BETA

Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for March, 2001

Wednesday, March 28, 2001

THE RICHEST PERSON IN BABYLON

Good Morning!

In an upside down world, where lunatics often reign, and personal safety remains uncertain; where calamity looms from every quarter, and I am incessantly bombarded and lied to by media and marketing spin doctors, God’s word stands firm as the one stronghold upon which I can stake my lifeFathom this:

  • The law of the Lord is perfect…” (blameless, complete, unblemished, intact).+  Can you think of anything in your world that can begin to compete with that claim?  I can’t. And the effect of that truth upon my life?  

 It “restores (turns back, recalls) my soul”,+ which is prone toward seduction, wandering and duplicity.

  •  The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy” (faithful, lasting, firm, established. Like a door post).+  What, let me ask you, in our defective world, can you point to that is “trustworthy”? Precious little, I would guess. And the effect of that truth upon my life

It makes the “simple (the easily seduced, silly, foolish [Hey! That’s me!] exceedingly wise.”+

I don’t know about you, but in this world of charlatans, nutzoid fruitcakes and wolves, I need His exceeding wisdom to make it through life’s variegated minefields.  (Matt. 10:16; Jms. 1:5-8)

  • The precepts of the Lord are right(straight).+  No devious, doublespeak here, because His word never wavers.  It can be counted on.  (Josh. 21:45)  And the effects of that truth upon my life?

 It “rejoices” the heart.  That is, it is an influence that makes me glad.  Even gleesome!+

Again, in a world of terrorists, downsizing, gyrating currencies, car bomb explosions, and the specter of global warming, isn’t it nice to know that there is a source that can cheer my shopworn soul? 

  • The word of God is more precious than gold…sweeter than honey.”+ And the effects of that truth upon my life?  

I am warned and greatly rewarded.+  (See Prov. 3:16-18; 6:22, 23; Psa. 119)

So, my fellow pilgrim, are you regularly immersing your easily bartered, battered soul into the ocean of His love?  A love that is revealed to us through unrushed, attentive, and prayerful processing of His Truth?  If so, you are indeed the richest person in Babylon!

If not, you are a spiritual pauper in “Wacko World.”

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, March 21, 2001

LEARNING TO “WAIT” ON THE LORD

Good Morning!

 “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord  more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.” (Psa. 130:5,6) (See Psa. 5:3; 130:5-7; 17:14; 37:7. 34; 38:15; 119:84)

 WAIT  (Author Unknown)

 Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried: Quietly, patiently, lovingly God replied. I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate, and the Master who gently said, “Child, you must wait.”

“Wait?”  You say, wait!,” my indignant reply. “Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!  Is you hand shortened? Or have you not heard?  By faith, I have asked, and am claiming your Word.

“My future and all to which I can relate hangs in the balance, and You tell me to wait? I’m needing a ‘yes’ a go-ahead sign, or even a ‘no’ to which I can resign.

 “And Lord, You promised that if we believe we need but to ask, and we shall receive. Lord, I’ve been asking, and this is my cry: I’m weary of asking!  I need a reply!”

 Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate, as my Master replied once again, “You must wait.”  So, I slumped in my chair, defeated and taunt, and grumbled to God, “So, I’m waiting…..for what?”

He seemed, then, to kneel, and His eyes wept with mine, and He tenderly said, “I could give you a sign. I could shake the heavens, and darken the sun.  I could raise the dead, and cause mountains to ruin.

 “All you ask me I could give, and pleased you would be.  You would have what you want – but, you wouldn’t know Me. You’d not know the depth of My love for each saint: You’d not know the power that I give to the faint.

“You’d not learn to see through the clouds of despair: You’d not learn to trust just by knowing I’m there; you’d not know the joy of resting in Me when darkness and silence were all you can see.

 “You’d never experience that fullness of love, as the peace of My Spirit descends like a dove; you’d know that I live and I save…(for a start), but you’d not know the depth of the beat of My heart.

 “The glow of My comfort late into the night. The faith that I give when you walk without sight. The depth that’s beyond getting just what you asked of an infinite God, who make what you have last.

 “You’d never know, should your pain quickly flee, what it means that ‘My grace is sufficient for Thee.’  Yes, your dreams for your loved one overnight would come true.  But, Oh, the loss!  If I lost what I’m doing in you!

 “So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see that the greatest of gifts is to get to know Me. And through oft’ may My answers seem terribly late.  My most precious answer of all is still, ‘wait.’

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, March 14, 2001

JUST HOW LASTING ARE YOUR INVESTMENTS?

Good Morning!

 As an old man, Solomon’s agonized over the futility of his:

“…When I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun…So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me…A chasing after the wind…” (Ecc. 2:11,17)

 Do your investments parallel Solomons?  Or  are you making the kind of investments that will outlive you, lasting for eternity?  If you want:

  • A one year return on your investment, plant grain.
  • A ten year return on your investment,  plant a tree.
  • An eternal return on your investment, plant people.

 It is God’s intention to destroy everything physical, including your earthly investments:

“…The day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away…and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.” (2 Pet. 3:10)

 Can we therefore grasp the fact that only God, His word, and people are eternal?

God: “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”  (2 Pet. 3:8) (See Psa. 102:12; Eph. 3:21; 2 Pet. 3:8)

His word:  “Your word, O Lord, is eternal;  it stands firm in the heavens.”  (Psa. 119:89) (See Psa. 119:152, 160; Matt. 5:18; 24:34; 1 Peter 1:25)

 People:  “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.”  (Dan.12:2)  (See Matt. 25:46; Rom. 2:7,8; 2 Thess. 1:5-9)

Consequently, the only investments that will withstand the coming holocaust will be those made in the lives of people. Thus, God regularly places individuals in our path with whom He desires our investment: The person at the club. That neighbor across the street. A business associate. A relative. Someone in distress.

 QUESTIONSAs you encounter these people, are you blithely brushing past them to fulfill your agenda? Or are you viewing each one as a divine appointment? Are you responding to the prompting of the Spirit by graciously and determinedly investing in their lives for the purpose of bringing Christ to them?  Or building Christ in them? Even when it means altering your pre-determined schedule?

 I suppose the answers to these questions are determined by whether we are living for the temporal, or investing in the eternal.

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, March 7, 2001

TRYING TO MAKE SENSE OUT OF LIFE

Good Morning!

Life is unfair: The righteous suffer while evil men prevail. Justice is capricious as life appears to unfold in random fashion: Innocent children are victims of war and flood, while piggish dictators ravage their people for personal gain. Good people get cancer and the brutish often live in wealth and enjoy good health into old age.  (Ecc. 3:11;7:15; 8:14; Dan. 4:35; Job 11:7-9;33:13; Rom. 11:33,34)

One could reason: If God is good, then He is weak. Otherwise He would stop the suffering and injustice.  If He is strong and sovereign, then He is cruel or indifferent for allowing the carnage to continue. The book of Job however, shatters such thinking. 

Here is the essence of Job: One day Satan, in conversing with God, accuses Job of following God because He is blessing him. In order to demolish his argument, God gives Satan permission to take everything of Job’s except his life.  As Job looses his health, children, and resources, his “friends” argue that his suffering is due to his sin.  In the end, God vindicates Job, and restores everything twofold. 

FIVE CONCLUSIONS FROM THE BOOK OF JOB:

#1  God reserves the right to use us for His glory as He so chooses:

 “But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth…Would you discredit my justice?  Would you condemn me to justify yourself?”  (Ex. 9:16; Job 40:8)  (See Isa. 45:9; 64:8)

#2   Job demonstrates the fact that it is possible, amidst extreme suffering to maintain one’s faith:

 “At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.  The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.’”  (Job 1:20, 21)  (See Job 1:22; 13:15)

 #3  Job’s counselors wrongly assumed that his tribulations were related to sin; that righteous people always prosper, while suffering is always our punishment for engaging in evil:

“If [the righteous] obey and serve him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment.”  (Job 36:11)

#4  Suffering deeply enhanced Job’s relationship with God:

“My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.”  (Job 42:5)

#5  God owes us no explanation for His actions. He gave Job none.”

“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (I Cor. 13:12)

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!