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Last week OMF missionaries in our area (Central Taiwan) got together for a group cultural study on fortune telling in Taiwan because it has a significant influence on its people.  The session was presented & led by the new members.  The new members are those whose main endeavor is to learn & love Taiwanese languages, culture & people, and who have been in Taiwan for less than 2 years.  Jeanette & I had the pleasure of simply taking in the information & being part of the discussion without actually having to present since we’re very new here.

Here are some helpful insights we gained from the presentation.

Fortune telling is really driven by fear… fear of failure, fear of the future, fear of forfeiting good fortune, etc.  Although at a glance, it appears to be man’s humble effort to seek spiritual guidance, in reality it is his attempt to peek into the future, manipulate & ultimately control his life to secure success & blessings.  Therefore one may visit & ask a fortune teller whether her son’s girlfriend is the right woman for him to marry or if a new business opportunity will lead to prosperity or what steps need to be taken to remove bad fortune in one’s life.

In response, a fortune teller will either tell the person what he or she needs to hear or an alarming revelation, but with remedies/solutions to bring balance. Either way, the person walks away from the fortune telling experience with a sense of relief or “peace”, no matter how fleeting that sense of peace may be.  And he will most likely be back seeking counsel again to settle his heart.

Many in our world are seeking peace… peace from uncertainty, peace from trial, peace from insecurity & so forth. Isn’t this why we do the things that we do to secure peace in our hearts?  I could literally think of hundreds of things that people do to bring a sense of calm within their hearts.  But nothing in this world, no person, no idealism, no angels or demons can bring us peace that can change our heart & lives.

IT IS ONLY IN JESUS CHRIST THAT WE FIND PEACE THAT IS UNTOUCHABLE BY ANYTHING IN THIS WORLD & WE CAN FACE THIS LIFE & BEYOND WITH FULL ASSURANCE THAT HIS WORD IS TRUE.

There are definitely major differences between fortune telling & God’s prophecy.

Fortune telling focuses on what is external & tries to alter & manipulate them. There are many problems with this, but first, it eliminates personal responsibility because it always blames something external.  Maybe you blame your circumstances, a person you are with or maybe even your name that is bringing bad luck, but it’s never actually you.

On the other hand, God’s prophecy focuses on changing you the person, so that no matter what life may bring, we can stand firm & savor peace that only Christ brings. Instead of changing what is external to satisfy us, we who are being transformed by God’s living Word become agents of change & peace in our transient world.

Fortune telling is really man’s desperate effort to scramble for peace, but God’s prophecy is His love & compassion reaching down because He has something truthful & powerful to say to us that can prompt us to make a decision that will resonate to eternity.

The greatest difference, which was mentioned by a wise & seasoned OMF missionary, is that like many other religions, fortune telling requires a mediator to tap into the spiritual where in Christianity we do not because Jesus Christ has reconciled us to God the Father. We do not need a middle man!  We can call out to Him & hear His voice of truth through the Word & prayer any time & any place.

I think there are many things in our lives that “act” as the mediator to peace. It may be abundance, approval of men, physical beauty, academic or vocational success, achievements, inside information or even family.  But if you are in the latter part of your life as I am, you will agree with me that nothing in this side of heaven can bring us peace that only Jesus promises.

Nothing should stand between us & the Prince of Peace. If there is, then we are not much different than the world scrambling for peace.  The bottom line is, “Do we settle for good fortune in this world or peace that transcends all things?”