Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Who Do You Trust?


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 she and I saw the pet store. Understand that the lovely lady 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 late 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 (literally) 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 fearfully 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 Rhianna and wailed, “Oh my dear, you must leave him and 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 both 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 Rhianna 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

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 occultist 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 occultist 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 occultist practice. Horoscopes are an “abomination to the Lord.”

The current pandemic plague shut down our churches, reduced the worship service to a “TV program” and fewer and fewer people are watching. It’s also changing our engagement with the Word of God. As of the first week of June, adults who faithfully read their Bible had fallen from 27.8% to only 22.6%, representing some 13.1 million Americans while interest in New Age practices has significantly increased. Many in the younger generations have  turned away from trust in God and now put their faith in occultist practices. 

The most significant political movement today is Black Lives Matter which co-founder Patrisse Cullors has called a “spiritual movement.” Millennial generation Blacks are leaving behind the Christian faith of their parents and are turning to “Ifa” the African folk religion of the two BLM co-founders. Ifa is a Yoruba-based faith (aka Santería and Voodoo) that worships the god Olodumare as their supreme being. But it’s not occultist practices or trust in astrology and New Age rituals that we need in this pandemic; research shows it’s a person’s relationship with Jesus and with the Bible that’s the single greatest influence on her or his overall spiritual health. Scripture engagement is associated with positive emotions in Bible readers. We tend to feel hopeful, peaceful, encouraged, comforted and loved by God when we read our Bible.

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 read our Bible and follow God or we can read our horoscope and follow the stars. But 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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