BETA

Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for March, 1998

Wednesday, March 25, 1998

JUDGING OTHERS

Good Morning!

Recently, while leading a group of businessmen in a Bible study, I had the uncomfortable feeling that I was being scrutinized…and judged, as several of the men projected a  supercilious manner in icily quizzing me:

“With what group are you affiliated? What is your educational background? What is your theological position on such and such…?” etc..etc.. 

In reflecting back on that encounter I am reminded of Paul’s admonition:

“…Why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother?  For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat?”  (Rom. 14:10)

Here, “judging” conveys a censorious attitude toward others without first  possessing  the facts.  That is not to suggest that we should avoid the practice of carefully looking for the evidence of godliness in professing believers’ lives:  “…By their fruit you will recognize them.”   (Matt. 7:15-20)

The Scriptures inform us that judgmental people:

  • Tend to be blindly self-righteous:

King David, for example,  piously condemned the man in Nathan the Prophet’s story who had stolen another man’s  lone sheep, while he himself had stolen Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba:

David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this deserves to die!.’“  (2 Sam.12:1-10) (Also  Rom. 2:1-4; Jn. 8:1 – 11)

  • Tend to be harder on others than they are on themselves:

Christ admonished us, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in  your own eye?”   (Matt. 7:3)

  • Await God’s judgment:

“…When you, a mere man, pass judgment on them…do you think you will escape God’s judgment?”  (Rom. 2:3)

Isn’t it Christ’s way to accept people by assuming the best of them until they give us good reason to believe otherwise? After all, “love looks for a way of being constructive.”  (I Cor.  13:4. J. B. Phillips)

Certainly this is how Jesus treated Peter the day they met. Christ, knowing full-well of Peter’s future instability, gave him a name that conveyed strength  and solidity: “Thou shalt be called Cephas…a stone.” (Jn. 1:42b)

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, March 18, 1998

HOW TO KNOW THE WILL OF GOD

Good Morning!

Recently I was having breakfast with a businessman who mentioned the fact that he had been offered a very attractive business opportunity which would mean a significant increase in income, but would necessitate a move to a city in another part of the world.

So he asked me, “Dwight, how do I discern the will of God?” Good question!

You may want to ask yourself  the following questions as you seek to determine the will of God:  

  •  “Am I putting God’s desire ahead of my own?” (Matt. 26:39b)+
  • “Will it help me to love God and others more?” (Mk. 4:19, 20)
  • “How does this action relate to my personal involvement in fulfilling Christ’s Great Commission?” (Matt. 28:18 – 20)
  • “Will this help me lead a more holy life?” (I Pet. 1:14 – 16)
  • “Will this course of action increase my personal knowledge of Christ?” (Phil. 3:7,8)

 Before we can discern the “unknown” will of God, we need to be sure we are obeying the “known” will of God. Basically, the “known” will of God is to obey:

The Great Commandment: ”Love God with all your heart…soul and…mind,” which always translates into obedience to His word.   (Matt. 22:37, 38; Jn. 14:21))

The Great Commission: Love your neighbor as yourself,”  which translates into a life of loving service with a view toward people knowing  Christ and growing in that relationship. (Matt.22:39; I Jn.3:16)

QUESTIONAre you at the present time  actively pursuing the “known” will of God? If not, my guess is that perceiving the “unknown will of God may prove to be a formidable, if not an  impossible task.

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, March 11, 1998

HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO SEEMINGLY IMPOSSIBLE CIRCUMSTANCES?

Good Morning!

With fear or faith?

King Saul and his son Jonathan illustrate both:

SAUL, panics as he sees his troops deserting him while on a military skirmish as they await the priest’s appearance to offer a sacrifice. So Saul steps in and presumptuously  assumes the priest’s religious duty.  

I saw that the men were scattering.” – Frazzled by circumstances.

I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me…’”  – Ruled by fear.

I felt compelled to offer burnt offerings.” – Prompted by  emotions. 

The consequences?  Saul is dis-enfranchised as king, (and dies a premature death):   

…Now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader…because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”  (1 Sam. 13:14)

JONATHAN, by contrast is vastly out numbered by the Philistine army, yet chooses to believe God to use him in defeating them.

Come, let’s go over to the Philistines” – Scoped out the enemy.       

Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf” – Made himself available to be used of God.

Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few” – Believed  God could use him to destroy the enemy.

The consequences?  Jonothan victoriously destroys  enemy forces.

SAUL saw  challenging  circumstances through the eyes of fear and failed

JONATHAN saw challenging circumstances through the eyes of faith  and succeeded. (I Sam.13:1 – 14:23)

QUESTION: When you are faced with difficult circumstances that appear to be overwhelmingly impossible, what do you do? Panic, like Saul and resort to your own  solutions? Or do you, like Jonothan trust God, and see Him come through with His solution?

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, March 4, 1998

“WHY CAN’T A WOMAN BE LIKE A MAN??!!” cried Rex Harrison in “My Fair Lady.”

Good Morning!

Men: Is it not true (if we are honest) that most guys sincerely believe they married a man in a woman’s bodyShe should think and  act like me! What is her problem, anyway?” 

For starters, she is a woman who was uniquely and beautifully created by God to compliment, rather than duplicate you.

I doubt that there is a greater test of true manliness and godliness than how we treat the woman whom God has placed in our life. Thoughtful application of the Ten Commandments of Marriage”+  may prove helpful in enhancing your relationship with your wife:

I  Treat Your Wife with Strength and Gentleness

II  Give Ample Praise and Reassurance

III  Define the Areas of Responsibility

IV  Avoid Criticism

V  Remember the Importance of “Little Things”

VI   Learn How to Listen to Her in Order to Understand Her

VII  Give Her a Sense of Security

VIII  Recognize the Validity of Her Moods

IX  Cooperate With Her in Every Effort to Improve Your Marriage

X  Discover Her Particular Individual Needs and Try to Meet Them

It has been my observation that most women will respond to a man who is reasonable and caring. If wives  do become angry and difficult, my guess is that in most cases we men have made them that way!

So guys, let’s do ourselves a favor by applying these “Ten Commandments of Marriage.” After all:

It is  “better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife…(who)  is like a constant dripping on a rainy day.”  (Prov. 25:24;27:15)

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!