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Don’t train an escape artist

Monday, 05. December 2016 by Renee Ellison

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Psychologists talk about how all humans are involved in endless two-choice dilemmas. Life is full of either/or decisions, and all normal maturing adults (and children in godly homes who are being shaped for adulthood) work through picking one or the other, all through life, as they go—with big decisions and little. Each of us makes hundreds of choices every day. Now here is the profound thing: as we choose, we actualize who we are. That is where we must be involved, as homeschool parents, because the patterns are being formed in childhood. The choices are the warp and woof of how the fabric of life is set up, and we live within it. It cannot ultimately be escaped; it can only temporarily be escaped.

Thus, when one encounters a person (often, a member of one’s immediate family) who refuses to decide a two-choice dilemma concerning himself/herself, regarding a given matter, but instead chooses a third way (one that is not a valid option), one is then dealing with a person who is involved in an escape of some sort. This escapism can manifest as an addiction, rebellion, or a behavioral defect of some sort. Any opting out of reality (kicking the can down the road, ignoring it, constantly switching horses, running, serial relationships, drinking, drugs, misdemeanors, crimes, etc.) is an untenable attempt to solve life’s problems by avoiding the two-choice dilemma.

Given such facts about how life works, one should be aware if one is involved in dealing with a person with a dysfunctional response pattern. Seeing this, one can respond rationally, saying things like: “You may either do this or you may do that.”

The disoriented person is only entertaining third options. He or she wants “all /and” choices, which don’t really exist. Therefore, he can’t resolve his issues or himself. In that case, coasting may look like a good option, and/or appearing to obey while not really obeying the household rules and the family values. For such a one, irresponsibility starts looking better and better. What they are really deciding is to ditch any relational responsibilities, ignore the family legacy, disdain the upholding of family honor, disregard any implications of making poor choices, just ditch. It takes root when the troubled individual digs in his heels and avoids two-choice dilemmas like the plague.

So, what can you a homeschooling parent do if you have a child who seems to be veering in this direction? There are responses we can make that can have great affect in shaping the child’s behavior for life. One is to recognize the two-choice dilemma, to require the child to choose one of the two allowed options—don’t allow third choice escapes. Creative third choices that you both agree upon are fine, and to make sure that the child fully experiences the fall-out of his/her choice.

Teach reading faster

Sunday, 27. November 2016 by Renee Ellison

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Some who are teaching young children how to read find it tedious—or, even, a nightmare. As I continue to cogitate on this problem, it strikes me that although the child who is about to learn how to read arrives there with five years of massive auditory phonemic imprinting, we spend the bulk of our formal teaching of beginning-reading-time going over that same territory.

Conversely, the pre-reading child reaches that stage with virtually no tactile/visual discrimination of letter symbols when they are separated from hearing them. If this is true, then, it would seem that we would do well to focus our teaching efforts on catching up the “touching and eye-balling” part, rather than majoring on the auditory part (which the child already has confidently tackled).

The teacher who voices the same trigger word and isolated sound over and over again while the child traces huge letter symbols, gets the job done. This method builds confidence, as the teacher is basically showing the child that “this letter does not say several things, it says the same thing every time I see it.” The successful teacher is not drawing the child’s attention to multiple examples of the sound in different settings (mother, munchies, Monday, moon, etc.)—which the child already knows in spades.

The child who is just learning to read needs the visual keys, not more hearing. This shift in emphasis builds confidence, because the child learns that this letter does not say several things, it says the same thing every time. This approach allows the vast auditory part to then assist the newly acquired tactile part, steadied by only one auditory example, far more subtly—something that happens even subconsciously.

Therefore, perhaps we as teachers of beginning readers need to switch gears and think that we are teaching drawing classes instead of reading classes!

This deliberate shift in our thinking could make a huge difference in our outcomes. It seems we might need to park here for a while, at the outset. The objective? to get the child to know those symbols in his or her hand, via copious tracing of very large letters, calling them only by their phonetic sound, not by the alphabet letter’s name, before ever embarking upon the second step of putting letters together to make words.

Then—amazingly—the two already acquired sub-skills come together in a beautiful synergism and the child finds reading a dream. The subsequent step is only a small hop, to glue letters together in a line to make words. Far too many children do not learn to read in this way, and as a result they trip and stumble over the reading process for far too many years. Perhaps we have had the emPHAsis on the wrong syLAble!

Note: this system is not applicable to learning a foreign language, nor is it suitable for the child who is already steeped in Spanish or Hebrew as a second language, for example, where the auditory part has to be built up from scratch, too! It would only apply to a child who is learning to read in his own native tongue.

For more information and to order, see the product page for the new expanded Teach Phonics Faster course.

What fasting IS—and why we might want to employ it now

Monday, 07. November 2016 by Renee Ellison

Prayer is a mystery. Why it is that offering prayer from weak humanoids is necessary to move an invincible God, who can do everything withOUT it, is THE mystery. But given God’s earnest command to do it, we can infer some things about it. What if God, for some very high reason, has limited Himself for a “season” to certain LEGAL restrictions upon himself in a wager with the devil—which He plays out in front of principalities and powers? If so, that would explain much.

The wager could have gone something like this: “If My believers don’t pray, you can mess with them, but if they do pray, I get to overrule you and get total access to them to act on their behalf.” Aha. So God may be looking for “legal access” to us via our fledgling prayers, regardless of our efforts at flowery language? He pleads with us, “Just PRAY! Please, just DO IT,” almost frantic to get through to us that it is NECESSARY to possibly release Him from His own contractual restrictions, to act? Prayer just may be part of an unbinding ceremony, on a stage: the more prayer, the more the celestial ropes fly off.

Kneeling in prayer raises the bar a bit more. Look at what we say when we bow. We are saying that we believe God even exists, otherwise we would be praying to…nothing? And that we are coming HERE, not to the local nightclub to get our needs met. All this is said by our body, before words ever cross our lips.

And then let us consider the possibility that fasting affects even more in the heavenlies, because now every cell in our body prays. Yes, assuredly, it does. Fasting lassos all the groans and sighs that words cannot express—embedding them also into our prayers, PLUS it gathers from the metaphysical world the unknown spiritual capacity of even our cells and DNA. For now, we present ourselves before the Almighty in our weakest possible state, humbled by hunger, our most powerful posture. In doing so, one finds that fasting is a further school of prayer. Once engaged in it, the Spirit leads us out into “praying-regions” we didn’t know existed. Fasting is the ultimate plea of the supplicant to the Redeemer.

Righteous physical self-denial results in concrete spiritual transactions. We see it even with Christ, the Redeemer. It was not enough for Him to THINK redemptive thoughts toward us; He had to come down and lay His physical body on the line to accomplish it definitively.

When we fast, each time our body insists “that it wants to eat NOW” it raises a question. Our “digestive anguish” clarifies issues for us. In Esther’s fast, the Jewish believers had to decide: “Do I really want to allow our nation/race to be exterminated, if by foregoing a bowl of rice, I can “stay” such an atrocity?” This was Esau’s question, too. “Trade my inheritance for a bowl of lentils? Sure.” Where AM I, morally, in desperate choices? Fasting asks this question not once, but 1,000 times a day. Am I merely a hopeless “indulge-a-thon,” willing to go down, veritably sink, in order to please myself temporarily? Or are righteous appetites somewhere on my plate?

Fasting shows that we are “all in” with a desperate request. Might now be such a time in history to employ it?

Regardless of the personalities involved, look at the wide difference in the platforms before us as a nation. Am I hoping that babies will be safe in all wombs, or am I willing to stand by and allow them to be ripped apart anytime, even 9 months into the game, via the edict of liberal Supreme Court judges? How important is it that I be able to educate my own children at home vs. sacrificing them to the high church of secular humanism required for 12 long years. Might now be such a time to employ fasting, NOW, while all religious liberties are at stake on the one hand and the reign of tyranny looms over the believer, on the other?

Filed Under: Spiritual tips

Do you suffer, relationally?

Wednesday, 28. September 2016 by Renee Ellison

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Relational suffering is truly vicarious suffering—suffering due to someone else’s choices or behaviors. Why are the saints of the Lord not exempt from this kind of suffering; didn’t He already bear it?

There is a mystery here:

“I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of His body” (Colossians 1: 24).

Huh? What? His colossal work on the Cross did not complete the suffering needed in the universe? It wasn’t enough?


Yes, it was enough—for Him. But, no, apparently it wasn’t enough for us. The thing couldn’t be fully understood until those who are called by His name taste of it, too.

The Lord did the lion’s share of it, but He left his saints still to experience some personal, specific, additional suffering around the edges. He left some wheat to be garnered, after His own cosmic plowing and harvest. The purpose? That we might understand at a more visceral depth what it is He did for us. He purposed that we should share the experience of suffering in order to be ever more one with Him for eternity. It has been said that “love is what we’ve been through together.” Rest assured that in all of His perplexing dispensations, the Lord is ever only after increased camaraderie with us—camaraderie in all its fullness. He is the consummate lover. He knows how to do this thing called love.

Vicarious suffering also extends the Savior’s suffering through His saints to the world—even after He returned to heaven. There is bleeding still. We bear in our bodies the dying of the Lord Jesus. So, homeschool mother, wife, let us be patient and let us trust. Let us yield to His sure hand. His work is ever deep and infinite, both upon us and through us.

Filed Under: Spiritual tips

Divorce for selfish reasons

Thursday, 28. July 2016 by Renee Ellison

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Love is most fully defined/expressed when it gives the beloved the freedom to even not reciprocate, yet continues to love afresh and lavishly in the private set of the soul. That is the kind of love Christ modeled for us. He gives us enough rope to hang ourselves—and He never jerks on the cord. The marvel of the story of the prodigal son in the Gospels is that after the father has given the son everything, the father waits. He waits for the son’s own thirst to develop. He says nothing; he sends no messages; he doesn’t shed his own flashlight upon the path. The son himself rises up—in the counsels of his own heart. And when the son loves, the father then can do no wrong (in the son’s view of things).

A spouse who drops his marriage for selfish reasons vainly imagines that he dances with high thought, when actually he is staggering through low delusion. What such a person doesn’t reckon with is that while he lives in a fantasy reality, the actual reality doesn’t go away. Real reality sits there in his world like concrete, and he will repeatedly turn and stub his toe upon it. Until and unless he bends, he banks on there being no relational fallout as a consequence of any of his actions or his thought life. He counts on still receiving the same kind of affection from his children (in the world of reality), the honor of his parents, etc. He will be the last to know that real esteem for him has gone south.

What such a person doesn’t see is that he has exchanged private personal integrity for the hollow praise of an eventually fickle public. Instead of a quest for personal identity, he will wake up to relational failure. He simply has no idea what relational “work” is all about. Rather, he wants to skim relationships—like skipping rocks. Doing so, he will discover that he will do that even with new relationships. He doesn’t know it in the early phases of this dissolution of his key relationships, but he has embarked upon a sea of ever-shifting relational expectations with everyone he interfaces with (both old and new) from there on out. He will thenceforth encounter no satisfactory relationships anywhere. Oddly, he desperately wants the other person to have enduring relational character (most especially, his children in their regard for him) while he possesses none toward them. He will restlessly dump new “better” relationships as easily as he dumped the old ones. Such a person has thus entered a cauldron of relational dissatisfaction.

A spouse who willfully spurns his marital commitment is like a young child trying desperately to cram a square block into a round hole. Outside of the Lord he is doomed to furtively dart from one fantasy to another—and they will never deliver what he hopes for.

What is the lesson? Life is all about expectations. “If you expect it to be a five-star hotel it is awful, but if you were only expecting a reformatory it isn’t half bad” (loosely paraphrased from C. S. Lewis).
Life is fixed and designed, not for temporary and fleeting assorted happinesses but for sanctification—for us to grow in love of God and in trust in His big plan through it all.

Filed Under: Spiritual tips

The key to marital bliss: KNOW your spouse

Thursday, 09. June 2016 by Renee Ellison

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Marriage is an adventure in adjustment.

Loosely paraphrased, C. S. Lewis profoundly commented about life (not just marriage) with something on the order of: “the chance to live life well is all about expectations; if you are anticipating life to be a 5-star-hotel you’ll be disappointed, but if you thought, on the other hand, that life was going to be a reformatory, it isn’t half bad!”

The same is true of marriage. If you think you are going to ride off into the sunset in the arms of more of “me” then you’ll soon falter on your ride. If, on the other hand, you think you’ll need to “learn” your spouse in depth and then grow in your ability to adapt to him/her, the potential for your ride into the sunset will be sure-footed, long and surprisingly fulfilling.

Remember that the person you marry, no matter what kind of a saint, or Who’s Who he or she is, comes with 200,000 hours of pre-programming that is quantumly different from your own, and was, in fact, hardwired with a given personality, desires and habits that are just as entrenched as your own. It is a great adventure, which yields personal growth in direct proportion to what you put into it—just like with all things that are “hard won”.

1 Peter 3:7 in the KJV version says: “Husbands, dwell with your wife according to knowledge” (of her specifically; the inference here is that every wife is different, so work at gaining a knowledge of how YOURS is! ) The spiritual inference is that the wife will need to gain knowledge of how her husband “works”, “clicks”, “IS”, as well. This dynamic, is, in fact, true for every relationship, that we must learn one another—and love accordingly.

To listen to more on this topic, listen to today’s 2-part broadcast with author Dr. Gary Chapman on Focus on the Family.

Filed Under: Spiritual tips

Boys and girls and sex

Thursday, 02. June 2016 by Renee Ellison

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It is no wonder that we are now placing our young girls in combat in the military, as they have been “fighting” our own young men for years now. Where? In sex. Our culture’s young girls (younger, and younger, by the way) have been let loose amidst a pack of lusty, physically uncontrollable boys, with no protection from their fathers and no moral restraints from their boyfriends.

Our society’s abandoned daughters want to belong; they want to have a boyfriend who “loves” only them; they want to be approved, since, for the great majority of them, it didn’t happen at home, so they swiftly learn that they gain it all by giving in to a boy’s coercion. One seldom hears of a girl pressuring a guy for sex. Initially, unmarried girls largely have sex against their will in order to “belong”. They may try to raise feeble, confused objections but are overwhelmed by the steady aggressions of a guy.

Let’s face it: many men today, whether young and old, are not on the side of guiding, protecting and honoring our females, sexually. Yet we blame our girls for getting into “fixes” or embarrassingly showing up at school pregnant. They are “bad girls” but the boys acquire no corresponding stigma. No restraint was expected. They used any means and any narrative possible to coerce and to accomplish date rape.

In today’s world, all restraints are off from our boys; they are simply not the gentlemen adolescent boys used to be. Instead of logging in years of skill development and accomplishments in their young emerging years (corralling that physical urge into productive ends) today’s boys have used their youth to feed upon lust in their bedrooms via video games and pornography.

Our girls are not blameless, but they do tend to be brainwashed. At the same time our girls have been feeding upon magazines (their editors hell-bent on brainwashing our frail young girls to let go), packed with ways to make themselves physically alluring. Young girls emerge from these browsings, thoroughly exposed in how to deck themselves out with the clothing of prostitutes, believing it to be the norm.

Just like we used to protect our unborn babies (now we sell their body parts), we used to protect our girls, too, not only from romance novels but from non-domestic geography. The entire Victorian Era was set up to protect its young (all of them in every age, immature), girls. Boys met them in the parlor of their father’s home and conducted their discourse there.

Currently, on the other hand, teenage sex takes place outside of a home that has parents in it. Both parents are working. Gone. Not only is there no parlor, the young are strolling the school parking lots, the streets and malls and alleys, and there is no protective father anywhere within sight. (Traditionally, fathers have understood the wiring of their sons and have taught them how to bridle it in heroic work—and fathers have understood the wiring of their daughters, that they needed fatherly protection until marriage). Now, however, girls are there for the grabbing, after school, in parks, in the backseats of cars, at parties where parents AREN’T—and most of all in co-ed dorms where there is 24/7 availability and anonymity.

Without a father’s protection, young girls are thrown into confusion, and are in danger of coercion by sexually aggressive boys. Why? Because their anatomy was built that way. Forgetting this, we charge our young girls with pregnancy and guilt. It is all your fault that you got in trouble—while the boy rushes out and lays the next girl. The boys drop off the girls they have laid, at the abortion clinics, too, and speed off to go watch football while she has it “done”.

What is the difficulty here? Why the suggestion that we lay more charge at the feet of our culture’s males, both fathers and boyfriends, young and old? Because our girls’ anatomy and psyche were not designed for combat, or to resist. Consider how in marriage, a young woman was created to respond to her husband’s sexual initiations and desires, by yielding to them. This is how the human race propagates itself through the creation of families. When she is hugged, her control goes out the window, on purpose. She was designed by God (even in her anatomy) to be a responder. To let go. So when you put that psyche and that anatomy amidst a herd of unbridled boys you are going to have skyrocketing fornication statistics. The numbers are currently appalling. Decades ago, high school fornication was at 25%, then it grew to 50%, now it revs at 85% (with no apparent difference between Christians and non-Christian youth). The governor is OFF—there is no restraint going on here. The damage (in STD’s and in children born out of wedlock into lifelong poverty and shame for the start of the next generation) in every direction is incalculable.

Fathers, come weep at this. Come home. Wake up. Sparta, Athens and Rome were initially all built up by controlled, directed men. They correspondingly all later fell when the men became obsessed with self-indulgence. We are there again—like dogs without leashes.

Steps for conquering sorting old family photos without feeling overwhelmed

Tuesday, 24. May 2016 by Renee Ellison

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Do you have boxes of old family photos that seem overwhelming for you or your aged family members to sort and identify? So it was for my mom, too—until we came up with a system for overcoming the overwhelmed feeling and plowing through the project to completion. These are the steps that worked for us.

# 1: I largely did the bulk of it for my elderly mom, and away from her, so she didn’t have to feel overwhelmed, even for one minute. I only asked her about two kinds of pictures:

1) about persons I couldn’t identify. If she couldn’t remember or didn’t know, we pitched those (figuring that if they weren’t meaningful to her, they wouldn’t be meaningful at all to her progeny). If she did recognize them and they were significant to the family tree, I wrote some brief identifications in pencil on the back of them.

2) about some select keystone pictures of her own childhood, so she could amplify the events and feelings around those pics. Mom enjoyed this part immensely. I only showed her a few of these pictures a day, so it didn’t feel rushed.

#2: I removed all of the photoprints from the old albums, because those old albums take up enormous space, the pages turn brittle, and the covers break off. I had to pull some of the photos out of decaying sleeves with a pair of small needle nosed pliers (this worked great, and was fast). I set all of them in shoe boxes; they condensed wonderfully down to manageable size. We went from large, heavy boxes of chaos down to super-organized little boxes, all neatly labeled and organized, that could be stored on a shelf in anyone’s hall closet.

#3: I threw out all pictures that were of only scenery or wild animals, or were far-away shots or cloudy and unclear and underexposed shots, or unfavorable shots of a person—a photo the person would feel embarrassed about or unflattered for posterity to see. Not all pictures taken are worth keeping; just because they exist doesn’t mean they have to remain existing and use up people’s time viewing them, down the road, in future generations.

#4: Next I went to a high-end shoe store and asked for as many shoe boxes as he would give me—boxes with removable lids on them—and sorted the pictures into those boxes by person. All pictures with only one person in them went in these boxes—each box labeled with only one person’s name on the outside, in huge print. All group pictures went into that particular family’s box.

#5: After all of the pictures were sorted I then arranged the contents of each box, further grouping those pictures by event or time period—filing them in the box by grouping events or time together—and then stuck 3x5 cards tall-ways with little titles on them stating what that section of pictures was about. The viewer then pulls just that section of loose pictures out of the box to view them, and then puts them right back in the box, under that section’s title.

#6: Mailed pictures (or full picture boxes) to each individual who would treasure them. (An option would have been to take a quick photo via cell phone, to email someone who could then reply if they wanted to have the originals.)

#7: I distributed the grandparent and great grandparent pictures to their descendants as evenly as I could, so each person had “roots” pictures. smile

#8: I collapsed—and rejoiced that it was done for all time and that the job was so meaningful.

For more on this topic, order our guide for preserving your family papers and photos.

Filed Under: Home management tips

A mere man makes a poor god

Tuesday, 10. May 2016 by Renee Ellison

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[Some of what we teach—and learn—in homeschooling is a lifetime lesson. This is one of them—perhaps the most important that we can start to teach our children when they are still growing into manhood and womanhood:]

To figure out the grand mystery of life there are only two starting points. One must either defer to an external and eternal God or throw out the one true God and make a god, internally, of oneself. Descarte’s statement “I think therefore I AM,” showed that he preferred himself as a god. And many have followed him, plunging themselves into an insupportable dichotomy, as we shall see.

If one chooses to throw out the external God, replacing Him with oneself, instead of emerging emancipated from all responsibility, as he had anticipated, he now is immediately faced with the heavy burden of re-writing origins and realities. Everything is up for grabs. All boundaries slush around; all realities must be dredged up from the face of the deep. For such a man, the earth is again “without form and void.” Re-writes become his new raison d’etre—and eventually his prison.

Am I a man or a woman? Am I black or white—merely by my own assertions? Are laws, laws? or suggestions? or are they just obstacles in my way? Can I only be married to one person? Seriously? I’ll have them all, even if they fight and scratch each other. Do words mean what they have meant historically or are they malleable in the eyes of the beholder, meaning whatever I want them to mean, in this case, and something different in the next case—according to my own advantage? Such a person’s swim is a deep dive into an abyss. Assuredly, he will face rapids and whirlpools.

The descent into his overwhelming burden does not stop there. A man will be faced with rewriting reality, not only allegedly to somehow make sense of things to himself, but also to authenticate an indulgence or two (his own, ever shifting and ever more) or to assuage a guilt (a mincing deviance from the old order, which lingers with him still, and then a larger one here and there—as he gets pulled further and further from his actual roots).

Bewilderingly, he soon finds that his re-written realities—oops, grown at cross purposes—have implications that he hadn’t anticipated, can’t reconcile and won’t work in the real world that he was born into. His new world will eventually surround him with insanity; it is bound to run amuck.

Even then, his burden doesn’t stop. He will now chase around after an exploration of his own angst for the rest of his life. Without absolute answers, absolute realities, life has become an exploration of personal angst. That is the “heroic” new narrative. It is, however, only another tale of “The Emperor’s New Clothes”—claiming to be the ultimate reason for life, for winning a place on the bestsellers page, putting pen to paper in a new sophistication—it is nothing. “I’m contorted; where do I run?”

This new modern perspective, “I am because I am,” flatters the individual into thinking his struggle is uniquethink our struggle is unique, unusual, individual, highly intellectual—aristocratic—needs my own solutions to relieve my own pain—needs new discourse. But as in the case of a man torn in the dilemma of choosing between his career and raising his own children—if someone were to wake him up, he embarrassingly discovers it is every man’s dilemma and it is never an “either-or”. This “either/or” dichotomy is a trap—a mirage.

The answer is to put God back into His story and then go humbly ahead with Him as one’s escort into all human dilemmas (of which the dilemma before him now, that seems insurmountable, and is all consuming, is merely the beginning). God designed life with its apparent dilemmas, a myriad of them. And the Almighty has a passage through them. But God will be God, first. A mere man will eventually discover that he makes a poor god—by his own self-made contortions.

Filed Under: Spiritual tips

Are God’s ways narrow but our culture’s ways broad?

Friday, 06. May 2016 by Renee Ellison

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Strange as it is to our natural mind, when studying the holy scriptures we begin to notice that God not only provided redemption for His people, He also apparently designed a rhythm and a lifestyle for us.

Upon close examination of the scriptures, we uncover that God designed the year to hang upon an agricultural calendar. He invited His people into periodic stoppings and musings, rejoicings and feastings. He also arranged for and intended that His followers would look UP at least once every month (and not just at one phase in history but for all time) to remember the miraculous hanging of the moon (see Isaiah 66:22-23). Viewing the moon, the closest object in the firmament, is a representative glance into the heavens. Why? Because by remembering the cycle of agriculture (that the Almighty brings forth life from the earth—yes, from mere dead dirt—and hangs celestial heavens above us; we look down AND up) we find ourselves worshiping.

Such a design for our year’s celebrations! He keeps us “on the press” of cultivating an expanding awe. By continually “looking”, throughout the year, we discover that there is a depth of mystery embedded in what we are encouraged to look at. From mere agricultural glances we are led eventually to the profundity that “the earth will [also] give birth to her dead!” (Isaiah 26:19). Aha! Our experience of agriculture is an object lesson, a look at a precursor and microcosm of what happens to redeemed humans! They get resurrected, after a perplexing and long time of itching and churning in the dark, dank earth. Further, by contemplating the moon we gradually come to realize that we ourselves will live with a “limitless Him” in a large universe—will inherit the firmament AND the earth—will traverse there, and here, in another realm that is beyond time.

Without such frequent reminders to partake of earthly and heavenly gazes, we descend into a narrow materialism. Make no mistake, the pagan who kicks God out of His story does not sit in neutral. The vacuum is quickly filled with trivia. He (in partnership with Hallmark cards), immediately and hastily designs another kind of year, a materialistic counterfeit year, to absorb us. We leap from Halloween to Groundhog Day, soon followed by Valentine’s Day and President’s Day, and then to an Easter Bunny Easter, while also filling our calendars with competing and exhausting birthday rituals, concluding each “year” with a tinseled, frenetic and vain Christmas, to ...etc… We exchange looking downward and upward at the miraculous, for looking inward at an “endless shallow me-ism.”

The seven Biblical feast days (initially spoken of in Leviticus 23, but seen continually throughout scripture) perhaps come for a reason, from “the Lord Almighty, whose plan is wonderful… whose wisdom is magnificent!” (Isaiah 28:29).

[To read about the Biblical holidays, download our free e-book: Jewish [Biblical] Holidays Made Simple.]

Filed Under: Spiritual tips