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“They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. . .Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders . . .And let us run with perseverance. . .fixing our eyes on Jesus. . .so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” –Hebrews 11:35-12:3

Jack-o-lanterns and costumes lay waiting. Candy reserves mount inside each doorway. We muddle through the workweek amid the season’s orange and black decor. The time nears, and we do our best to prepare against the horror of facing a princess with nothing sweet to offer.

Halloween stirs mixed responses of aversion, occult obsession, or ambivalence in the name of family fun. Although pagan rituals once took place during harvest season, early Christians promoted neither ambivalence nor aversion to the October 31st holiday. On All Hallow’s Eve, shortened to Hallowe’en, Christ followers entered a two-day festival honoring those who  paid the ultimate price for their faith.

This week offers an opportunity to celebrate those who persevere in faith by living their example. Join those Christians who observe All Saints Day by taking a moment to learn from the stories of martyrs. Support contemporary missionaries who risk their lives daily to share Jesus. Better still, take the step of becoming an ambassador to shine His hope wherever you go. Instead of joining the occult practices or condemning the lost, we can reach out in love and prayer.

Like the story of the jack-o-lantern, we carry the light of Christ so that it can shine into the darkness of the world. Carve a smile onto your face this Halloween, and let His hope and love gleam toward all the little princes and princesses who cross your path.

happy jackolantern

Pumpkin Parable (Original author unknown):

First, God picks a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch and brings it in from the field. He chooses you.

He then washes all the “dirt” off the outside. He cleans away the outside influences. Old things are passed away and all things are become new.

Then, God carefully removes all the tangled messes of lies and confusion, pain and fear, and the slime of sin. He cleans out all the icky stuff from the inside. 

He replaces the seeds of doubt with the light of faith, hope and love. The Light of His Spirit warms and transforms us.

Then He carves a new smiling face. His powerful presence changes our life. 

 He shines through our life for all to see.  “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16)

Jesus, please cleanse me of fear, disdain, and sin. Fill me with Your brilliant presence and make my life shine powerfully for You. Amen.

“Such a person feeds on ashes; a deluded heart misleads him;
he cannot save himself, or say,
‘Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?’” – Isaiah44:19-20

Several bags of candy lurk in my house. I won’t divulge where I hid these treats from my family. The loot stash must remain secret, or I could face a dire need devoid of sweets. No one’s stealing from my Hershey haven.

I must hoard those snack-size candy bars so I can give them away later, right?

Let me clarify, I’m not shoving them in pockets to eat them myself. It’s been eight months since my last taste of candy. I reserve all treats for other people. For a future time. Just not for the people right in my home, not for me, and not now.

The pattern of hiding my sweets makes me wonder if I treat my spiritual blessings the same way.  I sometimes hide myself to prevent theft, as if sharing my heart will allow someone to rob an irreplaceable gift. If I believe I possess a resource the Lord cannot restore, the enemy has tricked me. In fact, it is in giving that I receive (see Matthew 6:4), and Christ promises abundant life for those who follow Him. He will multiply the stores of my heart when I share them in accordance with His will.

So instead of allowing the enemy to trick me, I must treat all those I encounter with uninhibited blessings, lavishing upon them every gift I can offer today. Not withholding for some future need, or a different person. Not refusing to enjoy God’s sweetness myself, either. I’ll open myself to receiving all the delicious anointing Christ wants to increase within my soul. I can hardly wait to give what He will resupply.

I’ll also uncover my stash of chocolate right now. We always seems to have leftover candy after Halloween anyway. More than we started with. Funny how that works out, huh?

Will you choose, like me,  to resist trickery and share your treats today?

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