BETA

Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for June, 1999

Wednesday, June 30, 1999

ARE YOU LIVING A LIFE OF TRUE SIGNIFICANCE?

Good Morning!

I may, I suppose, regard myself as a relatively successful man. People occasionally stare at me in the streets, that’s fame; I can fairly easily earn enough money to qualify for admission to the higher slopes of the Internal Revenue Service. That’s success. Furnished with money and a little fame…[I] may partake of friendly diversions. That’s pleasure. It might even happen…that something I said or wrote was sufficiently heeded for me to persuade myself that it represented a serious impact on our time. That’s fulfillment

“I beg you to believe me, multiply these tiny triumphs by millions…and they are nothing, less than nothing.” So wrote the highly visible and “successful”  Malcolm Muggeridge. +

  1. L. Mencken sardonically stated, “The problem with life is not that it’s a tragedy, but that it’s a bore.

King Solomon echoes Mencken’s cynicism in declaring, For what does a man get for all his toil and for all his heart’s striving with which he wearies himself…For all his days are full of pain and his task vexations…even at night his mind has no rest.  This also is emptiness.” (Ecc. 2:22, 23 – Berkeley Translation)

We too may have fame, success, pleasure…perhaps even a measure of fulfillment. But the question we must ask of ourselves is, “From God’s perspective, am I  living  a life  of true significance”?

The following questions may prove helpful in assessing that penetrating inquiry:++

#1   What is my unique role in God’s greater plan? (Rom. 12:3-6a; I Cor. 12:1-4)

#2   What eternal legacy will I leave behind? (1 Cor. 3:10-15;  2 Pet. 3:10-14)          

#3   What will it take for me to finish well? (I Cor. 9:24-27; 15:58;  Phil. 3:17-19)

#4   How can I leverage my life for maximum contribution to my fellow man and for the Kingdom of God? (Prov. 4:18; Matt. 5:14-30)

#5   Am I clear in knowing how to get from where I am to where I want to go in life? (Prov. 17:24; Eph. 5:14 -17)

Only one  life  will  soon  be  past. Only  what’s  done  for  Christ  will  last.                                                      

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, June 23, 1999

DAD, WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT, ANYWAY?

Good Morning!

In a few weeks my 30 year old son, who is now married and in business, will travel half way around the world to visit his mother and me. 

In a recent e-mail he said, “Dad, when I come out, let’s do some crazy stuff together!”  So I e-mailed him back, “You can count on it!”

 You know, I can remember when he was eight or nine and I’d return home from work, exhausted.

He’d greet me at the car,  “Hi Dad!” 

Hi Wes. Hey, ya wanna go hit some balls an shoot a few hoops?”  “Sure Dad!” …And we’d be off.

 Sometimes we’d make up games,  “It’s the World Series! Yankee Stadium! The Series is tied three each! Bottom of the 9th!  Tied score! Two outs! Bases loaded! The count is 3-2!…Wes Hill is at bat!”

 And if we were “competing”, I’d work at loosing my fair share. ‘Cause he was my little buddy, and I didn’t want to hurt him…

Today, it’d be no contest. Muscular, athletic, youthful — He’d win hands down. But on his visit out here, we’ll get out on the court once again, and he’ll make sure he looses his fair share. 

‘Cause I’m his buddy and he wouldn’t want to hurt me.

Tell me Dad…  Are you taking that eager youth out to hit a few

…And shoot some hoops together?   

And are you doing it often enough that you’re becoming buddies?

‘Cause, when you’re old…like me, it’s kinda of nice to have your strapping buddy — your son, travel half way around the world to shoot a few hoops with the old man. 

“…Anyone who won’t care for his…own family, has no right to say he is a Christian….” (I Tim. 5:8 – Living)

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, June 16, 1999

HERE ARE THREE TRUTHS WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND ABOUT GOD:

Good Morning!

I  – HIS GRACE – Given our daily struggle with sin, it is important that we grasp His grace, lest we despair,

“If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared.” (Psa. 130:3,4)

Yet we need to understand that grace gives us no licensee to play with sin,

“What shall we say, then? 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? (Rom. 6:1)

II  – HIS SOVEREIGNTY – We can count on the fact that He is there, making sure that everything in His Universe is running just fine,

“Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.”  (I Chron. 29:11)

Knowing He is in charge, and that everything is under His control, we can “be still and know that [He] is

God.”  (Psa. 46:10)  The alternative is to languish in a life of insecurity that is immobilized by fear.

III  –  HIS HOLINESS – Living as we do in a highly sensual society, grasping God’s holiness is not an easy task. Spiritually attuned Isaiah was terrified at God’s holy revelation of Himself,

“I saw the Lord…‘Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts…Then I said, ‘Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.’”  (Isa. 6:1-5 – selected)

 All the more reason for us to understand that we have taken on the very righteousness of Christ,

“[God] made [Christ] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”  (2 Cor. 5:21)

Our responsibility therefore must be holy behavior: Telling the truth. Avoiding sensuality. Humility. 

 “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do.”  I Pet. 1:14, 15)

The alternative is sullying His name, while living a life of bondage to our passions and inner corruption.

 QUESTION: Are there steps you need to take at this time, to know and experience these truths about God?

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, June 9, 1999

SEVEN MARKS OF TRUE SPIRITUALITY+

Good Morning!

  1. The desire to be holy rather than happy.

“…I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” (Phil. 4:8)

  1. The desire to see the honor of God advanced through our life even if it means suffering temporary dishonor or loss.

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” (2 Cor. 4:8-10)

  1. The desire to carry our cross.

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”  (Act. 20:24)

  1. The desire to see everything from God’s point of view.

 “We are asking God that you may see things, as it were, from His point of view by being given spiritual insight and understanding.”  (Col. 1:9 – Philips Translation)

  1. The desire to die right rather than to live wrong.

“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.  If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king.  But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Dan.3:16-18)

  1. The desire to see others advance at our expense.

“For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.” (2 Cor. 4:5)

  1. The practice of habitually making eternity-judgments instead of time-judgments.

“…We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  (2 Cor. 4:18)

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, June 2, 1999

POWER. INTELLIGENCE. ATHLETIC ABILITY. EFFICIENCY. WINNING. AFFLUENCE. VISIBILITY

Good Morning!

These are among the values we hold in high esteem, idolize…even worship.

Human frailty, failure, weakness, and poverty we avoid like the plague.

In our society there is little room or tolerance for those who are second or third string. Not a lot of respect among us for older people — they’re out of date. Slow. Not “with it.”

So what happens when God decides to deal with our pride through illness and frailty… possibly through failure? What happens when we cannot call the shots, control the circumstances, or determine the outcome?

Is our peace of mind and our sense of worth so fragile that it is predicated upon the guarantee of life’s optimum circumstances or upon a continual string of successes and recognition? Or is it based upon an inner intimacy with Jesus Christ?  If not, then God has some serious spade work to do on our soul.

Remember, our Sovereign Father’s two primary objectives are His glory, and the development of our character into Christlikeness, and He will use whatever means necessary to accomplish them. Pain, C. S. Lewis argued, may well be God’s megaphone to a morally deaf world.+

“I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For My own sake, for My own sake, I did this. How can I let Myself be defamed? I will not yield My glory to another.” (Isa. 48:10, 11) 

As long as we are relying upon our accomplishments or bowing to the world’s idols to gain our peace or sense of worth, God is unable to work in and through us. Because it is only in our weakness…yes, in our dependency upon Him that He chooses to work and to give us inner-contentment:

“…He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. “ (2 Cor. 12:9,10)

“I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”  (Phil. 4:12b-13)

 QUESTION: Do you need a paradigm shift in values? What do you think God thinks?

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!