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“I think you’re capable of anything you set your mind to. Sometimes the key is patience and persistence.” – unknown

“There is no limit to what God can do in you and through you when you start believing that you’re more than a conqueror.” – Joel Osteen

“There is not a single human strength or quality that you are missing in order to fulfill your dreams.” -The Secret on twitter

Response: No one is capable of anything. We are finite humans, and we all have limits. No one has every strength or quality! However, this reality is not meant to discourage you. Find what you can do and how God has gifted you, and be patient and persistent with that. Admitting limitations can set you free. Do what you can, not what you can’t!

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“You have been blessed for success. Don’t pray to just get by, to endure. Dare to ask big.” – Joel Osteen

Responses:

“Blessed are…the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, those who are persecuted because of righteousness. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” – Jesus, the Beatitudes, Matthew 5

Or you could pray, ”Lord, make it my ambition to lead a quiet life,” 1 Thessalonians 4:11. @birdchadlouis

“Our Christian destiny is, in fact, a great one: but we cannot achieve greatness unless we lose all interest in being great.” – Thomas Merton

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” 1 Peter 5:6 

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“You’re not average. You’re not mediocre. You are God’s biggest deal.” – Joel Osteen

Response: 

1. We all matter to God. But many of us are average. That’s okay. The God of the Bible often uses average and less-than-average people! Be encouraged by that fact. Gideon came from an unimportant family. Moses had a speech impediment. Amos lacked experience. Mary was an obscure teen girl in the middle east. Etc. I’m glad that God uses average people! Aren’t you?

2. We all matter to God. But to say I am God’s biggest deal? Ever hear of humility? Let’s not fan the flames of pride. The Bible is filled with warnings about an inflated view of self, and emphasizes that God is closest to the humble of heart.

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“God will cause you to shine. He’ll show up and supersize what you’re dreaming about.” – Joel Osteen

Response: Christianity is not about God supersizing your dreams! Make sure you are not caught up in the wrong hope of glory. Your hope of glory is Christ. Neither is Christianity about YOU getting to shine. It is about God shining. Our good deeds should point people to HIM. (Matthew 5:16) See this post for more thoughts: Where is your hope of glory?

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“God gave you everything you need for the race that’s designed for you. Magnify what’s right about you and not what’s wrong.” Joel Osteen

Response:  This statement from Osteen is less objectionable. As indicated in an above comment – God has indeed equipped you for the race designed for you by Him – but not for someone else’s race.

I agree that we don’t need to focus on our flaws and problems, however we do need a humble awareness of our weakness. There is danger in not having a balanced and realistic view of ourselves – both our strengths and weaknesses.

The word magnify in regards to our self makes me very uneasy! Christianity is about God being magnified, not us!

“O magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His name together.” Psalm 34:3

“Not to us, LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.” Psalm 115:1

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“Choose your words carefully. Words have creative power. When you speak something out, you give life to what you’re saying.” – Joel Osteen

Response: I agree that we should choose our words carefully, and there is power in our words to heal or hurt others. HOWEVER, that is NOT what Osteen is talking about at all!!! See my 2-part review of Osteen’s book The Power of I Am.

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We live in such a profoundly self-centered age, that I think we need to be cautious about how we word things – especially as Christians. We all need encouragement, but there is a fine line with some of these motivational sayings. Remember that Christianity is all about paradox: power is found through weakness, to live we must die to self, and to be lifted high we must stoop low. Too much of modern culture, and unfortunately the modern church too, has emphasized the wrong side of these paradoxes. It has created a Christianity that is positively powerless.

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