BETA

Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for September, 2001

Wednesday, September 26, 2001

“IF ANYONE WANTS TO FOLLOW IN MY FOOTSTEPS, HE MUST GIVE UP ALL RIGHTS TO HIMSELF…”

Good Morning!

Such as:

The right to revenge:  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth,’  But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”  (Matt. 5:38, 39)

The right to dignity:  “…Do not resist an evil person, If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him also.”  (Matt. 5:39b)

The right to justice:  “…If someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.”  (Matt. 5:40b)

The right to freedom:  “If someone forces you to go a mile, go with him two miles.”  (Matt. 5:41)

The right to control my resources:  “Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you…Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…For where you treasure is there your heart will be also.”  (Matt. 5:42; 6:19a., 20a, 21)

The right t hate my enemies:  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you:  Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”  (Matt. 5:43-44a)

The right to recognition: “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.  (Matt.6:1)

The right to bear a grudge:  “…If you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”  (Matt. 6:14b, 15)

The right to judge others: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  (Matt. 7:1,2)

The right to anything:  “…Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.”  (Lk. 14:33b)

Because, “…The man who wants to save his life will lose it, but the man who looses it for my sake will save it.”  (Lk. 9:24, Philips Translation)

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, September 19, 2001

“THE “BOOMERANG EFFECT”

Good Morning!

In our distant past, Ruth and I were harshly and unreasonably manhandled by an autocratic supervisor. By the grace of God we overcame the ordeal, and were able to get on with our lives.

Several months after our traumatic experience, we ran into our former supervisor and were taken back by his tart rudeness. It seems that such demeanor had become routine with those whom he deemed his inferiors.  In the ensuing years he and his wife divorced, leaving her destitute.  The emotional devastation on his children has become increasingly apparent as the years have passed.

 Yesterday I learned he had recently been jailed (for up to six years) for a most heinous crime. 

 I am reminded of another supervisor I had around that same period of time. I had mishandled a situation and was called into his office to account for my actions. His correction of my behavior however was one of gentle compassion.

 Today he is in his late 80’s and a delight to behold. Physically strong as an ox, with a twinkle in his eye, he ministers across the country to young adults.

 Observing what both of these men are now experiencing in their latter years demonstrates the “boomerang effect:” The unalterable reality that ultimately we will reap what we sow

“…Those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it…”  (Job 4:8b)

 “He who leads the upright along an evil path will fall into his own trap, but the blameless will receive a good inheritance…” (Prov. 28:10)

 “He who is pregnant with evil and conceives trouble gives birth to disillusionment. He who digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit he has made.  The trouble he causes recoils on himself; his violence comes down on his own head.”  (Psa. 7:14-16)

 “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”  (Lk. 6:38 KJV)  (See Psa. 57:6; Prov. 22:8,9;26:27; Ecc. 10:8; Hos 10:12,13; Lk. 18:29, 30; Gal. 6:7,8)

 I wonder if most of us think that somehow we can beat the odds and bypass the “boomerang effect.”  Over the years, I have yet to observe anyone who has pulled it off. 

 QUESTION: What do you think your (or my) chances are of beating the odds?  

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, September 12, 2001

CONDUCTING A SPIRITUAL AUDIT – Six questions to keep your personal accounts in order:+

Good Morning!

  1.  Am I content with who I am becoming? I must be sure my profession does not consume my person.  It’s important that I be more than I do or have.  When the time comes for me to leave my title and power, will I have anything to fill the vacuum?  As I mature am I moving from power to wisdom; from the offensive to being sought out?

“…Throw off your old evil nature–the old you that was a partner in your evil ways–rotten through and through, full of lust and sham. Now your attitudes and thoughts must all be constantly changing for the better. Yes, you must be a new and different person, holy and good. Clothe yourself with this new nature.”  (Eph. 4:22-24 Living)  (See Job 22:23; Ez.18:30-32; 2 Cor. 5:17; Col. 2:11; 3:8,9; Heb 12:1; Jms. 1:21)

  1. Do I have a quiet center to my life? For many of us our life motto seems to be, “When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream, and shout.”  God’s word however encourages us to “Be still and know that I am God.”   (Psa. 46:10)  There is an important difference between the fast track and the frantic track.  By way of contrast, Jesus quietly “went about doing good.”  He had a quiet center. A peace, which evidenced the presence of God.  Do I?  (See Psa. 131:2; 23:2;Isa. 30:15; 32:17)
  1. Is my prayer life improving? Do my decisions have prayer as an integral part, or do I make decisions out of my desires and then immerse them a sanctimonious sauce I call prayer?

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer…present your requests to God.” (Phil. 4:6a,c) (See I Ki. 3:5; 2 Chr. 7:14; Ps. 37:4;Matt. 6:6-9; 7:7,8; 21:22; Jn. 14:13,14; 16:23,24; Jas. 5:16-18)

  1. Is my humility genuine? There is nothing so arrogant as false humility.  Humility is not denying the power that I have but admitting that the power comes through me, not from me. 

 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”  (Phil. 2:3)  (See Ps. 37:11; 131:1; Prov 11:2; 27:2; Isa 57:15; 66:2b; Jer. 45:5; Micah 6:8; Lk. 18:14; 1 Pet.5:5)

  1. Is obedience in small matters built into my reflexes? Do I try to bargain with God or rationalize with him?  Obedience largely determines my relation with Christ.  Good intentions count for little. 

“Obedience is the test of whether we really live ‘in God’ or not.  The life of a man who professes to be living in God must bear the stamp of Christ.”  (I Jn. 2:5,6 Phil Trans.) (See Prov. 19:16; 19:17; 1Jn. 5:3;Lk. 6:46)

6. Do I have joy? Joy is perfected in the full belief in the total sovereignty of God.  Doubt dilutes joy.  Does my joy extend into my suffering; understanding that my suffering is my maturation.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  (Jms. 1:2-4)  (See Neh. 8:10;Isa.12:1-3;61:10; Rom.15:13;2Cor 6:10)

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

Wednesday, September 5, 2001

DIMINISHED BY FEAR

Good Morning!

Recently I asked a group of businessmen their greatest concern in life. Their answer? Fear:

Of the future, failure, the past, peers, financial ruin, superiors, bad health,  the competition, death,  personal inadequacies,  parents,  the rejection of their children,  and the unknown.

Aristotle observed the paralyzing effect of fear upon our lives,

Elderly men…have often been taken in, and often made mistakes.  The result is they are sure about nothing and under-do everything.  They ‘think’, but they never ‘know’; and because of their hesitation they always add a ‘possibility’ or a ‘perhaps’, putting everything this way and nothing positively…They are cynical; that is, they tend to put the worse construction on everything.”

“They are small-minded, because they have been humbled by life: their desires are set upon nothing more exalted or unusual than what will help them to keep alive…They guide their lives too much by considerations of what is useful and too little by what is noble…[They] lack confidence in the future…partly because of their cowardice. They live by memory rather than by hope…”+

 Obviously, “…fear has to do with torment…”  (I Jn. 4:18b). But the good news is that God offers us deliverance from its bondage,

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” (Psa. 34:4) 

If you are struggling with fear, refuse to allow Satan to gain the upper hand. Claim God’s promises. Memorize, meditate, and appropriate His promises for your life.  By so doing, you will put yourself in a position where God can and will set you free from the bondage of fear:

“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  (Jn. 8:31, 32)  (See Jn. 8:36; Ps. 119:45; Rom. 6:14-18,22; 8:2)

“’…Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish.…For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.  Do not be afraid…for I myself will help you,’ declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” (Isa. 41:10,11,14) (See Psa. 27:1,.2; 46:2; 56:3; Isa. 12:2; 2 Tim 1:7;Rom 8:15; 1 Jn. 4:18)

QUESTION: How do you and I plan to live the rest of our lives? Paralyzed and diminished by fear? Or liberated by the promises in God’s word?  As always, the choice is ours. 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!