Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Do you want to change your life?

Apparently so does everyone else on the planet. I did a “google search” and found literally millions of hits, not just with one search, but at least five more suggested searches were available – each with hundreds of millions of hits, combined. Now, I clearly did not look up every website, but I did look up a quite a few.
What I learned was extremely interesting. Apparently any number of things are capable of “changing your life.,” in a wide variety of lengths of time.

Truly fascinating! One lady has decided that the perfect time changing amount of time is 70 days (for women, anyway),. Computer programs will change your life; diets will change your life, along with lots and lots of books. One book, called The Intention Experiment, says that “Thought generates its own palpable energy that you can use to improve your life, to help others around you, and to change the world.” One gentleman, who is offering his services as a speaker at your business or organization, claims that all you have to do is take The Self-Empowerment Pledge. This pledge is made up of seven promises, one for each day of the week. Another individual has narrowed things down to just eight choices that you can make to change your life. You can change your life in seven days…for only $24.31. Hmmm. Maybe the 70 day one costs less? Ya think?
That’s the other thing. Almost every single life changing breakthroughs is going to cost money. For $19.41, you can find out how to change your life using feng shui. You can change your life through insight and honesty and facing your past. The program is called, “Living the Truth.” On another website, I learned from a gentleman who calls himself a metaphysical scientist (what do you think that is?) that all you have to do is name the top three things you want in life and then use your computer for ten minutes a day to get them. Oh! Here’s one that claims to be able to change your life in just ten seconds! Wow! I wonder how much that one costs?

Apparently there are 70 movies capable of changing your life, as is hypnotism, of course. Another pseudo-science book calls itself “A groundbreaking collaboration between neuroscience and Buddhism” and claims to tell us “how a new science reveals our extraordinary potential to transform ourselves.” Robots will change your life too. And this is my very, very favorite: “Change Your Signature, Change Your Life.” This “graphologist” (I think he just made that up) in India claims that changing your signature can improve family happiness, health, relationships; achieve your goals; increase your mental and physical compatibility; increase your energy; increase your ability to concentrate; get you a better job; overcome depression and disillusionment with life and save the family unit. Did you have any idea that your signature had that much to do with your life? Interesting…

So, what do all these life-changing methods have in common? The major things that jumped out at me were that all of these involve you making the changes in your life through your own strength of will, or by repeating certain words or carrying out certain tasks. And, of course, the fact that not one of these marketing ploys makes any reference to any human need for outside assistance. I just don’t believe I can wake up one morning, make a choice, say a pledge or sign my name differently and POOF! My life is changed. If things worked that way, what would we need God for? Ooooh, good question…

And, of course, that’s my point. God, working through His Word, is the only agent of change that we will ever need or that will ever work, and it won’t cost you a dime. A real bargain!

I know people who would argue long and hard on that point. They don’t believe that just reading the Bible is enough to change anyone’s life. They say that it’s too confusing, too archaic, even that parts of it are too brutal. What do you think? Well read these and then decide:

One man writes,
“After growing in an abusive home and thirty one years of drug and alcohol abuse I had reached a point, at the age of 43, at which I thought I would most likely die before ever knowing any kind of peace. With a counselor’s help, I was able to stay off drugs and alcohol for a year. At the end of that year I realized I was the same person, I had just removed the drugs and alcohol. I was still miserable…
“I decided to read the Bible to try and have a spiritual life. After reading the Bible I was no longer the same person…God had changed my heart! I was loved and forgiven! …Through reading the Bible I found a new life, through Bible study I am learning how to live out that new life!”
Is that a coincidence? Will reading just any book change your life? Let’s see.
“I was not raised to be a Christian. When I was a boy, my parents were searching spiritually, and they taught me about various forms of Christianity, about Zen Buddhism, about Siddha Yoga Hinduism, and about Islam. …I attended Jewish religious services more often than the services of any other religions. I read the Scriptures of all of these religions when I was a teenager. I also consulted the I Ching (the Confucian “Book of Changes”) nearly daily.
“…I was on the road to disaster – involved in sexual promiscuity, experimenting with soft drugs, drinking heavily and headed toward alcoholism, captivated by the occult, deeply depressed, and consumed by hostility toward those who had been near and dear to me. Weighed down under a crushing load of guilt and self-hatred, I was sitting one evening on a high window ledge preparing to jump off and kill myself, when Jesus spoke audibly to me…
“What he told me was that I should get a Bible and read it. What I read there about Jesus changed my life.” Joseph L. Cumming
One pastor tells this story:
“…in God’s hands people who read the Bible change. …I want to tell a story about a particular person, a guy named Sukan. Sukan was a Sufi Moslem studying for the priesthood. …He was taught all kinds of things about Christianity; about the things that made Christianity wrong and one of the things that he was taught was that Judas was converted into the image of Jesus and it was Judas that died on the cross instead of Jesus. And so God’s justice was done on this infidel.
“One day Sukan was walking along and saw a piece of paper blowing in the wind on the street and he reached down and picked it up and it turned out to be a portion of the gospel of Matthew. In it he read the words where Jesus is on the cross and he says, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ Now, as Sukan repeated that over and over to himself and thought about it, he thought to himself you know this can’t be Judas talking, because Judas would know why God had forsaken him. These are the words of a righteous man. And so as he thought about it, Sukan came to the point where he realized that it was actually Jesus who died on the cross and right there with just that little piece of the gospel of Matthew, Sukan made the decision to trust Jesus Christ as his Savior and follow him.”
In fact, there is a website called Answering Islam that has bunches of testimonies from dozens of people who have converted to Christianity from Islam. Really fascinating and wonderful stories. There’s one more story that I really want to share with you though. It’s about a man named Bruce Marchiano. If you don’t know who he is, he’s the man who played Jesus in The Gospel of Matthew. That is a DVD that came out a few years ago and tells the story of Christ word-for-word from Matthew. It is an amazing video. But so is this story. Marchiano was a struggling actor who read for the part of Christ and got it. He was a nominal Christian at best, but as he portrayed the character of Christ as Matthew wrote it, Marchiano met Christ and his life was absolutely changed. He tells his story in a really great book, In the Footsteps of Jesus. If you haven’t already, find it and read it. It truly shows the power of God’s Word on a person’s heart.
“But I think there is no stronger reason for urging you to spend much time with the Book of books than this: It will make Jesus more real to you than any earthly friend. He is always near. He always has time to visit. There is nothing you cannot talk over with Him; and He always understands, sympathizes, and gives the counsel needed. You and I may have Him walk so close beside us that He can hear our thoughts and feel our heartaches. He is the one Friend we can always keep. He is the one Friend we cannot spare; for truly, as He has said, 'Without Me you can do nothing.' He is the one Friend through whom you and I can do all things we should do to be true Christians; and the Bible is the book that will bring Him into our lives and make Him the closest and most real of all friends.
"Do you not love the Bible? If you do not, there is only one explanation: You do not know the Book. You have not been drinking deeply enough of its living waters to wash the dust of common things out of your throat. Drink deeply, and you will long for it as the 'hart pants after the water brooks.' Drink deeply, and you will seek it as the desert traveler seeks the cooling spring. Drink deeply, and you will find it the panacea for all human needs.” Andross, M, Alone With God, p19.

No comments:

Post a Comment