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Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints (some versions translate saints as holy ones). Jude 1:3 (NASB)

all saints dayHe came into the church with his wife and daughter to celebrate our community Halloween party. We were a small church in a rural community, eager to reach out to the many children in our area who didn’t attend church. Hoping to offer a safe place for games, fun and, of course, treats.

Since we were a church we encouraged (not required) our kids to dress as their favorite super hero, Bible character or cartoon character. We were willing to risk the fact that some kids (from our church or not) would show up as goblins, witches, vampires, ghosts and a plethora of other ‘Christian no-no’ costumes. Outreach was the key.

As this young man (later found out he was the new pastor in a church down the block) saw the simple ‘traditional’ Halloween decorations our ladies had painstakingly made, he made a comment about how disgusting and evil the setting was and stormed out of the building with his young family in tow!

Now, mind you, I’m not a fan of Halloween. Nor am I wild about horror flicks or anything that portrays death and the spirit world lightly. However, I think that sometimes ‘the Church’ spends more time fighting the negative rather than embellishing the positive.

For the record, Halloween, or Hallowed Eve precluded ‘All Saints Day’ which was a celebration of saints (known and unknown) who had gone before them. Pagan ideas were later added to accentuate the spirit world. The tragedy (in my opinion) is that we’ve focused on the pagan additions to what was once a church celebration and largely ignored the celebration that is to follow.

This year, I propose that once we work through the painful pagan edition of Hallowed Eve, we celebrate those who have gone before us, those men and women of God who have stood strong for their faith, some at the cost of their lives.

I propose we celebrate the unknown saints that tirelessly dedicate themselves as the vessels of dishonor to the obscure areas of ministry. Paul says, in 1 Corinthians 12:20-26 (NASB):

But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

So, let’s celebrate the saints who have given their lives for our freedom; to clean our church buildings, change our babies diapers, tirelessly prepare sermons for those who take the time to come to church, hand out bulletins and  the countless other things people do in the name of the Lord and out of sight of the public.

The apostles remind us that the church is a living organism, a body developed to rescue the perishing and care for the dying. Each of us who has made a personal decision to follow Christ are saints called to do his bidding. For that each of us should be celebrated.

PRAYER: Father God. Thank you for those who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes for the sake of the Kingdom. May we be forever thankful for ‘the glass of water’ we have each received in your name. Amen.


Even Michael, the chief angel, didn’t dare to insult the devil, when the two of them were arguing about the body of Moses. All Michael said was, “The Lord will punish you!” Jude 1:9 (CEV)

Mark Twain once said, “Do not argue with an idiot they drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.”

I have to admit I have been reminded of that phrase often…more often, perhaps, than I should admit. At times I’ve refrained from responding to the various barbs thrown my way, all too often, I give in and get drug down into a stupid argument I can’t hope to win and which, in reality isn’t worth the fight.

Tucked away in the little book of Jude is the story of an interesting battle between Michael the Archangel and Satan himself. The dispute was over the final resting place of Moses. Some conjecture that Satan was about to reveal that spot to the Israelites so that they would turn their allegiance to the grave of a dead man and away from the living God.

Whether that is true or not, one thing is certain. Michael took the high road in the argument. The two participants in the discussion represented the two extremes in the angelic world. Satan (the devil) was at one time, God’s right hand man. He was beautiful, powerful and highly esteemed. When pride got the best of him, he rebelled against God, was cast from heaven and became angelic enemy #1.

Michael may have been Satan’s replacement. He was stunning, powerful and faithful to the His creator.

Michael had every right the day of the big argument to accuse Satan harshly, but he didn’t. He realized something each of us should remember. Michael knew who Satan was. He was most likely in the wings when the great heavenly battle took place and Satan was ousted. He remembered the grace, the majesty and power Satan possessed. He remembered that even though Satan was devious, evil and dangerous, he was also God’s creation. Based on that fact alone, he did not accuse or verbally attack his aggressor.

What a stunning lesson for each of us to learn! Like the angels (good and evil ones) we are all creations of a loving, forgiving, merciful God. Our spiritual DNA matches, our actions don’t. Our actions however don’t make us more or less of God’s creation.

As Christ-followers we need to allow God’s Spirit to work through us in such a way that we take the high road when we are attacked. We can argue our point. We can present all of our evidence. But in the end, the important thing isn’t that we win the argument but that we show God’s grace. Life isn’t about winning battles, it’s about winning disciples.

Rather than stoop to the level of Satan, Michael chose to hand him over to the one who never loses. Should we not do the same? Paul, in his letter to Timothy, urges the young pastor to pray for, not argue with, his accusers. In other words, take the high road.

PRAYER: Father God, it’s so easy to get into senseless arguments and become critical of those who oppose me. Empower me with your Holy Spirit to take the high road and let you fight the battle. Amen.


Buy the truth and do not sell it— wisdom, instruction and insight as well. Proverbs 23:23

When you want something of value you save every penny to get it. Let’s say, for example, you are a collector of fine art and you find a rare painting by your favorite artist, You decide you MUST have this painting so you plan on how to get it.

You give up other things of less importance; cut back on other expenses; perhaps get a second job. You study up on this particular painting and find out all you can about it. You become an ‘expert’ on this cherished of all possessions and the artist who created it.

After all your labors, on that day of all days, if you’ve worked hard and scrimped and saved, the time arrives. You go to the seller to make the purchase. You examine it one more time making sure there are no flaws and that everything is just as it should be. Once assured of this you lay down all that you have to make that cherished possession yours. Success has come. The fruit of all your labor and sacrifice has come. Let the celebration begin.

Now that the picture is hanging securely on the wall, how much would you sell it for? You would no doubt look at me incredulously. “Sell it? I just bought it!” you say. “Do you realize how much I’ve given up for it? The ball games I’ve missed. The fishing trips I’ve passed up? The party invitations I’ve passed on? It’s NOT for sale. No amount of money in the world would be enough. It’s mine.”

Solomon, in all of his wisdom, had enough money to buy anything and everything he wanted. Yet he tells us in Proverbs 23:23 what is really important: Truth. In our world of relativity Truth with a capital ‘T’ is hard to come by. We’ve bought into the idea that Truth is what you make it. What’s true for me isn’t true for you. Honesty is dependent on the situation. Wisdom changes with every new philosophy and whim of mindless, science based religion.

As Christ-followers, each of us is given Truth by the God of the universe, through His Word (the Bible) and His Son Jesus Christ. He has given us His Holy Spirit so that we can gain wisdom in understanding His ways and insight into how to walk this journey we call life. Seek after the Truth He has to offer us by drawing close to Him in relationship. Read His Word. It is still the only source of real truth available. Pray daily and often. What a marvelous opportunity prayer is. To think that we as mere mortals can talk personally with the Creator of the Universe! Don’t let past mistakes and your inability to understand God completely keep you from spending time getting to know Him. As God’s cherished possession, He has given all He has to acquire you and He’ll never let you go.

PRAYER: Father God, there are so many voices that are calling out to me to be tolerant of this or accepting of that. There are so ideas out there that confuse me as to what is right and wrong. I confess to you that I’ve not always followed you as I should. I ask for Your Holy Spirit to empower me to grow in relationship and understanding of Your ways so that they become a part of my daily existence. Thank you for giving so much so that I can live in Truth. In Jesus name, Amen.


For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17

The Kingdom of Heaven is described for us in many ways. Sometimes we are told what the future Kingdom will be like once we’ve died and got to live with Jesus. Other times ‘Kingdom Talk’ is about how God’s Kingdom is among us now. If we allow God to control our thoughts and our actions, then a part of His Kingdom exists among us here on earth.

When Jesus was on earth His ‘Kingdom Talk’ revolved around the idea of servanthood, of the least being the greatest, of widows being clothed and orphans fed. His Kingdom was one of giving, acceptance and physical as well as emotional healing.

Paul continues that theme in Romans. He tells us that the kingdom of God here on earth is marked by righteousness, peace and joy. When we live lives marked by right living, peaceful attitudes and joy built on knowing who we are and being content with that, then God’s Spirit is evident in our lives.

One of the things that will steal our joy is when we allow people to make a list of rules about how we should live and how we should act. We allow them to decide for us what we should like or dislike, how we should worship, what music we should listen to or social activities we should engage in. They have a list of clothes we should wear and how we should wear them.

Paul tells us that kingdom living has nothing like that. Some people like meat, others like vegetables. Some like slow, quiet music, for others the louder the better. For some long hair is where it’s at. For others, the ears must be seen to be proper. Too many times we get too bent out of shape over what a person wears or what he eats. I’m not a fan of tattoos, but some of the nicest people I’ve met have lots of tattoos! That doesn’t make them any less of a creation of God than I am.

God’s grace gives us freedom to eat what we want, listen to music we enjoy, and do the things we enjoy doing. Our only rule is to allow the Spirit of God to guide us in those likes/dislikes and activities. We learn that as we grow in relationship to him.

Don’t let the ‘joy snatchers’ steal the joy you can have by living free in Jesus.

PRAYER: Father God, there are so many people around me telling me I can’t do this or I have to do that to be spiritual and to live for you. Sometimes their messages are confusing and critical. Help me to rely on you for the wisdom and guidance to live ‘kingdom life’ the way you intended me to live it. I claim the freedom I have in Jesus to guide me as I grow along life’s journey. Amen.

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