Since I am trying to not get so  committed to writing something every day, I am going to start having re runs on Thursdays. Nothing beats a good catch phrase LOL. This is actually the very first thing I ever posted.

throw back thursday

This is my first “official” blog post, and it’s about a topic/person I will probably write about often. It’s about my “favorite” pastor, Joel Osteen.(Although it turned out never wrote about him much at all.)

Mr. Osteen’s name will probably appear in this blog often, since he often says things which make me want to say other things. Hardly a word comes from his mouth that doesn’t make me want to respond in some way. Having said that, I also need to say one other thing; I do not hate Joel Osteen. I actually don’t like or dislike him or really feel anything emotional toward him at all.

I do, however, certainly love Joel Osteen. God commands me to do that; He tells me I am to love all men and women regardless of their actions. If Joel Osteen was in need and I was able to help, I would help. I certainly love Joel Osteen enough  to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with him and show him the path to Salvation. I only throw that  in this article because, honestly, I have doubts and fears about whether or not Mr. Osteen actually understands the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.

So, my intention is not to mount a personal attack on Joel Osteen; I would love to sit with him and discuss it personally. Honestly though, that is probably not going to happen. Joel Osteen is not going to read this and call and ask me to do lunch anytime soon.  I, along with all Christians, do have a responsibility to confront and refute false teachings when we encounter them.  That is my intention here, not to attack Joel Osteen personally.

Now that I have that out of the way I can move on to the real topic at hand. If you have read the title of this article, you have realized that the topic of today’s thought is the infamous video found all over the web in which Victoria Osteen, Mrs. Osteen, made the rather astounding pronouncement that we worship God and do good not for Him, but for ourselves

Watch the Video  here.

In case you cannot watch the video, here is what Mrs. Osteen said in the controversial section of her talk.

“I just want to encourage every one of us to realize that when we obey God, we’re not doing it for God — I mean, that’s one way to look at it — we’re doing it for ourselves, because God takes pleasure when we’re happy. That the thing that gives Him the greatest joy.

So, I want you to know this morning: Just do good for your own self. Do good because God wants you to be happy. When you come to church, when you worship Him, you’re not doing it for God really. You’re doing it for yourself, because that’s what makes God happy. Amen?”

So, there you have it. This cannot simply be dismissed as a misstep or misquote. The above statement is simply heresy. It is not a slip of the tongue, it is a lie straight from the pit of Hell.

Just to make sure we are on the same sheet of music here, let’s take a look at what The Bible says about why we worship, why we obey and what our real reason for existence is in the first place.

God’s glory is very important to Him; He has told us this clearly in His Word. In fact, all Creation was created for the simple purpose of giving God Glory, and to showcase His glory.  We can see that the physical things of the earth as well as humanity and even the animals were created for His Glory.

Psalm 19:1 [[To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.]] The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

Isaiah 43:20,21 The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.

Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

Now that we have established that all Creation was created for the express purpose of God’s glory, lets look at a few verses which teach us that our obedience and the conduct of our lives are also for God’s glory.

Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 6:19,20 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

So obedience to God as being for God is not simply “one way to look at it” as Mrs. Osteen put it; it is actually the only way to look at it! God did not create us and all the things around us so that we would be happy. God created all of this for His honor and Glory.

If that seems harsh or makes us uncomfortable, we really need to get over it, as we really have no place getting all up in arms about why God created the universe. It is His after all, to do with as He wishes. But, just because God did all of this for His glory does not mean we are out of luck ; God does love us, and He does want us to be  happy! The Bible is packed literally from beginning to end with illustrations of how God loves us and wants us to be joy filled. We can see this from the Book of Genesis when God walked in the Garden of Eden every day with Adam and Eve to the Book of Revelation where God restores everything in the New Heaven and Earth and we dwell in His presence forever. The Book of Psalms is full of King David rejoicing and being happy in the Lord. How much did God love us? John 3:16 teaches us God loved the World so much He gave His only Son to us, so that if we believe, we can have everlasting life. 1 John 4 and 5 contain the famous words “God is Love.’ Those chapters go on to give perhaps the greatest description of the relationship between God’s love for us, our love for others and the keeping of His commandments in all of the Bible.

By now readers may be wondering  just what the problem is; after all, that is exactly what Victoria Osteen said: God loves us and wants us to be happy. Taken alone, that is completely, absolutely and wonderfully true. That is also the problem with false teachings; they have just enough truth to seem true and still mask the lie. The issue at hand is who is preimminent, God or man? Does the Creator rule creation or does the Creation rule the creator? Are we man in the image of God or god in the image of Man? The issue is: what is the priority in God’s mind? What does He want most? Does He want His honor and glory or does He want our happiness? We know what the Bible teaches about that, as we have shown it. God’s greatest desire is His own honor and glory, period.

There is a passage that will clearly illustrate this whole concept in a nutshell.

John 16:22-24 22 And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. 23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. 24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.

Many, many preachers and teachers have used that passage, and similar ones to further their lies about how to gain health, wealth and prosperity. They say it is very simple; just invoke the name of Jesus, and God will give us all exactly what we want. Sufficient faith will guarantee success. Some take it so far as to say the power of our spoken words actually activates and propells the power of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, basically forcing God to act on our desires.

The key, of course, is the prayer in the name of Jesus. We need to look at exactly what that means to properly understand what this passage is telling us. Praying in the name of Jesus is not some tagline or rubber stamp we slap on a prayer to get the answer we want. It is also not some magic incantation that empowers us and compels God to react. God is not some cosmic candy machine, dispensing candy if we put in the correct coin, after all.

Jesus taught us some very important aspects of our prayers; He taught us to pray for the Father’s will, in Jesus name and to pray for our desires. It is when we combine those three things that we ask for the correct things.  What, then, does it mean to pray in Jesus name? It does not mean asking for our own personal desires and slapping Jesus’ name on there for emphasis. What is God’s primary will? His honor and Glory. How has he chosen to get that honor and glory? Through His Son Jesus Christ. Therefore to pray in God’s will and in Jesus’ name means we need to be asking for things which will bring honor and glory to Jesus Christ. Our objectives need to always be God’s glory, through Jesus, and not simply the things we want in the flesh.

That is the way God wants us to be happy. Jesus said it in the passage above from John 16. If we worship, obey and ask correctly our joy will be full. In other words, we will be happy! God has a plan, and it is the best plan for us, even if in the moment we are unable to see that it is best. The following best illustrates this concept:

Romans 8:28 28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

The opposite perspective to the true Biblical one is not pretty. Actually, it is far worse than that; it is a lie originated and perpetuated by Satan himself. This is the lie spread and taught by so many today, including Joel and Victoria Osteen. Let us take a look at the lie in more detail now.

Our problem is that we do not want what God wants; we want….what we want! We want the things that look good, feel good, and make us feel like we are running the show. We are all sinners by nature and choice, and we were all born that way. It is no surprise then that we are resistant, stubborn and rebellious about submitting to the will of God and wanting the things which would bring Him honor and glory.

Why do I say this is a lie originated and perpetuated by Satan? Let us take a trip back to Genesis Chapter 3.  Actually, let’s start back in Genesis 2:16,17. There we find the only rule God made for Adam in the Garden of Eden. He was not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. One simple rule was all Adam had to follow; everything else was fair game so to speak. Now let’s move on to Chapter 3. Here we find Satan’s enticement of Eve into eating of the forbidden fruit. Let’s take a quick tour through the story. Right away in Verse 1, Satan cast doubt on whether God really told them not to eat that fruit. By the time we get to Verse 4, Satan is just outright calling God a liar. God had said they would die when they ate that fruit; Satan told Eve she would not die.  Then occurred the event which changed everything:

Genesis 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

And so came the fall of man. And we remain fallen to this very day. It is because of our fallen nature and the fact that the penalty for sin is still death that we needed a Savior. Of course, Jesus Christ is that Savior.  Since that day 6000 years or so ago, not much has changed really. Satan still tells us the same lies; he still twists God’s word around to make us doubt it; he still tells outright lies to convince us the Word of God is false.

The Apostle John captured this thought very well as the Holy Spirit guided him in writing the following:

1 John 2:15-17 15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

That passage remains true today; we are easily distracted by the appealing things of the world. We are still susceptible to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. Falling prey to those is still the biggest danger out there for both believers and nonbelievers. And unfortunately, that is exactly what Victoria Osteen was teaching thousands of people in that short video. What thousands learned was that true joy and happiness comes not from seeking the things which please God, but from seeking the things which please us.

I certainly do not know the state of Joel and Victoria Osteen’s hearts; it is not my place to know or to even guess. Only God knows if they have a relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ. But I do know that teachings such as theirs can and will prevent thousands from coming to a correct understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the path to Salvation. I pray for them, that if they do not have a relationship with Jesus, that they repent and believe. I pray that they will stop deceiving millions with false teachings such as this one, giving them a fair chance to repent and believe.

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