BETA

Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for June, 1998

Wednesday, June 24, 1998

THE AGONY OF BEING DOUBLE-MINDED WITH GOD:

Good Morning!

Double-mindedness is cause for agony in any arena:

–  Who wants an employee who has never decided to kick it in 100% with the company ?

–  Or someone on the athletic team who is half-hearted? 

Having our affections divided between God and the world is like a guy standing on two chunks of ice that are floating in opposite directions.  Disaster is imminent!

Here’s how Francois Fenelon addresses this business of double-mindedness:

“…Woe unto those weak and timid souls who are divided between God and their love for the world!

“They want and they do not want.

“They are torn by passion and remorse at the same time.

“They fear the judgments of God and those of others.

“They have a horror of evil and a shame of good.

“They have the pains of virtue without tasting its sweet consolations.”

O how wretched they are! Ah, if they had a little courage to despise the empty talk, the cold  mockings, and the rash criticism of others, what peace they would enjoy in the bosom of God.”

There is only one way to love God: to take not a single step without Him, and to follow with a  brave heart wherever He leads.”+

James cautions us that a double-minded man “cannot hope to receive anything from the Lord, and the life of a man of divided loyalty will reveal instability at every turn.”  (Jams. 1:7,8; Phillips)

So, if you are struggling with a divided heart, you may want to pray this prayer,

 

Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an  undivided heart, that I may fear  your  name.”   (Psa. 86:11)

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, June 17, 1998

STONG MEN WITH A WARRIOR’S HEART

Good Morning!

Dwight, my wife beats me up. I am terrified of her!”

So shared a man who is struggling to hold his marriage together.

It reminds me of the wife who challenged her husband, “Are you a man or a mouse?  Squeak up!”

Today we live in a society where roles are often blurred and the male gender frequently appears to be in the process of de-masculination.

Yet, God is looking for strong men with warrior hearts who know their God-assigned roles; and who confront the enemy (not their wife!) head on by using the spiritual weapons of warfare enumerated in Eqhesians 6:10 – 18.

David’s mighty men serve as refreshing models of manliness for us:

  • “Jashobeam…raised his spear against three hundred men, whom he killed in one encounter.
  • “Eleazar [and David]…took their stand in the middle of the field. They defended it and struck the Philistines down, and the Lord brought about a great victory.
  • “Abishai…raised his spear against three hundred men, whom he killed.
  • “Benaiah…was a valiant fighter…who performed great exploits. He struck down two of Moab’s best men. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. And he struck down an Egyptian who was seven and a half feet tall.  Although the Egyptian had a spear like a weaver’s rod in his hand, Benaiah went against him with a club.  He snatched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with his own spear.”  (I Chron. 11:11 – 23)

So, are you a spiritual wimp who is being pushed around by bullies; one who is unsure of his masculine purpose and role?  David’s predecessor Saul, was a wimp who proved unfaithful to God by compromising His word, and looking to the godless for guidance:

“Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord; he did not keep the word of the Lord       and even consulted with a medium for guidance.”   (I Chron. 10:13)

Or do you have a warrior’s heart; know your calling and responsibility as a man, and thus courageously and aggressively engage the forces of evil in your path?

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, June 10, 1998

DO YOU HATE SIN? – OR DO YOU CODDLE YOUR SIN?

Good Morning!

I wonder if most of us don’t secretly love our sin.  But because it robs us of our power and peace, we confess it and go straight for a while.  But then, like a reforming alcoholic, we tire of our chastity and find ourselves seeking out or allowing out pet sins to once again gain control over us.

Yet the Scriptures instruct us that “to fear the Lord is to hate evil…”  (Prov. 8:13)

King Josiah demonstrated a hated for sin that is unique in the annals of Israel’s history. Upon learning of the Scripture’s teaching on holiness, he tore his clothes, repented, and then took severe steps to eradicate blatant practices of sin among his people. He:

Removed and burned articles used for worshiping Baal and the stars Did away with pagan priests
Tore down the quarters of the male prostitutes Desecrated, burned and ground to dust thehigh places (places where pagan priests burned incense)
Desecrated the places where child sacrifices were located Removed horses dedicated to the sun
Pulled down an alter dedicated to the worship of the stars; smashing them into pieces and throwing them outside the City  of Jerusalem  Burned chariots dedicated to the sun
Had bones from the hillside removed and burned to defile pagan locales of worship  Smashed and cut down artifacts related to the worship of a Canaanite mother-goddess
Slaughtered all the priests of the “high places”, burning human bones on them to defile them from further practices Demolished a golden calf a Bethel
Removed and defiled all the shrines on the“high places” Got rid of all the mediums, spiritists and household gods, idols, and all other “detestable” things in Judah and Jerusalem (II King. 22, 23)

Josiah’s passionate hatred of sin is EXACTLY what God expects of us:  “Let those who love the Lord hate evil.”  (Psa. 97:10a)

QUESTION:  Which impression would a careful observer of your life have?

  • That you hate your sin?  Or,
  • That you coddle your sin?

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, June 3, 1998

IF YOU WANT TO DIG DEEPER INTO GOD’S WORD, THEN TRY THIS SIMPLE APPROACH:

Good Morning!

Choose a short passage of Scripture. Then:

  • READ the passage: (We’ll use Matthew 9:9-13 for our example)
    “As Jesus went on from there he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. Follow Me,” He told him, and Matthew got up and followed Him. While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with Him and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this the asked His disciples, `Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?’ On hearing this, Jesus said, `It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’   For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’” 
  • RECORD the facts:
    9 –      Jesus tells Matthew to follow Him. Matthew obeys.
    10 –      Jesus and His disciples have dinner with Matthew and his friends: tax collectors and “sinners.”
    11 –      The Pharisees question Jesus’ disciples as to why He ate with such people.
    12,13 – Jesus hears about it and responds:
    – The “sick “, not the healthy need a doctor.
    – God desires mercy over religious observance (“sacrifice “).
    – Christ came not to call the righteous, but sinners. 
  • REFLECT on the implications of the facts for our life:
    “I wonder if I am as immediate and responsive to Jesus’ call to discipleship as was Matthew.”
    “Do I still have lost friends whom I am introducing to Jesus, as did Matthew?” 
  • RESPOND by applying one of the implications to your life:

“ I am convicted that I have not been more active in introducing my lost friends to Christ.   Within 2 months 1 will have a dinner party for several of them, and plan to share how Christ has changed my life.”

For further practice you may want to try the following passages: John 18:1-1 l; Psalm 23; Ecclesiastics 5 :18-20; Genesis 3 :1-7; Colossians 3 :12-16; John 18:15-18, 25-27; Revelation 1:12-18

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!