Sunday, November 1, 2009
5:25 AM | Edit Post
"On October 31 the people returned from another observance. This time they fasted and dressed in sackcloth and sprinkled dust on their heads. Those of Israelite descent separated themselves from all foreigners as they confessed their own sins and the sins of the ancestors.
The Book of the Law of the LORD their God was read aloud to them for about three hours. Then for three more hours they took turns confessing their sins and worshiping the LORD their God."
Nehemiah 9:1-3 (NLT)
I told myself I wasn't going to blog about Halloween. After all, I've already annoyed enough of my Facebook friends by calling it a dark holiday filled with evil and posting this link:
Former Wiccan and Self-Proclaimed Witch Explain Why, as Christians, They No Longer Celebrate Halloween. Should Christians Celebrate Halloween? What Every Believer Should Know!
However, the LORD put the above passage literally in my lap this afternoon, as I was flipping through my New Living Translation Bible searching for something else that I had intended to read to my children. I would highly recommend reading the entirety of this chapter--it is a powerful example of corporate confession of sin and the patience and loving kindness that God shows to His people.
We, as Christians, bemoan the decline of our culture. We see the violence, abuse, and moral decay around us, and we wonder, "What happened? How did we get here?".
The people in the book of Nehemiah were in similar straights. Here they were, in the land the LORD had promised to their forefathers--Abraham, Issac, and Jacob--and they no longer possessed it:
"So now today we are slaves here in the land of plenty that you gave to our ancestors! We are slaves among all this abundance! The lush produce of this land piles up in the hands of the kings whom you have set over us because of our sins. They have power over us and our cattle. We serve them at their pleasure, and we are in great misery."
Nehemiah 9:36-37 (NLT)
The reason for our decline is the same as theirs: they, as a people, had neglected to obey God's laws.
I am continually amazed by how American Christians have sought to justify practices that do not line up with what the Scriptures teach, simply because "it's part of our culture".
Guess what, people? God has no intention of His People "blending into" the culture! He wants people that are set apart for Him!
"So then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober."
I Thessalonians 5:6
No, this does not necessarily mean "being weird", but it does mean that "We must obey God rather than men." Acts 5:29
If we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that there is disobedience in the name of "our culture" surrounding us, even in the church:
- Christians, allowing their children to spend more time filling their minds with secular and even blatantly anti-Christian media than they do filling their minds with things that are good, honest, just, pure, and of good reputation (Philippians 4:8),
- Christians allowing their daughters to dress in ways that are immodest, unfeminine, and unbecoming, (I Timothy 2: 9-10),
- Christians amassing huge amounts of consumer debt when the Bible clearly calls debt a curse (Proverbs 22:7),
- Christians having surgery done on themselves to prevent them from having more children, when the Bible clearly calls children a blessings (Psalm 127:3-5),
- Christians continuing to hold onto and pass down to their children the "fun tradition" of costumes and candy on Halloween, completely disregarding the pagan origins--not to mention the current evil--of the celebration. This is the one "holiday" that Christians celebrate without caring what they are celebrating, and frankly, I just don't get it,
- And yes, Christians continuing to send their children off to the secular humanist indoctrination that is the government public school system (Colossians 2:8).
Now, let me be clear that I do not write these things to shame anyone or to make anyone think I am better than they are. Far be it from me to pretend to be perfect. I know I am hopelessly flawed and lost apart from the saving work the Christ accomplished for me when he died on the cross and rose again the third day (I Corinthians 15).
I also recognize, again, that for the most part, we are all such slaves to our culture that we don't even realize the evil that we do. Myself included.
But, that doesn't give us an excuse to remain as we are! We must always be seeking God's will--seeking to become more like Christ in every aspect of our being!
"We urge you, brethren,
admonish the unruly,
encourage the fainthearted,
help the weak,
be patient with everyone."
I Thessalonians 5:14
This is a good summary of why I have written what I have written today. Some of us could be categorized as "the unruly"--we just don't seem to know any better, and we need to be straightened out!
Many of us could be categorized as "the fainthearted"--afraid to step out in faithful obedience to God's Word.
Still others might be classified as "the weak"--knowing that they should obey, but not really knowing how to do it.
Please understand that what I have written here is with a heart of utmost patience for my brothers and sisters in Christ.
I know that swimming against the cultural flow is hard.
Temptation is everywhere,
Ridicule is always forthcoming,
and Sticking your neck out is libel to get it chopped off!
However, I fervently believe that when we stop going it alone--when we surround ourselves with the encouragement and admonition of like-minded believers--that biblical Christian community will start to change us. When together, we devote ourselves to the Scriptures and prayer, God will be at work in us! (Acts 2:42)
"For where two or three have gathered together in my name, I am there in their midst."
"Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ."
"Therefore, confess your sins to one another,
and pray for one another so that you may be healed.
The effective prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective."
- I'm a Stay-at-Home, Christian, "crunchy" mama. I have been blessed with the calling to be a godly wife and mother. I am passionate about bringing up my children in the discipline and instruction of the LORD, through home education and discipleship. Helpmeet to my best friend and soulmate, Christopher since 1/29/2000, and mama to four little blessings, including a tiny, precious, newborn baby girl.
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- ► 2010 (67)
Our Curriculum 2010-2011
Bible--Child's Story Bible by Catherine Vos, Apologia Biblical World View Book 1, "Who is God and Can I Really Know Him?"
Catechism-- "Training Hearts, Teaching Minds" by Starr Meade
Phonics--Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
Literature--Ambleside Online Year 0 Recommended Books
(Kindergarten), Year 1 Booklist (1st Grade)
Handwriting--Bible Copywork, made using Educational Fontware
Spelling-- All About Spelling Level 1 (1st grade)
Science--Apologia Exploring Creation With Astronomy
World History--Simply Charlotte Mason's Genesis Through Deuteronomy and Ancient Egypt
American History--The Light and The Glory For Children Series
Art--Interest-led projects and handicrafts
Geography and Missions-- "Hero Tales" by Dave and Neta Jackson, as well as various other missionary biographies, incorporating globe and map study
*We will be studying music and phy-ed., participating in a writing club and nature club, as well as attending various field trips, with our church's homeschool group.*