(October 26, 2017) Stuart Reynolds challenges so-called October 31 ‘fun’ …
Unfortunately me and mine have had the horrendous experience of having our home burgled … and more than once!
The most frightening occurrence was the time I was actually in the house. In anticipation of my wife Helen returning home from a night out, I had left the front door closed but unlocked.
Assuming it was Helen returning I didn’t react and check when I heard the door opening – it was a shock to discover later that some intruders had quickly stolen a mobile phone and snatched some car and house keys with the intention of returning later for more plunder!
Just five minutes prior to the break in, I had taken my two young children to bed – right past that closed but unlocked door! No danger at that moment – but what might have happened had we been there in that spot when the thieves came? Even now I shudder to think.
That incident of leaving the door open – unbolted – was definitely no laughing matter!
Neither are unbolted doors to the occult
Have I got your attention about the danger of ‘closed but unlocked doors’? Good – because I want you to think about certain other unlocked door dangers… such as occult goings-on, the subtlety of October 31’s Halloween with its apparently harmless ‘Happy Halloween’/’Trick or Treat’/’Dress-up Fun.’ And, for that matter, other happenings that most people including ‘blindsided’ Christians regard as merely laughing matters!
Writing from a similar experience of what we foolishly assume to be ‘innocent fun’ because there is no present danger, Reverend Don Sparkes comments: ‘We leave the door of our life open through occult things which we think are a great laugh… In the playing around with that which carries something of the demonic the door is open and something unwelcome is likely to come in a rob us of our peace and joy.’
In reality such doorways are no laughing matter! Yet, from reading horoscopes to letting children run around in frightening costumes, witches’ hats, devil’s horns and such at Halloween, how many – not just the unchurched in this darkened world but also in the supposed-to-be enlightened church – do not take these matters sufficiently seriously?
We mustn’t passively close such doors but bolt them from the entrance, presence, and influence of the enemy of our souls in our lives and homes!
Is this Halloween going to be yet another occasion when we pass up the opportunity to shed light into its real darkness? Or do we understand the origins and deeper meaning of Halloween and …
- Not trivialise it
- Nor be entertained by it
- Nor promote it by ‘buying’ in
- Nor passively approve of it lazily, naively and without thinking deeply!
Satan’s open doors
Halloween is not merely a ‘fun for kids trick or treat time’… its occultist background is the work of the most evil trickster – Satan, our enemy the devil, that cunning deceiver and liar.
The good news for Christians and the church is that ‘The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work’ (1 John 3:8).
But not understanding this, nor acting on it, leads to certain doors being left wide open and controlled by the devil – doors which are no laughing matter! Such as –
Revelation 12:9 refers to our enemy as ‘that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray.’
Satan is delighted when people dismiss him as an old fashioned myth – or diminish him to a mischievous good for a laugh suggestion that perches on our shoulder, in red jump-suit, pitchfork in hand and horns on head.
Dr Tom Noble, my theology professor, would always wisely advise great caution when it comes to these issues. He was keenly aware of the dangers of excessive preoccupation of the devil, and would say: ‘Be careful! Don’t go there! How accurately can you study a lie? “For [Satan] is a liar and the father of lies…”’ (John 8:44).
Jesus Christ is the Lion King – ‘the Lion of the tribe of Judah’ (Revelation 5:5) whereas Satan is the liar king – ‘Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour’ (1Peter 5:8).
I’m given to understand that young, healthy lions do not roar in the hunt – they don’t need to because they are fast and strong enough to catch their prey. It is the old, wounded lions that roar because they know they no longer have what it takes to keep up with their prey, and so they roar in the hope that the sound will paralyse their victim with fear, allowing them to move in for the kill.
How many people are needlessly held captive through ignorance and impotence in the death clutch of Satan, that old wounded roaring liar-lion?
Don’t be deceived: On the cross, Jesus Christ broke the devil’s control, fatally wounding him. Satan has never recovered – and will never – from the victory of the cross of Christ. In Colossians 2:15 Paul boldly declared that Jesus ‘disarmed the powers and authorities, made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.’
Here’s the deal: The devil’s lie for your life! Jesus said of Satan, ‘He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him’ (John 8:44).
What began with Eve continues today with each of us. As with us the desire that she obviously had – to be, know and do – is God-given: but the enemy of our souls lies to us, twisting the word of God and questioning his authority. The devil quietly, subtly suggests that the key is found in him and deceives humankind away from our creator God, using distracting lies such as these –
- ‘You want to be someone? Don’t let God control your life – or you’ll never be anything!’
- ‘You want to know the future … or about that departed loved one? You don’t need God for that – check your horoscope, consult a medium, and believe what the tarot cards reveal!’
- ‘You can do what you want, live how you want – you’re special, the exception to the rest; you can beat the odds and escape the consequences others cannot!’
- And so on… other cunning lies and deceits!
Thomas Brooks wrote: ‘Satan promises the best, but pays the worst; he promises grace and pays with disgrace; he promises pleasure and pays with pain; he promises profit and pays with loss; he promises life and pays with death!’
No wonder Jesus warned ‘the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy’ (John 10:10) and Paul declared that ‘the wages of sin is death’ (Romans 6:23)!
Even a casual read of the gospel accounts of Jesus teaches that in his presence demons can’t help but give themselves away as they acknowledge him –
- ‘A man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, “What do you want with us Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God”’ (Mark 1:23-24).
- ‘A man with an evil spirit came from the tombs… He shouted at Jesus, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?”’ (Mark 5:2, 7).
- ‘Demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!”’ (Luke 4:41).
Knowing who Christ is those demons were obviously anticipating their defeat! James 2:19 reminds us of this: ‘You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.’ The reality is that Satan’s defeat is no laughing matter for him or any demon!
Neither is it for Christians!
And why do I contend this? Because…
- Many Christians don’t realise the truth of 1 John 3:8 and the strength we also have.
- Unlike those scared demons they don’t know or acknowledge the authority of Jesus.
- Nor do many realise that our Lord has given us authority over Satan and his tactics – as he explained clearly in Luke 10:18-20: ‘I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.’
At the beginning of this article, I highlighted Halloween… which will be remembered in different ways across the world in a few days. Shops everywhere have been promoting it with the sales of supposed ‘fun outfits’ and other gear for kids. ‘Scary movies’ and such are promoted not just in DVD outlets but also in major family stores! Questionable ‘fun’ parties have been arranged… and more.
My point is that that those who have really researched this so-called ‘fun time’ known as Halloween know the dark truth behind it all – this ‘eve of All Saints’ Day’ – and do not wish anyone, especially our children, to go overboard with it.
Halloween? Go overboard with Jesus, not Satan!
I’m unable to detail here everything I know about the background of Halloween – but I suggest this: It is the Christian’s opportunity to light up this dark night and shatter the darkness with the profound message the light is greater than the darkness!
Rather than going overboard with dangerous so-called ‘fun’ this Halloween, let’s go overboard with Jesus’ good news of salvation! Rather than getting carried with ‘trick or treat’ (or whatever the local terminology is where we live), let’s get carried away with what Jesus has done for all of us on the cross!
May we boldly spread the end of Luke 10:20 ‘…do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven!’ This Halloween may Christians and churches be spreading light in the darkness!
Incidentally, I like the following approach by Becky Fischer (email@example.com / http://kidsinministry.org/) …
What are Christians Supposed to do on Halloween?
I’ve run the gamut – gone to church harvest parties just to get away from Trick or Treaters. I’ve turned off the lights and hidden in the basement so I would have to deal with it. Then the Holy Spirit caught my attention and gave me a better idea!
October 31 is the only night of the year when children and parents voluntarily walk up to our doorsteps and on our property, ready to receive what we have to give them. We can give them candy and treats, a big smile and Jesus! [In the US alone] over 68 million children and 22 million parents will come to our doorsteps that night. That is 93% of all children ages one through seventeen.
We can turn off the lights, curse the darkness, and hide in our basements or we can light up the night and shatter the darkness with the profound message the Light is greater than the darkness!
We have created over 22 different posters you can print and hang all over your house and yard to send a different messages — it’s the message of life is more powerful than death, and Halloween is all about death and darkness.
If you are interested in downloading our posters, you can get them here: https://buff.ly/2yyOh4B. Many Blessings and thanks for all you do for the children!
May the roar of our Lion King be heard this month, not the liar king!
Stuart Reynolds, Ears 2 Hear Ministries, is UK based ministering as an itinerant preacher, teacher in evangelism and revivalism in the UK and USA. Links: firstname.lastname@example.org / mobile +44 (0) 7816 853 551 / http://sdhareynolds.wixsite.com/earstohearministries.
The Broken Pastor speaks candidly to the church regarding the reality that many pastors are hurting, even on the edge of quitting. Stuart Reynolds writes from the heart and pastoral experience encouraging broken pastors that they are not useless, that they can move on benefiting the kingdom despite churches not understanding the challenges they face.