Tag Archives: NASA

God Is Watching.

“God’s Eye In the Sky” (NASA photo)

   Click.    The backdoor lock sprang and imperceptibly, the doorknob turned. Flashlight off, the intruder paused, listening for the piercing scream of an alarm and hearing none, nudged the door open a tiny crack. In slow motion, he peered around the edge of the door and then crept forward, a stealthy shadow, into the house.

   “Jesus is watching.”

   The man froze in mid-step, bulging eyes straining to distinguish the source of the soft, croaky voice floating from the thick darkness.

   “Jesus is watching.”

   The burglar drew in a sharp breath and then sighed in relief.

   It’s just a bird! A stupid, freakin’ bird!

   The man clicked on his flashlight and aimed it in the direction of the voice.

“Birdie,” he whispered, “it’s hunting season.”

    His light beam danced around the room and then stopped, catching the reflection of a pair of red, glowing eyes and a set of very white bared fangs.

   The voice croaked again. “Meet Jesus.”

   God is always watching. Whether that thought brings any comfort or not is another story entirely. But it should. The knowledge that when things go from wrong to very wrong, from a  small mishap or a disappointed expectation to a long-term heartache or a sudden tragedy, God is not unaware.

   “‘I have seen the anguish of my people in Egypt and have heard their cries [and] I have come down to deliver them . . . for I know their sorrows’” (Acts 7:34, LB; Exodus 3:7, NKJV).

   If you remember, the Israelites suffered as slaves under the cruel oppression of the Egyptians for 400 long years. And in all that time, God was silent.

   But God was watching.

   God witnessed every whipping, every beating, every deprivation, every shameful violation, and every degrading humiliation wrought upon the Israelites by their slave masters. God heard every mournful, wailing prayer, every desperate, sobbing plea for help, and every heart-splintering scream for deliverance as His children begged to be freed from the vicious brutality of the Egyptians. He also listened as the Israelites shouted at, bargained with, cussed out, and  even forsook Him for other gods because of His silence. For silent God was – for centuries.

   But why?

   God does nothing arbitrarily. God had a plan for the birth of a new nation, a people of His own to proclaim His name throughout the whole world. But before that could happen, that  people would be required to suffer slavery for 400 years at the hands of the most powerful gods known to man at that time. Nevertheless, throughout all of those  excruciating years, God never missed a single moment of the suffering of His people; He saw it all – the shredded flesh, the indelible scars, and the tears as numerous as the grains of sand upon the earth.

   Perhaps, in the midst of the pursuit of the destiny that you were 1000% certain God had called you to, things have gone terribly, terribly wrong. Maybe you struggle to find the strength to make it through just one more day. Or perhaps circumstances in life – your hopes and dreams – have simply not happened the way you had hoped they would happen and every day you feel that you’re sinking deeper and deeper into the dark and formless void of hopelessness and nothingness.

   Maybe you’ve ceased to dream at all.

   That’s how the Israelites felt. And my guess is that’s precisely how Moses felt after squandering  his identity as an exalted Egyptian prince and ending up instead a forgotten fugitive on the backside of the desert with nothing to his name except the rags on his back and a crooked staff in his hand.

   Even so, God never relinquished His watch over the Israelites or over Moses; night after night, year after year, decade after decade, He never failed to see. And in the end, God delivered His people in a way far more miraculous than they could ever have  imagined and, in doing so, proved Himself to be the God above every other god on earth.

   If you’re in that place, that desert where dreams die and destiny is destroyed, then hold to the truth that, in order to rise from the ashes, we must first walk through the fire. And should you find yourself in the flames, don’t lose sight of one thing: It’s all part of the plan. Nothing can happen or is happening that God does not see.

   Our God is the god of the Resurrection – and He’s watching you.

Opportunity: Take It – Or Make It?

Key in Door

   Recently I heard a story about a teenage girl in high school who had been awarded an internship with a surgical department at a prestigious hospital. She was quoted as saying that the internship was “the opportunity of a lifetime.” Perhaps it is. But her story got me thinking: We tend to view opportunity as this random thing that strikes like lightning without warning upon whomever it will. But does it really? Is it really as arbitrary as we think? Or does opportunity “strike” some individuals more often than others? And if so, is it really as indiscriminate as we think?

   Turns out that the girl who was awarded the internship had a near-perfect grade point average and she won the internship based on her academic achievements. Not surprising then that this opportunity would come her way. In fact, given her grades, it’s likely other opportunities will strike – kind of like a metal rod attracts lightning bolts. Translation:

The more we plan for opportunity, the more opportunities we get.

   But how do we plan for something that’s such a chance proposition?

   First thing: Identify the Dream. First we have to know what the heck it is we want. What vision do we have? Is it a specific job or career path? Or is it a unique life experience: a trip to some faraway continent, an adventure like climbing that huge mountain or driving a racecar 100 mph (on a track)? Maybe it’s a chance to touch other lives: to go on a missions’ trip or to work with people who need assistance or money or education or the encouragement to succeed themselves. Maybe it’s to free up our creativity and have an art show or to design our own clothing line or to publish a book or even to patent and market that invention that’s been brewing in our heads all these years.

   Simply put – we have to know what we want.

   Second thing: Research the Dream. The next thing we have to do is to answer some questions: How possible or impossible is our dream? Is it easy to achieve or difficult? Does it take talent or education or an internship or money or investors or physical labor or a partnership? Do we have these things? If not, can we get them? What’s the time commitment, both daily and long-term? In terms of business, is there a demand for our product, service, or idea?

   So – let’s say I want to become an astronaut. (I don’t but let’s pretend.) I have to answer those questions: Is it possible to become an astronaut? If I’m 20, possible. If I’m 40, not so much. Will it be difficult to do or easy to do? It’ll be difficult – no matter how old I am. (However, “hard” does not mean “impossible”.) What will it take? It’s safe to say that becoming an astronaut would take some level of ability – mental, physical, emotional – and certainly it would take education. I’d probably have to join the Air Force and become a pilot or get a PhD in astrophysics or something. Internship? No doubt. Money? Either my own or someone else’s. Do I have these things?  No. If not, can I get them? With a lot (a lot) of work. What’s the time commitment, both daily and long-term? Probably 18 hours a day for years. Is there a current demand for astronauts? More importantly, will there be a demand for them after the 20 years it takes me to become one? Hopefully.  However, if NASA’s not hiring, then maybe I can find a job piloting very rich people to Mars.

   If too many of the answers to these questions are “no,” then perhaps we should look into Dream B. For example, I’d have to end the astronaut dream at the “Is it possible?” stage. (Let’s just say I’m not 20 and leave it at that.) However, if the answers to our questions are doable – even with hard work – then the only other question is: How badly do we want it?

   Third thing: Plan the dream. The answers to the above questions will be what we’d use to devise our plan to make the dream happen. In terms of getting into college or grad school or getting that prime job afterward, grades will count so we can’t wait till the last minute to make them; “making the grade” has to be part of our long-term plan – as it obviously was for the young lady who won the surgical internship.

   And let’s face it – most dreams cost money. Whether it’s for our education and associated costs, business start-up, costs to market the business or book or art show or product – it’s all going to cost money – and probably lots of it. The two most important questions are: How much and where do I get it? Now, if mom and dad’s bank account is an option, problem solved. However, for most of us, it’s not. So – can we get scholarships or loans or grants or investors or a job? The fact is, there’s almost always a way to get money; it’s just a matter of how long it takes to save up from the job or to make the scholarship grades or to write the business plan to get the loan and/or investors.

   Fourth thing: Work the Dream. Once we have the money, we can proceed with the rest of the plan. Will it take time? Of course. It might even take a long time. But as they say, time’s going to pass anyway. Even if it takes years, if we don’t pursue our dreams, will we want to have to look back and wish we’d invested the time once it’s passed? My guess is no.

   Opportunity is often something people sit back and wait for. Then, if and when it strikes, they take it. But let’s face it – that might never happen. A far wiser strategy would be to make opportunity happen. Identify the dream, research the dream, plan the dream, and then work the dream.

   Do this and you’ll be amazed at how often opportunity just happens to knock at your door.


Your Superpower: Words


Some years ago, I remember hearing a story about some strange events that occurred during the years of NASA’s Apollo space missions from 1961-1972. According to the astronauts’ testimonials to NASA during their debriefings after returning from their missions to the moon, the astronauts aboard the spaceships reported experiences that they simply couldn’t account for: words reverberating around them in space – an infinite number of words. The astronauts reported hearing thousands and thousands of words which, they realized, were words spoken by people on earth over the course of history. They also reported feeling as though a huge weight had been lifted off of them when they reached heights above the atmosphere – not a physical weight, of course, because a lack of gravity would make them feel lighter. Rather, this was a heaviness, an oppression which they described as having been lifted off of their spirits.

Hard to believe? Possibly. However, there is Biblical precedent for both of these experiences. Let’s take the oppression that the astronauts felt. The Word tells us that the devil is “the prince of the power of the air,” meaning he inhabits the earthly atmosphere, so would it be any surprise that his presence would affect the spiritual realm on earth? No.

What about the words the astronauts heard? Biblical principle also: Jesus himself said that we would give an account for every “idle” word we speak on earth. And he wasn’t making it up. But why?

Because words have incredible and eternal power and influence. Remember that God spoke creation into existence – and it was. Kings made decrees which, at the moment they were spoken, became irrevocable law; even the kings themselves could not retract or change the decrees that had gone forth from their mouths. Moreover, blessings and curses were activated in the Bible through the spoken word – and they affected circumstances. Balaam was paid by a king to curse the Israelites because the king understood the power of word curses. Jacob and his brother Esau, on the other hand, fought over the paternal blessing that their father, Isaac, was waiting bestow on his son, Esau. Jacob, comprehending the real power of the spoken word, stole Isaac’s blessing from his brother.

What are words? Physicists have discovered that all matter is made up of sound vibrations that formulate the very atoms that make up the universe. If, therefore, all matter is comprised of sound vibrations, then it is reasonable to conclude that the sound waves that are the foundation of the spoken word would actually affect that matter.

That’s why Jesus warned against “idle” words – because words affect circumstances – whether they’re spoken carelessly or with purpose. And because we are created in the image of God who speaks matter into existence, our words also have the power to create.

The problem is that “idle” words are often not simply careless but destructive.

Notice how, in the Bible, parents often named their children the oddest things – and those names would affect how the children turned out. It’s probably no surprise that Jacob, whose name means “deceiver,” grew up to deceive his father and brother; after a life-time of hearing himself called a “deceiver,” it was natural for him to behave like one. His name shaped his thinking. But eventually, God changed his name to “Israel” which means “one who prevails with God”.

It’s interesting to note that God often changed people’s names to reflect his vision of them. For example, Abraham’s wife, originally called “Sarai,” is a name which means “argumentative” or “contentious”. However, after God blessed Sarai, he changed her name to “Sarah,” meaning “princess.” God also changed Abram’s name, which means “high, or honored father,” to “Abraham,” meaning “a father of many nations.”

What does any of this mean for you? Simply that you have the power in that little muscle called your “tongue” to affect the success or failure of your own dreams and visions. For example, do you catch yourself saying any of the following?

“This is never going to work!”

“Every time I get money in, something breaks and it goes right out the window!”

“My boss/neighbors/co-workers hate me!”

“I’ll never lose weight or pass this test or get that job or . . .”

“That disease just runs in my family.”

“You’re such a brat! You’re going to end up in jail if you don’t straighten out!”

“I’m so stupid!”

Perhaps you’re someone who doesn’t buy the whole “word curses” philosophy – that being that sound vibrations exist eternally in the spiritual realm and affect circumstances. Again, remember that Jesus actually said that each of us would “give an account” for any “idle” words that we speak. He said that because words have such creative power. That being the case then, maybe it’s time to revise what we are saying about ourselves, our families, our jobs, our finances, and our health. Instead of curses, we can proclaim blessings for ourselves and our circumstances.

Instead of saying, “This will never work,” we could proclaim, “I was born for this!”

Instead of “Money’s always going down the drain,” proclaim the Word of God and promises of God: “The Lord will bless all the work I do. I will lend to many, but I will never need to borrow” (Is 28:12).

Instead of “Everyone hates me!” bless yourself: “May the favor of the Lord our God rest on me; establish the work of my hands for me . . .” (Ps. 90:17).

Instead of “I’m going to inherit that disease,” bless your body: “The words of God are life to those who find them and health to all their body . . .” (Prov. 4:21).

The bottom line is that God has given us the power to affect the success – or the failure – of our dreams, visions, and even our destinies. The key is the words that we speak. As the Word tells us in Proverbs: “There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”  And blessing.

Choose your words wisely.