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Counting the Stars

Astronomy is the scientific study of everything in outer space. The telescope provides amateurs and scientists with an investigative tool to explore astronomy. Since the cost of a telescope can be pricy, most human beings star gaze on clear nights. If you live in a large city, you won’t have the same experience as someone in the country. Nonetheless, when you’re young and carefree, you may find yourself one evening trying to count the stars visible in the night sky.

And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, This man shall not be your heir, but he who shall come from your own body shall be your heir. And He brought him outside [his tent into the starlight] and said, Look now toward the heavens and count the stars—if you are able to number them. Then He said to him, So shall your descendants be, Genesis 15:4-5.

After a moment of doubt, struggling to believe that he would become the father of a great nation, the Word of the Lord comes to Abram. During this encounter, Abram is drawn outside of his tent, into the starlight of this countryside. While Moses does not provide a timeline of Abram’s moment with God, counting the stars appears to be a rhetorical question. Since Moses doesn’t mention Abram counting out loud, this reference is a foreshadowing of the future of Israel’s descendants.

And [God] said to Abram, Know positively that your descendants will be strangers dwelling as temporary residents in a land that is not theirs [Egypt], and they will be slaves there and will be afflicted and oppressed for 400 years. [Fulfilled in Exod. 12:40.] 14 But I will bring judgment on that nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out with great possessions, Genesis 15:13-14.

Meanwhile, this encounter continues with a brief nightmare which fills Abram with fear and terror. God uses this dark image as a teachable moment, explaining to Abram what has to happened before the promise spoken in Genesis 12:1-3 is fulfilled. This portion of Scripture gets Moses’ attention as he was the man God chose to lead the Exodus out of Egypt. The next time you find yourself engaged by a vivid starlight, remember that God delivered for Abraham and continues to fulfill promises made in the Bible.

by Jay Mankus


When the Fire Inside Flickers Out

If you’re star gazing on a clear night, you might just catch a glimpse of a shooting star.  However, by the time you point in this direction to show others most vanish, flickering out before you can share this special moment.  This dying flame is reminiscent of individuals who lose their spark, joy for life.

And the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale, Revelation 6:13.

Madonna’s song Lucky Star, released in 1983, refers to the old adage of wishing upon a star.  Similar to Disney’s theme, both lyrics paint the picture of a fantasy world where your dreams come true.  Unfortunately, when your prince, princess or pot of gold never arrives, hope is replaced with doubt as stars of promise die out.

And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever, Daniel 12:3.

When I was young, life was filled with great expectations, places to go, people to meet and mountains to climb.  Yet, every adult reaches a point in their lives when its hard to wake up.  Perhaps the life you envisioned hasn’t turned out as you thought.  Or in my case, the road I set out on has changed, leaving me dazed and confused.  Thus, when the fire inside flickers out its time to fall on your knees, open up God’s Word and pray for the Lord to raise you up on eagle’s wings to get you through the tough times.

by Jay Mankus



How Bright is Your Star?

Sirius, Canopus and Rigil Kentaurus are the 3 brightest stars as seen from earth.  Sirius, the brightest of all the stars in the midnight sky comes from the Greek word scorching.  The further you get from civilization, the more visible the smaller stars become.  From a worldly perspective, are you overlooked like a tiny star, do you blend in like a medium one or does the aura you give off shine bright?

Said the night wind to the little lamb
Do you see what I see
Way up in the sky little lamb
Do you see what I see
A star, a star
Dancing in the night
With a tail as big as a kite
With a tail as big as a kite

One of my favorite Christmas carols is Do You Hear What I Hear?  The lyrics of this classic uses hearing and seeing to discern what happened on the night of Jesus’ birth.  If you get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, the senses God gave you are often neglected, missing the miracles right in front of you.  Therefore, if you want to make a difference in life, stop, drop what you’re doing and take a look around every now and then to help brighten the lives of others.

However, all human beings experience periods of darkness, times when your desire to press on fades.  As your fire dims, the lights of others may be the only source of hope you see.  If the light of Christians around you is absent, stars can burn out permanently.  How bright is your star currently?  Well, for the sake of Christmas, may the Holy Spirit rekindle the flame inside your soul so that silent nights will remain bright.

by Jay Mankus

Under a Full Moon

Whether you are star gazing, taking a midnight stroll or finishing a round of golf at twilight, a full moon provides a special aura in the air.  Occurring once a month or every 29.53 days, full moons form on the 14th or 15th day of the lunar calendar.  Well before the days of Michael Jackson’s Thriller music video, the gravitational forces of the moon’s orbit tends to bring out the worst in people, leaving a history of bizarre stories.

Coincidence or not, the term lunatic is derived from the Latin word Luna.  Subsequently, beliefs have formed which attempt to explain unusual behavior under the canopy of a full moon.  Its no wonder that horror movies continue to be inspired by legends of this monthly event.  Although there is no conclusive evidence, hospitals see a rise in accidents, women go into labor at an alarming rate and police departments have their hands full all because of a full moon.

In his book More Than a Carpenter, Josh McDowell examines the life of Jesus.  Dedicating a chapter to one of his theories, McDowell suggests that there are only 3 logical conclusions one can make about his life.  Either Jesus is a crazed lunatic, a habitual liar or the Lord of all?  As another full moon rises above a summer sky, may Josh’s question bring you to ponder the meaning of life, John 10:10.  While secular music embraces the dark side of the moon, come into the light by trusting in Jesus, 1 John 2:6.

by Jay Mankus

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