BETA

Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for June, 1997

Wednesday, June 25, 1997

ARE YOU CALEB’S CALIBER?

Good Morning!

Recently I took several friends of mine to visit a 76 year old stalwart of the faith who has influenced scores of men and women for Christ around the world for over a half a century.

During our visit, I was arrested by the love of Christ that radiated from this rugged individual, as he graciously took a few minutes’ leave from the around-the-clock care of  his dying wife…his life partner of over 50 years.

As we visited, one of my companions asked, “Bob, what are your aspirations in these latter years of your life, especially as you face the departure of your beloved wife?”

Without hesitation he replied, “To take another mountain for God, as did Caleb.”

You may recall the story of Caleb: After Israel’s trek across the desert from Egypt to Jordan, God commissioned Moses to send 12 spies into the  Promised Land, only to have 10 return in fear, and dis-belief. The two exceptions of course were Caleb and Joshua, who urged Moses to take the land. (Jos. 13:30)

Forty five years later Israel had still failed to acquire portions of the land promised to them by God. Caleb, who by now was eighty years of age rises to the challenge:

“…I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day…” (Jos. 14:10-12)

QUESTION“Are you ‘CALEB’S CALIBER’ — like my friend Bob, who, in his old age, still chooses to believe God for new mountains to conquer?”

Or do you resemble the other 10 who shrank back in fear of the giants in the land?

“But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him….”  (Heb. 10:38)

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, June 18, 1997

ON NOT LOOSING HOPE: “The tragedy of man is not that he dies, but what dies within him while he still lives.” – Albert Schweitzer

Good Morning!

Some years ago, the wife of a close friend walked out on the marriage, leaving the husband with their four children, all under 10 years of age.  When this catastrophe struck, he had just completed his Ph.D., and was embarking upon a promising teaching career at a prestigious university. Desperate now for help in raising his children, he found it necessary to relinquish his position and return to the city of his parents to enlist their assistance.

Early one morning before driving his u-haul truck of household goods the 1400 hundred miles north, he stopped by to say good-bye. It was painfully obvious that he was deeply crushed by the desertion of his wife, and the uncertain future awaiting him. So we talked, wept, and prayed… and finally bid farewell.

And as he climbed into the cab of the truck with his four small children he looked down, eked out a smile, and said, “Well Dwight, I still have HOPE.”  As his vehicle disappeared from sight I was reminded of the words penned by St. Paul:

“We…rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, HOPE.  And HOPE does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”  (Rom. 2:2b-5)

Today, eight years later, my friend and his clan are doing beautifully. The children give every evidence of maturing spiritually and socially into responsible adults. Recently he was appointed the head of his department in a respected institution of higher learning.

With the sparkle back in his eyes, it is apparent that he is experiencing God’s promise that “HOPE does not disappoint us…”

So what do you do when the bottom falls out of your life?

  • Allow that which lies within you to die while you are still alive? Or
  • Choose to place your HOPE in the character and promises of God?

Why are you downcast, O my soul?…Put your HOPE in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God…’For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you HOPE and a future.’” (Psa. 43:5; Jer. 29:11)

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, June 11, 1997

THE WORLD TODAY IS LOOKING FOR:

Good Morning!

Men who are not for sale;

Men who are honest, sound from center to circumference, true to the heart’s core;

Men with consciences as steady as the needle to the pole;

Men who will stand for the right if the heavens totter and the earth reels;

Men who can tell the truth and look the world right in the eye;

Men who neither brag nor run;

Men who neither flag nor flinch;

Men who can have courage without shouting it;

Men in whom the courage of everlasting life runs still, deep and strong;

Men who will know their message and tell it;

Men who know their place and fill it;

Men who know their business and attend to it;

Men who will not lie, shirk or dodge;

Men who are not too lazy to work, nor too proud to be poor;

Men who are willing to eat what they have earned and wear what they have paid for;

Men who are not ashamed to say ‘No’ with emphasis and who are not ashamed to say ‘I can’t afford it.”

God is looking for men. He wants those who can unite together around a common faith – who can join hands in a common task – and who have come to the kingdom for such a time as this. God give us men.”+

“I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it…There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John.”  (Ezek.  22:30a; Jn. 1:6)

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, June 4, 1997

DISCIPLING SOMEONE? CONSIDER THESE AREAS OF CONCENTRATION:+

Good Morning!

One:  Engage him in the Scriptures to discover Christ and apply His truth.

Teaching him to meditate upon and apply God’s word is generic to knowing Christ.

“He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will disclose Myself to him.”  (Jn. 14:21)

Two:  Disciple him life-on-life.

Both Jesus and Paul believed in the worth of  the individual, and so should we:

Jesus“The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, ‘Follow me’.”  (Jn. 1:43)

Paul:“…We dealt with you one by one, as a father deals with his children…” (I  Thess.  2:11b NEB)

Three:  Equip him to multiply his life:

By helping him develop consistency in  (1) Daily time with God, (2) Scripture memory and (3) Bible Study.

“The Scriptures are the comprehensive equipment of the man of God, and fit him fully for all branches of his work.” (2 Tim. 3:17 – J.B. Phillips Translation) 

By helping him discover and utilize his gifts.  I Cor. 12-14)

Four: Maintain the centrality of Christ.

At the very core of the discipling effort must be the emphasis on developing intimacy with Christ. 

“By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.”  (I Cor.  3:10, 11)

QUESTION: Since example is the most powerful teacher, developing intimacy with Christ  is better “caught” than taught.  Is your disciple picking up the fact that knowing Christ is your primary passion?

“Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.”  (I Cor. 11:1)

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!