BETA

Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for June, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

SOLITUDE (Part #2)

Inner quietness and rest does not come naturally to us 21st Century moderns.  Yet, it is generic to fostering a mature relationship with God. Consider the following people who experienced the necessity of quietness before God:

  • JacobSo Jacob was left alone, and [an angel] wrestled with him till daybreak.  (Gen. 32:24)
  • Jeremiah: Oh, that I had in the desert a lodging place for travelers, so that I might leave my people and go away from them; for they are all adulterers, a crowd of unfaithful peopleI sat alone because your hand was on.  (Jer. 9:2; 15:17b)
  • MosesI lay prostrate before the Lord those forty days and forty nights.  Deut. 9:25a)
  • DanielNow when Daniel learned that the decree [to worship the king] had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. (Dan. 6:10)
  • Jesus:

–  Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (Lk. 5:15)

–  "Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets.He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. (Isa. 42:1,2; 53:7) (See Matt. 12:16-20)

–  When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. (Matt. 27:12)

The worshipful inner quietness of a 15th century monk, Brother Lawrence who worked in a monastery as a cook is compelling, I turn my little omelet in the pan for the love of God.  When it is finished, if I have nothing to do, I prostrate myself on the ground and worship my God, who gave me this grace to make it, after which I arise happier than a king. When I can do nothing else, it is enough to have picked up a straw for the love of God. People look for ways of learning how to love God.  They hope to attain it by I know not how many different practices.  They take much trouble to abide in His presence by varied means.  It is not a shorter and more direct way to do everything for the love of God, to make use of all the tasks ones lot in life demands to show him that love, and to maintain his presence within by the communication of our heart with his? There is nothing complicated about it. One has only to turn to it honestly and simplyThe time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament.

QUESTIONS

  Are you, on a consistent basis, carving out the time you need with God?

  Have you clearly written out a life mission statement?  To stay on target with that statement, do you make it a practice to periodically block off extended time to get away with your bible and calendar to evaluate the big picture, and make the necessary course corrections? (See Matt. 6:33; Eph. 5:14-17)

  Are you learning the art of listening to and for the voice of God? Often in my times alone with God, after I have prayerfully meditated through a portion of Scripture, I will sit quietly alone in the presence of God, inviting him to impress upon my heart whatever truths he so desires.  Be silent, and know that I am God! (Psa. 46:10a NLT)

  Do you make it a practice to delegate and outsource everything but the essentials so that you can operate in your area of giftedness (genius) and calling? Or are you a perfectionist who micromanages everything? If you have perfectionist tendencies is it due to  fear or pride? Or both?  (See Exo. 18:21; Act. 6:1-4)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

SOLITUDE (Part #1)

As I returned my golf cart to the caddy shack, screeching, mind-numbing noise (music?) assaulted my senses.  After one or two quick news items on T.V., bam, Im attacked by a paid actor in a white coat who lectures me on pills I must have to survive into the next week.  Daily, incessantly, involuntarily, I am bombarded with the noise and blather of the marketplace.

This is not how God intends for us to live. Our souls were designed for inner quietness. Solitude. Rest. If we are seeking solitude, most of us seem to be seeking it in all the wrong places.  Everywhere but in God. David understood this truth in penning, My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.  (Psa. 62:1) Yet we seem to resist Gods invitation to experience his rest: Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ Jesus:  "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. (Jer. 6:16; Matt. 23:37)

Wayne Oates poignantly reminds us, Silence is not native to my world. Silence, more than likely, is a stranger to your world, too.  If you and I ever have silence in our noisy hearts, we are going to have to grow itYou can nurture silence in your noisy heart if you value it, cherish it, and are eager to nourish it.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta makes a strong case for finding God through  silence, We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness.  God is the friend of silence. See how nature-trees, flowers, grass-grow in silence; see the stars, the moon and sun, how they move in silencethe more we receive in silent prayer, the more we can give in our active life. We need silence to be able to touch souls.

Isaiah viewed quietness as the product of a righteous life, The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence (safety, security) forever. (Isa. 32:17) Peter relates godly womanhood to inner quietness: Your beauty shouldbe that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.  (I Pet. 3:3,4)

Could it be that one of our major obstacles to fostering inner solitude is that we simply talk to much? An old Vermont proverb humorously states, Dont talk unless you can improve the silence.  The Scriptures teach:

  When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise  (Pro. 10:19)

  In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. (Psa. 4:4)

  Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God.  God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.  (Ecc. 5:2)

  My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.  (Jms. 1:19,20)

QUESTIONS:  If at the core of your being you are anything but quiet and at rest, why?

  Is it due to a lack of trust in the promises of God?  (See Heb. 6:12)

  Is it due to unresolved conflicts?  (See Rom. 12:18)

  Is it related to an unwillingness to release control of your will to His Lordship? (Lk. 6:46)

  Is it because you have allowed your priorities to spin out of control, including your time with God? (See Matt. 6:33)

  Does it have to do with not knowing how to manage your personal, family, or professional life? (See Eph. 5:14-17)

Is there one change you can make at this time to begin the process of moving from inner turmoil to inner peace and rest?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A N – T H E M STRATEGIES FOR FIGHTING LUST+

A N –  T H E M STRATEGIES FOR FIGHTING LUST+

 

A AVOID as much as possible and reasonable the sights and situations that arouse unfitting desire.

N Say NO to every lustful thought within five seconds.

 

 

T TURN the mind forcefully toward Christ as a superior satisfaction.

 

 

H HOLD the promise and pleasure of Christ firmly in your mind until it pushes the other images out.

 

 

E ENJOY a superior satisfaction.

 

 

M MOVE into a useful activity away from idleness and other vulnerable behaviors.