Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pumpkin Patch Photos

Mariah (10), Cierra (4), Me (15), Aaron (11), Austin (14)

"My Prince Charming!"

One of my rare goofy moments. :)  I saw the pants and couldn't resist!

The Pagan Roots of Halloween: Our Response

Halloween is a widely controversial topic among Christians today. Some believers think it's okay as long as parents explain to their kids what the Bible says about evil and as long as the costumes stay away from evil, gruesome characters. Others decide to avoid the "trick-or-treating" and celebrating altogether. But how should a Christian view Halloween? If we don't focus on all the evil and scary aspects of it, is it okay to participate in? Or should we abstain from it altogether? Does celebrating it in a "lighter" fashion make it acceptable?

Our family has personally chosen not to participate in the festivities of Halloween, for the most part. I agree with my parents decision. Although this choice is ultimately up to you and the Lord, don't take this decision lightly! Halloween is more than just kids dressed up as pirates and fairies going door-to-door for candy. Evil is real, and for me, Halloween is a very real reminder of the evil in the world.

Halloween is not the only thing being celebrated on October 31, though. A very important event happened on that day. Do you know what it is? Okay... on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed the ninety-five theses to the church in Whittenberg. Instead of celebrating Halloween, why not celebrate Reformation Day? (You can read a little more about Martin Luther HERE and HERE.)

So, what do you do for Halloween (or instead of)? Do you have any neat ways to celebrate the Reformation?

Remember, even though there are many ideas of how Christians should view Halloween, we can still use this "holiday" as an opportunity. Just think about it: you have kids and parents coming to your door!!! You have an excellent opportunity to share the Gospel - without going anywhere! It couldn't be easier. Just simply handing out a tract with a piece of candy is a seed planted in someone's life!

3 John 1:11
Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.

Ephesians 5:11-12
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.

1 Thessalonians 5:21-22
Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.

I would really recommend that you read up for yourself more in depth about the history and Christian perspectives of Halloween! I've listed some informative articles below that I have found very helpful in my research.

The history of Halloween A detailed history of Halloween, including the origins of trick-or-treating, jack-o-lanterns, and more; many Bible verses are used to back up their conclusions.

Should Christians participate in Halloween? A Biblical perspective of Halloween, including relevant Scripture for this topic. It also addresses the topic of "Fall Festivals" at churches.

The pagan roots of Halloween Find out the history of some of the "traditions" and customs of Halloween.

A different perspective on Halloween An excerpt from Randy Alcorn's novel, The Ishbane Conspiracy, written from the perspective of a demon (this part is specifically on Halloween).

Witch Alert Test your knowledge on what the Bible says about occult practices.

Another Christian perspective Still more on the origins of Halloween practices

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Pagan Roots of Halloween: Jack-o-lanterns

The use of jack-o-lanterns may have originated from an old Irish tale. It was said that an old drunkard named Jack somehow tricked the Devil into climbing an apple tree. Jack then carved a cross on the tree trunk to prevent the Devil from coming down. He made the Devil promise him that he would never come for Jack's soul when he died. Reluctantly, the Devil agreed. When Jack did die, he was not permitted in heaven because of his sins but also not allowed in hell because of the Devil's promise. As he was wandering earth (since he had no other place to go), eating a turnip, the Devil threw a hot coal at him. Jack put the coal in the turnip as a lantern and has since then been wandering the earth, searching for a place to rest.

From this tale, the Irish probably developed the custom of carving out turnips or beets. The face they carved out would be a representation of a dammed soul or demons freed from the dead. It was said that if a spirit or demon saw a fiendish-looking face like its own, that it would get scared away, saving the household from any evil occurrences. They lanterns would be laced outside to burn all night. When the Irish immigrated to America, they couldn't find many turnips or beets for their "jack-o-lanterns," but they did find an abundance of pumpkins! Figuring these would work, they began using them instead of turnips - and the pumpkin has been a part of Halloween ever since.

Because of its history and meaning, I personally don't think carving a jack-o-lantern is the best way to decorate for fall (I mean, it was originally the face of a demon!). But I know carving out pumpkins can be so fun!!! So, instead of a jack-o-lantern, why not carve out a Bible verse, or have a Thanksgiving theme?

Here's an example of some pumpkins we (Aaron, Mariah, and I) "etched" last year. Since we didn't puncture all the way into the pumpkin, the lasted a lot longer than regular jack-o-lanterns do - and they were so pretty and festive!
(Mariah's is on the left, mine is in the middle, Aaron's on the right.)

Here is a great website with video editorials and free pumpkin patterns where we learned how to "etch" our pumpkins: The Pumpkin Lady. Many of the free patterns are of jack-o-lanterns, but she does have some other ones. We ended up making our own patterns, though (we just drew it on a piece of paper, then transferred it to the pumpkin).

(This is another example I found of fun, festive pumpkin carvings.)

John 3:19-20
And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

Romans 12:9
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Pagan Roots of Halloween: Trick-or-treat

Trick-or-treating can be traced back to the Festival of Samhain (See my last post, The Pagan Roots of Halloween: How It All Began). By offering gifts of fruits and nuts, the people hoped to appease the wandering spirits of their dead relatives. They would place plates of their finest food on their doorstep in hopes that the spirits wouldn't destroy their crops or cattle. If the living did not provide "treats" for the spirits, they believed the spirits would play a "trick" on them.

Some of the people, though, took on a mischievous humor to their fear and would play a trick or practical joke, and then blame it on the spirits. This night also became know as "Mischief Night," where people could play any kind of trick - without fear of being punished.

So, the idea of trick-or-treating came from "treats" being left out for spirits, who hopefully wouldn't play any "tricks" on them in return. But the people were slightly worried: If the souls of their dead loved ones were roaming about, couldn't the souls of everything else - nice or not - be roaming about too? They didn't just have their relatives' spirits to worry about, they believed the evil spirits were active on this night also.

Since they believed evil spirits roamed about after dark on Halloween, they sought to disguise themselves. Wearing costumes, they thought, would scare away evil spirits or keep themselves from being recognized. By wearing masks, disguises, and blackening their faces with soot, they hoped to blend in unnoticed with the demons.

Besides being used to hide one's identity, a mask (they believed) could also be used to make spiritual connection with the nature represented in the mask. For instance, a Celtic Druid participating in ceremonial rituals wore animal heads and skins, believing they would acquire the strength of the particular animal. Because they thought the mask had its own magical powers, they would wear it to try to absorb the power of the animal represented in the costume.

The night of Samhain was a night of fear. Although the Celtics' belief in the spirits' tricks was mainly pagan ideas, the reality of evil is real. Demons are real. Witchcraft is real. Evil is something that should not be celebrated - no matter how light-hearted or fun you make it seem.

Romans 12:2
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind...

1 Peter 5:8
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

The Pagan Roots of Halloween: How It All Began

As Halloween is approaching, I've been doing a little study on its past. Over the next several days, I will be posting some specifics of what I've learned about Halloween's traditions and where they came from. This first post is about the origin of the festival itself. How did this whole thing get started?

Well, in ancient Ireland, the Celtic people had a festival which they called "Festival of Samhain" (pronounced sah-win) on October 31. During this time, they believed barrier between the supernatural and the natural world was very thin. Souls of the dead would revisit their homes, hostile supernatural forces were active, and ghosts and spirits would wander the earth.

The Celtics had special pagan priests called Druids, who would carry out the rituals of magic, contact with the Celtic deities, and attempts to commune with the spirits of ancestors. In order to appease the gods, the Druids would hold huge bonfires and offer sacrifices. These sacrifices were usually of crops or animals, but sometimes even humans! (Yuck!) The word "bonfire" actually derived from "bone-fire." Sometime around 1600, though, the sacrifice of humans stopped.

Over the years the Festival of Samhian picked up some Roman aspects (after most of the Celtic territory was taken over by the Romans), but it still continued in its pagan rituals and traditions.

In an attempt to "sanctify" this season, pope Gregory IV established "All Saints' Day" on November 1. This day was used to remember the dead saints and martyrs. The day before this was, of course, October 31 and therefore referred to as All Hallows Eve ("Hallow" meaning "saint"). So, All Hallows Eve was the evening before All Saints Day, but it was also the same day as the Festival of Samhain.

As the Irish flocked to America because of the great potato famine, they brought along their pagan ideas, traditions, and customs. Halloween is basically an Irish holiday, with origins in an ancient pagan festival. It still has its roots in occultic rituals - and it is still seen today in many aspects of Halloween today. I will be going over some of those things in some later posts.

Deuteronomy 18:10-14
There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you. You shall be blameless before the LORD your God. For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the LORD your God has not appointed such for you.

2 Corinthians 6:14-17
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said, “ I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” Therefore, “ Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.”

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Like Women of the Bible

Like Deborah, I will serve the Lord in power and speak His word without fear.
Like Esther, I will intercede for God's people before the throne.
Like Abigail, I will humble myself to wash the feet of the servants of the Lord.
Like Sarah, I will respect my spouse and his ministry to the Lord.
Like Hannah, I will dedicate my children to the Lord.
Like Priscilla, I will explain the way of God more perfectly to those who are seeking.
Like the Shuanamite widow, I will trust God in the day of adversity.
Like Lydia, I will be a worshiper of God and open my home to His ministers.
Like Tabitha (Dorcas), I will always do good and help the poor.
Like Joanna, I will use my wealth to support the ministry of Jesus.
Like Mary, the mother of Jesus, I will hear the word of God to me and answer,
"Be it unto me as you have said."
Like Mary, the sister of Martha, I will know the voice of Jesus and hear His words.
Like Mary, the mother of Mark, I will make my home a haven for the followers of Jesus.
Like Mary, the Magdalene, I will keep at the feet of Jesus and love Him until death.
~ Author Unknown

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What's With the Fish?

Have you ever seen the Christian symbol of the fish? Until a few days ago, I had no idea how this symbol had anything to do with Christians! I was reading my history and was learning about the persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire. During those times, the Christians made their own burial graves beneath the ground, called catacombs, where they would put the bodies of their friends and relatives. These catacombs also contain some of the earliest Christian art which illustrated their faith in Christ. One of the frequently found symbols on the walls of these catacombs is the fish. They used this symbol as a confession of their faith in Jesus Christ because the Greek word for fish is ichthus.

Iesous Christos, Theou Uios, Soter
Jesus Christ, God's Son, Savior

Ingeniously, they used that word as an acrostic to proclaim the deity of Christ! I found this so intriguing, that I researched just a bit more about it online. I read that there may be a couple more reasons why the early Christians might have used the fish symbol:

1) Jesus chose fishermen to be some of His disciples and declared them to be "fishers of men," as all of His followers are to be.
2) The fish would not be an obvious Christian symbol to persecutors.

It is said that during the persecution of the early church, when a Christian met someone new, he would draw a single arc in the dirt or sand. If the other person was also a Christian, he would complete the arc, forming the shape of a fish. If he did not complete the symbol, the Christian would know he was not a believer.

This early symbol of the Christian faith endures today (though not as reverently) on bumper stickers, T-shirts, businesses, etc. as a sign of Christian faith.

Today, since it a well known Christian symbol, the fish is often seen with "Jesus" written on the inside or includes a cross. Unfortunately, there have been some spoofs made on this symbol, such as the "Darwin fish," which has legs.

Maybe you already knew this, but it excited me to learn the roots of this neat Christian symbol! And now that I know its history and meaning, it is much more meaningful to me. It is also a reminder of the amazing faith and endurance of the early Christians!

And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” They immediately left their nets and followed Him. (Mark 1:16-18)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Want Some Free Piano Music?

When I first heard this song, I instantly loved it! It wasn't until my friend told me that she found the sheet music for it that I realized I could print it off for free! (Thanks Olivia!) Yes, that's right, FREE! I suppose, though, the quality of the sheet music could have been's title actually reads, "The River Flows In Your," rather than, "The River Flows In You." And the very bottom-est notes kinda got cut off, so I had to write them in myself. And of course, its not exactly like Yiruma plays it (not nearly as long), but other than that, this song is delightful to play and relatively easy - especially after you've heard it a few times! If you'd like to hear it, it is the very last song on my playlist, or you can watch the video. I must say he plays it MUCH better than I do, or ever could.... :)

Here is the sheet music, in case you'd like to print it off:

The River Flows In You - Yiruma

Have fun!!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Atributes of God

For a school project, I had to make a poster of the 7 attributes of God which we had just finished studying. Here's my poster! My mom says I'm an over-acheiver, and I do agree (although I try not to be)! This took a long time! The picture of the world, hamburger, and donut I traced, but the lettering I drew myself. Like I said it took a LLLOONNGG time, but I am so pleased with the result!
Note: You can click on the picture to see it larger!

Personal - Jeremiah 29:11

Omniscient - Acts 15:18

Infinite - Revelation 1:8

Immanent - Matthew 1:23, Matthew 28:20

Sovereign - Job 42:2

Transcendent - Isaiah 55:8-9 (sorry, didn't get the verse in this picture)

Good - Psalm 34:8 (This is my favorite!!! I thought the verse was quite fitting too!)

Friday, October 16, 2009


Hey guys! I'd love to keep track of everyone who has visited my blog! If this is your first time here, or you have been reading for a while but haven't left a comment yet - please do! I'd love to know what you think! Thank you!


I thought I'd share with you some reasons that I started this blog.

To glorify the Lord
1 Corinthians 10:31 - Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

I pray that everything I say will ultimately bring glory to the Lord! And this is number 1 of all my goals.

I think it sounds fun!
I've been reading many blogs for several months, and I've always wanted to start one. How cool is it that I can share my thoughts - and just about anything else - with the world?! The internet has provided a great opportunity! I look forward to sharing fun things I find, recipes, interesting information, pictures, and tons more!

To encourage other believers
As God is teaching me new things, I want to be able to share and encourage others with what I'm learning.

That I will grow in the Lord
Starting a blog, I know, will require me to dig deeper into the Word so that I will fully understand what I'm wanting to share (and will also keep me accountable in my walk).

It's an opportunity to share my faith
I am a sinner, saved alone by the grace of God, and I want the world to know it! God's gift to me is so amazing, I can only live my life in gratitude for Him.

To meet other believers
I love making new friends and am excited about meeting new people through the blogging world! And it's a great way to stay connected with friends I already have!!!

So now you know! That's it for now!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I'm Officially Part of the Blogging World!

Hey guys! I'm so excited to have a blog now!!!! Well, actually I created my blog of videos first, but that doesn't really count (it's not a personal blog). :) Anyway, I'm looking forward to sharing things going on in my life and things that God is teaching me!