BETA

Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for August, 2004

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

TEN HALLMARKS OF A “PEACEMAKER”

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God." (Matt. 5:9)

If you are experiencing World War III at home or at the officeor within yourself, you may want to prayerfully consider these hallmarks of a peacemaker:

#1 He has made peace with God and knows the peace of God:

"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (Rom. 5:1; Jn. 14:27) (See Num. 6:26; Psa. 29:11; Isa. 55:12; Jn. 16:33; Eph. 2:14-17; Phil. 4:7; Col. 3:15)

#2 He seeks to bring others into the reconciliation he has experienced with God:

"Godreconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: That God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation." (2 Cor. 5:18b, 19) (See Eph. 2:14,15; Col. 1:20)

#3 He makes allowances for those who differ with him in "gray" areas of the Christian life:

"Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters." (Rom. 14:1) (See verses 2-7)

#4 He diligently seeks peaceful solutions:

"If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all menFor the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification." (Rom. 12:18; 14:17-19) (See Psa. 34:14; Rom. 14:19; Eph. 4:3; 1 Thess. 5:13; 2 Tim. 2:22; Jms. 3:16-18; 1 Pet. 3:11)

#5 He avoids lawsuits, being willing to absorb the loss rather than go to court:

"If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints?" (1 Cor. 6:1) (See 1 Ki. 3:16-28; Pro. 17:14; 25:7b-10; Matt. 5:25,26, 40; 18:15-18; 1 Cor. 6:1-11)

#6 He relies on the indwelling Holy Spirit to empower him as a peacemaker:

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness." (Gal. 5:22) (See Gal. 5:16)

#7 He forgives grievances:

"Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." (Col. 3:13) (See Matt. 5:44; 18:21-34; Lk. 6:35-37)

#8 He aggressively pursues peace in his relationships:

"Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord." (Heb. 12:14) (See Gen. 13; Rom. 12:18)

#9 He is a good listener, controlling both his speech and his temper:

"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry." (Jms. 1:19b) (Pro. 8:32-35; 10:19; 13:3; 16:32)

#10 He prays for and applies Gods wisdom:

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask GodThe wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving." (Jms. 1:5a; 3:17b) (See Jms. 3:16-18)

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

EVERY PERSON HAS THEIR PASSIONS! WHATS YOURS?

For security, "success", social status, etc? Or for such eternal values as:

A Passion for God

+

"…As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you…"

(Psa. 42:1,2; 63:1a)

A Passion for the Lost.

"My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.

Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest." (Jn. 4:34,35)

A Passion to Mentor Others in Becoming Laborers and Leaders.

"…We proclaim Christ! We warn everyone we meet, and we teach everyone we can, all that we know about Him, so that, if possible, we may bring every man up to his full maturity in Christ Jesus. This is what I am working at all the time, with all the strength that God gives me…Ask the Lord of the harvest…to send out workers into his harvest field."

(Col. 1:28,29 – Phillips; Matt. 9:38)

A Passion for the Nations of the World.

"…You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth…Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…"

(Act.1:8; Matt.28:19a)

One of these days a nurse will enter your intensive care unit, observe the flat signal on the electronic heart monitor, unplug the life-support system, and quietly walk out of the room.

At that moment, you will find yourself in eternity face-to-face with God. One question He plans to ask you is whether you shared the passions of His heart, or whether you followed your own. How you answer that question will determine the quality of your existence for all eternity.*

QUESTION

: Given the focus of your present passions, is that a pleasant thought?

+Adapted from U. S. Staff Communiqu, Alan Andrews, The Navigators, November 19, 1997

* See 2Cor. 5:9-11; I Cor. 3:11-15; 4:5; Gal. 6:7-10; Eph. 6:8; Col. 3:24, 25; 2 Tim. 4:8; Rev. 22:12

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

QUICK FIX CHRISTIANITY

There is a mis-conception in certain Christian circles that somewhere out there exists a quick fix solution

to my spiritual struggles that if discovered will catapult me into instant spiritual bliss. In a world of instant coffee and fast foods, why not instant spiritual maturity? Instant victory?

So religious practitioners blow into town promising fast track spirituality and simplistic relief

from the spiritual blahs, defeatism, and drynessif we buy their particular brand of spiritual snake oil. The Scriptures warn us against these slippery characters, "For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light." (2 Cor.11:13,14) (See Acts 15:24; 20:30; Rom. 16:18; Gal. 1:7; Eph. 4:14; 1 Jn. 4:1)

What most of us dont want to hear is the fact that the path to spiritual maturity translates into work

. Perseverance. Focus. Priorities. Obedience. Discipline. Study. Endurance. Because salvation is by grace, it is all to easy for us to assume we can sloth our way through the Christian life by maintaining a barely passable, respectable minimum.

Not so, according to Evelyn Underhill

, "Spiritual achievement costs much, through never so much as it is worth. It means at the very least the painful development and persevering, steady exercise of a faculty that most of us have allowed to get slack."

So if you are inclined to operate as a spiritual slug, consider the following:

"We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promisedTrain yourself to be godly."

(Heb. 6:12; 1 Tim. 4:7) (See Mk. 1:35; Hos. 12:6; Matt.10:22; Rom. 2:6; 1 Cor. 15:1,2,58; Gal. 6:9; Eph 6:13; Col. 1:22,23; Heb. 3:14; Jms. 1:4,12,25; 2 Pet 1:10; Rev 2:10,11)

"Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

" (I Cor. 9:24b-27)

The path toward spiritual maturity is a "joint-venture" between God and you

, where both are engaged in the daily process of transforming you into Christlikeness:

"Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purposeBut whatever I am now it is all because God poured out such kindness and grace upon me–and not without results: for I have worked harder than all the other apostles, yet actually I wasn’t doing it, but God working in me, to bless me."

(Phil. 2:12b,13; I Cor. 15:10 Living) (See Eph. 3:7)

QUESTION

: For a "joint-venture" to succeed, both parties need to uphold their end of the agreement. How do you think Christ feels about your contribution to this arrangement?

Wednesday, August 4, 2004

THE SEDUCTRESS

A couple of days ago Ruth came home, deeply disturbed

, commenting, "Well, another Christian leader has fallen" Because she was sworn to secrecy, I have no idea of whom she is speaking.

"The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association"

lists a clinical description of the seductress personality (histrionic personality disorder):

1. Is uncomfortable in situations in which he or she is not the center of attention.

2. Interaction with others is often characterized by inappropriate sexually seductive or provocative behavior.

3. Displays rapidly shifting and shallow expressions of emotions.

4. Constantly uses physical appearance to draw attention to self.

5. Has a style of speech that is excessively impressionistic and lacking in detail.

6. Shows self-dramatization, theatricality, exaggerated expression of emotion.

7. Is suggestible, i.e., easily influenced by others and circumstances

8. Considers relationships to be more intimate than they actually are."+

Perhaps the seductress from Proverbs has similar characteristics:

"Then out came a woman to meet him, dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent. (She is loud and defiant, her feet never stay at home; now in the street, now in the squares, at every corner she lurks.) She took hold of him and kissed him and with brazen face she said: ‘I have fellowship offerings at home; today I fulfilled my vows. So I came to meet you; I looked for you and have found you! I have covered my bed with colored linens from Egypt; I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon. Come, let’s drink deep love till morning; let’s enjoy ourselves with love! My husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey. He took his purse filled with money and will not be home till full moon’With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk,"

(Pro. 7:10-21)

If we are to remain pure, it behooves us to recognize the temptress type and respond accordingly,

"A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer from it."

(Pro. 22:3)

According to Scripture, here is what awaits for us if we fail, "Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death." (Pro. 7:26, 27)

+Louis McBurney in Leadership Magazine, Fall 1998, page 102