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Phillips, Craig & Dean

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Mark Schultz (DVD Release)

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Heavens

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Been thinkin’ about that “Shuttle thing” for a few days. Did you see that “back-flip” from 200 miles above earth? It seems man has always searched the “heavens.” Depending upon who’s doing the looking, the stars are either magnets drawing the creature to the Creator or they’re evidence, used by the secular folks, to prove an “un-intelligent creation.” We’ve used them to predict the future by “sorcery.” However, they are used by believers to verify the hand of God. The debate between these two “camps” is compared in Paul’s first chapter of Romans. There, the unbeliever disputes the Creator and at the same time the Believers find an easy answer to where we came from, where we are at and where we might be going. For those opposed to the Father’s Love, well, they’re left to a deprived mind and unnatural inclinations and, as the Word declares, “are without excuse.” Being “without excuse” because the creation is clearly seen “being understood by observing the things that are made.” The invisible is clearly shown by the visible, God clearly shown by His “handiwork.” (Psalm 19:1)

When believers see the “heavens,” we find a confidence and confirmation for our faith. We can go even further than that; we know that The Father has named each individual star. Even today, celestial maps show the names from early biblical text: Arcturus, Orion and Pleiades. In what some scholars believe to be the oldest book of the Bible, the book of Job instructs us that God “spreadeth out the heavens and commandeth the sun.” (Job 9:9, Job 38:31-32) From the very earliest writings, what the Shuttle and others before have been observing is a witness to the presence of God to all who “choose to believe.”

Abram (who later was to be referred to in Scripture as Abraham) was from Ur of the Chaldees. He was from a cult of “moon-worshipers.” He looked to the stars for answers. Some four thousand years ago, while searching the sky, Abram found the “Big Answer,” the Creator of the skies! For us today, the witness found in the heavens offers a “fingerprint” of God’s handiwork and easily identifies intelligent design. While we travel the heavens finding what believers trust is the evidence of God, others scoff and assume the heavens to be a Godless space.

There’s another space I was reminded of while watching all the attention paid to NASA last few days. The space I’m referring to (as opposed to the vastness of Creation) is some of the smallest space we can image. Yet this smallest of spaces, contains the Spirit of the Whole Creation. All the imagination and wisdom of the Creator has been place uniquely in the Creature’s heart. The majesty found in the vastness of space is surpassed by the tiniest human heart.

Paul reminds us we don’t have to “ascend to Heaven” for our contact with God, rather, the Word of God is near, even in our mouths and our hearts. (Roman 10) Our God is not to be contacted in the hugeness of the heavens. No long distance calling here. Paul writes of a God that has “been made unto us Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification and Redemption” and lives inside our lives each day. (1Cor. 1)

It’s that small space that reveals the glory of God just as profoundly as the spaciousness of the heavens. There’s a story about Alexander Solzhenitsyn I have always found encouraging. He was a prisoner in Russia’s Gulag for many years. His is a story of backbreaking work and slow systematic starvation. He eventually became a profound author (winning the Nobel Prize of Literature 1970) and a strong believer. He inspiringly wrote of the human experience. (“We have placed too much hope in political and social reforms, only to find out that we were being deprived of our most precious possession: our spiritual life.”) The story: One day, the hopelessness of his situation was so much to bear that he felt no purpose in fighting on concluding his life could make no appreciable difference. Solzhenitsyn laid down his shovel and walked slowly to a work-site bench. He knew full well that to do so would result in a terrible beating and possibly death by the prison guards. He had seen that happen many times. As he sat waiting, head down, exhausted, he felt a presence. Lifting his eyes, next to him sat an old man with wrinkled skin and an expressionless face. Hunched over, never speaking a word, the man drew a stick through the sand at Solzhenitsyn’s feet. As Solzhenitsyn stared at the outline his entire perspective shifted. The old man had drawn a cross in the sand. It changed Solzhenitsyn’s perspective and life forever.

We may search for Him in the sky or we may search to disprove Him in the sky, but the human heart still can respond to one small “sign” in the sand. It’s easy for believers to find him. It has been suggested that the complexity of the universe confirms an obvious witness of God. Some have said that to have a “faith’ that there is no God is akin to believing you could take a bunch of watch parts into a cloths dryer and tumble them, have a watch “pop out.” The probability of “no God” requires a profound faith in nothingness, and that in the middle of a very orderly universe.

Though we may search for Him in the sky, we will eventually have to come to the knowledge that His Spirit lives within the nearness of our hearts. The Spirit of the Creator of the whole universe is within your very breath. He has taken a “residence” there and is always home, never on vacation. You don’t have to get out the telescope, no need to hope your prayer will “travel there.” He’s “Johnny on the spot” right where you are, being in where you are. We should remember that occasionally, He came “upon” David. Once in a while, He came “upon” the priest. Every now and then He came “upon” the Prophets. Comparatively, He profoundly came and is living and never leaving “within” the smallest of space, within you!

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