Is There Life On Other Planets?

“Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing.”    Isaiah 4:26.

In 2022, mankind took unprecedented leaps forward in unraveling the mysteries of the cosmos. We witnessed the first mission to the International Space Station funded entirely by space tourists. There were historic launches of spacecraft and technology by NASA and its international partners that could one day be used to land humans on Mars. As we move farther and farther into the cosmos, will we find life on other planets? How do these new discoveries affect our view of God? Do we need to revise our understanding of Him?

The answer depends on how big your concept of God is. You see, we need to recognize that God is far greater than anything the human mind can conceive. The discoveries of science excite us, but it’s even more exciting when we recognize the greatness of the Creator of it all.

Louie Giglio, pastor of Passion Church wrote a book called “Indescribable: Encountering the Glory of God in the Beauty of the Universe.”  In his book, Louie makes the case that while modern science allows us to see farther into space than ever before, every step draws us closer to the God who breathed each star into existence.

David wrote in Psalm 8:3, “When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—the moon and the stars you set in place.” The universe contains objects of incredible size and mass at distances that the human mind cannot fully grasp. When we consider the power of the Lord who made all this, we cannot help but feel humbled.

We should be standing in reverent fear of a God so indescribably powerful that He called it the work of His fingers.  Psalm 147:4 adds   “He counts the stars and calls them all by name.” Imagine looking up on a starry night and counting the stars and giving them a name as you go along. “It was my hand that laid the foundations of the earth, my right hand that spread out the heavens above. When I call out the stars, they all appear in order.” (Isaiah 48:13).

Truly, the God who created this universe is glorious and worthy of praise. As to whether there is life on other planets, we simply do not know. So far, no evidence of life on the other planets of our solar system has been found. Wherever life exists or doesn’t exist, God is still the Creator and Controller of all things, and all things were made for His glory.

Discussion Questions:

  1. When have you had the chance to observe the night sky and its starry host?  What emotions did you feel?
  2. Read Psalm 19:1-6.  What does the universe communicate to us about God?
  3. Why do we tend to lose perspective on how big God is?  How does this impact how we approach life?

The Attributes Of God – The Beauty Of God

What are God’s attributes? Each Friday we will look at an attribute of God. This week, the beauty of God.“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” according to human opinion – but not when it comes to God. He is beauty itself. It’s not an aspect of God’s being that we consider often, if at all. Yet David sought this as his greatest desire: nothing was more important to him: “One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.” (Psalm 27:4 ESV). But what do we mean by God’s beauty? And how do we become captivated by it?

“From Mount Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines in glorious radiance.” – Psalm 50:2.

In many ways, life is about finding all kinds of ways to enjoy, create, and even market beauty. Take a look at magazine covers, popular Instagram accounts, travel blogs, art exhibits and performances, craft websites, or famous tourist spots around the world, and you are likely to find one thing in common: beauty. The fashion and beauty industries generate billions of dollars of revenue each year for a very good reason: we not only want beauty in our lives, but we also want to be beautiful.

God loves beauty. Few have described the beauty of God better than Jonathan Edwards who wrote, ‘For as God is infinitely the greatest Being, so He is allowed to be infinitely the most beautiful and excellent: and all the beauty to be found throughout the whole creation is but the reflection of the diffused beams of that Being who hath an infinite fullness of brightness and glory; God . . . is the foundation and fountain of all being and all beauty.”

God’s beauty is displayed in the radiance of His absolute perfection. The psalmist declares, ‘From Mount Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines in glorious radiance.” (Psalm 50:2 NIV).

God has given us beauty throughout nature with majestic mountains, enchanting valleys, vast oceans, white sandy beaches that seem to stretch forever, quiet estuaries, and mighty rivers that carry themselves for thousands of miles. “He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.” (Psalm 23:2-3) When we look at nature, we can remember God, who created it. Nature can be awe-inspiring, even to the point of being almost incomprehensible. The richness of a sunset, the twinkle of stars, and the diversity of animals all witness to a creator and designer.

Seeing God’s creation can invite us into a deeper admiration for God and the beauty of His handiwork. In nature, surrounded by His creation, we can feel closer to Him.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is God’s beauty? Can we see it? Can we feel it? If we go looking for his beauty in Scripture, what are we looking for? If we go looking for His beauty in creation, where do we find it?

Are We Glorifying God?

“And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father” – Colossians 3:17. 

God calls us to glorify Him in all we do. Or perhaps to put it more precisely: One of the great ways God glorifies Himself is by calling and enabling us, His people, to glorify Him through our holy conduct. Doing everything to the glory of God sounds exhausting. Do you ever find yourself wondering how to do this every day? What does my daily mundane schedule have to do with the glory of God?  

Theologian Jonathan Edwards once said: “From time to time [in Scripture], embracing and practicing true religion, and repenting of sin, and turning to holiness, is expressed by glorifying God, as though that were the sum and end of the whole matter.” 

If the creation could talk, and in a sense it does, it would say, as the psalmist writes, “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.” (Psalm 19:1) Since we are part of His creation, we too should strive to glorify God.  Again, the psalmist writes, “You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!” (Psalm 22:23 ESV) But this isn’t just a command for Israel but it is for us as well: “Bring all who claim me as their God, for I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them.’” (Isaiah 43:7)

So what does glorifying God mean in our daily lives? In Colossians 3:17, the apostle Paul says in his letter to the Church as Colossae, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (ESV) He was reminding the Colossians that their ultimate purpose on this earth was to give God glory by showing God’s love and walking in peace with one another and doing all things with a heart full of gratitude.

How often are we focused on the everyday activities that we forget that they are not an end to themselves; we go through the motions looking for things to satisfy a longing in our soul that only living a God-glorifying life can satisfy. We were made to worship and glorify God, and He gave us the gifts and abilities in which to do that every day.

It means to worship and advance Christ in everything we do. In Philippians 1:20, we see that Paul’s attention was focused on one thing and one thing only.  While in prison, unsure of what his sentence might be, he maintained that laser focus. He expected that Christ would be exalted in everything he did. His one focus was glorifying Christ in everything. And he meant everything. In fact, he taught this in 1 Corinthians 10:31: “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”  

God is worthy of all glory: “You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For you created all things, and they exist because you created what you pleased.”(Revelation 4:11).  Matthew 5:16 says: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” 

Discussion Questions:

  1. Who are we living for on a daily basis?  
  2. What can we do this week to glorify God? 

Show Me Your Glory

“Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.” – Exodus 33:18-23.

Every Christian will face some difficult times in their lives. None of us is exempt from seasons of hardship, and the pain and discouragement that can accompany those seasons. Many people believe these seasons help us grow spiritually because it is God’s way of stretching us or bringing us back to Him. Moses is an example.

Most of us know the story of how God had brought His people out of slavery in Egypt and into the desert. God had proven His sufficiency. He had provided them water in the desert and food in the form of the manna they collected each morning. He had protected them from hostile enemies. But as we read in Numbers 11:1 that “…the people complained in the hearing of the LORD about their misfortunes.” At the foot of Mt. Sinai, they had seen an overwhelming display of the divine majesty and power as God appeared in the fire, smoke, thunder and lightning, and earthquake, and spoke to the nation.

While Moses was on the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments, however, the Israelites complained, so Aaron made a golden calf to represent the God who brought them out of Egypt. The people offered sacrifices to it. At this point, God told Moses to go back down to the camp, which he did; and seeing the disgraceful display of idolatry, he smashed the tablets, burned and then ground the golden calf into powder. It was one of the worst days of Moses’ life. Devastated, he poured out his heart to God on behalf of the nation, frustrated with the people. He asked for someone to go with him as he led them. The Lord responded in Exodus 33:14: “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” But that wasn’t enough for Moses. Above all, He pleaded, “Please show me your glory!” (Exodus 33:18).

I hope you noticed the impact this crisis had on Moses. He saw his own limitations. He asked God to give him help in His assigned task, and God responded with the promise of His presence. While that would have been sufficient for most of us, Moses wanted more. He wanted a glimpse of God’s glory.

This a textbook example of how to handle the bumps in the road in our lives. It doesn’t take long before we realize there are issues and problems that we simply can’t handle on our own. Some situations simply overwhelm us—serious or terminal illness, severe financial problems, strained relationships to name a few. We need help. The Lord wants us to find that help in Him. He wants us to seek His presence, for He has promised that He will never desert us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

Sometimes, however, even that doesn’t satisfy us. Like Moses, we want more. We want to know God with a deeper and more satisfying intimacy; we hunger to glimpse His glory. And the reality is that were it not for the hardship, we would not be driven to seek the Lord and to know Him better.

So when faced with difficulty, try not to get stressed or depressed. Use the difficulty to learn more of God’s ways, and to know Him as you have not known Him before. Learn to see His Glory.

Discussion Question:

  1. In what ways do you work at your relationship with God? If “work” doesn’t describe your efforts, what word does? Why?
  2. What types of uncertainty do you have in your life? What does it look like to have confidence in uncertainty? How do you trust God in times of uncertainty?
  3. Read Joshua 1:5-6, 9. What types of things do you fear? Why do you fear them? How can you respond with faith when fear rises up inside of you?
  4. How does God’s presence with the Christian create strength and courage in the Christian? What effect does knowing God is with you have on you?
  5. Pray and seek God’s presence this week.