For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
Halloween is somewhat controversial among Christians. The name “All Hallows Evening” anticipates the Christian Festival of All Saints, celebrated since the 9th century on November 1st. Yet many customs associated with it come from older pagan fears that spirits can come back from the dead on October 31st, midway between the equinox and the solstice, and their evil tricks can be avoided by leaving out treats and wearing scary costumes or disguises. Thus some argue that celebrating Halloween glorifies occult beliefs and dismisses the dangers of demons, not to mention that it teaches extortion and entitlement. Others, however, contend that Christians can redeem the holiday by using it to build relationships with our neighbors and celebrate the freedom we have in Christ from death and demons. Either way, we are called to be fearless and faithful, fully believing that pious protests cannot contribute to, nor pagan practices separate us from, the love of God that is given as a free gift to us in Christ Jesus!
Lord God, enable us to trust so fully in Your love and redemption that we freely and fearlessly live out our faith, in Jesus’ name, amen.
"Everything is permissible"--but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"--but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, for, "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it." If some unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. But if anyone says to you, "This has been offered in sacrifice," then do not eat it, both for the sake of the man who told you and for conscience' sake--the other man's conscience, I mean, not yours. For why should my freedom be judged by another's conscience? If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for? So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:23-31)
Christians have been set free from the laws that governed God’s people in the Old Testament. However, as those who believe whole heartedly that Christ sacrificed Himself to redeem us—entirely because of God’s unconditional, undeserved love for us—we are compelled to respond by seeking the best for others, even when it requires us to make sacrifices. We are no longer ruled by ‘the rules’, but we love to love others in order to bring glory to the God who loves us!
Lord God, infuse our hearts with Your gracious love for us, so that we can graciously love others and through our sacrifices bring You glory, in Jesus’ name, amen.
As Pastor at Pilgrim, Kirk is fueled by a passion for God's Word and a lot of good coffee.