Daily Devotional for Wednesday November 12, 2003

Keep focused on THE man, and never A man

(John 13:12-17, Hebrews 12:2, 1 Peter 2:21)

Keep focused on THE man, and never A man. One of the major complaints of non-believers is that Christians are hypocrites. Those who don't even know the great stories of the Bible, can tell you in great detail the stories of Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, and the preacher down the street who ran off with his secretary. It is one of the most common objections of someone who has rejected Christ and the truth of God's Word. They say that they would be a Christian, but those who claim to be a Christian don't act like a Christian should act. I am sure there were many in the first days of the church who said, "I would be a Christian, but look at what Peter did. This man who claimed to be a follower of Jesus denied him, not once, but THREE times!!"

They make a valid point. The fact is however, a Christian is nothing more than a sinner who is saved by grace. Even though we are saved, we are still frail, prone-to-sin creatures living in a sin-filled environment. That in no way excuses our sin, but it is the reality of who we are. By the way, a note for those non-believers that love to use this excuse for rejecting Christ in their life. God is not going to be interested that you rejected Jesus because of what someone else did. We are each going to be held accountable for our free will choice to accept or reject Christ in our hearts and lives.

One of the quickest way to fall away from your faith, is to put too much emphasis on a man or woman of God. God uses human instruments to plant the seeds of salvation. He uses human instruments to disciple us in our new found faith. He uses human instruments to impact our spiritual lives. In a society that is prone to idolize others, such as entertainers, athletes, and successful people, we take that into our Christian lives as well. We place our spiritual leaders on pedestals.

Let me stop for a moment and say something important. God does not share His glory with ANYONE. I realize that in the drive to amass numbers, in the drive to generate dollars, many people fall into the trap of ALLOWING people to idolize or worship them. Some actually encourage this. God does not share His glory with ANYONE. It is the responsiblity of those in Christian leadership to always keep the focus on Christ, and never allow the people to worship them, but remind them they are only to worship Christ. The true Christian leader comes to SERVE, NOT BE SERVED!!!

We normally only see those God has called into spiritual leadership when they are "on," when they are doing what God has called them to do. Because of that, we almost tend to forget they are human. Men and women who walk in the same frail clay bodies as everyone else. Prone to the same weaknesses that every person is. Since we rarely see these spiritual leaders other than the times they are doing the Lord's work, we lose sight that those moments are only a part of their life. They have lives outside of their work for the Lord. THEY ARE ONLY AS CLOSE TO GOD AS THEIR OWN PERSONAL DAILY WALK WITH THE LORD.

Because they are in the spotlight, when they fail, when they sin, it is often made known to the public. Our first reaction is, "how can that be possible?" Nobody is immune to sin. No matter who you are, your life flows from your personal relationship with Christ. A minister, a priest, a spiritual leader is only as close to God as his or her daily walk. Like anyone, if they neglect their daily time with the Lord, they get farther away from God.

It is only possible to minister to others from your own personal walk with Christ. As you neglect that daily time with the Lord, you start to be disconnected. You may have some spiritual gasoline left in your tank, but eventually you will use that up. Those spiritual leaders who fail, fail because they have neglected to invest time with God one on one.

Someone who is in the Lord's work, cannot afford to neglect their daily time with Christ. There is a very real enemy who is out to kill, steal, and destroy. The enemy is very wise in the art of warfare. Why waste time working on taking out people one by one, when if you can take out a leader, you can wipe out many people at once. The enemy knows that if he can take down the pastor of a local church, he can take out many people at one time.

The key point I want you to understand today is that you must keep focused on THE man, and not A man. Christ was the only one who did it perfect. My personal philosophy is to take the spiritual wisdom from other men and women of God, but never idolize them, never expect them to be more than the man or woman of flesh and blood they are, but realize that God has touched them in a special way and given them something that can benefit my spiritual life. I have always called it my spiritual filter.

Being in full-time ministry for the last 12 years, having preached in over 500 churches of every type of denomination, having spoken at hundreds of conventions, being involved for many years in the Christian TV world, I have had the unique opportunity to meet and know an incredible number of the Christian leaders of our day. However, no matter who the person is, I always do two things. I always line up what they said with the Word of God. That is number one. I don't care who it is. If it is not in line with the Word of God, it is not something I want.

Second, I always look at the man or woman of God as an instrument God was using. I never expected them to be supernatural, or anything other than a vessel God was using to bring spiritual truths into my life. The only person I ever idolized, or tried to pattern my life after was Christ. I have always taken what I can from men and women of God, and tried to use that to help me in my quest to be more like Christ each and every day.

I love you, and care about you so much. Today's word is an important reminder to never get so focused on a man or woman of flesh and blood, that you let it get in the way of your own personal walk with Christ. God has placed men and women of God in our lives to help teach us, show us the truths of His Word. However, no matter how close to the Lord they may be, the only one we should ever try to pattern our lives after is Jesus Christ, because He is the only one who lived this life without sin. He is our example and the one each one of us should strive to be like.

Take time today to pray for those God has placed in spiritual leadership over you, your pastor or priest. Pray for those that God brings into your life to share the truths of His Word and to help you grow spiritually. But never lose sight that they are mere mortals. Men and women of flesh and blood like you. Never let your eyes focus so much on a man, that you lose sight of THE man. After all, no man could die for your sins. No man did die for your sins. It was THE man who loved you so much, that He willingly bled and died so that you might have everlasting life. Keep your eyes focused on HIM.

***Please do me a favor. As we head into the last 18 days of the month, we still need $22,100 to finish the month with all of our financial obligations met. As you know, we need $30,000 every month to cover all of the monthly costs to operate this ministry. For only $1,000 a day, we minister EVERY DAY to over 1.8 million people all over the world! Only God could do that. Only YOU make it all possible.

Please pray today about how God would have you help me this month and give the most generous gift that you can today. For some that may be a gift of $20 or $50. For others it may be $100 or $300. Still others it could be a gift of $500, $1,000, or the entire $22,100. Simply pray, and give as God leads you to.

Also, we have received $25,000 of the $40,000 we needed to cover the November TV expenses. To those who made a specific gift towards that emergency situation, THANK YOU. Pray with me for God to send those who can supply the last $15,000 in the next week or so.

You can put your gift on your major credit card on a secure server by going to my website, www.liveprayer.com under the "Donation" button, you can give via PayPal using my email address, bkeller@liveprayer.com ,or you can mail a gift to: Liveprayer 6660 46th Avenue North St. Petersburg, Florida 33709 All gifts to Liveprayer are 100% tax deductible.

Thank you for standing with me to make this ministry available 27/7/365 for so many all over the world each and every day. It is YOUR PRAYERS and YOUR GIFTS that make all that we do for so many possible. In closing, remember to stay focused on THE man, and never A man.

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