Devo 1

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.   The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep.  And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”  Genesis 1:1,2

No three sentences ever penned could be so pregnant with purpose and possibility as those.  This isn’t the beginning of everything, God Himself has always been, but it is the beginning of the great story of redemption as revealed to mankind.  And the first thing God wants to tell us about everything is that He made it. He created it on purpose and therefore no part of creation is without purpose. 

So the earth was not without purpose, but it was without form. It was a wasteland, a dark, colorless, vacuous space.  The Hebrew word for “the deep” implies an abyss, a deep, surging mass of water.  This might all sound like a description of nothing but in reality “without form” is a pretty accurate description of the physical properties of water.  And void is an extremely accurate description of everything else!  

Consider this: all matter is made of atoms. Atoms are made up of protons and neutrons, which form a nucleus, and electrons which orbit it.  Now electrons are about 2000 times smaller than protons and neutrons and the space between them is relatively enormous.  If the orbit of the electrons were represented by the walls of a major-league baseball stadium, the nucleus of protons and neutrons would be a marble placed in the center of it.  And you know what would fill up all the rest of that space?  Nothing!  Atoms are actually made up of 99.99999% empty space, or void.  And since everything is made up of atoms, everything is made up of mostly nothing!  It’s still 99.99999% void, just like it was in the beginning. 

Hebrews 11:3 tells us that God is the creator of both the visible and the invisible and that the visible things are actually made out of things that are invisible.  

“By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.”

Sounds a lot like atoms, right?  In fact, Colossians 1:15-17 gives us even more insight by stating that it is through Jesus Christ that not only was everything created, but in Him everything holds together.  If the electrical charge between the proton and the electrons held in orbit around it were altered by just one billionth of one percent, the matter it represented would explode!  Check out this article for more blind-blowing scientific speculation about what holds the universe together.

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.  For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible— all things were created through Him and for Him.  And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

So Genesis 1 is the account of how the .0001% that we call matter interrupted all that void.  When God created the heavens and the earth, He created all the matter that was ever going to exist in them apart from His own miraculous intervention.  And when the Holy Spirit “hovered over the face of the waters” all the energy that was ever going to exist had it’s source right there.  Scientists call this the First Law of Thermodynamics.  It states that neither matter nor energy can be created or destroyed.

The law of conservation of energy states further that we can’t run out of or make new energy.  It just changes forms, from potential to kinetic, and visa-versa. Just like matter, all energy comes from God.  Paul says it this way in Acts 17:24-28,

“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is He served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since He himself gives to all mankind life and breath and EVERYTHING… In Him we live and MOVE and have our being.”

Energy is the ability to do work.  And what a work was about to be done! That third sentence of the Bible is just oozing with the anticipation of it!  SOMETHING was going on over that dark, watery abyss.  The Hebrew word Rachaph means to brood, flutter, move, or shake.  The Holy Spirit was certainly about to shake things up!  God was at work! 

The energy I used to type these words, the energy you used to take this up and read it, existed in God at the time of creation.  We move because He Moved.  And we exist because Jesus Christ holds our atoms together by the word of His power.

Do you need a better reason than that to worship Him, the Alpha and Omega, the God of the beginning?  How about 2 Peter 3:7? 

“By the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgement and destruction of the ungodly.”

Peter warns us that scoffers will come in the last day following their own sinful desires (not scientific method).  According to Peter, these scoffers deliberately overlook the fact that the earth was formed out of water by the word of God and destroyed by water in the flood of Noah’s day.  But listen to the words of hope he gives us through the rest of chapter 3.

“The Lord… is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance… According to His promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells…Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by Him without spot or blemish, and at peace.  And count the patience of our Lord as salvation.”

Do you hear that hope?  The world God created, now marred by scoffers, will be destroyed in judgement.  But oh the patience and salvation of the Lord!  Those who repent will see the new heavens and new earth where righteousness dwells.  Peter concludes with another warning, that knowing these scoffers will come we need to take care that we not be carried away by their error and lose our own stability, 

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.  Amen.

Week 1

Memory Verse: Hebrews 11:3 

Reading #1: Genesis 1:1,2

Questions:  What important question does the first sentence in the Bible answer for us?  How would the way you answer that question affect the way you live?  What other questions do the next 2 sentences leave you asking?

Reading #2: Acts 17:16-34

Questions:  What strange teaching did Paul introduce to the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers that left them wanting to hear more?  What is the first truth Paul wants to establish with the men of Athens?  In light of these 2 important truths—that God made them and that Jesus died for them, rose again, and is coming again—what does “God command all people everywhere” to do?

Reading #3: Colossians 1:15-21

Questions:  What role does Jesus Christ play in creation?  What role does He play in the church?  What role does He play in our death?  What role does He play in the Godhead?  What role does He play in salvation? How does Christ’s preeminence in all things enable you to “continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel?

Reading #4: 2 Peter 3

Questions:  What kind of people is Peter warning us will come in the last days and  what kind of people does he want us to be?  What facts are scoffers deliberately overlooking and what is the root of their scoffing?  What fact does Peter not want us to overlook and how should it affect the way we live?  What does Peter warn us not to be carried away by and what does he want us to grow in?  

Psalms and Hymns:

Holy, Holy, Holy  “Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!  All Thy works shall praise Thy name, in earth, and sky, and sea”

Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee  “All Thy works with joy surround Thee, Earth and heaven reflect Thy rays, Stars and angels sing around Thee, center of unbroken praise.”

You’re Invited!

It’s back-to-school time and the universe is our classroom!  Please join us for a unique family-style study with the whole Bible as our textbook.  After six years we are returning to Day 4 of creation and this time we’re going to look far and dig deep.  Psalm 19:1 says that the business of the heavens is to declare the glory of God and Hebrews 1:3 says that Jesus Christ is that glory.  Besides holding the universe together by the word of His power, Jesus is in the business of redeeming for Himself worshippers from every tribe, tongue and nation on earth.  The Bible is the story of that redemption and the heavens God made play a big role.

So starting August 13, every Saturday I’ll be posting 5 passages of scripture for the following week that have something to do with the sky, including a memory verse, discussion questions and a couple hymns to go along with our astronomy theme.  Mondays I’ll post a devotional that explains how those passages work together to give us a better understanding of our Lord and His work of salvation.  Fridays I’ll give our 5 boys a chance to bring you up to speed on what they’ve been learning about astronomy or we might do a flash back to something we learned in our study 6 years ago.

It’s our hope and prayer that each week we will gain a fresh perspective on the eternal gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed in the pages of scripture and displayed on the cosmic canvas of creation.  Also, it would be a delight to converse with any readers from the 83 countries that followed our blog the first time around.  If you’re still out there, we’d love to hear from you!  Tolle lege and Soli Deo gloria!

Friday’s Factoid 6 (by Titus and Joel)

The planet closest to the sun is Mercury. A day on Mercury is 176 earth days and is 750 degrees. But night is -300 degrees because Mercury does not have a good atmosphere. A year on Mercury is only 88 Earth days long so I would be 30 years old`there and I would have a truck (by Joel,7).

Mercury is a terrestrial planet like the Earth. It is not gaseous like Jupiter. The most terrestrial planet we have learned about is the Diamond Planet that has just been found. It is called 55 Cancri e which is not a good name. It is in another solar system and is made of diamond and graphite. This man, Giguere, made a picture of what it might be like (by Titus,8).

From the setting of the sun to its rising…

…”the name of the Lord is to be praised!” Psalm 113:3

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Okay, I know I got my settings and risings mixed up but that’s because we found extra opportunity this week to praise the name of the Lord during the night. So instead of giving you a sunset (or sunrise) of the week picture, you’re getting a slide show (compliments of NASA) of some images from within Cygnus, the Swan constellation. We’re spending a lot of time looking at Cygnus the next couple weeks because we are participating in the Great World Wide Star Count. This means making a report on the number of stars we can see within the Cygnus constellation on any given night between October 5 and 19. You can participate in the star count too, by clicking on the following link:starcount

Also, congratulations to Titus and Joel who can now identify 8 of these constellations by sight in the night sky! A quarter of the way toward our goal!

Friday’s Factoid 4 (by Titus and Joel)

We are learning about the sun and tried to do some real science experiments but there has been lots of clouds and also Sam drank one of our control cups of water and spilled the egg we were cooking so those experiments didn’t work. We have a new pet duck and we got to burn one of his feathers with a magnifying glass. That was fun (by Joel,7).

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We also learned about thermonuclear fusion which are little explosions inside the sun
that make it burn. The sun is getting brighter and hotter. If the sun was really billions of years old then a long time ago it would not have been able to burn a feather or cook an egg or make plants grow or keep us warm (by Titus,8).

Teacher’s Two-Cents (by Mom)
So the solar science experiment kit I picked up at a garage sale was a bit of a disappointment. It was pretty chinsy to begin with but a series of cloudy days and an overly curious pre-schooler didn’t help. Just a heads up, I payed under a buck for the unopened kit but found the same thing on-line for $15-$25. Total rip-off. The same experiments can be performed with any-old thermometer, magnifying glass, and roll of tinfoil. Oh, and if you want to know more about the whole thermonuclear fusion thing and how it provides evidence for a young earth and solar system click on this article from ICR. 429

Friday’s Factoid 3 (by Titus and Joel)

This week we learned about the sun and other giant stars like Betelgeuse which is twice the size of the Earth’s orbit around the sun. But the biggest star they’ve found is the Big Dog star. Canis Majoris is 7 quadrillion times bigger then earth. Last night Mom woke me up and we went out by the ocean where we could see millions of stars. Jupiter was shining very bright and we saw 4 of the giant stars around it. We saw Betelgeuse, Rigel, Sirius and Aldebaran. This video shows how big some of the stars are. by Titus

All of these stars make noises but we can’t hear them because sound doesn’t travel in space. But God can hear them. You can listen, too, on this video. by Joel

Teacher’s Two-Cents (by Mom)
How cool that our hymn this week mentioned the song of the stars!
“Forever singing as they shine, ‘The hand that made us is divine!”
I’ve added a new page to the top of the site called “Hooray for Hymns.” I’ve requested folks to add their own favorite hymns to the list we started by leaving a comment. Let’s join in the celestial chorus of praise to our Lord!