BETA

Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for January, 1999

Wednesday, January 27, 1999

UNLESS WE DAILY EXPERIENCE GOD’S GRACE, WE WILL DESPAIR!

Good Morning!

Paul admonished Timothy to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus,” knowing that without a profound awareness of His grace he, like the rest of us would despair of the Christian life. (2 Tim. 2:1)

Recently, upon completing a lovely meal with friends, my host unleashed a hostile barrage of superlatives on the waitress in challenging the billing. After he had vented his spleen, the waitress graciously went over the bill, pointing out the fact that it  was indeed correct. Inwardly I could identify with my host, recollecting times I had decimated others, only to be proven wrong. The host, however is a relatively new believer, and is therefore more easily excused than I.

Without a profound awareness of His grace, both he and I would despair of the Christian life!

Just this morning I awoke in a sweat, as the air conditioning in my hotel room wasn’t working correctly. So I called down to the desk,

“No! Don’t send the technician up to my room. The problem is in the central cooling unit!”

Soon, however, a technician gently knocked on the door, smiled, went over to the wall and adjusted the thermostat. And quietly departed.

I tell you, without a profound awareness of His grace, I would despair of the Christian life

Certainly His grace gives us no license to sin nor an excuse for our vile behavior:

 “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?  By no means!”  (Rom. 6:1,2a)

 But we do need to find hope in the fact thatthere is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus,” or we will,  in our wretchedness despair  of the Christian life.  (Rom. 8:1a)

In our walk with Christ, our goal is to learn how to live in His presence on a moment-by-moment basis. But until we have mastered the art, let’s keep in mind the fact that we have One who pleads our cause before the Father,

“…I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have One who speaks to the Father in our defense–Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.”  (I Jn. 2:1)

And that is the grace of God!

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, January 20, 1999

GOD IS LOOKING FOR MEN AND WOMEN OF F – A – I – T – H+

Good Morning!

FAITHFULThere are a lot of people out there proclaiming how good they are, but few who actually deliver the goods.

“Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?”  (Prov. 20:6)

AVAILABLEMany of us are so over-committed we resemble a person skiing down the hill in front of an avalanche: There is no margin for error and disaster is imminent.

Are you emotionally available to God so that if He were to speak to you, you would be able to hear and respond to His gentle voice?

“He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets…And after the fire came a gentle whisper…Elijah heard it…” (Isa. 42:2; I King. 19:12b, 13a)

INTER-DEPENDENTSome of us parallel the fierce independence of Rambo, wanting to be and do the whole show. Over the long haul however, loners don’t make it spiritually. A study of 1 Corinthians 12 – 14, and related passages, clearly teach and illustrate the principle of inter-dependence, rather than independence. The fact is that we need each other.

TEACHABLETell me, as you mature and gain in stature, are you still willing to learn from the most humble of sources?      

“Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to take warning.” (Ecc. 4:13)

HOLY The reality is that God uses clean vessels:

“In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.” (2 Tim. 2:20, 21)

QUESTION: Are you one of them?

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, January 13, 1999

VISION – FAITH – COURAGE+

Good Morning!

Aim at nothing and you are sure to hit it!”  I understand from the “experts”  that 90% of  those who head companies routinely play catch-up ball as they respond to market conditions in reacting to the tyranny of the urgent.

By contrast, true leaders bring vision, faith and courage to coordinated effort.  Today, what is needed are people with:

VISION to see what ought to be done:

“Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.”  (Jn. 4:35b)

QUESTION: Do you have a God-given VISION as to what His mission is for you or your company? Or are you simply milling around, conducting business-as-usual, loosing altitude and taking up space?

FAITH to believe it can be done:

“If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.” (Lk. 17:6)

QUESTION: Do you have the FAITH to believe it can be done? Or are you paralyzed by indecision, over-analysis, paralysis…and over-spiritualizing?

COURAGE to persevere until it is done:

“Because the Lord God helps me, I will not be dismayed; therefore, I have set my face like flint to do his will, and I know that I will triumph.” (Isa. 50:7 – Living)

QUESTION: Do you have the COURAGE to believe that failure is not an option; that you will circumvent, tunnel through, or go over the obstacles until the mission is accomplished? 

Perhaps understanding the difference between an eagle and a chicken is helpful

Eagles soar with the wind, rising above the circumstances to see the big picture. Once they spot their prey, they drop with lightening speed in accomplishing their mission.
Chickens cluck, peck, strut, mill around and lay eggs when the urge comes upon them. 

QUESTION:  Which are you? An eagle who rises above his circumstance, bringing vision, faith and courage to coordinated effort?  Or are you a business-as-usual chicken who struts around and clucks, performing only when the urge comes upon you?

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, January 6, 1999

HEROES

Good Morning!

Recently, I was the guest in a home that displayed a sur-real painting entitled “Hollywood Boulevard.” The mural depicted Elvis Presley, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe and Marlin Brando while in their prime: Virile, lusty, cocky, and ready to take on the world!

Presley died prematurely of alcohol and drugs. Dean expired in a car accident while driving under the influence. Marilyn Monroe took her own life, and many years later one of Brando’s deeply troubled progeny ended up in jail after murdering a peer during a jealous rampage.

Like it or not, our heroes do reflect our deepest values. Heading today’s heroes are the likes of Bill Gates, Michael Jordan, and Demi Moore, of business, sports, and entertainment fame. 

Do you ever wonder what lies behind their public image of virility, brilliance and unimagined achievement? Ever wonder how they get along with their spouses? If they sleep peacefully at night? Ever wonder what it may have cost them in terms of relationships with their children to achieve their dizzying pinnacle of “success”?

The playwright Clarence Day reminds us that “life is but a dream and things are not what they seem.”   

Let me ask you: With whom are you traveling in the secret crevices of your mind? People highly esteemed by this world’s values? Or with those individuals steeped in God’s word, who have chosen the less-traveled path of humility, integrity, faithfulness and commitment to the highest moral and spiritual standards?

“He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.”  (Prov. 13:20) 

The illusion is that somewhere out there an erotic, avant-garde lifestyle awaits, that will garner me charm, thrills and never-ending excitement; a life that will somehow circumvent the gnarly truth that one reaps what one sows.

The reality is that only in Christ will the longings of the restless heart be satisfied: In Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble…”  (Jn. 16:33)

I have every confidence that by His grace you and I will discern between the two and wisely respond accordingly!

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!