BETA

Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for May, 1999

Wednesday, May 26, 1999

JOHN WESLEY’S THREE GUIDELINES ON THE HANDLING OF MONEY:+

Good Morning!

John Wesley (1703-1791), one of the great spiritual forces since the Reformation, addressed the delicate and vexing issue of money. I thought you would find his comments interesting and instructive:

“The love of money,” Wesley taught, “is the root of all evil, but not the thing itself. The fault does not lie in the money, but in them that use it.”

Guideline #1:  “Gain all you can

–  But not at the expense of life, health , or hurting our minds.

–  Without hurting your neighbor. We cannot study to ruin our neighbor’s trade, in order to advance on your own.

–  By honest industry.  Use all possible diligence in your calling.  Lose no time. 

–  By common sense, by using in your business all the understanding which God has given you…it is amazing to observe…how men run in the same dull track as their forefathers. It is a shame for a Christian not to improve upon them…You should be continuously learning…reading, reflecting, to do everything you have to do better today than you did yesterday.”

Guideline #2 :  “Save all you can

“Despise delicacy and variety, and be content with what plain nature requires…Lay out nothing to      

Gratify the pride of life, to gain the admiration or praise of men…men are expensive in diet, or

Apparel…no barely to please their appetite…but their vanity too…Rather be content with the honor

That cometh from God.”

Guideline #3:  “Give all you can

He placed you here not as a proprietor, but as a steward; as such He entrusted you for a season, with goods of various kinds; but the sole property of these still rest in Him…

First, provide things needful for yourself…Secondly, provide these for your wife, your children, your  servants, or any others who pertain to your household…If there be an overplus still, ‘as you have Opportunity do good to them that are of the household of faith.’ If there be an overplus still,’as you Have opportunity, do good unto all men.” (Gal. 6:10)

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, May 19, 1999

GROWING YOUR MIND

 Good Morning!

Exposing our mind to high-grade Christian literature is a must for the serious follower of Christ.  Wise Solomon reminds us that  “the mind of the intelligent seeks knowledge…” Therefore, “apply your heart to discipline and your ears to words of knowledge.”  (Prov. 15:14a; 23:12)

Following is a list of Christian-based classics that are well worth reading:

The Confessions” – Augustine. Self-examination of our spiritual life.

The Imitation of Christ” – Thomas a Kempis. A classic on personal spirituality.

Pensees” – Blaise Pascal. One man’s search for an authentic experience with God.

Purity of Heart”  – Soren Kierkegaard. A diagnosis of  Western Christianity.

Reflections on Psalms”  –  C. S. Lewis. A simple and unpretentious meditation of Psalms.

 “The Soul of Prayer” –  P. T. Forsyth. The glory and the gravity of true prayer.

A Serious Call To a Devout and Holy Life” – William Law. Sets high standard for true spirituality.

 “Celebration of Discipline”  – Richard Foster. Unsurpassed on developing spiritual disciplines.

Spiritual Direction” – Thomas Merton. How to develop the contemplative life.

Pursuit of God” and  “Knowledge of the Holy” – A. W. Tozer. Fervor for God.

 “The Brothers Karamazov”  – F. Dostoyevsky.  Perhaps the best novel ever written. Powerful Christian  undertones.

The Fellowship of the Ring”  – J. R. R. Tolkien. Teutonic myths retold with a Christian accent.

Jesus Rediscovered” – Malcolm Muggeridge. A unique perspective on Jesus. 

The Man Born To Be King” – Dorothy Sayers. Probing Jesus’ divinity and humanity.

 “Quest for Godliness” – J. I. Packer. Discusses the best of Puritan piety for moderns.

 “The Screwtape Letters” – C. S. Lewis. Satan’s strategy to destroy Christians.

 “Christian Spirituality” – Rowan Williams. Brilliant insights into writers of the spiritual classics.

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, May 12, 1999

WHEN YOU ARE NO LONGER IN CONTROL

Good Morning!

I’m lying in bed in pain. Back problems. Two weeks of physical anguish and immobility. All appointments, travel plans, and speaking engagements canceled.                                     

What do you do when your plans crash and burn; when you are no longer in control of the situation? Get angry or up-tight? Start throwing things? Have a pity party? Blame others?

Well, this morning, groaning in pain with plans gone awry, I managed to pry open my Bible and read,

Lord, You have assigned me my portion and my cup; You have made my lot secure.”  (Psa. 16:5)

“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” (Prov. 16:9)

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.” (Psa. 46:1,2)

So what am I suppose to do when I can’t gain control of the situation?” 

“Be still, and know that I am God…”  (Psa. 46:10a)

But I am worried about all the people who are depending on me.” 

The Sovereign One reassures me that He will get the job done with or without me, “I will exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”  (Psa. 46:10b)

QUESTIONDo you have everything under control? I doubt it! Few people do. Perhaps you have,

–  A rebellious teenager, or

–  A messy partnership issue, or

–  A continuing problem in your marriage that seems to have no resolution, or

–  A financial enigma with no solution in sight.

What to do. Well, keep in mind that ultimate freedom in life is the ability to choose the right attitude. And because your attitude is centered in your will, you can choose to “be still and know that [He is] God.” Or you can choose to get up-tight, and wrestle back the control. 

Prayer“Lord, I pause to surrender control of my circumstances to You. In fact, once again I surrender my very life into Your sovereign care. Thank You that from eternity You have known about this day and my particular situation. I lift each issue up to You and rest them into Your loving hands. I choose to be still and acknowledge You as my sovereign God.  In Jesus’ Name.  Amen.”

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, May 5, 1999

TWO REASONS WE RESIST TIMES OF SOLITUDE WITH GOD

Good Morning!

The excuse we usually give for failure at spending time with God is time. “There is not enough time.” The truth is, that for the most part, time has nothing to do with it! We make time for what is of paramount importance to us. If we want to play 18 holes of golf badly enough, we will find the time!

So why do we resist times of solitude with God? Let me propose two of many reasons:

#1  We don’t want to change.

If we are brutally honest, we find “a stubbornness within ourselves. A hardheartedness that will not yield to transformation and change.”+  Because exposure to the word of God in an atmosphere of solitude discloses our corruption, we find ourselves resisting the pain of truth, and the pain of change.

“His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it–no matter what.” (Heb. 4:12,13 – The Message)

When we insist on living a marginal Christian existence by dabbling in and out of sin, our appetite for solitude with God can be numbed to the point of revulsion. We do not want Him to get that close!

#2  We don’t want to give up control

We are accustomed to being at the center of the action. We seem to need to be around people. Influencing them, managing them, or seeking their approval. We want to feel indispensable! After all, if we are not there for them, they might not grow – or “make it.” Remember the parable of the sower? Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.”  (Mk. 4:27) God brings the growth! Not us! (I Cor. 3:6 )

The fact is, God would have us resign as CEO of the universe in order that we might began to comprehend the truth that our greatest need is not for pleasure, but for intimacy with HimIs it not the nervous activity of our lives that reveals our little faith while serving to crowd out those much needed times of seclusion with God?

QUESTION: Are you up to the challenge of choosing to become great with God through a regular pattern of solitude with Him? Then, if He so determines, He can make you great in spiritually influencing others? Be assured that the latter will not happen without the former.

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!