PHASE 1: The Paradigm Shift
Just like so many parents, when I look at my children I want so much for them to be happy. It’s inherent, it’s a God-given desire, and it’s healthy. That feeling of desiring happiness for my babies, however, is trumped for my burning desire to raise them to be godly men and women for the Lord. Halloween, and many other of our western culture’s traditions can get tricky. That’s why we should treat them with sensitivity and care. If you’ve read the article, by David N. Taylor (linked below) about the origins of Halloween (if you haven’t, you SHOULD. Really… Go now. It’s much more important than what I have to say), you probably immediately wanted to take a strong stance against Halloween. As a matter of fact, I remember when our boys were 8 & 9 years old and we gave them the article to read for themselves. It was the first year I personally had been enlightened about Halloween’s origin, and was honestly concerned about the reaction my own boys would have after finding out that we were no longer going to observe the holiday. I only hoped that they would understand so this would feel more like a "family stand," rather than some kind of "surprise discipline." After finishing reading the article, my second son (8 years old at the time), blown away by what he had just ingested, looked up from his paper, and slowly and dramatically said, “Why… would ANYONE…celebrate… Halloween?” My husband and I breathed a huge sigh of relief as a new season seemed to sweep the atmosphere. We no longer participated in Halloween, and it was an enthusiastic decision for the whole family. Now don’t misunderstand: If our children hadn’t come to the right conclusion themselves, we would’ve done it for them, but it would’ve been more difficult, and a bit bitter. We are so thankful to God that He had prepared their hearts to receive the revelation that Halloween is literally and boldly celebrating death, satan and all that is evil.
PHASE 2: What now?
So now what? Do we stay inside our house, turn off all the lights, and hide from the trick-or-treaters, hoping not to get egged? Do we leave treats outside in a bowl to appease the tricksters, while refusing to encourage and affirm their own celebrating? What do we do? We began a family tradition. I personally can’t see why every other child in school should be able to have candy in their lunch at school, but ours are left without, because of their strong Christian beliefs. Every October 31st, our children get candy, and they get plenty. We usually do a candy hunt throughout the house (and perhaps outside, weather permitting), but occasionally we might do something a bit more creative. Secondly, I believe in FUN. Instead of locking ourselves inside of our house, we go bowling! We have a great family time! We leave just in time to miss the first trick-or-treaters, and then return after the last ones are finished. They bring a couple handfuls of candy, and after they eat dinner (at the bowling alley), they enjoy their candy. Every year our children look forward to bowling. I remember last year, my second oldest was asking me about our bowling weeks ahead of time. It’s a family tradition, and we all look forward to it… Just like they used to look forward to trick-or-treating!
Perhaps your family may choose something different. Some great resources are: Groupon - They have an array of family friendly activities that you can enjoy at deeply discounted prices, and usually sell their tickets in multiples; also, those coupon books that you can usually buy from school fundraisers often have coupons to lots of fun places like museums, Legoland, and other family attractions.
But does this glorify God? Absolutely! We are a ministry family and a lot of our time is spent ministering to and being a blessing to other people and families, but we are very aware that our FIRST ministry is our family. Our children are the most important souls to me, and my husband and I are very careful to breed in them a desire for the things of God, as opposed to resentment for them. I don’t want my children to feel that because they love the Lord, they are "left out of all the fun." That’s why it is important for children and youth to see and experience godly fun (If you have children, ages 13-19, you can check out our events page on our youth ministry website: www.gohardforchrist.com). We create our own fun, and as a result, our children have a good taste in their mouth for the things of God. As we minister to our own family on October 31st, OUR family is glorifying God.
You may want to take a more active approach, however. The Word tells us to be a light to others, and this may be just the day for your family to take a perfect opportunity! Perhaps you would like to answer your door, give out candy with tracks or stickers attached, inviting them to a church, a Christian website, or even to say the prayer of salvation. Some families offer prayer with their candy, and win souls to Christ just because they DID answer the door on that night. What an awesome way to glorify God and demonstrate His power on a night that is traditionally dedicated to evil! If you want to show the devil that he has LOST the battle, get folks healed and saved on “Halloween.” Another approach, instead of a traditional party, might be a service day: Invite a group of children or youth to meet at a designated spot. Make sure you have plenty of adult chaperones, and then (preferably while it is still daylight), perform a service to the community. Clean up a neighborhood, pick up trash, help the elderly, even do some yard work, and don’t forget to offer prayer and salvation to those you run into along the way… Then, when all is finished, have everyone meet for hot cocoa or cider and doughnuts. Make sure to send them home with candy. You blessed others while being a light and showing young people what life is really about: loving your neighbor as yourself (Mk. 12:31).
PHASE 3: The Reward
God sees that you are sacrificing for Him. He knew it wouldn’t always be easy to go against the grain. That’s why he felt it necessary to include Rom. 12:2 in His Word: He tells us NOT to be conformed to this World. He is proud and pleased at your decision to prove what is "...that good, acceptable and perfect will of God.” There is reward for obedience. It is the key to your blessing. When you obey God and His Word, you unlock His blessing in your life (Deut. 28:1-14). So get blessed: Say “Halloween, Schmalloween!”
Everyone gasped in horror at the news that Brad cheated on Angelina. “How could he? She’s so beautiful!” “Oh. I loved them. I’m so sad!” “How can I continue to believe in love when my FAVORITE couple has been torn apart?!” We loved Brangelina. We wanted them to work. We even loved the common bond they shared through their many children, biological and adopted (which made it even more beautiful).
But he cheated.
How was she to know he’d cheat? “Wait! If Brad would cheat on Angelina, would my man cheat on me? How will I know if my man is going to cheat?”
Truth is, you can’t know.
But there are some things you can do:
1. Don’t marry a cheater. If your man (or woman) has never been with a person they didn’t cheat on, guess what: They’ve got a heart problem. I remember when Eric Benet cheated on Halle Berry, and NO ONE could believe it! “How could he cheat on one of the most beautiful women in the world?” I remember a co-worker of mine and I were marveling at this idea, and a very wise man responded to us with, “Any man’ll cheat if his heart ain’t right.” Ahhhh, the wisdom! If there’s a heart issue there, and ESPECIALLY if your relationship with the person began with them cheating on someone else to “be with” you, how can you expect something different? A real heart change needs to happen – from the inside, and not just to please you – before new behaviors will ensue.
If no heart change… one day… maybe not now, maybe not next week… maybe, as in Brad’s case, almost 12 years later… but one day… that crooked place that was lying deep in their heart will show up.
2. Don’t be an accuser. Our confession is powerful, and although many of us don’t like to admit it, other people do have influence on us. The Bible tells us that bad company corrupts good morals (1 Cor. 15:33 ESV). We often get the picture of a gang of mischievous kids hanging out with our child, trying to influence them to do drugs or steal. The fact is, the “bad company” doesn’t always have to be participating in the bad behavior. The bad behavior could be the sin of speaking negative things over you.
When we marry someone, we give them the position of “most influential (human) person” in our lives. If this person is consistently telling us we are a cheater, or accusing us of cheating, what fruit do you think those seeds will produce? If you don’t want your spouse to cheat on you (and I hope none of us do), don’t call them a cheater. This is called speaking curses over someone, and it can fall into the category of witchcraft. Call them faithful, trustworthy, honest and loving (to you). Doing this is speaking blessings over your spouse. You are confessing what you WANT over them, as opposed to what you don’t want.
John King wrote a book called “Deliverance for the Rebellious Child,” and talked about a time when his son just seemed like he COULD NOT do right… Minister King started speaking blessings over his child, telling him, “God has blessed you and had great plans for your future” (King 51). Even when he was sneaking out of the house, getting arrested, and doing drugs, he was saying what God said about his son, and not what the enemy wanted him to say. And do you know what? His son is a man of God today, helping others in their walk with God!
You have two choices: Convince your spouse that they are faithful and trustworthy, or convince them that they are a cheater. They will be affected by YOUR words. Which one do you want your spouse to be?
3. Don’t give them a reason. Whether we like it or not, we can push our spouse to cheat. The strongest of men (and women) may resist, but they will also be sad, hurting, and starving for love in their particular area of need. Two of the very basic needs of a man in marriage are sex and respect. If, as a wife, you are starving him of sex, he’s going to be hungry. This is not just a physical need. Your willingness to give your body to him tells him that he’s worth giving to: that he’s worthwhile. It makes him feel valued, which is an extremely important need for anyone. Even if he’s not getting love, respect, or feelings of value from his workmates, his career, or any of his outside associations, when you show him physical intimacy, it can be a therapeutic release for him. Nothing else matters, because he has (what translates to him as) the love of a good woman. When you grasp this revelation, the song “Sexual Healing” may never have the same meaning to you again.
In addition to a lack of sex, a lack of respect from his wife can make a man feel less-than, devalued, and emasculated. There is absolutely no excuse for someone to cheat. It is wrong, and their own decision, and they are fully responsible for their actions, HOWEVER, when your spouse feels that you have a low (or no) regard for them, and someone else “out there” thinks very highly of them, it is hard not to notice. They can associate good feelings with another person. Someone once said, “It is not how you feel about someone that makes you fall in them love with them, but how you feel about yourself when you’re around them.” This is a very powerful concept, even with its philosophical flaws. Strong feelings can develop for someone that makes you feel wonderful, builds you up, and ultimately increases your self-esteem. Yes, a good spouse wouldn’t even entertain these conversations. They would see the temptation and quickly cut it off, but when someone is starving, they gravitate toward food.
Ladies (and men), don’t let someone else feed your spouse. Keep them full. There is nothing bad that can come of you failing to point out all of their flaws and weaknesses. Your spouse needs your support, your admiration, and your love.
And he deserves it…whether he deserves it, or not. ;)
(A short excerpt from my book, How to Win Him and Keep Him Happy: Secrets to Becoming an AMAZING Wife)
Do not complain to him about the problem. Tell him once. He probably already knows anyway. My husband once told me that after I have told him something for the third time (pointed it out once, reminded him twice), it was nagging. I have held on to that since that time because I don’t want to make my husband feel as if I think he is too incompetent to get my message the first (or even second) time. Now, if I decide to tell him something a third time, I am making a conscious decision to make him feel NAGGED. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want that reputation. I want my husband to feel that everything I say is important, and if I use up my opportunities on complaining, degrading, or repeating my concerns about him, eventually I will dilute the importance of my words, in his opinion. As a result, he will start to listen less closely, rendering my opinions less and less important and impactful to him. In the end, I will lose his respect.
After you have stated your concern once or twice, and he doesn’t change, pray for him, believing that he will change, forgiving and staying in faith for your husband. You will see change. God can change the heart of a king.
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