Our Magnificent God
Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.
On Christmas Eve, 1968, Apollo 8 was in orbit around the moon. It was the first mission to take humans to the Moon and back without actually landing on the moon’s surface. Apollo 8 was testing out the flight trajectory for future moon landings; it orbited the moon ten times before heading back to earth.
During one of those orbits, astronaut Bill Anders snapped a photo; it’s called ‘Earthrise’. It showed the earth rising spectacularly above the surface of the moon in the same way we observe the moon rising above the surface of the earth. It is breathtakingly beautiful.
On 7th December 1972, on its way to the moon, the crew of Apollo 17 took a photo looking back at the earth. This photo, entitled Blue Marble, showed the perfect sphere of our home planet, hanging amid the backdrop of the blackness of space. It would go on to to become one of the most reproduced images in history. It is truly magnificent. Our home galaxy, the Milky Way, also makes an outstanding image. If a person wanted to travel from one end of our galaxy to the other, travelling at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second), it would take them 100,000 to 120,000 years. (Make sure and take plenty of water with you.)
In July 2022 Nasa unveiled the newest photos of our universe, taken by the James Webb Space telescope which is parked out in space a million miles away from earth. The clarity of the images is awe inspiring.
When looking at these images, words like ‘magnificent’, ‘awesome’, ‘amazing' and ‘outstanding’ come to mind although none come near to giving a true expression of their beauty.
Billy Graham said:
"Look up on a starry night and you will see the majesty and power of an infinite creator."
Psalm 19:1 tells us that:
The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.
The same God who ‘created the heavens and stretched them out’ (Isaiah 42:5), is the one who uses His creation to reveal something of Himself to us. If the universe is so magnificent in its vastness that we cannot comprehend it, how much vaster and more magnificent is the one who created it?
However, there is something that perhaps creates an even greater sense of wonder. It is this same Creator who says to us:
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. (Isaiah 43:2)
“I will not fail you nor forsake you”. (Joshua 1:5)
I no longer call you servants. Instead I have called you friends. (John 15:15)
At times when we are navigating through life’s difficulties, shall we pause, and bring these thoughts to mind. Let us not be overtaken by the magnitude of our difficulties but be inspired by the magnitude of our Creator… and our friend.
Pauline Ann Anderson
You therefore endure hardness, as a god soldier of Jesus Christ. (2 Timothy 2:3)
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:7)
We can’t help being aware of conflicts that are raging in various parts of the world today. Behind each conflict there is planning, careful planning. Plans are made to attack and plans are made to defend.
The New Testament likens Christians to soldiers. We face our battles too. Some of these are with people, other times the devil, sometimes with circumstances and even ourselves. At times it can seem as though we are fighting all four at once!
So, the question today is, “Do you have a battle plan?”
We need a strategy ahead of time, we need to prepare for the battle in the days of calm.
Recently, I was reflecting on a ‘battle plan’ which may also help others to victory.
Raise up a people, holy and free;
Hearts with a vision like unto thee;
Souls that would rather die than give in –
Lives with a passion, victory to win.
There is a saying that “those who fail to plan, plan to fail”. But we don’t need to fail. By making ourselves ready for the battles ahead, we can not only survive, come through them victorious, knowing the ressurection power of Jesus Christ.
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Struthers Memorial Church is a registered Scottish Charity No. SC 006960 | Struthers Memorial Church is a company limited by guarantee incorporated in Scotland Company No SC335480 | Registered Office: 33 West Stewart Street, Greenock, PA15 1SH.