Posted in creation, theology

“And he made the stars also” : Think on This…

By Elizabeth Prata

And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. (Genesis 1:16).

The Bible declares there is one God, in three Persons. And that He made everything we see and all that we do not see. He is transcendent, apart from creation, above it, master.

I believe the Bible’s recounting of actual history, that in the beginning was God and that He made the earth, sky, and stars within a six-day period, and then He rested.

Doesn’t that phrase at the end of verse 16 just tickle you as it does me? He made all this, oh, and the stars too.

The Psalmists marveled as well. In Psalm 147:4 we read that not only did God make the stars, He named all of them!

He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names

Looking up into the night sky, the Bible’s countless shepherds must have marveled at the milky skyway adorned with stars winking and blinking and twinkling, They must have been in awe.

Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing. (Isaiah 40:26).

And not only did He make the stars (almost as a throwaway line) and not only did He name them, but He made them all different to display His glory.

There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. (1 Corinthians 15:41).

We are so separate from the stars. Only a few men and women have gone into space and seen the stars a bit closer than we have on earth. Here they seem like pretty little pebbles, like periwinkles glittering in the wet sand on the beach.

Yet…think of this. The stars aren’t just pretty pebbles glittering in the night sky. Each one has energy. Think of the energy the sun has.

Source APOD

The sun contains seemingly endless energy, flares erupt, coronal mass ejections are hurled into space, emitting tons of radiation and other energy. The sun boils and cycles and is quiet, then erupts again.

They boiling mass of energy is the sun, a star. And He created it. God created ALL the stars, with ALL their energy.

God is more than that energy, greater, and powerful in speaking them all into existence with just a word. All that energy in every star in the universe can’t add up to the energy God has in speaking just one word!

I mentioned this to a friend, and I said isn’t that amazing? She said, No, it’s terrifying.

A God who does that, makes all the stars too, with their energy, is a terrifying God, a holy and powerful God.

I mentioned this to another friend. She said, it is amazing, and you know what is even more amazing? The Bible speaks of salvation being the true miracle, the true demonstration of power and might. His overcoming sin and forgiving and conversions and clean hearts. This is the true miracle power.

It is good to bow down to God, Creator of heavens and earth. It is good to be reminded of His terrifying power. it is good to extol His grace and gentleness in forgiving sinners.

I pray you think on these creation things. I pray you have friends you can and do speak of His creative power, His terrifying power, His forgiving power. Extol Him in all His ways today. He is endlessly wonderful to think of.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. (Philippians 4:8 NAS)

 

Posted in creation, theology

Following the North Star: a Sailing Story

By Elizabeth Prata

blog china doll

I lived on a sailboat for two years. We made passage from Maine to the Bahamas and back, twice. For much of the time along the eastern Seaboard, we traveled the Intracoastal Waterway, a series of connected rivers, bays, and sounds that allowed for passage inside the landform instead of the open ocean. Though, we also made overnight passages on the ‘outside’ too.

It was a fun and interesting experience, a different way of living. Vagabonds, unfettered from the workaday concerns and free to dwell neither here nor there. It also taught me much about the natural world, and who I was. I wasn’t saved during those years, and the experience of living in harmony directly IN nature opened my eyes to the fact that there was a God who created all this; the seas currents, lands, skies, and the stars.

The Bahamas is an island country. It is made up of over 700 islands, and likely many more uncounted, strung out from northwest to southeast in the Atlantic starting at mid-Florida and extending down to mid-Cuba. Cuba actually isn’t our nearest ocean neighbor, The Bahamas is. West End is only 44 nautical miles from Boca Raton. To get there by boat, you must cross the Gulf Stream, that mighty mama of ocean currents.

Well, we did, and we enjoyed the ‘blue water’ of the Bahamas for a season, hopping from island to island to sample Bahamian life to learn of their history, and just relax on a boat that looked like it was floating on air, the sea was so clear.

One particular passage stays in my memory. To go from New Providence Island, where Nassau is, to the Abacos, a larger island string just north of New Providence, you cross New Providence Channel (deep water) and head due north. The mariner must leave at dusk in order to make it to the entry into the island string at dawn. This is so you can cross the coral reef channel safely without the sun in one’s eyes. At dawn, the sun will be behind you and you can see the razor sharp coral that if you run over, will slice your boat and you’ll be in the drink before you know it. So, this meant a night passage. This was OK since most of it was over the deep Atlantic.

Having made some night passages before, we were prepared. We left the cozy anchorage at dusk, sliding out from the arm of land that protected us and turned our compass heading due north.

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Seeing the stars over the ocean twinkle and glitter at night is magical. We look up through our sails, through the spreaders. A spreader is a spar on a sailboat used to deflect the shrouds to allow them to better support the mast. Shrouds are the pieces of rigging that extend down from the spreader ends to the deck and help hold up the mast.

As the boat rolls along, we look up through the rigging to see the carpet above us, littered with diamonds, peeking in and out of the cloud cover, or starkly winking at us through clear skies. We notice one particular star, the North Star AKA Polaris. It is at the end of the handle of the constellation known as the Little Dipper. It’s a unique and important star.

The reason Polaris is so important is because the axis of Earth is pointed almost directly at it. During the course of the night, Polaris does not rise or set, but remains in very nearly the same spot above the northern horizon year-round while the other stars circle around it. Space.com

If we put our right spreader tip at the North Star we could maintain a north compass heading. It was fun to navigate by the stars instead of the compass set in the binnacle where the steering wheel was and the technology blinking at the nav table below. Doing this as we rolled along in the night sea allowed for some pretty majestic and pondering thoughts. Where did the stars come from? Why are there so many? Why doesn’t Polaris move? Do the stars know us? Are we just an insect moving along on the earth or the sea as the unfeeling and unknowing stars go their way in the sky, night after night? What a gulf between us!

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
    and the son of man that you care for him?
(Psalm 8:3-4)

As an ignorant pagan, I was asking the same things that have been asked by others. See, even the ignorant pagan knows there is a God. (Romans 1:18-20). Everyone knows there is God, because God made it plain to us that He exists and that He made everything we see.

Barreling along on a tiny yacht in a big ocean, under an even bigger sky, the night air cooling my skin and the stars brightening by the moment, I looked up…and wondered. If there is a God, how can I know Him? Who am I?

Polaris doesn’t move. Polaris exists, stays motionless, and all the other stars swirl around it.

Jesus is our pole-star. He never changes, He remains enthroned, while all of creation bows to Him. All our motions, our travels, wanderings, meanderings, eventually bring us all to Him- saved or unsaved. How can I know God, I’d asked? Jesus descended to us. He made Himself known.

He died on the cross and was resurrected as the sacrifice God demanded for sin. I am eternally grateful I know Him and I will meet Him on God’s terms, as a saved sinner, and not on my own sinful terms, as a wandering yachtsman, curious about Him but living in sin and loving it. In that case, I would be destroyed, sent to hell for payment of those sins.

But little did I know on that night, wondering about the sky and Who made it, that I would someday be given grace to be forgiven and enfolded into His kingdom to forever circle around Him, the unchanging, eternal, unique star, the God-Man Jesus.

Posted in picture mixture, Uncategorized

Picture Mixture Saturday: Earth predicted to end this month, APOD, thrift stores, outdoors in fall, more

Biblical prophecy claims earth will end on September 23. Good to know.

picture mixture 1 earth ends

This is why I love photo editing software (Pixlr.com, free). Also, Adobe Spark has a cool site with which you can make professional looking ‘scripture pictures’.

sunflower2splashed fall

This is why I love second hand stores. Second hand books! My local store often has good quality Christian material. I buy books to give away. Except for a few volumes that will always stay with me, my Christian bookshelves are revolving.

Here’s some reasons why thrift store shopping is cooler than you thought.

books

Do you have a quiet place to enjoy God’s creation this weekend? 10 Fall Outdoor Activities to Grow Closer to God and Each Other

bridge bikers

If you’re not familiar with NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD), then this might spark your imagination. “Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.” Photo for September 15, 2017 credit and explanation is below

100 Steps Forward
Image Credit & Copyright: Camilo Jaramillo
Explanation: A beautiful conjunction of Venus and Moon, human, sand, and Milky Way is depicted in this night skyscape from planet Earth. The scene is a panorama of 6 photos taken in a moment near the end of a journey. In the foreground, footsteps along the wind-rippled dunes are close to the Huacachina oasis in the southwestern desert of Peru. An engaging perspective on the world at night, the stunning final image was also chosen as a winner in The World at Night’s 2017 International Earth and Sky Photo Contest.

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Though the man is standing in a desert in Peru, I think about this being the same universe that Joseph, trapped in a desert well looked up into. That Job, mourning and grieving, cried under. Habakkuk questioning God at night, the disciples, asleep in Gethsemane, with Jesus praying under these same stars. Our God created all those stars…and named them also. What a gracious thing it is, to know Jesus and understand the universe is God’s.