BETA

Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for June, 1996

Wednesday, June 26, 1996

“GOD HAS THE UNCOMFORTABLE HABIT OF PLACING HIS HANDS ON THE WRONG PERSON”

Good Morning!

  • A particular sporting goods company only hires salesmen who are six feet or more in height.
  • Look at the yearly financial reports of the men running major corporations and pictures of graying, dignified, polished Madison Avenue types adorn the pages.

As I write, my mind races to two middle eastern countries where the “wrong people” are being used of God to impact some of the toughest places on the earth with the Gospel. Lacking physical attractiveness, charisma, leadership ability, and higher education, these people are unimpressive by the world’s standards,  yet daunting in their impact.

“...God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things…so that no one may boast before Him. (I Cor. 1:27-29)

Commenting on the twelve chosen by Jesus, Dr. Mark Wessel observes:            

“It was a strange group of men our Lord chose to be his disciples. Four of them were fishermen, one a hated tax collector, another a member of a radical and violent political party…all were laymen…Yet it was with these men that Jesus…disseminated his Good News to the end of the earth.”+

As I have pondered Jesus’ selection of these twelve very common men, it seems to me that the only thing they had in common was an uncommon hunger for God (Judas excepted).

…The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  (I Sam. 16:7b)

 Therefore, when you and I choose to work with the “wrong people” of this world who have only their love for God as a drawing point, we may be surprised at:

 –  What God will do for our character, and

 –  What He may choose to do through them for the world.

 

 

 My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, June 19, 1996

THE PRICE OF TELLING THE TRUTH

Good Morning!

Just how important is upholding the truth to you? What price are you willing to pay?

There are times when we need to lay the truth on the line. Tell it like it is. Stand up and be counted. Regardless of the cost to us personally

Of course, the name of the game today is: “To get along is to go along.”  “Don’t rock the boat.” “Go with the flow.” 

The Scriptures however, tersely remind us that deceit is not an option for the believer:

“The Lord detests lying lips, but He delights in men who are truthful.”  (Prov.12:22)

“…Those who practice lies… – their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.” (Hell) (Rev. 21:8b)

Stanley Hauerwas makes this startling observation,

“The ministry seems captured in our time by people who are desperately afraid they might actually be caught with a conviction at some point…that might curtail future ambition.”+

A rare breed, these people who choose to speak the truth even at great personal expense:

  •  John the Baptist fearlessly admonished King Herod concerning his adulterous relationship with his sister-in-law. Consequence:  Beheaded.  (Mk. 6:17-28)
  •  Micaiah the prophet courageously warned King Ahab against his wishes to not attack Ramoth Gilead. Ahab, knowing Micaiah’s commitment to telling the truth said of him, “I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me…”  Consequence: Prison sentence (aborted however, in the 11th hour  by  Micaiah’s  fulfilled prophesy). (I King. 22:8-27)                      

QUESTION: In business and the professions where duplicity, deceit and compromise are standard fare, are you willing to be identified with that rare breed of believers who courageously live and speak the truth without concession

Whatever the personal cost?

The world around us desperately needs such people. And Christ expects nothing less from us.

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, June 12, 1996

DO YOU WANT CHRIST TO TOUCH YOU AT YOUR DEEPEST POINT OF NEED?

Good Morning!

Here are five observations from an incident in the life of a leper whom Jesus healed+:

#1  WE MUST ACKNOWLEDGE WE HAVE A NEED – 

A lowly leper falls at Jesus’ feet and beseeches Him, “Lord, you can make me clean.”

Of all the people Jesus could have helped, He chose the one in desperate need. Christ cautions the self-sufficient non-lepers of the world:  You say, ‘I am rich…I do not need a thing’…You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”  (Rev.  3:17)

#2  WE MUST COME TO JESUS – 

The leper came and besought the Master for the solution to his miserable condition.

Many of us in seeking a solution to our needs seem to go to every one and to everything but Jesus: Friends, seminars, books, tapes…you name it. But not to the Lord Jesus.

 “…You refuse to come to Me to have life.”  (Jn. 5:40)

#3  WE MUST COME TO JESUS IN HUMILITY

The leper fell on his knees worshipping  Jesus and begging Him for help,  If You are willing, You can make me clean.”  

James reminds us, God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”  (4:6)

#4  WE MUST COME TO JESUS BELIEVING HE CAN AND WILL HELP US

The leper cried out, “You can make me clean.” 

Because it is our Father’s intent to conform us into the Saviour’s image, we can be assured that He will do whatever is best for us toward that end:

…In all things God works for the good of those who love Him… For those (whom) God …predestined (He)…conformed to the likeness of His Son.”  (Rom. 8:28a, 29a)

#5  WE MUST COME TO JESUS AND ASK HIM TO HELP US

James cautions,  …You do not have, because you do not ask God.” (4:2b)

By our asking for help we are acknowledging the fact that we have reached the end of our resources and are now relying upon His. Our “extremity then becomes God’s opportunity.”

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, June 5, 1996

ETHICS – INTEGRITY

Good Morning!

Recently I had lunch with a businessman who is struggling to return to Christ after a 10 year hiatus. In returning, one of his major conflicts centers on his claim that during that period he encountered professing Christian businessmen, but none who actually lived out a Biblical ethic. 

Keeping in  mind our daily struggle with ethics and integrity, let me make three observations+:

#1  All people believe in absolute truth:

Years ago in California, a drifter picked up a hitchhiking teen-age girl, raped her and cut off her arms. Throughout the region, irrespective of religious or philosophical persuasions, there was a universal sense of rage as this rift raft received a relatively light sentence for the crime. The word of God tells us the source of that rage:

“When the Gentiles (non-believers), who do not have the law, do by nature  things required by the law, they are a law for themselves…since they show that the requirements of the law are written in their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.” (Rom. 2:14, 15)

#2  The essence of morality is the Golden Rule:

We need not complicate the ethics issue, but simply ask this question the next time we are inclined to drop a piece of trash on the ground, or  hedge on our income tax: “By engaging in this act, am I loving my neighbor as myself?” (Gal. 5:14)

#3  The force of the Law is enhanced through accountability:

Given our depravity, we know that if there is no accountability, there is no keeping of the law:

“In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises…He says to himself, ‘God has forgotten; He covers his face and never sees.’”  (Psa. 10:2, 11)

Conversely, the serious disciple of Christ is sobered by the reality of coming answerability, and chooses to  live accordingly:

“ So we make it our goal to please Him…For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” (II Cor. 5:9b, 10)

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!