Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Who Do You Follow?

Dear Friends,

We were in the very quaint little town of Fillmore that’s just about 30 minutes north of the San Fernando Valley. Like stepping into a time warp of long-ago Americana, we photographed buildings built in 1887 and explored their 100 year old hardware store, antique stores and small shops. And then we saw the pet store. Understand that the lovely lady I spend my Fridays with is absolutely unable to pass by a pet store in case it has kittens that we can look at. The owner greeted us with a radiant smile as we came in the door. A woman in her fifties but living somewhere in the past. A blend of 70's punk and 60's hippy. Pink spiky hair. No makeup. Embroidered peasant top and a long flowing tie-dyed crinkle skirt with well-worn Birkenstock sandals. The heavy pewter and turquoise pendents around her neck tinkled like wind chimes as she rushed to meet us. Her focus was on me and she danced over to stand right in front of me and looked up to study my face without saying anything for a few uncomfortable moments. She finally gushed, “You have the kindest eyes. What’s your sign?” I told her I was born in June and she leapt backwards and whirled away. Both hands flew up and clutched her pendents as if for supernatural protection against this now terrifying man. She turned with a look of horrifying pity to the person I was with. She wailed, “Oh my dear, you must not have anything to do with him... He’s way too superficial and unreliable... Don’t ever trust him... He’s deceitful and unemotional... Gemini’s are completely incapable of having a relationship and will break your heart.” She told us she was an astrologer and even followed us out the door to the sidewalk as she went on and on about my astrologically negative characteristics. This was eye-opening for the two of us because we had never realized what a horrible person I am. And now that the truth about me had finally been revealed, I of course completely understood why the lovely lady insisted on calling me “Dr Evil” for the rest of the day. The next time we were in that quaint little town, a sign in the pet shop window said, “UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT” so we went in to see if they had any kittens to look at.

Astrology is one of the ancient practices of “divination” which is the art of interpreting events and future events by means of signs called “omens.” According to Biblical archaeologists, astrology originated in ancient Babylon (now Iraq) when the Chaldeans of Babylon concluded that the stars, sun and moon were gods, and by their position in the sky, these gods determined events here on earth. By the 4th century BC, it was believed that these ancient pagan gods also gave us our personality characteristics based on the position of the gods (sun, moon and stars) at the time of our birth and this “divination” is the basis of our astrological “zodiac sun sign” and modern day horoscope. But this belief in Astrology, that the essence of who we are, is not created by God, but by the alignment of pagan gods, is an abomination unto the Lord. God says point-blank: “Do not practice divination or fortune-telling.” Leviticus 19:26

Okay.. But isn’t reading my horoscope just harmless fun? It’s not like I’m consulting a medium or anything! The author of the book “Cults and the Occult” tells of an astrologer’s conference where the session leaders said that they had “spirit guides” to help them give their astrological readings. In Deuteronomy 18:9-14 we are given a list of occultic practices that are “an abomination to the Lord.” Among these practices are a Hebrew word translated as “witchcraft” which means one who predicts the future using the art of “divination.” Another occultic practice is the Hebrew word translated as “interprets omens” meaning one who reads from the signs (stars) and interprets their meaning (astrology). Astrology – the art of divination –  is forbidden by God because it is an occultic practice. 

We good church-goin’ Christians would never visit the fortune-teller tent at the County fair, but do we sit down with our morning cup of coffee and turn to our horoscopes at the privacy of the breakfast table? I’ve known some Christians who put more stock in their horoscope than in the Word of God. They plan their day and their future not by the leading of the Holy Spirit but by the “astrologer” who writes the newspaper column. But is it really a good idea to start our day with a practice that the Bible describes as “witchcraft” and makes God angry at us? doesn’t work anyway! Interesting that there have been scientific studies which show that prayer does work and astrology doesn’t work! And you don’t have to be a scientist to test astrology. If people read their horoscope at the end of the day and then made the comparison between the prediction and the realty, they would inevitably come to the same conclusion that Isaiah did about astrologers, “Each of them go in their error; there is not one of them who will save you.” Isaiah 47:13-15 NIV 

Like with all of life, we have a choice. We can trust in God or we can trust in the ancient belief of pagan gods. We can follow God or we can follow the stars. It’s ultimately our choice. But please hear me. When you need advice or encouragement about your upcoming day, please turn to your great Counselor in the Bible, not your horoscope in the L.A. Times. If you still read your horoscope, why not give it up for Lent? Or even better, why not give it up for life? Why would any of us want to start our day with an ancient superstition based on the position of “pagan gods” in the sky when we can start it with the Word of God?  Amen?

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The AMEN Corner is a weekly devotional for the family and friends of New Hope Family Church. It is intended for this devotional to be strengthening, encouraging or comforting and your comments too should be for the glory of God and reflect the intended purpose of these posts.

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