Monday, August 18, 2014

IS ANYBODY OUT THERE?


National Geographic Magazine.

I love those three words.

My mom has had a subscription for like 120 years, and when I go visit her, I catch up on my reading.

Yes, the articles are really interesting, but it's the award-winning photos that capture my attention.

The other night my eye was caught by the picture on the cover of a recent edition – a couple of planets – and the title: "Is Anybody Out There?"

It was about the search for life on other planets.  (Some people are searching for intelligent life on other planets.  Which I think is a long shot, for it's hard to find intelligent life on THIS planet…just sayin')


Do you know that I love astronomy?

When I was a little girl, I was absolutely fascinated by anything to do with outer space.

My mom bought me a fold-out map of our solar system, with colorful renderings of the planets, and interesting facts about them.  I looked at that map until it was in tatters.

Now, of course, it's seriously out-of-date.  For instance, in 2006 poor old Pluto was *de-planeted* – stripped of its claim to the 9th planetary position in our solar system.

Ah, but wait.  Seems that the jury is still out.  Thanks to the Hubble Space Telescope, we've learned that Pluto has at least five moons and an atmosphere which is pretty impressive for something that's supposedly not a planet.  One year from now, NASA will fly its first spacecraft past Pluto, and we will have all sorts of new information.


Other cool space facts?

Did you know the earth is 93 million miles away from the Sun?

Did you know that one light year = the distance something would travel in one year at the speed of light (which is 186,000 miles per SECOND?!) – and the nearest star (besides the Sun) is 4.22 light years away from Earth?

Did you know that this nearest star is called Proxima Centauri?  And, by traveling at a speed of approximately 37,300 mph – (the speed of the spacecraft that will fly by Pluto) – it would take about 78,000 years to reach it?

Did you know that our galaxy, The Milky Way, is about 99,000 light years across – and it contains about 200 billion other stars?

And did you know that the Milky Way is just one of about 100 to 200 billion galaxies in the universe, each of which has hundreds of billions of stars?


Yup, my mind is boggled.

But I digress!

The most interesting thing to me about this article was the persistent quest for life beyond planet Earth.

For millennia, man has looked to the skies and been fascinated about what he sees.  The mysteries of the universe, though some have been discovered, continue to mystify and perplex humans.

I'm not surprised actually.

For I believe that there is something else underlying this desire to understand the universe.

I believe it is the desire to know and touch the hand of God.

Now, sure, many scientists would deny this.  Many people probably would, too. They would claim that it stems from man's search for knowledge and his place in the universe.

Which is at least partially true.

But I disagree that this is the only motive.

Whether you acknowledge it or not, we're all searching for our Creator.

"They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them.  For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature.  So they have no excuse for not knowing God." (Romans 1:19-20, NLT)

Really, then, the contemplation of the universe is really the heart of the creature longing to know the unknowable heart of God.


I am all for exploration.

The quest for knowledge, and the desire to understand mysteries, is just fine.

I believe that it is God-honoring to develop and use the mind to its fullest potential.

After all, I am fascinated with the study of many things – astronomy, anatomy, psychology, zoology, geology – just to name a few.  I'm as curious as the next person.

But I find that each new piece of knowledge that I learn always leads me to one conclusion – I am more and more awed at the Creator.

It is a rather amazing thing to know that the unknowable God chooses to let Himself be revealed.  His universe is uniquely made to be explored and understood.

He is not diminished by this.

Rather, by beginning to understand the intricacies of what He has created, His glory and majesty are expanded.


So, the search for life in the universe?

I say, go for it.

For all paths truly lead home…

…and that home is a Person.

The very real and mysterious and almighty and unfathomable God.

The Master Creator.

The One who chose to inhabit this particular planet at one point in human history – so that He might take on flesh and blood and be known.

I say if there's any intelligent life on THIS planet, we would be wise to seek out this GodGod in the fleshand get to know Him.

And then, launch out into the awe-inspiring search for Him in the rest of the universe.

From the vastness of nebulae to the minuteness of quarks – from the complexity of a snowflake to the simplicity of a drop of water – from the power of an atom to the gentleness of a whaleHe is fascinating!!

And as much as I want to learn about His universe, as much knowledge as I seek about His creation…

I want to know HIM more.





And God said, "Let there be light,"
and there was light.
And God saw that the light was good.
And God separated the light from darkness.



"But from there you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul." 
(Deuteronomy 4:12, ESV)

"For the LORD sees every heart and knows every plan and thought.  If you seek him, you will find him." (1 Chronicles 28:19, NLT)

"Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the LORD your God." 
(1 Chronicles 22:19, NIV)

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7, ESV)

"'You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.'" (Jeremiah 29:13, ESV)

"Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time.  He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end." (Ecclesiastes 3:11, NLT)


***This is a long passage, but it is worth the reading!***

"Then the LORD answered Job from the whirlwind…

'Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
…Who determined its dimensions
and stretched out the surveying line?
What supports its foundations,
and who laid its cornerstone
as the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?
Who kept the sea inside its boundaries
as it burst from the womb,
and as I clothed it with clouds
and wrapped it in thick darkness?
For I locked it behind barred gates,
limiting its shores.
I said, 'This far and no farther will you come.
Here your proud waves must stop!'
Have you ever commanded the morning to appear
and caused the dawn to rise in the east?
Have you made daylight spread to the ends of the earth…
As the light approaches,
the earth takes shape like clay pressed beneath a seal;
it is robed in brilliant colors.
…Have you explored the springs from which the seas come?
Have you explored their depths?
Do you know where the gates of death are located?
Have you seen the gates of utter gloom?
Do you realize the extent of the earth?
…Where does light come from,
and where does darkness go?
Can you take each to its home?
Do you know how to get there?
…Have you visited the storehouses of the snow
or seen the storehouses of hail?
…Where is the path to the source of light?
Where is the home of the east wind?
Who created a channel for the torrents of rain?
Who laid out the path for the lightning?
Who makes the rain fall on barren land,
in a desert where no one lives?
Who sends rain to satisfy the parched ground
and make the tender grass spring up?
Does the rain have a father?
Who gives birth to the dew?
Who is the mother of the ice?
Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens?
For the water turns to ice as hard as rock,
and the surface of the water freezes.
Can you direct the movement of the stars—
binding the cluster of the Pleiades
or loosening the cords of Orion?
Can you direct the sequence of the seasons
or guide the Bear with her cubs across the heavens?
Do you know the laws of the universe?
Can you use them to regulate the earth?
Can you shout to the clouds
and make it rain?
Can you make lightning appear
and cause it to strike as you direct?
Who gives intuition to the heart
and instinct to the mind?
Who is wise enough to count all the clouds?
Who can tilt the water jars of heaven
when the parched ground is dry
and the soil has hardened into clods?"

(From Job 38, NLT)



What is something that you find fascinating about God's creation? What does it teach you about Him?



Linked today with:


SHARING HIS BEAUTY, PLAYDATES WITH GOD, UNFORCED RHYTHMS, MONDAY'S MUSINGS, MONDAYS AT SOUL SURVIVAL, TELL ME A TRUE STORY, UNITE, SOLI DEO GLORIA, TITUS 2 TUESDAYS, TESTIMONY TUESDAY, WHOLEHEARTED WEDNESDAYS, CAPTURE YOUR JOURNEY, WOMEN HELPING WOMEN, A LITTLE R & R WEDNESDAYSWHIMSICAL WEDNESDAYS, THREE WORD WEDNESDAY, WINSOME WEDNESDAY, WORD FILLED WEDNESDAY, COFFEE FOR YOUR HEART, TELL HIS STORY, THOUGHT-PROVOKING THURSDAY, THRIVING THURSDAY, EVERYDAY JESUS, THRIVE AT HOME THURSDAY, HEARTS FOR HOME, GRACE AT HOME, LIGHT FRIDAY HIT LIST, FRIENDSHIP FRIDAY, WHATEVER IS LOVELY, FAITH FILLED FRIDAY, MAKE MY SATURDAY SWEET, THE FRIDAY FIVE, ESSENTIAL FRIDAYS, SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS, COUNTING MY BLESSINGS, STILL SATURDAY, RECOMMENDATION SATURDAY, SATURDAY SOIREE, WEEKEND BREW, SUNDAY STILLNESS, GIVE ME GRACE



BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

41 comments:

  1. That after everything He created, in all of it's greatness and vastness, he still loves me and cares for me like I am His only child! Thank you for putting this all into perspective, Sharon. A truly wonderful and enlightening post!

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  2. Hi Sharon! All I can think about it you on that mountain top, star gazing every night. What a great place to indulge your love of space, the sky, the stars!
    I agree that we need to seek out where we are led. Finding life other than the earth, and exploring the galaxy around us is a wonderful thing. But like you said, let's not forget to explore the God in each other too. We are wonders too :)
    Have a good week my friend, keep looking up!
    Ceil

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  3. I like the way you connect God to all the exploring and mystery of the universe...the many galaxies and planets. We do all seek to see His face, touch His hand, experience His love for us. We have been getting National Geographic Mag. for 40 years! My hubby's favorite!

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  4. WOW Sharon! Amazing facts! ... every one of them ... and I too love exploring the galaxies and skies!

    Love how Renee above me put it!

    Fascinating! Every detail ... which means I must come back and read again (I was trying to catch this between other stuff but I need to better focus because this connection is one I enjoy immensely ... "anybody out there" or not?) ...

    I love (once again) how you write and capture mind boggling info and connect (of course, this one is not far fetched) to our Great God, Master of the Universe and the entire plan (hasta the billionth mile or minut detail-God is in it!)

    I too want to know Him more!!! Wisdom and imagination, mystery and all His godly certainties, He is God and we are not ... yet as His, we can stand and gaze in amazement at the wonders beyond ... and now from your mountain advantage point, you, my dear star gazer and explorer can relish more closely the beauty ... and ALL. Your Bible passages are excellent, even the long one from Job). Have a blessed and wonderful week!

    (((hugs)))
    Peggy

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  5. Awesome post! I agree with you completely. It is in our wiring to seek God and His glory. The truly fascinating part is that all those light years to reach the end of something is still just the beginning to God.. He's that far away from us and at the exact same time is amongst us… no wonder the mind can't begin to sort out physical from spiritual. Thanks for the inspiring post!

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  6. I find God fascinating in his creation of us; what exactly was needed for our bodies to work, the right amount of minerals, electrolytes, bones, muscles, etc. I too want to know Him more. I always laugh when scientists discover something new; just new to them, God already knew it was there since he had created it :)

    betty

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  7. I used to think of Science as pulling back the curtain on God - much like Dorothy discovering the 'real' Oz. But, now I view it as getting to see more of his splendor. the more we discover how things are made, how the world and the universe work, the more amazed I am by God's handiwork.

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  8. I am amazed at the intricacies in this world. How it all fits together. How it's all working together. There can't possibly be anything random about that! Thanks for sharing your wonder with us, Sharon! I appreciate you linking up to Testimony Tuesday!

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  9. This post made me think of things I've read about and by James Irwin and other astronauts. It also makes me think of the testimony of Sir. Isaac Newton. The more you know and see and discover about what is "out there" the more awed you are by the Creator of it all. The bigger IT gets, the smaller you get and the more humbled and appreciative you are are that the Master of that universe reaches down daily just to hold you in the palm of His creative hand.

    Loved this post, Sharon. Vastness slays me. It really does.

    (And now, about Pluto... I think it was really lame of them to deplanet it, but at least it didn't mess up the school girl jingle too much.

    Mrs. Vernon Eats Messy Jelly Sandwiches Until Noon....
    Just leave out the "Passes"

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  10. You know, working somewhat in the field of science (horticulturalist), it can be hard and lonely sometimes. To me, studying all these things affirms what I believe, as you mentioned. I just don't understand how someone can get into the nitty-gritty of things and not see creation. How they can't see the Creator's hand in it all! The more I learn, the more I'm amazed!

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  11. My dad subscribed to National Geographic forever. Kept every issue in mint condition. We could never use them to cut pictures out of for school projects. ha. So I subscribed as an adult, but could never quite get into them again. Sigh. They are beautiful though.

    "Really, then, the contemplation of the universe is really the heart of the creature longing to know the unknowable heart of God. I am all for exploration." Me, too! I want to know Him more and more. Thanks for sharing this, Sharon.

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  12. Your post is enlightening and exciting to know how close and yet far away in light years our God and his host are - - yes they are OUT THERE. If only our spiritual eyes were opened we would be amazed at how close heaven is to us NOW. Thank you for sharing with us here at "Tell Me a Story."

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  13. This passage in Job is all-time amazing, isn't it?? It's really good to remember how finite we are and how infinite He is, And yet... amazing Giod cares about me, made me, and loves me.That profound simple truth will have me going with new steam today! :)

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  14. You summed it up well. As wonderful and amazing as all of creation is...I want to know HIM!!! Enjoyed the facts today, hadn't read some of them ever and others in a long, long time. Great post as always, Sharon! ♥

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  15. The thing I always question is how can one see the MIRACLES of this life - which is really in everything - and then not believe in HIM. Sharon how? I don't get it. I liked this today!

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  16. Hi, I recently started a blog and came across yours through finding the link up on Chronicles of Grace. I love your writing!
    I've always been amazed by creation, from the outer reaches of space to the delicacy of a flower. Sometimes sitting in stillness in nature helps me to remember that the God who made all that is certainly capable of taking care of me.

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  17. I agree, friend. We all participate in the quest for More, whether we acknowledge God as such or not. Thanks for your thoughtful contribution to Unforced Rhythms.

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  18. Yup - the more I learn, the more I am amazed by our Creator God. I love love the passage from Job - always have - and I was excited to see it included!

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  19. This was such a fascinating post...I so enjoyed all of the facts you shared. The thing I am most amazed at concerning our "past finding out" Creator is the fact that He doesn't love me from afar...He is not a God far off, but He is right here...He chooses to condescend and drop a measure of His glory...right here in my heart!!! He overfills my soul with His infinite love, and even though I am so broken and flawed, He chooses to dwell within this mess called me. Oh, the thought that He loves me...in spite of my discrepancies! That, even though, He has this massive, incomprehensible universe...or so many universes...to dwell in, He chooses to dwell here...in the core of me. As I ponder your words, as I contemplate His enormity, I am humbled even more.

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  20. Good stuff right here! This post allows each of us to be aware, to think on and meditate on the greatness and Majesty of God...where were we...? Great post Sharon!!!!!

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  21. You're hilarious besides smart! I can't handle all those facts but I'm glad someone can! I love the vs in Ecc - we are made with "eternity in our hearts" and that's another reason we long...for something in general and for God, specifically. My job is to live a life so that when someone meets/knows me, they long for him...must lean in daily for that to happen. met you on holleygerth this morning! (:

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  22. I am so fascinated by God's creation...and to think, this is only a glimpse of what he has made!
    My greatest awe is just how precise everything is...like the angle and speed of rotation of the earth on its axis...just one bit off, and everything would be thrown into chaos!
    Whenever I hear of 'the big bang theory...(funny, how I quoted from a show named that earlier when you commented on my blog post!)
    I have to laugh, because the idea of such precision coming out of something spontaneous and chaotic...is nonsense! Only God has the ability to truley create something from nothing...as he is the source of everything...and Jesus is the Light that lights every single person who comes into this world!
    Exciting stuff!
    Blessings and love to you~ Lisa

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  23. I really love the way you make this connection. But then again, I love what you share every week. But makes me think of how just tonight I marveled at the sky and actually thought about how I never get tired of looking up. Always fascinated and in awe by His creation. Always beautiful and thought-provoking thoughts here. God bless. xoxo

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  24. Love this, Sharon! It reminds me of two things, C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy -a fascinating read until you get to the last book and then it's just downright frightening, and a little book I had which I hope to find again, written by scientists who are Christians about how they came to Faith through science. Another fascinating and inspiring read! God speaks to me most profoundly first through His word and second through His creation. Great post - have a blessed week!

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  25. Hard to find intelligent life on this planet... funny... rofl

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  26. For me, as it is for you, Sharon, everything leads back to God. So much of nature and even people reflect Him--the constancy of the ocean, the love of a parent for a child, the devotion of a dog to his master, the beauty of bird chorus at dawn--the list goes on and on. You are right on with this post, Sharon, even science is searching for God--whether they know it or not.

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  27. Hi Sharon! Great post! My husband and I totally agree, but my eldest son is "intelligent" and thinks that we are a bit old-fashioned. Hopefully he too will discover the full truth (he's kind of one foot in and one foot out) just as scientists and theologians who began as atheists and found the Truth and became believers. I thought you might like to link on my weekend blog hop and hopefully the poem will bless you at http://abooksandmore.blogspot.com/2014/08/a-poem-and-weekend-linky.html

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  28. Stopping in from Faith Filled Friday. I do think we should explore everything around us, but not to prove there is not a God. I think scientist today are out to do this. Our world is filled with so much beauty and awe; our own bodies; how this world and the weather patterns work. How does anyone not believe in God now...this is what I'd like to know? Blessings to you.

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  29. Hopping over from the Friday Five
    Thanks for all the scientific facts, so intriguing!!
    My husband enjoys science, as well, and how it correlates with our God.
    Blessings to you xos

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  30. Wow...so deep and thought provoking. Eloquently written.

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  31. First: If you are EVER in the Seattle, you best be calling me... Because I want to laugh with you in person. NG subscription for 120 years? Difficulty finding intelligent life on this planet (amen!)

    I just love your personality. SO. MUCH.

    And I love how you weave such a deep message into your words. You are really good at this, Sharon.

    So, so thankful that you are part of our #EverydayJesus community. Seriously.

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  32. I like your post, and I find astronomy fascinating too, and also the small things God made, like a snail shell, and how complex the human body is. What a complicated thing is our body, each part working in harmony with each part. God is Great.

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  33. Hi Sharon. How awesome is our God! It is amazing to look at space and creation here on earth, it shouts to us His majesty. Just think, He spoke, and we had all them stars and everything else. Who wonderful it will be when we live in His kingdom, which is not tarnished with sin.
    Blessings,
    Ken

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  34. Life is awesome, and there are so many things we have yet to see. The universe is God's DIY project isn't it?

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  35. I have not had the opportunity to see a national geographic magazine in years Sharon but I do remember it having such awesome photography. Amazing that man has spent years trying to discover just what all God has created yet he will never totally finger it out.

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  36. 'all the paths lead home and home is Him' Yep. I love lying in the grass and looking up at sky. Makes me feel incredibly small. The universe is soooo huge. Really speaks to His awesomeness. Have an amazing weekend Sharon.

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  37. The wonder of God's creation is stunning. I love the way He is revealed in what He has made. Thanks for an interesting post and the scriptures you added. Visiting from Whatever is Lovely.

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  38. Wow you had me captivated by this! So cool!

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  39. To be known by the Creator of all….is simply amazing. I appreciate your well written well post very much.

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  40. Hi Sharon!! I haven't stopped by in a few weeks and I have missed you!! This was a great post and I really enjoyed it. I was really upset when they decided that Pluto isn't a planet anymore! Who says?! You had some great points. See you again when you linkup again :-)

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  41. Absolutely true, Sharon! I have always been baffled by these intelligents and scientists who just miss God in all their studies. Beyond belief. But, that's the issues - BELIEVING . . . it's a faith walk. And there, only be Grace, go I. Glad you shared this at the linkup!!
    Joy!
    Kathy

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"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!