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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.

“Are you important?” The pharmacist locked eyes with me.

Taken off-guard by the question, I fumbled for a response. 

“You look like you’re important,” he said.

“Well, everybody’s just as important as everyone else,” I managed to say. “I’m sure I’m no more important than you are.”

“Well, that’s a good attitude.” The pharmacist proceeded to prepare my arm for a vaccination. “I won’t go on telling you you look like a movie star, then.”

Though I complemented his painless technique and kept conversation polite, a twinge of regret hit me over the missed opportunity. I should have added “in God’s eyes” to my statement of universal significance.

In this world, I harbor no delusions of movie star status. My computer screen reads 9:30PM. I just finished cleaning the kitchen and folding laundry. Earlier, I answered business emails, filed paperwork, ran errands, and managed social media. Hollywood icons have others do those tasks. They also don’t chase pregnant flies around the house before sitting down to dinner, but that’s another story…

Let it suffice to say I’m not at risk of paparazzi stalkings or a fan mob crushing. I’m not well known by earthly standards.

To the One Who made the stars, however, I’m known well. In God’s eyes, the status of my importance skyrockets. I have no light of my own with which to shine, but through my intimate relationship with His Son, I become more than a star.

“You may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’  Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life” (Philippians 2:15-16).

If anyone ever asks me about my importance again, I’ll know how to respond. “I’m not a movie star,” I’ll say, “but I am a star. Would you like to be one, too?”

Christ thinks you’re so important, He’d give His life up just for you. Every day of your life, the glorious Son sends His Spirit to pursue your affections. Relentless in love and passion for you, He daily seeks a deeper connection with your heart.

What will you say if someone asks whether you’re important?

Rain or Shine.

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