The Light of the Heavens

A beautiful memory I have as a young child is walking across a field on our farm with my father on a dark evening in winter.  The stars were coming out and decorating the sky.  It looked like an inky blue-black curtain overlaid with splotches and pin pricks of light.

“Do you see those stars?”  my father asked, pointing skyward.

“Yes” I answered, looking up.

“They’re angels” he said.

Of course at that age I believed him and since then, I’ve loved the night sky.  That sense of wonder has lingered on since childhood when I’m in a place where I can see the stars.

elysium-stars

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 care for him?
For You have made him a little lower than the angels,
And You have crowned him with glory and honor.” Psalm 8:3-5

Later on in life I pointed at the Pleiades, a dim cluster of stars I saw in the winter sky and asked God what they were.  It took a while for God to answer because he had to wait for me to grow up and read my Bible.  I learned that group of seven stars represented the angels of the churches.  I wish I could tell my father.

I wrote about those in my last blog post, The mystery of the seven stars where I wrote about Matariki, a Maori festival.

God said in his word to “seek the one who made the seven stars and Orion,Amos 5:8. 

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The Sheepfolds

There are two other groups of seven stars.  Ursa Minor and Ursa Major are constellations in the northern hemisphere which represent sheepfolds.  I can’t see them from down here in NZ.  They dominate the northern sky and are always visible.   

The meaning of Ursa Major is The Sheepfold and the Sheep, and Ursa Minor is the Lesser Flock.  The star meanings correspond with the Sheepfolds.  In Hebrew Dohver, a fold, and Dohv, a bear, were confused, hence the Bear instead of the Sheep.

I’ve written about the star names here: The Sheepfolds.

Polaris, the brightest star in the constellation of Ursa Minor sits at top of the Ursa Major, the big sheepfold.  It’s been positioned there for the last 2,000 years – since the time of Christ.  It reminds me of Psalm 119:89-91 about God’s word being settled in heaven.

Jesus is in charge of sheepfolds.  He said, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me — just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”
John 10:1-16

Is it any surprise that the birth of Jesus was first announced to the shepherds guarding the sheepfolds?

The Good Shepherd said, “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”  Luke 12:32-34

What does it mean, that it’s the Father’s good pleasure to give us the Kingdom?

The big picture is that we will take our place in a nation, a kingdom that God will create on Earth as He has created in Heaven, a Kingdom that will have no end and will be under the rulership of the Lord Jesus Christ.

What did Jesus say about the Kingdom?

The Coming of the Kingdom

Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say,  ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

The Kingdom Within

What did He mean, “the Kingdom of God is within?”

Did Jesus mean it was because He was in their midst?

Or did He mean that as His followers our place, our role within the Kingdom of God is there for us to discover?

He probably meant both things.

In the beginning was the Word – the Logos, and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God.  Astro-Logos is the story about the King, the Word of God in the stars.

When you look up, remember we’re made of the same stuff as the stars … and stars shine brightest in the darkness.

Earth and Stars

With the Word of God in the Stars, and the Word of God in the Bible, that’s two witnesses.  That’s the truth, that’s the big picture.  I’m a details person, not so much big picture.  I could not find any books about the Kingdom of God on a personal level.  So I wrote my own account as a memoir.  My conversations with the King mainly take place in the Kingdom.

Very early on in my book, the King appeared as a Shepherd, after I moved at the age of eleven to a sheep farm called ‘Glenoch.’  The farm was on a narrow gravel road that shared a boundary with ‘Mount Zion,’ a neighbouring sheep farm.

Jesus identified Himself with seven “I AM” statements and the roles he takes in my book reflect that.

I invite you to read all about him.  The book has had very good reviews.  I am always on the lookout for reviews so please contact me if you can help.


Notes

With the constellations, don’t be confused by the Crab and the Bears.  Our home in Heaven is pictured in the stars.

The constellations are in the sign of Cancer.  The ancient Akkadian name of the month of Cancer is Su-kul-na, the seizer or possessor of seed.
Source: Bullinger’s “Witness of the Stars.”

In the centre of the sign of Cancer, there is a remarkably bright cluster of stars, so bright that they can be sometimes seen with the naked eye. It looks like a comet, and is made up of a great multitude of stars. Modern astronomers call it the Beehive but its ancient name has come down to us as Praesepe, which means a multitude, offspring.


Links

These 2 Constellations Remind Us of Jesus’ Incredible John 10 Promises

Ursa Minor

Polaris has been getting brighter during the past couple of decades, for reasons that are still poorly understood.  As of 2014 a group of scientists estimated that Polaris could be about 4.6 times brighter today than it was in ancient times.


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Seeking 1 out of 99 readers

God plays an active and unapologetic role in my book.  He appears as ‘The King’ in various roles.  Sometimes he refers to Himself as the Shepherd.  Why?  Well, we are all like sheep who have gone astray. 

Sheep can get into a lot of trouble.  Growing up on a New Zealand sheep farm I’ve rescued them from creeks, mud, and barbed wire.

I loved finding the lost lambs, and so does Jesus.  Here’s me back from the lambing beat, with a lamb in my arms, about a hundred years ago …

Lambing Beat Aug 197452

Ever heard the parable of the lost sheep?

Jesus told the Pharisees and teachers of the law this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’

I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. Luke 15:3-7

My book will appeal to those who understand the wilderness.  The reader I am looking for may not know the Bible, or God – but will love redemptive romance and a great good versus evil story.  I’m not writing for 99 people – I’m writing for one.  Come into the pages of my book.  The path will begin in a field.  Follow the butterfly.

book_by_fantasyart0102-dabdbjlSource of image: Deviant Art, Book by FantasyArt0102

Blessed are the peacemakers

peacemakers

In the sermon on the mount, Jesus said, Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.”  Matthew 5:9

I asked the Lord what he meant by that on my early morning walk today.  

First, he gave me a scripture; God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Jesus, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”  Colossians 1:20.

The Lord explained that he was the first peace maker; and when we become his sons and daughters, we become his peace makers.  He reminded me what I’d done with my mother last year.  We never had a good relationship.  But he saw her differently from me.

Here’s my story about making peace.

Shepherds call

Seven years passed.  Healed from the hurt of the past, Joanna went from strength to strength.  But she still had bad memories from her childhood.

One day her mother grew seriously ill.  Joanna approached the Lord, concerned about her mother’s salvation.

“Father, it’s up to you whether she’ll pull through this time. I forgive my mother for all the abuse she heaped on us. She wasn’t able to be a good mother because she was abandoned at the age of three.

Is her name written in your book, the book of life?  She believes in you – but she doesn’t know you. I want to be able to bring her to you, but I can’t reach her. I can hardly go through the four spiritual laws, or walk her down the Roman road.  Lord, how can I get her to trust you? You promised that if we lack wisdom, we should ask. I’m asking.”

albrecht_schenck_shepherd_call

Shepherd’s Call, by Albrecht Schenck

“I will come to her,” He replied, pointing to a painting that her mother used to have; a vintage 1900’s painting called ‘Shepherd’s call’ which depicted a collie barking for the shepherd after finding a lost lamb in the snow.

“Talk about that painting. Ask her who the dog is barking for, and then bring me in. I want her to know she is the lamb …”

“What a brilliant idea. I’d never have thought of that,” Joann replied, impressed. “But I don’t want religion getting in the way. What should I do if it does?”

The Lord gave her an answer for that.

Later Joanna sat at her mother’s side, alone.

“You know that painting of the dog and the lamb you had?” she began.

“Yes, I gave it away,” her mother replied.

“Yes, you did. Remember that lost lamb?”

“The lamb didn’t have a mother,” her mother recalled.

“Yes, that’s right Mum, she didn’t have a mother,” Joanna replied, sad.

“The Lord said for me to tell you that you are that lamb” she said, as soon as she’d gathered her composure.

Tears came to her mother’s eyes.

“Who was the dog barking for?” Joanna asked.

“The shepherd,” her mother eventually answered.

“Did you know the Lord is the Shepherd?” Joanna replied.

More tears came.

Just as Joanna had foreseen, Joanna’s mother talked about religion.

“Mum, do you know what the Bible says true religion is?” Joanna responded.

Her mother shook her head.

“True religion is to take care of widows and orphans,” Joanna replied, giving the answer the Lord had given her.

“I’m a widow,” her mother said.

“That’s right, you are a widow,” Joanna replied, impressed at the Lord’s answer.

“Who is the Lord to you?” Joanna cautiously asked, feeling like the Collie.

Her mother was silent.

“Are you afraid of death?” Joanna asked.

“Yes, I’m afraid of the devil – I don’t want to see him,” she replied.

Joanna introduced the Shepherd.

“Mum, Jesus tends his flock like a shepherd. He looks for lost lambs and he saves them. He wants to carry you in his arms, close to his heart,” she added.

“Who would you like him to be?” she asked, watching her mother’s face.

“My protector,” her mother replied.

“Like a saviour?” Joanna asked.

“Yes,” her mother agreed.

“Do you accept him as your saviour?” Joanna asked.

“Yes,” her mother replied, with childlike faith.

“You are saved,” Joanna told her, relieved to see the lamb now cradled in the Shepherd’s arms.

“Now that you have accepted Jesus as your saviour, you need fear no evil in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. The Lord is your Shepherd, and his rod and staff will comfort you,” Joanna reassured her, remembering her own staff.

That was as much as she could do.

Outside, a piece of rainbow shone out from clouds above the Ruahine mountain range.

That night, her mother sang.

The gift of the Shepherd

The Lord is My ShepherdTired and drained, she stood by the fire inside in her father’s house, trying to get warm, and trying not to look at her father’s empty chair.  The shepherd’s staff leaned in the corner near the chair, unnoticed. 

In the land of the Kingdom, she wearily trudged through the Valley of the Shadow of death, stopping at her father’s house for the sad task of sorting out his belongings.  “One of you girls can take that,” Sally his widow said, suddenly noticing the staff. She recognised it.

“That’s my old crook” she remarked.

“It was down in his workshop,” Sally said, “He’d made it down there the other day, but he was too weak to walk back up the path.  I found him leaning on it, unable to move. It’s yours, please take it.”

Her sisters gave her his car.  As she got the engine running, a thin stream of water shot out of the radiator, landing in an arc on the concrete in front of her sisters.  Sighing, she cracked an egg into the radiator water, praying it would hold until she could get the leak fixed.

Obviously her father had been too ill to maintain the car.  It still had all his stuff in it, the paperback he’d been reading was face down on the seat where he’d left it. Putting the crook in the back of the car with the rest of his stuff, she concentrated on getting the car back to Wanganui.

At home she put the crook in the corner of the room and cried.  It was more than she could cope with. The endless winter days felt like a long, dark valley where she did not laugh and she did not smile.  Again the humble crook stayed unnoticed until finally, the God of all comfort came.

Her tear filled eyes were drawn to the staff.  She noticed it had been varnished.  Mindful of the care taken in its preservation, she asked “Does this crook have some significance?”

The Shepherd replied, giving her some dates, and a number.  “From the day you left Napier on the 4th day of August 1971, to the day of your Father’s death on the 4th day of August 1994, 23 years were written in my book. When your father leaned on the staff, I was there.  Now the time for your father has ended, and you will go on. Read Psalm 23. It will be familiar to you.”

   The Lord is my shepherd,
   I shall not want;
He makes me lie down in green pastures.

   He leads me beside still waters;
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness

   for His name’s sake.

  Even though I walk through the valley
   of the shadow of death,
   I will fear no evil;
   for you are with me;
   Your rod and Your staff comfort me.  Psalm 23

Carried back to the place where she had first encountered the Shepherd in the valley, she smiled at him through her tears.  She could see the hills, the sheep, the creek and the quiet pool by the willows. “This is the place where we first met” she said, wiping away her tears as her eyes lingered on the crook, the shepherd’s staff.

Taking the staff in her hands she ran her fingers over the smooth wood, remembering.  The staff had come back to her as a great gift from the Shepherd, and it comforted her.   She wiped her eyes and said “It’s true. Your rod and your staff … comfort me.”

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted,” the Lord replied. (Matthew 5:4)

Jesus, the great I AM

The lost lamb

The lambing beat, Sharon & Jo Dassler

Sharon & Joanne Dassler, back from the lambing beat

There is nothing more endearing than a lamb.  This is me in my earlier life when I lived and worked on our family farm, bringing in a lamb we found next to its dead mother. 

We did a lambing beat each day to check the ewes and bring in any orphans and we were really happy when one was found.  We did our best to search for the little ones and save them.

In the same way the Lord goes out of his way to search for and save us.  Jesus said;

For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.

“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?

And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.

In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.”  Matthew 18:14

“He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. Isaiah 40:11 (Old Testament)

This shepherd loved us so much He laid His life down for us.

Jesus said I AM the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep.”  John 10:14-15 (New Testament)

The Good Shepherd and His Sheep

“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.   The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.  The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.  But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” John 10:1-5

John 10-27