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Spiritual tips

Renee Ellison's spiritual thoughts for the day.

There’s a place for us

Sunday, 19. August 2018 by Renee Ellison

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Just as Pascal coined the phrase that “Every man has a God-shaped vacuum inside of him that is restless until it finds its rest in Him,” so, too, George MacDonald had a parallel thought that “God Himself has little human-shaped pockets in His heart designed for each and every true believer…that never gets filled with anything but us, individually.” Our heavenly Father designed us to be utterly unique and valuable to Him. No one can replace any one of us in His affections—residing in His bosom forever.

Filed Under: Spiritual tips

Family relationship perplexities

Sunday, 12. August 2018 by Renee Ellison

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We could get some kind of idea of how complex relationships are (by God’s design, by the way) if God were to ask us questions such as (per C. S. Lewis): “How many hours are in a mile?” and “Is yellow square or round?”

Relationships are incomprehensible, yet they exist all around us in all 360 degrees. Close family relationships, especially, are what they are!

God scores a great victory when we finally move beyond mere necessary entanglement and a wing-it responsiveness to actually scratching our heads in wonder about them: “What ARE they?”, in the first place, and “Why are they in our life?” in the second place, and “Why are each of these people so utterly different from ME?”

What God is doing in and through all relational dynamics is big business with Him. He uses them in our lives for something now and for something even that is yet to be. In reference to them, He has called us to walk softly, marvel more, stay alert, and pray compassionately.

Filed Under: Spiritual tips

Disgruntled with each other?

Thursday, 09. August 2018 by Renee Ellison

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Oh, we get so frustrated and irritated with each other. Our spouse just doesn’t “do right.” Our children don’t “do right.” Our relatives don’t “do right.” The Bible (Galatians 5:15) warns us, though, to “Take heed (`watch out!’), lest you eat and devour one another.” Our agitated thoughts can lead to a kind of “dinner” we hadn’t counted on. A wise old saint once said, “There is enough about each one of us to make us out to be either a demon or a god.”

The Bible also says (2 Corinthians 5:16), “Know no man after the flesh.” In other words, we are urged to cultivate the habit of not viewing each other’s earthly dross but each other’s heavenly dress.

At funerals, that optimal/optimizing focusing seems to happen quickly and spontaneously. We are able to see the priceless departed one in his or her redeemed state already. We find ourselves wanting to recall and pick out only the good things to speak about at that time, now celebrating the life that we know God designed and purposed for that loved one for all eternity, which was in embryo here while on earth, steadily developing.

If we were to stand on a street corner and suddenly, supernaturally, see one another as we shall be in eternity (a kind of street transfiguration!)—as if the veil had been instantly torn away from us—and see what God is making of each of us, even now, no doubt it could make us apt to worship one other! When that actual hour does come, we won’t; instead, we will worship Him for what He has made of us. If, however, we could see it in each other now, surely it would “take our breath.” Sons of God!

Filed Under: Spiritual tips

Words at the marriage altar: Are they sentimental promises or lifelong vows?

Wednesday, 01. August 2018 by Renee Ellison

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A typical married couple who attends a wedding these days may gulp a little bit when they hear the modern made-up sentiments and promises gush across the lips of young couples…most of whom have already shacked up together for a year or two beforehand, just in case. (One might ask, “In case of what?”) And how is the Hollywood-style sentimental love that they express so dramatically going to be different, after the wedding?

Sentiments and promises can be added to the long standing well worded traditional vow of “to have and to hold, from this day forth, forsaking all others, in sickness and in health, in poverty and wealth, til death do us part,” but to replace the time honored well-honed wording of that vow could have some real problems. Even when couples nowadays do say this time-honored matchless traditional vow, what they actually mean, subconsciously, is, “forsaking not ALL others, I’m with you in health, and in wealth, and until it doesn’t feel so good anymore.”

Let’s think more deeply about what it is that we are actually doing here, at the marriage altar. Might the words below prove to be a better foundation to the time honored vow—at least to embrace these loyal thoughts in our hearts?

Underpinnings of a godly vow:

“I hereby commit before God and before these witnesses to plunge into this commitment to the vast unknown. I commit to circumstances and deep relational dynamics in all sorts of directions, whatever they become, of which I cannot now know or possibly imagine. Furthermore, I commit to this heretofore unknown life, for the rest of my life, with a person I barely know, and who is largely unknowable even over a lifetime, to himself/herself, let alone to me. Therein I commit myself to a specific small destiny, a specific “lot” in life, that I will not jettison, preferring another.

I will wholeheartedly accept this “lot” as God’s perfect design for my sanctification in both this life and the next. I am committing to one person, forsaking all others out of several billion possible choices, trusting God that this person was divinely brought specifically across my path at this juncture in 6,000 years of history, in this particular geographic setting, by God’s own hand, or else I would have been born in some other age and would have intersected with a different lifetime mate.

I acknowledge that to love God’s “lot” for me is to love His will for me, His version of my best self, and to submissively trust His destiny, perfected on my behalf for all time, IN the marriage, THROUGH the marriage, and BY the marriage. Only because I know YOU, God, do I have the courage to so utterly abandon myself to this commitment—for in it I commit myself afresh to You.”

Perhaps such a heartfelt commitment would send the divorce rate sprawling.

Filed Under: Spiritual tips

New book: Impossible Evolution

Friday, 20. July 2018 by Renee Ellison

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Renee’s artful skill for “making-complex-issues-simple” emerges yet again in her newest book, Impossible Evolution. Because it is loaded with visual graphics, the reader is able to catch each asserted impossibility immediately. Thus, it can be taught quickly to a child. Other sections of the book grip the attention of the adult, too, as the issues are looked at deeper as the book progresses.

This simple book clarifies both sides of the Intelligent Design / Evolution debate solidly and for good. In Part One each issue is pictured, with short, clarifying easy text. Part Two has three short meaty essays developed on these topics:

One: the Impossibility of Theistic Evolution (a compromise between the two main theories, that doesn’t work—it breaks down under the force of logic),

Two: a detailed look at some scriptures and their astounding implications related to the issue, and

Three: a commentary upon the inevitability of Intelligent Design’s infinitely superior position in the debate.

The closing section of the book is loaded with questions to artfully ask others who, in their thinking about this topic, still live in the darkness of evolution. Like all Socratic questioning techniques, it leads the pondering person, himself, to the inevitability of the right answer.

Grab this exciting summary of the most insistent lie of our day and share it with everyone you know. The fog will lift and you’ll walk under clear blue sky in your thinking about this, from here on in.

Filed Under: Spiritual tips

Let us ever take the high ground

Tuesday, 13. February 2018 by Renee Ellison

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Some evangelicals teach that the commands of God are so high that it is impossible to keep them; therefore we must settle only for a sentimental feeling of love toward our Master and live each day as we feel (for many, that winds up meaning….helplessly succumb to the relentless pressures of increased subtle and overt worldliness).

Upon a close examination of actual scripture we find accounts of the exact opposite. Amazingly, several individuals are, in fact, pointed out as righteous—while living amidst very pagan worlds. In each case they were marked by belief in God AND they walked in a progressive obedience. These individuals didn’t have periodic bum chapters (couldn’t help it… waywardness), in their walk with God.

“He who loves me keeps my commands” (John 14:15, 21). “He it is who loves me” (i.e. obedience, apparently, is the identifying feature of the strong believer).

Noah: “I have found you righteous in this generation” (Genesis 7:1). It was apparently evident that Noah had obeyed God in the past and, now, as soon as it was commanded, he would get right to work on the ark.

Job: “Job was blameless and upright” (Job 1:1). He feared God, and he shunned evil. He wasn’t foolin’ around with a little bit of waywardness on the Internet.

Enoch walked with God, and was not! (Genesis 5:24). He apparently had totally overcome the fear of men.

Elizabeth and Zachariah: “Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s command and decrees blamelessly” (Luke 1:6). (Elizabeth’s tank tops weren’t cut lower and lower.)

Mary: “You who are highly favored… You have found favor with God” (Luke 1:28, 30). (Mary hadn’t shacked up with three or four guys already, insisting upon “instantness” before succumbing to the “bondage” of commitment.) “May your word to me be fulfilled !”

Daniel: “Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel” (Daniel 1:9). (Daniel hadn’t dabbled in Buddhism, just a little bit, during his college years. It is as if the Lord was saying to him, “You HAVE walked in obedience and I feel quite sure that you WILL walk in obedience.)

God implores us to “Be ye holy as I am holy” as if it were possible! It IS possible not to steal today.

Filed Under: Spiritual tips

Anything but God

Sunday, 04. February 2018 by Renee Ellison

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The atheist’s dilemma:

The atheist, having dispensed with God, now has to take on the burden of re-writing all origins, not only the social agendas he so chooses (as in “I prefer multiple women and I much prefer raising my children only part-time”).

But why stop there? Doesn’t he have to re-write the laws of physics and chemistry, to say nothing of explaining his own existence, too? He now must somehow explain his lack of power to engineer the details of which womb his body will proceed from, and in which century.

Another problem with choosing to be your own god [note the little “g”] is that it puts you in the company of everyone else who has chosen likewise. Thus, you are into battle with not just other people, but other people who, just like you, have chosen to be god—but on different terms than yours. So, if you want to be god, have at it.


New agers’ dilemmas:

Eastern gods are gods only of philosophical thought or of mystical conjecture. The devotees of such have to pit THEIR god of metaphysics against the credentials of THE God of historical fact.

THEIR god never:

· rose from the dead (witnessed by 500 over 40 days)

· performed miracles (witnessed by thousands; not a private apparition)

· ascended into heaven (witnessed by a group of disciples; again, not a private apparition)

· was foretold by scores of scriptures that predated his birth

· showed consummate immediate recuperative power over a man’s soul, to transpose him from skid row into a drug-free church go-er in an hour.


As they sit in the lotus position, they also must answer the questions of…

· how meditation helps one cope with a burglar in one’s home, or how to stop an ex-con from raping your daughter

· how much meditation would they need to do to secure Nirvana

· have to wrestle with the impossibility of assertions like “if you can believe it, you can become it.” Really? A foot-dwarf can become a pole-vaulter?

· via reincarnation, just what would an ant have to do to be worthy enough to come back as a cow?

Filed Under: Spiritual tips

Thanksgiving or despair?

Thursday, 23. November 2017 by Renee Ellison

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Because of personal tragedies, large or small, some of us might find ourselves “Thanksgiving” during this holiday with a kind of emptiness. Loneliness, broken hearts, dashed expectations, failed marriages, ill health, grinding poverty, career upsets, accidents and deaths of loved ones, obstacles and disappointments over our own goals, investment reversals—all and any of these constitute possible sources of deep personal anguish, pushing thoughts of any sort of “thanksgiving” far away (at least in our hearts, even if we attend a dinner dedicated to that purpose).

In sadness, on a day like today we might find ourselves casting around furtively for something to be thankful for, but feel like we are scraping the bottom of the barrel. We might conclude that we could muster thankfulness for two good legs and blue sky. But what if even those things, too, were taken away from us? We break a leg or we are robbed of blue sky by prolonged inclement weather. We see readily that if we are to be thankful it will have to be rooted in something other than our circumstances.

The challenge of whether to be thankful or not is really a question put to us not for a day but for a lifetime. The issue of thankfulness doesn’t stop in 24 hours. We will face it ongoingly in old age when we find ourselves living on a shrinking island of diminishing personal faculties and capabilities. Will we choose to be grateful then?

Ultimately we must realize that thanksgiving or bitterness are relational terms. We do not sit as repositories of these conditions. These are thoughts with a destination. They are aimed somewhere, initially perhaps at people, but finally at God Himself.

Whether we know it or not, at the core of this issue sits another issue. To solve how we will position our soul, not just for today but for a lifetime, whether in gratefulness or despair, we must address the issue of personal suffering.

Real thanksgiving, the kind that gives unfathomable repose to the soul, day in and day out, is only possible if we believe in a God who created us and that He created us for a purpose. But how do we get-to/arrive confidently at that thought?

Let’s stop and fathom our anatomy for a minute. The very creation of our anatomy belies a purpose not just for our internal organs but for our entire existence. There sits the organ, and then there is what the organ does. So there we, too, sit—but over time it slowly dawns on us that we were designed for a great purpose, far outside of ourselves. And it is not just a purpose of function, but of being. We were designed for a relational purpose. We discover through the Bible that we were created for the praise of His glory…“to love God and enjoy him forever,” says the old Westminster Catechism.

Why? Because He first loved us.

The problem is that we don’t now see the whole story. It is hidden from us for a season, and for some exalted reason. Can we not imagine that if God took such great pains to design us in such detail, He has also calculated how suffering in the tender matters of the heart would ultimately benefit us?

Imagine ourselves shipwrecked—that we’ve come from somewhere and are going somewhere, but for now we finger lost treasures in the sand. Perhaps we have “fallen” from something?

The very existence of some good in the world—a kind gesture from a stranger, a beautiful sunset—gives rumor to the full-orbed story that we shall yet see in another realm, at another time. Now, then, is the season of trust. We must believe that God suffers with us, loves us deeply, and is in some mysterious way inculcating our sufferings into eternal benefit for us.

His purposes for us are greater than we can now imagine. This, then, is what we can be thankful for, through all conditions. The habitation of Thanksgiving can be our home; we can confidently park at that address, not only for today but for a lifetime.

Filed Under: Spiritual tips

Divorced against your will?  Having trouble with the last vestiges of forgiveness?

Saturday, 21. October 2017 by Renee Ellison

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After such trauma, it is good to eventually get to the point of acknowledging that “what is, IS.” Mustering the will to move on, both spiritually and practically, however fumblingly, is the road back to composure, and a gift to your children who are bearing their own grief without bearing yours as well.

So, how do we cross that final Rubicon of trying to forgive when we don’t feel it is justified? First, we acknowledge that what someone did to us and/or to someone we love, was destructive. The damage is irreversible (right up there with the fall of man); that’s a given. Fortunately, God has said that He will carry this burden for us. The Day of the Lord is coming AND with it, also the day of His vengeance (Jeremiah 46:10). The two will come together.

The scriptures tell us that “the way of the transgressor is hard”—and that is true both HERE and eventually. It is hard here because the transgressor will now suffer increased relational complications. And the offender will now have to cope with guilt—with God walking the secret staircase of their soul, penetrating their spirit, a spirit that may well haunt them during sleepless portions of their nights for the rest of their life, unless they turn and truly repent.

The Puritan saint Matthew Henry said, after he had been robbed, “I can be grateful that it was I who was robbed rather than I who robbed!” Now, THAT’s perspective!

In overcoming forgiveness obstacles, squaring oneself with the immaturity of the offending/ irresponsible spouse is immeasurably helpful. If the renegade spouse were handicapped in a wheelchair you’d see him/her crimped PHYSICAL condition. So now, picture him/her in that same condition mentally. He (or she) has been and IS equally handicapped in his/her spiritual state. He/she HAD to be, to have made such poor choices. Someday his/her remorse will be inconsolable (outside of Yeshua), when HE exposes him/her to himself/herself.

It is important to realize that there are different levels of spirituality in different people, and this has been true (a constant) through the centuries. There are such spiritual giants as the Apostle Paul, and the brothers John and Charles Wesley, and Matthew Henry, and Andrew Murray and George Mueller, and then on the other end of the continuum there are ordinary multitudes who live life for self-advantage and expediency and haven’t a thought cast in godly directions. What is, IS. People fall all along that spiritual maturity continuum.

So, squaring oneself with those who are spiritually lesser developed helps release our own angst. We can forgive them “for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). We can observe them, call a spade a spade in our own mind, and then realize that they did what they did because that is where they were in the line-up. It was no surprise to God. He Himself constantly lives in “what is, IS”, and adjusts His personal counselings and actions accordingly.

Much of life is a “respond-a-thon”—bringing His nature into the situation, whatever that requires. In the end, personally, the story is about US—what depths of further spirituality can we achieve, given what we’re given. God Himself has done such gymnastics within Himself. He is our forerunner and our enabler through all such vicissitudes and cross-patches. Go forward with your forgiveness and you’ll find yourself freed up.

~~For more on this topic, including working through the process of forgiveness, see “How to Relate with Love to a Controlling Person.”

Filed Under: Spiritual tips

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