BETA

Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for May, 1996

Wednesday, May 29, 1996

DEPRESSION AND DESPAIR

Good Morning!

DEPRESSION and DESPAIR: Those dark undercurrents of desperate emotions that drag us down into the murky shadows of hopelessness and despondency.

The bad news is that every follower of Christ seems to be  subjected  from time to time  to this state of gloom…this so-called “Dark Night of the Soul:” 

Job, while languishing near death cried out, “May the day of my birth perish…I despise my life…my days have no meaning.”  (Job 3:3a;7:16)

Elisha, after a great spiritual victory lamented, “I have had enough, Lord…take my life.” (I King. 19:5)

Paul, while suffering intense hardship in Asia, wrote, “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death…” (II Cor. 1:8,9a)

Today, if you are in the midst of one of these “Dark Nights of the Soul”, consider and claim God’s promises from His word. Keep in mind however, that with most promises there is a condition for us to fulfill:

  1. Promise: “Even in darkness light dawns for the
    Condition:  upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man.”  (Psa. 112:4)
  2. Promise: “I am the Light of the world.
    Condition: Whoever  follows Me 
  3. Promisewill never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (Jn. 8:12)
    Condition:“…If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
  4. Promise:  then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”  (Isa. 58:10, 11)

Because DEPRESSION and DESPAIR are tools the Enemy often uses in his attacks against Christ’s followers, it is imperative that we fight back with God’s spiritual arsenal, which includes the word of God. So claim His promises, fulfill the word’s conditions, and then see Him win the victory on your behalf.  (See Eph. 6:10-20)

 

 

 My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, May 22, 1996

“THE LORD IS THE STRONGHOLD OF MY LIFE – OF WHOM SHALL I BE AFRAID”? (Psa 27:1b)

Good Morning!

Look around you at the peoplecircumstances and institutions  in which you tend to put your trust. With the slightest shift of the wind they could come crumbling down around you:

People are fickle.

Circumstances change.

Institutions rise and fall.

King David cautioned such:

 Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save…Though your 
riches increase, do not set your heart on them.”  (Psa. 146:3; 62:10b)

One sneeze in London, Wall Street or OPEC and we all get colds. One unforeseen change in governmental policy and whole industries are deeply affected. 

Most of the kings and king-makers of the last decade are but a faded memory in today’s centers of power and commerce. 

So…what exactly is the stronghold of your life? If it happens to be people, circumstances, or institutions you have just cause to be afraid.

King David grasped the vulnerability of our man-made towers of Babel, in crying out to God,

“Whom have I in heaven but you, and earth has nothing I desire but you.  My flesh
and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:25, 26)

Therefore today, as you embark upon the challenges confronting you, keep in mind the Scripture’s formula for experiencing God as your stronghold:

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s
power may rest on me… For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  (2 Cor.12:9,10)

The only barrier to you experiencing God as your stronghold would be your foolish trust in man, or in your lofty assumption that you can pull it off without Him at the center of your efforts.

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, May 15, 1996

ON FINISHING THE RACE WELL:

Good Morning!

Why is it so few people end the Christian life well? Here are a few observations I have made over the years:

  1. A failure to comprehend and rest in the grace of god. (Psa. 103:10-14; II Tim. 2:1; Heb. 4:9-11)
  2. A failure to live a life of disciplined priorities. (I Cor. 9:24-27;  I Tim. 4:7; II Pet. 1:5-8)
  3. A failure in our earlier years to deal with sins and other debilitating issues. (I Tim. 5:24; Gal. 6:7, 8)
  4. A failure to handle finances in a biblical manner. (Deut. 8:17,18; I Tim. 6:6-10; Lk. 6:10-13; Rom. 13:8; Prov. 6:1-5)
  5. A failure to deal Biblically with  the sexual area of life. (Matt. 5:27-30;  I Thess. 4:3-7)
  6. A failure to grasp God’s sovereignty and grace in responding Biblically to bitterness, disappointment and disillusionment. (Isa. 14:24; Rom. 8:28-30; Heb. 12:14, 15)
  7. A failure to live a life of sacrifice rather than a life of ease. (Lk. 9:23, 24; II Cor. 5:15)
  8. A failure to live a life of transparency, accountability and fellowship. (Jms. 5:16, Prov. 27:17; I Jn. 1:7; Heb. 10:24, 25)

 

 

 My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, May 8, 1996

CONTENTMENT…IS IT ACHIEVABLE?

Good Morning!

P. Morgan (1837-1913), the renowned financial and industrial magnate was once asked what it would take to make him happy. His reply? “Just a little bit more.”

By his response Mr. Morgan was affirming the truth of Proverbs 27:20: “The lust of the eyes of man is never satisfied.” (Amplified)

How then can a person  achieve CONTENTMENT? Let me suggest five Biblical  principles:

#1  Contentment is achieved when seeking God and His kingdom are our first priority:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear…Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  (Matt. 6:25,33) 

#2  Contentment is achieved by believing God will meet our needs

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Heb. 13:5)

#3  Contentment is achieved by graciously accepting what God allows into our lives:

“…I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances…whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”  (Phil. 4:12b,13)

#4   Contentment is achieved through a life of simplicity over greed:

“But godliness with contentment is great gain…If we have food and clothing, we will be content with these…Whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income…I have seen a grievous evil under the sun: wealth hoarded to the harm of its owner…”  (I Tim. 6:6,8; Ecc. 5:10, 13)

#5  Contentment is achieved by enjoying hard work and its remuneration:

“…It is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor…When God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work–this is a gift of God.” (Ecc. 5:18, 19)

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, May 1, 1996

SUCCESSFUL OR SIGNIFICANT…? That is the question we must ask of ourselves.

Good Morning!

Is it possible we could be leading highly successful lives that are relatively insignificant?

Why is it that so many of us wake up in mid-life with a pit in our stomach, feeling we lack meaning, value or purpose?

Perhaps it is because in our drive for “success” we have highlighted the temporal at the expense of that which is truly significant: The eternal.

Success” in life, as we are inclined to define it, usually relates to secular achievement in a manner that garners the approval or admiration of our fellow-man. 

Jesus cautioned us however:

“…What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight…What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Lk. 16:15b; Matt. 16:26)

Significance” in life as God views it, is related to focusing primarily on the eternal: The glory of God and the Kingdom of God

The night before the cross, Jesus prayed to the Father: I have glorified Thee on earth, I have finished the work You gave me to do.”  (Jn. 17:4) 

That is, He had succeeded in building Kingdom values into the lives of the 11 Disciples.  From God’s perspective, our lives are lived in a significant manner when we emulate Jesus’ example:

“…He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us…”  (II Cor. 5:19b ,20a)

IS MY LIFE SUCCESSFUL OR SIGNIFICANT

The answer lies in whether I place my primary focus on the temporal or the eternal…On whether I view my work fundamentally as an opportunity to enhance the Kingdom of God, or principally as an opportunity to further my personal goals?

The choice, of course is ours.

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!