BETA

Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for November, 1996

Wednesday, November 27, 1996

HUMILITY IS FOCUSING ATTENTION ON OTHERS

Good Morning!

Recently I received a letter from a person I had not heard from in over 25 years. To my amazement, his dispatch contained 43 references to himself as he chronicled his many impressive accomplishments.

Then, without warning, the communication abruptly ended with his signature. Not one inquiry about my family or me. It would appear that his letter evidenced an amazing degree of

SELF-CENTEREDNESS

Ever observe how people crowd their way into an elevator or onto a bus? Or jump up to be the first to get off an air plane? Or leave their McDonalds Hamburger tray un-bussed?

SELF-CENTEREDNESS.

And what about conversations? Amazing, is it not, the verbal dexterity people will employ to insure that the focus of the interchange somehow centers on them?

SELF-CENTEREDNESS.

By contrast, HUMILITY IS FOCUSING ATTENTION ON OTHERS.

HUMBLE people have a quiet, softness about them. They step to the back of the crowd. They quietly pick up other’s bags. They defer. They are un-pretentious. They remain un-perturbed at being inconvenienced. They are humble folk who are likable and easy to be around.

By contrast, PRIDE has a stiff, arbitrary quality about it. Like bumping into a fire plug: There’s no give. It’s bruising. Always right.

Ponder St. Paul’s admonition on HUMILITY:

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit. In humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.”  (Phil. 2:3-4)

In His humility Jesus gave up all His rights, and He calls us to do exactly  the same:

“If any man wants to follow in my footsteps, he must give up all right to himself…and keep close behind me…the Son of Man himself has not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life to set many others free.” (Lk. 9:23; Mk. 10:45 – Phillips)

HUMILITY THEN IS FOCUSING ATTENTION ON OTHERS

QUESTION: “ARE YOU UP TO THE CHALLENGE?”

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, November 20, 1996

ON STAYING TRUE TO YOUR SPOUSE:

Good Morning!

Few who are married would deny the fact that from time to time they encounter people of the opposite sex whom they find attractive (other than their spouse).

The attraction itself is not the critical issue. How we deal with it is.

Every marriage is a mix of profoundly deep bonds of love and intimacy, coupled with periods of frustration and dismay. Even anger. It may be during these times of stress that we find ourselves particularly attracted toward another person who appears on the scene.

In fact, we may well be surprised and chagrined; even alarmed at the power of the attraction, and  at the fertility of our imagination.

The trouble begins when we cross the line by allowing the other person entrance into the  sacred place of emotional intimacy rightfully reserved only for our spouse.

To cope with that attractive other person, let me put forth two resolves:

  • Flattery: I resolve not to allow the slightest seed of  flattery or  manipulation to occur between myself and that other person.” In the case of men, to treat other women as sisters (I Tim. 5:2).
  • Imagination: “I resolve to control my imagination by bringing every thought under Christ’s Lordship.”  (II Cor. 10:5)

To strengthen the bonds of our marriage, let me put forward three resolves:

  • Commitment: I resolve to remain faithful in spirit and body to my spouse. No person other than my partner will be allowed entrance into the sanctuary of intimate emotions that is to be reserved solely for the two of us.”   
  • Communication: “I resolve to work daily at maintaining close and meaningful dialogue with my mate. I will choose to listen from the heart.” 
  • Affirmation: I resolve  not to take my beloved for granted, giving him (or her) reassurance through regular expressions  of gratitude, deeds of kindness, and tender touch.”

“…A  man who commits adultery lacks judgment; whoever does so destroys himself. Blows and disgrace are his lot, and his shame will never be wiped away.” (Prov. 6:32, 33)

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, November 13, 1996

“IF ONLY I HAD BEEN KINDER TO YOUR MOTHER AND HAD SPENT MORE TIME WITH YOU CHILDREN”

Good Morning!

So said the aging father of a close friend of mine during a recent family visit.  How tragic, to be living the latter years of life plagued with regret; plagued by the  IF ONLY’Sof the past.

Tell me, are you viewed by your family as:

BRITTLE? –  “I really can’t do it like that!”

SELFISH?I don’t have time.”

CENSORIOUS? –  How could you do such a thing?”

BITTER? –  “I may forgive…but I can never forget!”

Or as:

BENDING?…  “Why don’t we do it your way?”

MAGNANIMOUS?…”Let’s do whatever will help you the most.”

COMPLIMENTARY?I am proud of you.”

FORGIVING?“Ah…forget it…It’s OK.  No problem.”

Is it not true that the validity of our Christian experience is forged, tested, and revealed within the confines of  intimate family relationships as in no other arena? 

Children still have a choice as to whether they will follow Christ or not, as rebellion is often expressed among the progeny of the finest of parents.  (Adam and Eve had perfect “parents” and still chose to rebel.)

Yet our goal must be to reflect Christ to our family in such a way that whatever their choice, at least our conscience is clear on how we related to them.  Could we not seek to mirror Paul’s achievement:    

“My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.” (Act.23:1b)

QUESTION:  Are you BRITTLE, SELFISH, CENSORIOUS, or BITTER toward your family?  If you are, then you too may be plagued in your latter years  by the “IF ONLY’S of the past.

If, however  you are BENDING, MAGNANIMOUS, COMPLIMENTARY, and FORGIVING,  you may well  anticipate fond memories and mutual affirmation in the latter years.

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, November 6, 1996

CREATING “MARGIN” IN OUR LIVES+

Good Morning!

45% of the space on this sheet of paper is margin. You wouldn’t read this “Facts” if the print ran to the edges of the paper because it would offend your sense of proportion. In similar fashion, our lives also need margin. They need proportion.

Margin is:

–  “The gap between rest and exhaustion…

–  “The leeway we once had between ourselves and our limits…

–  “Something held in reserve for contingencies or unanticipated situations…”

If you are running thin on margin these days, my guess is you are on over-load in at least some of the following areas:

  • Too many commitments.
  • Too much competition.
  • Too much debt.
  • Too many expectations.
  • Too much ministry.

Here are  six steps we can take to insure margin is built into our lives:

  •  Learn to expect the unexpected. Because most everything takes longer than anticipated, learn to build  margin into your planning.
  •  Learn to say no. Contrary to your perception, you are not indispensable.
  • Cut down on the activities as they have a way of self-perpetuating; of multiplying.
  • Practice simplicity and contentment. Choose to live with less.
  • Get less done but do the right things. Assess all your activities as to their  spiritual authenticity. 
  • Decide to live the life of Jesus…whatever the cost:

Let your sweet reasonableness, your forbearance, your being satisfied with less than your due, become known to all men…Stop worrying about even one thing, but in everything…let your requests…be made known in the presence of God, and the peace of God…shall mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:4-6 – Wuest Translation)

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!