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“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”[Jeremiah 29:11NIV]
Jeremiah 29:11 is a favorite verse of Joel Osteen and others like him. It is a favorite of mine, as well.
Nonetheless, there is something about that verse that is often (if not always) ignored by the so-called prosperity preachers, and it is of critical importance. For that verse was given through a man who saw his country conquered, his countrymen slaughtered and enslaved, and his beloved Jerusalem burned to the ground.
Yes, the Prophet Jeremiah was held in very high esteem in days after, but during his time as a part of this world, he was reviled. In fact, he physically died in Egypt after being taken there against his will by those who refused to listen to what else he had been given to say—even after everything he had previously told them would happen did! By the way, if the Old Testament book that bears his name is not enough to convince you of what a "wonderful" life the Prophet Jeremiah lived in this world, go check out the next one in line, Lamentations.
Be assured that it is the same with this message as it is with all of the others like it. For this is not meant to crush any dreams, and for some, those dreams will come true. Ah, but most are dreaming of what should not be a desire of their heart.
Please, bear in mind that this is being given through someone who has been made all too painfully familiar with what the Prophet Jeremiah had to endure. For I have been watching my beloved country crumble before my very eyes, and almost every time I have attempted to help someone to better know and understand what our Heavenly Father wants them to, it has been as if nothing was said at all.
Alas, I must admit that it gets to me at times. For there is Joel Osteen with a drop-dead gorgeous wife, incredible kids and millions of devoted followers all over this world (not to mention wonderful health all around and more money than he knows what to do with).
Yet, am I not blessed even more? For if I was standing in his shoes, I would naturally find it extremely difficult to change the message out of fear of losing all I had, and this is exactly what he must do or be content with knowing that he has already received his reward in full, which will count against him, come Judgment Day.
Yes, that sounds awfully judgmental. So, please, I beseech thee, ask our Heavenly Father if it truly is of Him or my own bitterness?
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