BETA

Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for October, 1994

Monday, October 31, 1994

HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH YOUR SPIRITUAL FAILURES?

Good Morning!

  • Despair?
  • Self- condemnation?
  • Self flagellating?

Or

  • ConfessionIf we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to  cleanse us from all unrighteousness”  – (I Jn. 1:9)
  • Acceptance of His grace:  “If Thou, Lord, shouldst mark  iniquities…who could stand?  But there is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared.   (Psa. 130:3, 4)
  • New determination:    “…A righteous man falls seven times, and rises again.”  –  (Pro. 24:16a)

How you choose to deal with your spiritual failings probably has something to do with your view of God, either as a condemning Tyrant, or as a loving Father.

Here’s how Francis of Sales, a  Seventeenth Century mystic handled his failings:

“Well my poor soul, here we are in the ditch again – in spite of our earnest resolve to stay out of it. 

“Ah well, let us get out and be on our way; and we will do well enough, God helping us.” 

Unless we comprehend and appropriate a measure of His grace amidst our personal struggles with sin, we will despair of the Christian life.  Those pilgrims who end their spiritual journey well have learned to drink freely of that grace.

How about you?

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Monday, October 24, 1994

“MY COMMITMENT AS A CHRISTIAN”

Good Morning!

The following was written by a young African pastor and tacked on the wall of his house:

         I’m part of the fellowship of the unashamed.  I have Holy Spirit power.  The die has been cast.  I have stepped over the line.  The decision has been made.  I’m a disciple of His.  I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.

         “My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future is secure.  I’m finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living, and dwarfed goals.

         “I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity.  I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded.  I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by power.

        “My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way rough, my companions few, my guide reliable, my mission clear.  I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed.  I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, or ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

        “I won’t give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, preached up for the cause of Christ.  I am a disciple of Jesus.  I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till He stops me.  And when He comes for His own, He will have no problems recognizing me – my banner will be clear!”

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Monday, October 17, 1994

QUESTION: IS IT POSSIBLE TO GROW OLD GRACIOUSLY?

Good Morning!

  • Will your children want you around when you are in your ’70’s or ’80’s?
  • What attitudes present  in your life today have the potential of ossifying into unattractive – even repulsive behavior in your old age?

Often, in my exposure to older Christians…even  “saints”, so-called,  I come away disappointed.

Why is it that up close so many come off as self-centered, narrow and rigid…Prima donnas.

This is not God’s idea of righteous older people.  Listen to Psalm 92:12 – 14:

“The righteous man will flourish like a palm tree, He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God.  They will still yield  fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap and very green.”

 Here the psalmist paints a picture of flexibility…of reaching out…of growth.  Of life!

In your social interaction with others:

  • Do you make an effort to focus the attention on yourself or on them?
  • Is it your intent to minister, or to impress?
  • Do you decide the perimeters and direction of the conversation, or do you choose to serve by  letting them make that determination?

Given your present social patterns, what will your attitude be like in 5, 10, or 20 years:  Supple, magnanimous and giving?  Or inflexible, censoring and distant?

The attitudes you entertain today indicate  what you are in the process of becoming tomorrow…and in old age

In the future, your children and friends may well have to live with the blessing or brunt of what you are becoming.  Are you happy with that prospect?

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Monday, October 10, 1994

STANDING ALONE FOR GOD in a godless world: A tough but achievable assignment.

Good Morning!

Noah, like you, lived in a wicked society.

Victoriously

And so can you!

God’s assessment of Noah’s life?

You alone I have seen to be righteous before Me in this generation.” (Gen. 7:1)

 The Lord was painfully aware of societies’ blatant sins as SEX and VIOLENCE dotted the landscape+…as it does ours.

 “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually[God] was grieved in his heart…that He had made man…”  (Gen. 6:5,6)

 Living amidst this decadence, Noah stood up and was counted:

  • Noah found favor in the eyes of God”  – That is, he was pleasing to God! (Gen. 6:8)
  • Noah was a righteous man – That is, he was lawful and just before God! (Gen. 6:9)
  • Noah was blameless in his time – That is, he lived a life of integrity before his fellow man.  (Gen. 6:9)
  • Noah walked with God – That is, he and God were conversantThey had a relationship. (Gen. 6:9)

STANDING ALONE FOR GOD is a tough  but achievable assignment which God expects us to accomplish!

 

 

 My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Monday, October 3, 1994

OUR MODUS OPERANDI IN BUSINESS, AND THE WAY THE HOLY SPIRIT DESIRES TO WORK IN AND THROUGH US ARE OFTEN THE EXACT OPPOSITE FROM EACH OTHER.

Good Morning!

In business it is our wit,  our persuasive abilities, our genius in manipulating and controlling circumstances, and  our cleverness in creating certain impressions that spell “success”.  Or so it seems.

When we try however to apply these same forces in the spiritual realm, nothing of eternal significance  happens.

Because we are by nature controllers, we find the freedom of the Spirit’s working difficult to relate to.   The Holy Spirit simply will not be controlled or manipulated:

“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”  (Jn. 3:8)

 In similar fashion, Psalm 37 calls us to release our control  and rest it in His:

Psalm 37:                                       Our natural inclination:

Verse 3 –     “Trust in the Lord…”                             Rely upon our cleverness

Verse 4 –     “Delight  in the Lord…”                         Fret over circumstances

Verse 5 –     “Commit your way to the Lord…”      Engineer the next step

Verse 7        “Rest in the Lord…”                                Grind our teeth over eventualities

Verse 34 –   “Wait for the Lord…”                             Rush ahead to clinch the deal

If we were truly depending upon God rather than ourselves, would we not also be applying the same elements of  patience, waiting and resting…yes the freedom of the Spirit’s leading, to our business as we should be to  the “ministry?”

In fact, the distinction between our mind set and our methods in business and ministry would probably be indistinguishable.

After all, isn’t everything we do suppose to be a work of the Spirit of God?

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!