Tuesday, 10 July 2012

A Book in the Church Library...Osteen

A couple of Sundays ago I was in our church library and I saw the book Everyday a Friday on display. It is written by Joel Osteen. I signed it out and now I am wondering if what the author teaches is a type of  the "Kermit the Frog" gospel? It's not that I disagree with all that he says, I do believe in looking for the good and being positive but I feel he takes it to the extreme. A quote from  the book "If you go through adversity with a smile on your face and a song in your heart, on the other side there will be a reward".  Really??  I think we are much better off casting our cares on the LORD,  He heals the brokenhearted and goes with us through our troubles. I believe that we need to trust in the Lord regardless of the outcome of our difficult circumstances.
It seems the author's message is a lot of fluff, boost your own ego and make yourself happy. I find that quite different from how we are taught in the Bible to find our joy in the Lord, whether we are in good times or bad, the Lord is our strength. The author says that if we smile through our struggle, then we will have passed the test and then good things will come to us, while the Bible says in Matthew 6: 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you .
It is in wholeheartedly seeking God that we find joy. We don't find real joy in stuff here on earth. The author of the book talks of wearing your blessings - him and his wife wanting another property real bad and how God told him its okay and to go ahead and get the property. I compare that with the song  "Be Thou my Vision"  that we sing in church occasionally. Verses 4 and 5
4.Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise,
Thou mine inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

5. High King of heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heav'ns Son!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my vision, O ruler of all.

For a person like me who knows people who have been called by God to give up the normal stuff of life, to go to difficult places to work with very poor people, this whole "smile to get blessings" doctrine seems absurd. I know from my own life and the hard things that I have went through, if someone had told me to just smile through my difficult days and that if I did God would bring me out with rich things, I would have not have made it. I can tell you many a day there were only tears and I have found that when I lean on God and His Word, I am strengthened.
A few years ago my friend was very excited about "the Secret" that Oprah was promoting. It was also a think positive and you'll get stuff message. My friend's husband was working out west in the oilfields at the time. Shortly after he came home, he  got sick. I'll never forget when he came to our place to pick up one of our boys to babysit his child, when he came to the door and the shock in his face as he told me the doctor had given him only three months to live and that he had cancer. A few days later my husband and I went over to their place to see how they were doing, and he told us that he was going to beat the cancer, with this positive message stuff. He wasn't able to beat it though, the pain got really intense, he got paralyzed, and died within three the months. The postive thinking didn't help him, but he was really searching and I do believe that he found the Lord during those last few months and that is comforting.

Like the old song says- This world is not our home, we are just passing through, Our treasures our laid up somewhere beyond the blue.

It is not my call whether the church should promote books such as these but I do find it questionable.

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