BETA

Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for February, 1998

Wednesday, February 25, 1998

WHY OUR MARRIAGE WORKS:

Good Morning!

This morning I crept back into the bedroom to kiss my wife good bye before catching an early flight  out to Malaysia.

Groggily she muttered, “I forgot to pack your ties…Wes (our son) called last night…Do you have handkerchiefs?”  A hug, a kiss – and out the door to the airport…savoring that  warm sense of belonging.

This is my woman and I am her man.  

here are  five good reasons  why our marriage works:

#1  We take time to cultivate a close walk with Christ, thereby helping to insure the fact that we share a common vision and mission.

“Let us draw near [to God] with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith…May…God…give you a spirit of unity as you follow Christ Jesus…” (Heb. 10:22a; Rom. 15:5a)

#  2 We respect each other in our differences; we take each other seriously.

“There are different kinds of gifts…ministries…(and) effects, but the same God works all of them in all men.”  (1 Cor. 12:4-6)  

#3  We choose to identify and attack our problems rather than each other.

“…Let all be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead…” (I Pet. 3:8,9a)

#4  We laugh a lot, taking time to play and have fun together.

“A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, but when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken.”  (Prov. 15:13)

#5  I lead and she follows.

“Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church….”  (Eph. 5:22a)

Ruth has hung in there with me these 33 years, through the easy and tough times, clearly understanding the term  “helpmate”.  (Genesis 2:18)  We most likely are in the 4th quarter of our lives now. I understand we are now viewed as  “Senior Citizens”. When I return home in a few days, we’ll probably spend the evening playing  Scrabble and  tennis, and then relax around an old movie. We’ve not had better days

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, February 18, 1998

DO YOU WANT TO GET RICH?

Good Morning!

George is young, aggressive, astute in business, and…getting rich. He claims to be a believer in Christ. And probably he is.

But I notice that when I broach the subject of winning the lost and investing time in people’s lives for the Kingdom of God, his eyes seem to glaze over and his attention wanders. In my gut, I get the impression that George is being seduced by the love of money, which  as we know “is the root of all kinds of evil.”  (I Tim. 6:10a)

So…let me ask you a question  “DO YOU WANT TO GET RICH”?

Clearly, God tells us not to put in the effort: “Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint.” (Prov. 23:4)  (Also consider:  Prov. 15:27; 23:5; 28:20; Heb. 13:5)

But if you do, then here’s what you can look forward to:

  • You will fall into temptation and a trap.”
  • You will fall into “many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and ”
  • You run the risk of wandering “from the faith and [piercing yourself] with many griefs.” (I Tim. 6:9, 10)

Just where is your focus? On money? Or on knowing Jesus Christ? 

It cannot be on both, because:

“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Money…For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.”  (Matt. 6:24, 21)

 Jesus reassured us that if the pursuit of Him is our primary focus, He will  provide for our material needs:

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matt. 6:33)

God may in fact endow you with wealth. The difference is that when He gives it, it is void of apprehension:

The blessing of the Lord brings wealth, and He adds no anxiety  to it.”  (Prov. 10:22)

QUESTION: Do you want to get rich? Or do you want to know Christ? It is either one or the other. But it cannot be both.

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, February 11, 1998

BUSY AT CHURCH — STERILE IN THE WORK PLACE

Good Morning!

The true test of your walk with god is not necessarily determined by how involved or dedicated you are within the confines of your local church, noble as your service  there may be.

Rather, the test may center in  the rough and tumble climate of the “marketplace where greed, seduction, power games, and Machiavellian  pragmatism commonly  prevail.  It is into this environment that the Master Strategist  has undoubtedly placed you to affect lives for His glory.

“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one….I…pray for those who will believe in Me through their word.”    (Jn. 17:15,20)

If you happen to be a hands on achiever who is  bent on getting “results” (profit, efficiency, visibility, image, timing,  etc..) you daily face the temptation of using people as pawns and bending ethical and moral absolutes. 

In this high voltage setting of the marketplace, Jesus can easily be pushed into a servile role at  the fringes of your operation, only to be called upon in moments of crisis. 

If, in this environment you still entertain aspirations of fruitfulness among your colleagues, there needs to be a funeral

Yours:

“…Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” (Jn. 12:24)

Only then will you be able to allow the very life of Christ to help you achieve your professional goals in a manner that is compatible with Biblical values.

One way many business and professional men and women rationalize their ineffectiveness at ministering in the marketplace is by busying themselves in service behind the less threatening walls of the church.

Ironically, the folks at work may see scant evidence in them of the life of Jesus, while the brethren at church  may view them as dedicated saints!

QUESTIONHow do you think your marketplace colleagues view you?

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, February 4, 1998

WHAT ARE YOU BECOMING?

Good Morning!

The gods we worship write their names on our faces, be sure of that. And a person will worship something, have no doubt about that either. One may think tribute is paid in secret, in the dark recesses of his or her heart, but it is nothat which dominates imagination and thoughts will determine life and character. Therefore it behooves us to be careful what we are worshipping, for what we are worshipping we are becoming.”+

For a while we may appear to defy gravity by juggling our secret inner imagination and thoughts with our external world of studied conformity to accepted norms. In fact, some of us should get an Oscar for our acting ability!

God cautions us however, that sooner or later, the truth will emerge: “… You may be sure that your sin will find you out.”  (Numb. 32:23) 

Either:

  • God will expose our deepest secrets:

“What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.”  (Lk. 12:3)

  • Or we will come to a point where we will tire of acting. It is then that the true life and character that has dominated our thoughts and imagination will bubble to the surface for all to see.

Perhaps that is why some older people are so unpleasant to be around.  Having grown weary of acting in an “acceptable” manner, they are now reaping what they have sown these many years by allowing their true inner imagination and thoughts to find expression. 

Don’t be under any illusion: You cannot make a fool of God! A man’s harvest in life will depend entirely on what he sows. If he sows for his own lower nature his harvest will be the decay and death of his own nature. If he sows for the Spirit he will reap the harvest of everlasting life by that Spirit.”  (Gal. 6:7, 8 – Philips Translation)

QUESTION: Just what is it that dominates your imagination and thoughts? Are you pleased with the fact that  you are in the process of becoming what you have been thinking and dreaming about?

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!