BETA

Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for July, 2000

Wednesday, July 26, 2000

FEAR is the opposite of faith, and is displeasing to God:

Good Morning!

“…My righteous one shall live by faith.  And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him…Without faith, it is impossible to please God…”   (Heb. 10:38; 11:6a)

Fear:

  • Clouds our judgment.
  • Paralyzes our actions.
  • Causes us to delay. Over-spiritualize.
  • Promotes paranoia.
  • Induces us to think irrationally; to loose objectivity.
  • Destroys our trust in others.
  • Diminishes our ability to believe. Act.
  • May be a reason we impute wrong motives to others.
  • Is often the product of our pride.
  • Refuses to believe God is there; is in control, and can be trusted or taken seriously.

 How do we break the bondage and cycle of fear?  By choosing to believe God through acting upon His promises. So right now, if you are struggling with fear, choose to believe these promises:

 God has not given us the spirit of  fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”(II Tim. 1:7 – KJV)

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, through the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea…Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”  (Psa. 46:1,2a, 10)

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears…The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.” (Psa. 34:4, 17)

It was amidst the storm that Jesus told Peter to step out of the boat and walk on the water to Him. The moment he looked away from the Master to the circumstances Peter’s faith turned to fear, and he began to sink. And so it is with us. (Matt. 14:22- 34)

You and I have a simple choice to make: Either we will allow the demons of fear, doubt, inadequacy etc., to paralyze  and  diminish us into spiritual midgets, or we will live above life’s crippling circumstances by choosing to believe and act upon His promises.

 QUESTION: Today, which do you choose? Faith or fear?   

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, July 19, 2000

THE SUFFERING OF THE SAINTS

Good Morning!

Suffering, it seems, is a daily occurrence among God’s people: Health problems, persecution, financial stress, etc., etc. How are we to understand it? How are we to cope? In studying I Peter, I discovered eleven ways we are to respond to suffering:

#1  Rejoice, recognizing your faith is being tested and purified – “In this you greatly rejoice, though now  for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials…Your faith…may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed…”  (1:6-8)

#2  Do not retaliate against your tormentors“When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate when he suffered, he made no threats.”  (2:23)

#3  Follow Christ’s example in entrusting yourself to God“Instead, he entrusted himself to him who  judges justly.”  (2:23b)   

 #4  Do not be afraid – “…Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.”  (3:14b)

#5  Follow Christ’s example in suffering for doing good“It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for  doing good than for doing evil.  For Christ died for sins, once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in Spirit.”  (3:17, 18)

 #6  Adopt Christ’s attitude toward suffering“Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm  yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.”(4:1)

#7  Rather than being surprised, rejoice in the fact that you are participating in Christ’s suffering“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trail 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.” (4:12, 13)

#8  Be unashamed in your suffering and association of Christ“If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” (4:15, 16)

#9  Amidst the suffering, commit yourself to God, and continue to do good“So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.  (4:19)

 #10  Resist Satan, recognizing that other believers are also suffering at his hand“Resist him, standing  firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”  (5:9, 10)

#11  Anticipate His restoration“And the God of all grace…after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steady.”  (5:10)

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, July 12, 2000

ACCORDING TO A SURVEY BY RESEARCHER GEORGE BARNA, THE FIRST TWO THOUGHTS MOST PEOPLE HAVE ABOUT CHRISTIANS IS:

Good Morning!

  • They attend a lot of meetings, and
  • They are opposed to many things.

Is that tragic or what?!  Rather, what we hope they would notice about us is our,       

  • Love
  • Humility
  • Compassion
  • Graciousness
  • Integrity
  • Servanthood (Jn. 13:34,35; Phil. 2:5-8; Matt. 9:12,13; Col. 4:5,6; Job 27:3-5; Phil. 2:17; 61:1,2)

To be sure, non-believers are “taking a read” on us,  “You…are [a] letter… known and read by everybody.”  (2 Cor. 3:2)  And they are picking up our fragrance, “…We are… the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.”  (2 Cor. 2:15)  The question is whether they are smelling a sweet scent or a stench?

Paul observed that it is only when we stop arguing and complaining about our situation in life that we will effectively  “shine as lights”, and minister God’s word to the lost among us. (Phil. 2:14-16). In our whining, pampered society, anyone who exhibits a positive, grateful mind-set will to stop traffic! 

So tell me, how do the folks in your office, your neighborhood,or at your athletic club view you

As humble, compassionate, gracious, and honest? As one who is sacrificing his life for others? 

Or as stiff and arbitrary? As a grumbler? As someone racing here and there, with Bible and notebook tucked under your arm as you attend another “pious party as they perceive it)”?

Hindu India mourned the death of Mother Teresia, a Catholic nun of a totally different religious persuasion. Her powerful demonstration of compassion for their “least” simply could not be ignored.

QUESTION:  What will the lost people of your “world” do at the news of your death?

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, July 5, 2000

PERSONAL ASSESSMENT OF MY MINISTRY:

Good Morning!

Paul admonished the Galatians, …Let every person carefully scrutinize and examine and test his own conduct and his own work.  He can then have the personal satisfaction and joy of doing something commendable…”  (Gal. 6:4a – Amplified)

Why not take some time and respond to the following assessment of your ministry:+

 Focusing on the big picture:

  • What is “North” for me, i.e., what vision or calling am I committed to?
  • What am I believing God for and praying He will do?

Assessing my efforts:

  • What have I seen God accomplish through me over these past months?
  • How do I understand the relationship between my work and my ministry? Do they compete or do they enhance one another?
  • Who are the people that I feel a special responsibility toward in my ministry? What are the needs of each?  How can these needs be met?
  • Am I doing the right things with the right people?
  • What is my involvement with the lost? Who are my unbelieving friends?
  • What have I learned about life and ministry that could be of help to others?   

Assessing my resources:

  • Am I comfortable that my aspirations fit my abilities?
  • What ongoing gift complements (other people) do I need to be effective?
  • What other assistance do I need? Resources?                                         
  • To whom am I accountable? how has this influenced me?

Planning:

  • What are my current objectives?
  • How should they be modified?
  • Will my current activities get me there?
  • What would be a realistic timetable?
  • On what date am I going to repeat this personal review

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!