Celebrating Halloween as a Christian

Now that we are safely past Halloween 2018, I have a true confession.

I struggled this year with what it means to celebrate Halloween as a Christian.

This is in part because of my own history with having celebrated Halloween as a Wiccan sabbath.  It’s also in part to articles, such as the one written by a former Satan worshipper, who contends that Christians should consider the spiritual implications of what Halloween represents.  I acknowledge this is a holiday that is celebrated by non-Christians as a holy day. Specifically, Satanists and Pagans, such as Wiccans, Druids, or Voodoo practitioners all believe that Halloween is a day where the veil is thinnest between the living and the dead. They believe it’s an opportunity to communicate with the dead, as well as become more in tune with nature and energy.

For the Christian, that is dangerous territory.  It is counter to how the Bible instructs us to live as followers of Christ.  Halloween provides the enemy an opportunity to tempt the Christian into thoughts and deeds that are not congruent with a Christian walk.

On the other hand, I recognize that the harvest festivals sponsored by churches and the trunk or treat events sponsored by small towns are an effort to keep kids safe and make this an enjoyable fun time for families.   I recognize that we could be celebrating the arrival of autumn and that our children don’t have to dress up as scary characters.  I recognize that one’s belief in the event is partially what drives the motives and intent behind the event.

However, I also take it very seriously that there is an expectation that the followers of Christ will give glory to the true living God.  Our words and deeds reflect that we are representing Jesus to the world.  We must be careful to not give any satisfaction to the devil.  And please believe, the devil is garnering satisfaction when the children of God are disobedient or tempted into sinful behavior.

All that to say, I struggled this year with what it means to be a Christian celebrating Halloween. I didn’t come up with any answers. I bought candy, I dressed up, and I took my child to Halloween and Harvest Festival events.

But I’m still thinking about it…and I’m still praying about it…and I’m still talking to God about it.  I’m grateful I have a relationship with God where I can question these types of scenarios and know that He is listening.

What thoughts do you have on Halloween as a Christian?

~Emily

Modern witches planning a hex and offer an invitation to join them

How often have I heard a modern Pagan claim that their religious beliefs “harm none”?  Self-proclaimed wiccans, witches and warlocks claim that theirs is a religion that worships nature.  They will cast spells and create space to conduct magic, but they classify these practices as “white magic.” They also claim to not “recruit” to this pagan path.

And yet, the boldness of the enemy has allowed this type of article.  The title alone should grab the attention of Christians:  “Modern-Day Witches are planning to hex Brett Kavanaugh—and you can join in.”

Not only does this violate their claim that they “harm none,” but it also blatantly advocates for others to “join in.”

This is a recruiting campaign designed to capitalize on individual feelings about sexual assault, due process, the selection process of the Supreme Court justices, political views or even the opinion of one man’s character.

Regardless of where you fall on each of those opinions, the enemy is utilizing those thoughts to lure the unsuspecting into dappling in a very dangerous practice.  Hexing is wishing and projecting negative energy and ulitmately ill will towards an individual or situtation.  The practice of believing that this is an innocent gesture of hexing or worse…that the hexing is justified…is extremely dangerous. Why is it dangerous?  Because it feeds the enemy’s agenda of pulling people away from Christ.

While Americans are often oblivious to the spiritual battles waged around them, the enemy is being anything but subtle.  How much more obvious is the recruiting to the dark side, than an invitation that states “join in”?

The Bible gives specific guidance on avoiding these scenarios. In James 4:7 we are told “Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

In addition to submission to God and resistance of the devil, recognition of the enemy’s tactics is imperative.  Prayer must be utilized as a powerful weapon of protection and resistance.

Stand firm in Christ and know that the enemy is tireless.

~Emily

Bittersweet Last Day

Since 1983 and from CMSgt Wayne Fisk through 13 subsequent Chiefs, The Enlisted Heritage Hall has been a labor a love, creating a place of honor for our enlisted Airmen & their families. It’s the only enlisted-centric museum in the Air Force and it’s located in a humble builiding on Maxwell AFB-Gunter Annex, Alabama…in an old 1940s segregated dining facility.  I have had the pleasure of working with some fantastic Airmen as we built displays, held huge events, and gave a gazillion tours.  I couldn’t imagine doing it with any other team…big thank yous to them.

On my 1stday in Feb 2015, I took the 1stphoto…essentially in awe that the Air Force would trust me with leading such a team.  They put me in charge of a 14K square foot museum!

It’s a humbling place to work. Airman and their families have trusted me…Trusted me to tell their stories, to preserve their artifacts, and take care of their memories.  Chief Master Sergeants of the Air Force-past and present, Medal of Honor families, Khobar Tower Survivors, Families of Lima Site 85, POWs, 1st in their field, KIA, MIA…the list goes on and on, but I would be remise if I didn’t thank the Airmen and the families of these Airmen who shared their lives with me while we built displays.

It’s been over 3 years and this morning I took my “last day” photo.  It’s a bitter sweet day, as I leave my most rewarding assignment and walk away from 25 years of being Active Duty.

I hope that I was half the leader & visionary that CMSgt Fisk was and I hope I made a small impact on “Preserving yesterday, today, for tomorrow.”

~Emily

 

 

 

Satanic Statue In Arkansas

Overt Satanic Worshippers

While some in the country are worried about taking down historic statues that are perceieved as representing hatred, others are ensuring that new ones take their place.

Yahoo News reports that there is a Satanic Temple in Arkansas that recently brought a very large statue of Baphomet to the steps of the Capitol under the guise of religious freedom.

When I read this report, it truly shocked me to the core.  Gone are the days of secret, behind-closed-doors, cult-like worship of the enemy.

The fight is out in the open and at the doorsteps of our lives.

Prayer:  Father, cover this Nation with your Holy and Righteous hand.  We are in a time of blatant disrespect for the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Let us be examples of your light. Let those who are lost, find their way to you.  Let the innocent have shielded eyes to this deviance.  Father, protect us from the enemy.  In your Son’s name we pray. Amen.

 

 

In the Morning…

Give me Jesus

In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus.

It’s the phrase that I woke up singing this morning.  A result of a happy heart after a night of finding out that the wolves in sheeps’ clothing are still running rampant.

On the spiritual warfare battlefield, Jesus is our great protector.

In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus.

~Emily

Spiritual Battles

Last Friday, I made good on a ridiculous commitment I made while my husband and I were dating.  I had casually and thoughtlessly agreed that sometime in the future I would attend a heavy metal concert.  I dodged that bullet for years.  But Friday, I finally went to my first and last head-banging-metal concert.  I am free of that commitment from this point forward.

I may be free of the commitment to go, but I’m not free of the overwhelming pain my heart felt leading up to the event, while being at that concert, and in the days afterward.

True confession #1:  I hate…seriously hate…heavy metal music.  It’s so freaking loud.  And repetitive…every song sounds like exactly the same yelling.  I don’t understand 80% of the lyrics and the few phrases I can discern I don’t believe are in concert with my Christian faith.  I despise that many of the bands in this musical genre utilize symbolology that I deliberately avoid, as a result of my own pagan past.  In truth, in the weeks leading up to this concert I was praying that something would happen that would prevent our attendance.

As it became apparent that I was going to have to actually attend, I engaged my prayer warriors to form a hedge of protection around my family while we attended the concert. I was fervently praying for God to close our ears to the enemy, to open the hearts to the non-believers, and to assist with protecting us as we entered a spiritual warfare battlefield.

I prayed as we drove to the venue. I prayed in the parking lot. I prayed in the concession line. I prayed in our seats.  I prayed for God to be with us and that Satan would get behind us. I prayed for complete and total intercession.  I prayed specifically for my family, but then I prayed for those in my row, in our section, and in the entire audience. I even prayed for all of the band members.  I prayed that everyone present would know God…would know His love…would profess Christ as their Savior.

I was praying super big prayers.

True confession #2: I was surprised at how pleasant everyone was around us.  Between sets, folks were chatting with us and offering ear plugs (little did they know I had packed several sets of plugs in my purse!).  No one was cursing. No one was fall-on-their-face drunk.  No one was spouting off about Devil worship.

Everyone was nice.  No one was directly threatening towards me or my family.  I felt God’s arms around us.

And that’s when I let my guard down.  I had prayed through most of the afternoon into the evening, but by dusk I had relaxed a little.

The sun went down.  The drunks became rowdy.  The smell of weed was prevalent.  All around us, people were super excited to hear the first beats of the drum from the headlining band.  I stood up to see the stage and when the curtain fell I was in absolute shock.  There were images that were blatantly disrespectful of Christ.  There were huge areas of literal fire balls.  When pentagrams began bouncing all over the screen, I literally burst into tears and fell back into my seat.  I know I was the only person in that arena sitting down, but I may have been the only one that was crying and praying out loud to the one true God.

Satan made his presence known.

True confession #3: Spiritual Warfare in America is real and I am fearful that many Christians are turning a blind eye to this fact.  I know it’s real because it’s a slippery slope I’ve tumbled down.  I know it’s real because I see it in daily aspects of our society.  I know it’s real because I just pitched a book about it.

It scares me to death to see how spiritual battles have influenced American society.   And yet, I took my family on a trek to see the battle field in action.   You read that correctly… “my family.”

True confession #4:  My 7-year-old son was with us.  He was one of a dozen kids that I saw in attendance.

After that confession, you would be partly justified in asking about my parenting skills.  If spiritual warfare scares me so much and if I was so concerned that I dispatched my prayer warriors, why on God’s green earth would I introduce my son to such a scene?

Why?  Because I’m raising a prayer warrior.  I’m raising a child to someday become a head of household.  I’m raising a young man who is in love with the Lord.  I can’t shield him completely from the world.  But I can teach him how to hold onto his faith, his beliefs, and his focus on God.

Do you know who was praying with me in the weeks up to the concert?  My son.

Do you know who prayed in the car that God would protect us?  My son.

Do you know who was praying that just one person would come to know the Lord? My son.

Do you know who shielded his eyes from the fire on stage and also prayed out loud? My son.

Spiritual warfare is alive and well in our country.  Christians are doing a disservice to the next generation if we aren’t allowing them to become equipped to fight a battle that they may not understand.  Shoot, that many of us don’t understand!

Some will say that a heavy metal concert wasn’t the place for a child.  I agree.  It wasn’t an ideal situation.  But because it was one that occurred, I used it as a teaching tool for my child to understand that God listens.  He will defend us.  He will equip us.  He will protect us.

I’m free of the commitment to ever attend another one of these concerts…but I will continue to be vigilant to the spiritual battlefield all around us.

~Emily

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” ~1 Peter 5:8 (NIV)

1 Peter 5-8

@#!*% Swear Words

I use swear words while driving.

It feels slightly cathartic writing that…like it’s a true confession.

I actually use swear words more than just while I’m driving.  My parents had a philosophy that words were just words…you just needed to know when it was socially acceptable to use particular words.  They taught my brother and I to expand our vocabulary and to become selective in which words we chose to use.  Words matter.  And the meaning behind each word matters.  It’s not enough to say “kind” when you really mean “considerate” or “gracious.”  My parents taught me that the meaning behind each word is important and that the use of a particular word should be deliberate.  They taught us that there was a need for cuss words, but that we should be selective when we used them.  It’s a thought that I’ve carried my whole life.

And until this last week, I didn’t think much of it.  You see, this last week my 7 year old gave me a vocabulary lesson.

I was driving and he was in the back seat. For whatever reason, I chose to use a particular word…and it’s one I chose specifically for it’s meaning.  My son said, “Mama, you shouldn’t use that word…it’s a bad word.”

So I seized the opportunity. I thought to myself, “I have this wonderful teaching moment…I have a chance to be as amazing as my own parents!”

I replied to my son, “Buddy, there aren’t any bad words…there are just words that we associate with having bad meanings.  When I use that word, does it hurt you?”

Very cautiously, very slowly, very guardedly, my little guy replied, “No….but I’m pretty sure it hurts God.”

Gut Punch to the Mama. Seriously, kid?!?!?!  I felt like I had the wind knocked out of me.  What in the Sam-Hill am I supposed to say to that?!?!?! (See, I’m still struggling with swear word replacements!).

“You know what Buddy, you’re right.  That probably does hurt God.  I’ll do my best to stop saying those words.”

I have never subscribed to the thought that the Bible specifically bans the use of curse words. However, there are plenty of scriptures that discourage the use of profanity.

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” ~Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)

 “Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.” ~2 Timothy 2:16 (NIV)

 What I have always subscribed to is the thought that our mouths either build up or tear down. This is true for the Christian and for the non-Christian.  Essentially, the words we choose can help or harm others.

This makes perfect sense when you consider how words impact your own day.  As an example, imagine yourself stopping before work to get a coffee. Someone in line tells you that they love your hair.  For nearly everyone, a compliment like that would automatically make you smile.  It lifts you up.  Yet if someone in the same line says something snarky or tells you to watch where you are going, you are automatically put on the defensive. You may react negatively or you may internalize the words. Either way, you aren’t smiling. You aren’t lifted up.

When considering building or tearing, I want to be a Godly woman who builds others up.  Even in a moment of frustration, my use of curse words does not build anyone up.  In fact, it caused my child to pause enough that he felt compelled to correct my behavior.

While I don’t believe that using profanity is the worst thing a human can do, I can agree that it is not glorifying to God.  As a result of my parents encouraging an ever-growing vocabulary, I have a stockpile of other words I could choose to use when frustrated or angry.   In order to become a “builder” of others, I want to glorify God with my word choices.

Like I told my little guy, I’m going to do my best to stop choosing those words.

~Emily

 “My tongue will speak of your righteousness and of your praises all day long.”  ~Psalm 35:28 (NIV)