I was taught from a young age that Jesus was the only way to God, and that if I accepted Him as my Savior then I would go to heaven. Seemed like a no-brainer to me. All I had to do was believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for my sins, ask God’s forgiveness, and then accept His free gift of salvation. I believed what my parents told me . . . and what child wouldn’t do that in order to spend eternity in paradise instead of hell? With my child-like faith, I said the prayer and sealed the deal. However, I remember even then thinking how fortunate I was to be born into a Christian family. I wondered about people raised in other cultures or religions, and how a loving God could send them to hell. I mean what if my parents were Muslim or Jewish or Hindu and had a different understanding of “truth” – I am guessing I would have just followed their lead into a different faith . . . and with no less sincerity! So due to mere chance (or God’s "cruel" election), I would have gone to hell for believing the wrong thing. But I know for certain that God is good, so something does not . . .

I exercise almost every day and have maintained a healthy weight for most of my life, so those who know me may be wondering if a guest writer is submitting this article. But no, this article is about my own issues with food - I had no idea what a tight grip it had on me until . . .

I had only been working as a physician assistant for a year or two. There were several medical assistants at the practice, but for some reason, one of them was consistently rude to me. When I asked her to do anything for my patients (like draw blood or run a strept screen), she would roll her eyes or huff and then take her own sweet time to get it done. She did not treat the other employees like this, so clearly her issue was with me, but I had no idea why she disliked me. Since this girl was only a couple of years younger than me, I thought that if I reached out in friendship, maybe she would soften towards me . . . so I invited her over to my house to hang out with me and my roommate. The look on her face clearly communicated she was not . . .

I used to think witches, demons, and magic spells were just fantasy, something made up for entertainment . . . but by the time I was in Middle School, I knew otherwise. My dad was a Baptist pastor, and even he did not grasp the reality of demonic oppression until tormented people started coming to him for help. Some of these individuals had even been victims of satanic ritual abuse, the worst kind of evil you can imagine. This certainly was not something he learned about in seminary, but my dad was determined to help these people find freedom . . . so he went searching for understanding. Because there were few pastors who knew how to navigate such situations, my dad became the local expert in deliverance ministry, and this ended up becoming a large part of my dad’s passion and calling. This is why I learned about Halloween at a young age. I learned that it is the highest “holy” night for Wiccans and Satanists, a time for ritual sacrifices and ceremonies, and for the worship and invocation of evil. But we did not just read about these things in a book, we learned about them from people who had lived through the unfathomable atrocities that occur on this day. This insight forever changed my view of Halloween, and I could no longer . . .

Over the past decade, I have watched several of my Christian friends walk away from their faith. And these were no laissez-fair Christians either – they were passionate Jesus lovers who ran after God and seized every opportunity to share His love with others. But now, some of these same friends deny the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and have embraced a form of religious pluralism instead (the belief that there are many ways to God and we will all end up in heaven). So what happened - how did they get derailed? And what can we do to . . .

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