The “F” Factors
"For seven days you shall keep the feast to the Lord your God at the place that the Lord will choose, because the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful.”—Deut. 16:15 (ESV)
If you follow any major religion, you will find that almost without exception they each have special days of the year to celebrate some aspect of their belief. In Deut. 16 we find that the God of the Hebrews established not one but numerous celebrations out of love for His people. Among other activities, it was a time of tremendous feasting and extensive fellowship. It was a time to pull away from everyday life and celebrate all the many blessings that God had done in the life of the Hebrews, both individually and collectively.
The “F” factors of feasting and fellowship are divinely given to be an inspiration, refreshing, encouragement and celebration of His goodness. If you think about it, the need of feasting and fellowship is especially important for the homeschool community for several reasons. Firstly, since what we do is swimming against the cultural and church norm, it is easy to sometimes feel isolated. Fellowshipping with those who have a similar vision stokes our own fire as well as demonstrates to our children that others are doing similar things. We are not an anomaly but are rather part of a reformation of the Spirit of God. Secondly, homeschooling is a lifestyle of sacrifice in regards time and energy. It can be several years before we truly see that effort pay off in the lives of our children. Between the now and the not yet, discouragement is a very real temptation. Thirdly, because we see learning as a life-long process, we often don’t take the opportunity to celebrate different events and years like the public school system does. Year quietly follows year. If we’re not intentional, our children—nor us—feel a strong sense of accomplishment.
The Hebrews have Passover, the Feast of Booths, Pentecost, Purim, Festival of Lights, just to name a few. We homeschoolers in Illinois also have our own high days: the ICHE State Convention. Like our Jewish forerunners, it’s a time for us to pull away out of the hubbub of the homeschooling life and take a few days to feast on spiritual food (and physical food too!) We get to sit at the feet of those who have walked before us in the homeschooling journey or who seem to have a special call from God that allows them to speak directly to our hearts in meaningful, encouraging and impactful ways.
Additionally, there are friends we haven’t seen since last year, stories to catch up on and new additions to meet. Our children likewise meet like-minded believers their own age, partake in some unique educational activities together and even catch a video/movie that is Christ-exalting. In the Smith household, anticipation for the ICHE convention began building well over a month ago.
I would suggest, however, for these “F Factors” to have their sublime effect next month, we need to implement another F Factor this month. Of course, I’m speaking about fasting before God as we seek His presence and blessings on these three days. There will be considerable warfare from the enemy to keep as many away as possible, fearing the impartation of spiritual and biblical wisdom they will receive.
For this month’s day of prayer and fasting (usually the first Tuesday of each month or what works best for you) we are concentrating exclusively on the convention. I met with five fantastic ladies last week who make up the convention committee. I asked them for a list of prayer items that we could agree upon in prayer as the convention approaches. For those of you who graciously signed up to be weekly prayer warriors, you can add these to the list I already sent you. They are as follows:
- Pray that God will provide the finances for those who would like to come but are financially strapped right now.
- Pray that fathers will feel an unavoidable draw to the convention and that they may gain conviction of vision and strength to be a part of the homeschooling experience.
- Pray for the unsaved and unbelievers who will no doubt be there for one reason or another.
- Pray that those who are discouraged or weary in their homeschooling experience will experience a fresh infilling of God’s Spirit.
- Pray for beginning homeschoolers to get a vision for home discipleship and not simply homeschooling for an academic end.
- Pray for safety for all those traveling, both far and near.
- Pray for those who speak to share a fresh word that would especially meet the needs of people “for such a time as this.”
- Pray for our young people to get a vision for Christian discipleship and also receive hope for their future.
- Pray for parents of special needs children and struggling learners to receive wisdom and strength.
- Pray that individuals will go to the sessions they really need at this point in their journey.
- Pray for an especially sweet time of fellowship.
- Pray for the army of volunteers to be refreshed in their service.
- Pray for the facility, the AV systems, the electrical system, etc. to operate properly.
- Pray that in all things our Lord Jesus Christ would be magnified and glorified.
May God’s grace surprise all of us. Thanks for praying and fasting with us.
Executive Director, ICHE