Alive!

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My four year old daughter Emily has an incredible imagination.  She spends hours creating imaginary worlds, using little animal figures such as Playmobil and Sylvanian Families.  She is also rather fond of a lovely set of Lion King characters that I found on ebay.

“Mum” she begs, “make Simba talk!”

So, somewhat reluctantly, I have to put on this really deep American voice and try to bring this inanimate, plastic Lion to life.

“Oh no!” I say, “There’s a big problem in the Pride-lands!”  I pause…not really too sure where this is going.

Emily looks at me with wide eyes.  She’s hanging on my every word and is desperate to find out what the problem is.

Shakily, I continue.  “You see…the waterhole has dried up.  And if we don’t get water soon… we’re going to die!”

Crikey.  Should I be that morbid with a four year old?

Emily doesn’t seem to mind at all.  She’s in the zone completely!  So we spend the next half hour racking our brains to try and come up with a solution.  And eventually we decide that the elephants are our best option.  They can suck some water up (from somewhere or other – minor detail) with their trunks and fill the water hole back up.  And all the while, of course, the evil Scar is trying to stop us at every turn.

For a moment, those plastic characters seem almost real.  But pretty soon, they go back in the toy box.

No matter how convincing my Simba voice is, or how entertaining my story, those characters will never, ever be real.  They’re just plastic.  Even Emily knows that.

And then, in Genesis, i read this:

“Then the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being” – Gen 2:7

Hang on a minute!  Did you get that?  I mean, forget about trying to animate plastic lions… God moulded a man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and that pile of dust became a REAL PERSON!  A living, breathing, blinking, yawning, walking, talking human being!  It’s jaw-dropping!   We can become so familiar with the creation scriptures, that we forget to marvel at them!  No wonder the Psalmists say time and again “There is no one like the Lord our God!”

And then the really mind-blowing thing!  Right at the outset of things, way back in Genesis, God was already revealing His plan of salvation.  This was a foreshadowing of what was to come.  The same thing happens when we are born again.  God takes a person who is dead in their trespasses and sins – and breathes His very life into their spirit, so that they become a LIVING BEING!

Dead.  Stone cold on a slab.  No heartbeat.  Like a pile of dust.  We were all dust-men!   But then suddenly the breath of the Holy One began to rush into the hollow caverns of that dead old soul and BOOM!  Suddenly we have a pulse!  We’re alive!

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love, with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made is ALIVE together with Christ!  – Ephesians 2: 4-5

Wow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What The Stars Say

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“The heavens are telling the glory of God and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.  Day after day they pour forth speech. Night after night they reveal knowledge.” Psalm 19v1-2

We don’t get the best views of the night sky in South London.  But I remember camping out in the countryside as a child…It was a completely different story!  All I wanted to do was fling my head back and marvel! These days, satellite images allow us to get a glimpse of galaxies far, far away.  They bring us back evidence of things unseen! Weird and wonderful nebulas that look like gigantic eyes in the sky. Pictures of the Whirlpool Galaxy, which looks as though someone just opened a pot of glitter whilst waltzing through the universe!  We learn about stars which are bigger than the sun. We are told mind-bending facts about how many trillions of light years away these spinning orbs hang out. I mean, just getting my head around the idea that a trillion is equal to a million millions is baffling enough!

The enormity of the universe is completely staggering!  Our planet is but a miniscule blue dot in the vastness. But in one little sentence, Genesis tells us how God created the sun and the moon – and then adds, (as though it’s just an afterthought), “He also made the stars!”  Countless billions of them!

“He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name” (Psalm 147v4).

He knows each one by name? Wow!

“By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of His mouth”! (Psalm 33v6).  It’s like He just breathed them out!  It leaves me speechless!  What kind of God is this?!

Just think for a a moment about a solar eclipse…a total solar eclipse takes place in the somewhat rare occurrence that the moon travels directly in the path of the Earth’s orbit around the sun. Momentarily, the moon appears to completely cover the sun, blotting out its light, as though it were night time! A few days ago me and the kids watched a video clip of a solar eclipse.  It was breath-taking. In four or five minutes, the sun was slowly but surely obscured. Then came a few moments of complete blackness, and then seconds later, an ethereal corona appeared like a milky mist around the sun – at which point, my daughter’s nine year old friend cried out: “Wow – I think that’s the most beautiful thing I have ever seen!” A fitting response, I thought!  You could hear people on the video clip whooping with delight and amazement, yet many of them probably completely missing the point that SOMEBODY MADE THAT HAPPEN!

In Psalm 8 David says, “When I consider the heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have ordained…” One of the meanings of the word ordained is “set in place!” Think about that for a moment. God placed the sun and the moon in their place. It was not some random accident! When you think of it like this, a solar eclipse is nothing short of miraculous! The sun and the moon lining up like that in such a precise way is jaw-droppingly awesome, and really ought to bring us to our knees, like David. Creation is a living, talking testimony of the sheer power and wisdom of our God. The heavens do indeed preach us a sermon about the brilliance of their Creator. Every night the stars are saying something – can you hear them -shouting out loud to all who will listen?  They are crying out: “Isn’t He Majestic?  Isn’t He glorious?!  Isn’t He magnificent? If you ever need reminding of the power and breathtaking wisdom of God, then why not take a leaf out of David’s Psalm Book, and just look up!  The heavens are creation’s great signposts – they point us towards the One who put them there!  How majestic is His name!

For more amazing images and information about our universe, I wholeheartedly recommend that you watch two incredible presentations by Louis Giglio, entitled ‘Indescribable” and ‘How Great Is Our God’ -they are available on DVD and are well worth investing in!