BETA

Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for July, 2001

Wednesday, July 25, 2001

GOOD AND BAD LEADERS

Good Morning!

Researcher George Barna has concluded that the greatest need today in the body of Christ is for capable, godly leaders. The Book of Proverbs contrasts good and bad leaders:

good leaders are:

  • Diligent“Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor.” (Pro. 12:24) (See Pro. 10:4)
  • Just“By justice a king gives a country stability,  but one who is greedy for bribes tears it down.”  (Pro.  29:4)  (See Pro. 16:10; 29:14)
  • Wise“By [wisdom] kings reign and rulers make laws that are just.” (Pro. 8:15)  (See Pro. 17:2)
  • Honest“Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value a man who speaks the truth.”    (Pro. 16:13)  (See Pro. 16:12)
  • Blessed with many followers“A large population is a king’s glory, but without subjects a prince is ruined.”  (Pro. 14:28)
  • Discerning – “When a king sits on his throne to judge, he winnows out all evil with his eyes.” (Pro. 20:8)  (See Pro. 28:26)
  • Loving and faithful“Love and faithfulness keep a king safe; through love his throne is made secure.” (Pro. 20:28)
  • Inquisitive – “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter;  to search out a matter is the glory of kings.” (Pro. 25:2)
  • Established through righteousness“Kings detest wrong doing, for a throne is established through righteousness.” (Pro. 16:12)  (See Pro. 25:5)
  • Temperate – “It is not for kings…to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer.” (Pro. 31:4)

 Bad  leaders are:

  • Abusive in their treatment of underlings“Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked man ruling over a helpless people…when the wicked rule, the people groan.”  (Prov. 28:15; 29:2b)
  • Capable of fostering perversity among their subordinates “When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; if a ruler listens to lies,  all his officials become wicked.”  (Prov. 29:12)
  • Lacking in sound judgment“A tyrannical ruler lacks judgment…”  (Prov. 28:16a) 

QUESTIONHow do you stack up as a leader?

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, July 18, 2001

THE NEXT TIME YOU ARE DOWN IN THE DUMPS

Good Morning!

Struggling with your worth as a person…

Or despairing of life…

Or nursing your wounds over being hurt, shunned, or put down,

Do a reality check as to just who you are in the eyes of God:

  •  God has always loved you – from all eternity:

 I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.”  (Jer. 31:3b)  (See Psa. 103:17; 2 Thes. 2:13; Jms. 1:18)

  • God has always planned to chose you for Himself:

“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.”  (Eph. 1:4)  (See 1 Pet. 2:9; Deut. 7:6,7; 14:2)

  • God thought enough of you to spill His Son’s blood to rescue you:

“…You were redeemed from the empty way of life…with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”  (I Pet. 1:18b, 19)  (See Psa. 74:2; Heb. 9:12-14)

  •  God considers you His sole possession:

“(He) gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”  (Tit. 2:14) (See Acts 15:14; Deut. 4:20; 14:2)

  • God has invited you into His family to be a joint-heir with His Son, Jesus:

“…We are…heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” (Rom. 8:17b) (See Lk. 12:32; Gal. 3:29; 4:7)

 So take heart, my fellow struggler – and heir.  True, “we must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” (Act. 14:22)   But take comfort in knowing that Jesus is returning to take you with Him:

“…They will see the Son of Man coming…with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place… lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Lk.21:27b, 28)

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, July 11, 2001

FIVE WAYS GOD INFLUENCES US TOWARD RIGHTEOUSNESS

Good Morning!

 Our loving Heavenly Father desires to affect our lives toward righteous character and godly living.  Hebrews 12 indicates five ways He does it:

#1 He encourages us: Verse 5a speaks of His “word of encouragement that addresses us as sons…”  (Greek:  paraklesis)

 The idea here is one of entreaty, or imploring; much as you would encourage a child whom you want to excel in sports or academics.  (See Acts 20:2; Rom. 12:8; 1 Thes. 2:3)

#2 He disciplines us:  “…Do not make light of the Lord’s discipline…because the Lord disciplines  those He loves…”   (vs. 5a, 6a)  (Greek:  paidea

The idea here is one of education: Learning that occurs through the pain of discipline.  (See I Cor.11:32; Heb. 12:7,10,11)

 #3  He rebukes us:  Do not loose heart when He rebukes you…”  (vs. 12:5b) (Greek: elegcho)

The idea here is one of exposing our deviant behavior.  Telling us of our faults.  (See Matt. 16:22; Lk. 17:3; 1 Tim. 5:1,20; 2 Tim. 4:2)

#4  He punishes us:  He punishes everyone He accepts as sons.” (vs. 12:6b)  (Greek: mastigoo)

The idea here is one of severe penalization: Whipping a person for the purpose of inflicting suffering.  (See Prov. 22:15; 23:13,14; I Cor. 10:6; 1 Thes. 4:6; Heb. 10:29)

#5 He trains us: “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (vs. 12:11)  (Greek: gumnazo)

The idea here is of one who is trained (disciplined) by God to live a godly life.  We, in kind then, are to exercise ourselves in godly discipline. (See 1 Tim. 4:7; Heb. 5:14; 2 Tim. 3:16)

 We are to respond to His discipline as follows:  

  1. Don’t resist, despise, or make light of it; don’t be discouraged, or grow weary from it (vs. 5).
  2. Understand it is evidence that we are His spiritual offspring; evidence of His love (vs. 6).
  3. Don’t try to get out from under it (vs. 7-9).
  4. Understand that discipline results in holy lives, righteousness, and peace (vs. 10,11).
  5. Regain your strength and straighten your path as a result of it (vs. 12, 13).

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, July 4, 2001

“NICE” CHRISTIANS WITH “NICE” CROSSES

Good Morning!

Can you imagine wearing a miniature electric chair around your neck?  Hardly. Yet, the cross was the electric chair of Jesus’ day.

The cross – a tool for killing undesirables, was taken from rough, unfinished trees. When they slammed your body up against it and nailed you there, the wood dug into your flesh. You got cut and bruised. The “electric chair” – that cross, was an object of certain death.

But the cross we wear around our neck these days  is smooth. Comfortable. It glistens. Usually it’s made of 18 karat gold. An object of beauty.   An ornament.  Something “nice” to wear.

 And the cross most “Christians” bear for Jesus also has a rather  “nice”, ornamental quality about it. That’s because we reserve the “right” to choose it ourselves. So we insure that in serving Him we do something that makes us feel good, and get lots of pats on the back. Nope, there’s nothing about our cross that has that nasty stench of dying flesh.

Many “Christians” today, like the smooth crosses they wear, are “nice” people. They pay their bills. They don’t chase loose women. They’re the kind of  “nice” people you want living next door: Totally harmless in terms of being any threat to Satan’s domain.

 By way of contrast, Jesus was not a gender-neutral, nonjudgmental, ecumenically-sensitive ‘nice’ fellow who set out to produce “nice” people.  No, today, He develops radicals, and revolutionaries, who because of their beliefs and convictions  are an affront to society. People who are no longer “in the loop”. People in the company who get transferred to Iceland. Or get  murdered. (Remember: 10 out of the original 12 were murdered.)

 Thus, Christ forewarned his Twelve, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also…” (Jn.15:18–20a)

 So, if you are viewed around town as a “nice” person, is it possible you are not really all that godly? Because, “…Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”  (2 Tim 3:12b)

Jesus’ challenge remains,  “If anyone wants to follow in my footsteps, he must give up all right to himself, carry his cross every day and keep close behind me. For the man who wants to save his life will lose it, but the man who loses his life for my sake will save it.”   (Lk. 9:23, 24 – Phillips Trans.)

 The question also remains: Are you up to carrying His assigned cross?  Certainly, the answer for each of us must be, “Yes, but only by His grace.”

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!