Monthly Archives: January 2011

Where’d My Sign Go?

It seems a number of people have been upset at reports recently that the entire zodiac calendar has been thrown into disarray by an astronomer’s comments. Up until yesterday, rumor had it that my wife was a Scorpio, my son a Virgo, my daughter-in-law a Sagittarius, and my grandson and I were Libra.

Well, that all changed. My wife is now a Libra, my son’s a Leo, my grandson and I are both Virgos. Oh yeah, and my daughter-in-law was allegedly born under the sign of Ophiuchus. If you have not heard of that last one, you are not alone. It’s the latest craze in astrology. It’s the sign of the snake handler. Please do not ask me to pronounce it, or what traits people born under that sign share.

At one time, this would have troubled me. Before I committed my life to following Christ, I engaged in a number of occult practices, including horoscopes. I had a few private readings, and made sure to check my horoscope in the newspaper almost every day. Unfortunately for me, the stars kept lying to me! If they had kept their word, I would have been extremely wealthy, and I would have had women falling all over me. (OK, you can stop laughing now.)

It was not just me, though. Astrology has a lot of fans, but no scientific evidence to back it up. As recently as 2006, a study of 15000 people found no link between date of birth and personality; astrology assumes that your “sign” determines your personality. I read that Libras are extroverts. Whenever someone tells me that, I tell them that I really want to be left alone.

Besides the lack of scientific evidence, there is a problem with the very arrangement of the zodiac signs. If I am a Libra, then I should expect to see the sun passing through Libra at dawn on my birthday. However, that does not happen; apparently, it passes through Virgo.

It used to pass through Libra on my birthday: about two- to three-thousand years ago, when the astrological calendar was developed. However, the earth wobbles on its axis, so the alignment of the sun and constellations, in relation to Earth, deviates over the centuries. As a result, the constellations are about one month off from where they were when Christ was born.

While some devotees of astrology will claim that Western astrology focuses on the sun in relation to “fixed, designated positions in the sky” (see Wikipedia), no such thing exists. As long as the Earth continues to wobble, the orientation of an object on Earth in relation to any object in the heavens will change. Granted, it is a very subtle change, one we will not notice in a lifetime; however, over the course of 2000 years it is significant: enough so to make it foolish for one to make major life decisions based on a star chart that was drawn up 2000 years ago.

I realize some of my Christian friends may still read the horoscope. I strongly urge you to read Deuteronomy 18:10-12 and Isaiah 47:13. The Deuteronomy passage condemns certain occult acts as sin, among them divination and interpretation of omens. Astrology is a method of interpreting omens in the stars. The Isaiah passage specifically mentions astrologers among the accursed counselors we should not trust.

As I said on a friend’s Facebook page today, “I was born under the sign of Libra. I am born again under the sign of the Cross. This is where I’ll stay.”

Categories: Current events | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Setting Goals

The new year is now a little less shiny. The sparkly sheen has now worn off one week in. People are no longer saying “Happy New Year” (well, one person said that to me today, but she did not see me last week). Many people have already broken their New Year’s resolutions. I have kept mine: I resolved not to make any New Year’s resolutions.

However, that does not mean I have no desire to become a better person or to live a better life in 2011. It just means I have broadened my perspective and will seek something deeper. Resolutions are a little tricky: They are often a very simple quick statement of something we want to do, or want to stop doing. One person’s resolution is, “I will exercise more.” Another person might say, “I want to lose weight.” Still another New Year’s resolution might be, “I want to draw closer to Christ in the coming year.”

These are all great things. Yet, by themselves, they will be quickly forgotten. Instead of stopping at a resolution, one should set goals. Resolutions tell us what we want to do. Goals give us an idea of how we will accomplish it. Goal-setting defines a destination and describes the steps to reach it.

Granted, this must be done with some humility. We can plan our steps, but we often have to leave the results to God. I can resolve to make more money in 2011. I can take clear steps to pursue that goal (update my resume, apply for better-paying positions, seek a second job, or write a book and submit it to a major publisher). However, even after all of my best efforts, I cannot guarantee that my desired goal will be achieved.

So, before everything else, one should pray. I am planning to sit down one day and think through some personal goals for 2011. Yet, before I do that, I will set aside some quiet time to pray and ask God what my goals should be. What passion has He placed in my heart? What gifts has He bestowed on me? Where has He led me in the past? This should be done in a time of solitude, silently listening to the voice of the Lord as He speaks to your heart. Such meditative prayer is a lost art for many modern persons, even those who profess a deep personal relationship with Christ.

In his book, Old Man New Man (Lake Mary, FL: Creation House, 2000), Stephen Strang offers the following advice regarding goal setting:

  • Begin with general goals — the familiar New Year’s resolutions mentioned above would be among these.
  • Break your general goals down into specific daily tasks. For example, if my goal is to publish a book in 2011, one of my daily tasks would be, “Write first draft of chapter 1.”
  • Set some life goals. These might include five-year goals, such as “owning my own company.”
  • Establish a personal mission statement. Strang quotes author Patrick Morley, who said a personal life mission statement should include the following four elements:
    • A life purpose: why you exist
    • A calling: what you do
    • A visual or mental picture of what you want to happen
    • A mission: how you will go about it.

Goals do not need to be merely financial. Strang says goals can be spiritual, family, physical, and financial. There are probably a few more categories one can add.

It has been said that those who fail to plan are planning to fail. As I seek to reject passivity in my personal life, I realize that I must continue to move forward. That involves a choice. It also means I need to know where I want to go. Otherwise, I will either drift aimlessly through life, missing out my dreams and opportunities; or I will end up being carried by circumstances away from God’s purpose in my life.

Categories: Spiritual reflections | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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