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Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for August, 2000

Wednesday, August 30, 2000

HERE ARE THREE STEPS TO BUILDING GOD’S WORD INTO YOUR LIFE:

Good Morning!

MEMORIZE IT – 

But why? As a newly born again teenager, I got started on consistent Scripture memory. Nothing has so powerfully affected me spiritually as this difficult but life-changing discipline. Here are three reasons for doing it:

#1  To transform your mind in order to live out God’s will“Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”    (Rom. 12:2)

#2  To help you win the spiritual battle over sin and Satan: After 40 days of fasting and prayer, Jesus was tempted by Satan. In all three instances, He won over the Enemy by quoting Scripture that was appropriate to the situation, “Jesus answered, ‘It is written…it is written…it is written…’”  (Matt. 4:4,6,7) If Jesus deemed it necessary to utilize the Scriptures in this manner for spiritual victory, how about you and me?! 

 #3  To equip you to help others spiritually: Ever have the experience of fumbling with your Bible in trying to find a verse?  Memorizing key Scriptures supplies you with the tools to intelligently and powerfully minister God’s word to others. “The Scriptures are the comprehensive equipment of the man of God, and fit him fully for all branches of his work.”   (2 Tim. 3:17 —  Phillips Translation)

II  ANALYZE IT

Years ago, I remember reviewing a pre-med student’s memory verses. He had them down cold! Boy, was I impressed!  Then I began asking him what the verses meant, and he didn’t have a clue!  So, as you are in the process of memorizing a verse or passage, ponder and mull over its meaning  in your mind. Dig out its definition by studying it in its context.

III  PERSONALIZE IT

While you are memorizing Scripture, ask God where and how He wants you to change in applying its truths to your life. Someone once said, “God did not give us the Scriptures to increase our knowledge, but to change our lives.” 

Every person I know who is dead-serious about his walk with God has made an earnest effort to memorize God’s word. 

QUESTION:  Just how serious are you?

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, August 23, 2000

MEN, HERE ARE EIGHT QUALITIES OUR WIVES NEED FROM US:+

Good Morning!

DEVOTION– Deciding to invest the energy of your soul into the life of your wifeafter the fizz  of the honeymoon dissipates. True love (agape) gives not because it feels like it, but because it is the godly thing to do. Devotion is accepting her just as she is. It is serving her, taking pride in her, and helping her to be a success.

Be kind and compassionate…forgiving each other, just as God in Christ forgave you.”  (Eph. 4:32)

 PROTECTION – Being aware of her emotional weak spots and treating them with sensitivity.

 “Husbands, be sure you give your wives much love and sympathy…” (Col. 3:19 – Phil. Trans.)

 HELP – Lifting part of the household responsibilities.  Something as insignificant as leaving your dirty clothes on the floor can wreck your marriage. 

“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one  another’s feet.”  (Jn. 13:14)

LEADERSHIP – Supporting and enabling her. It is not controlling or exercising power over her.

“…The husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church…”  (Eph. 5:23a)

OPENNESS – Sharing your feelings with your wife so she can encourage you and share in your life. She is more interested in how you feel than in what you can do. Stuffing your emotions is not macho, and will contribute toward the death of your marriage.

 “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”  (Gal. 6:2)

 RESPECT – Asking for her advice and taking it seriously. We men are capable of devaluating our wife’s ideas to the point where they quit thinking for themselves.

 “Husbands…be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect…” (I Pet. 3:7a)

 ADORATION – Learning how to show your wife affection in ways that are most meaningful to her. It is working at knowing how she feels about things and responding accordingly.  And it is not forgetting birthdays and anniversaries!

“…Husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies…For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it…”  (Eph. 5:28, 29a)

APPRECIATION – Making it a point to express gratitude for all that she means to you. Most wives genuinely want to serve their husbands, but in time they will despair if they are seldom esteemed for it.

A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”  (Pro. 25:11)

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, August 16, 2000

THE POWER OF WORDS

Good Morning!

Alfred, a friend of mine, decided to visit Gold’s Gym. This is the place where men the size of box cars seem to have nothing else to do but “pump iron” by the eon. As he entered, a square-jawed, muscle- bound, steel-gripping specimen grasped his hand and exclaimed, “HI! BIG GUY!”

 Now Alfred  – an accountant who has never lifted anything much heavier than a paper weight – thought to himself, “Is he talking to me? Does he think I am a ‘BIG GUY?’” And with that he entered Gold’s determined to do something about his sagging coat hanger-sized deltoids. Talk about the power of words!

 Ever call your kid “stupid”? Or, “lazy”?   Or scold him with, “Can’t you ever do anything right?”  Guess what? Your words become self-fulfilling prophecies. When I was a teenager, a close relative said to me, “I don’t trust you.” And from that day on I determined to give her reason not to trust me, and I became a juvenile delinquent.  Again, the  power of words!

Solomon drove home the power of words in stating, “The tongue has the power of life and death…”  (Prov. 18:21a)

Instead of calling the kid “stupid”, why don’t you grab him (or her) by the shoulders and say, “Wow, you are something!  Am I ever proud of you!  What a privilege it is for me to be your parent!”  Like my friend Alfred, the kid might just decide to do something about his coat hanger-sized life and rise to your expectation. Again, the  power of words!

 Nathaniel, upon hearing of Jesus Christ, made a derogatory remark concerning his place of birth, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?”  Instead of retaliating, the Master drew attention to Nathaniel’s integrity, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there nothing false”. And Nathaniel’s response? Instant belief:  “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”  (John 1:45-51) Clearly, Jesus understood and demonstrated the  power of words.

Paul appreciated the  power of words in asserting, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs…” (Eph.  4:29a)

QUESTION: When was the last time you used the  power of words to build up your spouse with a kind word, or a note of encouragement?  Or an employee?  Or a colleague?  Or one of your kids?  Silence – saying nothing – is usually interpreted negatively by others as anger, indifference or disapproval…As anything but affirmation.

The behemoth at Gold’s Gym understands the power of words!

Do you?

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, August 9, 2000

ARE WE USING OR TRAINING PEOPLE?

Good Morning!

Eric, an executive with an international corporation is an imposing individual.Through a mutual interest in sports we became friends, and in time our association shifted in focus to the spiritual.Often, around God’s word, we experienced those special moments when  the presence of the Holy Spirit was evident in revealing insights into His truth.  

Then everything changed. Eric cooled down, pulled away, and made excuses about getting together. The reason? I got too close.You see, Eric has severe, unresolved issues in his life, and was afraid I might find out (I already knew). Yet, several months ago, an international Christian organization recruited him to represent them. So today, he is viewed in his region as a Christian business leader. 

Henry, holds a Ph.D. from one of America’s leading universities, is an accomplished author, heads  several businesses, and is on the board of a number of corporations. During the two years we met together,  I pled, cajoled  and tried to sweet-talk  him  into spending regular time with God, as  I knew he needed to address  unresolved issues in his personal and family life. All to no avail. Yet recently, he was recruited by a Christian organization, and now travels internationally on their behalf as he teaches and conducts seminars.

Tell me, in your dealings with people, are you dazzled by their education, position and titles? If so, I seriously doubt that you can disciple or help them. What do you think? Are you tempted to use their status to further your objectives or enhance a sagging ego? Or is the development of their spiritual life  of paramount importance to you? One issue that separates the men from the boys in discipling is whether or not we are willing to go for the jugular (when necessary), in dealing with important issues in a person’s life. Even at the risk of loosing the friendship.  

Let’s not forget that we need to be building these prerequisites for leadership into their lives:+

 Above reproach   A one woman man    Temperate
 His children respectfully obey him  Holy and disciplined   Hospitable
 Not given to drunkenness  Not violent, but gentle   Able to teach
 Firmly holds to the message    Not a lover of money   Not quarrelsome
 Manages his household well   Self-controlled   Not overbearing
 A good reputation among the lost  Not quick tempered  Upright 
 Not pursuing dishonest gain   Loves what is good  Respectable
 His children have a good reputation     

Jesus  invested three years of His life into 12 men. He then told eleven of them to go do the same. Do we think we can short-circuit the process and do it any better or faster? I don’t think so.

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, August 2, 2000

PRAYERFUL MEDITATION ON THE SCRIPTURES is fundamental to spiritual growth. Yet most believers find the experience something less than fulfilling. Here are five suggestions:+

Good Morning!

#1  Meditation on the Scriptures should not be viewed as a method or system, but as an attitude: Faith, openness, reverence, expectation, supplication.

This people draw near to me with their words…but they remove their hearts far from me, and their reverence for me consists of traditions learned by rote.”   (Isa. 29:13 NASB)

#2  Meditation can actually be quite difficult at times. Thus, we should not judge its value on how we feel. Yet it is important that our efforts are enlightened, well-directed, and sustained.

“Let me understand the teachings of your precepts; then I will meditate on your wonders.” (Psa.119:27)

 #3  It is only if we have a heart fixed on obeying God without reservation that a little effort goes a long way. When we are resisting Him through disobedience or compromise, no amount of effort can produce the desired result.

 “I have more understanding…for I obey your precepts.”  (Psa. 119:100)

#4 In our pride, we don’t want to be beginners. In truth, we will never be anything but beginners. Given the challenge in learning to effectively utilize meditation for spiritual growth, we would do well to recognize the need for a mature mentor.

“Whatever you have learned or received…from me, or seen in me – put into practice.”  (Phil. 4:9)

 #5 Often, what first seemed easy and rewarding, suddenly becomes utterly impossible. We struggle with inner confusion, coldness, and lack of confidence. We find concentration difficult.  Our imagination and emotions wander – or run wild. We often feel dry and desolate. Repugnant fantasies buried deep within us take over. We totally loose interest in spiritual matters.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do…For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing.”  (Rom. 7:15, 19)

My friend in Christ, don’t give up, because God promises you thatthe path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until the full day.”  (Pro. 4:18)

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!