We have noted in previous blogs that Scripture often refers to “heaven” as the atmosphere above the earth where clouds roam and planets exist. We also discovered Scripture speaks of “heavens” as three types of positions in the earth: 1) rulers over people’s lives; 2) beginning ideas we’ve accepted that cause us to struggle; and 3) where God seems to come from, as if the spiritual realm is up there.
When God saw Abraham faithfully respond to His guidance, He promised: “I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven…by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.” (a) While individual stars provide specks of light to the earth, as gathered in heavenly places they create a beauty that one or a few cannot. So, who are the stars of earth’s heaven?
The Renewing Call
Before Abraham entered Canaan God promised his descendants would “be a great people…in you all families of the earth will be blessed.” (b) Seven generations later (c) God spoke to Moses and said; “I will bring you out…will deliver…redeem…then I will take you for my people.” (d) All the slaves that gravitated to the vision of freedom and sprinkled the blood of a lamb on their door post became “people of faith.” They responded to God’s call to live and prosper, free of enslaving overlords.
Paul verified God’s promise was not to natural descendants; Abraham was to be known as “a father to the faithful.” (e) The promise God made was to “people of faith” who were to multiply as the collective stars of heaven and be a blessing to all nations. When the national experience chose to have a King, (f) their collective light began to dim and they eventually ceased to shine as the gathered stars of heaven.
God renewed His call to faith in His oversight during the days of Jesus Christ who said: “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me…will have the Light of life,” (g) The Apostle John affirmed God’s purpose in Jesus: “In him was life, and the life was the Light of men.” (h)
Jesus taught and illustrated what life is like in the Kingdom of Heaven. As people responded they replaced the old order and began to “produce the fruit of the God’s Kingdom,” (i) which is the “Fruit of the Spirit.” (j) The stars of heaven began to shine brightly once again.
The fruit of the kingdom is the “Fruit of the Spirit.”
Joining the Stars of Heaven
Three centuries after Jesus came, people began to allow spiritual overlords and the collective stars of heaven began to fade under the forceful control of a two-class religious system. When sacred writings were removed from public reading in 500 AD, the light of God’s kingdom life dimmed.
In 1500 AD, a Reformation began to renew God’s call to live free of the overlord system. People began to respond to God’s call: “Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead (your inactivity), and Christ will shine on you.” (k) The freedom to live, worship and prosper as ‘God inspired’ appealed to multitudes. Their faith was followed and was complemented by the works of their collective lives. (l)
Are we perfect expressions of God’s Love and Light, do we always reflect and resemble God’s heart? Of course not, but we are maturing into better and more effective expressions of God-Light. Despite our many short-comings, levels of immaturity, and different customs and languages, we are to arise and shine the light we have in fellowship, congregations, communities, States and Nations.
Annual surveys in the USA report 80 to 85 percent of the population identify as Christian, even though only 30 to 35 percent regularly attend services. The 50% acknowledging a belief in God and Jesus Christ that do not attend religious services are still people of faith. God blesses our collective lean toward right living, godliness, and efforts to share our blessings with those in need. When our imperfect faith functions more as a compliment, we are part of God’s wonderful stars of heaven.
Our imperfect yet collective lives become enlarged illustrations of God’s Kingdom in this earth: “You are the light of the world…Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (m)
God provides the right to be free to worship and prosper as we sense He is leading. We are all a bit different and live in a variety of situations, so God’s guidance can and will vary. Even though our understanding of God and His ways differ, when we do what is right, we shine as part of the collective stars of heaven. Many nations today are encouraging such freedoms.
God provides the right to be free to worship and prosper as we sense He is leading.
People of Faith
The light of God-in-Christ is promised to “always” be with people of faith. (n) God-in-Christ Jesus has already come and His presence is with us today! For “God…when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ…and raised us up…and seated us with Him (Christ) in the heavenly places.” (o) God “has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,” (p) “in order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known…to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.” (q)
Individual stars do not provide much illumination. When we partake of the values of God’s reign we become a part of God’s greater expression. This does not mean we think or believe alike, we are just committed to God and His ways among us in our different fellowships, communities, and countries. People of faith are in all nations, speak various languages, and live in different cultures.
Take heart: “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.” (r)
Scripture calls our collective communities of people of faith “the body of Christ.” (s)
“We, who are many, are one body in Christ…individually members one of another.” (t)
To the Corinthians: “Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.” (u)
And again: “Do you not know that your (collective) bodies are members of Christ?” (v)
“To be specific…Gentiles (Greek – nations) are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body.” (w)
As we seek to do the “good, acceptable and perfect (mature),” (x) we really are the visible and active body of Christ in the earth. May we do our part and arise as the stars of heaven, as individuals and as nations. Let us express our voices as light-bearers of God’s way of life and elect representatives that support our freedom to follow the dictates of our God-leaning hearts!
People of faith are in all nations, speak various languages, and live in different cultures.
a) Genesis 26:4; b) Genesis 12:1-3; c) Exodus 1:1-5; 1 Chronicles 6:1-3) d) Exodus 6:6-7; e) Romans 4:12, 16-18; f) 1 Samuel 8:6-8; 12:12-14; g) John 8:12; h) John 1:4; i) Matthew 21:43); j) Galatians 5:22-25; k) Ephesians 5:14; 2:1, 5-6; l) James 2:18, 20, 26; m) Matthew 5:14-16; n) Matthew 28:20; o) Ephesians 2:4-6; p) Ephesians 1:3; q) Ephesians 3:10; r) Isaiah 60:1; s) 1 Corinthians 12:27, 20; t) Romans 12:5; u) 1 Corinthians 4:12; 12:12; v) 1 Corinthians 6:15; w) Ephesians 3:6; x) Romans 12:2, 21; 1 Thessalonians 5:14-18;