Sunday, 20 July 2014

Shining stars

Name me a superstar. Who do you think of? A movie star? A pop star? A famous athlete?

When we talk about "stars" or "superstars" in relation to people, in the western world we generally think of someone in the entertainment industry, or sporting great, or perhaps someone connected with royalty or in the political arena. They have influence and money. Their faces appear on magazines. They wear haute couture and drive sports cars. Many people want to be like them.

Did you know, however, that God sees things a little differently? His "stars" are His people who are committed to Him. In the Bible, the apostle Paul writes to the believers at Philippi:

"Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God, without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe, as you hold out the word of life- in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labour for nothing."   (Philippians 2:14-16).

God made the stars in the heavens to display His amazing majesty. The first chapter of the Bible, Genesis 1, tells us that they were created by God on the fourth day of creation. The Psalms tell us that "The heavens declare the glory of God" (Ps 19) and that "He determines the number of stars and calls them each by name" (Ps 147). It was a very special and unique star that announced the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, and guided the Magi to Him.

The sight of a sky full of stars is one of the most beautiful in nature. Added to this is the fact that stars do not appear randomly, but in discernible groups, which, by their positions in the night sky assist us to determine times and seasons of the year; and which from earliest civilizations have enabled travellers and particularly sailors, to navigate.

We must be careful not to ascribe supernatural powers to natural phenomena that God has created. Ancient cultures such as the Babylonians and  Egyptians developed the zodiac from patterns created in the constellations and superstitious beliefs regarding the association of birth dates, personality and fortune have continued to this day. Make no mistake, to practice fortune telling in this way is appalling and insulting to God. Throughout the Bible we are warned to have no dealings with occult practices including astrology, tarot cards, seances, tea-leaf or other readings:

"And do not let your people practice fortune-telling, or use sorcery, or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord. It is because the other nations have done these detestable things that the Lord your God will drive them out ahead of you.But you must be blameless before the Lord your God.The nations you are about to displace consult sorcerers and fortune-tellers, but the Lord your God forbids you to do such things.” (Deuteronomy 18:11-14).

So many people are ensnared into realms of the occult by placing their interest and trust in what might appear at first to be a "harmless" practice of reading their horoscope. It is a counterfeit for the real faith and trust we can place in God and the counsel and leading of His Holy Spirit.

Stars are their most visible in the dark night sky. To return to the verses in Philippians, Christians reflecting God's glory, Christ's church in this world, are to be a light in dark times. We exist as Paul says, to "hold out the word of life" - the Gospel of Jesus Christ; to provide a sure direction to our loving Heavenly Father.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014


How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and the strong- because someday in life you will be all of these.
                                            George Washington Carver