Friday, January 16, 2015

I avidly used to watch Joel Osteen every week

Source
This is a testimony to the faithfulness of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said He would keep and protect His sheep, and He has done so with me.

He imparts spiritual life to the person who has faith in Jesus (2 Timothy 3:5; Ephesians 2:1; I John 5:11-12). He is the very Spirit of Truth,

that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. (John 14:17)

The Holy Spirit teaches us, and He has taught me faithfully since the moment of my conversion.



"These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you." (John 14:25-26).

I was saved at age 42. I lived in New England. I had gone though several years of a trial, and I reached my wit's end. Never had I not been able to figure things out myself, teach myself, handle things myself. But at rock bottom, I came to the realization that I couldn't. This was the Holy Spirit convicting me, and through His work, I realized I was a sinner. I had always thought I was a good person, but now I knew I was not good. All those Christians talking about Jesus were right! Only He could make me 'good' as I clumsily called my sin. I cried out to Jesus and I was saved.

New England is the most godless place in America.
A 2012 Gallup Poll found that the five least religious states in the country, based on the percentage of self-identified “very religious” Americans living there, are all in New England. Vermont is the least religious, followed immediately by New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. At number 11, Connecticut might as well be New England’s shining beacon of faith. (source)
The landing place of the Puritans has been ceded to the devil. What is it like to grow up in a place like that? It means a person can live and work and never see a bible. Never see someone reading it. Never hear the name "Jesus." Never go to a church. Never even have it cross your mind.

Oh, there were moments when I was stuffed into a Methodist church basement and given a workbook and gone through the motions in some weak accession to a pale and long evaporated cultural vapor. I remember guitars and sitting in a circle in a Unitarian church. One or two Catholic visits. But church, bible, religion was never part of a strong upbringing. It was decades-long self-glorification-fest punctuated by occasional spots of "religion." Sundays were for Sunday car rides to Newport, picnics, and be quiet because Dad was napping.

So when the conversion happened (2004) it was a few months before it even occurred to me to get a bible. I'd never even seen a bible store. A male friend had suggested "You ought to think about getting a bible." I was stumped. I didn't have a clue even to where to get one. I called a female friend, and 20 minutes later she arrived at my office door with one to give me. [Lesson for me: Always respond immediately to anyone asking about anything related to Jesus.]

I wasn't in a church yet.  I thought it was just as good to watch Joel Osteen. He was on TV during Sunday mornings at that time, in my area. 2004 was a big year for Osteen and Lakewood. I remember Joel speaking about how God was moving in their lives because after many bumps in the road, they had acquired the Compaq Center. I thought he must be a good preacher because of the size of the Lakewood's growing congregation and how much money was pouring in.

I remember settling in on my big couch, with a notebook, an unopened bible on the coffee table in
front of me. I felt very good that I never missed Joel. For the next 6 months, every Sunday, unopened bible, listening to speeches that made me feel very self-satisfied. The rest of the week I went on as before my conversion. Yet I felt I was now a religious person.

I'd scribble down the biblical addresses as Joel spoke, and after a few months I began a pattern of scanning back over what notes I'd written. I frowned, because they were scanty. Not just the notes, but I noticed that there weren't many biblical addresses jotted down. There is nothing like quantitative evidence staring you in the face.

So for the next few months I'd settle on the couch, still with a notebook, but this time with open bible, and listen religiously to Joel. Things went by too fast for me to both write and read the bible while he was speaking, so I'd jot down the main concepts in his speech. I had been an academic researcher and writer, and was at that time a journalist. I could grasp the main thought, and I paired it with every biblical address and reference Joel mentioned. I began to notice he mentioned people or events in the bible a lot, but not the address.

Screen capture from Osteen sermon,
audience repeating Osteen bible mantra

I began looking up the people and events he was mentioning in order to get a wider perspective. I used the internet for this, to Google names and events like this- "David, Saul, on the run." Remember, I was coming from a completely godless society, tabula rasa, babe in Christ by a few months. ALL this was new to me. I did not have a discipler and I was not in a church.

After some months, almost a year now, I noticed a distinct pattern in Joel's speeches. First, on the practical level, they were some of the best speeches I'd ever heard. The academic in me was interested in the high quality of their structure, the speech's cadence, and their obvious intent: to make you feel good. I was amazed Joel had the ability to sustain this same rhythm and cadence every week. When it came time for the inevitable moment of climax, I always knew at least 30 seconds prior. You can see it coming. You know what he is going to say at minute 15, minute 22. It was spell-binding. Emphasis on spell. The academic in me liked this. The growing Christian in me was put off by this. It was confusing.

I began to get a kind of mental queasy feeling. Things weren't adding up. Biblically, I mean. Rather than be carried along by the spell, it helped to have the notes, main ideas, and biblical addresses written down. This anchored me and kept me from being swept.

Meanwhile, the Spirit was doing a mighty work inside me. As He came to indwell my flesh, glimmers of holiness were growing. Tendrils of Holy Ghost smoke were encircling my mind, pushing away the pollution and giving it clearing from a lifetime of corruption.

After a while the Spirit had given me enough of a footing to be able to think about the verses as Joel was speaking. I distinctly remember the day that the Spirit's sun broke through my mind. I was listening to Joel, open bible on my lap, knowing by now thanks to the Spirit to read above and below the mentioned verse. Joel ramped up to one of his main points, mentioned the verse, and as I looked at the bible and then looked back up at Joel, I shouted out loud, "THAT'S NOT WHAT IT MEANS!"

Eleven years later I still remember how deeply betrayed I'd felt when that moment came. It was as if I was looking at the great gulf fixed itself. On the one hand I was looking at my bible and what it was saying, and on the other hand looking at Joel across the room in the TV saying what he says the bible says. The two didn't match up. I was shocked to the core and thoroughly horrified.

I remember muttering, "What a gyp." It was exactly like the scene in Wizard of Oz when the curtain was drawn back to reveal not a powerful being but a crumbly old man with a squeaky voice. What a gyp.

It was exactly like the scene in A Christmas Story when Ralphie eagerly used the secret decoder ring to decode the secret message from the Radio program and it turned out to be an ad for Ovaltine. Ralphie said, "A crummy commercial?" The moment on the couch was my Ovaltine moment.

It had never once occurred to me that a famous preacher, such a capable speaker, would not be able or willing to present biblical verses simply and with conviction, explaining what they meant. It wasn't a matter of his ignorance. No one can write such deft speeches week after week who didn't have some mental chops. The man is obviously intelligent. That he used his intelligence to obfuscate the Word rather than illuminate it was devastating to me. I felt unhinged. I was angry and felt personally betrayed.

The precious and wonderful Holy Spirit kept me growing from there. He grew me rapidly. The entire period was about a year and a half. A year of watching naively and a half year of growing discernment. I never looked back. I moved to the Bible Belt and got into a Baptist church. A good solid, little rural church that sings hymns and meets on Wednesday nights for supper, and who prays together and who really care.

I personally believe that not only did the Spirit hold me but He allowed this to happen in order to teach me discernment. I lived the entire discernment process from my conversion to the eventual epiphany. There were many lessons. This is all to God's glory and His Spirit who keeps us in His hand.
#5: False teachers obscure their false doctrine behind eloquent speech and what appears to be impressive logic. Just as a prostitute paints and perfumes herself to appear more attractive and more alluring, the false teacher hides his blasphemies and dangerous doctrine behind powerful arguments and eloquent use of language. He offers to his listeners the spiritual equivalent of a poisonous pill coated in gold; though it may appear beautiful and valuable, it is still deadly. Tim Challies, 7 Marks of a False Teacher

That thing Joel does at the beginning of each speech, where he holds the bible aloft and says the mantra "This is my Bible. I am what it says I am. I have what it says I have. I can do what it says I can do. Today I will be taught the Word of God. I boldly confess, my mind is alert, my heart is receptive. I will never be the same, in Jesus' name." It's brainwashing.

Source No Compromise Radio

Of course he has to brainwash us in saying 'we will be taught the word of God.' Because he doesn't. What he says and what he does doesn't match up. Lesson learned.

There are preachers out there who give speeches that they call sermons and say they're giving the truth but it's lies. That liars existed within a place they call the church was new news to me.

Large congregations and money pouring in and smooth talkers and popularity don't equate to meaningful biblical exposition. Lesson learned. Don't forget how easy it is for the babes in Christ to believe these things. Often, they don't talk about them but they believe them nonetheless. I was so naive.

For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. (Romans 16:18)

The key was, the absolute key, was that nothing happened to break me of Joel's spell until I opened the bible for myself.

Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. (Acts 17:11)

What a wonderful lessons the Spirit gave me. The lesson was that there is nothing like the bible to explain the bible, that there is nothing more precious than the Word of God. However, as precious as it is, the Word of God does no Christian any good if it stays unopened on the coffee table.

Discipling: it's critical. I was already older when I came to Christ, and then I went ahead and spent another year failing to glorify Him. I know that Jesus is in complete control and He allowed this for His reasons, but I still feel terrible of the wasted time.

Though this experience was ten and eleven years ago, I still remember the sense of personal betrayal and my spiritual horror when the scales fell from my eyes. The revulsion I felt was seeing that a person could use the bible for personal gain. This may seem a obvious conclusion to some people, but to a babe in Christ, this was a new thought. Oh, I knew there were religious charlatans out there, I saw their empires crumble all through the 1980s and '90s with the successive televangelist scandals. I thought Joel was good because no such scandal had happened and after all, he held up his bible.

I have a sense of righteous anger over Osteen, a feeling of repugnance and hatred for what he does in God's name. I feel the same about Beth Moore and what she does to women in God's name. I agonize in white-hot fervency when I see those two do what they do to pollute, cast mud on Jesus' name, draw away the babes, use God's word for personal gain. I also feel a sense of relief and gratitude to the Holy Spirit, my Savior and Holy Father for allowing me that season of following a false teacher so I could repent and love Him even more. I went through a season of undiscernment-to-discernment very quickly. I still stand amazed at the power of the Spirit to clear my mind and illuminate the Word so clearly and powerfully. I am in awe of His power. I am eternally grateful for His ministry.

Now you know why I always urge prayer. Now you know why I always urge us to stay in the Word. I'm not immune to life's distractions. I include myself in that urging.

In Galatians 5:12 Paul was urging the people in the Galatian church to beware of the circumcision group, who said one must be circumcised to be fully in the faith. Paul said,

"I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!"

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary explains,

"were even cut off—even as they desire your foreskin to be cut off and cast away by circumcision, so would that they were even cut off from your communion, being worthless as a castaway foreskin (Ga 1:7, 8; compare Php 3:2). ... if circumcision be not enough for them, then let them have excision also; an outburst hardly suitable to the gravity of an apostle. But Ga 5:9, 10 plainly point to excommunication as the judgment threatened against the troublers: and danger of the bad "leaven" spreading, as the reason for it."

Rough speech about these usurpers? Pitched holy anger? Yes. Just as it should be.

In Titus 1:11, we read of false teachers,

They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach.

The Commentary again, explains that silencing them means "mouths ... stopped—literally, "muzzled," "bridled" as an unruly beast (compare Ps 32:9)."

Alternately, seeing the purity of the Holy Spirit and His gentle leading me away from such unruly beasts, these dogs who must be muzzled, is so awe-inspiring. The Light the Spirit brings to the Word, His answer to prayer for discernment, His keeping us in Jesus hand, pointing to Jesus always, oh, what glory and blessing.

He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. (John 16:14)

He does, dear brethren, He does. This is my testimony of discernment.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Further Reading

What is the Role of the Holy Spirit Today?

The Ministry of the Holy Spirit

January 2014: Watch Joel Osteen on 'Larry King Now' to Learn Why Megachurch Pastor Attracts Muslim and Atheist Followers
Larry King: Osteen has largest church, 10 million people see Osteen on TV every week, his broadcast is in 100 countries, 10.5 million people download the podcast every week, the arena itself has 16,000 seats.


18 comments :

  1. I too was under so much false teaching. Praise God for His constant rescue! Thank you for sharing.

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  2. Indeed, thank you for sharing Elizabeth! I know far too many who are under the sway of this man! From my Church of Christ friend who's had way too much negativity sown into her life (likes the "fuzzy warmth ~ "feel good" of Joel)... to my incredibly SIN SICK brother who indulges in the sin of the month club and likes to listen to Joel for all the $$ promises that can come your way!

    The "joy boys club" is what the late Adrian Rogers called this charismatic baloney!

    Thanks for telling us about how Joel's "mantra" is basically brainwashing!

    I am SOO thrilled you got into the Word!!

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  3. God's Plan is the right thing, in the right way, at the right time. You have no wasted years at all. Enjoyed reading your testimony early this morning. A great start to my day.

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  4. Praise the Lord, Elizabeth! Thank you for sharing your story with us, what a powerful testimony of the Holy Spirit's work! You said "I still feel terrible of the wasted time". I do not believe it was time wasted. The Lord was writing your story-His story. He was preparing you for your ministry to us through your blog. I am thankful for that. If someone as discerning as you, started out under Joel Osteen.......I don't know of a more dramatic display of the Holy Spirits work than that! If people wonder if He is at work today, they only need read an account like yours. Thanks for sharing.
    -Jennifer

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  5. Thank you so much for that testimony. Your words bear a lot more weight than someone like me who's tried to watch Joel and can't last for five minutes :-) Of course, there was a time in my life where he probably would have appealed to me. I haven't become aware of him until my discernment meter was up and running.

    I've shared before how I have FB friends who are not Christian but who will share Joel's blurbs because his words are inspirational, positive, encouraging, and palatable to everyone. They don't mention Jesus, sin, repentance, holiness, or anything like that. Joel's nothing but a cheerleader for the human race--rah rah rah, go you good person go! Just think this way, do that thing, buy my books, watch my show, follow me on Facebook and your life will be peachy keen smooth sailing.

    What baffles me, though, is that I know people who are otherwise mature Christians, strong in their faith, who follow Joel. My brother-in-law is a case in point. He is a leader in the church, lives his faith boldly, yet has fallen into the 'positive thinking' mindset that Joel teaches. I find it difficult to reconcile how a man who says that every Sunday morning before church he watches Charles Stanley, David Jeremiah, and Joel, then comes to church and hears a solid, biblically based, expository sermon by our pastor can listen to Joel and think there's godly teaching there. I can only pray my Christian friends who follow Joel will have their eyes, hearts, and minds opened as yours was.

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  6. Thanks for sharing that! I've never watched him, but the opening mantra you posted reminds me of Beth Moore's 5 point spiel that opens all her "Believing God" sessions.

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  7. You mentioned that you moved from New England to the Bible Belt. Was this an intentional move based on strengthening your spiritual life? Or were there other factors that made you move? I live in California and many times I wish that I could leave this very secular, liberal state. But it seems to be where God wants me for now. Just curious if you have found "the grass to be greener" so to speak, where you live now. Thanks, I really enjoy your blog.

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    1. Hello Anonymous,

      It was an intentional move but it was Jesus who intended to strengthen my spiritual life. I see in hindsight that New England's churches are so faulty with few good ones far away from where I'd been living that I'd likely not have grown.

      I moved for my personal reasons that I wanted a warmer climate. The Lord knew the rest and performed it. I'm so grateful

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    2. Just wanted to chime in Anonymous & let you know that the Bible Belt is not all it's cracked up to be! Because we live in the last HOURS (not days) ~ then the Laodecian age abounds EVERYWHERE!!! Elizabeth's church sounds spot-on and my fleshly nature instantly (for a sec anyway) got jealous in a sense, as I so desire the same thing. My experience though however? Fortunately I grew up in the "little brown church in the dell" b/c THESE DAYS? All I can find are social "country clubs" that preach a WATERED DOWN GOSPEL!!! And are gossips and busy bodies in everybody's affairs. Oh they'll gladly smile to your face, then take 2 steps away and knife you in the back. It's just people who make up the church but let me tell you, many of them are hungry with power and will pull the power plays every time!

      And though I don't know which part of CA you're in, I have an incredible Jesus loving, worshipping, rapture watching friend near Sacramento, so there are some true Christians here and there. I tend to think that's how the Lord intended it, so that even few in number, yet in this very, very dark world, it causes our lights to shine even brighter! Think of a brilliant twinkling star on a deep, dark night.

      Yet if you do need Christian fellowship, pray about it and the Lord can providentially guide the right people into your life. Please pray the same for me; I've lost many and really need and want true Christians in my life, I appreciate it!

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    3. Hi Reva, I love my church but it's not perfect. Our former pastor was STRONGLY URGED to leave because it was discovered that for at least 4 years straight, every sermon he preached was plagiarized. It was a traumatic thing, for such a weighty and deep sin to appear in our little church. Then we spent almost year and a half without a senior pastor while the pulpit committee got gathered, trained and interviewed candidates. We have had our new pastor now for 5 months and he and his family is striving to build relationship with us and us with him, and to blend in and lead us rightly.

      Meanwhile we have the same smaller problems as everyone else, but the thing I love about our church is that we really do strive to be biblical. We stumble but we try to face things head on and lovingly. That is the difference.

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    4. Oh Elizabeth, I wasn't REALLY "jealous" ~ too strong of a word!! Actually after I got past that (one second later) ~ I actually gave thanks to the Lord that you ARE in a good, wholesome BIBLICAL church!!!! Amen!!

      Yes, sadly, I do recall the saga at your church.

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    5. @ Reva, if the churches in Revelation were really different ages, it seems quite likely that this would be the Thyatiran church:

      "Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow[m] that woman[n] Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce[o] My servants ..."

      Beth Moore? She Reads Truth? Joyce Meyer? Anyone?

      This is why I believe seeing the churches in Revelation as distinct ages is not the wisest interpretation. It seems that they are literal churches, which nevertheless represent characteristics of local churches all over the globe that have existed throughout history and in various places today.

      ~~

      @ Anonymous, there are many things you can do in California. I know that John MacArthur's church is located there, as is Living Waters/Way of the Master with Ray Comfort. What you might not have considered is that because California is a more liberal state, there have been more court battles over religious liberty on the state level there, and consequently there are more protections for things like public evangelism than there may be in other places, even in the Bible Belt.

      In other words, no place will be perfect, and if you are unable to move, consider looking for the things that are positive about where you are for encouragement, and do what you can to work for God's kingdom where you happen to be.

      I also want to move away from where I live, but am unable for financial reasons. So I'm doing what I can in my limited capacity (blogging, tracting, participating in my local church, trying to influence the people around me, and meanwhile, working diligently as for the Lord and not for men), until such a time as my hopes for the near future might align with God's sovereign plan.

      I'm not here for myself, but to do the will of the Master. So I'm not preoccupied with personal improvement except for the purpose of serving my future family, the Church, etc through whatever wealth I might gain. I encourage others to have similar goals in mind.

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  8. For Anonymnous or Adam or anyone considering a move, even though I'm not planning a move I found this linked from Cnallies blog, to be very interesting and helpful.

    2 Principles to Consider if You Are Planning to Move: Advice to a Mobile Society
    http://biblicalcounselingcoalition.org/blogs/2015/01/19/2-principles-to-consider-if-you-are-planning-to-move-advice-to-a-mobile-society/

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  9. Hello Elizabeth -
    This so resounded with me, as when I was first saved...I was sucked in for about a year to the likes of Osteen...Hinn...Duplantis...Copeland...sigh. Praise God that he put you and your blog in my path - because it was from you that I first heard of John MacArthur, Justin Peters, Todd Friel and true men of God who fight that nonsense. Thank you so much for sharing your discernment, as painful as it was then for me to hear. I remember getting really defensive when I first heard their message - because how could those great men like Osteen etc be wrong??? Purposefully wrong??? We were attending a Bible study at a Word church at that time, and that was the toughest - as the people were really wonderful. I knew we could not continue. The Holy Spirit was working in me then as well, and my final moment came when I was in the other room and had Benny Hinn on TBN. I thought I heard him say "If you don't call in "x amount of donation" right now, your grandchildren will die." I thought I MUST have heard that wrong, and went in and sure enough, he said it again. TBN went off. My 10 and 12 year old still like to give me a hard time, even though it's been a couple of years, and say "Mom, remember when we had to watch Joel Osteen?" Thankful every day the the Holy Spirit moved us far past that. Take care-
    Heather

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    1. Hi Heather,

      As embarrassing as it is to reflect on our past missteps (like when the kids tease you or I remember my 'SUnday services' on the couch) it's a great testimony of the Spirit when I see where I was in the faith and where He has brought me now. It is also one of the reasons I answer people who ask, 'is it possible to stay under a false teacher and be a real convert?' with the answer NO. The Spirit who indwells would not stand for false teaching for very long, not when His ministry is to point to Jesus. He'd never stand for one of Jesus' sheep being pointed AWAY from Him.

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    2. Hi again Elizabeth- I have wondered that as well - if you can really be saved and stay under that type of false teaching. I agree that the Spirit that indwells us would not allow it for long. I have some wonderful friends who fully believe they are saved, and get very protective/defensive about their "anointed ones" in the Word of Faith movement...makes me so sad for them. They have no desire to hear the truth. I find it is still a process on occasion (and probably always will be), that someone that I enjoy listening to have had some type of issue arise (lately it seems to be people suddenly embracing Hebrew Roots!) and I must step away from them. The Word of God has to be more important than the words of men but sadly it seems in cases like these people prefer to hear the "fluffy good feelings" of these men instead of what the Bible says. I have also wondered if it is a pride issue - if people can't bear to think they've been hoodwinked? I fully admit that I was for awhile, and have repented of it. Thanks again-

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  10. Elizabeth, thank you for sharing all this. Our pasts are eerily similar. I could write a comment a page long telling you how similar. But, suffice it to say, our Lord has used you mightily to steer people in the right direction. I had the same experience as Heather - listening to false teachers after the Lord saved me (I was 40) and then stumbling upon your blog and being introduced to sound teachers and warned about others. Isnt' it
    amazing how He turns things the enemy meant for evil into something wonderful? God bless you Elizabeth and may God help me to be as bold as you are. Take care, Diana.

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  11. I WAS BRAINWASHED BY JOEL OSTEEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This is disgusting I attended this desecrate place, I cannot believe it! I have never felt so sickened, my heart in actually wrenching. After recently being baptized into a Pentecostal church my eyes have been opened a million fold! I cannot believe how brainwashed I was I started to think God was everything and i could "manifest my own reality" and that Jesus was just a nice story to control the masses. I seriously believed this stuff, Oh lord I am so thankful the Holy spirit has been with me since my youth. Just like in Psalms 71 Psalm 71
    1 In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
    let me never be put to shame.
    2 In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me;
    turn your ear to me and save me.
    3 Be my rock of refuge,
    to which I can always go;
    give the command to save me,
    for you are my rock and my fortress.
    4 Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked,
    from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel.
    5 For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord,
    my confidence since my youth.
    6 From birth I have relied on you;
    you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.
    I will ever praise you.
    7 I have become a sign to many;
    you are my strong refuge.
    8 My mouth is filled with your praise,
    declaring your splendor all day long.
    9 Do not cast me away when I am old;
    do not forsake me when my strength is gone.
    10 For my enemies speak against me;
    those who wait to kill me conspire together.
    11 They say, “God has forsaken him;
    pursue him and seize him,
    for no one will rescue him.”
    12 Do not be far from me, my God;
    come quickly, God, to help me.
    13 May my accusers perish in shame;
    may those who want to harm me
    be covered with scorn and disgrace.
    14 As for me, I will always have hope;
    I will praise you more and more.
    15 My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds,
    of your saving acts all day long—
    though I know not how to relate them all.
    16 I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign Lord;
    I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone.
    17 Since my youth, God, you have taught me,
    and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.
    18 Even when I am old and gray,
    do not forsake me, my God,
    till I declare your power to the next generation,
    your mighty acts to all who are to come.
    19 Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens,
    you who have done great things.
    Who is like you, God?
    20 Though you have made me see troubles,
    many and bitter,
    you will restore my life again;
    from the depths of the earth
    you will again bring me up.
    21 You will increase my honor
    and comfort me once more.
    22 I will praise you with the harp
    for your faithfulness, my God;
    I will sing praise to you with the lyre,
    Holy One of Israel.
    23 My lips will shout for joy
    when I sing praise to you—
    I whom you have delivered.
    24 My tongue will tell of your righteous acts
    all day long,
    for those who wanted to harm me
    have been put to shame and confusion.

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