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The Greeks had three goddesses who, together, were called The Fates. It was their job to determine how long and what shape each person's life would take. They were stubborn goddesses and could not be easily changed. From them we get the word "fate".

It is easy to see how people have, over the years, become attracted to these goddesses. After all, it is easier to let someone else determine the shape that your life will take than it is to shape it yourself.

But when we do this with spiritual things, we soon learn where the word "fatal" came from!

Arnold Toynbee, the great British historian, has said that the only lesson people have learned from history is that we never learn from history. "Never" is a strong word. There certainly have been people who have not been drawn into repeating the mistakes of the past. But they are people who have consciously and aggressively sought the means to escape from the Fates that have so imprisoned the rest of the world.

God gave us free will, but few of us use it for much more than to follow the masses ... to bow to tradition... to indulge ourselves... to let our genes determine our fate.

While it is popular and easy to rebel against God, against discipline, against the teachings of Jesus, what is really needed to find true happiness, is a will that is directed toward rebelling against such mindless conformity. We each have the power to change history, if only we would use it.

When someone predicts that I will make the same mistakes that those who went before me have made, I set myself to prove them wrong. But I have found over the years, that it takes more than a spirit of rebellion to change The Fates. It also takes a lot of deep thought, and a willingness to smash my own pride in order to outsmart them.

I remember reading years ago an inspiring tract written by David Berg, the founder of The Children of God, in which he said that history had repeatedly shown that each new group of God's followers, born in the fires of persecution, eventually cooled to become a part of the new establishment, rejecting and persecuting the next generation of God's prophets.

He asked the question, "Must it always be like this? Is there no way to change it?" and I waited on the edge of my seat to hear this man's answer to this all-important question.

But he never answered it. He said something like, "Thank God, we don't have to worry about that, because there isn't enough time for us to become lukewarm." What a disappointment! And what a perfect formula for repeating the sins of the past!

But there is an answer, and the answer is to follow God, follow truth, follow love more than we follow any human leader or any human organisation. If people do not do this, they are doomed to be sucked down to hell with all those who follow the Beast in his many forms and his many religious disguises.

We make saints of people like Sister Teresa for doing nothing more than taking a stand that was contrary to the values of the masses. But we can (and should) be doing the same thing ourselves.

In the last 200 years the average life span has almost doubled through changes in diet and hygiene, and through medical technology. All of this has proven that The Fates are not all-powerful. We can add years to our lives.

And we can add eternity as well, if we will make as much effort to prolong our spiritual life as we have made to prolong our physical life.

But to do this, we must learn to pray daily that God will keep us on his rails and free us from the many subtle tricks of the Enemy to sidetrack us into conformity with the ways of the world.

Let's change our fate this year!

(See alsoResolutions.)

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