Saturday, March 15, 2008

Look up And Count The Stars! (Re-post)

He took him outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars — if indeed you can count them.” (Genesis 15:5 – TNIV)

I had said that I was going to do an article about Jesus movies, and I still want to do that - everything from 'The Passion of the Christ' to 'The Last Temptation of Christ' - but I need to do it later in the week when I can devote more time to writing everything down that I want to say.

Yesterday was an eventful day, to say the least, and it was an eventful day on this blog. The continued interaction between everyone here is very interesting, and I think that we have just scratched the surface of communication as it relates to revelation which brings edification and casues illumination (did that just sound like something the Rev. Jesse Jackson would say?)

For the first weeks that the blog was up, I had a slideshow posted at the top of the page with the theme "Look Up and Count the Stars". When I launched the site, we had just finished a series about that, but we never discussed it here. I believe that it is a very important concept, and I'd like to open a conversation about it.

Did you know that on a clear, moonless night about 3,000 stars are visible with the unaided eye. A small telescope will increase the number to around 100,000 stars. But this is just the beginning! The stars we can easily see are all in our corner of the Milky Way Galaxy. The entire galaxy numbers about 100 billion stars. And beyond the Milky Way are other galaxies with many shapes and sizes. Around 100 billion such galaxies are known to exist.

Taking the Milky Way as an average galaxy, the total number of known stars is thus (100 billion)2=(1011)2=1022. These estimated stars number 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, when we write this number out. This figure would be pronounced as "ten billion trillion" stars.

Suppose these stars were divided up among the world's total population of 6 billion people. Then each person on Earth would receive more than 1 trillion stars!
Yet all these stars may be only one page in God's catalog of the heavens. New instruments continue to probe deeper into space, with no end in sight. What an excellent way for the Creator to show his glory!

Whatever the number he has created, God calls all the stars by name, and he keeps count of them…
PRAISE THE Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God, for He is gracious and lovely; praise is becoming and appropriate. The Lord is building up Jerusalem; He is gathering together the exiles of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds [curing their pains and their sorrows]. HE DETERMINES AND COUNTS THE NUMBER OF THE STARS; HE CALLS THEM ALL BY THEIR NAMES. Great is our Lord and of great power; His understanding is inexhaustible and boundless. (Psalms 147:1-4 AMP)

So—who is like me?
Who holds a candle to me?" says The Holy.
Look at the night skies:
Who do you think made all this?
Who marches this army of stars out each night,
—so magnificent! so powerful!—
and never overlooks a single one? (Isaiah 40:25, 26 – The Message)

Today, when you're tempted to think small, or to feel overwhelmed by the current events of your life, come out of your "tent", and look up at the sky. God's universe is very big. Look up and count the stars...if you can!


Kettly said...

Good Morning Bish,
Since the Lord said to me,yesterday
to visualized.I believed I will take my six trillion stars,step out there to look at myself, to visualized what exatly the thing that keep me from seing my stars. So I'll do, like Abraham did. Give up the things that's represent my lot in my life. So then ,I will not have anything my way to keep me from "LOOK UP AND COUNT THE STARS".
From EXODUS 33:12-23; on verse
18 Moses ask the Lord to show him His glory.After,we finish let go of the lot's in our lives,not only we
will see our stars,we will also see God glory in our lives.
LORD,we need to know that you are
We need to have a glorious God in view;we need a mighty God before our eyes. Show us your glory! Show youself a new;Lord open up our eyes of faith to see the STARS*****
Love and To All

peacemaker said...

We are made of stardust
We are born from death
Greet our cousins who twinkle in the night...
Connie Barlow

A cutesie sounding little verse that has such a profound meaning.
But someones probably asking, Is Peacemaker saying we descended from the stars? It'n that what them "new-agers" believe? What about Genesis 2? My answers are: Yes, probably, and it's still in the Bible and just as beautiful as always.

But that dosen't negate the fact that it's true. And it's not in opposition to faith. You might need to brush up on your science a little before you start passing judgement.

Anyway, what a sense of pride it must give the Creator to see His creation doing what He created it to do...Create.
If we think of God as first cause of everything, and the Universe as His body, then it's only logical that everything, from sub-atomic particles, to atoms and molecules, to the elements, to the stars, to us, originated there. And it's ongoing. Stars are born and stars die...very violently and chaotic. But from the violence and chaos comes all the "stuff" of life. How cool is that?

So yes Bishop, I will come out of the tent, look up and count the stars. Not feeling small or insignificant, but knowing I'm part of an enormous family in the heavens and on earth. Realizing my oneness with God and with all His creation.
With that awareness, my perception changes, then, it's the problems in life thats tried to confine me to my tent that become small and insignificant. Just a state of mind.

I love God, I love the Universe, I love the galaxies, I love the stars, I love the Earth, and most of all... I love you.

We're all One.


Anonymous said...

Good Morning everyone,
This is a post I put on my blog a few days ago. I thought I would share it with you all. Since it is on the same subject:

Zechariah 14:5-9 The Message Bible
(7) The Day is coming--the timing is God’s--when it will be continuous day. Every evening will be a fresh morning. (8) What a Day that will be! Fresh flowing rivers out of Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea, half to the western sea, flowing year-round, summer and winter!(9) GOD will be king over all the earth, one GOD and only one.
What a Day that will be! YES! The day is coming and now is because God is now. The light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus is beginning to shine forth in all the earth. As we look to Him our face is illumined with the same glory reflecting the love of God for the entire world through Christ in us “the hope of Glory” not a maybe-so hope but as the literal meaning of the word hope in the Bible - it means a confident expectation. What we once called light is now darkness in comparison to the true light that now is beginning to shine from the message of universal reconciliation. The time has come that the fresh living waters of the Spirit of truth are flowing out from his servants all over the land. This is a message that is not stale and stagnant but living and fresh. It is new manna from heaven appearing new every day. Just as the Israelites could not keep the manna from the past day (it would rot) but gathered new manna each day. This is a fresh message of hope to the world – EVERYONE – no one will be excluded; truly “good news” to all mankind. God is revealing to us that His victory over sin and death was complete. Jesus Christ was the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of THE WORLD! He did not fail. God will be all in all and king over all the earth. Yes it is coming and the day is even dawning now in you and in me.
Ephesians 5:8-14 The Message Bible
…... The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So no more stumbling around. Get on with it! (9) The good, the right, the true--these are the actions appropriate for daylight hours. (10) Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it. (11) Don't waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. (12) It's a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. (13) Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ. (14) Wake up from your sleep, Climb out of your coffins; Christ will show you the light!
This morning I had a fascinating experience. As I sat at my desk in my study on the second floor, I can see out two windows one to my left looking to the north and one in front of me looking to the east which looks out over the hills here on Crowley’s ridge. It was about 7 AM the day was just dawning but you could not see the sun yet. All-of-a-sudden looking through the window to the east, the sun peaked over the hill side just seeing the top perimeter of its orange glow. And to my amazement and joy I could actually see the sun in motion moving upward growing brighter and brighter. This was a breathtaking display of one of my all time favorite verses; in Proverbs 4:18 which says “But the way of the upright is like the light of early morning, getting brighter and brighter till the full day” BBE. This was a dazzling confirmation from the Lord that we are on the right track and this message is dawning now in this new day and will become more and more clear to everyone until we all come to the unity of the faith! Now I will be 51 my next birthday this month and I don’t think I have ever seen
anything like that. It was a spiritual experience. I was seeing the beauty of Gods creation working in perfect harmony. I could almost feel the rotation of the earth as the sun moved upward in the horizon, it was wonderful. Then noticing my calendar on the wall it had the cycles of the moon phases on the exact days it would be in each stage. I thought how magnificent the beauty of perfection in the design of the universe is. To think that day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, decade after decade, millennium after millennium; the universe stays in perfect time so that you can accurately predict its position with precision on the individual days of a calendar many years or even millenniums ahead of time! Considering this: is it not foolish to think that our awesome almighty creator God has left his most treasured creation to chance or uncertainty? That would be the height of foolish reckoning. What is His most treasured creation? Why it’s the human race, YOU and ME! The times of our future are secure in His hands and we will all be brought home to our Father at our proper and perfect time. We are assured by Gods omnipotence and infinite wisdom guided by His love that
we will arrive at our appointed destination right on time.

Ephesians 1:8-10 The Message Bible
8) He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need,(9) letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, (10) a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.
Psalms 31:14-15 NASB
But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD, I say, "You are my God." My times are in Your hand.

Anonymous said...

Bish, I liked this blog very much! I drove through a tornado last night (as it was reported on the ground) and was in the middle of a hail storm at which I prayed at the top of my lungs and pleaded the blood of Jesus into the night. When my daughter called to warn me, I thought she said tornado watch, I didn't hear anything about a tornado coming and was finishing up at bible study. Then my daughter from Maryland called me later to ask "Are you alright, mom?" and I just replied well, I have been in so many storms, God is good! I was not trying to complain, but simply stating a fact - without even thinking about it. I have heard it said, we are either going in a storm, coming out of a storm or in the midst of a storm. I don't know, I just know your response becomes different after a certain amount of experiences, you just pray through whatever it is. I believe it is so important to be instant in season, pertaining to prayer.

The way we respond (not react) to a situation determines the outcome of that thing.

Of course I am speaking of the storms of life while describing this physical manifestation on last evening. And as I sit here in my sunroom this morning, I see a very unusual sky that in kind of ominious and unpredictable (such is life). I am encouraged to know that I can count stars (which represents hope for me) from now until eternity and always have something exciting and new and eventful to look forward to.

I read this translation of Hebrews 11:6 which is....It's impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.

I love the fact that "he cares enough...

I am thankful to God, that after the storm, there is morning (not mourning) and a bucket load of mercies and grace and His peace that is unbelievable. Although I can't see the sun now, I do know that it is there behind the clouds which I always marvel at (unseen things are temporal). And although I can't see the stars now, I know I have one trillion of them, (thank you Bishop for that information) so that I know there are no impossibilities in Jesus. I stand in tornado..Peace and blessings, Yvonne

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Hey Kettly...we are all walking in a greater VISION, and it is changing everything...

Peacemaker, missed your cosmic perspective the last couple of days...glad you're back...

Cool article, Iconoclast...

Glad you're OK, Yvonne...some of our Care Pastors were in a car downton last night that was picked up off the road by the tornado and slammed into a bridge, but they're
OK...I think you meant to say the seen things are temporal, and, thank God, they are!

Donald said...

I hope that everyone came through the bad weather last night. Having a vested interest in Mississippi State University I was watching them polish off Alabama (boo-hoo 'Bama fans) in the Georgia Dome when the storm came through.
I had never really thought about it, but when God told Abraham to come out of the tent and try to count the stars, Abraham was already filthy rich. It seems that I realize more each day that God is concerned with EVERY aspect of our lives. I've been reading many of the entries and noticed that some folks appear to be going through some storms of their own that are probably raging inside them as bad as the weather was raging outside in Atlanta last night.
If it means anything to anybody all this made me think of the lyrics to one of my favorite all-time TV shows which goes like this:

Making your way in the world today takes everything you got.
Taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot.
Wouldn't you like to get away?
Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see our troubles are all the same..
You wanna be where everybody knows your name.
You wanna go where people know people are all the same.
You wanna go where everybody knows your name.

Yvonne, your comment about "after the storm" reminded me of the day Hurricane Katrina came through our area. We had all our windows boarded up the electricity went off which made it almost impossible to see without a flashlight which was growing dim from overusage and we were wading around in 4' of water inside the house. Materially we were practically wiped out, but before the water had completely receded out of the house, I told my wife and kids that I didn't want them running around the neighborhood whining about how we lost everything, because we didn't lose everything, we just lost a lot of "stuff".
And you're right, the storms pass and good things follow.

Anonymous said...

Love the facts on stars. I am very fascinated by the vastness of creation past, present and future. Of course I don't comprehend it - but I want to and I want to personally step out of any tent in my perception.

What speaks to me the most though in this blog is that He has a name for every one of them. It doesnt say this - but not only does He have a name but He knows the name of every star, person, and thing that every stars light has touched.

Wow - I work with people who can't even remember my name. And, admittedly how much do and have I thought of and reached out to others.

Not only do I/we need to step outside of the tent to see the limitless possibilities, but step outside of the tent and release the divine love in us to touch others and allow that divine love to continue on its purposed course of expansion.


Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Donald, either I didn't know or I had forgotten how much you were affected by Katrina. Great point about the storms of life...

Because of all this stuff on the news about Obama's Pastor right now, they were playing clips last night of John Hagee (because he endorsed McCain)saying that Katrina was the wrath of God poured out on New Orleans because of the Gay Pride Parade there. I guess he doesn't know they have them in every major American city. (Ironically, I'm sitting in my office right now during another strom, and the hail hitting the building sounds like hundreds of baseballs being thrown at it)!

Anyway, the Cheers theme gave me a warm feeling, as did your post. I've used that in a sermon before about the importance of having a local church body.

What's cool about this place is that you are there in Mississippi, Iconoclast is in Arkansas, Leesa is in NC, Bethany is in Texas, LPnSC is in South Carolona (I still don't where DBA is)...and I don't know where everyone else is, other than locals whose identity I know. Yesterday I got an e-mail from Pator Ben in Uganda who has been logging on...and who knows who else is here...and yet we are all in one place. Amazing.

Wow, the hail just stopped!

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Beautiful observation, A.D.

Donald said...

Yeah, I would listen to all those folks talk about how God's wrath was poured out on New Orleans (Sin City) and Biloxi for all those ungodly casinos. When I would "not so nicely" ask them what all these other thousands of folks had done to "tick" him off they never had a decent answer.
It's ironic that you should mention all those folks from other parts of the country and world. I've been thinking about a way that I could contact all the folks that stream on a regular basis that live outside the Atlanta area and try get all of us to show up on the same Sunday morning.
So how about it fellow streamers/bloggers? When do y'all want to do this?

Anonymous said...

Yes, Bishop, I did mean that the seen things are temporal, you are right. Thanks for that correction. I flaked out...

I am glad to know that the care pastors are okay after the experience they had in downtown Atlanta. I heard on the weather station there have been more tornados in the Atlanta area in 24 hours. I think that is very interesting.

My middle daughter, Justina Faith is at Ronald Reagan airport as I type this and has been since 5 am trying to get a flight out to Atlanta, and because of the tornado watches the flights have a 2 1/2 hour delay and are circling the not-so-friendly skys around Atlanta. So, she is going to try again tomorrow, maybe! The sun will come out tomorrow, so we have to hang on 'til tomorrow!

Donald, thank you for your comment and your agreement about the storms passing. I believe the Lord is restoring all the stuff you and your family lost. When I went through a similiar situation, I read in Matthew from the message that when you have lost everything, then you become the proud owners of everything that is important. That translation really blessed me tremendously. Peace and blessings. Yvonne

Lise said...

Donald, what a GREAT idea! Man, that would be fun... we could all go out to lunch or something after. If you wait till I get my health squared away (shouldn't be much longer, God willing) I'm in. Usually only make it down there once or twice a year. I need to change that! I'd have to check things out with my hubby, too. His race season starts up again soon. But what an awesome thought. If it doesn't pan out for me in the NEAR future, then maybe I could join in the 2nd time around.

Anonymous said...

I was talking to a friend one night sitting outside on a picnic bench. As it usually does talking to me; a subject about God or the bible came up. I don’t even know what it was we had started talking about; this was a couple of decades ago. (Makes me sound old) I remember him saying “I don’t believe anything is forever, how could anything go on forever?” I know it was by inspiration of the Spirit of God; I looked up into the sparkling starry night sky and asked him; “look up there and tell me where that begins and ends” he said “good point”
I just as well put my real name on here. I went ahead and put it on my profile. Although I am still an “Iconoclast” and there is a story behind giving myself that name also, but I will save it for another time.

Anonymous said...

Hello ALL,
I was contemplating a post, and up jumps the Cheers song—being used in a commercial (produced in the land of stars! known for its creativity!). And since the Cheers song came up in an earlier conversation I had today, and then Donald’s post—well, I gotta go THERE.

But first, I see these “stars”:

Iconoclast: What we once called light is now darkness in comparison to the true light… The bright light of Christ makes your way plain…So no more stumbling around. Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it…the way of the upright is like the light of early morning, getting brighter and brighter till the full day… seeing the beauty of Gods creation working in perfect harmony… We are assured by Gods omnipotence and infinite wisdom guided by His love that we will arrive at our appointed destination right on time. In Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him. PERFECT TIMING

Atlanta Journal Constitution: this was the first ever, downtown tornado in Atlanta history.

Yvonne: my daughter from Maryland called me later to ask "Are you alright, mom?" The way we respond…to a situation determines the outcome of that thing.

Donald: we didn't lose everything, we just lost a lot of "stuff

All of this makes me think of the string theory—since I’m not a scientist, I need to brush up on the facts, but one part of it I liked is that the strings vibrate and no matter the distance, other related strings pick up the vibration and resonate together. Also that there is incredible, unpredictable “ chaos” at the subatomic level [the REALLY small place—the place of tornadoes and hurricanes and …] but at the macro level [The place of the God Dream?] there is peace and no evidence of the chaos.

Cue Cheers song.

Bishop: What's cool about this place…[there are folks from other parts of the country and world]… and yet we are all in one place. Amazing.

Bishop: Yesterday was an eventful day, to say the least, and it was an eventful day on this blog. The continued interaction between everyone here is very interesting, and I think that we have just scratched the surface of communication as it relates to revelation which brings edification and causes illumination .

Amen, Bishop. Amen!

A.D.: He knows the name of every star, person, and thing that every stars light has touched… release the divine love in us to touch others and allow that divine love to continue on its purposed course of expansion.

Scientists tell us: the stars are ever expanding!

PM: what a sense of pride it must give the Creator to see His creation doing what He created it to do...Create

525,600 minutes in a year, why can’t I get that lyric out of my head?

Anonymous said...

I just remembered what we were talking about "ETERNAL life"

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Well done, Avatar!

Jerry K said...

I whole-heartedly agree with you Bishop. Although we may be out in the far reaches of the world, (I am in Nebraska at the moment), we are all in the same place. My physical body may be here, but my spirit and heart are still at CITN...