BETA

Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for September, 2000

Wednesday, September 27, 2000

INNER PEACE

Good Morning!

Today, amidst the jangle of the phone, production deadlines, gnarled traffic, and family demands, you may be wondering if experiencing His peace is possible. Contrary to how you may be feeling, the answer is a resounding “YES!” And here’s why: Peace is not something we seek to attain; rather it is a quality we already possess:

“…He Himself [already] is our peace…”   (Eph. 2:14)

Rather than striving for peace, simply appropriate the peace that is already yours to enjoy…in Christ. Why not take a moment right now, and thank Him for the peace that is yours by virtue of the indwelling Christ.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid…I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (Jn.l 14:27; 16:33)

 The word “peace” in these Scriptures conveys the idea of quietness. Rest. Welfare. The Old Testament counter-part is shalom communicating security. Safety. To be at ease. 

 And how, in a practical sense can we sustain His peace? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Understand that experiencing peace is the natural outgrowth of our justification: “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…” (Rom. 5:2)
  • Evaluate where your mind is focused. On the sinful? Or on values synonymous with those of the Spirit”? “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace…” (Rom. 8:6)
  • Choose to surrender moment-by-moment to the Spirit’s prompting: “…Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature…The fruit of the Spirit is …peace…”   (Gal. 5:16a, 22b)
  • Offer each of your anxieties up to Him. And then leave them there! “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  (Phil. 4:6,7)
  • Seek to divest your life of confusion, working toward simplicity and focus: “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace…” (I Cor. 14:33a)

QUESTION:  We are faced with the choice of living anxiously or drawing on The Source to live at peace. Which will it be?

 

 My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, September 20, 2000

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU ARE ON TARGET WITH GOD? – Here’s a check list to help you evaluate your true values and commitments:+

Good Morning!

#1  What do you want most?

Peace? Security? Safety? Recognition and respect? All  of these are natural concerns. Are they your primary  concern, or are your principle concerns for the Kingdom and Glory of God?  (Jn. 17:4, 10, 22, 24; Matt.  6:9-11; Lk. 10:41,42)

#2  What do you think about the most

Survival? “Success”? Building your financial portfolio? Your golf handicap? Or how to win those neighbors down the street to Christ? Or how you can get more quality time with God and your family? (Col. 3:1,2)

#3  How do you use your money?

Would an objective observer conclude that you are greedy and self-indulgent? Or generous and self-sacrificing? Do you see your resources as God-given, and yourself as His steward in managing His resources? (Deut. 8:18)  Or do view your resources as the product of your genius and sweat – to be dispensed of as you so please? (Lk. 16:10-12; Deut. 8:17)

#4  What do you do with your leisure time?

On the evenings you go out for entertainment, would Jesus be comfortable tagging along?  How would he feel about your late night T. V. and internet viewing? Does the focus and tenor of your leisure time match up with Paul’s criterion in Philippians 4:8: Think on whatever is “true… noble… right…pure…lovely… admirable…excellent…or praiseworthy…”?

#5  What kind of company do you enjoy?

Are you traveling with the “mediocre middle” spiritual couch potatoes?  Or with people of vision, discipline and excellence? Are you compassionately relating with the lost in your world or are you limiting yourself to your “holy huddle”?  Are you blending in with compromising Christians? Or are you calling a spade a spade when sin is involved? (Pro. 13:20; Matt. 9:9-13; I Cor. 5:9-11; Eph. 5:11)

#6  Whom and what do you admire?

Are your heroes the self-proclaimed great ones?  The power brokers? Those over whom the world ogles and awes?  Or are your heroes the people who have chosen the less traveled path of service, sacrifice and humility?  Interesting that a major publication devoted 17 pages to Princess Diana and 4 to Mother Teresa the week of their deaths. (Lk. 16:15)

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, September 13, 2000

FIVE REASONS WHY WE FAIL TO APPLY GOD’S WORD TO OUR LIVES

Good Morning!

Let’s admit it! Basically we are rebels at heart! We want to do our own thing. It’s called the “Frank Sinatra Syndrome.” And in our rebellion we disallow God’s word to penetrate and thus transform our lives. Here are five reasons why we do it:

 IGNORANCE  – The litmus test of  our love for Christ is  John 14:21. Nothing more. Nothing less: “Whoever has my commandments and obeys them, he is the one who loves me…” You cannot obey what you do not know. Let me ask you, “Do you have the Scriptures?”  Or better yet, “Do the Scriptures have you?”  (See Ezra 7:10)

 CHERRY PICKING the Scriptures. That is, we select what we like while avoiding  difficult truths that focus on servanthood, suffering for the Gospel, holiness of life, etc.  We love to hear about Peter’s deliverance from prison, but shy away from  the idea that John the Baptist’s faith cost him his head. (Acts 12:1-17; Mark 6:16-29) By way of contrast, Paul was careful to give the Ephesians the whole counsel (purpose) of God (Act. 20:27)  (Compare Heb.  11:1-35a with 11:35b-40)

 FORGETFUL –  We look into the mirror of the Word, note the needed changes, and tend to  walk away, forgetting  to make the application. The consequence?  Self-deception. (Jms. 1:22-25)  Jesus pointed out that “the world’s worries and the taste of wealth and the passions for other interests” distract us from applying the Word of God to our lives  (Mk. 4:19 Berkeley  Translation. See Deut. 8:11, 14, 19).

 VACILLATING –  Peter instructs us that the “unstable” (vacillating)  distort the Scriptures “to their own destruction.”  (2 Pet. 3:16b)  In Jesus’ “Parable of the Sower”, the believer begins to apply God’s word to his life, but then incurs “trouble or persecution.”  And because of his shallow roots,  he vacillates and falls away (Mk 4:16,17). 

 DISTORTING  –  In our ignorance or instability,  we (literally)  “torture, twist, wrench, or pervert” the word of God (Cinderella’s sister and the shoe?) rather than face up to its exact meaning. The consequences?  Our “destruction.”  (2 Pet.  3:16) – See 2 Pet. 2:1; 2 Cor. 4:2)

QUESTION:  Are there changes you  need to make now,  to insure the fact that when you face Him, you will stand unashamed?  (2 Cor. 5:9-11)

Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth.”  (2 Tim. 2:15 – Amplified)

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, September 6, 2000

HANS SCHNEIDER DIED OF CANCER

Good Morning!

I got the impression that when Hans learned of the disease, he took it in stride, resting in His Sovereign’s perfect plan. Within three months he was gone.  Or should I say, “promoted?” 

Hans was a carpenter by trade. A German who immigrated to the U.S. in his late teen. Somewhere along the way, he became quietly and deeply obsessed with the Lord Jesus, and with getting His message of love and hope out to the world.

What I loved about Hans was the fact that he was a laboring man. No flair. No superlatives. Just a down-home get-the-job-done kind of guy.  Because he told it straight, it wasn’t hard to get his drift. 

I doubt that Hans gave much attention to the latest computer gadgetry, or that he thought much about the GNP, leveraging, IPO’s, PE ratios, etc. 

But he knew the Book…and he knew its Author. And he knew how to connect the average Joe with the Author of the Book.

You know, when you think of it, most of Jesus’ twelve disciples were the Hans Schneiders of the world. Guys close to the pavement. Today, I suppose they would be the men driving truck, putting up dry wall, or working jackhammers. 

In fact, now that I think about it, Jesus  was a carpenter – also a working man

It seems to me that unless the Gospel is communicated in ways that infect  “Joe six pack”, it will be hopelessly impeded in the narrow corridors of academia and among the minority class of the privileged elite.

QUESTION: If you happen to belong to that class of upwardly mobile fast trackers, you face a grave danger of developing an attitude of elitism and class pride. If, in ministering the Gospel, Jesus moved naturally among the common people of this world, shouldn’t we? If we are uncomfortable with that idea, do we not need to humble ourselves and pray for a spirit of brokenness?

“Harmonize with others in your thinking; do not aspire to eminence, but willing adjust yourselves to humble situations; do not become wise in your own conceits.The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Rom. 12:16 Berkeley Translation; Psa. 51:17; see Matt.  9:9-13)

 

 

 My prayer is that you are having a great week!