christian" acceptable name, it is still in celebration of Halloween. Halloween is the highest satanic holy day of the year! This is the truth! We need to stop being Worldly Christians and pay more attention to what He instructs us to do and what He tells us NOT to do!

No one can dabble in the occult and come away unscathed. Occult involvement and/or practices, whether done innocently or not, is in direct disobedience to God's Word. When people ignore God's warning and enter a forbidden realm such as the occult, they will witness spiritual phenomenons. These phenomenons are not for the good! They do NOT flow from the Lord Jesus Christ and they do NOT glorify Him in any way. The Devil does possess supernatural powers, however, everything he does for people, he requires payment. Hence selling your soul to the devil comes to mind! There is ALWAYS a price to pay for anything that he promises and it is here that I will emphasize that what he promises is temporary. It won't last, it can't last and it doesn't last. Its part of his lie. The result of occult involvement ultimately causes oppression, depression, confusion, delusion, and physical ailments of all sorts. We are warned not to be ignorant of Satan's devices in II Corinthians 2:11, "lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices." 

Playing with the occult, dabbling in it or practicing it as one's own "religion" has become very interesting to this country. Everywhere you go, you will witness occult activity, occult innuendos, occult references, occult themes. It is pretty blatant and no longer hidden as much as it used to be. Psychic and astrologers are a phone call away. Occult themes are being worked into many television programs and movies, games and applications. Talk shows are featuring, more and more, astrologers, divinatory, clairvoyants, scientologists, Satanists, witches, psychics, crystal gazers, dream analysis, yoga, reincarnations, hypnotists, fortune-tellers, spiritualists, parapsychologists, numerologists, mediums and New Agers. Even Disney World is deeply involved in the promotion of the occult. Yes Disney. It's no secret that Disney himself was a pedophile and his empire is steeped in controversy, hidden messages, occult practices and promoting the same ilk. Disney even "created" another empire called Pixar in order to show more "risque" shows. Why do you think SO many young Disney stars fall apart when they break from their shells? Look at who those child stars grew up to "worship" and promote themselves. The one eye pics tell it all.

2 John 7, "For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist." 

Halloween is the festival for the devil, it's the covenant with death, it's the occult drenched in Druid savagery. It is everything that is in opposition to the Lord Jesus Christ. Satan is in opposition to Jesus. He is so jealous still of God the Father that he still tries to emulate Him but on an evil level, mimicking His powers but failing in their deliveries. Many people celebrate Halloween without even knowing what they're celebrating. For many, it's just a day to dress up, go to parties, knock on doors and begging for candy and getting alot of it. But if you are going to celebrate something like a holiday, wouldn't you think it to be wise to at least know WHAT you're celebrating? That's the main reason for this particular post! I want you to be aware of what roots this holiday spouted from and for you to all be educated in its history. Your decision to participate is your decision. I will warn anyone and everyone not to celebrate this covenant with death based on the information I've provided along with Scripture. However, I can't tell you what to do. We all have a choice.....

Most people will never see it, because most of evil is hidden in the darkness, but in the dark corners, out of sight, and in the out of the way places, there will be some incredibly sinister things taking place in America on Halloween night. There are people out there that truly believe that this is a night to commune with the spirits and are ready to do so, much like the ancient Celts. Remember, this night is a night of evil. It's not a night for fun and games. There is an uncanny glorification and fixation on death and the macabre. Let me make this statement about the attractiveness of death the marketing department conjure up. It can be likened to a moth to the flame kind of attraction, that is true enough, but it is a strong and powerful attraction nonetheless. Prov. 8:36, "But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death." So a fascination with the things of death is hatred of wisdom. Folly is attracted to death. This death day brings out the worst in alot of people and helps them along to develop their own attraction to death. And loving this holiday is exactly like that....developing an attraction to death. Because, it is, my dear readers, once again, in direct opposition to the LIGHT of Jesus Christ!

Halloween is an excellent time and opportunity to remind our loved ones, our co-workers, our friends and neighbors that, as Christians, we are different, and not of this world. Let them know, but more important than that, let them SEE that you are set apart from the world. Romans 12:2, "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." 

In closing, Halloween is a day that honors false gods, demons and Satan. Put Ephesians 5:11 into practice, "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them." And a perfect ending to this post would be in quoting James 4:7-8, "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded." 

All things done in the dark places will be found out by the Light! For those who have made a decision NOT to CELEBRATE THE COVENANT WITH DEATH, may this time be used to glorify the Lord! For those who need a little more encouragement, SEEK THE LIGHT AND HE WILL SHINE UPON YOUR FACE! Honor the Creator God and flee from this dark night. Many prayers will be going out for all of those who will decide to participate in the "festival of death" because sometimes we are called to stand in the gap.....Let's make this a night of PRAYER!

May the Lord Bless You all in His Perfect Will!

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Social ME-dia - Idolatry and The Tech Obsessed Christian

This post has been laying heavy on my heart for nearly 6 months. I've started and stopped this a dozen times, either because the enemy got in my way or in other incidences, the Lord redirected my attention to other topics that HE wanted me to write instead. I've mentioned a time or two that I pray for His guidance on what He will lead me to discuss so that I remain in His will for, not only myself, but, all of you readers who will visit this page. So I'll start by gently reminding us just how important it is to remain focused on our Lord and Savior by quoting Colossians 3:2, "Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth."

I want to first begin by giving an account of Jesus Christ's Imprint that is found in 1 Thessalonians 1:2-10 by Paul to the church of Thessalonica: "v2) We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, v3) remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, v4) knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God. v5) For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake. v6) And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, v7) so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe. v8) For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything. v9) For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, v10) and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He 
raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come." 

City of Thessalonica

Here's just a little cultural background on the city of Thessalonica for those who aren't familiar with it. It was a major city in Macedonia that became an important trade route in the Roman Empire during this time frame. The culture was undoubtedly pagan and downright immoral. And for those who claimed the resurrected Christ as their Lord and Savior, there was alot of persecution, some severe, that they had to contend with because of their belief. Paul didn't want to see these new believers get discouraged nor did he want to see them be deceived while they lived out their faith in this dark culture. So he wrote letters to keep them focused on the gospel message. The apostle Paul wrote this letter to a group of new believers in Thessalonica. It becomes very clear and evident that the Thessalonians held a very special place in Paul's heart. He uses such passionate and strong phrases throughout the passages like, "we were torn away from you in person, not in heart," and "we long to see you." Paul really had such a significant, powerful message to share with a group of people who had come to mean a great deal to him in a short amount of time. The words that Paul wrote could be compared to the time he spent with the Thessalonians to the equivalence of a short-term mission trip. Sadly, however, this particular “mission trip” abruptly ended with rioting by unbelievers who forced Paul and his companions out of town. The amount of time may have been short, but the impact of this particular ministry was huge. Though Paul was physically in another part of Greece, his love for the Thessalonians and his desire to see them grow spiritually weighed heavy on his heart.

The Apostle Peter’s letter was written to the “exiles,” those believers facing persecution far greater than any of us have ever seen, or may ever see. These Christians were living under a tyrannical government far worse than any bureaucrat in a D.C. office. Yet Peter graciously instructed believers to live honorably among others in 1 Peter 2:11-17. " Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, v12) having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. v13) Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, v14) or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. v15) For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men v16) as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. v17) Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king." The “others” refer to those who are not “in Christ.” In biblical times when the word idol was mentioned it was typically one made of stone, wood or sometimes precious metals. While these are still very real types of idols in other parts of the world today, an idol can be any person or thing regarded with blind admiration, adoration, or devotion and anything or anyone that we hold in higher regard than God. So you see, ANYTHING that's deemed more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart, thoughts and imagination more than God, or anything that you seek after to give you what only God can give you is really an idol. Some may argue that their "obsessions" aren't being deemed above God or they don't think they're putting their "obsessions" above God. Well, I would beg to differ and by the end of this post, you will find my reasons for this differing opinion.

C.S. Lewis makes the claim, in The Problem of Pain, that the greater potential something has for good, the greater potential it has for bad. I thought this was a good way to lead into this post. So let's start off by a getting a good, sound understanding of what idolatry actually is before we continue. In the online dictionary, it's described as such:
1. idol worshipping, fetishism;
2. adoration, adulation, hero worship, apotheosis, exaltation, glorification, idolizing, deification.
3. excessive admiration or devotion.
4. great devotion or reverence.

So what about the Scriptures? What do THEY say idolatry is from God's perspective? Well, let's take a look. Image-worship or divine honor that is paid to any created object. CREATED OBJECT. This means not only a physical object, but anything that has been or can be created. In Romans 1:21-25, Paul describes the origins of idolatry and then in Romans 1:28, he says, "And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;" Men forsook God and because of that, they sank deep into the pit of ignorance and moral corruption and decay. In Scripture, idolatry is regarded as being of a heathen origin, and also as being imported among the Hebrews through contact with those heathen nations. There are many varying forms of idolatry, some of them are, fetishism, the worship of trees, rivers, hills, stones, etc. nature worship, the worship of the sun, moon, and stars, as the supposed powers of nature. Hero worship, the worship of deceased ancestors, or of perceived living heroes. Here are just some of the Biblical references to idolatry:
1 Samuel 15:23, "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.”
Ezekiel 8:5-6, "Then He said to me, “Son of man, lift your eyes now toward the north.” So I lifted my eyes toward the north, and there, north of the altar gate, was this image of jealousy in the entrance. v6) Furthermore He said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing, the great abominations that the house of Israel commits here, to make Me go far away from My sanctuary? Now turn again, you will see greater abominations.”
Psalm 97:7, "Let all be put to shame who serve carved images, Who boast of idols. Worship Him, all you gods."
Exodus 20:3-4, "“You shall have no other gods before Me. v4) “You shall not make for yourself a carved image - any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;"
1 Peter 4:3, "For we have spent enough of our past lifetime[a] in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries."
1 Corinthians 10:14, "Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry."

Just to name a few! God takes idolatry VERY seriously! And so should we!

In Genesis 31:19 we find the first place idolatry was alluded to when Rachel stole her father's teraphim. The teraphim were the relics of the worship of other gods by Laban's progenitors "on the other side of the river in old time" Joshua 24:2. The first and second commandments are directed against idolatry of EVERY form. In the New Testament, the term idolatry is used to designate covetousness. These references are found in Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13; Colossians 3:5; and Ephesians 5:5. Idolatry has a broad range, now doesn't it?! So much so that God emphasizes it's destructive ways more than once!

1 Peter 2:12, "having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation."

The word “conduct” appears thirteen times in the Bible, and eight of those times are in Peter’s letters. So I would venture to say it’s safe to assume, Peter cared about how our conduct was viewed by outsiders. Yes, by outsiders! The "outsiders" that are all around us watching our every move. watching what we do, how we behave, listening to what we say and how we say it. Those "outsiders" who don't have the light of the Lord within them but could if we'd conduct ourselves more Christ-like even if hiding behind a computer screen, tablet, cell phone or any other digital device. It's really our conduct anyway that people first look at and observe when we claim our Faith along with our words depending on the situation we're in at any given moment. Because there are so many forms of idolatry, I'm only choosing the social media for this post because as you will see, the idol worship of social media often leads to others. Much like a gateway drug leads to a heavier addiction into the hardcore drugs, so to can the social media be a gateway to other idol worship, or other hardcore obsessions/addictions.

Why am I focusing on social media? Because IT focuses on the "ME" and not the Kingdom of God. Not ALL people get hooked, if you will, but they are the minority. Social media has become the new drug of this age. It's sadly turned into the ME-dia of ISOLATION and has put a barrier up in the lines of communications. The REAL TIME communications. You know, like conversations and face to face contact?! There really isn't anything SOCIAL about "Social ME-dia" anyway. It doesn't REALLY connect you to anyone. Rather, it DISCONNECTS you from everyone ELSE in the real-time sense of the word. A connection is a personal thing. A real thing. It feeds off of reality and being and sharing the same AIR SPACE. So is it REALLY social? Not if you're honest with yourself.

Let me first say that I do not, will not, nor have I ever, had a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Myspace, Tumblr, Reddit, or any other format deemed, and categorized under, Social ME-dia. First of all, I'm not a follower. I never have been. I remember as a young, impressionable girl, my mother would always tell us girls that it was better to LEAD than to follow and I took that to heart. Literally. I was never the one to follow all the fads, the newest crazes or the next fleeting fancy. Then again, I'm one of those people who listens to the WORDS that someone CHOOSES to speak and takes them at face value!!! Always! Anyway, aside from that, the main reason was that I saw quite a bit of spiritual danger in it when MySpace first hit the ground and began to take off. In combination with "chat rooms" and instant messengers, well, I could see where this would and COULD take a society. It was the GATEWAY to the drug of this decade for certain. The IDEA intrigued me at first. A way of expression, a way of artistic flair, and maybe even a way to connect with like-minded individuals. But that's all it was for me. Intrigue. It was almost like the "forbidden fruit" syndrome. Only I didn't take the bite of the deadly fruit. Why? I know myself. That's why. That's the simple answer. This blog is the closest thing to anything I've done on social media and this was solely directed and led by God Almighty. I finally obeyed. And to be clear, I was even a little skeptical doing this until I realized what impact being a vessel, a willing vessel, of Jesus could be for someone who happened upon the truths passed on from the Lord God. The Lord spoke it clearly and so I obliged.....and obeyed.

I sort of have an addictive personality to some degree, (but one that is definitely controlled now after some valuable lessons I've had to learn the hard way), a curious, inquisitive mind and an ongoing relationship with rejection! Those, in combination, could be a very deadly concoction for me if I were to have given in to my own desires and intrigue. In this area, it took everything out of me to not join in the reindeer games! I knew beforehand how dangerous this was going to be for people, for society, me included, and I was tested on my self control. Through prayer and obedience, I never gave into it though. I found out years ago just how damaging that combo can be for ME so in order to stay in close proximity of Jesus, and in order for Him to guide my steps, He had to teach me to let go of everything and learn to control myself. He knows me. He knows what I've struggled with in the days gone by. He's reminded me many times when that little "demon" wanted to tempt me into starting an account with MySpace, that I COULDN'T because it would hurt me instead of HELP me. The Lord won EVERY SINGLE TIME! I wanted to share that with you because, even though I'm writing on this subject without ever having joined the "craze," I am the outsider looking in at all the worldly upheaval this kind of "socializing ME-dia" has caused a whole generation! As a Christian, I feel I should point out some dangers.....

Before I go on, this post is for the OBSESSED and not the casual user. Social ME-dia can be used for the good IF it's used properly, with good intentions and isn't an obsession. I will caution here, IF you KNOW something like this would cause you to stumble, then you should steer clear of it period! If it begins to cause you to stumble, then leave it behind, deactivate yourself. I know some, although very FEW, who don't obsess over it, and use it rarely from time to time. I am not claiming ALL social media is bad or an obsession because in moderation, it all can be used for the good. The key word here is MODERATION. But it CAN be bad. It can BECOME an obsession and a bad thing. More often than not, it has already reached a level of obsession in your life that you may not even be aware of. If you are like me, MODERATION doesn't apply because to someone who has an addictive personality to ANY degree, or for that someone who lacks self control altogether, it's like an alcoholic saying they can drink in moderation. It DOESN'T work that way! This is when you should take notice of your "socializing ME-dia" habits and look at it honestly in the form of a question: Does this glorify God or has it actually already BECOME my god? Do I spend more time checking my status, feeds, likes and comments more than I spend doing things in the Kingdom or spending time in His word? Do I spend time constantly looking at my phone seeing what's going on in everyone else's life, while missing out on having a life of my own? Compared with many other potential idols, technology, in and of itself, has the greater idolatrous potential; not only because it can become an idol itself, but it can also serve as an enabler of other idols.

I think Christians mean well when they voice their "faith" and "opinions" and "engage" on Facebook. Intentions are fine from the onset but sooner than later, someone along the way will have something negative to say, or want to bait you into a debate, or even try to pull you into something that isn't even worth the time it took to read it. Therein lies another idol....anger. Most of the time you will end up angry or bitter or resentful by the time you're done "posting" something, debating something, arguing about something until you and the rest of the "eyes" are blue in the face and red in the eyes. But while doing so, I also believe Christians tend to do more harm than good because it soon becomes too easy to get into a "battle" with other brothers and sisters in Christ but also with the non-believers who may be challenging something that was said or posted or liked. Under the veil of “taking a stand” for Christian values, for the faith and for the love of Jesus, I fear we are letting loose all kinds of dishonoring, uncharitable, un-Christ-like and argumentative speech. I'm going to focus on Facebook for the sake of not having to continue naming all the other ME-dia formats, because this just happens to be the place where so many "gather." This technology has opened many doors, some to the dark side and some that can be used for the Light. It all depends on how YOU use it. How much time you GIVE it and how immersed in it you become! Technology can play the role of  an enabler because as I mentioned before, it is a gateway into other idols. Social ME-dia is ME oriented. Anytime we focus on the "ME" in any area of our lives, well, it usually doesn't end up so well. The thing about idolatry is that we all tend to spend time with others who worship the exact same idols, and that commonality always ends up blinding us from realizing it.

Let me point out the types of people who become tech obsessed with Facebook and see if you fall into any of these categories. Those with low self esteem so they post a gazillion "selfies" for affirmation of their beauty. They always need affirmed of something or they don't feel accepted or liked. The Fashionista's so they post "fashion selfies" of their new outfits, their outfit/shoes/purse of the day, or in outfits that many would consider inappropriate, all so that they’ll get more "likes" and their beauty will be affirmed. The Attention Seekers so they are often the ones posting things that are mainly for laughs or shock value. Anything for ATTENTION. The more they make jokes or shock, the more attention they will receive. The Rejected so they will do whatever they can to BECOME accepted by posting interesting, humorous, fun stuff. Depending on their audience. The Chameleon so they will post or comment or like based on the person they are viewing at the time. They tend to become like the other "friends" at any given moment. The Coveters so they secretly stalk others to see what they have, where they're going, who they're with, what they do. They're so jealous of others yet aren't content with what they have themselves. The Lonely ones so they try to fill that void with as many "friends" as they can get to validate their own existence. The Money-Status so they always "share" their newest high end purchases, showing all kinds of pictures of their "beautiful" THINGS they own, bragging about getting the newest technology when what they had was perfectly good enough! The Boyfriend/Girlfriend poster so they post all about how "in love" they are, how "happy" they are, always about one thing mainly, THEM. The Influenced so they follow the "crowd" and never really showing or embracing their own identity. The Intelligent/Knowledgeable so they often argue with alot of facts and challenge other people's intelligence to determine their worth and purpose rather than the one true God. The Men/women lovers so they troll all the "most beautiful/handsome" sexes and fulfill the lust of the eyes and heart also being validated of worthiness because it becomes a challenge to "like" or "friend" them. The Competitor so they see how many "friends" they can get and compete with others to get more. They will also poke fun of someone who has less which elevates their self worth and popularity in their own eyes. The competitor is usually combative and is always in competition with their "friends" for comments and so on.  Oh the list goes on and on but you get the point.

The "ME" in ME-dia
As you can see from above, the types of people who can become obsessed is ANYONE and EVERYONE. Why? Because we ALL have some form of insecurity or issue for a lack of a better word. If you look at each one objectively, you will see just how it can enable yet another idol to worship. Let's say someone baits you into a "discussion" about your Faith. They seem to appear to be questioning your Faith and they aren't so sure they even believe in God. You then try to engage in a loving manner but that loving demeanor becomes a little less loving as they continue to "bash" your faith and God. By the end of the banter back and forth, you end up angry. Ta Dah! Anger. And so it goes.....Social ME-dia is focused on the "ME" so that's ALL it boils down to at the end of the day. That's how the majority of the people use it anyway. Social ME-dia is an aggressive distraction that ends up demanding way too much of one's attention, and eventually one's response. It is the enemy of association and connection and it regularly, and aggressively, fosters a consistent  failure to connect to the REAL world. We ALL have idols in our lives, some more than others, and it's hard enough to deal with them when they creep up or when we recognize them much less spending an exorbitant amount of time on Social ME-dia furthering the problem! Our idolatry takes many shapes and different forms, but ALL of them have worship of self at the very core of each of them. Let's look at 4 of them before I continue.

1) Materialism – This is when we worship our stuff, our THINGS. It’s important to many people to have the newest clothes or the coolest gadgets or the top technology. Often this leads to debt, and even can lead some people to fall victim to a spending addiction. Stuff feeds our desire to acquire as many things as we can and at any cost, taking our focus off God.
2) Ego – We worship our own egos. Yes, that's right! Our own EGOS. This is also where the obsession with social ME-dia manifests itself. The worship of our own egos usually presents itself to look like an obsession with education or career. Anything that WE pat ourselves on the back with a self-centered love of ourselves. We think that the more successful we are in our career or the more education we have, the better. Career and educational status feed our ego and take our focus off God.
3) Mankind – This can take many forms, from idolizing celebrities to idolizing the scientific achievements of humanity. Some idolize their Pastors, people in authority, and of the opposite sex. This worship of mankind gives us the illusion that we’re the lords of our world and that we have no need for God.
4) Indulgence – This sort of worship generally takes the form of overeating, drug abuse, alcoholism, shopping, sex, sports, gambling and can even take on the opposite form, which is completely abstaining from certain things, including those mentioned above. It can also show up as obsession with exercise.

1 John 2:16, "For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world."

That’s the heart of idolatry, things that the self lusts after. It’s giving in to things that feed our own fleshly desires instead of letting God align our desires with His. In the case of the golden calf, the Israelites gave into self-lust for security. Instead of trusting in God for their security, they decided to trust their security to a non-living statue that their eyes could see. Idolatry often times comes from a desire to control our own circumstances. The problem with idolatry, however, is that it really isn't in our control.  No matter how much we want to think that our "idol" allows us some amount of control over our life, when it becomes an idol (and sometimes it does), it’s no longer under our control. It’s controlling US. When anything is in control of US, then it's an idol.

While doing my research for this post, I stumbled upon something by Tim Challies that I would like to share on this topic. He said, "[Technology] certainly delivers on its promise, allowing us to live longer and cleaner and healthier and more comfortable lives. But because it is so effective in meeting our needs, it can easily begin to replace the one true God. We begin to think that it is the doctor or surgeon who heals us rather than the God who gives men wisdom to understand the inner workings of the human body. We begin to think that it is the mobile phone company that provides us with the blessing of communication rather than God’s grace enabling families to stay in touch over long distances. We easily assume that technology has the power to grant us the benefits we desire, and we forget the Author of technology and the true purpose of our technologies—bringing glory to him. Technology becomes an idol when we start to believe that humanity’s hope, humanity’s future, will be found in more and better technology. It becomes an idol when we place greater hope in technology than in God and when we measure human progress, not by the state of our hearts, but by new innovations in technology…We can make an idol of technology as we flip through the weekly advertisements, looking for something, anything, that will make our lives just a little bit better and fill the void in our hearts."

Nobody talks to eachother any more. Or they do way less of it. Texting and Facebook has replaced so much human interaction that the new generation doesn't even know how to have a conversation in person! It's sad. At first it was truly frightening how this took off and how quickly everyone got so sucked into it's vacuum without even batting an eyelash. Now? Now it's just sad. The amount of time wasted on that ME-centered site is almost embarrassing. I sat one day, alone in a corner at a popular eatery around lunchtime, and decided to people watch more than have lunch myself. As the place began to fill up, I started to see more and more faces looking DOWN. Some were pulling out tablets, some had laptops and most of the remaining people had their phones out. Not everyone, but the majority. What hit my heart the most was that approximately 80% of these people were WITH someone sitting right there beside them or across from them!! I sat back in shock at how everyone was so immersed into their "tech gadgets" and not talking to eachother or spending time together. After all, they were out to lunch together. They were together but not together. They weren't speaking, and if they were, it was in brief shortened sentences. This is not healthy relationship building. There was a family of 5 not too far from myself and the mom and two of the kids were on their phones doing something, dad was gadget free, and the other one, who was around 16 had his notebook out. The dad, I observed eating quietly, occasionally glancing up and around, but rarely did any of his family members engage with him. I felt a sadness. Is this what life is coming to? Is this what family and relationships have become? The more I looked around, the more the answer appeared to be YES.

The enemy sure took this Social ME-dia to the far end of the dark side! He saw how it would feed on people's obsessions or addictions. He saw how it would be used and abused. He saw a way to make everyone's life a little more accessible. He found a way for the deviants to find their "fix" of choice, for theft, identity theft, home invasions, rape, perversions, pornography, child trolls, bullies, predators and he saw a way to break down the family unit even further than he did with his other devices. This has really become a tool of Satan for the most part. He's opened up so many forbidden channels through this media format that has tempted otherwise decent people to enter in through a door that only leads to darkness and emptiness. When the evil side is too easily accessible to everyone, it drops down people's guards and they become more and more conditioned to what's out there. Things don't always appear to be bad in the beginning but watch out! It's a subtle snare made to reel you in until you're hooked. The lines are being blurred and they have been for some time now. Christians of all levels, wouldn't openly and honestly say that they were an idolater. Yet many believers today are, in fact, blatant idol worshipers.  I believe part of our disconnect and blatant denial of our own idolatry is rooted in the fact that we seldom, if ever, think about the sin of idolatry, either because we're ignorant of its nature or still think of it as nothing more than worshiping carved images of old. But the truth is, idolatry is a very serious and frequent violation of God’s truth and love. Its allure, however, has become so sophisticated and subtle in our day and age that we tend to dismiss it, rationalize it, or even embrace it in ignorant bliss for lack of clear understanding and honest evaluation.

A.W. Tozer said, "The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him.and also said, "An idol of the mind is as offensive to God as an idol of the hand.Psalm 115:4-8 describes the lifeless, powerless idols of man’s design with this conclusion: “Those who make them are like them; So is everyone who trusts in them.”  We all become like that which we worship. Either we will become a testament of the grace and truth of Christ or an empty shadow of a form of godliness without the power thereof. Facebook has made living life much like a carnival on display for everyone to see. Most of the topics are mundane, trivial, of little importance and surface. Rarely will you be able to engage in something more meaningful because, well, it really wasn't created for meaning.....anything. Facebook became a way for everyone to share snippets of bits and pieces of their lives in a few sentences or less. Or a few words or's so impersonal. Really. Without a doubt technology is idolatry for so many. Do you control it, and does it serve you? Or does it control you, and you serve it? Think about that for just a moment and reflect on how Facebook is managed into your daily life. In many ways, social ME-dia alienates others. Facebook was once just a tool to "reconnect, keep in touch and update pics" but it has turned into a weapon instead. Selfies included here! I've never seen a generation of people who took so many pictures of THEMSELVES as I'm seeing now. It's truly amazing at how self absorbed some people have become especially when technology has allowed it to happen so easily! Selfie refers to one thing, and one thing only.....the "ME."

Facebook has made people lazy too. They get most, if not all (for some people) of their information from feeds they receive, or information posted from others. They take that as the truth without ever confirming it or researching it or just questioning it. That really isn't where I would personally want to get all of my information from considering most are just being reposted to begin with from a chain of others. It's made people forgo phone calls, meeting for lunch, taking time with each other. It's made our youth focus way too much on themselves, and devoting too much time to the online world. A familiar sight for many of parents is teenagers checking in on Facebook on their smart phones or laptops at every chance they can get, becoming a process they'll painfully repeat at every opportunity throughout each and every single day. They habitually scrutinize or ‘face-stalk’ the profiles of others, check for responses to their own status updates or recent posts and chat with friends about the trivialities of life. Ah, but it isn't just the teenagers, now is it!? Is time THAT insignificant? Of course not! It's extremely valuable and precious. It's been given to us by God in order for His people to live to His praise and glory. LIVE not vegetate in cyberspace in a "fantasy" world.

Time is a Gift from God
There have been so many people that I've come across that have tried convincing me to join Facebook. People are actually shocked when I say I don't have an account. Of ANY social ME-dia. They tell me that I just don't know what I'm missing. Well, as I just repeated this to a friend of mine recently, I tell them, "I can't miss something I didn't have to begin with." I've gotten along just fine without any of it, and I guarantee you, I will continue to do just fine! The time that would be taken up maintaining it and obsessing over it, is time I could be spending elsewhere, with the Lord, with others, being in His Kingdom and serving Him. That time can't be relived. It's lost. And I don't want to lose any time that I've been blessed to live each day. I will continue to tell people the same thing over and over. I'm happy without it and since I know myself, actually, HAVING a Facebook account would depress me. Do I REALLY want "pretend" friends that I don't know, that I never talk to on the phone or go see or hang out with? Do I really want to share my every single waking moment with people I barely know? Not really. What purpose does that serve? The ONLY purpose that serves is ME. And I'm not inclined to make everything about me every waking moment. I prefer to interact, to see the expressions on someone's face, or to hear the tone of their voices instead of SEEING a little icon emoting their "feelings."

Everyone knows the good things that a Christian can do with Facebook and as long as they are keeping themselves in check and aren't obsessing over it, then use it for His glory! This post isn't for those who can control their time on Facebook, nor for those who can control their words. The Social ME-dia Facebook has LITTLE accountability and that's another topic for another day! People tend to get a little more "brave" behind the guise of a screen while typing words than they would normally be face to face. For instance, there has ALWAYS been bullying. But now with this avenue, it's more vicious, more hostile, and way more prevalent. Should teenagers, young people, be allowed to FREELY use the social networking sites without accountability when they still aren't fully mature enough to KNOW what the ramifications are from the things they post, what they say, pictures they post? There is an age limit to a Facebook user of 13. THIRTEEN! They aren't mature enough to be responsible in their lives much less on the internet! Whatever you do on the internet, it's always safe to assume it will ALWAYS remain to be seen SOMEWHERE! FOREVER.

Like with most things, if you spread something too wide, it loses its depth: if you speak too often, your words will lose their influence; if you divide your time between 20-30 people a day, your relationships will plateau; if you confess to the world wide web, and receive no accountability. There is something to be respected in those who can, or eventually, recognize that they have a social media addiction and/or obsession and take a proactive approach against it, whether it's permanent action or a temporary one. They have realized something many people don't.....God is more important and He is the giver of time. We are responsible for what we do with that time that He's given us, and we're responsible for HOW we spend it each day with Him! We are living in an identity obsessed culture, one that places way too much emphasis on the outside and by doing that, it feeds the EGO. The EGO is nothing more than focusing only on yourself, placing more importance on YOU than what's really important. Nobody's identity should be dependent upon, or determined, by a social networking site that only caters to self love. Our identity is in Jesus Christ! We need to clearly understand what it means to have our identity firmly and consistently rooted in Christ, so we may then live out of that identity, being totally confident in the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross. We need to know our position and the promised inheritance as children of God in order to live lives that are concerned to glorify God rather than ourselves or others.

The only way I know of to defeat idolatry is through regular self-checks and prayer. Stop and ask the Lord to check your heart, to check your life and show you anything in your life that has taken His place. Then repent and put God back in His rightful place.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Our Rainy Days

Hosea 6:3, "Let us know, Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, Like the latter and former rain to the earth."

James 5:7, "Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain."

Psalm 72:6, "He will be like rain falling on a mown field, like showers watering the earth”

Rain is mentioned literally and symbolically in the Bible for many different reasons. As I was listening to a Christian program, I was overcome by the one sentence the Pastor spoke. It had nothing to do with rain or this post but it DID inspire me. It seems the Lord has been giving me inspiration in subtle and profound ways of late and as I begin to receive these "thoughts" He's put into my mind for my lessons, I find myself on yet another journey. A beautiful journey discovering the ways that He works in our lives, the ways that He speaks to us and the ways that He shows us His love and compassion.

Let The Lord Rain Upon You!
I love the rain! I love how it smells after a good, long downpour! I love the way the land begins to drink the water deep into the earth's soil, giving and maintaining life! Ah! Rain! Before I begin sharing this inspired post, let's talk about what rain does for us first. We're all very much aware of how vitally important water is to the existence and the sustenance of life. We depend upon it as our driving source of life. Without water, our crops and cattle, along with all the other food supply that we depend on, would die. Most of the greeneries would wither, there wouldn't be any fishes or sea life in the ocean and rivers, the earth would eventually overheat, and all life on earth would perish one after another. As you can see, water is indispensable for life! God created it for His creation to survive and flourish, including the land, and all of its inhabitants, the oceans and their inhabitants, the air and their inhabitants. His design is PERFECT! It surrounded the world when God created the earth, and surrounds a fetus as it grows in its mother's womb. It nourishes us when we drink it, cook with it, or use it to irrigate our crops. Plants depend on water to produce energy in photosynthesis, which means a process that's used by plants and other organisms to convert light energy, normally from the Sun, into chemical energy that can be later released to fuel the organisms' activities. That's why plants spring up around water. Just take a quick look at a satellite map of any river and you will see a lot of green vegetation on both banks of the river. God's PERFECT design!

Without the rain, the earth could not endure! Israel, God's chosen land and the Holy place, is a particularly semi-arid land but water there is a sign of it being a "good land." Deuteronomy 8:7 tells us, "For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills;" Rain is a tremendous force God has put into the world and sometimes God's power can be manifested through the rains! It can be used as a life force as well as destruction, as was the case when the great flood cleansed the earth of it's vile corruption. So it's fair to say that rain is a blessing and a curse or both. Rain is a blessing when it waters crops to grow food. This was God's promise given to the nation and land of Israel. Leviticus 26:4, "Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit." God tells us that He will give rain when we ask. Israel is instructed to ask God for rain to water their crops of their land! Zechariah 10:1, "Ask ye of the LORD rain in the time of the latter rain; so the LORD shall make bright clouds," Then in Isaiah 30:23 it says, "Then shall He give the rain of thy seed, that thou shalt sow the ground withal; and bread of the increase of the earth, and it shall be fat and plenteous: in that day shall thy cattle feed in large pastures." Notice how God blesses us with rain to cause grain seed to grow for bread, and grass to grow for cattle. So rain also provides milk and meat.

Now let's take a look at how rain is used as a curse. Rain is a curse when there is too much of it! We've seen torrential rains, tsunami's and rains coming down so fast and hard that the earth just doesn't have time to soak it all up fast enough, thereby causing rain to accumulate. God judged the whole earth with a flood but He provided Noah with a way to survive through the Ark. That’s because God saves the righteous from His judgments. What about hail? That's hardened rain. Exodus 9:18 tells us about hail as well. "Behold, tomorrow about this time I will cause very heavy hail to rain down, such as has not been in Egypt since its founding until now." See, God God sent Moses to judge Egypt with several plagues. This one was hail. In this time the rain is too hard! Next, in Deuteronomy 11:17, "lest the Lord’s anger be aroused against you, and He shut up the heavens so that there be no rain, and the land yield no produce, and you perish quickly from the good land which the Lord is giving you." First there is just too much rain, now too little; this is the polar opposite of giving rain to water crops. In this instance, God withheld the rain so crops don’t grow. When crops don't grow, they don't produce food. When no food is produced, people don’t have food to eat and eventually die. This is God’s judgment for sin.

Rain is good for wheat except when it is time to harvest! 1 Samuel 12:17-18, "Is today not the wheat harvest? I will call to the Lord, and He will send thunder and rain, that you may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which you have done in the sight of the Lord, in asking a king for yourselves.” v18) So Samuel called to the Lord, and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel." A heavy downpour can ruin a crop that is ready to pick. We are all in the hands of God’s provision no matter if we forget that from time to time or we find ourselves embracing it so tightly that our hands hurt! He sends rains where and when He wants to. He blesses and curses where and when He wants to. God chooses the time and place for rain to fall. God chooses whom He will bless or curse. He chooses when He will bless or curse them. He distinguishes between the field of the righteous, and the field of the wicked. He knows the thoughts of a man's mind and intents of a man’s heart. Amos 4:7, "I also withheld rain from you, When there were still three months to the harvest. I made it rain on one city, I withheld rain from another city. One part was rained upon, And where it did not rain the part withered." Curse falls upon the wicked and unrighteous, but the blessings fall upon the saved and the righteous. Sometimes, though, we have to be tested......

But what about when He rains on us for testing and provisions? Let's look at Exodus 16:4, "Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not." In this verse, we clearly see how this was a test for them while also His provisions! What an awesome God we have! We've all had those days where we've been tested, the skies weren't so blue but were filled with rain clouds. When it began to rain on our otherwise normal day, we couldn't readily see that we were being tested through the rain but was also being aptly provided for at the same time! Rain is a sign of God’s active direction of earth. God directs all of the processes of nature. Every single drop of rain! Who is like God is?! This is evidenced in Job 37:6, "For He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth’; Likewise to the gentle rain and the heavy rain of His strength." Rain is a sign of God’s active direction of earth. God directs all of the processes of nature. Who is like God is?! Proverbs 16:15 we are also told of the FAVOR of God! "In the light of the king’s face is life, And his favor is like a cloud of the latter rain." Sometimes we are sent trials to bear through and to test the foundation of our faith. Matthew 7:25-27 says, "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. v26) “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: v27) and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” This is telling us to make sure our faith is built upon the solid rock of Jesus Christ our Savior and not in the sinking of the sand that won't withstand any trials, nor stand in the midst of the storms! We will ALL experience storms in our lifetime and when we do, we better have built our house on solid rock!

Matthew 5:43-48 says, "You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ v44) But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, v45) that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. v46) For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? v47) And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? v48) Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect." 

I mention these verses because this stands as a reminder of how we're to do good to even those who hate us, do evil and who spitefully use and persecute us! Just like God makes the sun rise and sends rain on evil (the unrighteous) people AND on good (the righteous) people, we should also be the example of love to our enemies. After all, God extends His love toward us while we are sinners. So too, He blesses people even when they are wicked, so they can respond to His kindness. This example shows how Jesus wants us to get out of our comfort zone, to leave our place of "safety" and "protection" and show His love through us to those who see only the darkness. We were once like them.

Many people have heard the anonymous saying, "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, but learning to dance in the rain." Since the author is never been revealed, we really don't know what "dance" represents but considering the theme of the saying, I'd have to say it would closely resemble having an intimate relationship with Jesus. We're to rejoice always and that "always" also includes through our rainy days, on our stormy thunderous days, and through the tornadoes of this life! While we are waiting for our storms to pass, or the clouds to part, we still need to remember to remain patient, rejoice in His name, continue to grow closer in relationship to God and to keep the joy in our hearts. So how do we learn to dance in the rain and having an intimate, closer relationship with Jesus?

The best way is to lament. Lamenting is more than just being sad. As a matter of fact, a third of the Psalms are laments and there's an Old Testament book in the Bible called Lamentations. For good reason that I will talk about in just a moment, Even when Jesus was on the Cross, those of you who are familiar with the Old Testament know He was quoting Psalm 22 when they heard his anguished cry, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" He also lamented in the Garden of Gethsemane when He begged His Father to remove the cup He was about to drink. It was so intense that he even sweated drops of blood as witnessed in Luke 22:39-44, "Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. v40) When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” v41) And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, v42) saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” v43) Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. v44) And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground." To lament is way more than just being sad! Here's the official definition, "to mourn or wail aloud; to express sorrow, mourning, or regret often demonstratively; a passionate expression of grief or sorrow;  A song or poem expressing deep grief or mourning." So in order to "dance" we need to be REAL WITH GOD! That's the only way we can truly, and fully, worship Him. The Lord God wants ALL of us! He doesn't just want our thank-yous and some happy I-love-yous. He also wants all of our anger, rage, pain, frustrations, fears, doubts, and so on! That's why it's so important not to hold back! It's imperative to surrender your ALL to Jesus!

Philippians 3:10, "that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death," Lamenting is the one way that we can know Christ in the fellowship of his suffering just like Paul lamented in the above Scripture! Some people, even Christians think of lamenting as more of grumbling when in reality there is a difference, a clear difference. When we grumble, we focus on OURSELVES and we can only see our physical needs. Grumbling is "me" centered. We don't really want, or desire, God's presence at that moment. But to lament is, and always will be, about us being real with God by being able and willing to give Him ALL of our emotions, the good, bad, ugly and indifferent! Then right in the middle of the process of being real, or being totally surrendered, we desire one thing: God's intimate presence!

Our rainy days are often full of doubt, fear, anxiety, pain and suffering just to name a few. Some days are full of all of our emotions and other times, just a few. Some people go through so many rainy days while others seem to have fewer with fewer seasons of rainy days. Those aren't to be compared to eachother because we are individually created, with individual purposes from God, and we are all going through our rainy seasons for specific and unique reasons unto ourselves that is only known to God the Father! I've had my share of rainy days and, as a matter of fact, I'm still in my season and it's been a LONG season too! I am always reminded of one of the most powerful Scriptures for times likes these and it's found in 1 Corinthians 3:13, "each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is." So we may study, but also we may be tested, to show ourselves approved.

We may have long seasons, and in some cases, as is mine, we may have many seasons, but how we go through those rainy days is what will end up mattering in the end! Will we grumble and be self-centered? Will we lay it all out for our Lord Jesus Christ and lament to know Him better? Will we be patient in waiting for the storms to pass? Will we be rejoicing and dancing in His provisions? Fire always will test our faith! Rainy days are often times our "fire." God tests our service for approval to see whether it is genuine. Everything we go through, all the lessons we learn because of it, how we apply it in our lives as well as others, and all that we do in the Kingdom of God will be what our rewards are based on in the Judgment Seat of Christ! Before I go on, I would like to make clear that the Judgment Seat of Christ is for the believers where they receive rewards and the Great White Throne Judgment is for the unbelievers for their condemnation for rejecting the Lord Jesus Christ.

Let's break that verse down for a little more clarity. "each one's work will become clear" simply means that God will bring them out into the open and the Lord will evaluate each and every believer separately. This is kind of like a performance review and we'll be giving an account of our works in this life to God. "for the Day will declare it" refers to the Judgment Seat of Christ. This is where the Lord will evaluate each believer for what QUALITY of work they did for the kingdom. The word “declare” here means literally to prove. God tests our service to see whether it is genuine. "because it will be revealed by fire" means that the fire will be the distinguisher between the genuine and the phony. It's the character of fire to part the destructible from the indestructible. "and the fire will test one's work" There isn't discipline in this testing as there is also no punishment for the Christian at the Judgment Seat of Christ because Christ took all of our judgment at the Cross! Romans 8:1 tells us, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." To put this simply, the fire is the to distinguish between what God can reward and what He cannot reward. "of what sort is." Sort is indicative of quality, not quantity so literally, it's the nature and the quality of our work that matters and makes a difference, and not the quantity of our work. In God's nature and character, being a just and loving God, He will test everything that we do in the light of His own standards.

Bema Seat of Christ
So, every single believer will have to give an open account to the Lord of themselves at the Judgment Seat of Christ. What each believer has done will be patently clear to God and I assure you that God won't reward on the basis of popularity! It will be their faithfulness, their trust and their genuine works that will be rewarded. I've heard it once described as our efficiency rating and I love that analogy! The author went on to say that God will measure that rating strictly on our performance. I would agree because it's in His character to do so. It's not OUR character as a fallen human living in this fallen world to evaluate our peers in the same way because we can't be so "just" and this is evidenced in our daily lives in many different ways. It's the high quality of our workmanship in our service in His Kingdom that glorifies our Lord, so God rewards everything we've done in the complete fullness of the Spirit. And I will stress here at this point in the post that God will NOT bring up ANY sin at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Remember? This is for our rewards! However, God WILL bring up the rejection of Christ of the unbeliever at the Great White Throne judgment because the non-Christian has rejected the completed, finished work of Jesus Christ for their sin. Hebrews 4:13, "And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account."

Paul writes about the Judgment Seat of Christ,or the "Bema Seat" in Corinthians. 2 Corinthians is written to believers. Paul opens the letter with "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in all Achaia:" In chapter 5, Paul exhorts the Corinthians to labor for Christ, telling them that "we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ." Here it is in it's entirety, "v10) For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad."  Paul then goes on to say that the judged will receive what is due them, depending on the works they did here on earth. The Judgement Seat of Christ is also referenced in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15, "According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. v11) For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. v12) Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, v13) each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. v14) If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. v15) If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire."

Let's see what John writes about the Great White Throne Judgment. First in Revelation 20:11 it mentions the great white throne, "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them." The we go to the next verse in Revelation 20:12, "And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books." Just like the Judgment Seat of Christ for the believers, we can see here that the dead are judged "according to their works," as well. Revelation 20:13-15, "The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. v14) Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. v15) And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire." So these verse show that the unsaved are definitely judged at the Great White Throne Judgment. The Great White Throne Judgment will be far different than the loving Bema Seat Judgment of Christ because it's for the unsaved unbelievers. The judgments will be harsh and severe; severe, but fair. I'd have to say that this particular event has to be the most disturbing, heartbreaking and most bothersome event in all of Scripture. Why? Well because, by NOT choosing to accept Christ’s free gift of salvation and eternal life by asking Him into their heart, one is simply choosing an eternity of fire and brimstone, all alone, known to no one, tormented eternally, known not even God, in the Lake of Fire.

I know I got off on a rabbit trail but sometimes hopping down the rabbit trail is enlightening and I like to take the scenic route anyway! It's more pleasing, and refreshing, to discover new things to understand the older things. I go where the Lord leads me....and from the rainy days and the storms of this life, He lead me to describing the righteous and unrighteous, the believers and the unbelievers and the Judgment Seat of Christ and the Great White Throne Judgment. It actually all kind of falls into place but you can be the judge of that. Someone out there, someone the Lord is leading to this particular post is in need of some of this information I've set before all of you who are reading this post!

OK, so back to going through our storms and having rainy days. I urge everyone to remember that if your days are rainy, even storming to where you think you can't survive, cling to the Lord's Promises, His words, His Love! Those days won't be easy by any means but it's how we respond to those days that's going to matter. That's going to make a difference. And that will impact our relationship with the Lord as well as impact who we become. Who we become in Christ strengthens us to make the impact in other's lives. We may impact those lives while STILL going through our rainy days! They may be watching us from a distance, from afar, watching how we handle the trials, the tribulations, the hurt, the pain, the sorrow. It's all a testimony. All of it! It's all lessons. God is always talking to us, always watching, always loving us.

No matter how frustrating, how upset and angry I ever got, I never turned my back on the Lord! I've had some extremely difficult times in my lifetime but rarely would one really see it in my actions or behavior because I knew deep inside my spirit that my Lord and Savior has heard every prayer, every petition and every praise. I knew He heard me, and provided for me just what I needed and when I needed it. Provisions don't always come by way of tangible goods. I've been spiritually fed, I've been spiritually grown, and I've become more intimate in my relationship with the Lord. I've been an example to others while the flood gates seemed to open up and nearly drown me! Those, too, are provisions! I remember sharing with someone, a few years back, about some of my trials and "rainy" days and they said they never would have known I was going through anything so intense and asked me how I was able to face each day with a smile. I first told them that my hope is in the Lord, my faith is built on the rock's foundation, my heart is full of His joy, and then I proceeded to share with them my favorite line that I give to anyone who's ever asked me that or noticed that I don't fall apart when the storms come rumbling my way......
"On those rainy days, I ALWAYS bring my own SUNSHINE!" God is my Light! Need I say more!

Now don't get me wrong here. I'm not saying I don't have bad days because I'd be lying to you if I said that because I'm human and let me tell you my brothers and sisters, I've had some bad days. But, I didn't LIVE in those bad days. I didn't LIVE in my tears, my pain, my sorrows, my fears. I lamented! I surrendered! I cried! And then they all were laid at the foot of the Cross for Jesus to take care of! Yes, for Jesus to take care of! I can't take care of those things because I mess things up when I try. I've learned a long time ago to surrender all. It's not always easy especially when we don't recognize something we need to release. But as with everything else, He eventually shows us those things too when we are willing to HEAR His voice! I usually ask Him to take those feelings away and replace them with His promises and to fill my heart with His Light. Although my rainy days may not seem to be ending its season just yet, I bring my own sunshine each day! He's my Light! He's my Rock! I may even grumble a little bit but those times don't last very long. I notice if I remain in that state of mind, it usually takes me a lot longer to "recover" from bad days. So I really try to practice not letting myself get focused on things that the enemy wants to dangle in front of my nose. They're all lies and I know it! I also know the dangers of remaining in the muddied waters left behind in the storms too. Don't stay there! Don't live in the muddy waters! Remember that we need to dance in the rains of our pain because that pain was written just for us!

Pain makes us grow. It makes us strong. It makes us soften the heart. It makes us alive. It shapes us. It molds us. It is a purpose given to us to change us! God is in control and when He is allowed to direct your paths, you have nothing to worry about!

Let the rains wash away all that remains of who you were, how you behaved, what you thought or what you did. Let the rains water and grow all the seeds that have been planted along the way. Let the Lord rain down upon your life and break the mold of the things you cling to. The rainy days might be difficult, but they sure will produce a wonderful harvest in you!

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