October 31st: What Do You Shine For?

In light of the upcoming date of Halloween, may we take a minute to step back and observe the date from a Christian perspective, rather than pagan. There is something powerful about celebrating what the Lord has done on various days—and not allowing our Gregorian calendar to tell us what the date should signify. If we know a bit about the day in respect to Christian history, rather than its fame as a day of dressing up as ghosts and asking for candy from strangers. There is much to spur on conversations of faith with those celebrating Halloween, if we just know our history! Let’s take a quick time travel to learn the facts. Ready to travel back in time? Awesome, let’s go!

 

The year is 1517 and the date is October 31st. We are in Wittenburg, Upper Saxony which is within the Holy Roman Empire. During this time in history, the church has been marred with a reputation of bribery schemes and grave injustices, better known as the sale of indulgences. A German Monk by the name of Martin Luther has reached his breaking point and addresses Albrecht, Archbishop of Mainz and Magdeburg through a list of objections to the current issues widely known and recognized within the church. This letter titled “Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences,” was nailed to the door of the All Saints’ Church. This letter, which would later be better known as the Ninety-Five Theses, would play a crucial role in the Protestant Reformation.

 

Among the objections, Martin Luther states in Thesis 86 “Why does the pope, whose wealth today is greater than the wealth of the richest Crassus, build the basilica of St. Peter with the money of poor believers rather than with his own money?”

Martin Luther also rejected the notion that by dropping money in the church coffers, one was able to buy entrance into heaven. Luther recalled that Jesus Christ is the only way to get to heaven and no amount of money, or lack there of, was going to change one’s personal access to Almighty God through the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Now, in 2017, it is our turn to take a stand for the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 10:10-13). Regardless of what others may tell you or try to sell you—salvation is found through confessing our wrong doings to God above and believing in the Lord Jesus Christ alone (1 John 1:9). There is no other way by which humanity can be saved, but through the living Son of God, Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:21, Acts 10:43, Acts 13:26 & 1 Timothy 2:1-6).

 

“For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.”  1 Timothy 2:5-6 (NASB)

 

As a Christian, may we rejoice that our souls are not stuck in some form of limbo until someone can earn enough money to absolve the debt of our sins and ensure the way to paradise. Praise be to our Victorious and Risen Savior, Jesus Christ that all the filth, shame, perversion and unspeakable deeds committed by all humanity were thrust upon Him as He died upon a cross, between two criminals, to pay each and every one of our debts in full—once and for all (2 Corinthians 5:17-18). Hallelujuah! May we rejoice as followers of Jesus Christ, and use this season of plastic witches, sparkling paper bats and candy eye balls to recall our true reference point for October 31st. It is not defined by souls floating around aimlessly and waiting for the indulgences of another to get them through the gates of heaven, but firmly standing upon the Word of God that claims for each and every believer in Jesus Christ that “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:7-10). Happy Reformation Day, church family, may we also be people who hold fast to the words of the Holy Bible; regardless of how many or how few are standing at our sides.

 

Jesus Christ called us to be His light to this dark world (Matthew 5:13-16). May we honor the Lord through speaking the truths of God’s Word to a world who is utterly confused on what pure love should look like and many are sincerely desperate to experience the real thing. Perhaps this is written for you today. What if someone you personally interact with will see pure and godly love lived out for the first time? What if, by caring for others who do not agree with you politically, economically, socially, or otherwise—what if you were used by God Almighty to help introduce someone to the Lord Jesus Christ for the first time? Sounds too big or too crazy?

May I encourage you this day to realize that our words hold weight, our actions leave impact and the love of Jesus Christ will long outlive us all. Praise God! May we bring all people to Jesus Christ who is in fact, the lover, rescuer and redeemer of every soul who confesses their inadequacies and turns to Him as the Lord of their lives (John 3:16). This is a truly exciting time to be a believer of Jesus Christ, may we not throw away the opportunities given to us each day to make an eternal impact in the lives of those around us for Jesus Christ alone is worthy!

 

1Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. 2By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. 3For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. 4For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

      5Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?6This is the One who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood. It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7For there are three that testify: 8the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. 9If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; for the testimony of God is this, that He has testified concerning His Son. 10The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son. 11And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.

13These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. 14This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.

      16If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this. 17All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death.

      18We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. 19We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. 20And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

21Little children, guard yourselves from idols.”

1 John 5:1-21 (NASB)

 

 

All historical information regarding Reformation Day was gathered from this site: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reformation_Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Christian Life According To Pumpkin

When autumn comes around each year, there is one item that steals the show- the pumpkin. From seasonal foods, drinks and cinema classics to home décor and photo props, the pumpkin takes center stage! But, have you ever seen the pumpkin as a way to explain the Christian life? As the weather begins to cool and the leaves begin to fall, let’s take a look at an amazing reminder of our spiritual journey with Jesus Christ — as illustrated by the growth of the pumpkin!

Much like the orange mascot of fall, each of our spiritual lives started with a small seed. The Lord assures us that the Word of God will accomplish the work He intends for it (Isaiah 40:8, Isaiah 55:11 and Matthew 24:35). In the same way, once an individual is willing to accept the free gift of eternal life from Jesus Christ, they will be saved from eternal punishment and judgment (John 1:1-18).

As a Christian takes the time to dive into the Bible, ask questions, pray and seek godly counsel, a process much like spiritual watering and feeding takes place to revitalize the soul (John 4:14). While Jesus was preaching, He said this:

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” Matthew 5:6 (NASB)

The pumpkin seed then turns into a sprout. And in the spiritual sense, once an individual receives Jesus Christ as their own Savior to wipe clean all the known and unknown failures, a new life in Christ has begun! Praise God that the moment any person (young, old, married, divorced, straight, homosexual, athletic, intellectual, etc.) entrusts their eternal hope and security to Jesus Christ—a sprout within our souls arises.

 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-19 (NASB)

The sprout then grows a vine now that the plant has well-established roots and is moving across wider terrain! How does this happen in a spiritual sense? Jesus Christ shares that He is the One True Vine (John 15:1). As a believer continues to “feed” on the Word of God, the believer becomes spiritually stronger (Psalm 119:9-16). Now, the vine does not stay in one place. No, no, no! It is on the move! As believers in Jesus Christ, we are instructed to do the same:

“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.’” Mark 16:15 (NASB)

The vine then produces the flower. Just as the flower opens to receive a special gift from the bee, as believers, the Holy Spirit comes to each one to provide power to go forth and be witnesses for Jesus Christ into the entire world. After Jesus Christ victoriously rose from the dead on the third day, He ascended into Heaven, and instructed His disciples by saying:

but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (NASB)

From the flower, the much-anticipated pumpkin will grow—and grow—and grow! Many will purchase pumpkins this month, to carve into jack-o-lanterns that will light up the darkness of the night. In the same way, may we as Christians, share the light of Jesus Christ—that is within our souls—to a dark and unknowing world. While preaching from a hillside as He delivered the famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told His followers that they were the “light of the world” and that this light was never to be hidden. Rather, the light was to be displayed for all in the house to see (Matthew 5:14-15).

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 (NASB)

 Growth is a process. Pumpkins take time to grow into the orange orb we all love and adore. In the same way, our faith in God, our obedience, and our trust in Him through all circumstances are all growing as well. Be encouraged that no matter where you may be on your journey with Jesus Christ, He is ready to encourage you to keep going. So press into His Word and above all, keep growing in your knowledge of Him because you are forever cherished by an infinite God.

Click the link below to view this article on Wonderfully Made’s official blog site.

Life Like a Pumpkin