BETA

Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for January, 2006

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

SIX CHECK POINTS TO SEE IF I AM ON TRACK WITH GOD AND HIS WORK

A few years after Paul initiated the work of God in Corinth he found himself in an adversarial relationship with his spiritual children. From I Corinthians 4:1-5 we discover a few insights into Pauls foundational values that kept him faithful to God during his difficult life of ministry. Keying off of Paul, you may want to ask yourself these questions:

#1 Do I have a sober understanding of my God-given responsibility? So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secrets things of God.  (Verse 1)

God has given me the responsibility of serving his church by proclaiming his message in all its fullness to you (Col. 1:25a)  (See 1 Cor. 9:16-18; 2 Cor. 12:6; I Cor. 4:5)

#2 Am I faithful to my calling? Now a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful. (Verse 2)

For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus (I Cor. 4:17a)  (See Num. 12:7; Matt. 25:21-23; Lk. 12:42; 16:10-12; 2 Cor. 2:17; 4:2; Col. 1:17) 

#3  Am I unduly concerned about what others think of me?  What about me? Have I been faithful? Well, it matters very little what you or anyone else thinks. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point.  (Verse 3)

The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment.(I Cor. 2:15) (See Jn. 7:24; I Cor. 3:12-15)

#4 Do I have a clear conscience?  My conscience is clear, but that isn’t what matters. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide. (Verse 4)

Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, "My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this daySo I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man. (Act. 23:1b; 24:16) (See 2 Cor. 1:12; 4:2; I Jn. 3:20,21)

#5 Am I hiding anything?  When the Lord comes, he will bring our deepest secrets to light (Verse 5b)

This will take place on the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ  (Rom. 2:16a)  (See Ecc. 11:9; 12:14; Heb. 4:13)

#6 Are my motives pure? When the Lord comes, he will reveal our private motives. And then God will give to everyone whatever praise is due.  (Verse 5c)

There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs. (Lk. 12:2,3)

QUESTION: Have you chiseled out a few non-negotiable values for which you are willing to go to the wall? The day will come when you will be called upon to do just that.  Why not prepare now for that inevitable day?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

EXPECT A HIGH STANDARD FROM YOUR CHILDREN!

Yesterday a father of a teenage girl described to me her two years of masked rebellion while living a double life, only to curse and disdain her parents when the truth of her duplicity finally came to light. Mom and Dad, dont be afraid to raise the bar in expecting a high standard from your kids in this age of slouch and mediocrity.  Youth in the Scriptures and throughout history have demonstrated the heart and the ability to live out Biblical imperatives with grace.  For example:

Joseph, as a youth had Gods favor upon his life: The Lord was with Joseph and blessed him greatly (Gen. 39:2a)

Joseph maintained victory over sexual temptation: His response to Potiphars wifes advances? How could I ever do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God."  (Gen. 39:9)

Samuel served God as a youth: Samuel, though only a boy, was the Lord’s helper. He wore a linen tunic just like that of a priest.  (I Sam. 2:18b)

Young David was anointed and endowed with the Spirit: Samuel took the olive oil he had brought and poured it on David’s head. And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him from that day on  (I Sam. 16:13b)

King Josiah, as a child-king sincerely sought God: While he was still young, Josiah began to seek the God of his ancestor David. (2 Chron. 34:b)

David and Josiah exhibited courage in trusting God and doing great exploits: David: The Lord who saved me from the claws of the lion and the bear will save me from this Philistine!" (I Sam. 17:37b) Josiah:  In the twelfth year [age 20], he began to purify Judah and Jerusalem, destroying all the pagan shrines, the Asherah poles, and the carved idols and cast images. (2 Chron. 34:3c) (See verses 4-7)

Daniel and John the Baptist chose to keep themselves pure from defilements: DanielMade up his mind not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief official for permission to eat other things instead John: Will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He must never touch wine or hard liquor (Dan. 1:8b; Lk. 1:15b)

Timothy as a youth was steeped in the word of God: From infancy you have known the holy Scriptures (2 Tim. 2:15b)

What can we as parents do to foster such qualities in our children? 

1.  Model the godly life we want them to emulate. Prov. 23:26; 1 Cor. 11:1

2.  Bring our children up in the training and admonition of the Lord. Eph. 6:4; Deut. 6:1-9; Prov. 22:6

3.  Pray for them with all our heart!  Gal. 4:19

Even then, there are no guarantees, as our progeny, like ourselves still have a free will!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

WEALTH WHAT DOES THE BIBLE TEACH ABOUT IT? (Part #3)

Heres Yogi Berras perspective on moneys changing value, A nickel aint worth a dime anymore.

On a more serious note, B. C. Forbes makes this poignant observation on the effect money can have on us, How many men I know who are earning dollars aplenty, but who are really earning little of what counts. They are so overwhelmingly engrossed in business that they get nothing from their dollars. The Juggernaut of dollar-making has crushed out of them every capacity for genuine enjoyment, every grace, every unselfish sentiment and instinct.

The Scriptures teach:

Wealth is allowed by God in the lives of people of His choosing: For example, Joseph of Arimathea, There came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus.  (Matt. 27:57) Other would include Abraham (Gen. 13:2,6), Isaac (Gen. 2612-14), Esau (Gen. 36:6,7), Solomon (I Kin. 3:13), and Job (Job 42:12)  Rich and poor have this in common: The Lord is the Maker of them all. (Prov. 22:2)

Wealth can be used as a great source of blessing to others: Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. (I Tim. 6:17-19)

Wealth can create short memories as to its source (God):  When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. (Dt. 8:10,11) (See Prov. 30:8,9)

Wealth can lead to a life of worthless indulgence:  The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.  But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God."  (Lk. 12:16B-21) (See Jer. 17:11; Matt. 6:19,20; Lk. 6:24; 12:33; 1 Tim. 6:17-20) 

Wealth,  and our lust for it can deceive us into believing that its accumulation is the answer to lifes meaning: "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.  (Lk. 12:15b)

Wealth and our love and pursuit of it is inherently self-destructive:  People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.  (I Tim. 6:9,10) (See Prov. 15:27; 29:4; Isa. 5:8-10; Jer. 17:11)

Wealth has the potential of seducing us into putting our trust in it rather than God: The rich think of their wealth as an impregnable defense; they imagine it is a high wall of safety. (Prov. 18:11 NLT) (See Job 31:24; Psa. 49:6; 527 Prov. 11:28; Matt. 13:22; I Tim. 6:17)

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

WEALTH WHAT DOES THE BIBLE TEACH ABOUT IT? (Part #2)

What is the balance we are to maintain when it comes to money issues? Can I enjoy it without loving it? Can I enjoy it without guilt and without being drawn in by it?  Are their any guidelines? 

Heres Joe Louis perspective, I dont like money actually, but it quiets my nerves.  

And Kahlil Bibran, Money is like love; it kills slowly and painfully the one who withholds it, and it enlivens the other who turns it upon his fellow man.

The Scriptures teach:

Wealth, when given by God is to be enjoyed: Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work–this is a gift of GodA man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?  (Ecc. 5:19; 2:24,25) (See 1 Kin. 3:13; Ecc.6:2)

Wealth, and our love of it can keep us out of Gods Kingdom: Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life? Jesus answered, If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Then Jesus said to his disciples, I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." (Matt. 16:20-24)

Wealth can breed pride when we take credit for its accumulation, rather than honoring God as the provider:When you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of EgyptYou may say to yourself, My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me. (Deut. 8:12b-14a17) (See Dan. 4:29-33)

Wealth can lead to a life of selfish indulgence that can cost us our souls:  There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’  He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment. (Lk. 16:19-28)