Daily Devotional for Monday June 23, 2003

Oprah, Dr. Phil, Bill O'Reilly, Tony Robbins, and MANY others

( Colossians 2:8, 1 Timothy 1:7, 1 Timothy 4:1, Ephesians 4:14 )

***This is a Devotional that I wrote some time ago, but NEEDS to be repeated. Oprah was in Tampa, Florida for her, "Live Your Best Life Tour". Her message is that women can succeed through "spiritual" growth. The problem is, Oprah's brand of spiritual growth is NOT through Jesus Christ or the Bible, but a mixed bag of New Age concepts with a universalistic theology that "all good people will get to heaven."

Over the years, she has generated a cult following of women that I have yet to figure out. She is a role model for mothers, but has no children of her own. She "preaches" to her followers to find fulfillment outside of their job, yet is a workaholic herself. She tells others how to have a perfect marriage, yet she isn't married herself.

Oprah, Dr. Phil, Bill O'Reilly, Tony Robbins, and MANY others. This is one of the most important Devotionals that I could write, since it is a warning for you to be very aware of the information that you receive into your life each day. The people that I have listed all have large followings and many people are greatly influenced by what they have to say. The one common thread that runs through each of these names is that their beliefs, their thoughts, the things that they share are NOT solely based on the inspired, inerrant Word of God. Only the Bible represents Absolute Truth. It is our final authority in all matters.

Now I realize that because of their popularity, even amongst many who read this Devotional each day, some will be outraged that I had the audacity to use them as an example. They are just that, examples for the purpose of today's Devotional, which is to help you discern what people say, no matter how good it may sound, and line it up with what God says. I will ask you to do me one favor. Take the next 2-3 minutes, and read the 4 verses at the top that I used as the anchor verses for today's Devotional. These are VERY IMPORTANT verses and set the stage for what I want to share with you today.

Let me say that I am sure these are all fine people. I am not judging them since only God knows their heart. But it is perfectly correct for me to comment on the things that they say in public, in regard to how that lines up with God's Word. Oprah is a wonderful woman that has done incredible great things for many people. However, she has adopted a universalistic view on life that being good is all that it takes to get to Heaven. Dr. Phil is a good man, and much of his counsel is very sound. However, it is from a purely secular standpoint and not a Biblical one. Bill O'Reilly is a journalist, but from time to time shares his personal faith belief which again is a universalistic view of life that being a good person is all God requires. Tony Robbins mixes New Age spiritualism into his self help training that basically teaches all things are possible through ourselves.

Again, all 4 of these are no doubt wonderful, caring, loving, people. But be careful! Anyone can call themselves a Christian. Just because someone prays does not make them a Christian. Just because someone uses the "right words" does not make them a Christian. You will NEVER hear any of these people say that Jesus Christ is the only REAL answer, or that Jesus Christ is the Lord of my life. The fact is, being a "good person" will NOT get to Heaven. Ephesians 2:8,9 tells us specifically that it is NOT by works that we are saved, but by God's grace and our faith in Christ. Why Christ? Because of sin. It was God's plan, not mine, or anyone else's, to send Christ as the sacrifice for the sins of this world. That is why ONLY faith in Jesus Christ will save you.

The thing that we MUST be very careful of is allowing those in our popular culture to dictate how we think, how we view life itself. That can and must be shaped ONLY by the Word of God. The reason is obvious. God gave us each freewill. Because of freewill, we are able to formulate our own thoughts and ideas and believe whatever we want to believe. The obvious danger is that each person can then decide what is right and what is wrong. What may be right for one person, may be wrong for another. What is wrong for one person, may be right for another. It is chaos! We are each left up to our own imaginations and there is NO absolute right or wrong.

That is one reason God gave us His Word. So that we each don't have to try and figure out what is right and what is wrong. God's Word represents ABSOLUTE TRUTH, and is the final authority in all matters of life. Of course, people still have the freewill to decide for themselves what they want to believe, but just because someone decides to reject God's Word, makes it no less true.

I love you and care about you so much. The main thing that I want you to take from this Devotional today is to make sure that you carefully listen to what others say, and filter it through the truth of God's Word. Especially those that our popular culture has elevated to a certain status. This holds true when you are listening to men and women of God as well, INCLUDING WHAT I WRITE EACH DAY! Having an opinion on an issue is fine. The key however is what is that opinion based on, and is it in line with what God's Word says.

I will pray today that in the future, you will filter all that you hear and read, no matter who is saying it, through the Word of God. What a man or woman may say can be very interesting, but what God says is the absolute truth on which we can stake our very lives and eternal souls.

In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ, Bill Keller