BETA

Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for March, 1997

Wednesday, March 26, 1997

PICTURE THE SCENE:+

Good Morning!

Three years of camaraderie, miracles, and the infusion of His life into theirs, now culminating in a final meal together…before  the tragic onslaught of denial and death.

In a few hours,

Judas would knife Him in the back.

Peter would crumble under pressure.

The rest would run away in fear.

Fully aware of these events, Jesus,

Knelt before Judas and lovingly washed his feet.

As He did Peter’s

And the rest.

It’s called unconditional love.

Grace un-merited.

Of this love the Lord Jesus said,  “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you…As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”  (Jn. 13:15,34b)

QUESTIONTo what extent of loving servanthood are you willing to go for the sake of those whom God has placed in your path?

Washing traitors’ feet and dying on an instrument of execution for a pack of rebels was His level of sacrifice. 

What is yours?       

 

 

 My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, March 19, 1997

WHICH DO YOU CHOOSE WHEN YOUR SURVIVAL IS AT STAKE:

Good Morning!

PRINCIPLE OR EXPEDIENCY?

Expediency…of course!  Isn’t survival the name of the game?  Few of us, after all,  have the “gift” of martyrdom!

Only a fool would die for a  principle… Unless he had grasped the fact that a holy God will ultimately hold him accountable for his actions:

“…Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that…God will bring you to judgment.”  (Ecc. 11:9b)

The other evening my wife and I were interacting with a couple whose business is in a free fall.  As we discussed options to rescue their company, it  became apparent that  without batting an eye they had already chosen a path for survival that was in clear violation of Biblical values. 

Patently, they had opted for EXPEDIENCY OVER PRINCIPLE

In reflecting on this couple’s unwillingness to trust God in a time of crisis, I was reminded of Christ’s question,

“…When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”  (Lk. 18:8b)

I wonder

Because, when push comes to shove,  only a man with a deep abiding faith in God and His promises would even consider choosing PRINCIPLE OVER EXPEDIENCY.

Daniel was one such man,  as he chose to  live a Biblically principled life amidst unprincipled, hostile pagans.  Often his decisions were made at great personal risk:

“The administrators and the satraps (governors) tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent.”   (Dan. 6:4)

Like Daniel, we are confronted daily which choices between PRINCIPLE OR EXPEDIENCY.  

How we choose  will  be determined  by whom we trust and fear the most

God or man.

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, March 12, 1997

“SUCCESS” IS A SEDUCTIVE MISTRESS

Good Morning!

“Success” does indeed have its rewards. Therefore the temptation to parade the accouterments of achievement in front of others in order to garner their admiration is almost irresistible!  After all,

“If  you’ve got it, FLAUNT IT!”  (But subtly, of course.)

Let’s just admit that it’s hard to be humble when you’re soooo good!

God is not against success. But He is against pride. And the pride that often accompanies our success can indeed be seductive.

Take for example the experiences of:

Uzziah: 

“But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God….”  (2 Chron. 26:16)

Rehoboam:

After Rehoboam’s position as king was established and he had become strong, he and all Israel with him abandoned the law of the Lord.”  (2 Chron. 12:1)

Jeshurun:

Jeshurun grew fat…filled with food…heavy and sleek. He abandoned the God who made him and rejected the Rock his Savior”  (Deut. 32:15)

Because “SUCCESS”  IS A SEDUCTIVE MISTRESS we would be wise to heed old sage King Solomon — who himself was seduced by his success — when he prayed,

“…Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.  Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.”  (Prov. 30:8, 9)

QUESTIONHow well are you handling your “success” in the eyes of the Lord Jesus? 

Is He pleased as He observes you, His humble, self-sacrificing, and gracious servant? Or,

Is He grieved by a pride-ridden life that is locked on to spiritual cruise-control?

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, March 5, 1997

UNDERSTANDING THE PEOPLE WE ARE SEEKING TO INFLUENCE

Good Morning!

How do we communicate the Gospel in a society where God is increasingly perceived as irrelevant and  Jesus Christ is little more than a vacation school character or a swear word? A good place to start is to try and understand current cultural shifts and respond accordingly. Consider the fact that:

  1. THE PEOPLE AROUND US ARE BUSIER TODAY THAN THEY WERE IN THE 1980’s+; working harder and longer for less.

ThereforeWe need to declare the truth in short sound/time bytes.  Like it or not, long-winded, complicate, or arduous approaches to communicating the Gospel  no longer work.

“Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible…I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some(I Cor. 9:19,22)

  1. THEY ARE MORE BROKEN AND “DYSFUNCTIONAL” – individually, socially, and in the family.

ThereforeThe process of winning and healing will generally take more patience and  a longer period of time then it did previously.

“We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” (Rom.15:1, 2) 

  1. THERE IS A NEW INTEREST IN UNSEEN AND SPIRITUAL THINGS, and willingness to talk about them. However, this interest does not necessarily extend to the Bible or Jesus.

ThereforeThey need to see in us the authentic love of Christ in such a way that validates true Christianity over New Age and other  ideologies — particularly those in the metaphysical realm.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  (Jn. 13:34, 35)

  1. MANY HAVE A MARGINALIZED VIEW OF CHURCH AND RELIGION.

ThereforeWe must model and proclaim Christ to them in their world, rather than expecting them to enter ours.   

“Therefore we are  Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”  (II Cor. 5:20)

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!