Everyone has a philosophy, whether they realize it or not.
The word philosophy comes from the Greek word philosophia, which means, those who love wisdom.
Philosophy is a particular set of ideas you have regarding what is true, and what is not; about the nature and meaning of life, how to live your life, whether you believe in God, your ethics and moral values, and so forth. Even Atheists who don’t believe in God, have a philosophy.
What religion you follow is also determined by your personal philosophy.
Do you believe your religion is the only true religion? Most people do. Why do you believe this? Ask yourself, why did you choose your particular religion over all others? Whether you follow the religion of Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, or even Christianity, you chose your religion based on your own personal philosophy.
Atheists, don’t believe in god at all. Jews believe that following the Torah (the Law of Moses) merits their salvation before God. Muslims believe Allah is the only true god and Muhammad was his only prophet. Buddhists, on the other hand, rely on reincarnation (multiple lives) to purge them of imperfection and reach the supposed blissful state of Nirvana. Christians believe that salvation is only through faith in the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
So you see, everybody has different ideas about religion, God, how to live their lives, based on what philosophy they follow. Therefore, whatever you believe about God, what’s right or wrong, the world around you, and other such ideas, shapes everything about your life. What you believe determines your behavior, your behavior determines what you become, and finally, where you end up at the end of your life.
Do all Christians believe the same?
Even within the Christian religion there are many different beliefs, creeds, doctrines, tenets of faith, schools of thought, and so on. Today, there are more than 30,000* Christian denominations in the world. Can they all be right?
Are you following the tenets of the Baptists, Catholics, Methodists, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, etc.? Why? Because of your own personal philosophy.
At some point in your life you made a defining decision to follow your particular brand of Christianity or denomination. Was it because of family tradition? Or maybe because you studied all the others and decided your choice was the best one?
In part 2 of this message, we will further explore how philosophy, religion, and your concept of truth has shaped your life and the way that you think.
“You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, in my name.” – John 15:16
I’ve always wondered why God chose me – the least of all people, to become His beloved Son. I certainly did not deserve to be saved or be loved by God. On the contrary, I was the worst of sinners for most of my young adult life. Yet, God loved me despite my sinful lifestyle. He patiently waited for the day that I would repent and cry out to Him for His mercy and forgiveness.
Before I was even born, He chose me for salvation and redemption, for reasons only He knows. Likewise, all of us who are called and chosen by God are saved by grace through faith; we did not earn our salvation since it was a free gift of God ¹.
God’s love for us is pure and immeasurable;
it commenced before the foundations of the world.
Before we had any affection for Him, He loved us and ordained us to be holy and blameless in His sight². Therefore, none of us can boast that we are better or more deserving of God’s love than anyone else because we now belong to Christ. Jesus reminded us of this, “I am the One who chose you, you didn’t choose Me.” For what purpose? So that we can produce much fruit. What kind of fruit? Spiritual fruit that endures into eternity
Some of this fruit is described in the Book of Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Are you bearing good fruit? Have you noticed that your life and character has changed for the better since you received Jesus Christ as Savior? Are you being obedient to His commandments? If so, you are truly one of His beloved children. Ask what you will, in Jesus’ name, and the Father will be pleased to give you the desires of your heart.
Some may also ask, “Is it okay to host an alternative celebration in our church where our children can dress up in biblical costumes, pass out candy, and have some wholesome fun?” Yes, of course, but don’t do it on October 31st. There are 364 other days of the year where churches can have such an event without dishonoring God.
Do not follow pagan practices or customs
In numerous biblical passages, God prohibited the Istaelites from following the practices, customs and holidays of the pagan nations that surrounded them. These Old Testament prohibitions still apply to us today as Christians. For example, In Leviticus 18:1-5, the LORD God said:
“Speak to the Israelites and tell them: I am Yahweh your God. Do not follow the practices of the land of Egypt, where you used to live, or follow the practices of the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. You must not follow their customs. You are to practice My ordinances and you are to keep My statutes by following them; I am Yahweh your God. Keep My statutes and ordinances; a person will live if he does them. I am Yahweh.”
And in Jeremiah 10:1-2, the LORD also says regarding the pagan holidays and customs, “O house of Israel. Thus says the Lord: ‘Learn not the way of the nations…for the customs of the peoples are vanity.”
What did Jesus teach?
Our Lord didn’t mince any words when it came to reproving those who were breaking God’s commandments. On one ocassion, he rebuked the religious leaders for their hipocrisy. Not only were these leaders cowering to the people’s desire to observe traditions that violated God’s laws, but they were teaching that it was proper to do so.
In Matthew 15:3 Jesus said to them:
“And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?”
Today, I’m sure Christ would say the same thing to many Christian pastors who do likewise. I know of many church pastors who recognize the dangers of celebrating Halloween, yet they keep silent for fear of offending their congregation. The practice of celebrating Halloween is so ingrained in our American culture that many worldly Christians have a fit of outrage when you speak against it. They justify their actions with a host of excuses such as, “I’m not going keep my children from having some harmless fun! After all, we’re not worshiping the devil, we’re worshiping God.”
Oh, really? You think its just harmless fun? I’m sure you also think playing with a Quija Board¹ and communicating with dead spirits in a séance² ceremony is harmless fun too! Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth and taught you to believe such devilish lies? (Galatians 3:1)
The history of Halloween
Halloween, also known as All Hallows Eve, is a pagan holiday that dates back to the Celtic festivals in Ireland, known as Samhain. It was supposedly Christianized as “Halloween” by the Roman Catholic Church in order to convert the pagans who revered the October 31st festival for centuries.
The superstitious Celts believed that Samhain was a time when the boundary between this world and the world of the dead thinned, and departed spirits and fairies could come into our world and were particularly active. It was their custom to light candles at night for the dead and offer them food and drink to appease them.
Festivities on this night included spiritualist rituals, dressing in costume, wearing masks, games, foretelling the future, and dancing before bonfires whose smoke and ashes were deemed to have protective and cleansing powers. Witches and satanists today also dance naked before these bonfires, participate in sexual orgies, conjure up demons, cast evil spells, and sacrifice animals and even humans on Halloween night. It is their most sacred day of the year where all all manner of evil is practiced in the name of satan.
Have no fellowship with darkness
As you might conclude, there is nothing “holy” about Halloween, and Christians should not celebrate this day in any way. The Bible tells us:
“Have no fellowship with the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them…But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light. But all things being exposed by the light are made evident.” – Ephesians 5:11-13
Instead of trying to “Christianize” an evil holiday like Halloween, believers should expose it for what it really is – a festival of demonic origin. Christian parents, especially, should teach their children to avoid any form of participation in Halloween – in school or among their friends. This will not be a very popular stand to take. Expect to be criticized and evil spoken of. But remember that Jesus said: “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven…” – Matthew 5:11-12
When we follow the way of truth instead of the world’s system and refuse to compromise our religious beliefs, we can expect to be persecuted and suffer for Christ. Yet, let us not be discouraged, for we know that our reward will be great in the future world to come. Even in the midst of trials and suffering, continue to let your light shine in the midst of all the darkness that surrounds you.
In conclusion, Halloween is a Satanic high holy day. The best way to avoid any form of participation is to treat October 31st as just another ordinary day of the week and refuse to give it any special significance. If Trick or Treaters come to your door, be nice, and simply say, “I’m sorry, but we don’t celebrate Halloween. We’re Bible-believing Christians. Have a nice day.” Or, “Here’s a gospel tract. Can I tell you about Jesus Christ?”
– Luis Joseph Castle CHOSEN OF GOD MINISTRIES
The Ouija Board, also known as a “spirit board” is a device used for communicating with evil spirits. It is promoted as a “harmless board game” by which many pople have become possessed by demons after using.
2. A séance is a meeting where various people sit quietly and attempt to communicate with the spirits of the dead. Generally, a medium (witch) will lead the meeting in a darkened room and become the channel whereby the spirits will speak through.
I carved this pumpkin thinking we could participate in Halloween by honoring Yahweh instead of giving the enemy any glory, but that was pride. What I actually did was sacrilegious. God tried to tell me not to do it, but I wanted to curse that devil and mock him.
Based on research that I’ve done, the carving of gourds came from pagan traditions from those looking to ward off evil spirits during a celebration at the end of summer called, Samhain. These pagans didn’t realize they were giving power to the devil to oprress their lives by trusting in an idol for protection, instead of seeking God our Maker above all things. Only He can protect us, not some hand-carved idol in the form of a pumpkin.
May God forgive me for such pride & foolishness! God forgive me for dabbling in the devils deceptions.
Demonic activity increased in my house after I carved this pumpkin and I took this picture. There was an orb moving towards it. I later went outside, smashed the pumpkin and repented of my sin. I also confessed my foolishness to my 4 year old son this morning. At first he was mad at me for smashing his pumpkin. Rightly so. Mom fail. But later he understood. He is so forgiving and precious. Please lift us up in prayer.
There are some preachers and televangelists today who are deliberately instilling fear in the body of Christ with their prophecies of financial collapse, famines, and worldwide catastrophes in order to sell survival food, equipment, and other doomsday supplies and resources. Beware of these ministries! Do not believe their false prophecies or be influenced by their survivalist mindset. This is not the message that Christ called us to preach; they are distorting the true gospel of Jesus Christ.
Fear Not, Jesus Is Near
The message God wants us to preach is not one of negativism, fear, or coming calamity, but of God’s GOOD NEWS. That’s what the word GOSPEL means in the original Greek of the New Testament. It is the good news that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but receive everlasting life (John 3:16).
As Christians, our mission is to preach the good news to all the world that God loves them and has provided a way for every person to be forgiven of their sins, be saved, and find peace and fulfillment for their lives – if they will turn back to Him.
All the unrest and suffering in the world today is the result of man’s doing. And yes, the world will continually become more turbulent everyday, as the Bible predicts, but let not your heart be troubled. And yes, tribulations on the world scene will progress from bad to worse (which Christ called, the “birth pangs”) until Jesus Christ returns and establishes His earthly kingdom, and rights everything that is wrong with the world today. But preaching doom and gloom should not be the focus of our gospel message.
Repent, for the end is near? Maybe.
How often have we seen well-meaning street evangelists holding up signs that read “The End is near!” created to instill fear and stereotype Christians as a bunch of religious lunatics? Is this the true gospel? How about the ones that say, “God hates fags!” Does God really hate gays and lesbians? Of course not! God loves everyone alike.
The message of God to man is one of mercy and hope – if they will humble themselves, turn from their wicked ways, and seek Him with all their hearts. God is ready to forgive and to heal, to be merciful and not condemn, for He is a God of love and wishes that none should perish.
The true gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel message of kindness and compassion, and not condemnation; a message of peace and blessing for everyone that believes.
We don’t have to worry about storing dehydrated meals or how many servings we can get from food that we’ve squirreled away so we can live a little bit longer after some kind of apocalypse. As Christians we need to trust that God always has us in the palm of His hands. We have a future with Him in Christ Jesus, and we don’t have to be anxious about tomorrow. Jesus wants us to lie down at night in peace and safety, and trust Him for our every need.
“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.” – Psalm 4:8
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”– Matthew 6:25-26
We are God’s messengers and ambassadors for Christ. Let us be faithful to proclaim life, and not death, hope and not pessimism. Let us joyfully declare that the kingdom of God is near, behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. That is the true message of the gospel, and it is good news indeed!
Why did Jesus drive out the people from the temple, overturn the tables of the money changers, and rebuke the religious leaders? Because they were not sanctifying the house of God with prayer (Matthew 21:12–13).
In the same way, prayer is given a very low priority in the Christian churches today. Prayer, Jesus said, is the foundation for all other ministries in the church. Music, preaching, teaching, evangelizing, or any other kind of service must take second place to prayer. Without prayer, all we end up with is a church full of superficial religious activity that does not invite God’s presence and power, nor produce spiritual growth in His people. In short, empty religion is what characterizes the condition of many churches today and is an offence to God.
My House Will Be Called a House of Prayer
Upon His triumphal entry in Jerusalem, Jesus immediately confronts the heart of the problem with His church at that time. The religious leaders had forsaken the ministry of prayer and turned the church into a hub of false spirituality and religious enterprise.
“And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.” – Matthew 21:12–13
His people were out of sync with His priorities, just as they are today. God’s house, the Christian church, is to be – first and foremost – a house of prayer. Jesus knew that the more focused we are on ourselves, the less we pray. But the more focused we are on communing with God, the more we pray. In other words, lack of prayer produces MAN-centeredness, but the more we pray will produce GOD-centeredness. And that is precisely why Jesus wants His church to be a house of prayer, not just of religious activity.
When we come into God’s house to worship Him we need to forget about ourselves, about all our problems and concerns, and concentrate only on God.
What is the heavenly pattern?
In the Book of Isaiah 6 and Revelation 4-5, the Bible pulls back the veil on heaven and shows us what true worship is all about. Jesus prayed, “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” The essential nature of church here on earth should follow the pattern of what is already happening in heaven, which is prayer, worship, and intimacy with God.
Jesus wants His house to be a house of prayer because He wants to have an intimate relationship with His people. He wants us to talk to Him as we would talk to our closest of friends. And He wants to talk back to us, as well. Only then will He accept our spiritual sacrifices and offerings and reward us by filling us with His presence, power, and joy.
“And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants…these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” – Isaiah 56:6-7
The fact that Jesus singled out the issue of prayerlessness in Matthew chapter 21 shows us just how important this issue was to God. That is because if His house is rightly aligned with His priority of prayer, then it will automatically solve a number of other problems in God’s house, the Christian church today.
Let us resolve to become people of prayer in agreement with the desires of Jesus and do away with all false spirituality in the house of God. Amen.
HOW TO APPLY THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST for protection from harm. Have faith in God’s Promises.
“Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”
– 1 Corinthians 5:7-8
Former 700 Club Co-host Kristi Watts Chase talks with Terry Meeuwsen about her divorce and other difficult events that challenged her faith in Christ at the height of her successful television career. She learned firsthand how to trust God in the valleys of our life as well as the mountains.
Kristi admits, “I’m no expert or super human Christian guru with the ability to answer all of life’s questions. Not even close. I don’t have the answers… but I know who does. Jesus Christ!”
Her personal transparency and heartfelt honesty will encourage you.
In the Book of Luke, chapter 4, verse 16 through 32, we read of the account when Jesus the Messiah visited his local synagogue (church) in Nazareth on the Sabbath day, as was His custom. On that particular Sabbath day, He was chosen to be the reader of the scripture portion. He was assigned to read Isaiah 61:1-2, which by no coincidence (for with God there are no coincidences; nothing catches Him by surprise), it turned out to be an Old Testament prophecy about the coming of Messiah.
Keep in mind that no one in His local church knew who Jesus really was. Most people simply knew him as a local villager from the town of Nazareth, the son of Joseph the Carpenter, a regular member of the Jewish community.
What happened next caught everyone by surprise.
When it was His turn to read before the congregation, they didn’t concern themselves too much with Him, but when He stood up to read Isaiah 61, the presence of God filled the room and the scripture verses came alive with special meaning. Jesus read the following:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor (meek). He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Then, Jesus rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat back down. But afterwards, it says that “The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him.” You might say that they became “mesmerized” by the anointing that was on Jesus, so that they could not help but stare at Him.
Meanwhile, Jesus realized everyone was looking at Him. He then said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Immediately there arose an uproar of murmuring. It appears that many were offended that Jesus declared Himself to be the fulfillment of this ancient prophecy of the coming of Messiah. They probably said among themselves, “How can this man claim to be the Messiah, the Christ! Why we know him as the son of Joseph the carpenter. What blasphemy!”
At which point, Jesus continued speaking, saying, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in his own hometown.” However, the more He tried to convince the members of His church about His authority as Messiah, the more indignant and furious they became towards Him. They finally became so enraged at Jesus that they physically grabbed Him, took Him out to the outskirts of town, and tried to kill Him by throwing Him off a cliff.
It’s hard to imagine church people getting so enraged and violent that they will attempt to murder another follower of God, simply for preaching something they don’t like. Guess what? It still happens today. I have met some the meanest and most vicious people inside of Christian churches. Some of them have “zero tolerance” for anyone that upsets their religious comfort zones or disputes their pet doctrinal beliefs.
Fortunately, Jesus was able to escape the crowd who were trying to kill Him. The scriptures don’t say how He did it (probably a divine miracle) and He was able to go on His way. Then, he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the next Sabbath He taught the people. The church members in the next town were different; they believed upon Jesus as the Messiah and their hearts were open to receive His teachings. In fact, it says, “They were amazed at his teaching, because his words had authority.”
What a difference between people in one town and the other; one town wanted to kill Jesus, and the other town loved His message.
Planting seed in fertile ground.
The lesson for us here is, when we witness to some people about Jesus, some will love to hear what we have to say. But keep in mind, others will also reject us. When the latter happens, do not take it personally and get discouraged. Just “shake the dust off your feet” and go on to the next person or the next neighborhood or the next town, and continue witnessing for Christ.
Jesus taught us that some seeds will fall by the wayside, while others will fall on good ground and prosper. Our job is not to force anyone to believe in Jesus, but to plant the seeds of faith in others and let God do the rest.