We who preach and write, do so in a manner different from which the Scriptures have been written. We write while we make progress. We learn something new every day. We speak as we still knock for understanding...If anyone criticizes me when I have said what is right, he does me an injustice. But I would be more angry with the one who praises me and takes what I have written for Gospel truth than I would be with the one who criticizes me unfairly. -Augustine


Holloween

 

Vision Forum Ministries The Five Scariest Things You Can Do This Halloween
Issues & Events Newsletter
The Five Scariest Things You Can Do This Halloween

The Five Scariest Things
You Can Do This Halloween

The fear of the Lord is to hate evil. (Proverbs 8:13)

By Doug Phillips

Our country is in the grip of a fear crisis. The tension because of this fear is almost palpable. There is fear over elections, fear over the economy, and fear over hundreds of other issues ranging from the environment to terrorism.

The one fear that America is missing is a fear of the Lord. As a people, we no longer fear God. Because we do not fear God, we no longer hate evil (Proverbs 8:13).

Instead of hating evil, Americans toy with it. We toy with holidays like Halloween that were conceived in evil and that promote the “cute-ification” of evil, whether that evil takes the form of witchcraft, sorcery, ghoulishness, or some other form of malevolent imagery paraded before our children. We laugh at the very things that the Lord describes as “abominations,” and we find ourselves obsessively fascinated by, and attracted to, all things dark.

Yet we do not fear the Lord.

Those who “hate evil” are very scary to a secular society that fears man more than God. They are scary because they dare to declare that there are absolute standards by which society must be governed. They are scary because, if they are successful, industries like Hollywood that make billions of dollars by promoting ungodly fear will lose their influence. They are scary because such people will not be swayed by political candidates who use fear as a tool for manipulation.

With this in mind, I offer you the five “scariest” things you can do this Halloween:

  1. The scariest thing you can do this Halloween is to not make light of evil. Halloween was conceived in evil and has remained a celebration that uses children to promote a fascination with darkness and superstitious fear. Simultaneously, it makes light of things that the Bible describes as evil. Stand against such things, and the world will find you very scary indeed. The fear of the Lord makes men turn from evil (Proverbs 16:6).
  2. The scariest thing you can do this Halloween is to not be fearful . The media wants you to be afraid of everything from overpopulation to global warming. The politicians want you to be afraid of the economy and political instability. God wants you to do what is morally right, trust Him completely, and never be gripped by an ungodly spirit of fear. You can place your trust and hope for this nation in the King of Kings. Jesus said: “And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him” (Luke 12:4–5). Believe this, and you will be light to the world.
  3. The scariest thing you can do this Halloween is to completely skip Halloween and remember Reformation Day . It was 494 years ago that Martin Luther nailed his world-changing 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg church. These theses included rebukes to ungodly fear and superstition. 502 years ago, sometime near October 31, a baby named John Calvin was conceived who would dedicate his life to eradicating an ungodly fear of superstitious beliefs and proclaiming the gospel of grace. His emphasis on reformation, revival, and the sufficiency of Scripture had such far-reaching implications for nations like the United States that he has been described by Christian and secular scholars alike as the true founding father of America. The Reformers did something that was very scary to the world of their day. They stood against all forms of dark superstitions which grip the minds and souls of men. It was their emphasis on the fear of the Lord and the wisdom of Holy Scripture that was used by God to liberate untold numbers of men and women. But to remember the Reformers instead of Halloween is very scary to the world. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10).
  4. The scariest thing you can do this Halloween is to refuse to watch or allow your children to watch any of the toxic Halloween and horror films emerging from Hollywood . America’s fascination with ungodly fear has made horror the most popular and fastest-growing film genre among youth. When parents allow their children to toy with this genre, they promote ungodly fear, and they contribute to the fear-factories in Hollywood that prey upon the youth of our culture. Say “no” to Hollywood horror and you will be dangerously scary to the media elite. “Fear ye not me? saith the Lord: will ye not tremble at my presence….?” (Jeremiah 5:22).
  5. The scariest thing you can do this Halloween is to get on your knees as a mother and father and pray that the Lord will send you many children who will fear God, not man — children who will especially shun the glorification of witchcraft, the bondage of ungodly fear, and the “cute-ification” of evil that is promoted through holidays like Halloween. Cultures that toy with evil end up being cultures of death. The Christian response is to be a people of life. That means babies. It means fearing God by honoring His command to “be fruitful and multiply.” It means remembering that the Scripture describes children as a “blessing” and a “reward.” Raise children that fear God more than man, and that will be answer enough to our Halloween-and darkness-obsessed culture; for if you trust God over your womb and commit your children to a holy education, you will be very scary to the modern world. “Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord” (Psalm 34:11).   Persevero,
Douglas Phillips,
President, Vision Forum Ministries
Published in: on October 30, 2011 at 2:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

Praying in Jesus’ Name

What does it mean to pray in Jesus’ name? The third chapter of Colossians sheds some light on what often becomes a cliché phrase thoughtlessly tacked on to the end of a prayer. To pray in Jesus’ name simply means that you are requesting to represent Jesus, just as an ambassador meets with leaders from other countries in the name of his leader and country. In the Old Testament, a message would be delivered with the words: “I come in the name of the king,” meaning “I come as a representative for the king.”

Colossians 3:17 reminds us: “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (English Standard Version)

Or in the New Living Translation:

“And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.”

To pray in Jesus’ name is to say that you desire to represent Jesus. If you are praying for a restored marriage, you are asking God to give you the strength to represent Jesus as you pursue reconciliation. If you are praying for the changed heart of a teen, you are asking God to help you represent Christ in your outreach to him/her.

It’s time to drop the rehearsed ending, and move it to the front. When we come to the throne of grace requesting the privilege of representing our Lord from the onset, it may shift our emphasis from our needs to His desires.

Published in: on October 30, 2011 at 5:52 am  Leave a Comment  

Rubbish Removal

We live in an unprecedented time in which technology and accessible information, intended to advance our lives, have actually overtaxed our capacity to rest and be productive. In The Externally Focused Church, Rusaw and Swanson give an appropriate solution to this phenomenon: “To move ahead, we must determine what we will leave behind.”

Jim Collins, author of the best-selling book Good to Great, illustrates this concept as he tells about his desire to read more and the steps he took to reach that goal. To set up his reading room he bought the perfect chair, a wonderful reading lamp, and all the books he wanted to plow through. However, when he came home from work, he would flop on the couch, flip on the television, and catch up on the news or the first quarter of Monday night football. He was glued to the TV, and the books remained stacked on the chair in his reading room. When Jim finally got rid of the TV, his reading accomplishments were realized. He learned that it’s not what you add to your life; it’s what you abandon that will make the difference.

To live productively in today’s busy culture requires that we abandon something. What is keeping you from enjoying a creative, productive life? Consider the words of the apostle Paul: But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ . . . (Philippians 3:7,8).

There is unspeakable gain when we choose to leave behind the rubbish!

Published in: on October 29, 2011 at 5:50 am  Leave a Comment  

God Enjoys Barbeques!

One morning, while I was visiting my mom, she asked me why God had required so many burnt offerings and what they represented. I looked at her with a smile and said that of all the difficult things to understand in the Bible, this was one that she should understand easily. With a puzzled look she said that she didn’t have a clue. So I asked her what one thing she enjoyed more than anything else. She thought and then said, “cooking!” “And what else?” I prodded. “Eating and sharing with others what I’ve cooked,” she said with a smile. I smiled back and said, “exactly!”

You see, God enjoys and delights in the fragrant aroma of food. That is one of the reasons why it was important that the fat be burned with the offering; the more fat, the more fragrant the offering. Have you ever cooked corn with the husk on the grill? What a fragrant aroma! And just as we delight in fragrant aromas, so does God. But it’s not just that God delights in the fragrant aroma of grilled meat and grain. He delights in a life that is a sweet aroma–a life that brings enjoyment to others.

The writer of Hebrews brings further insights into these offerings. Not only did the offerings represent Jesus–who could only please the Father with the totally acceptable sacrifice of himself–but now, even the words of our mouth and the way we serve others are sacrificial offerings to the Lord.

“But to do good and to share forget not; for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”

(Hebrews 13:16)

Published in: on October 28, 2011 at 5:49 am  Leave a Comment  

Creation’s Glimpse

Creation is our master teacher, proclaiming the character of God. From the simplicity of the sparrow to the delicate unfolding of a rose, all of creation gives a glimpse of the eternal mysteries of life.

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead” (Romans 1:20).

Seeking truth through creation is a lifelong pursuit, and is most satisfying when accompanied by prayer and dogged tenacity. In our search for hidden treasure, each newly discovered nugget brings a greater realization of and admiration for the awesomeness of God and His unfailing character! In 2 Chronicles 15:2, God makes a promise: “You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.”

I can think of no other lifelong pursuit that is of more value than the passionate pursuit of God. May His creation be the platform from which you discover unspeakable treasure and learn of His awesome majesty. And may His creation be the avenue through which you catch yet another glimpse of our great and awesome God!

With each of your senses you can detect the beauty of the Lord. Listen to His still, small voice; hear His thunderous roar! O taste and see that the Lord is good! Soon you will sing with the songwriter, “As the deer panteth for the water, so my soul longeth after Thee!”

Published in: on October 27, 2011 at 4:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Three Weavers

A young lady just sent this to me…it’s a poem she penned after reading The Three Weavers (a story that is a must read for all girls and boys! www.lamplighter.net)

Don’t give your love to the shepherd boy,
Don’t give your love to the knight;
Don’t give your love to the lowly page,
Though his teeth are flashing bright.

Weave your love on your special loom,
With tenderness and care;
Weave it now, for one day soon,
You’ll find your prince so fair.

Will you give your love to the shepherd boy?
Or will you wait, instead?
Will you treat your loom like a child’s toy?
Or will purity crown your head?

No, I won’t give in to the shepherd boy,
I won’t give in to the page;
I won’t give in to the foolish knight,
Though a war for my heart has been waged.

I’ll hold out long for my perfect prince,
No matter how weary the wait.
I must be strong for my perfect prince–
If only he’d come today!

I will fight to keep my loom secure–
I must protect what is mine!
They have no right to taint what is pure–
My prince will come in time!

by Victoria

Published in: on October 26, 2011 at 1:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Soft Answer

When our children have committed an offense, how do we respond? The natural tendency of our flesh is to protect ourselves and our image, allowing anger to escalate and tempers to flare in order to avoid the real heart issue. In self-preservation we insist on having the last word rather than seeking to understand. Too often self-love hinders our ability to reach the hearts of our children. But God’s Word tells us that a soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger. We must break down the barriers that squelch communication, and once again bring about an environment in which we can look beyond the offense and into the heart. No matter how wrong they may be, we are now controlled by the Spirit of God–not by our own selfish heart–and are in a position to provide guidance.

When the prophet Nathan confronted King David with his sin, he didn’t become irate. Rather, he approached David with a story and concluded with the simple statement: “You are the man.” A simple story and a simple statement were all it took to break the heart of the king. Just as Nathan used wisdom when dealing with David, we too can help our children through words that convey wisdom and truth.

If anger consistently controls your life and bears its ugly head whenever you are confronted with a challenge, perhaps now is the time to seek help from a godly pastor, counselor, or wise older couple. Take off your mask and allow yourself to be helped. If we want to be like Christ, then we must be willing to humble ourselves, pray, and seek His help.

It is now time that we confess our faults one to another, and allow God to fill us with His love, joy, peace, longsuffering, and gentleness. It is never too late to change. There is no situation in life that is beyond the life-changing power of our Awesome God!

Published in: on October 26, 2011 at 5:48 am  Leave a Comment  

Russia and Abortion

Yesterday a new law was passed in Russian, now making abortion illegal after the 12th week. You may be asking yourself, how can an atheistic nation turn pro-life?  The answer is that they haven’t. But what they are experiencing, is a demographic winter. What is a dw? It is a time when a people can no longer sustain it’s population. Because of decades of abortion and immorality, Russia, like many other nations (Italy, France, Spain, Greece, England), can no longer support the replenishing of its culture. In the 60’s though the 90’s, people were led to believe that the world was overpopulated. The United Nations enforced sterilization programs in third world countries. Women were forced into sterilization programs. Now, just a few decades later, we are learning that the overpopulation scare was purely a propaganda scheme to once again attack the biblical mandate to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. (Gen 1:28) The attack on bearing children goes back to Genesis where we learn of Satan’s hostility toward the children of God.  In Genesis 3:14,15 we read:  “And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:  And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Later in the book of Exodus we see this enmity falling with full fury against the children of God as the king of Egypt commands for all of the male children to be killed two years and younger. Abortion is just another method of the enemy to thwart the godly line from being lights of the world. David in the Psalms teaches that Happy is the man who has his quiver full of children. (Psalm 127:5) “Lo, children are the heritage of the LORD and the fruit of the womb is his delight.” (Psalm 127:3) If you want to understand more clearly as to why we are presently experiencing a Demographic Winters, besides the biblical truths just stated, you will want to see the documentary Demographic Winter and Demographic Bomb. You can learn more about this eye opening film at www.lamplighter.net

 

Published in: on October 25, 2011 at 11:50 am  Leave a Comment  

One Eye Open, Part 2

As I said before, those who become great do not become great because they were born gifted. Instead, high levels of skill are cultivated through practice, perseverance, competition with peers, and parental influence.

Eyewitness accounts tell us that Ted Williams, one of the greatest baseball players of all time, was always seen with a bat in his hands. As a child he heard that movies were bad for your eyes, so he abstained from movies, which was extremely rare in a day when young adults flocked to the theatre. His real greatness came from his relentless practices. Four hours every day he would hit balls and even when he entered the major league he continued to practice into the night after practice was over!

Steve Jobs, the driving force behind one of the most creative and prosperous

companies of all time, Apple Inc., was also not born gifted. Jobs relentlessly pursued technological and aesthetic excellence. His demand for excellence from himself and those who worked for him places him among the Beethovens, Mozarts, Einsteins, and da Vincis of this world. What I find interesting is that many of these achievers were not Christians. Da Vinci, probably the most diversely talented human being ever, was an exceptional engineer, anatomist, conceptualist of the automobile, helicopter, and

machine-gun, and part-time geographer, mathematician, musician, and botanist. How did he achieve this? Like Jobs, Einstein, Edison, Beethoven, and Mozart, he believed the sky was the limit. So why are so few Christians reaching such great heights in innovation, creativity, discovery, and accomplishment today?

Dr. Luke, in chapter 16, gives us the answer when he says, “The children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.” And this ought not to be! Jesus himself claimed that we as the children of God could do even greater things that he did. But how? Maybe, like Ted Williams, we need to leave the movies behind and start practicing and persevering!

Published in: on October 25, 2011 at 5:46 am  Leave a Comment  

One Eye Open, Part 1

I remember as a child the excitement when Mickey Mantle came up to bat–“going, going, gone!”, the announcer would shout with Yankee stadium excitement. I only wish I could have heard a game when Ted Williams was up to bat. Ted was the last baseball player to hit above a .400 batting average. It is said that players like Ted Williams are born with special abilities. One pitcher said that Williams was able to see the threads on the ball and determine which direction the ball would curve.

It seems like throughout the ages that there have always been people with special abilities. Beethoven, Mozart, Angelo, da Vinci, Edison, Copernicus, and Einstein were all extremely gifted–or were they? Well, this may surprise you, but the latest research suggests that these individuals may not have been any more gifted than you or me.

If you study the life of Ted Williams, for example, you will see that he practiced swinging the bat for an inordinate amount of time. He would even walk around town with one eye closed to strengthen his eye sight. Edison was considered by his teacher and father to be retarded–after the first grade! Einstein claimed, “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” Mozart once said, “Nobody has devoted so much time and thought to composition as I.” Beethoven would write as many as sixty to seventy drafts just for a single phrase. He wrote about his compositions, “I make many changes, and reject and try again, until I am satisfied. Only then do I begin the working-out in breadth, length, height and depth in my head.” Beethoven was also forced by his father as a young child to musical limits, flogged, or locked in the cellar until he learned his lessons.

None of these people had “special abilities.” They had God given talents that were cultivated by persevering practice and motivated by parents, peers, pressure, and prestige.

Each of us has been given a talent or two from the Lord. It is now up to us to give back a good return on His investment (see 2nd Chron. 32:25). The time has come for the children of light to rise and reflect their creator with the highest level of skill and creativeness, even if it takes walking around with one eye closed!

Published in: on October 24, 2011 at 5:44 am  Leave a Comment