BETA

Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for November, 1995

Wednesday, November 29, 1995

SATAN IS AN OPPORTUNIST WITH YOUR SOUL

Good Morning!

After loosing the battle to tempt Christ into sin, the Devil departs until an opportune time.” (Lk. 4:13)

ANOPPORTUNE TIME”  –  That is what the Enemy of our soul is soliciting from you as he “prowls about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.” (I Pet. 5:8)

Let me suggest five “opportune times” when Satan is most likely to strike:

#1  During periods of strength and success

But when (Uzziah) became strong, his heart was so proud that he acted corruptly, and was unfaithful to the Lord…” (II Chron. 26:16a).

#2  When you choose to live by wrong priorities

David, while at the pinnacle of his career got into trouble with Bathsheba because he was lounging when he should have been fighting (II Sam. 11).

#3  When you decide to go against godly counsel

Jehoshaphat, who for years had followed God in an exemplary fashion, chose to discount a prophet’s warning not to go to war.  It cost him his life (II Chron. 18).

#4  When you, in your pride think that you are capable of winning over Satan’s“stratagems

Put on the full armor of God…to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Eph. 6:11, 13).

 #5  During times of stress and fatigue

Elijah hit a devastating low after his victorious but intense encounter with the 450 prophets of Baal, and after traveling a demanding day’s journey (I King. 18:37 – 19:4).

QUESTION:  What steps do you need to be taking now to insure the fact that you are not Satan’s next victim…during an  “opportune time?”

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, November 22, 1995

GOD HAS THE UNCOMFORTABLE HABIT OF PUTTING HIS HANDS ON THE WRONG PERSON.

Good Morning!

According to our way of thinking, God should be choosing the people He uses by the same criterion you and I  would utilize in selecting executive leadership: The well educated, articulate, and well bred;  those with a high performance track record. People with bearing.

Not so in God’s selection process:

Throughout the Book of Genesis, for example, God continually chose the weaker and younger:

  • Abel is chosen over older brother Cain; Issac over older brother Ishmael (Gen. 4:1-8; 17:18, 19).
  • Rachael is chosen over her older sister Leah (Gen. 29:18).
  •  Seth, Jacob, Joseph and Judah are all chosen over their  older brothers (Gen. 4:26-5:8; Rom. 9:12; Gen. 37:3; 49:8).

In like fashion, God elected a teen-age girl of humble origins to bear the baby Jesus.  As an adult, Christ by-passed the elite and  gravitated toward common folks, the laboring class,  rabble-rousers and “street people.”

In observing God’s tactics, can there be any doubt in our minds that He intends  to destroy man’s pride in order to  exhibit  His glory

But God has chosen what the world calls foolish to shame the wise; He has chosen what the world calls weak to shame the strong.  He has chosen things of little strength and small repute, yes and even things which have no real existence to explode the pretensions of the things that are-that no man may boast in the presence of God.” (I Cor. 1:27-29 – Phillips Translation).

So today, as you go about your business, keep in mind the fact that:

  • You don’t have to be a spiritual Arnold Schwartzenegger to be used of God.
  • God tends to be fussy about sharing His glory with others.

“Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.” (Jer. 9:23-24)

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, November 15, 1995

TODAY, MANY OF US ARE PLAGUED BY A MALAISE DEEP WITHIN OUR SOUL

Good Morning!

Beneath the surface of our lives there lurks a subliminal sense of disquiet…a despondency; perhaps a lingering  struggle with depression…even to the point of despair. Let me suggest four reasons as to why:

#1  PRIMAL WOUNDS OF THE HEART

Most of us enter adult life deeply wounded. So unless and until we assume responsibility for the past, and allow Jesus the Healer to bind up our wounds, thereby giving us the grace to forgive, forget, and move beyond the past, we will continue on as spiritual and emotional cripples.

“Behold, how happy is the man whom God reproves, so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. For He inflicts pain, and gives relief; He wounds, and His hands also heal. (Job 5:17, 18)

#2  CYNICISM OF THE MIND

Secretly, many of us live in two worlds. Intellectually we believe the word of God to be true. However, when Jesus calls us to steps of faith demanding vulnerability, we often respond with, “I can’t,” orI won’t.” And by our refusal, we demonstrate our spiritual cynicism that God really cannot be trusted.

“But my righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrink back, my soul  hath no pleasure in him.” (Heb. 10:38 Philips)

#3  PARALYSIS OF THE WILL

Many of us choose to continue to be victimized by our past, our circumstances, and our fears. Our motto is “I can’t help it,” or I can’t do it.”  So the freedom, the joy, and the victory available to us in Christ  remain a distant illusion that recedes with each passing day.

“ But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” (Rom. 8:37)

#4  OVERCROWDING OF THE SOUL

We are exposed to too much noise, activity, information, and pressure. Too little time is taken for meditation, rest, contemplation and prayer. So the jostling encountered by today’s typical urban professional is usually unkind to the inner life of the soul.

“And the work of righteousness will be peace, and the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever.”  (Isa. 32:17)

The enemy’s objective to “steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10)  the abundant life of Christ within us is being realized if we fail to address these critical areas of life. Ultimately, the choice is ours.

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, November 8, 1995

LIFE IS SHORT. DEATH IS SURE. ETERNITY WAITS.

Good Morning!

We have finished our years like a sigh.”+

As I write, an Asia-Pacific-wide economic conference is in progress in this City. Red carpets are rolled out, the press stands at the ready, police sirens blare, and people gawk as the influential and powerful confer over economic policies affecting tens of millions of lives.

ImpressiveDaunting.

Recently the founder of a Fortune 500 company passed into eternity. I had the privilege of knowing this man and his family. He was impressiveDaunting!

Shortly after his death, his son dined in our home and told of his father’s waning months, as cancer slowly took its toll. This once powerful giant of American industry withered into a shell, finding the most basic functions a chore.

He had, as the Psalmist forewarned, “finished [his] years like a sigh” (or “ whisper”). 

And that will be the inevitable conclusion of these powerful leaders attending this Asia-Pacific economic conference…As it will also be with us.

PERSPECTIVE is what is needed here: Life is short. Death is sure. Eternity awaits us.

Just walk through a cemetery and observe the infamous and the unknowns, along with the rich and powerful. All share the same piece of real estate.

There is no status in a cemetery.

Just as men share a common place of burial, men apart from Christ–regardless of “standing”, will meet God in a common judgment:

“And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and the books were opened…and they were judged, every one of them…”  (Rev. 20:12, 13a)

The Psalmist’s wise words speak to our soul,

“So teach us to number our days that we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom.” ++

QUESTION: As you contemplate the inescapable reality that your life is moving toward death’s conclusion, are you presently applying your heart to wisdom?

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, November 1, 1995

Recently, a friend called and asked me HOW TO GO ABOUT THIS BUSINESS OF DISCIPLESHIP. Following are exerts of my letter to him:

Good Morning!

“Doug, it seems to me that the essence of discipleship is this:

(1.)  Select people to disciple who have F-A-A-T qualities: (Faithful, Available, Able [to teach others],  Teachable(Lk. 6:12, 13; II Tim. 2:2). Understand that in  shepherding all are included  (I Pet. 5:2; Rom. 15:1, 2).  But here the discussion is discipling, and that involves selection.

(2.)  Spend quality time with these people:

–  Developing friendship and trust (Prov. 17:17)

–  Encouraging them in their walk (Heb. 3:13)

–  Modeling what they need to become (I Cor. 11:1; Prov. 23:26)

–  Listening to them in order to learn who they are and what they need (Jms 1:19)

(3.) Help them re-arrange their priorities in order to develop the discipline and desire for consistency  in the quiet time, Scripture memory and Bible study. (I Tim. 4:7)

(4.) You can pretty well count on the fact that they have unresolved problems in at least  one of the following areas which you will need to address with them.

  • FinancialGreed, debt, co-signing, fear that God won’t provide for their needs
  • Sexual – Pornography, sexual fantasies, un-fulfilled expectations in marriage,
  • Relational – Un-resolved anger toward God, parents, spouse, friends, etc.                  

(5)  Keep in mind that behind everything we do must be Compassion and Intercession:                                           

 ’Those who sow in tears will reap in joy.  He who goes out weeping, and carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.’ (Psa. 126:5, 6)

Oh yes…One more thing, Doug, Remember that God uses clean vessels:

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble.  If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.’  (2 Tim. 2:20-21)

So be sure to focus first on the quality of your walk with God.  Then seek to help others!”

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!