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Author Topic: Positive Thinking...Is that Orthodox Christianity's Way?  (Read 1286 times) Average Rating: 0
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Faith2545
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« on: March 02, 2013, 02:36:56 PM »

Christ says that if we have the slightest faith, we can move mountains. If we are persitent in prayer, it will be answered. If we ask, we shall receive. Is this 'positive thinking?' Is having faith in something, or praying and believing it will happen, 'positive thinking?" What are your thoughts on this?
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« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2013, 04:58:14 PM »

Christ says that if we have the slightest faith, we can move mountains. If we are persitent in prayer, it will be answered. If we ask, we shall receive. Is this 'positive thinking?' Is having faith in something, or praying and believing it will happen, 'positive thinking?" What are your thoughts on this?

I would think so. Nothing wrong with having an upbeat way of thinking.
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« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2013, 05:31:06 PM »

I'm asking because, although I believe the NT and its words are the truest and the most correct words ever spoken/written, I don't really understand why I find it difficult to REALLY apply them to my every day life. I find myself looking for books on self-confidence, positive thinking, whereas the only book I need is my Bible. I guess what really attracts me to these other books is how they exactly take a concept and somehow apply it to each person's individual circumstance. But I've realized, so does the Bible and Christ's words!! Why, then, I still have difficulty applying His words to my every day life and ways of thought is hard for me to say....
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« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2013, 05:47:40 PM »

Since positive thinking doesn't do much and it is contraindicated for certain folks vulnerable to persistent negative thoughts, I hope not.
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« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2013, 05:57:10 PM »

'positive thinking' says 'if it's good and you want it, then go and get it'.
the Bible says 'if it's God's will (He knows best what you need) then pray for it and be patient until you receive it'.
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« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2013, 06:00:53 PM »

'positive thinking' says 'if it's good and you want it, then go and get it'.
the Bible says 'if it's God's will (He knows best what you need) then pray for it and be patient until you receive it'.

Thanks for this. It does make sense to me.
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« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2013, 07:25:24 PM »

'positive thinking' says 'if it's good and you want it, then go and get it'.
the Bible says 'if it's God's will (He knows best what you need) then pray for it and be patient until you receive it'.
This does help me from being disappointed when certain things don't happen. Thanks for the remider.
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« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2013, 09:05:41 PM »

Christ says that if we have the slightest faith, we can move mountains. If we are persitent in prayer, it will be answered. If we ask, we shall receive. Is this 'positive thinking?' Is having faith in something, or praying and believing it will happen, 'positive thinking?" What are your thoughts on this?

I would think so. Nothing wrong with having an upbeat way of thinking.

I would even go as far to say that "positive thinking" is a step towards believing.  Positive thinking is of an opinion that it could happen, while believing states that it will happen if it is God's will.

Only few times I remember believing without a doubt that "it" will happen. One such occasion was when I was sick, (it was serious and possibly could have become deadly)...and through prayer was healed.
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« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2013, 12:23:00 AM »

Focus on the positive. This is different from trying to conjure up positive thoughts out of thin air. I think this is the fundamental difference. As Orthodox Christians, we don't chant mantras and sit upon mountain tops in order to attain "positive thoughts." We live rooted in reality. And our reality is that Christ is both crucified and risen. So, we don't try to ignore or escape our negative feelings. But in the midst of our difficulties, we always focus on the ultimate reality that Christ is risen. And He is only risen because He was crucified. The promise of the Gospel is not that we will feel better; the promise of the Gospel is that our suffering is ultimately redemptive.



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« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2013, 06:54:46 AM »

Our faith and hope in God go beyond positive thinking because we rely on a God who loves us and wants and can help us. I recommend this article from my blog: http://romanianorthodoxyinenglish.blogspot.ro/2013/02/be-in-state-of-continous-presence-and.html
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« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2013, 12:55:29 PM »

Thank you to all. You have given me much to think about. But also, how and if we need to be proactive in attainning things. Is just faith enough?
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« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2013, 02:42:48 PM »


Thank you to all. You have given me much to think about. But also, don't we need to be proactive in attainning things? Is just faith enough?
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« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2013, 11:41:40 AM »


Thank you to all. You have given me much to think about. But also, don't we need to be proactive in attainning things? Is just faith enough?


Tough question I think. We have faith because we believe that we cannot accomplish anything (good) without God and that includes being proactive. So, it's all about what God wants to work through us. Personally, I believe that it's better to have total faith in God and admit that you are nothing without Him than to do a billion works that lead you to believe that you are something by yourself and that people have benefited tremendously from you. After all, that's the essence of salvation -- to obtain The Grace of The Holy Spirit, to purify yourself, your will and unite it to God's. If you are strong enough to lock yourself from the world and all you do is ask for The Grace of The Holy Spirit, you will receive it and then God will work through you what He wants. Don't be afraid to renounce the world if you do it with a pure and simple purpose -- salvation. This world and our bodies will surely perish against our will, but our souls are immortal through God's Grace.
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« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2013, 05:27:23 PM »

In my opinion positive thinking with chrisitan goals is a right way to God. Moreover negative thinking could lead to despondency and could be act destructively.
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« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2013, 05:32:59 PM »

The only thing you truly have any control over is how you react to the situations you are presented with.  If you react to things negatively then God is just a big ole meanie most of the time.  If you accept your lot as it is, if you realize that life can always be worse, and thank God for the blessings He has given you, then I think the Orthodox way will be much easier to follow.
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« Reply #15 on: March 08, 2013, 07:11:34 PM »

Positive thinking means speaking and acting in a manner which is forward-looking, -produces results.
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« Reply #16 on: March 08, 2013, 07:22:10 PM »

Positive Thinking as presented by the late Norman Vincent Peale is considered to be a heresy. This was told to me by a Priest in the Greek Orthodox Church (GOARCH).

Furthermore, Positive Thinking tries to see good everywhere it can be found, even in Buddhism or Islam. It also advocates a kind of "I'm good, you're good" indifference. It is a form of Ecumenism.
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« Reply #17 on: March 08, 2013, 07:37:51 PM »

Positive Thinking as presented by the late Norman Vincent Peale is considered to be a heresy. This was told to me by a Priest in the Greek Orthodox Church (GOARCH).

Furthermore, Positive Thinking tries to see good everywhere it can be found, even in Buddhism or Islam. It also advocates a kind of "I'm good, you're good" indifference. It is a form of Ecumenism.
I told my dad my boss was "a terrible human being".

And he said in reply "Isn't that being a little harsh?"

Well I would have like to have something even worse, but yeah this whole positive thinking is ridiculous.

There are good and bad people in this world.
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« Reply #18 on: March 08, 2013, 08:45:18 PM »

Positive Thinking tries to see good everywhere it can be found, even in Buddhism or Islam.

Trying to see the GOOD everywhere? Even in other religions and cultures and stuff?! Anathema!
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« Reply #19 on: March 09, 2013, 02:08:46 AM »

To see good everywhere is something that Christians should practice. God works everywhere and we need to see it and be grateful. Also, it would be a lie to say that good is not mostly everywhere, in whatever quantity, or to believe that we are totally corrupt as a humanity. To accept or to promote other religions on the grounds that there is good in them is a different matter, one that has to do with making the truth relative, especially when we have it whole in the form of Orthodoxy. The problem is not the good that we have in common, but the bad that we don't.
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« Reply #20 on: March 09, 2013, 12:16:50 PM »

You all know about this book Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives by Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnika.

A positive attitude is a wonderful way of life to cultivate.  It demonstrates faith in God and just generally rejoices in life, knowing that God is in control.  This is not Norman Pealism that rejoices in evil, though, but is an attitude of inner and outer cheerfulness that says with God, all things are possible.
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« Reply #21 on: March 09, 2013, 12:22:28 PM »

To see good everywhere is something that Christians should practice. God works everywhere and we need to see it and be grateful.
No problem whatsoever with these words, or the general thrust of your points.

Quite apart from all that, I, as at least one other above, find myself equating "Positive Thinking" with Norman Vincent Peale's "The Power of Positive Thinking" which never impressed me much even during my Protestant days. It comes across to me as seeking salvation through our positive thoughts. So the phrase itself has some uncomfortable baggage for me.

Now, if the original question had been something like "Positive Attitude...Is that the Orthodox Way?" I would have a different answer  Wink.
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« Reply #22 on: March 09, 2013, 12:46:11 PM »

I think I know the type of positive thinking that rightfully worries people: when you tell yourself that everything is good and all you need to do is think positively. In fact, I have encountered many people including myself in the past, particularly in New Age circles, who are not willing to consider that evil is even a remote possibility and that everything is matter of changing oneself given the right opportunity (even if this very change of self testifies that there is evil). I believe that one of Christianity's strong points is that it admits that there is evil in the world and even evil people. This is both true and necessary if you are to heal it or even have to be confronted with it (such as with enemies).
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« Reply #23 on: March 09, 2013, 02:52:56 PM »

I think I know the type of positive thinking that rightfully worries people: when you tell yourself that everything is good and all you need to do is think positively. In fact, I have encountered many people including myself in the past, particularly in New Age circles, who are not willing to consider that evil is even a remote possibility and that everything is matter of changing oneself given the right opportunity (even if this very change of self testifies that there is evil). I believe that one of Christianity's strong points is that it admits that there is evil in the world and even evil people. This is both true and necessary if you are to heal it or even have to be confronted with it (such as with enemies).

Okay, so I'll remember that next time I'm happy about something. No smiling!
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« Reply #24 on: March 09, 2013, 04:46:59 PM »

Positive thinking isn`t a subject of denomination and could be used for different people in different ways.
We must think positive and avoid despondency as much as we could, but we must thinks positevly in context of orthodox faith.
It`s a good positive thinking if we think that our world is a good creation of God, but we have to overcome destructive positive thinking when we think positively about our dark sins. We could think in such a manner when our dark sins isn`t visible for us and covered by our "good" works.
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« Reply #25 on: March 10, 2013, 03:29:36 PM »

Positive Thinking as presented by the late Norman Vincent Peale is considered to be a heresy. This was told to me by a Priest in the Greek Orthodox Church (GOARCH).

Furthermore, Positive Thinking tries to see good everywhere it can be found, even in Buddhism or Islam. It also advocates a kind of "I'm good, you're good" indifference. It is a form of Ecumenism.

I disagree.  Some may (ab)use it in such manner, but that is not what is stands for.  Positive (Orthodox) thinking (or outlook on life) indicates a willingness to improve (oneself or the situation).  It does not say that certain teachings are 'ok' (or acceptable)...instead it says that there are good people "even" amongst those who have incorrect teachings...

Another example: an individual with positive thinking (founded in God) who lost a loved one will not blame God or others for the death of the dear ones, but will instead be happy that such an individual is not suffering anymore (if that dead person was sick) or that perhaps there is something that an individual can learn from this process.

I am sure we all remember from the OT what type of "positive thinking" Job had after losing children and all the wealth which he acquired...He did not despair or question God's judgment but instead said that if it is God's will let it be...God does not wish to do us harm...People of faith try to see a bigger picture and that positive thinking is a result of belief in God..

So positive thinking is acceptable as long as it is rooted in God not outside of Him...


ADDITION: Teachings about positive thinking outside of Christ are abstract can lead towards a wrong path...I have seen numerous examples of such which propagate the power of thought where on can imagine (let's say) of having a big house 3 BMWs millions of dollars...that has nothing to do with a positive thinking even though that is how some wished to portray it.  Such ideas are not rooted in a better life because that is not the essence of life...Life does not improve but simply having a "positive thinking" if we exclude God our of that equation...I repeat such teaching (without Christ) are dangerous because they involve "dark forces"...as someone mentioned reading "Our thoughts determine our lives" by Starets Pajsije provides a bit more depth about that subject...
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« Reply #26 on: March 10, 2013, 04:19:17 PM »

It also advocates a kind of "I'm good, you're good" indifference. It is a form of Ecumenism.

It might be heresy but it most certainly isn't Ecumenism. Ecumenism is not about "I'm good, you're good" and other such nonsense.
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« Reply #27 on: March 10, 2013, 04:42:23 PM »

Since positive thinking doesn't do much and it is contraindicated for certain folks vulnerable to persistent negative thoughts, I hope not.
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« Reply #28 on: March 11, 2013, 11:52:04 AM »

I mada a mistake, the book is "Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives: The Life and Teachings of Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica " not by Pajsije

The link is http://www.amazon.com/Our-Thoughts-Determine-Lives-Teachings/dp/1887904190/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1363017381&sr=8-1&keywords=out+thoughts+determine+our+lives
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« Reply #29 on: March 11, 2013, 12:13:55 PM »

You all know about this book Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives by Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnika.

A positive attitude is a wonderful way of life to cultivate.  It demonstrates faith in God and just generally rejoices in life, knowing that God is in control.  This is not Norman Pealism that rejoices in evil, though, but is an attitude of inner and outer cheerfulness that says with God, all things are possible.

Actually I have this book and I've read it. I will read it again b/c I can't remember much of it.
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« Reply #30 on: March 11, 2013, 12:24:17 PM »

To see good everywhere is something that Christians should practice. God works everywhere and we need to see it and be grateful.
Quite apart from all that, I, as at least one other above, find myself equating "Positive Thinking" with Norman Vincent Peale's "The Power of Positive Thinking" which never impressed me much even during my Protestant days. It comes across to me as seeking salvation through our positive thoughts. So the phrase itself has some uncomfortable baggage for me.

i have read NVP's book, Power of Positive Thinking, and from a religious point of view, he quotes the Bible well and applies it to every day life. However last year, I met up with my priest & I mentioned to him that I've read this book, and my priest wasn't really encouranging to me about reading it - he told me to avoid that author. I can't really remember what he said as to why - something about misinterpretation? I can't remember!!

But aside from Peale not being Christian Orthodox (and I do remember reading that he didn't like the Catholic chuurch either) why would my priest  be so adament about me not reading his books? Is it simply because Peale is more opinionated in his writing?

Same thing with that evangelicalist Joel Osteen? How would you characterize him in comparrison to our Orthodox Christianity?
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« Reply #31 on: March 11, 2013, 02:12:08 PM »

I think there's two different ideas about positive thinking:

1. Magical thinking,  which says if you think positive thoughts you will get what you want.  You don't need to be a Christian, even, just someone who clears their minds of negativity.  Into this category would fall the Name It and Claim It Pentecostals.  It probably includes Norman Vincent Peale, but I have not read him so can't say for sure.  It probably includes that famous old book "Think and Grow Rich."

2. Having a positive, cheerful attitude of life that says "With God, all things are possible."  It is an attitude that sees the best in all people but still flees from evil. It is an attitude that rejoices in the Lord always,  even if the situation is dire.

Number 2 is Orthodox,  Number 1 is not.  The Orthodox view believes that God is in control and if we are walking with Him, we will be fine, no matter what scary thing we read on the internet or watch on the news.  It produces a godly serenity in the person who sees the world in this way.
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« Reply #32 on: March 11, 2013, 02:26:29 PM »

Same thing with that evangelicalist Joel Osteen? How would you characterize him in comparrison to our Orthodox Christianity?

Avoid him and his wife.  They were major proponents of the "prosperity gospel" in the last decade.  Now, they promote "hope" for those in poverty.
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« Reply #33 on: March 11, 2013, 02:38:31 PM »

What is "Positive Thinking"?  The saints and elders speak a lot about thoughts, the importance of discrimination and discernment of thoughts, of confessing our sinful thoughts, of "shooting down" thoughts from the demons through prayer, etc.  But what constitutes the "positive" thoughts that we should cultivate, and what constitutes "negative" thoughts that we should avoid?  For the answer to this, we can and should only turn to the Fathers and to a good spiritual father who is patristically-grounded.  Any non-Orthodox source will speak of "good" and "bad", of "positive" and "negative", according to a completely different belief system and mindset than what is found in the Fathers, and so their teachings regarding "positive thinking" will inevitably lead a person astray.

As an example, some Protestants teach that once you "believe in Christ" you receive the Holy Spirit and are saved for all eternity.  Now, any thought that would cause them to wonder or question whether indeed they have the Holy Spirit and are actually guaranteed salvation is, to them, considered "from the Enemy" and therefore "negative."  They may counter such "negative" thoughts with verses from Scripture which they (falsely) interpret to justify their belief that they have received the Holy Spirit and are guaranteed salvation.  However, the belief upon which their faith is based is false, and therefore from the Evil One.  The question as to whether or not they have actually received the Holy Spirit and are truly guaranteed salvation is a good thought, which if reflected upon, could lead them to understand how in fact one receives the Holy Spirit and how in fact one can find salvation.  So, for them, a thought that could be positive is considered negative, and the thought that they believe is positive is actually a lie from the Father of Lies.  Darkness is considered light and light is considered darkness.

Most "positive thinking" as it is advocated outside of Orthodoxy is simply a form of pagan self-worship, and many Evangelical Protestants have adopted this form of self-hypnosis by which they convince themselves of falsehoods in order to remain perpetually "happy" in this world.  Convincing one's self of falsehoods leads a person deeper into delusion, however cheerful they may believe themselves to be.  We may think things that are true, that "God loves us", that "God has blessed us with so many things", and that "God wants to give us the absolute best"; but if God's desire to bless us is understood materially or this-worldly rather than in a spiritual manner, it results in living completely opposite from the ascetical manner that Christ calls us to.  Similarly, if we repeat the "positive thought" that "all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28), we may avoid reflecting on whether we actually do love God, for it is also said that "this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments" (1 John 5:3).  Taking one verse as the object of our "positive thinking" exercise, then, may lead us into delusion if we are convincing ourselves that all will "work together for good" for us and we are not at the same time struggling to "keep His commandments".   

In Orthodoxy, there is a need to cultivate the "sorrow leading to repentance" (2 Corinthians 7:10).  The Fathers often comment on the importance of meditating upon death and the fearful Final Judgment.  They say that before saying the Jesus Prayer, or other prayers, it is helpful to reflect on our sins and the torment that awaits us if we do not repent, so that we might think more soberly and pray more sincerely from the heart.  Yet, at the same time, we must not dwell on such thoughts to the point of despair.  So, we need guidance in how to approach our thoughts to know when "negative" thoughts should be reflected upon for the sake of humility and sobriety, and when "positive" thoughts are needed for the sake of avoiding despair.  No non-Orthodox person could ever help a person to address this in the right way.  For most Protestants, for instance, all such thoughts about our sins and of eternal torment are considered "negative" and to be avoided. 

Again, outside of Orthodoxy are completely different notions of what constitutes "positive" and "negative" thoughts, so if one wants to live in an Orthodox manner, following the teachings of the saints, all such non-patristic teachings concerning "positive thinking" should be avoided like the plague.
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« Reply #34 on: March 11, 2013, 03:57:43 PM »

No offense, but this whole "positive thinking" thing sounds a lot like the heathen self-fulfilled prophecy concept--which was very widespread amongst pagans and to this day is very popular in New Age groups.
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« Reply #35 on: March 11, 2013, 04:18:23 PM »

Christ says that if we have the slightest faith, we can move mountains. If we are persitent in prayer, it will be answered. If we ask, we shall receive. Is this 'positive thinking?' Is having faith in something, or praying and believing it will happen, 'positive thinking?" What are your thoughts on this?

I would think so. Nothing wrong with having an upbeat way of thinking.


Maybe, maybe not.

Quote
Pessimists live longer, study shows
Older people who look on the darker side of life tend to live longer than optimists, who in turn face an increased risk of illness and mortality, a new study by a German research institute found Thursday.

Researchers in Germany and Switzerland found that older people who believe their life satisfaction will be above average in future face a 10-percent higher mortality risk or are more likely to develop physical health problems, the DIW think-tank said.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130228/pessimists-live-longer-study-shows
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« Reply #36 on: March 11, 2013, 04:30:29 PM »

So bad news for Osteen then?
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« Reply #37 on: March 11, 2013, 05:47:02 PM »

Okay, so I'll feel crappy all the time. Thanks a lot, Orthodoxy!
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« Reply #38 on: March 11, 2013, 06:01:54 PM »

Yeah, regarding Osteem, though he has a way with words and such, something about him screams "brainwashing." What really draws me near is how they quote the Bible (NT) in such a way that it can be applied to YOUR specific situation in life.

For example, the Bible/Christ says: "The things which are impossible for man, are possible for God."
Osteen: Stop focusing on what you can't do and start focusing on what God can do.

Someone, tell me what is wrong with his interpretation of that Bible's verse. Is it off? Is it wrong, too far-fetched? What?
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« Reply #39 on: March 12, 2013, 03:18:14 AM »

Well ... Joel Olsteen seems to think very selfishly about how God works in your life right.

It is magical thinking to think that because you take yourself out of an equation that God will then (being Santa Claus) make it happen.

So really YOU are making it happen by not trying to make it happen - YOU get what YOU want by letting God move the mountain for YOU.

It's a self centered selfish way ... my personal God will intervene and make all the traffic lights green kind of thing.

It pervades televangelists, new age book writers (Depak Chopra anyone?).


Lord Jesus Christ , Son of the Living God, have mercy on me a sinner .... is foreign to these types.
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« Reply #40 on: March 12, 2013, 02:22:43 PM »

Okay, so I'll feel crappy all the time. Thanks a lot, Orthodoxy!

I knew that would cheer someone up  Grin Grin.
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"Sometimes you're the windshield.  Sometimes you're the bug." ~ Mark Knopfler (?)
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« Reply #41 on: March 12, 2013, 06:10:01 PM »

welcome, haydukovich, some good points there.
 Smiley
biro, u don't have to feel rubbish all the time!
(i realise u may not be 100% serious here, but i'll explain it anyway in case it helps);
if feel better by thinking about God and His love, confessing your sins and accepting His forgiveness, then it is more effective than trying to 'love yourself' better like in self help books.
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