BETA

Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for June, 2002

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

SATAN, YOUR ARCH ENEMY IS OUT TO OBLITERATE YOU. +

His strategy? Lies, accusations, and murder: [He] comes to steal and kill and destroyThe devilwas a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth He is a liar and the father of lies For the accuser of our brothersaccuses them before our God day and night (Jn. 10:10a; 8:44b; Rev. 12:10b)

 

We can aid and abet his destructive attacks by believing his lies, You are weak. You cant overcome temptation. Or by lying to ourselves, Im no good. Im stupid. Hey, Im cool. I can handle this one!

 

The way to counter the Enemys murderous attacks and also protect ourselves from our own self-deception, is by knowing and appropriating Gods promises. After all, Jesus did assure us that , "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)

Pascal once wrote, Knowing God without knowing our wretchedness leads to pride. Knowing our wretchedness without knowing God leads to despair. Knowing Jesus Christ is the middle course, because in Him we find both God and our wretchedness.

 

Here are a few of Satans lies we erroneously embrace, and the truth of Gods word that challenges those lies:

 

I feel like a failure. I feel Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our

inadequate. competence comes from God. (2 Cor. 3:5) (See Ex. 4:11-16; 1Cor. 15:10)

There is nothing special For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless about me. sight. (Eph. 1:4a) (See Psa. 139:13-16; Deut. 7:6,7; 2 Thess. 2:13,14; 1 Pet. 1:2;2:9)

I dont have enough. My God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. (Phil.4:19) (See Deut. 8:2,3;Ps. 41:1-3; 112:5; Pro. 3:9,10; 11:24,25; 2 Cor. 8:9)

I am afraid and God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound

anxious. Mind. (2 Tim. 1:7 KJV) (See Act. 20:24; 21:13; Rom. 8:15; Heb. 2:15; 1 Jn. 4:18)

I am defeated. Everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faithThanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus. (I Jn. 5:4; 1 Cor. 15:57b) (See Jn. 16:33; 12:11)

 

I am in bondage. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Cor. 3:17) (See Rom. 8:15)

 

I feel guilty. Condemned. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of Gods grace. (Eph. 1:7) (See Rom. 8:1; Psa. 32:1,2)

So the next time the Devil whispers lies to you, win the spiritual battle by countermanding him with Gods armor, the word of God! (See Ephesians 6:10-18)

+Adapted from My New Identity Irvine K. Thomsen

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

DO YOU WANT TO BE HOLY?

 

Like Jesus? Like God? Most of us, if we are really honest have mixed feelings as to how we would answer the question. Sure, we want to be holy, but at what cost? The idea of being holy seems so distant. So — do I dare say it? So other world. So unrelated to our present reality. If that is our response, could it be because we are so deeply immersed in a world of pop, me-centered, feel good styled Christianity? A Christianity obtained, and maintained on the cheap?

We do well to possess a passion to be holy, because, without holiness no one will see the Lord. (Heb. 12:14b)

Perhaps we should take an inventory to help us ascertain our true spiritual condition at the core:

–  Are we dead center in choosing to tell exactly the truth? All the time? With no exaggerations? No shading of meaning to obscure the truth? No subtle attempts to willfully give off an impression that is just off the mark?

–  Are we treating people of the opposite sex with absolute purity? No flirting, ogling, fantasizing, or manipulating? (Job 31:1; Gen. 6:1-6; 1 Pet. 3:3,4; 1 Tim. 5:2)

–  Are our business dealings 100% above board, without any tinge of duplicity? Do we command a reputation of unquestioned integrity among non-believers? (Matt. 23:27,28; Tit. 1:6,7)

–  Are we engaging in entertainment which Christ would enjoy? Entertainment in which He would choose to participate? Or does even the question cause us to pause, as we seek to justify or rationalize a palatable answer? (Phil. 4:8)

Unless we are encountering The Holy Presence, we will continue in a self-deluded spiritual stupor, enmeshed in a culture that is daily defining deviancy downward. Surprised by The Holy Presences visitation, Isaiah cried out, "Woe to me!I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty." (Isa. 6:5) I wonder what our response would be if similarly visited? (See Dan. 10:6-8; Rev. 1:16,17)

Would you take a moment now and prayerfully meditate through the lyrics of The Refiners Fire, asking God to search your heart and create a sincere hunger for true holiness? (Mal. 3:1-3)

There burns a fire with sacred heat, white hot with holy flame. And all who dare to pass through its blaze will not emerge the same. Some as bronze, and some as silver; some as gold with great skill. All are hammered by their sufferings on the anvil of His will (Isa. 48:10,11; 2 Tim. 2:20,21)

Im learning now to trust His touch, to brave the fires embrace. For though my past with sin was etched, His mercy did erase. Each time His purging cleanses deeper, Im not sure that Ill survive. Yet the strength in growing deeper leaves my hungry soul alive. (Psa. 130:3,4; Zech. 13:8,9)

The Refiners fire has now become my sole desire. Purge and cleanse and purify, that the Lord be glorified. He is consuming my soul. Refining me, making me whole. No matter what I may loose, I choose the Refiners fire. (Psa. 66:10; Jer. 9:1-9; Matt. 5:6; Heb. 12:10)

He selected us out for Himselfbefore the foundations of the universe were laid, to be holy ones and without blemish before His searching, penetrating gaze (Eph. 1:4 Wuest Translation)

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

WINNING OVER DEPRESSION

Fog creeps in like little cat feet.+

So does depression. Oftentimes inexplicably, without reason or rationale. It gets under your skin. Settles down into your gut.

The Psalmist asks, Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? (Psa. 42:5a) Apparently, he was not sure either as to its cause. In fact, he seemed to be a bit bewildered, perhaps asking; Why me? Why now?

 

Downcast here literally means, sink, depress, bow down, collapse, despair. Disturbed conveys the idea of tumult, rage, moaning, clamor, troubled.

 

In his battle to win over depression, the Psalmist focused on five areas:

#1 Hunger As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for God, for the living God (Psa. 42:1,2a) Because nothing quells our appetite for Him more than harboring iniquity, we may want to ask ourselves the question, Is there any sin in my life with which I need to deal? (Heb. 3:13; Psa. 66:18; 139:23,24)

#2 CommunicateThese things I remember as I pour out my soulI say to God my Rock, Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?" (Psa. 42:4a,9) We may need to get on our face before God (literally) and have a real heart-to-heart talk over the issues that are troubling us at the core.

#3 Re-focus Put your hope in God (Psa. 42:5b,11b) That is, we may need to re-direct our expectancy to Him, rather than wallow in worry, circumstances, fear, or anger.

#4 Praise I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (Psa. 42:5b,11b) We choose to adulate Him as an alternative to grousing or self-pity. (I Cor. 10:10; Phil. 2:14,15)

#5 Remember My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon–from Mount Mizar. (Psa. 42:6) It may be time once again, to recall (and appreciate) Gods past leading and blessings. Nothing displeases God, or quenches our spirit more than a thankless heart. (See Neh. 9:17; Psa. 63:6; 77:11; 106:7; Isa. 46:9)

 

CONCLUSION: Depression is one of the Enemys major weapons in knocking us out of the race. So lets resolve to win over depression by doing battle with Satan along Scripturally prescribed lines, as illustrated in Psalm 42. Have you found anything else that works? I havent!

+ Ive forgotten the author of a poem that begins with this refrain.

Wednesday, June 5, 2002

THE BREVITY OF LIFE

As a youth, Bill Cosby assumed old people were to look at. Now, says he, I am one!

Billy Graham, in his absorbing autobiography, Just as I Am, written at age 78, commented on his surprise at turning old so soon.

Ray Ortlund puts the brevity of life in perspective,+

Strip down. Get tough on yourselfSoft Christianity is the laughingstock of hell! Redeem your time. Buy up every opportunity for living your life right!

 

You say you have 70 years to get it all done. No, you really dont.

 

What did you know about life up to age five? Not much. That leaves 65 years.

 

But you sleep 25 years or so; so you have only 40 years.

 

Some years are spent in rest and recreation; some years may be wasted in wickedness or just laziness

 

How much is left? Not much!

 

And how much total time will you have for your life, anyway? Keats died at 26. Shelly at 30. Schubert at 31. Alexander the Great at 33. Mozart at 35.

 

On the other hand, its never too late to start really living! Michelangelo began building St. Peters Cathedral at 76. Verdi was nearly 70 when he composed his Te Deum. Grandma Moses started painting when she was 78. Tennyson was writing his greatest lines at 83

 

The Scriptures also remind us of lifes brevity,

 

"My days are swifter than a runner; they fly away without a glimpse of joy. They skim pastlike eagles swooping down on their prey. (Job 9:25, 26b)

The span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breathlike grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall. (I Pet. 1:24b; Psa. 39:5b) (See Job 14:1,2; Psa. 89:47; 90:5; 102:3; Jms. 1:10; 4:14)

QUESTION: Have you gotten going yet in life? If not, why not now?

 

+Portions of Ray Ortlunds August, 1999 newsletter; Renewal Ministries, Newport Beach, CA