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Right Ascensions: Devotions for the Backyard Astronomer    Winter Skies

Right Ascensions: Devotions for the Backyard Astronomer Winter Skies

The heavens declare the glory of God...Psalm 19


Right Ascensions is a devotional for everyone. If you have ever looked up and wondered how many stars there are, whether space is infinite, you'll want to read Right Ascensions. Discover how far the most distant star lies from Earth and which star is most likely to go nova. Use Right Ascensions along with your own observations of the night sky. Look up and be inspired.

  • January 1 Redemption

    Recently, I bought some used telescopes from a man who moved from Wyoming to Florida. When I brought the equipment home and laid everything in my garage, I found I had acquired a 4-inch refractor, a 6-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain reflector (both with go-to functions), and a 114mm Newtonian reflector. Everything was jumbled in a dilapidated box and coated with a fine layer of dust, as if the equipment had arrived from the Moon. Hands on hips, contemplating the jumble of parts, I realized I’d inherited a mess.

    Over the next few days, I reassembled everything and cleaned off all the Wyoming dust which smelled, I imagined, faintly like the Sea of Tranquility. Finally, with everything back together, I felt ready for a field test. Although I didn’t know what I was doing, I set up my little backyard observatory and joined the space age.

    The mess of my telescopes must be like my own life before God redeemed me. In pieces, covered with the grime of sin, unable to fulfill God’s purpose for my life, I was a mess. And yet, God loved me and spoke His divine peace over my life. He spoke light into my life, just as He spoke light into creation on the first day of everything.

    Now, through these old optical tubes, I’m able to witness the glory of God’s masterwork. I want to share the heavens with you and especially how God takes the mess of a life and infuses it with divine splendor.

    Infuse me, O God, with the light of creation. Empower all the pieces of my life once more. Let me live for Your glory.


    [1] ‘Go-to’ function refers to an electronically controlled telescope mount that, given data about date, time, and location, can cause a mount to guide a telescope automatically toward (go to) a celestial object selected by the observer.

  • January 26 Excerpt: David's Faith beneath the Star

                                            A Shepherd Boy Contemplates the Heavens

    And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands (I Samuel 17:47).


    As a boy, David tended his father’s sheep. The youngest of eight sons, David was eclipsed by his handsome, warrior brothers. In David, however, God saw a man after His own heart. I like to think David became a man after God’s own heart by watching the stars, perhaps reasoning that if God’s power moved the heavens, then He could move the life of a shepherd boy in the wilderness caring for some sheep.


    When God tested that wilderness shepherd boy, David rose to the challenge. A bear and a lion attacked the sheep, but David fought the deadly predators by the power of God. David rescued a lamb out of the mouth of a lion. David saw God’s power moving the stars, and he knew God’s power helped him defeat deadly predators.


    So, when David met Goliath in the Valley of Elah, David already understood God’s power. At that encounter, the 9-foot giant saw a youth and scoffed in disdain, “Am I a dog that you come at me with sticks?” God, however, saw a youth who had already been tested in the wilderness. He saw a boy who had witnessed His divine power in the heavens and had experienced His divine power on earth—a giant was nothing. David said, Thou come to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts (I Samuel 17:45a).


    David defeated Goliath that day, but David had already won the victory years earlier when he was alone with God beneath the stars. When David wanted to go to battle with his brothers, he stayed home with the flock, looking into star-filled heavens…becoming God’s anointed king.


    O Lord, when I am overlooked by the world and misunderstood, remind me how You see what no one else sees. You look into my very soul. In turn, help me to stop looking at the outward appearance of others; help me see as You see. O Lord, let me see Your power in the heavens and let that knowledge shape my vision of Your power on earth. In my life, lead me into victory through Your Holy Spirit. Leave no giant standing.

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