BETA

Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for June, 1995

Wednesday, June 28, 1995

ENTANGLEMENTS:

Good Morning!

“No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life…”  (II Tim. 2:4)

One way to become entangled is by guaranteeing a note (debt) for another person: Co-signing.

The Scriptures are unequivocal in condemning this practice:

“He who puts up security for another will surely suffer, but whoever refuses…is safe.”(Prov.11:15)

“A man lacking in judgment…puts up security for his neighbor.”  (Prov. 17:18)

“Do not be a man who…puts up security for debts.”  (Prov. 22:26)

Over the years, I have watched innumerable friends in Christ languish under the burden of fulfilling the legal/financial obligations from a note.

Usually these notes are signed when the business climate is good, optimism is high, and mutual friendships prevail. Idealism, enthusiasm and good will are in the air.

In time however, the business climate often sours, and financial pressures mount.  Circumstances change. And people begin to fend for themselves.

AND IT IS YOU WHO ENDS UP HOLDING THE BAG!

When the pressure is on, rare is the person who will choose Biblical principles over personal survival:

“…Who swears to his own hurt and does not change.”  (e.g. holds to his word when it is to his disadvantage).  (Psa. 15:4b)

If you happen to be co-signed, you may want to take Solomon’s advice to heart:

“My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, if you have struck hands in pledge for another, if you have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth, then do this, my son, to free yourself, since you have fallen into your neighbor’s hands: Go and humble yourself; press your plea with your neighbor! Allow no sleep to your eyes, no slumber to your eyelids. Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler.”  (Prov. 6:1 – 5)

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, June 21, 1995

ONE OF LIFE’S ILLUSIONS:

Good Morning!

Recently I relaxed in the lobby of one of Asia’s loveliest hotels located in a country classified as “Third World.”  As chauffeured Mercedes and Jaguars cruised to the entrance, the beautiful and the privileged alighted to the gracious welcome of white-gloved hotel personnel.

Later, as I was being chauffeured to the airport in an air conditioned automobile, I gazed out the window and noticed a bent over old man, cane in hand, laboring under the blaring sun as he shouldered a heavy backpack up a steep series of steps that would eventually take him across the highway upon which I was traveling.

I could not help but think, “What inequity!  How unfair!  Why the disparity?”

Until I recalled Jesus’ teaching:

  • “Many who are first will be last; and the last, first.”  (Matt. 19:30)
  • About the parable of the rich man and Lazarus:  In eternity the fellow previously  living in poverty and sickness on earth now enjoys heaven’s bliss with Abraham, while the man rich  now languishes in Hell.   (Lk. 16:19-31).
  • “Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,’ and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked…” (Rev. 3:17)

As you and I enjoy His bounty in our “island” of affluence, surrounded by the world’s impoverished, it behooves us to remember that,

“…Everyone who has been given much, much shall much be required…”  (Lk. 12:48)

May God help us amidst our “illusion” of prosperity to maintain an eternal perspective as to the true riches, and of the responsibility that comes with privilege.

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, June 14, 1995

EVERY MAN HAS HIS BURDENS

Good Morning!

We were completely overwhelmed, the burden was more than we could bear, I feared I would never live through it” ( St. Paul during a time of deep personal struggle.)

There are those moments in life when it is tough   beyond imagination:

–  Inner fears and doubts.

–  External pressures in business, at home, with finances or health.

–  Prayers that never seem to get answered.

–  Inner peace that remains elusive.

–  A persisting sense of spiritual coldness or dryness.

Compounding the problem is the illusion of those Teflon Christians among us where nothing seems  to touch them:  Smiley…victorious…impervious to pain.

However, according to Paul, “Each of us must bear some burdens of his own.” (Gal. 6:5b)

The plain fact is that every one of us goes through times of deep personal conflict.

If this is where you are today, there may be no pat answers.

In fact, as I write, I am just coming out of one of these periods of inner battle myself.  Perhaps however, one of the following passages of Scripture may lead you toward hope and healing:

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you.”  (Isa. 43:2)

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, and through the mountains slip into the heart of the sea…Cease striving and know that I am God…”  (Psa. 46:1,2, 10)

Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us?  There is no way!  Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst of sins listed in Scripture…neither what happens today nor what may happen tomorrow…” (Rom. 8:35, 36, 38, 39 The Message)

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, June 7, 1995

WHAT GOD WANTS FROM US

Good Morning!

How would you like to be able to communicate God’s word to others  in an eloquent fashion?

Or have the ability to plumb the depths of the most profound spiritual truths?

Or be able to pray for a person’s healing in perfect confidence that God will answer?

What about the courage to sell all your belongings and move to central Africa to reach the most impoverished of peoples?

Or have unflinching commitment to Christ — even to the point of facing a firing squad?

It all sounds so very noble doesn’t it!?  But what God really wants from us is:

–  To be patient with our wife when she asks us to go shopping with her all Saturday afternoon.

–  To be kind to the scrubby pony-tailed dropout with the bone through his nose.

–  To genuinely take pleasure in the knowledge that our competitor is knocking them dead at the cash register.

–  To deflect attention away from our accomplishments in deference to others.

–  To be gracious toward those among us who stand to profit us nothing.

–  To put aside our interests for the benefit of others

–  To forgive those who have ripped us off.

– To live magnanimously, trusting God amidst difficult circumstances which we cannot change.

–  To keep the faith to the end, when everything around us seems to be crumbling.

This, my friends is the love of Christ, (as expressed in I Corinthians 13), applied in the crucible of life’s daily realities. If we fail here, no amount of giftedness or personal sacrifice is of any consequence.

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!