BETA

Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for January, 1996

Wednesday, January 31, 1996

“WE NEED PEOPLE AROUND US WHO RESPECT US BUT ARE NOT IMPRESSED BY US”+

Good Morning!

My bet is that you are better than the average person at what you do.

And that there are people out there who are all to willing to elevate you to hero status.

And stroke your ego far more than you deserve. Especially if you:

  • Know how to hold your cards close to your chest.
  • Possess Oscar-level acting ability.
  • Sign the pay checks or possess power and the influence others want to tap into.

When we are continually being stroked, it is all too easy to actually believe the press reports!

Let me ask you a question: Would these would-be hero-worshipers be as impressed with you if they could see into the deepest recesses of your mind and heart? Or see you in your less than noble moments?  (Need I ask your spouse?)

Doubtful.

And have you ever noticed how difficult it is for us to marry success with humility? When we are good at something, we are not generally inclined to respond favorably to other’s criticism or suggestions.  I think the Biblical term is “pride.”

So…in order to counter-balance our inclination towards pride, we need people around us who may respect us, but are not impressed (or intimidated?) by us.”

Just to keep us honest.

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy”  (Prov. 27:6)

 

 

 My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, January 24, 1996

HERE ARE THREE SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO GET STARTED IN MINISTERING TO OTHERS:

Good Morning!

#1  Start Where You Are:

“Bloom where you are planted.”

Prayerfully ask God, “Who in my network of acquaintances could use a kind word, a helping hand, or a listening ear?

Wisdom is in the presence of the one who has understanding,, but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.” (Prov. 17:24)

Don’t think so much of  “having a ministry” with people as simply loving them in the name of Christ.

#2  Do What You Can

Look for a need in some one’s life and seek to meet it:

–  Love unconditionally.
–  Serve without reservation.
–  Share the word of God when they are ready to receive it.

“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due…”  (Prov. 3:27)

#3  Use What You’ve Got

The Lord used:   Moses’ rod

Peter’s boat

A stranger’s donkey

So…utilize your gifts, talents, and resources in communicating Christ’s’ love.

“…We ought to lay down our lives for the brethren…Let us not love with word or tongue, but in deed and truth  (I Jn. 3:16a, 18b)

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, January 17, 1996

WANT TO STAY OUT OF TROUBLE WITH YOUR TONGUE?

Good Morning!

Then consider three simple suggestions wise old Solomon makes from Proverbs 15:

#1  Speak Gently

“A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Prov. 15:1)

The sure way to ignite an already explosive situation is to respond to an angry person in like manner.  The formula for assuaging anger is to answer in tenderness.

#2  Speak Wisely

“The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.”  (Prov. 15:2)

The wise person speaks with intelligence and skill to the issue at hand, while the fool emits the first thought that enters his head.

#3  Speak Healingly

The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life,
but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.” (Prov. 15:4)

Solomon reminds us that the power of life and death lie with the tongue. By our kind words we can bring healing and life.  Or by our destructive words we can destroy. (Prov. 18:21)

As we struggle with  our speech it may help to keep in mind two stark realities:

(1)  Our speech simply mirrors  the condition of our heart:  “For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.”  (Matt. 12:34b)

(2)   God ultimately will judge us by the quality of our words: “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will shall be condemned.”  (Matt. 12:37)

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, January 10, 1996

DADS: DO YOU WANT A SIMPLE OUTLINE ON RAISING YOUR KIDS?

Good Morning!

Ephesians 6:4 lays out four basic principles:

#1  Fathers, do not PROVOKE your children to anger.” 

Literally:  ”Don’t exasperate them

“Don’t overcorrect them

“Don’t be harsh with them.”

How easy it is when we return home from work to bark at the kids…Let ‘em know who is boss!

#2   “FathersBRING THEM UP…”

Literally:  Cherish them

Treat them with tenderness

Esteem and appreciate them

When was the last time you took your kids off “trial,” gently embracing one of them  and saying, “You are precious to me…I love you…”      .

#3  Fathers…bring them up in the DISCIPLINE…of the Lord.” 

Literally:  “Training” –  Visualize  the training necessary in turning a floppy  puppy into a prize-winning show dog.
“Correcting”  – Visualize the painful re-setting of a poorly healed broken arm: Excruciating initially, but promising long range usability.

#4  Fathers…bring them up in the…INSTRUCTION of the Lord.”

Literally:  “Mild rebuke”: Reprimand, disapproval

“Admonition”:  Counsel, advice, exhortation

“Warning”:       Caution, forewarning, prediction

Kids need your mature perspective on the potholes that lie  in the road ahead.

As busy as we are, God has entrusted the primary responsibility of discipline and instruction to us Dads.

May God grant us the wisdom and the resolve to discharge with dispatch our responsibility in a Biblical fashion.

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, January 3, 1996

IT ALL STARTS OUT SO INNOCENTLY

Good Morning!

  • An intriguing plot
  • A hilariously funny comedy
  • A human interest story

So you settle back after a demanding day to take in a delicious experience in entertainment.

And then, almost imperceptibly, the off color jokes emerge, seductive dress appears; questionable comments began sprinkling the dialogue.  Four letter words surface. Traditional or Biblical values are preempted, ignored, or mocked.

But you’re into the story now, and so you rationalize:

–   “The plot is so good…”
–  “I’ve got to find out what happens…”
–  “It’s only a small part of the movie…just one or two brief scenes…”

As one whose life bears the stamp of Christ, how should you handle these situations? Certainly in our battle for spiritual integrity we must consider such truths as:

 I will set no worthless thing before my eyes.”  (Psa. 101:3a)

“The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” (I Jn. 2:6)

We are compelled to ask, “Is this something in which Jesus would engage?”

So…if you tend to waffle when it comes to maintaining Biblical standards in the area of entertainment, why not carefully consider Philippians 4:8 and decide now just where you plan to draw the line the next time you are drawn into a compromising situation

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable —  if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

The person who has determined to apply Biblically-based values to entertainment, should be prepared to incur the wrath or rejection of  friends…especially  from  some who are professing Christians.

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!