Smiling Galaxy Cluster (SDSS J1038+4849 from Hubble)

You may have heard on the news of the recent finding by the Hubble Space Telescope… a smile found on galaxy cluster SDSS J1038+4849 seen here :

hubble
(Taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope)

Much like last year’s Hand Of God, you can’t help but think of God smiling down at us. It’s funny how all the “stars aligned” to bring us this image. But it’s a great reminder to know that we give God pleasure and make Him smile.

How do we make Him smile/happy? Some ways are by making Him a priority, obeying and serving Him. We should have faith and hope in Him, revering and honoring Him. Psalm 147:11 even says “the Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love.”

God created all and it is for His pleasure that everything exists and was created. How are you doing in your walks with Him? Where can you grow in your life to continue giving God reasons to smile? Remember that He takes delight in His people (Psalm 149:4) so as you live faithfully and humbly for Him and His glory, worship Him and enjoy the close & intimate relationship He offers us all!

To quote our song Here Today: “His love is intimate, His power is infinite”! We get to know this mighty and awesome God and He wants to be a part of your life. We hope today you are reminded of His faithfulness and presence in your life as He smiles on you and makes His face shine upon you (Numbers 6:25)!

Reflection Song: Here Today

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Honesty Is The Best Policy

If we are to follow Christ then truth, honesty, and integrity are essential. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Honesty is a necessary component in following after Jesus. Conversely, dishonesty will pull us away from Him.

This past weekend we led praise at the New Life Summer Retreat, which had the theme Honesty. It was a really authentic time of worship and growth. Unlike your “conventional” retreat, there was no guest pastor to preach amazing sermons. Instead, testimonies were shared within small groups, and several were shared during the main session. We were really encouraged by these powerful stories and it was apparent how relationships were beginning to grow because of them.

Being honest with others isn’t easy in a time where we hide behind communicating through text messages, Facebook statuses, and Instagram comments. It’s so easy to mask your true self. But the testimonies shared were powerful and displayed how God has worked and is working through each and every one of us, molding us into the son or daughter He intended for us to become. What I was reminded was that honesty not only shows your character, but it also shows your faith. Throughout the Bible we are assured that it is impossible for God to lie. That’s a lot harder to say for ourselves… but with God setting the example, we ought to strive to be more true to others and to ourselves.

Proverbs 11:3 says “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.”

In fact, we heard many stories of struggles, difficulties, and straying from God. A lot of it was covered up by deception, lies, and even trying to fool oneself. But as soon as they shared about how the truth was discovered (or re-discovered), that because of Jesus Christ we are a new creation, the stories took a turn where lives began turning back towards God the Father!

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

I thought of my own testimony – of who I was and who I’ve become because of Christ. We’re all constantly changing and experiencing changes. So it is important that we never lose sight of what’s ahead so that we stay true to who we ought to be in Christ. Surround yourself with honesty, truthful people, so that you too can be more honest and open with others, yourself, and God.

Today, let’s remember to stay in the truth, speak and live the truth, and you may also be helping others around you to the Truth! Jesus, the author of eternal salvation, is the way, the truth and the life… Let’s motivate and cultivate honesty through the love He’s shown us!

Reflection Song: Only You