Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Guest Post: The Heaven's Declare His Glory

(I just love this post from my friend Susan at Raising Deep Roots.  She has become a dear friend to me and this idea for turning a lesson on stars into a fun way to point your kiddos to the majesty of the Creator is just awesome!  She knows her stuff too because she graduated with a degree in astronomy!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did and she'll be posting a Part 2 soon over on her blog to continue with the project, so stay tuned! -Desiré)

{The Small Magellanic Cloud is a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. It contains this group of baby stars that are still forming from collapsing gas clouds and have not yet ignited their hydrogen fuel.}
It's not surprising, that if you were to peek through the doorframe of my boys' room, you would find their walls covered with space ships, planets, astronauts, and glow in the dark stars. You would also find remnants of space themed birthday party favors in their toy chests, crafts from our astronomy summer theme week still hanging on the walls of the family room, and a closet full of Epiphany "follow the star" decorations that find their way to our living room every January. You see, I love astronomy! I have been fascinated with it ever since my sixth grade science class when I fell in love with it and decided then and there I was going to be an astronomer. And I did! Come high school, I chose calculus and physics as my electives (what?) and by the time I graduated university, I had a degree in Astrophysics and even landed an 'observing' run at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory. I've since switched physics fields as I've discovered (for me personally anyway) that it is way more fun to LEARN about someone else's research than it is to actually DO the research! LOL! 

All that aside, I'd like to suggest to that you don't have to know anything about this:astronomy text

to share with your children about this: mystic_mountain-ps52_5x7

This mage shows a mountain of dust and gas rising in the Carina Nebula.

And when we spend time admiring and standing in awe of the heavens, our hearts are naturally drawn to worship and to glorify the Lord and to worship him as the Almighty Creator of the Universe! The Psalmist agreed...

The Heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of this hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
Psalm 19:1-4
When was the last time you managed to get away from the glare of the lights of the city (or just from the street lamp in your neighborhood) and see the night sky? I mean REALLY see it?
Even without telescopes, the naked eye is drawn to the heavens. Those billions upon billions of twinkling stars take our breath away! Who created these marvelous celestial bodies? Look how big the Universe is! Oh how small am I? Ah...exactly! As we behold the intense beauty of God's creation and the immense scale of His universe, we realize our insignificant place in it.
When I consider Your heavens,
the work of Your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?
Psalm 8:3-4
And yet, our Creator IS mindful of us. Just as he knows the stars in the sky by name, he knows the number of hairs on our very heads! The creator of the universe calls us friend! Oh how he loves us! Oh how he loves us! He took on flesh and made his dwelling among us! Yes, dear one, and then he sacrificed his own life that we might have life everlasting! Oh praise Him! O Praise His name forever! Glorify his name, glorify his name, glorify his name in all the earth!

Wouldn't it be marvelous if we could to invite our children into this place of being awed and amazed by the Creator God? Can we give our children a glimpse of how big and mighty and yet so personal and loving God is? Well, it is my prayer that some of the resources and activities outlined in the this post will invite you and your children to magnifying the Lord as you gaze at his Glory as proclaimed in the Heavens.

Book Resource: I found an absolute treasure when I saw this book lying on the coffee table in the home of a Bible study I was attending. Um...yes you could say it caught my eye :) It's full of pictures taken by the Hubble Space Telescope which are then paired with scriptures about the beauty of God's creation. Added to that are poems and quotes by beloved Christian authors as they themselves are propelled into praise as they gaze upon the wonders that are to behold in the heavens. This is one for your library for sure!

Family Fun Adventure: Go sky gazing and search for constellations. Before we go out at night to star gaze, I like to familiarize my boys with finding patterns in the stars so they can actually recognize the constellations. So we pull out our flashcards (of course I have some lying around ;-) ) 

I love these ones:

100 things to spot in night sky

But I've considered picking up a set of these:

space flashcards
(Note from Desiré:  I got these in the $1 section at Target last year and my boys LOVE looking through them and talking about them!)

A great activity is to pull out a chalk board and chalk and let the kids try to copy the constellation patterns. I actually decided to make our own super portable chalk board by simply taking some poster board and spray painting it with chalk board paint! Did you know chalk board paint comes in a spray can? Super easy and very affordable!
posterboard chalk board

Most constellation cards also come with super helpful star finder charts or you can make some star finders from NASA . Now that you are at least somewhat familiar with the night sky for your region and time of year, head out and see what you can find!
He counts the number of stars;
he gives names to all of them.
Great is our Lord and abundant in strength;
His understanding is infinite.
Psalm 147:4-5
Family Devotional : This is one of my favorite family devotionals ever. Buy some glow in the dark ceiling stars. Maybe like these:
Place the stars under a lamp and let them "charge" for at least 5 minutes. Turn off the lights and watch them glow! Once the glow has faded, turn the lights back on and while you wait for the toys to re-charge, explain how this is a picture of what happens when we spend time with Jesus. Ask your kids, "what made the stars glow?" They soaked up the LIGHT! Help your children make the connection that the toys had to be close to the light in order to shine and show them that the LONGER they are in the light, the brighter the toys shine! So it is with us, the closer we are to Jesus and more time we spend with him, the brighter our light will shine too! Jesus has told us that we are "the light of the world"(Matthew 5:14-16) and that we are to "shine like stars in the universe" (Philippians 2:14-16) . Just like God created the stars and the galaxies and the quasars and comets to bring Him glory, we too were created to bring Him glory. By living lives that please him, we too can proclaim his glory!

For extended fun, affix the glow in the dark stars on the ceiling, (maybe even in the shapes of some of your newly learned, favorite constellations!) drag in pillows and have the whole family pile on the floor to look up at the stars glowing. Why not break into song, singing Twinkle twinkle little star and add in praise and worship songs. You will make some memories that will last a lifetime. 

And each night, as your kids drift off to sleep, they'll have a visual, glowing reminder that :

1)When life feels big and overwhelming, look up at the stars. God is bigger ! He who hung the moon, put comets into orbit, flung the stars into space, and sent galaxies whirring through the cosmos is more than able to see you through your present trials. 

2) When you feel insignificant, look up at the stars. God made all of those stars and planets and galaxies and he knows every one. But even more importantly, God knows the number of hairs on your head, knows you in your innermost parts, and oh how he loves you. Yes, we are mere specks in an infinitely majestic and unfathomably vast universe, and yet God the creator chooses to be with us, to indwell us. 

3) When you wonder how you can live to please God, look up at the stars. Just as the heavens proclaim the glory of the Lord, so should our lives. We were made to bring God glory. Stay close to Jesus, soak up his light, and shine his light bright like the stars in the universe! 



Susie blogs at raisingdeeproots.wordpress.com along with her cherished friend Kellye. Both gals are boy moms, pastor's wives, and ministry leaders in their respective churches. Raising Deep Roots sprang out of a shared passion to encourage and equip parents to raise up children with deep roots in the Word of God and the Person of Jesus.

1 comment:

  1. This is so great Susie! Thanks for sharing your encouraging insights as well as the book recommendations. I am going to check those out!



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