BETA

Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for January, 2001

Wednesday, January 31, 2001

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN PROPOSITIONED?

Good Morning!

 I have  —  Twice on my last trip out of town.  Innocently, I was chatting with two little children on the street when their mother came by, smiled and asked, “Would you like to go with me?”  “No thank you,”  I replied, and  walked away. The second encounter was equally unexpected.  Again, I walked away. This morning, with these “chance” meetings on my mind, I came across this verse in my time with God:

“Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness…”   (Rom. 6:13)

If  you have been trapped  in this kind of activity, respond now to 2 Cor. 7:1 and claim Psalm 130:3,4:

 “…Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God…If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?  But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared.”

 In the future, prudently avoid places where such activity exists:

“Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way.”  (Prov. 4:14,15)

 Choose to be accountable to another person in the faith – preferably someone of the same sex:

“…Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”  (Jms. 5:16a)

 Insure your walk with Christ by regular times of prayerful meditation of the Scriptures; fellowship, etc.:

“[The blessed man’s] delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night…And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”  (Psa. 1:2; Heb. 10:24, 25)

 Resolve, by His grace to shun this evil and live righteously

 “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds.”  (Eph.  4:22, 23)

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, January 24, 2001

DO YOU WONDER IF YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO PULL IT OFF…ONE MORE DAY?

Good Morning!

If so, then ponder this“In all your journey as a believer, you will have two categories of spiritual experiences. One is tender, delightful and loving. The other can be quite obscure, dry, dark, and desolate. God gives us the first one to gain us; he gives us the second to purify us.” (Michael Molinos)

 God is using every experience in your life to transform you into Christ’s character:

 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son…” (Rom. 8:28,29a)

 Therefore:  Choose today to praise Him for every eventuality that comes into your life, viewing them as His ordained agents to make you more like Him.

 God has given you the necessary resources to live life exactly as He intends:

 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”   Rom. 8:31,32)

 Therefore:  Choose today to appropriate from Him whatever resources necessary to accomplish what He has put before you.

 No accusation against you can stand.  magine: Christ not only died for you but right now is praying for you:

Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”  (Rom. 8:33,34)

 Therefore: Choose today to rest in the knowledge that your Sovereign God has declared you righteous in His sight, and has forgiven (and forgotten) past sins. Thus, no accusation against you stands. Draw strength in the knowledge that at this moment Jesus is in the Father’s presence, praying for you. 

In all life’s circumstances God promises you total victory as He encompasses you in His love:

 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life…neither the present nor the future…nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Rom. 8:35, 37, 38a,c, 39b)

Therefore:  Choose today to rest in His ever-present love, as you appropriate Him as your resource in realizing  victory over every obstacle or adversary.

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, January 17, 2001

FIVE INDICATORS THAT WE HAVE ALLOWED OUR CAREERS TO PUSH GOD ASIDE:+

Good Morning!

Loss of Self Equating self-worth with career success:  Any setback or change shakes us to the core. Three men in Tokyo simultaneously hung themselves in a downtown hotel, after going bust.

“…Some…[measuring] themselves by themselves and [comparing] themselves with themselves, …are not wise…A dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest…” (2 Cor. 10:12b; Lk. 22:24)

 Compromise of IntegrityOperating on the ethics of expediency:  Underneath is a vague sense of self-betrayal; a chipping away of integrity.  In our upward climb we can easily be trapped in the seductive chase for power and recognition.

 “…You test the heart and are pleased with integrity…The Lord detests men of perverse heart but he delights in those whose ways are blameless.” (1 Chron. 29:17b; Prov. 11:20)

Inflated notions of importanceDrawing the fallacious assumption that we are indispensable:  With the need to prop up our sagging ego, we place an inflated sense of importance on our unique qualifications, experience and capabilities. (My bet is that if we de-materialized tomorrow, the ranks would close in around us, and we would be little more than a fading memory.)

“…Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment…”  (Rom. 12:3b)

 Hopelessness and stagnation  –  The inescapable result of those in business and the professions who fail to realize the futility of the career as an end in itself:  Inevitably, a “been there, done that”  feeling begins to resonate through the  bones. Sadly, by the time that happens we may already be trapped.

“So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”   (Ecc. 2:17)

 Loneliness and isolationThe unavoidable consummation of one who has scant regard for established values and authority, and who abuses  people for personal gain.

All his days he eats in darkness, with great frustration, affliction and anger…” (Ecc.  5:17)

In business,  we are free to choose any path we so desire, but we are not  free to control the consequences

 QUESTION: Are you prepared to live with the certain aftermath of your business choices?

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, January 10, 2001

THE FIVE C’S FOR A SUCCESSFUL MARRIAGE:

Good Morning!

 A few days ago Ruth and I shared a few thoughts at a wedding ceremony about how to develop a successful marriage.  Here, in a nutshell is what I communicated with the groom from our 36 years of married life:

CHRIST:  Put Him first.  Seek Him daily.  Make Him the central focus of your marriage.  Given the complexity and demands of matrimony and modern life, this will not happen without a deep resolve to just do it.

“For to me, to live is Christ…”    (Phil. 1:21a)

 COMMITMENT:  The word “divorce” must never cross your lips. It simply is not an option. (Murder yes, but never divorce [compliments of Billy Graham’s wife, Ruth]). Resolve to identify and solve your problems…graciously. Determine that no one else shall ever occupy the inner sanctum of your heart except your wife, as long as you both shall live.

“May the God who gives endurance…give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  (Rom. 15:5,6)

COMMUNICATION: Learn to listen to the language of her heart…To the meaning behind her words. Never depreciate how she feels. Respect her emotions as legitimate and seek to understand them.

 “Answering before listening is both stupid and rude.”  (Prov. 18:13 – The Message)

CONSIDERATION: Call home if you plan to be late for dinner. Open the door for her. Throw your socks into the hamper. Be a gentleman.  Bring home flowers or perfume now and then. Lead. Tell her she is beautiful. Apologize when you are wrong. Say “thank you.”  Take her on dates.

“Husbands…be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. (I Pet. 3:7)

 COMMISSION: Don’t live solely for yourselves. If you do, life will dry up before you. Invest in the lives of people. Win and disciple them. Bind up their wounds. Serve those less fortunate than yourselves. 

“…Go and make disciples of all nations…For Christ’s love compels us…that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again…Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…”    (Matt. 28:19a; 2 Cor. 5:14a, 15b; Jms. 1:27b)  (See Isa.58:6,7)

I doubt that there is any greater test of true godliness…or manliness,  than how a husband handles his marriage. In fact, I believe that for the most part, the ball is in his court as to whether the marriage is a success or not. 

 QUESTION:  Men, do you choose to have the right stuff to win in this, the toughest of all arenas? 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, January 3, 2001

IF YOU ASPIRE TO DISCIPLE OR MENTOR OTHERS, then ask God to build these qualities into your life:+

Good Morning!

  • WISDOM: The result of taking God seriously.

“Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding…The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks what is just.”  (Prov. 4:7; Psa. 37:30; See  Prov. 8:33-36; Deut. 4:6)

  • COMPASSION: The ability to hear what another is attempting to put into words without judging.

 “…As God’s chosen people…clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you”.   (Col. 3:12,1; See Matt.  9:13; 1 Cor. 16:14)

  • RESPECT: for others and their stories and their times

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”  (Phil. 2:3,4)

  • CONFIDENTIALITY: Not violating another’s  secrecy.

“A gossip betrays a confidence,  but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.”  (Prov.  11:13)

  •  SELF-DISCOLSURE: The willingness to share your life and journey when appropriate; a willingness to be honest.

“…Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”  (Jms. 5:16a; See Acts 19:18; Matt. 3:6)

  •  A SCHOLAR: Continually reflecting on one’s own experiences and relationship with God; growing through study of the Scriptures and exposure to quality literature.

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15; See Deut.6:4-7; Phil. 4:8)

  • DISCERNMENT: The ability to sense the movements of the spirit and heart.+

“The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding  (literally: discernment) draws them out.”  (Prov. 20:5; See Prov. 16:21)

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!