BETA

Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for December, 1996

Wednesday, December 25, 1996

CHRIST’S “TRANSFIGURATION” REVEALS FOUR DESIRES HE HAS FOR YOU:

Good Morning!

#1  He wants  to get alone with you:

Jesus…took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a  mountain to pray.”+

Modern life can be unkind to the soul with the pressure, the pace, the distractions…and the allure.  Because Jesus understood the deadening impact of the world upon the inner life of His men, He deemed it necessary to draw them apart unto Himself. 

If our extended times with God are sparse, could it be because we fear aloneness with Him may expose the barrenness of our soul?

#2 He wants to reveal His glory to you:

“As He was praying, the appearance of His face changed, and His clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning… Peter and his companions… saw His glory…”+

In the process of molding the character of His men who would change the world, Jesus knew they must (in a measure) comprehend His holiness.  Thus, the “Transfiguration”. And so it is to be with us: At the very core of our spiritual survival and development lies the necessity of grasping a view of His glory…His holiness.

#3 He wants to create a hunger for Himself in you:

“Peter said to Him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters— one for You, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”+

For a brief and glorious moment, restless,  blustering Peter caught  sight of Jesus’ majesty that provoked in  him a longing to remain in His presence.  As His pilgrims, should not that kind of hunger be the norm for  us?

#4 He wants to speak to you:

“A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to Him.”+ 

I wonder what truths the Spirit  would whisper to our languid souls, were we to learn the art of listening over talking.

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, December 18, 1996

STEADFASTNESS, WILLINGNESS, AND BROKENNESS

Good Morning!

After King David’s tragic liaison with Bathsheba, he cries  to God for a spirit characterized by:

STEADFASTNESS:

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a STEADFAST SPIRIT within me.”+

Paul exhibited a STEADFAST SPIRIT as he set his face toward Rome and certain death:

“I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace”. (Act. 20:23, 24)

By way of contrast, Peter reveals his spongy character at Jesus’ arrest as a young woman links him with Jesus. In response, Peter blathers back to her,  Woman, I don’t know Him.”++

II WILLINGNESS:

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation…grant me a WILLING SPIRIT, to sustain me.”+

Remember the father who approached Jesus to heal his son who was afflicted with an evil spirit? In his struggle to believe he exclaims,

“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mk. 9:24)

Now that is the kind of WILLING SPIRIT – imperfect as it is – that Jesus can work with!

III  BROKENNESS:

The sacrifices of God are a BROKEN SPIRIT; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psa. 51:17)

A BROKEN SPIRIT is evidenced when:

Our ungodly self is slain.

Our impenetrable hardness is softened, and when

Our haughty pride is brought low.+++

In our quest to walk with God, let us join with David in seeking a spirit characterized by STEADFASTNESS, WILLINGNESS, and BROKENNESS.

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, December 11, 1996

HERE ARE FIVE HELPFUL PRINCIPLES IN WINNING YOUR LOST FRIENDS:

Good Morning!

#1  Strategically plan to bring lost people into the Kingdom:

Any effective business person today thinks and plans strategically in winning contracts, building a strong customer base, and in marketing  products. Should we think any less strategically in winning our lost acquaintances and friends to Christ?

So: PrayPLANACT!

#2  Contextualize your lifestyle:

In attempting to win the lost ask yourself:

  • “Am I choosing to get into their world in order to establish common ground?
  • “Am I being  perceived by them as friendly, warm and genuinely accepting?
  • “Is my lifestyle congruent with the message I proclaim?” (Or do I tend to comingle the horns, the halo and the pitch fork?)                    

#3  Recognize the importance of effective prayer:

  • Do I understand that it is through intercessory prayer that one binds Satan and advances into his territory ?

“No one can enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house.”  (Mk. 3:27)

#4  Position yourself to reach the lost:

Ask yourself if your life is positioned in such a way that you have:

  • Time for the lost?
  • Energy for the lost?
  • A heart for the lost?

Or are you so busy and distracted by other pursuits that you miss the opportunities that are daily staring you  in the face?

#5  Look at life through the eyes of the lost and ask yourself:

  • Do I see their bondage to sin…and respond with compassion?
  • Do I recognize their despair and offer them hope?”

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, December 4, 1996

IN “MINISTERING” TO OTHERS, WHOSE NEEDS ARE BEING MET?

Good Morning!

THEIRS? Or YOURS?

How much of our efforts in “ministry” are veiled, or even sub-conscious attempts to meet our needs to be  stroked or recognized? Could it be that often our primary concern with those under our charge is that they show up, conform, perform,  and…well…basically make us look and feel good?

In the  business world, “glitz”, bigness, “movement”, image, and pandering to people’s whimsical needs is standard operating procedure. Is it possible that in our push to “succeed” in our ministries, we have  often transferred carnal and pride-driven methods and values from the “world” into the church?

If that is the case:

  • Our ministry has sadly become “market-driven.”
  • Feeling better has become more important to us than finding God.”+

You will not find Jesus debasing His ministry to this level. Nor should we.

It is axiomatic that whenever a person is maturing toward full-stature in Christ (Eph. 4:13), there is a death to self  in the life of the discipler.   Notice the cost to Jesus on our behalf:

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.”  (II Cor. 8:9)

Or Paul’s sacrifice:

“…I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you…I die daily…and die to self…I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen…” (Gal. 4:19; I Cor. 15:31b [Amplified]  II Tim. 2:10a)

So here is  the question you and I must ask ourselves: “What is our motivation with the sheep entrusted to our care: Their maturity, or the meeting of our needs?” 

The degree of sacrifice which you and I are willing to expend on their behalf to bring them to spiritual maturity makes the answer to the question self-evident.                  

Few people will take notice of our sacrifice in ministering to others. But what difference should that make? Are we not committed first and foremost to His glory over ours?

 “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”  (Gal. 6:14)

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!