Posted in Family, food, friends, gratitude, Halloween, life, love, loving others, prayer, Scripture, thankful, Trials

Trick and Treat

Jesus told him, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6

Free Candy.  Holidays have always been special to me.  Of course, the king of the mountain is the one where we celebrate the birth of a King.  Of course, it took me awhile to get where I began to understand it wasn’t all about presents or a guy in a red suit, but I did eventually get a better understanding.  Oh, and then there is the one where the King that was born on Christmas defeats the big bad king—Death.  Well, and yes, it took me awhile to figure that one out too.  Turns out, it wasn’t about a bunny and free candy.  I’m slow but I usually, eventually, get there.

We could go and on…Memorial Day is not only about cookouts, but Independence Day is also about the price of freedom and not just fireworks, and finally, Thanksgiving is not just being about turkeys and pies.  There is nothing wrong with all of that—it’s just important that we remember what the main thing is—and camp there.  So, today, Halloween, what is that all about?  Well, when I was a kid, it was about one thing and one thing only—free candy.  We would dress up in whatever was handy—no bought costumes in those days—just hobos and pirates—grab the bag that momma had made us and hit the streets running.  We would go from house to house, from door to door, shouting those magic words, “Trick or Treat,” and stick our bag out and the candy came flying. Oh, and you better believe we said, “Thank you,” cause Momma taught us to.  Yup, in those days, things were just different.  There never was a trick…it wasn’t even an idle threat; it was just part of what we said.

I guess today all that has changed.  Today, Halloween has a bad rap.  The age of innocence is long gone.  Televisions and theaters are filled with horrible horror films and the whole holiday is now considered by most Jesus people to be a pagan sin feast…and maybe it is.  On the other hand, I think it is also Reformation Day…the day Martin Luther took a stand about God and grace.  But there is that one thing that has changed.  There is that one thing we have hung on to and that is those three words, “Trick or Treat.”  I’m glad those are still around because tucked away they hold some pretty big truths.

First, all this sin stuff started in the Garden of Eden when Satan tricked Eve into believing him and doubting God.  He was so convincing that she began to believe that God was holding out.  He was the good guy and God…He was selfish and wanted to keep everything for Himself.  Trick, trick trick.  But thankfully that is not the end of the story—for God had a treat for Satan’s trick.  God sent Truth into the world in the form of His Son Jesus.  Much later after the garden, when Jesus told us He was the Way, the Truth and the Life” He meant exactly that.  The truth is…He is Truth.  No tricks, no deception, no kidding…He is the antidote to the devil’s lie.  Believe the Truth and you live—believe the lie and die forever.  Wow.

But wait…there is more.  You see not only is there the trick and not only is there the Truth…there is that little connecting word, “or.”  You see, the word “or” makes sure we understand that there is a choice here.  We don’t have to be stuck with the lie and no, we don’t have to take the Truth…though we would be foolish not to do so.  There is free will. God offers eternal life to anyone, and Satan offers death to everyone.  God offers eternal life to anyone who will believe in Him and ask, and the enemy offers death to everyone else.  Listen, don’t be tricked by the trickster, the consequences of a wrong choice are just disastrous.

So, I hope in your part of the world you can let your kids load up on free candy.  I’m sure your dentist will be very happy.  Be careful and be safe and steer way clear of all the junk that is out there—and trust me—there is plenty.  Oh, and don’t forget the lesson from those three small words, “Trick or Treat.”  Remember that the trickster is a liar and offers spiritual death and the Treater is the Truth and offers eternal life.  Oh, and don’t forget three more important words, “He’s got this.”  Bro. Dewayne

Posted in Family, forgiveness, gratitude, Halloween, life, Scripture, Southern born, thankful, Trials

Days Gone By…or Not?

“[He] does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44b

In those days it was one of my favorite holidays.  Things change…we all get that but back in the day, Halloween was fun, it was candy profitable and we loved it.  There were church parties where we all dressed up in costumes.  And those costumes weren’t bought in a store…they were made from wherever was handy.  We would have hotdogs and chips and there was always a contest for the best costume.  Come trick or treat night we would again don our costumes. Mine was invariably a hobo—I just went to dad’s closet and boom—I was ready to go.

One of my favorite things was going to Momma’s cedar chest.  It was a magic place where so many cool things were stored.  It was filled with once-a-year delights and special treasures.  One time my daddy had to make a trip of Ecuador for work.  He was a mechanic at the Navy base and one of their planes broke down down in South America. He was selected to make the trip and trust me—it was the trip of a lifetime for him.  He bought everyone souvenirs and mine was a poncho and a short bullwhip.  They were stored in the cedar chest for safe keeping.

But there was something else in the cedar chest—our trick or treat bags.  Momma had made one for each of us out of cloth scraps and in my mind’s eye I can still see them.  At the right time, Momma would open the cedar chest and get them out for the special night. Now these are different days but back then as soon as it began to get dusky, we would hit the streets of our neighborhood.  It was a wonderful time of innocence—no danger, no dark tricks…we were safe and free, and we would run the streets until the porch lights were all out and our bags were full. 

Things are tragically different now.  The meaning has changed, the danger is real and well, it’s just not the same.  When our daughters were small enough to trick or treat it was still pretty safe, but we would never think of letting them go out by themselves and now, today, certainly not the grandkids. I wish they could have known the Halloween I knew but alas they are gone.  Things do in fact change.

Sadly, there is something else that hasn’t changed.  The trick part of trick or treat.  Back when I was, oh, ten or so, we might, maybe take a bar of soap and soap a window or two but even that was rare and brought a twinge of guilt. But those memories are not what I am thinking about.  I am talking about the ultimate, most evil trickster—the devil himself.  If you know anything about him you know he is a great deceiver and he loves to lead, or drag, people down a dark path of regret and consequences.  It’s who he is and it something he was done since the beginning of time.  Just ask Eve and Adam. He promises the best treat—which is a lie—and never tells the rest of the story—the trick. Like he told Eve, “Go ahead and have a bite—you won’t die.”  Well, we know how that turned out.

Well, I know this story is a day late and a dollar short, but the big truth is for every day.  Never, ever, trust what Satan offers.  Jesus said he is a liar and the father of it and trust me—Jesus always tells the truth. What Jesus offers—love, forgiveness, grace and peace—are all real and all can be ours for the asking.  He is the treat of a lifetime—with no small print and no tricks.  You can believe it—He’s got this.  Bro. Dewayne