"And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. -- Deuteronomy 28: 8 (ESV)
Discernment ministries are often considered thankless ministries because most people ignore or try to silence them. It is human nature to want to avoid confrontation. Most people desire the life filled with puppies and rainbows that preachers like Joel Osteen sells every week. There is a reason however, why Paul laments how quickly the Galatians had abandoned the Gospel that saved them. It seems unfathomable to his mind. Likewise today it often seems unfathomable that people can continue to fall for the likes of Osteen, Bill Johnson, or Benny Hinn. Then it hits you that they want to believe in what they are selling. They want to believe that God wants them rich beyond their most selfish dreams. They want to believe that God will magically cure them of all ailments with a swipe of someone's sports coat. They want to believe that they themselves are little gods with the power of creation on their lips. The Bible of course teaches us that we must suffer for the cause of Christ. It teaches that healing is within the sovereign purview of God Almighty and sometimes the answer is "my grace is sufficient for you." It teaches that the poison of asps is upon our lips, not the power of divine creation. But that does not stop people from desiring what they want and seeking out teachers that will tell them what they want to hear. Faith is not the problem as they have plenty of faith. It just often is not in God. We often hear the lament of "what's the big deal?" "Who cares if Joel Osteen never preaches repentance? He encourages people!" "Where is the damage?" Today we will answer those questions but first a word from the latest sermonette from Osteen entitled, "Commanded To Be Blessed"
"When we honor God with our lives, when we do our best to keep Him first place, the scripture says in Deuteronomy 28:8, "The Lord will command the blessing on you." When God commands, it's not, "maybe it will happen" or "I hope it will happen, if the circumstances come together." No. When God commands there are no ifs ands or buts, it's going to happen. -- Joel Osteen
Well that sounds pretty good! But what if God did not really say this? What if this was a promise that God never made? Wouldn't that matter? What if you put your faith in this "no ifs ands or buts" guarantee that Joel just made on behalf of God? Beloved I know it is easy to dehumanize these things but there are real people behind these false teachings that get hurt every single day. They may end up falling away from the Lord, blaming God, and never return to Christianity. Worse still, they may assume they are saved when they are not. Don't believe me? Here is just one comment from Joel's Facebook page after this small snippet was posted by his ministry:
"Pastor Joel, please pray for me. I have been out of work since March, all the rent has been paid for March, April, May and my last payment for rent was paid for June. I've been looking for work, applying for jobs, had a few interviews, I've called back on jobs I have applied for, no response or the job has been filled. I'm in a situation where it looks like I could lose everything. I am having a very hard time. I'm trying to be positive, Confessing God's Word, pleading the blood, thanking God for everything, binding demonic forces, I've tried to be patient, I am praying God will step in, not leave me on the street homeless." -- Osteen Follower
If this was not so sad in reality it would be comical. The amount of poor teaching is evident as she is "binding" things she has no power or authority to bind. She is engaging in churchy activities like pleading the blood as if it is a magical balm that will produce a job for her. She is "trying to stay positive" because Osteen teaches ad nauseum against negativity in your thinking. This person is two weeks away from homelessness and she is clinging to horribly false teachings including the one she is responding to about blessings being commanded over her. Can God deliver her out from this mess in two weeks? Of course He can. Does He always? No beloved. He does not. If He always did then there would be no jobless Christians. It does not work like that. This woman's focus is entirely on this world. Now, we can understand that with the problems she is facing but her faith and religion is all focused on this world as well. Joel Osteen has encouraged her to believe in a fairy tale god. A great genie that is there to grant us our wishes when we call on him. This woman has rubbed the lamp as Joel instructed her to however and there is still no genie. The only answer from the ministry to her post was a standard form response that they would be honored to pray with her and a toll free number for her to call. The other followers of Osteen however reveal much with their responses to this woman:
"I will pray for you and also to the patron saint of employment. Sending positive thoughts your way."
"Keep believing God always answers prayers from His faithful Son."