BETA

Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for October, 1999

Wednesday, October 27, 1999

SEXUAL PURITY — The Scriptures clearly admonish us to live sexually pure lives

Good Morning!

“It is God’s will that you…should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God;  and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins…”  (I Thes. 4:3-6a)

Here are some principles, thoughts and observations adapted from the pen of Dr. Jerry White,

  1. Sexual sin is always generated in the mind before it is acted out in the body. Thus, to guard one’s thoughts is absolutely indispensable.
  1. A struggling marriage is never an excuse for sexual sin.
  1. A widower, divorced person or sexually-experienced person will likely have more temptation, mainly due to knowledge.
  1. Following are common threads and characteristic of men who have fallen into sexual impurity:
  • The macho image and a sense of dominance.
  • A perceived failure in one’s job or a blow to one’s ego or pride.
  • A feeling of being “above the rules.”
  • Going easy on one’s self…in many areas like diet or exercise.
  • Carelessly allowing one’s self to be in places or situations that boost temptation.
  • Roving and undisciplined dyes
  1. Accountability is a major key to prevention, but even with it one who wants to sin sexually will find a way to lie, deceive others and himself to avoid the truth.
  1. Regardless of spiritual maturity, age or the best of marriages, everyone is vulnerable to sexual sin.

No garden ‘suddenly overgrows’ with thorns…No marriage suddenly ‘breaks down’…No person suddenly ‘becomes base.’  Slowly, almost imperceptibly, certain things are accepted that once were rejected.  Things once considered hurtful are now secretly tolerated.  At the outset it appears harmless, perhaps even exciting, but the wedge it brings leaves a gap that grows wider as moral erosion joins hands with spiritual decay.  The gap becomes a canyon.  That ‘way which seems right’ becomes, in fact, ‘the way of death…”+

QUESTION:  In the deepest recesses of your secret life, how are you really doing? Are you going it alone?

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, October 20, 1999

SUFFERING IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF ALL OUR LIVES.+

Good Morning!

During a recent seminar I attended on suffering, I mentally went around the room and noted the afflictions of the people attending the session.  They included: 

One couple whose daughter is extremely rebellious — A wife who is suffering over her husband’s  unfaithfulness — A couple who have a mongoloid child — A single woman who is immobilized with self-doubt and feelings of inferiority — A senior executive who recently lost his job — A man whose 17 year old daughter is suffering with a terminal disease  — A father whose son just impregnated a girl, and is in trouble with the police.

Often when suffering, we wonder if God has made a mistake. Or we may well feel He does not care, that He is not there, or that He is not fair.   We may be tempted to ask, “In all my suffering, where is God?”  The answer of course is, “The same place He was when His Son suffered.”  We know from I Peter  that God uses suffering to mature us in our faith,

“…Now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed…Do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”  (I Pet. 1:6,7;4:12,13)

If you are in the midst of a painful experience, may I suggest seven things you can do:

#1  List and define your trouble

#2  Give thanks for your blessings and look for what didn’t happen.

#3  Amidst your problem, ask this question, “Have I contributed to the cause?

#4  Explore the possible and potential benefits that can come from the pain.

#5  In your suffering or tragedy, recognize that it may not be as bad as it appears.        

#6  During your time of trouble, recall the character of God and His promises

#7  Pray with surrender that God will work out the problem, and that He will work into your life the character or lesson(s) that can be learned from the experience.

 

My prayer is that God will enrich you with His grace this week!

Wednesday, October 13, 1999

ON BECOMING LIKE JESUS

Good Morning!

If we desire to be like Jesus Christ, then there are four of His characteristics we are to emulate:

#1  Give up all our rights:

“Let Christ Jesus be your example as to what your attitude should be. For He, who had always been God by nature did not cling to His prerogatives as God’s equal.”

Prayer:  “Lord, I relinquish all my rights:To family. To finances. To recognition. To pleasure. To quietness. To health. To  privacy. To be loved. To be treated with respect.  To justice.”

#2  Become nothing:

[He] stripped Himself of all privilege.”

Prayer“Lord, I surrender my position. My status. My heritage.  My career. My capabilities. My resources. My experience. My reputation. My education.”

#3  Become a servant:

[“He consented] to be a slave by nature and [be] born as a mortal man.”

PrayerLord, I abdicate my desire to climb the social and economic scale. I renounce all my rights. I ask you to give me a heart to serve you and others on your terms, not mine. Lord, I love to be regarded by others as a servant; help me to be joyfully willing to be treated as a servant.”

#4  Surrender to His Lordship in total obedience:

“And, having become man, He humbled Himself by living a life of utter obedience, even to the extent of dying…the death of a common criminal.” (Phil. 2:5-8 – Phillips Translation)

Prayer: “Lord, I choose to obey you on your terms, not mine. Whatever the cost: Loss of health. Status. Finances. Family. As did Jesus, I pick up the cross you have assigned me, and by your grace I will carry it to the death. In Jesus’ Name.  Amen.”

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, October 6, 1999

ARE YOU A GLADIATOR OR A SPECTATOR?

Good Morning!

 Tom Landry, the former coach of the Dallas Cowboys once commented on the “walk-ons” who showed up each Spring to try out for the team.  Talent, he observed, was in abundance. Intense passion and desire were not. And passionate desire is what God longs for in us who would seek to know Him, …Devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God…”  (I Chron.  22:19a)

In our striving to grow spiritually, Peter tells us to, make every effort…”  “[Apply] all diligence…”   “Work hard…”  (2 Peter 1:5a, NIV, NASB, Living).  That is, we are to make constant moral and spiritual progress similar to an army that is steadfastly marching toward its objective: Determined. Progressing. Undaunted

 Thus, “the Christian life must not be an animated spasm, followed by a chronic inertia.” (Moffat)  Rather, we are to be  resolute in our intention of reaching spiritual maturity.

In our quest, it would help us to keep in mind the fact that “faith is not only a commitment to the promises of God, but also to the demands of Christ.” (William Barclay)

A couple of years ago, I had the privilege of leading a 50 year old businessman to Christ.  Talk about a man with a passionate desire to know God!  The guy attacked the issue of spiritual growth with the ardor of a Roman  “gladiator”!

–  Immediately he started studying and memorizing the Scriptures, devouring Christian books, downloading Christian material each morning off the Net, etc., etc.

–  Soon he initiated a Bible study with his old college drinking buddies, keen that they too would know the Savior.

 By way of contrast, I recently attempted to help a man who had supposedly re-committed his life to Christ after squandering millions of dollars on women and gambling.  Late for the appointment, he declined my offer for assistance, lamely explaining that he just could not get over his habit of chasing women.  Sidelined for his lack of passion to follow Jesus, the Christian life for him will probably remain a “spectator” experience. 

QUESTIONSo tell me, do you have the heart of a gladiator or  a spectator?  Are you passionately pursuing God?  Or are you like most of the guys showing up for the Cowboys’ tryouts: Talented, but mediocre in spirit.  For talented, but dis-passionate walk-ons, participating  at the “gladiator” level will remain an unfulfilled dream as they join the ranks of  faceless spectators.

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!