Maybe it was his Texas drawl.
Or his huge smile.
Possibly it was the affirming way that he spoke.
Whatever the case, I was a fan of Joel Osteen – for a while.
I would catch him from time to time on TV, and enjoyed listening to all of the positive things that he had to say.
One day in particular, (about 8 years ago) I liked his message so much that I actually got out my notebook and took notes.
He was speaking on this topic: “God really wants to bless you. He wants to give you your heart’s desire.”
Who doesn’t like sermons like this!!!
So, I pulled out my notepad and wrote out all sorts of great quotes and suggestions from this preacher in south Texas. Everything he said was so encouraging!
At one point in the message, he told a story.
In this story, he shared how his wife had found a certain house that she loved. She began to pray that God would give her this particular house.
Each time they’d walk by the house or drive by the house, they’d claim it as their own, knowing God was going to give them the house.
And, God did!
Joel closed his message by suggesting that everyone listening to the sound of his voice do this same thing.
“Ask God to give you your heart’s desire. Invite Him to bless you with those things you most love and want. He wants to be good to you. He wants to bless you.”
So, I took those words to heart.
I liked how they sounded!
For you see, we had left our dream home after ONLY living there 11 months.
We’d planned the home, consulted in the construction, and chosen every item from the light switches to the trims to the dimensions of the rooms.
That beautiful home sat on a wooded one-acre lot in the most quaint and peaceful community.
We hoped to grow old in that house.
But, God had very different plans.
He moved us from that dream home to a very small apartment in a large city with no yard. This apartment sits in the middle of a loud and busy area. It was quite a change!
And, on that Sunday morning, I took what Joel Osteen said to heart.
If God could give HIS WIFE the home of her dreams, He could do the same for ME.
So, I began to pray for a new home.
I fasted in prayer for that home. I asked friends to pray for that home for us. I asked God for a home. I begged God for a home. I believed God for a home.
No home came.
God didn’t answer our prayers as He’d answered Victoria Osteen’s prayers.
We knew He wanted to bless us, but He did not choose to bless us with a house.
In fact, we’ve now lived in this little apartment for 7 years and 3 months without even the prospect of a change in address.
God has not said, “yes.”
God has invited us to wait.
We still have the desire for a home, and we still pray for one.
We take to heart the advice of Dr. Adrian Rogers,
“Pray until God gives you what you want or until He changes your want-er.”
He is God, and He can do whatever He wants to do.
He knows best.
He is all-wise.
He is completely sovereign.
Charles Spurgeon expressed it this way:
“Remember this… had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are in, divine love would have put you there.”
And, that’s why I’ve stopped listening to Joel Osteen.
It is clear that he is not telling the WHOLE truth.
He is only sharing one side of the story – the very positive side of the story. He shares the things that all of us love to hear.
Yet… if I search the pages of my Bible, I find that the central focus is not us, but His will. It is in His will that we are truly blessed. There is good news in the bible and there is bad news in there too.
We aren’t promised perfection, material wealth, perfectly sunshiny days, and blue skies.
Sometimes, life is hard.
Sometimes, prayer goes unanswered.
Sometimes, the rains and the storms come.
So, now that I’m not listening to Joel Osteen, how am I praying?
It’s pretty simple really.
We are still asking God for an earthly home of our own. Each night before we doze off, we pray together and ask the Lord to bless us with a house.
However, we pray a little differently these days. We got this prayer idea from Jesus as He was praying on the night He was betrayed:
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.
Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39)
And, you know, I think maybe modeling my prayers after Jesus is a little wiser than modeling them after Joel.
And, because I’ve gotten so much reaction to this post – both positive and negative, I’ve added a follow-up post to this one.
You can read “The Day I Quit Listening to Joel Osteen – Part 2” by clicking HERE.
What do you think?
~ How have you been praying?
~ What have you been asking God for desperately?
~ How can I pray for you today?
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Maybe you can send it to a friend or family member?
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