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Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

To Celebrate or not to Celebrate?

With the day of Halloween approaching, many of us who are Christians, have our views about whether to celebrate this holiday or not. Halloween like any other Christ-centered holiday has been turned into a secular holiday. Originally Halloween was a holy holiday for the saints. In fact, the word Halloween comes from the word ‘hallow,’ which means ‘holy.’ Halloween began as ‘Hallows Eve’ meaning holy evening. It was the night before ‘All Saints Day’ which is dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and the faithfully departed.

According to The Free Dictionary, hallowed means “to make or set apart as holy, to respect or honor greatly; revere.” We use the word ‘hallowed’ in the Lord’s prayer “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” Matthew 6:9

So how does a holy holiday meant to honor the dead, become about worshipping devils and demons?

Halloween is believed to have been derived from a pagan holiday, Samhain, which was celebrated on the same day as Hallows Eve by the Northern Celtic People. Pagan resources will say this holiday was ‘Christianized,’ when really it’s origination is entirely Christian, having originated from the Roman Catholics.

To celebrate All Hallows Eve, the Church held a vigil, where they worshiped, prayed and fasted (in honor of the dead) prior to the day of the feast. Even though both holidays may have similarities in celebration of the dead, the pagan and Christian holidays are separate, not associated with one another.

Is it true Halloween is on the same day as a pagan holiday? Yes.

Is it true the origination of Halloween was in fact intended to be a holy holiday? Yes.

Halloween, just like any Christian holiday has been altered to conform to secularism. Christmas has become about Santa Claus, Easter has become about the Easter bunny and Halloween has become about the devil.

Does it mean that Christians should not celebrate these holidays just because they have been secularized? Of course not! Otherwise, we would not celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas or the resurrection of Christ on Easter. Just because the world changes the definition of something doesn’t mean Christians should conform to it.

Romans 12:2 ESV
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

As Christians should we participate in this holiday?

If we participate, does that mean we are conforming to the pattern of this world?

Our decision to celebrate or not celebrate should be based on the truth and God’s desire for us. Whatever we decide, I don’t think there is a wrong or right answer. How we choose to celebrate or not to celebrate, can shine Jesus’ light to others.

As Christians, when we allow our children to participate in Halloween it doesn’t mean they are worshipping the devil. Halloween is an opportunity to open the doors of the church for those who normally don’t attend. That is why we see churches inviting the community in by hosting trunk or treats or fall festivals. It is a chance to expose Jesus to non-believers.

Even though the world has made this holiday about evil and darkness, it is an opportunity for Christians to shine the light of Jesus.

What better way to shine the light of Jesus than in the dark?Click To Tweet

As Christians, we can make choices in how we celebrate this holiday. We can choose not to allow our children to dress up as vampires, murderers, demons or devils. We can carve jack-o-lanterns with a cross and put a candle in it. We can hand out candy that has a Bible verse on it. We can pray for the boys and girls who come to our door that may not know Jesus.

7 Ways to shine the Light of Jesus (Click on link to download).

7 Ways to Shine the Light of Jesus during Halloween

How we choose to celebrate or not to celebrate this holiday can be a light to others. If you choose not to celebrate, share why and allow it to be a light to others during this dark holiday. If you choose to celebrate, let it be for the glory of God. Let His light shine through your family for others to see.

How do you celebrate or not celebrate Halloween?  Please Share! 

What are your thoughts on Halloween?

Happy Halloween!

“ 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 NIVClick To Tweet

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4 Easy Ways To Simplify Your Health

This week is a guest post from Jen Roland, who is owner/blogger of Faith Fueled Fitness.  I love faith and fitness and am excited to have Jen guest post and share her insights of making health simple and easy.  Make sure to check out her recipes and fitness workouts!  Have a great week!

In Him,

Heather


4 Easy Ways To Simplify Your Health

There are two words that every new mom dreads.

Bathing suit.

While not explicitly stated, when my sister-in-law asked me to be a bridesmaid – in Florida and by the beach – those two words were exactly what I heard.  Holding my one-year old on my hip, I envisioned stuffing my post-pregnancy belly into a strapless bridesmaid dress.   The mental image was less than flattering.

I needed a way to simplify my health especially with a baby.

But, I was determined.  I vowed to lose the rest of the baby weight, get in amazing shape, and do whatever it would take to get my pre-pregnancy body back.

For the next five months, some might say I was a little “obsessed.”  I worked out for over an hour a day and followed a strict meal plan.  I cut out all refined sugars, eliminated caffeine, and passed on the pizza at parties.  When her wedding day arrived, I received lots of compliments about how “amazing” I looked.  My husband must have agreed, because I came home from that trip pregnant with baby number three.

Two weeks later, after experiencing heavy bleeding, I was diagnosed with a subchorionic hematoma, deemed a high-risk pregnancy, and directed to halt all physical activity.  At 33 weeks, I went into labor, was hospitalized to stop the contractions, and sent home on strict bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy.

When I was given the green light to exercise three months after my son was born, I was starting from ground zero.  This time, God showed me that I needed to approach taking care of my health differently.  He taught me that if I wanted to change my habits, I would need to start by changing the way I think about them.

It began with renewing my perspective from fitness and nutrition as vehicles to achieve the perfect body to fitness and nutrition as opportunities to glorify God by caring for the body He gifted to me.

As I started to view my body as a temple of the Holy Spirit, I began to treat it that way, focusing on life-giving foods that helped me operate at my best without counting every calorie that went into my mouth.

God revealed that in letting my thoughts and actions revolve around when I would work out or what I would eat, I had made my body an idol.  I needed to break free from the obsession so I could focus more on Him.  As I put Christ at the center of my health journey, it became less about perfecting myself and more about living to please Him.  This shift in mindset has had a tremendous impact.

In the words of Beth Moore, “The ultimate goal for most of us, however, is freedom from obsession so that God rather than the body can be glorified.  This goal is most often realized through recapturing the lost art of moderation.  This means learning to do what we need to do (to keep ourselves healthy) and then getting on with living.”1

When we seek our self-worth, personal fulfillment, or happiness in something other than the Lord our God, we’ve allowed that thing to take an inappropriate position of power in our lives that should be reserved for Him. 

1 Corinthians 6:12 tells us “I have the right to do anything,” you say – but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything” – but I will not be mastered by anything.”Click To Tweet

We have the “right” to eat anything we want and we have the “right” to exercise.   However, while something may be permissible, it may not be beneficial.  And while something may be beneficial, it may be unnecessary – even unhealthy – if taken to extremes.

Caring for our health shouldn’t feel like a burden – it should feel “free.”  We can choose to let go of the diet mentality and focus on life-giving choices.  We can choose to let go of obsessing over every bite of food, becoming slaves to a number on a scale, and constantly chasing perfection.  Doing so is an obsession and is actually unhealthy.


4 Easy Ways To Simplify Your Health:

  1. Have a strong WHY for improving your health that is about more than physical appearance. Consider how positive lifestyle habits will allow you to operate at your best so you can give your best to God and others.
  2. Exercise regularly, but not obsessively. Start small with a few minutes a day and build from there (download my FREE GUIDE for short, simple workouts).  Focus on progress, not perfection and consistency over performance.  As you build new habits, focus on what you will do, not what you cando.  Daily wins build momentum and fuel you to keep going!
  3. Focus on consuming nutrient-dense, life-giving foods (not pre-packaged or highly processed).  (Download Living Giving Foods List.)
  4. Adopt an abundance mindset that is focused on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, such as more energy, decreased chance of disease, a closer relationship with God, and improved quality of life.  Shifting our focus to what we are gaining and our health as an opportunity to glorify Him sets a foundation for sustainable change.

As we begin to make small steps toward a healthier lifestyle, we must not neglect the importance of regular quiet time for our emotional and spiritual well-being.  (Check the Resource Guide in my 7-Day Jump Start Plan for some suggestions to get started.)  We can commit our plans to the Lord, asking Him for the strength to keep going when we’re lacking in motivation.  Then we place our eating, exercising, and everything we do before God as an offering, honoring Him through caring for the body He has given each of us.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31 Click To Tweet

Properly fueling our body, mind, and spirit is a means to live with purpose to pursue God’s plan for our lives.  When we keep that perspective, we can rest in the fact that our priorities are well-aligned.  We can stop obsessing over things this world says make us happy and focus on the one thing that brings true fulfillment.


Call to Action:   Download 12 Strategies to Simplify Your Health.  Choose one habit that is doable in your current season of life and which would have the greatest impact on your health.  Share it below or in our private Facebook group, along with your WHY.  Why is this habit important to you?  How will it allow you to operate at your best so you can give your best to God and others?

Additional Resources:
FREE 7-Day Jump Start Guide
Life Giving Foods List
FREE Recipes, Meal Plans & Workouts

Related Posts:
Chasing Beauty (Focusing on Where True Beauty is Found)
7 Strategies to Break the Cycle of Emotional Eating
An Ode to Junk Food Cravings (and How to Beat Them)
7 Strategies for Achieving & Maintaining Your Weight Loss Goals
More Energy, Few Cravings (5 Simple Ways to Pack More Nutrients Into Your Meals)
32 Tips to Get Motivated to Workout

To learn more about Jen and her mission of faith and fitness Click Here.

References:

1. Moore, Beth. (1998). Living Beyond Yourself: Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit. Nashville, TN: LifeWay Press.


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How Do I PRAY?

Have you ever sat down to pray and just didn’t know what to say? Or felt like your prayers were empty and meaningless? Or if God was even listening?

Prayer is one the most important things we can do in our lives, yet when life gets busy, its one of the first things we omit out of our daily schedules and what we give up when we do don’t see ‘our prayers working.’

Maybe one of the reasons prayer can be so difficult is because of it’s meaning.

In English, Pray means ‘to ask or beg.’

In Hebrew, the word for Pray tefillah means to ‘self-examine.’ The root word for tefillah is tofel, which means to ‘attach, join or bind together.’

In Aramic, the word for Pray salah means ‘to bow, worship.’

In Greek, the word for Pray proseuchomai means to ‘supplicate, to worship.’

As one can see, the definition for pray has a variety of definitions. So which definition is correct?

All of them.

Prayer is way to worship God, it is a way to sit before God to self-examine ourselves and how we ask God to intercede on our behalf and bow before Him in His presence.

Nonetheless, prayer doesn’t have one singular definition and fit into a box. Making prayer fit one singular definition would limit God’s abundant meaning, purpose and power for prayer. The purpose of prayer isn’t solely meant to just ask God for our own needs and personal gain, or just to ‘self-examine’ ourselves or just to worship. Prayer goes way beyond that.

Prayer is our invitation to God to open the door for His divine power to move the mountains in our lives and others. Taking our struggles to God through prayer invites Him into our lives, brings us into His presence and binds us closer together with Him.

So How Do We PRAY?

God doesn’t judge our prayers. They don’t have to be filled with eloquent words or with verbatim Scripture. We don’t have to be on our knees, bow our heads or even fold our hands. The prayer posture and how we pray is God’s least concern. God is more concerned about when we don’t pray and the condition of our hearts. Our prayers are a way to get our hearts right with God and communicate with Him.

If you struggle with what to say during prayer here is a prayer tool that may help.

Praise
Repent
Ask
Yield

If you struggle with what to say during prayer here is a prayer tool that may help. Praise Repent Ask YieldClick To Tweet

PRAISE
If you don’t know what to say, start with the very nature of what prayer is, praise. Some of the best prayers written in the Bible are prayers of praise spoken by David in the Psalms. Start telling God everything you are thankful for. Praising God first, sets our hearts and minds on our Creator and His greatness and puts us in His presence. Praise purifies and softens our hearts, so we can hear what God is saying. (James 4:6-10)

REPENT
Next comes the hard part of what prayer is—repentance. No one likes to admit their wrongs or even speak them out loud. Confessing our sins to God, opens a door for His forgiveness, so we don’t allow sin to reign in our lives but allow more room for God’s truth and grace. Confession allows us to humbly come before our Lord, lay our burdens at His feet, so He can do something greater than we ever could on our own. Confession invites God in to intervene on our behalf. (Matt. 3:8, Isa. 30:15).

ASK
Next, tell God all that is troubling you. He wants to hear what is in your heart. He wants every part of you, struggles and all. Ask God for help and healing, to supply for your needs, your provision, safety, wisdom, discernment, guidance, direction. God is always bigger than our struggles and can handle anything we ask of Him. (Phil. 4:19)

YIELD
Lastly, yield to God. Submitting our ways to God to His will and way, allows for God’s greater plan to happen through us. Pray for God’s desires to be your desires. At the end of the day, it’s about God’s plans, not ours. (1 Peter 5:6, James 4:7)

We may not always know what to say, but know when we are silent that is what Satan desires for us.

Satan tries to limit your praying because he knows your praying will limit him. ~Zig ZiglarClick To Tweet

Next time you pray, don’t allow Satan to keep you silent. Cutting prayer out of our lives, cuts our direct communication and relationship off with God, which is exactly what Satan wants. Your prayers matter and make a difference to God. Never stop praying, He is listening.

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Getting Out of the Grave

 

Have you ever gone fishing in hopes to catch the big one?  Our family has done our fair share of fishing, coming from Alaska.  In Alaska, the king salmon is one prize fish that everyone tries to catch.  The king salmon only run at a certain time, once a year so there is a mad rush to catch the big one before they are gone.  People are so crazy about catching king salmon, there are even fish derbies to determine who caught the biggest fish–which can weigh up to 100 pounds!  People spend years trying to catch the big one and still never catch a king salmon.  However, when a person catches a king salmon there is no going back, they are hooked.

No doubt fishing in Alaska is one of the most amazing experiences a person will ever have–there is a joy and art to it.  However, fishing for the big king salmon makes me think how we go out to lure and hook the big fish, but eventually the desire to catch the big one, lures and hooks us if we’re not careful.

Have you been there before–caught in the trap of chasing more?

I am painfully aware and convicted of how many times in life I’ve been a victim of chasing my own desires to find fulfillment and satisfaction–only to be left weary, disappointed and depleted.

In life there becomes a healthy balance of chasing our own desires versus God’s desires to find some sort of satisfaction and fulfillment.   Sometimes we can get caught up in chasing our dreams for the big one, whatever that may be–a bigger house, better job, nicer car or more money.  Then somehow, someway we get stuck in a place where we don’t want to be, missing out on all of God’s greatest blessings along the way.

Trying to catch the big one makes me think of the Israelites.  

Graves of Craving Numbers 11:4-34

Moses, the leader of the Israelites, had been leading them through the desert for about 40 years to take them to The Promised Land.  In this time of wandering, God was teaching them how to rely and depend on Him for all their needs.  God had provided the Israelites with shelter, water and a bread-like substance called manna.  After while the Israelites became dissatisfied with God’s provisions.  They were tired of wandering around the hot desert and eating the same old thing every day.  They whined and complained and desired something more.  They asked Moses if they could have some meat.  The Lord honored their request and sent quail, not just for one day but for a whole month!

There was so much quail meat, that each Israelite had an equivalent to 10 homers which is 100 bushels or a little over 22 barrels of meat.  Their indulgence and engorgement infuriated God.

“While the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the anger of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD struck the people with a very severe plague. So the name of that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had been greedy” Numbers 11:33-34.

In our lives, there is a fine line between being content with what we have and being greedy.  In the case of the Israelites, their greediness for more left them unsatisfied and became the death of them.  In fact, their greediness dug their own grave.

God used the Israelites greediness as an example for generations to come.  The place of their overindulgence was located in the desert and named Kibroth-Hattaavah, which means graves of craving, desire and/or greed.  Their greed and burning desire actually dug their own graves.  It’s not wrong to crave worldly things but our cravings become a sin when our worldly desires become greater than God.

 

“Because he is as greedy as the grave and like death never satisfied” (Habakkuk 2:5 NIV).Click To Tweet

Satan would like nothing more than for us to believe, overindulging in our desires will bring us fulfillment and satisfaction—when in reality our self-fulfillment will only lead to emptiness and temporary satisfaction.  There will always be another desire to fulfill.

When is enough ever enough?

When we reside in what God desires, we will never desire more of what the world wants and be eternally satisfied.Click To Tweet

How do we stay out of the Grave of Craving?

  1. Trusting in Him.  Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, lean not on your own understanding.”   Trusting in the Lord for His provision keeps us straight on our paths, so Satan can’t lure us away.  Keep taking those steps of faith, God will always lead you in the right direction and firmly secure your feet on the straight path.
  2. Being content.  Philippians 4:11-13 NIV, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”  Being content with God’s provision and trusting it is enough, will provide us with more than we ever need.
  3. Prayer and Thanksgiving.  Thessalonians 5:16-18 NASB, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances;  for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
  4. Allowing God’s desires to be our desires.  Psalm 37:4 NASB, “Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.”  When we allow God’s desires to be our desires we will always be eternally satisfied.
  5. Staying alert and aware.  1 Peter 5:8 NIV, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  Keeping our eyes and focus on God will keep us out of the grave.
Satan will always try to use our cravings and desires against us to fulfill his evil plan.Click To Tweet
When our cravings and burning desires are greater than God, they will always be the death of us.Click To Tweet

Our steps of faith will keep us out of the grave.  Jesus came so we could have life and have it to the full (John 10:10).  He didn’t die on the cross and stay in the grave, he resurrected from the grave so that we could live an eternal life with Him be filled with His abundant blessings.  We aren’t meant to live in the grave but be resurrected with Jesus to live a life with eternal fulfillment and satisfaction.

God can handle our circumstances and turn them into something so much better and greater.  Getting out of the grave of our circumstances will be hard, but I promise you, dear friend, God will hold your hand and never let go.

Have you been a victim to Satan’s sneaky tactics and not even know it?

Have you ever been stuck in the grave with your circumstances?

How has God led you out of the grave?

We were never meant to live in the grave with our circumstances but in the Victory of Jesus!  You were made to be victorious!  God’s love and grace are transformational.  We become victorious when His Word is alive and active in our lives!  Please let me know if you have any questions!  You are loved!  

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The Joy of Less: Becoming More With Less

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched–they must be felt with the heart.”  Quote Hellen Keller

Has God ever asked you to walk away from it all?  To give everything up and walk in a totally different direction?

That is our story.   In fact, God did a complete overhaul and did the impossible, transforming our hearts.  It all started three years ago when God starting working fervently in our hearts.

It started with a prayer.


God, I pray that your desires will be my desires.  I pray my heart will be filled with what you desire for me.  

Be careful what you pray for. That prayer opened the door for God to do something amazing.  It allowed him to orchestrate the impossible.  God asked me a very tough question, “Will you allow me to be the one to fill you with more of what I have planned for you?  Will you trust me to lead you to the best life ever?”  

What God was asking us to do, was a tall order.  He was asking us to walk away from the life we had been working toward, that we had built over the past 10 years.  He had asked us to walk away from our house, our family and friends, our jobs, everything we knew.  Why?  To be filled with the more God desired for us.  

By allowing God to fill us with His desires it opened a door for so much more.  It allowed God to rid of us anything getting in the way of him so he could fill us with his abundance and not the world’s.  To the world we seemed crazy, giving up a life that is considered the ‘American Dream.’  You could say we had it all according to the standard of the world.  But there will always be something more the world is telling you to buy and achieve, this will only leave a person weary and depleted.  

Allowing God to have our struggles, made more room for Him to orchestrate the impossible and re-directed our focus to what mattered most;  God, each other, making memories and serving others.

Clutter, busyness, and distractions will always get in the way of God's plan for us. Click To Tweet

Quote Chicken Soup for the Soul:  The Joy of Less- “Life is focused now on what we are putting into our hearts and not what we are putting into our closets.” ~Heather Gillis  

It is amazing what God can do when we allow Him to have all of our heart, and give Him all of our struggles, trusting Him with the plans he has for us.  


Will you allow God to lead you to the best life ever in Him?Click To Tweet

I promise when you take one step of faith, God will work out the details and open many doors of opportunity. Click To Tweet


Did you like this blog post?  Please share with others!   Want to know more ways to de-clutter, simplify and how we become more with less?  
Read our story published in “Chicken Soup for the Soul:  The Joy of Less,” Click Here. 

When we get rid of the physical clutter it helps to also get rid of clutter in your hearts as well.  Want more encouraging posts? Subscribe to my blog and receive a FREE e-book “Esther:  God’s Plan for Victory” or like my Author Facebook page.  

I would love to hear from you!  Leave your comments below.

What have you cleared from your life to make room for what matters most? 

How do you become more with Less?


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