What in the Heavens is going on?

planetary alignment 23 Sept. 2017

People are looking at the heavens. Are there new things there?

The solar eclipse in the United States this August was an unignorable phenomenon. It may have delighted or irritated you, depending on how it affected your personal life, but either way it was “there” in a very real way.

If nothing else, this event, which happened across the U.S. made more people think about what’s going on in the heavens.

Psalm 19 from the Bible begins:

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world” (Ps. 19:1-4a, NIV). 

Rumors are going around (new rumors?) that there will be a special alignment of stars, planets, the sun, and the moon in conjunction with the constellation Virgo today, September 23rd (2017). You will have to figure out for yourself—maybe after a little research—what you think about the predictions and possibilities that are being put forward there.

So, what IS going on in the heavens? Well, for sure, in another 7-ish years from now, another solar eclipse will be going on. It will cross the U.S., but instead of crossing from the North West towards the South East of the country as the one in August did, it will come up from the South West and go up towards the North East of the U.S. In other words, in conjunction with the August 2017 eclipse it will make an X over the country, crossing one area twice (the center of the X).

I mention it, because this aspect of what is going on in the heavens is touching the earth—in the form of the moon’s actual shadow. These two eclipses are making a shadowy X over this country. Is this significant?

This has become a public question because of social media, but I am not addressing at this point whether some are taking advantage. Or whether they should. Or whether people are right (speaking truth) or not about what they are putting forward. Or whether they are sincere or not…

This is what I am addressing. Let me rephrase the question: What on earth do the heavens have to do with us?

What if it is true, as the Psalmist says, “The heavens declare the glory of God…”? There are two options. Either this God exists or He does not. And this Psalm offers two more options. Either the heavens declare the glory of God or they do not. And what does this God do who is “other” outside His creation even though He infuses and fills it with His Spirit (see the Bible Testaments) to communicate with us?

Could it be through the things of the heavens touching the earth that our unseen God is nudging us to be looking to the greater reality that He is “there” –Present. Maybe He is trying to remind us, without taking away our “free will” or right to choose, that life is not permanent.

Do we remember that besides birth, the only sure thing about mortal life, is death? Maybe reminders will change our minds and our priorities, helping us remember our souls are eternal and our relationships and dealings with other people matter.

Maybe because He can see from the beginning to the end, and is wise above any psychologist, doctor, or theologian on the earth, and He LOVES us, despite knowing every single detail about us, He is calling us to repent— ‘to turn (back) to’ Him? Maybe He wants us to look to Him for setting things right in our lives and getting our priorities straight and spending our time well and in meaningful ways, because how we live now WILL affect how we spend eternity?

Maybe He wants to save us from ourselves, from our stubborn adherence to hurtful habits, from the addictions and confusion that bind us and only keep making life worse, not better for us and others? Maybe ultimately, He wants to save us from not just physical death, but from spiritual death—permanent, eternal separation from Him and from other souls?

Why would God want to do all this for us? Why would He care at all, if He is the maker of the universe(s) and of everything good thing we experience? And can do anything He wants?

Maybe He does all this because it is His nature to love? Maybe it’s Who He IS? Maybe He IS pure, unadulterated love? Maybe He can’t be anything else? And maybe part of His love and justness is that He will not impinge on our “free will,” our right to choose true Love (or not)?

Material, earthly things ARE temporary. Life IS temporary. Everything about this life, joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain,… are also temporary. But what if our souls go on eternally. What if God is looking after the well-being of our eternal souls, which includes maintaining our “free will” or right to choose His love and life or naught.

What if He is wooing people to Himself because He loves them, even while they despise and hate and mock and spurn and fight with all their might against His love–because they want to be “free” to choose and to go their own way?

This is what I know first-hand (through spiritual and mortal experience):

To those who have turned to Him, who have come into covenant and made a commitment to Him, He is a faithful, loving, provident ‘husband’—as much as we allow. He is faithful despite our “slips” and lack of faithfulness to Him. He remains with us notwithstanding our lack of openness or submission to His loving touch, even when we fail to trust in His absolute, sure, pure goodness and love. He is at work for us at all times and through all things. We only need to turn back to Him in truth to “see” or know or experience or realize this.

Through all things He remains one-sighted to benefit and bless and be with us to truly love us, and He constrains Himself though He would delight to be of much more benefit and blessing to us and to have much more communion or fellowship with us, because we don’t allow it.

This is the God I know through Jesus Christ. He is “there” and loves us as much as we will allow through our repenting—or turning back and back and back to trusting Him. With Him the impossible happens and we have the very real hope of a blessed eternal life.

I believe this is what the heavens declare, in a new and yet very old way, day after day.


Another Surprise?!

surpriseAnother surprise? Of course! Once more, this morning, God “surprises” me with a whole new understanding of a passage from the Bible. Not just a little turn in understanding, but a pretty MAJOR shift… Again!

Don’t worry, I’m not going to regale you with some “new” teaching you’ve never heard before or that is meant to impress you or shock you with something previously “hidden” –some mystery that no one has ever heard of or discovered before.

Truly, there is “nothing new under the sun,” as King Solomon once observed (Eccl. 1:9). But there are ALWAYS new ways of seeing the “old” things we thought we knew, as we grow and mature in our understanding of God and His goodness—the truth of the “I AM” or of who God is (Exo. 3:14-15).

You might think after many years of reading and studying this compilation of books, called the Bible, every day, there would be nothing new in there anymore, no surprises left between the covers. All the while you (or I) might think this, you (or I) would be wrong (So we need to watch ourselves that we don’t think this J ).

God and His Word do not change, but hopefully we do. Hopefully we let God’s Word penetrate our minds, beliefs, hearts, and so we are continually “surprised,” and so we are seeing “old” things in a  “new” light, and so our natures, characters, and lives are constantly changing—for the good.

First of all (FLASH, FLASH) the “surprise” this morning is yet another reminder to me that I should NEVER assume I know FULLY what ANY passage of scripture means EVER.

Next I am observing again, that when we sincerely seek to understand God’s heart, suspending our own understanding for a minute or two, and search His Word for other similar passages and words as those we are currently looking at, digging deeper into what He meant through those who spoke and/or who wrote it down in their culture and time, even with all their limitations—more about God will come to light—now, in our time, by the same Spirit, translated.

…I think the “surprises” are limited only by our own faithfulness or lack of faithfulness. When we value, so hold to and try, with the help and strength only God can give, to live out the light God gives, He can and will and delights to give us more…

What is the passage God gives me “new” today? It is in Luke, chapter 11 (using the ESV today): 33 “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. 35 Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. 36 If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.”

I’m wondering: What exactly is a “bad” eye? As I look up the cross references for the word “bad” from verse 34, for a minute, I think I have looked up the wrong cross reference which is in Matthew, chapter 20:15. It reads: “Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’”[a]. No (I’m not wrong). It’s the right reference.

But then I read another cross reference for a “bad” eye, from Deuteronomy, chapter 15:9 which says: “Take care lest there be an unworthy thought in your heart and you say, ‘The seventh year, the year of release is near,’ and your eye look grudgingly[a] on your poor brother, and you give him nothing, and he cry to the Lord against you, and you be guilty of sin [Footnote: [a] Or be evil..].”

I look back at the footnote for Matthew 20:15: [a] “Or is your eye bad because I am good?”

This is “new” (to me)…A “bad” or “evil” eye means grudging? Or begrudging? Holding back good or holding back from wishing good to others? I never imagined this. I look up some more cross references to this word:

(Deut. 28:54) “[Because of national rebellion or disobedience to God] The man who is the most tender and refined among you will begrudge food to his brother, to the wife he embraces, and to the last of the children whom he has left…”

(Deut. 28:56) “The most tender and refined woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground because she is so delicate and tender, will begrudge to the husband she embraces, to her son and to her daughter,…”

(Prov. 23:6) “Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy; do not desire his delicacies…”

(Prov. 23:22) “A stingy man hastens after wealth and does not know that poverty will come upon him.”

Another synonym for a “bad” eye is “stingy”?!

A “good” or “healthy” eye, then, must be a gracious, generous, giving heart. Yes! Of course! A heart just like God’s. This is how God has always been to me. It is how He treats all His children—all, despite our imperfections—all who look to Him, who want to and learn to believe Him, who come to love and so to follow Him and His true Word, embodied in Jesus—all!

NO ONE who seeks Him is EVER turned away. ALL who honestly seek Him will find Him.

I LOVE this “surprise” from my reading and study today. Though it is convicting, it is also comforting as it confirms to a greater degree the unchanging goodness of our God. I pray my heart might be more like His and less grudging or begrudging or stingy (as mine too often is). “Help me, Lord, through Your Spirit or Presence, which is only with me because of Jesus, to be more like You in my heart and attitude! Thank You, for teaching me “new” things from the “old,” LORD. Thank you for another “surprise,” another change of mind and heart today!