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Doctors and medical providers have recommendations. You have options. If you’ve been presented with a recommendation that you’re not sure on, here is an acronym you can use to help you make a decision.
B stands for benefits.
What benefits are there to what is being offered? If it’s a medication or intervention, why is it being recommended? If you decide yes on an issue, what are the potential benefits to going that route?
R stands for risks.
What are the risks of doing this? All medications have side effects and risks. Most interventions and some testing do as well. Is this relatively safe or does it come with considerable risk? It is important to weigh the risks against each other when weighing multiple options.
A stands for alternatives.
Are there any alternatives to this option?
I stands for information or intuition.
Do you need more information? What does your intuition tell you?
N stands for nothing.
What happens if you do nothing?
I will also add mention of prayer in your decision-making process.
You can apply this acronym to interventions and you can also apply this thought process to considering the route of no meds or treatment.
If your current situation is not an emergency, there should always be time for the patient to make a decision. Only the patient is the rightful decision-maker over what kind of care they receive. Even in an emergency, there should be communication from/with your healthcare team. If you feel you need it, you have the right to take time to think over the decision.
What are some situations you have used this in?
Halloween seems to be growing as a hot issue dividing Christians over abstaining or partaking. More and more are choosing to stop celebrating it or attending any related events. I am a former atheist who became a Christian in November of 2005. When the following October came around, I realized I had no desire to have anything to do with my lifelong Halloween traditions. Though I grew up with the average 80s babies Halloween costumes and candy traditions, I had come to associate the holiday with the pagan Samhain I celebrated as a Wiccan. I went through a Wiccan/Pagan phase as a teenager before going back to atheist. Because of that, I knew the history and what it’s really all about. When I became a Christian, I wanted nothing to do with such darkness or anything even related to paganism, witchcraft, evil spirits or ghosts, etc. Yet, at the time, I knew very few Christians who felt the same. I walked away from darkness to follow Jesus. It baffled me that so many who claimed to walk in the light played in darkness for several weeks this time of year. I realize they almost never know the depths of it like someone who was previously on the other side. Let’s dive in. Shall we?
I remember having fun dressing up as a kid. When I was in 4th grade, I dressed up as a Christmas tree because I was ready for Christmas. The candy was great. We had fun going trick-or-treating. It seemed innocent. I had no idea it was anything religious. It wasn’t until I was introduced to Wicca at age 14 that I first heard of Samhain. Originally, this was a pagan religious festival with Celtic roots. They celebrated the harvest and prepared for the winter. They also had spiritual beliefs about the veil between the world of the living and the dead/spirits being thin at this time. They had rituals, sacrifices, and offerings. They feared angering their gods if they did not participate in the holiday. They would sometimes dress up as monsters or scary things. Over the years, traditions expanded. Jack-o-lanterns were a Samhain practice. Spirits would be invited and entertained. In the religion of Wicca, Samhain is a big holiday. It’s considered the witch’s New Year. For Wiccans, this holiday is actually part of their religion and something they celebrate. I’ve heard people who identify as witches say this is a sacred holiday for them. At this point, I hope it is clear that Samhain is a spiritual/religious practice and a pagan holiday.
So, how does that tie in to Halloween? As Christianity grew, church leaders tried to overtake paganism. One of the ways they did that was by ‘overriding’ their holidays. In the 9th century, the pope of the Catholic church declared All Saints’ Day (also known as All Hallows Day) on November 1st and November 2nd for All Souls’ Day (also known as the Day of the Dead). All Saints’ Day is about celebrating the saints of the Catholic church. This religious practice included praying for the dead and visiting cemeteries. All Souls’ Day is about remembering and honoring the faithful who have died. This includes praying for the dead so they may be lifted out of purgatory into heaven. The pagan practices remained the same despite the introduction of these holidays attempting to switch the time of year’s focus to practices of the Catholic church. With the attempt to make this pagan holiday more Christian, October 31st became All Hallows Eve which later became known as Halloween. Heavily practiced in Ireland and Scotland, immigrants brought the traditions to America. Tricks were commonly played by people who blamed it on fairies. Trick-or-treating became a tradition of dressing in costume, walking from house to house singing for the dead, and homeowner’s gifting cakes as a treat. Throughout the years, these pagan practices became part of American culture too. It’s so ingrained in our culture that many do not see it as a spiritual practice at all. It’s simply carrying on the traditions of their own childhood and having fun with their families.
It is clear that Halloween is a pagan spiritual practice regarding the dead, the mystical, the spirits, false gods, and witchcraft. The question is: Should Christians partake in pagan spiritual practices? What about just the fun stuff such as costumes, candy, and trick-or-treating without celebrating any of the spiritual beliefs that contradict the Christian faith??
Can you even do that anymore? Is it even possible to partake in the “innocent” aspects without exposure to dark things and anti-Christian practices? Every year it seems Halloween gets darker. The decorations get more and more morbid. Disturbing scenes fill the yards and houses all across America. The costumes get more wicked. The crime gets worse. The sick and twisted things they show on TV get even more gruesome. People and pets are harmed. Children are poisoned and endangered from drugs and nails and such in their candy. All things occult increase: witchcraft, spells, tarot cards, Ouija boards, mediums, divination, horoscopes, and such things. How desensitized are you to the blatant darkness of Halloween? Do you even notice anymore when blood and gore and fake dead bodies decorate your street? Have you noticed more open Satanism, Wicca, witchcraft, and pagan rituals being publicly practiced?
Satanists do not celebrate Halloween as a religious practice, but they certainly have some interesting quotes on those who do celebrate it. Their website acknowledges Halloween as embracing darkness and releasing their demonic cores. “Satanists embrace what this holiday has become, and do not feel the need to be tied to ancient practices. This night, we smile at the amateur explorers of their own inner darkness, for we know that they enjoy their brief dip into the pool of the “shadow world.”” is a quote from the holiday section of their FAQ on the Church of Satan website. More and more people who worship the devil and practice witchcraft or magick are using Halloween to celebrate their ways. In some cities, Satanic churches offer Halloween events to introduce people to their religion.
What are you entertaining yourself with? Are you decorating with things that symbolize darkness and evil? Are you watching movies about witchcraft and demons? Are you dressing up as something that would cast you into hell if you actually lived that way? What you entertain yourself with says a lot about what’s in your heart.
Many make excuses to partake in Halloween. The candy is innocent. The costumes are cute. The kids have fun going trick-or-treating. The older folks have fun passing out candy. Not participating would mean the kids are missing out. People will think you’re judgmental if you’re against it. You’ll offend people if you don’t join in.
The scripture speaks for itself. True Christians who are following Jesus should not be walking in darkness even if it’s a widely celebrated holiday.
Sorcery and witchcraft
Beware the deception
Holiness and separation
Celebrating and partaking in the things that are against God affect your relationship with God. Yes, it does.
Is it worth it to walk away from Jesus to partake in a witch’s holiday and pagan practices that go against the truth of God… so that you can have fun? Is it worth it to risk dabbling in witchcraft and sorcery if those who practice such things go to hell? Realize there are spiritual implications to Halloween. This is not just a costume. This is more than candy. Is it worth it to teach your children to practice what the bible clearly says will send them to hell? And what message does it send if they can dress up as a witch for Halloween and it’s fun, but if they grow up to actually practice witchcraft they will be thrown into the fires of hell?
The enemy wants to take your children captive before they are even old enough to live for the Lord. He wants to plant roots in their mind that his ways are fun and the Lord’s ways of holiness are restrictive. Plant those thoughts young and it’s easy to get them to rebel against the church. Desensitize them to the occult. That way when they see these warnings from the bible right in front of their eyes, they’ll be less likely to feel conviction because they’re used to seeing it. They’ve grown up with it all around them. Their parents let it into the house. Maybe their church even let it in the parking lot (trunk or treat). Even if they feel convicted, the strength of it will fade the more it is normalized in their life. Eventually, they will probably entertain themselves with it and what they entertain is what will enter their mind and ultimately their hearts. That is one reason we must keep ourselves separate. It’s dangerous to water down our reaction to what could endanger our soul.
The devil has done well at watering down the perception of dark practices. Television has exposed us casually for decades. Children’s shows and books and toys have introduced kids to friendly and fun sorcery (Harry Potter, anyone?). Disney movies excellently portray the things of darkness to be entertaining. Animation and costumes make it lightheartedly safe for children. Spell books are now sold in mainstream stores such as Walmart to children for Halloween. People think it’s a joke. I remember being a Wiccan who had spell books. I remember casting spells. I remember practicing witchcraft. I assure you these things are not just a joke. They are of the devil!
You cannot pursue holiness and partake in Halloween at the same time.
There are many who consider themselves Christian, but they have mixed their life with the occult practices in our culture. They watch Hocus Pocus, entertain themselves with witches and demons for fun, dress up like devils, take part in the dark and spooky, dance with evil spirits, do witchy things as part of their culture like it has no impact on their religion, and many of these believers go to church. Some even lead churches. There are pastors, ministers, entire churches who practice paganism. Woe to them for giving acceptance to such things and go against God to dabble in paganism and sorcery for a season.
The devil has ensnared so many Christians into the pit of Halloween that the enemy can now boast he has Christians defending his side. Even the non-Christians know this is pagan. Even the atheists wonder why Christians partake in Halloween. Even the witches question the authenticity of their Christian friend’s faith when they join in on the witch’s big holiday. Yet Christians now boldly proclaim their offense at being judged for this wicked participation. They cry with a social media victim card clearly having no concern for the coming day that their soul is judged by the one who determines heaven or hell. And these “Christians” are out here attacking those Christians who abstain. If that’s not the schemes of the devil getting the “church folk” to pressure people to join his kingdom. Meanwhile, the other side of Christians often walks on egg shells terrified to be labeled offensive for abstaining from what they feel is wicked. They hide their convictions as much as they fear the social reaction to the word “holiness”. A few sound the alarm. There is a spiritual impact to this practice.
Is it worth the fun to partake in the witch’s holiday and pagan practices? No more than the pleasure of sin is worth condemning your soul for eternity. You should find the nature of this darkness repulsive. This practice is increasingly vile! You should be disturbed by the things of darkness. Are you?
Have nothing to do with occult practices. Don’t dabble. Don’t mingle. Don’t even have the appearance of being involved.
Come out from among them. Be separate. Repent and cleanse yourself from the defilement. Be holy.
There is a very old recipe on how to make pickles. If you’re familiar with canning, you know that pickles are cucumbers put into a solution (recipe) that turns them into pickles. What does that have to do with baptism?
In my book, The Subject of Salvation, I share the neat language lesson that the words baptize and baptism are actually transliterations. They are Greek words that have been transliterated into English.
Baptize is a transliteration of the Greek word baptizo which means to immerse. The root word is bapto which means to dip. The ‘o’ was changed to an ‘e’ to give us our verb baptize; a verb is an action word. The noun form is the Greek word baptisma which is where we get our word baptism.
In modern times, there is some controversy over whether baptism requires full immersion or whether sprinkling/pouring on water is acceptable. In the early church, they fully immersed someone in baptism. That is why we Apostolic Pentecostals still baptize by immersion. We practice what the early church did.
The New Testament was written in Greek. The Greek-speaking people understood the instruction to be baptized is an instruction to be immersed and go fully under in the water.
But did you know the word baptize used to be used in other contexts?
Around 200B.C. there was a Greek poet and physician, Nicander of Colophon (modern day Turkey), who had a recipe for making pickles. In this recipe, the instruction was to bapto (dip) the cucumber in boiling water and then baptize (immerse) it in a vinegar solution. The dip in boiling water would cleanse the outside. Immersing it in vinegar is what transforms it to a pickle.
Once these cucumbers were baptized in the solution, they became pickles. They were transformed. Their nature was changed. They could never go back to the way they were before.
Acts 2:38 (KJV)
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
When I learned about this recipe, my thought was “Be immersed in the name of Jesus”. How powerful is that perspective? Be immersed. Be immersed in the name of the Lord. Be changed. It changes our nature when we immerse ourselves in following Jesus. Be changed. Become a new creature. Go down in the water in the name of Jesus and come up cleansed. Be transformed. Then I thought about the verses referencing the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Wow. That’s fire. What happens if a person immerses themselves in the Holy Spirit? The point of this blog is to address the controversy over whether baptism requires immersion, but I wanted to share those powerful thoughts about immersing ourselves in the name of Jesus and the Holy Ghost.
We are buried with Christ and raised with Christ when we get baptized in his name (Romans 6:3-8). We are a new creation when we are in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). We can never go back to our former ignorance. We are changed. We are transformed. Our nature is different. After baptism, let’s live in a way that we are immersed in the name of Jesus.
If you’d like to learn more about baptism, there is a bible study on my website here.
Be adorned appropriately for a woman professing holiness.
This message was strongly spoken to me as I was almost asleep. What did it mean? I knew the scripture laid on my heart at the time it was spoken, but I realized I didn’t have full understanding of it. I had been studying the topic of jewelry and where to draw the line with accessories. It went along with my modesty blog and the series I had planned. My plans were to study and address the specific topics. When I thought of a woman adorned, I had an image in mind. I pictured big diamonds, gold, expensive jewelry, high-cost clothes, a painted face, Hollywood name brands, riches. I felt the need to look up the definition of adorned. Doing so changed my whole perspective on this topic.
What does it mean to be adorned? As a worldly woman? As a godly woman?
1 Timothy 2:9-10 (American Standard Version)
In like manner, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefastness and sobriety; not with braided hair, and gold or pearls or costly raiment; but (which becometh women professing godliness) through good works.
1 Peter 3:3-4 (American Standard Version)
Whose adorning let it not be the outward adorning of braiding the hair, and of wearing jewels of gold, or of putting on apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in the incorruptible apparel of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
To adorn is defined as “to make more beautiful or attractive”.
Synonyms: enhance, beautify, prettify, embellish, and bejewel. Ornament and “add ornament to” are also listed.
What is an ornament?
Noun: a thing used to make something look more attractive but usually having no practical purpose
Verb: make (something) look more attractive by adding decorative items
Are my earrings an ornament??? I had never thought of it that way. I’ve worn jewelry my whole life. This is normal to me.
For so many years, I interpreted these two scriptures, 1 Peter 3:1-5 and 1 Timothy 2:9-10, that it was about being flashy. I thought of it as a principle of how we shouldn’t look rich or be showing off. No dripping in diamonds. No sporting gold chains like the world. No expensive jewelry. No elaborate hairstyles (I assume braided hair was somehow fancy back then?). We shouldn’t set our desires on worldly riches and symbols of status. It also could deter people from joining others at church if people seem to be of higher income status than the visitors. Be modest. Be humble in our appearance. Let’s not be all about our looks. Character matters more.
I still agree with that. I still think that’s an accurate interpretation and a guideline we should live by. I think there’s more to it though. Adornment is more than a list of items not to wear.
I had never even questioned these things before I started going to an Apostolic Pentecostal church. I’d read these verses before, but never studied them. I’d never heard them taught before. I used to wear a lot of jewelry and I always wore makeup. For years, I did not want to leave the house without makeup. I was uncomfortable with people seeing my naked skin, redness and flaws. Not having any jewelry on made me feel like I wasn’t fully dressed. I put my earrings in as part of putting my outfit on. I’d wear a wrist full of bracelets and often a necklace sometimes two at a time. It made me feel prettier. I felt more confident when I was done up.
Even after becoming Apostolic (in 2011) and starting to dress modestly, I still continued with the cosmetics and accessories. I cut back a lot. I was more natural with the makeup, less eye-catching. I took out my 2nd and 3rd earrings leaving just the first hole because I thought that was more modest. I wore jewelry a lot less than I did before (because I felt expected to not wear it at all). I considered following the traditional Apostolic way with the no jewelry or cosmetics, but I didn’t understand why they did it. I didn’t see it in scripture, and I had no conviction on it for many years.