BETA

Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for November, 1998

Wednesday, November 25, 1998

PORNOGRAPHY

Good Morning!

I know of no more enslaving and damaging an issue than this one: The inner agony. The guilt. The despair.  The havoc it brings into a husband-wife relationship.

There is no formula toward a solution, but let me put forth five steps toward gaining freedom:

#1  Accept His unconditional grace, along with your responsibility  in working toward a solution.

“If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness….Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (Psa. 130:3,4a; Rom. 6:1,2)

#2 Make the pursuit of knowing Him the centerpiece of each day. Whatever it takes in re-scheduling, block out sufficient daily time to develop deep intimacy with Christ through prayerful meditation of the Word, solace, worship, and application. If you need coaching on how, get it.

“…I look upon everything as loss compared with the overwhelming gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…I, in fact, am forgetting completely the  things that are behind, and am stretching forward to the things that are in front; bearing down upon the goal…” (Phil. 3:7 [Phillips Trans.], 13,14 [ Wuest Trans.])

#3  Take a hard look at your lifestyleAre you maxed out and under too much pressure? Are you getting sufficient rest and physical exercise? How is the quality of communication and time with your spouse? Are you aware of the “trigger points” that set you off into pornography?       

#4  Take whatever measures  necessary to cut it off at the root

“If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” (Matt. 5:29)

Do you need to cut out TV. or the movies for 6 – 12 months? Or avoid certain publications and locales?

#5 Develop a no-nonsense accountability/transparency relationship with another person (or group); preferably with a believer who is  more mature spiritually than yourself. 

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed…(Jams. 5:16)

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, November 18, 1998

WHEN TEMPTATION ROLES IN LIKE A TIDAL WAVE

Good Morning!

A couple of days ago I sipped coffee with Joe,+ as he sat in numbed silence, tears welling up in his eyes…

A look of dismay and sadness seemed to flow from him to me, conveying an air of helplessness, like someone in a wrestling match who had been pinned to the mat but lacked the will to resist or fight back.

At his home awaited two little boys and a girl who have been sensing that something is terribly wrong in their family. And a wife who is frantically attempting to pull the relationship back together…+

The problem? A dead marriage and another woman. 

Joe has tasted the forbidden fruit, and rationalizes only too well with Debbie Boon’s lyrics, “It can’t be so wrong when it feels so right.”  (From the song: “You Light Up My Life”)

As we talked, my mind reflected back on a conversation only a few days earlier with a buddy who shared how his wife’s father had walked out of their (“ideal Christian”)  home shortly after she   graduated from college. Now, twenty years later she is still deeply wounded by her father’s intransigence. 

So I reasoned and plead with Joe: ”Don’t do it.”  ”It’s not worth it.”  “Eighty percent of second marriages end in divorce.”  “Some day you will have to give an account to God.”  Etc., etc.

As Joe’s life and family waver in the balance, I am reminded of notes from one of the study Bibles that says, in effect, 

“When temptation strikes, it is too late to ask for advice. When desire is fully activated, people don’t want advice.  They want satisfaction. The best time to learn the dangers of foolishness and engaging in an adulterous relationship is long before the temptation comes. 

Resistance is easier if the decision has already been made.”

So, how are you doing in the purity department? Are you guarding your heart? Keeping a check on your eyes and emotions? And, are you taking the necessary pre-cautionary steps now in preparation for that inevitable day when temptation will role in like a tidal wave?

“A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge…the simple keep going and suffer for it.”++

 

 My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, November 11, 1998

INNER CHAOS OR INNER SOLITUDE

Good Morning!

One reason we struggle with time alone with God is our apprehension over facing ourselves.  The confrontation with our inner life may simply be to painful to face.  Thus, we shield ourselves from solitude by an endless array of T. V., people, phone calls, books and scheduled time pressures.

As a result, our lives have become absurd, (which in Latin means “deaf”), incapable of hearing the voice of God. Knowing God requires the spiritual discipline to shut out the world for regular times of solace in order to listen to His voice.

When we do learn to listen, we become obedient, (which in Latin means “listening”). Thus, when we begin to discipline our lives, we start to move from a life of absurdity – spiritual deafness – to a life of listening – a life of obedience.+

“It will cost something to walk slow in the parade of the ages while excited men of time rush about confusing motion with progress. But it will pay in the long run and the true Christian is not much interested in anything short of that.”  A. W. Tozier

We cannot know God without disciplining ourselves to make room for inner solitude. This was Jesus’ pattern with His Father, and it must also become ours. At the heart of prayer is obediently listening to God through His word and the inner prompting of the Spirit.

We need to begin by setting a daily time and place for God; writing it in our calendar as a daily appointment. Preferably in the morning. Let’s face it: By evening, most of us are brain dead!)  Start with 5 or 10 minutes. Choose a small portion of Scripture, say 3 – 5 verses. Read slowly, pondering, and jotting down observations;  co-mingling meditation and prayer as we talk over our insights with God.

Over the days, weeks, and months, the appetite for this quiet connection with God will grow to the point where we do not want to live without it. No longer will we feel we are wasting our time. When this happens, the inner chaos, noise, anger and frustration will begin to give way to inner peace and tranquillity. 

This is the beginning of knowing the living God.

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, November 4, 1998

MANY OF US LIVE WITH A CERTAIN DREAD OF THE FUTURE. A fear that some day the bottom will fall out. A fear that the plague will eventually get us.

Good Morning!

Jesus, our loving Shepherd can lay those fears to rest.  Consider His promises in Psalm 23:        

If I am fearful of loosing my way, He offers me direction: “He leads me beside quiet waters…”

If I am fearful of poverty, He offers me provision: “I shall not be in want…my cup overflows…”

If I am fearful of fatigue or burnout, He offers me rest and renewal“He makes me lie down in green pastures beside quiet waters…He restores my soul.”

If I am fearful of spiritual compromise, He offers me growth“He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake…”

If I am fearful of loneliness, He offers me His companionship and solace: “You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me…”

If I am fearful of humiliation, He offers me honor: “You anoint my head with oil…”

If I am fearful of calamity, He offers me His bountiful kindness“Surely goodness…will follow me all the days of my life…”

If I am fearful of rejection or isolation, He offers me His merciful favor: “Surely…love will follow me all the days of my life…”

If I am fearful of being lost, He offers me His salvation: “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

The only requirement on my part to receive the care and protection of this devoted Shepherd, is total surrender to His Lordship.

After all, the Psalmist did start the Psalm with, “The LORD is my Shepherd!”

QUESTION: Is there an area of your life that you have not relinquished to His Lordship? Why not surrender it to Him today and begin to experience the freedom and joy of living under His sovereign and loving care?

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!