Every year, on October 31st, our dark neighborhood streets are flooded with candy starved children dressed up as cartoon characters, sports figures, movie stars, witches, ghosts and goblins. How did this strange activity begin, what does it represent and should Christians take part?
Centuries ago, the last day of the Celtic calendar year fell on October 31st. The Celts, ancestors of the Irish, Welsh and Scottish, believed “on this night ghosts and witches were most likely to wander about” (H.F. Vos, Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, p. 493). Of course, no sane villager wanted to interact with ghosts and witches, so on October 31st the Celts disguised themselves as departed spirits as a means of protection. They also left gifts of food for the goblins at the edge of town, hoping that these “otherworld” creatures would take the food and be on their way. It is easy to see some parallels to our Halloween holiday today when neighbors distribute treats to children disguised as ghosts and goblins.
Continue reading » The History of Halloween
Satan wants you to stop spreading the gospel abroad. His desire is for you to become weary and discouraged with the glorious call of the great commission (Mark 16:15). He wants you to think it’s not worth it: it’s not worth the time; it’s not worth the money; it’s not worth the energy. The great deceiver of this world longs for you to believe the lie that the almighty gospel of Jesus Christ has lost its power to save (Rom. 1:16; Rev. 12:9). The devil wants you to adopt a “Why bother?” attitude concerning the subject of foreign evangelism.
Paul frequently faced times of difficulty, discouragement, and even suffering while he was preaching the gospel in foreign places (2 Cor. 11:23-33). But he never gave up on his mission to preach Christ and declare the whole counsel of God to a world rapidly hurling itself toward eternal destruction (1 Cor. 2:2; Acts 20:27). I certainly am no expert on endurance in foreign fields, but our brother Paul was. Let us learn from the faithful work of this one who refused to stop preaching abroad. Continue reading » White Unto Harvest: Why Bother?
There is a beautiful and rich word in the Hebrew language that powerfully describes the faithful mercy and steadfast lovingkindness of our Lord. This meaning filled Hebrew word is transliterated into English as hesed.
Why Study About Hesed?
There are several compelling reasons to engage in a study of the word hesed:
- To be wise. The Scriptures proclaim that if we desire to be truly wise, we will understand what hesed is. “Whoever is wise will observe these things, and they will understand the lovingkindness (hesed) of the Lord” (Psa. 107:43, take note that hesed will be in parentheses immediately following its English translation throughout the rest of this article, kdm).
- To be obedient. The Bible also explains that if we are to be truly obedient to God, then we will love hesed. “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy (hesed), and to walk humbly with your God?” (Mic. 6:8). The Lord commands us to “observe mercy (hesed)” (Hos. 12:6).
- To learn from the O.T. We frequently, and rightfully so, preach about the use and abuse of God’s grace from the New Testament perspective. However, there is a tremendous wealth of often overlooked information about the loving favor of our Lord from an Old Testament standpoint (Rom. 15:4). A study of the Hebrew word hesed will firmly reinforce many substantial truths about God’s gracious relationship with man.
- To refute error. Some affirm that the God of the New Testament is different than the God of the Old Testament. They claim that the God of the New Testament is a God of grace while implying that the God of the Old Testament was not. Others also teach that God’s grace provides an unconditional umbrella of safety that overlooks ongoing sins of immorality and doctrinal error. This study of hesed will prove such teaching to be false (Jer. 16:5, 10-13).
- To know God. Most importantly, the more we understand hesed, the more fervently we will endeavor to remain under Jehovah’s strong wings of protection and love. “How precious is your lovingkindness (hesed), O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings . . . Oh, continue Your lovingkindness (hesed) to those who know You” (Psa. 36:7-10). Continue reading » Solid Food: HESED – God’s Faithful Lovingkindness