This website is about building a backyard observatory, favorite Bible verses, favorite quotes and astronomy videos.
Gateway to the Heavens
(Porta dei Cieli)
"TRUST" Message One of Three “Send the Choir into Battle First”
This unfamiliar military strategy seems ill-advised … at best. But listen to the story of Jehoshaphat, King of Judah in about 850 BC.
One peaceful day, a messenger/scout ran to King Jehoshaphat and breathlessly told of three enormous army forces assembling nearby to crush his people. Jehoshaphat knew about the powerful people of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir. He had purposely avoided these nations when traveling from Egypt. The Bible says Jehoshaphat was afraid. His army was no match for huge forces assembling against his people.
Jehoshaphat’s first reaction to the bad news wasn’t what we normally see at the movies. Modern generals would start amassing the tanks, aircraft and troops. Everyone in Jehoshaphat's company began praying: “We are powerless against this great multitude that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but are looking to You, dear God.”
Unfailing as ever to those who trust in God, the reply was “Do not fear or be dismayed at this great multitude. This is God’s war, not yours. Stand still and see the victory of the Lord.” Hearing this uplifting news, everyone stood up to praise God “with a very loud voice.”
Jehoshaphat assembled his army to march into the battleground. And believing that God would save them, he ordered that the army be led by the choir singing “Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever!”
Meanwhile down in the valley, God confused the three invading armies and they began battling one another ferociously. When the choir of Judea came up over the rise and looked down on the horde of barbarians, not one soldier remained alive. All of Judea blessed God!
In our life journey, each of us has faced some bad news that has brought us to a personal wilderness. Are you afraid sometimes like Jehoshaphat? Our typical reaction to daily problems is to anxiously make plans and get tangled up in knots. Our obsessive planning can distract us from appreciating that God will unfailingly lead us, if we have simple trust.
The successful formula that Jehoshaphat applied is timeless. In this week ahead, challenge yourself to apply the same formula: As you face a problem, “stand still” and stop yourself from immediately planning what to do. Completely erase your initial plans and invite God to create the plan for you. Relax and trust completely in God’s leading. Rejoice and rest in the outcome.
“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.” - Psalm 143:8
"Trust" Message Two of Three “Fortified Walls Collapse”
The Israelites encountered a wicked, cult-worshiping nation (Canaanites) as they journeyed out of Egyptian captivity. These people were a significant obstacle between the Israelites and the new land of milk and honey promised to them by God. Jericho was the main, fortified city of this band of malicious people. The fortress city was surrounded by massive earthen ramparts, topped with tall, thick, impenetrable walls. To inherit the Promised Land, the Israelites would have to conquer the people of Jericho.
Inside their heavily walled city the Canaanites had plenty of food, water and armaments. They also had nothing but laughable contempt for the Israelite intruders. But, instead of preparing for a bloody battle, the Israelite leader, Joshua, told his people to begin praying. They would wait for the word of God before challenging the Canaanites.
God presented the Israelites with a surprising and unconventional battle plan. God instructed the Israelites to walk around the Jericho city walls once a day for six days. On the seventh day, they were to walk around the city walls seven times, then stop and shout with all their might. On the seventh day when the Israelites shouted, a thunderous earthquake destroyed the city walls and the Israelite soldiers effortlessly conquered the dispirited Canaanites.
What are some take-aways from this important Old Testament story?
Joshua is showing us what unflinching faith in God can accomplish
Beginning all your endeavors by requesting God’s leadership will produce remarkable results
A life with God is more about trusting than battling on our own
God is a reliable partner in our life journey
Trusting God will keep us un-anxious and un-intimidated against all odds
God’s answers to our petitions are very often beyond what we could imagine
When we obey without questioning and without doubting, God will supply our needs
"TRUST" message three of three “I am right here with you”
One evening Jesus and some of his disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee in a small boat. The Sea of Galilee was well known for sudden and fierce storms. Indeed a vicious squall arrived and began battering the small boat. Waves were washing over the sides of the boat and the boat was in danger of sinking.
Meanwhile Jesus was sleeping in the stern of the boat with his head on a cushion. Bursting with fear of the water and darkness the disciples woke Jesus. "Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” Jesus awoke and said to the wind and waves, “Peace. Be Still.” The wind and waves immediately calmed.
He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
As Jesus told the disciples in other parts of the Bible:, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
The three lessons about "Trust" teach us that relying on God to lead us through a sea of problems is a better plan than just asking for advice now and then. Trusting also means that we face problems with the full strength of God rather than our feeble human strength. What a joy to know that with God by our side we have access to unlimited heavenly resources.