BETA

Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for April, 1999

Wednesday, April 28, 1999

“THE TRUTH IS PEOPLE TELL 200 LIES A DAY, STUDY FINDS.”

Good Morning!

So stated a recent newspaper article out of London. The study further revealed:

  • On the average, people tell a lie every eight minutes.
  • US $50.00 was “mistakenly” sent to 25 clergy and 25 car salesmen. 15 in both group cashed the checks.

The article concluded, “Dishonesty is a fundamental part of life.” Certainly the Scriptures would

concur,  “Everyone lies to his neighbor; their flattering lips speak with deception...”  (Psa. 12:2)

What are some of the reasons people lie?

  • To manipulate – “Joe, you are one of the last ones to endorse the project. Surely you want to be part of the team.”
  • To not offend – “Yes Mary, that is a lovely dress.”
  • To withhold a portion of the truth – “Sales are up 20%!” (Suppressing the fact that the company ended the year in the red.)
  • To avoid inconvenience – “Tell them I’m not in the office.”
  • To excuse their failure – “I was late due to heavy traffic.”
  • To exaggerate – “85% of the units are sold out,” states the advertisement, when in fact the figure is 42%.
  • To flatter – “Bill, how did you become so exceptional at so many things?”
  • To deceive – “We can do the job for 15% below the lowest bidder… and on time.”

Given the seriousness of the problem, perhaps our prayer should echo that of the Psalmist, “Save me, O Lord, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues.”  (Psa. 120:2)

Because God somberly forewarns us,

“No one who practices deceit will dwell in My house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in My presence…All liars–their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” [or Hell] (Psa. 101:7; Rev. 21:8b)

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, April 21, 1999

AS A SERIOUS FOLLOWER OF CHRIST, HERE ARE FIVE QUESTIONS YOU MAY WANT TO ASK YOURSELF:

Good Morning!

#1  Have I forsaken that which is dearest to me to follow Him — regardless of the cost?

“…Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.” (Lk. 14:33b)

#2  Do my priorities, intentions, and inner attitudes reflect a settled resolve to become like Jesus?

“…All the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life.  Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant – dog dung.  I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by Him.” (Phil. 3:7,8 – The Message)

#3  Am I choosing to forfeit things normally sought out by the masses in order to follow Him?

“…What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight…[Therefore,] enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”  (Lk. 16:15b, Matt. 7:13, 14))

#4  Am I  systematically and progressively re-arranging my affairs to get His training?  To become His pupil

“Look carefully then how you walk!  Live purposefully and worthily and accurately…as wise (sensible, intelligent people)…Do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is.”  (Eph. 5:15, 17 – Amp.)

#5  Is my manner of life, as a determined follower of Christ, obvious to the thoughtful people around me? It is obvious to me

 “This should be your ambition: to live a quiet life, minding your own business and doing your own work, just as we told you before.  As a result, people who are not Christians will trust and respect you…”   (I Thess. 4:11, 12a – Living)

CONCLUSION:  “The cross-shaped yoke of Christ is…an instrument of liberation and power to those who live in it with Him and learn the meekness and lowliness of heart that brings rest to the soul…[It is] the fulfillment of the highest human possibilities and as life on the highest plane.”+

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, April 14, 1999

THREE WORDS THAT CURRY GOD’S DISPLEASURE: “But”. “If only”, and “Why?”

Good Morning!

As the Israelites approached the Promised Land, Moses commissioned 12 spies to go in and scope out the territory. Upon their return, they reported that the land was indeed flowing with milk and honey! 

But  the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large... (Num. 13:26a)

By this report, ten of the twelve spies gave evidence of the fact that they were paralyzed by fear, rather than mobilized by faith. Sadly, they had allowed their perception of the facts, rather than the promises of God to dictate their response to the situation. In their minds, God was not big enough to surmount the obstacles.

  • When we allow “but” to dominate our vocabulary, we question God’s power.

If only we had died in Egypt!  Or in this desert!”  (Num. 14:2b)

Clearly, God had led the Israelites across the desert, assuring them of His presence in providing the pillar of fire by night and the cloud of protection by day. Wonderfully, He had furnished them with manna from heaven, water from the rock, and clothing that did not wear out.

Yet, the moment they were faced with adversity, they cried out, “if only”. By that lament they signaled their preference to living in bondage under their Egyptian oppressors over living in freedom under God’s sovereign care. (Num. 14:2)

  • When we entertain the “if only’s”, we question god’s goodness.

 Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? (Num. 14:3a)

Faced with formidable obstacles in conquering the land God had promised them, the Israelites whined “why”, rather than believing God could and would help them overcome the barriers. 

  • When we ask “Why”, we question God’s wisdom .

When God calls us to Himself, He calls us to a life of faith: “But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.”  (Heb. 10:38) 

QUESTION: So tell me, fellow pilgrim, as you trek across your own God-assigned desert, are you shrinking back from the barriers with “but”, “if only”, and “why? Or are you choosing to forage ahead, trusting in His power, His goodness, and His wisdom?

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, April 7, 1999

THE REAL WORLD OF BUSINESS+

Good Morning!

Let’s cut through all the smoke and mirrors and talk about the real world of  business. To be honest, it is a place of violence — both to the spirit and the body. It is an arena where pressure, ulcers and manipulation are standard fare. Where verbal abuse, slander, emotional and physical breakdowns are a common occurrence. It’s stress city, but quite honestly, down right addictive. 

The real world of business can be likened to a boxing match: 15 rounds of abuse, blood, and loosened teeth. Beating up on the other guy. It is about defiance — coming up against a superior force and refusing to give in. Think Rocky. Chuck Norris.  Clorox’d preppy wimps need not apply.  t’s not just about money, but about winning. Outsmarting the other guy at his game. It’s about getting there first with the most.  Clinching the deal. Getting the contract. Controlling the market. 

The real world of business is about being on top of the sweaty pile of those who came in second…or last.  After all no one knows or cares who is the second richest guy in the world. But we all know about Bill Gates, Michael Jordan and Tom Cruise. Like Lombardi said, “Show me a good looser and I’ll show you a looser.” Therefore loosing is not an option. Winning is the only option. 

How then are  businessmen who are  followers of Christ to relate to this “real world of business”?

#1   By concentrating primarily on serving the public with superior products and service, rather than on beating out the competition. After all, is it not God who promises to meet our needs? (Heb. 13:5; Phil. 4:19)

#2    By demonstrating in the rough and tumble of business that meekness is not weakness, but  strength under control — steel character covered with velvet. (Matt. 5:5)

#3   By exemplifying Jesus who was tough on liars and hypocrites, while willingly giving up His personal rights:

 “Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps…When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly.”  (I Pet. 2:21, 23; See Matt. 23:33) 

#4   By choosing to be so Biblically based, and thus so radically different from the average person in the “real world of  business”, that people will demand an explanation. After all, isn’t that what true witnessing is all about? (I Pet. 3:15; Matt. 5:13, 16)

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!