The astronomer was fascinating. We got a clear look at Mars and Venus and then checked out some of the phenomenal clusters of stars that can’t be seen with the naked eye. Then he directed us to a distant star that appeared red. He told us that when stars appear red it means they are starting to burn out. The star is Chi Cygna and is about 550 light-years from earth.

What he said next surprised me. He told us that our sun is also starting to burn out and appears red from outer space. Chi Cygni has swollen in size to become a red giant star so large that it would swallow every planet out to Mars in our solar system. Moreover, it has begun to pulse dramatically in and out, beating like a giant heart. As a sun-like star ages it begins to run out of hydrogen fuel at its core and like a car running out of petrol its "engine" begins to splutter.

Now before you start to panic, our sun still has plenty of time left and it’s more likely that humankind will end up destroying itself by its own sins and shortcomings. But one-way or another life, as we know it now, will one day cease to exist. This is sobering especially in a world full of people who seem to live life with no thought for tomorrow, of anything changing, and no expectation of a future judgment or Second Coming. The Bible speaks directly into this in 2 Peter 3:3-14. Find a Bible and read this amazing prophecy.

These verses speak of a future when “the heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare …That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.”

Years before the sun burns out, the earth will be subjected to massive radiation as the sun starts its destabilisation process and life on earth will change dramatically. 

The astronomy lesson in Africa was a timely reminder of the finite nature of life on earth. As the Bible says, “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14). 

Let’s make every moment count for eternity!

Canadian Scientists at the University of Alberta (Dr. Anthony Chaston and research colleague, Dr. Alan Kingstone) have proven once and for all that time really does fly when you're having fun. Or at least, it flies when your attention is engaged.

The scientists devised a test that required subjects to find specific items in various images (similar to a Where’s Wally picture).  Before the subjects started the test they were told that once they had completed it they would be asked to estimate how much time had passed during their test.

There were seven levels of difficulty. In the more difficult tests, the items were placed among many similar looking items, or they didn't even exist in the image at all.

“The harder and harder the search tasks were, the smaller and smaller the estimates became," said Chaston.  That is, the more your attention is engaged the faster time seems to pass.  And that’s the key to why time flies more these days than in days gone by.

Think about it – 100 years ago no one had travelled at more than 50 kilometres an hour.  Today space travel allows people to go around the earth in 80 minutes. 

And what about the increase in knowledge? The total storage of knowledge is doubling every eight years. Eighty percent of all the scientists who ever lived are alive today.  Every single minute 2,000 pages are added to man’s scientific knowledge.  The scientific material produced in one day would take one person five years to read. About half a million books are published each year. The fastest computer in the world can peak at two quadrillion operations per second! One edition of any major newspaper has more information than the average person living in the 17th century would have come across in a lifetime.

The prophet Daniel predicted this age more than 2,600 years ago speaking of the end times when “many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”  Our attention is engaged more than ever and so time flies faster than ever.

With time flying faster it’s important that there are no regrets.  American Professor Mason Cooley said, “Regret for wasted time is more wasted time.”  You cannot change what you’ve done with the past but, as one year closes and another begins, you can make a decision not to waste the future.  2011 is going to fly just as fast as this year, therefore it’s important that you don’t end a year with regrets but rather plan ahead.  Do some planning now by scheduling the most important things: time with God and His people; time with family and friends; time for fun and recreation; time for work and rest and time to help others less fortunate.

Your time is going to fly – make sure you’re flying in the right direction.