BETA

Facts of the Matter

A weekly letter of encouragement and challenge to business and professional men and women

Archive for July, 1994

Monday, July 25, 1994

RETAINING A CHILD-LIKE FAITH

Good Morning!

  •    As we mature in our walk with Christ do we run the risk of loosing our childlike faith?
  •    As we gain experience from life, are we in danger of allowing rationalistic thinking to crowd our simple faith?

CONSIDER:   Two people are confronted by an angel from God with a miracle:

–  One is an old saint who has walked with God for decades.

–  The other is an innocent teen-age girl.

Surprisingly:      The old man doubts God’s word.

  •     The teen-age girl responds in trusting confidence.

The old man is Zacharias who is told of his aged wife’s forthcoming pregnancy in carrying John the Baptist.  His response:

How shall I know this for certain?  For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in                                            years.”  (Lk. 1:18 – 20)

The teen-age girl is Mary, the mother of Jesus who is told she would bear the Messiah.  Her response:

“…Be it done to me according to your word.”   (Lk. 1:38)

Why would a teen-age youth respond in faith to a miracle while a seasoned old saint struggles to believe?  Perhaps with life’s maturing experiences comes the tendency to intellectualize ourselves out of childlike faith in God.  We simply “know” too much to believe and trust.

Paul expressed concern in writing, “I am afraid that your minds may be seduced from a single-hearted devotion to Him by the same subtle means that the serpent used towards Eve.”  (II Cor. 11:3)

And Jesus stated,  “…Unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.”  (Matt. 18:3)

So the challenge before us is that as we gain wisdom and experience with age, we manage to retain the childlike faith of young Mary.  After all, “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.”  (Heb. 11:6)

 And that is our goal, is it not?  To please God.

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Monday, July 18, 1994

THE WORTH OF THE INDIVIDUAL

Good Morning!

The story is told of a little girl walking along the beach who discovers hundreds of star fish washed upon the shore, dying from the heat of the sun.  Here and there, as she skips along, she tosses a star fish back into the surf.  They will live while the hundreds remaining on the shore will die.

 Upon returning home the little girl tells here mother what she has done.  “What you did with those few star fish doesn’t make any difference,” replies her mother.

 “Well it made a difference with the ONEs I threw back,” retorts the little girl.

  •     Jesus left 99 sheep for the ONE who was lost.  It made a difference to him.  (Lk. 15:1-7)
  •     Jesus heals ONE man by a pool of water.  It made a difference to him. (Jn. 5:1-17)
  •     Jesus walks 90 miles through the desert to find and win Philip.  It made a difference to him.  (Jn. 1:43)

Some ONE probably singled you out – as an INDIVIDUAL.  And it made a difference to YOU.

 In a world where numbers impress; where people are herded around like cattle and analyzed, counted, and generalized to death, keep in mind the fact that God still died for each INDIVIDUAL.

And the deep, significant differences made in people’s lives are usually done at the INDIVIDUAL level:  ONE by ONE, and ONE on ONE.

Paul understood the worth of the INDIVIDUAL:  “As you well know, we dealt with you ONE by ONE, as a father deals with his children.”  (I Thess. 2:11 NEB)

 QUESTION:    Has God placed a beached and parched “star fish” across your path who could use a helping hand in getting to the cool healing waters of Jesus Christ, the living water?  (Jn. 4:14).  Why not decide today…this week…to make a difference to him?

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Monday, July 11, 1994

JESUS SAID: “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matt. 4:19)

Good Morning!

 Following Jesus Christ and “fishing” for men+ go hand in hand:  Followers become fishermen.  Tell me, are you fishing for men?…Purposely engaged in the business of getting men to Christ?   If not, why not?

If you want to win men to Christ, here is one effective way to do it:

  •      Make a list of the “Ten Most Wanted Men” in your life:  The person next door…The guy at the club:  People with whom  you normally and regularly cross paths.
  •      Make a commitment to pray daily for each person on the list:

      –  Confess to God that (in the natural) you could care less for any of them!

      –  Ask God to give you a supernatural love for each of them.

      –  Ask God to create in them a need for Himself.

  •      As you pray, ask God to impress upon you the one you should focus on first:

        When you sense the timing is right, take him to lunch (And yes: Pick up the tab!)

              –  Ask him about his family, his concerns.  Listen…Focus on him!  LOVE HIM!

              –  Seek to serve him any way possible.  Don’t try to sell him Christianity.

    –  You will sense when the time is right for you to share how Christ has helped you in your  marriage, with your greed, etc Do it graciously and purposely.  But do it.

            Then repeat the process with another…and another.

Keep in mind that the winning of an individual to Christ is:

–  ONE OF THE GREATEST WORKS God allows us to do,

–  ONE OF THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAYS of doing God’s work, and perhaps

–  THE HARDEST WORK in the world to do.*

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Monday, July 4, 1994

THANKFULNESS OR BITTERNESS?

Good Morning!

QUESTION:  Do you happen to have a gnarly problem in your life that simply will not go away?  There seems to be no solution?

“When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives, my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends!  Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance.  But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find that you have become men of mature character with the right sort of independence.”  (Jms 1:2-4 – Phillips Translation)

How are you handling it?

– Pouting over it?

– Smashing it?

– Trying to ignore it?

– Running away from it?

Or thanking God for it!

 And asking Him to use the problem as a chisel in His hand to fashion you into Christ likeness?

Thankfulness is the mechanism that releases us from the bondage of life’s “UNSOLVABLES”, thereby giving God permission to use the “UNSOLVABLES” to mold our character into His.

Once we release our anger, our controlour “rights”, God is free to go to workon us.!

Paul’s “UNSOLVABLE” problem was a physical one.  Relatively easy perhaps compared to yours. Three times he asked God to remove the problemTo no avail.  But in releasing it to God, he discovered the two resources he most needed to live with his enigma: God ‘s GRACE and God’s STRENGTH:

 “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is  perfected  in weakness.’  Most gladly therefore,  I will rather boast about my weakness, that the power of Christ may dwell in mefor when I am weak, then I am strong.”  (II Cor 12:9, 10b)

 “The same sun that softens the butter hardens the clay.”  In living with our unresolved issues we have a choice of becoming softened or hardened: Christ like or embittered.

 Againthe choice is ours!

My prayer is that you are having a great week!