BETA

Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for October, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

CHOOSING BETWEEN SATANS LIES AND GODS TRUTH (Part 1 of 2)

Beginning with Eve in the Garden of Eden, Satan has been deceiving us ever since. (Gen. 3:1-7)  There is no truth in himfor he is a liardeceiving the whole world. (Jn. 8:44; Rev. 12:9)  By way of contrast, God has made wonderful promises to us for victory over our sin and self-deception, if we know, choose to believe, claim, and live them out:  Jesusdivine power gives us everything we need for living a godly life. He has called us to receive his own glory and goodness! And by that same mighty power, he has given us all of his rich and wonderful promises. He has promised that you will escape the decadence all around you caused by evil desires and that you will share in his divine nature. (2 Pet. 1:3,4 NLT)

Most of us error however, by believing Satans accusations against us, or believing our own feelings about ourselves, rather than claiming and clinging to Gods promises.  (See Rev. 12:10)  2 Cor. 10:5 and Jn. 8:31, 32 remind us that We take captive every thought to make it obedient to ChristIf you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

Let me challenge you that over the next three weeks you take one of the following promises each day. Meditate on it, claim its truth and pray it into your life. Memorize some of the passages. Then go out and choose to live like a child of the King.

OLD LIFE Lies:   NEW LIFE Truth 1

What I think or feel about myself     What is true about me

1.  I am unworthy/unacceptable.  I am accepted and worthy. 

  Psa. 139:13-24; Rom. 15:7

2.  I feel like a failure/inadequate.  I am adequate. 2 Cor. 3:5, 6; Phil. 4:13

3. I am a fearful/anxious person.  I am free from fear. Psa. 34:42; 2 Tim. 1:7; I Pet. 5:7; 1 Jn. 4:18

4. I am a weak person.   I am strong in Christ. Psa. 37:34; Dan. 11:32; Phil. 4:19

5.  I am in bondage.   I am free. Psa. 32:7; Jn. 8:36; 2 Cor. 3:17

6. I am not very smart.   I have Gods wisdom. Pro. 2:6, 7; I Cor. 1:30; Jms. 1:5

7. I am unloved.   I am very loved. Jn. 15:9; Rom. 8:35-39; Eph. 2:4; I Jn. 4:10,11 

1 The War Within Robert Daniels, Crossway Books, Wheaton , IL pgs 77-79

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

GODS PRESENCE; GODS PROVISION

GODS PRESENCE; GODS PROVISION

What is it that preoccupies the average person in the marketplace?  Survival? Providing for the family? Not sinking into the quicksand of irrepressible debt?  So to stay alive, or prove our salt, we push it harder and longer.  Make more calls. Stay awake nights figuring out the next chess move to out smart the competition.

God leads the Nation Israel out of Egypt into a hostile environment.  The desert. For 40 years he miraculously provides quail, manna, water, etc. for 1 – 3 million people out of nothing. It was not difficult for Joe Average Israelite to figure out that to enjoy Gods provision, he needed to stay close to the Presence. God. So when the cloud moved, he moved. When it stopped he stopped, if he wanted the provision of the Presence.

Moses was commissioned to lead the Israelites through the desert to the Promised Land, and reassured him that he would not abandon him to the task, My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.  In desperation Moses responded, "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. (Exo. 33:14,15) Moses understood that staying close to the Presence assured Israels provision and the accomplishment of his God appointed assignment.

Its a shame that most of us today fail to grasp this wonderful truth.  In our heart of hearts, we seem to believe it is solely up to us to provide for our family. Many of us also seem to need to feed our oversized or fragile egos by proving to ourselves and others that we are a success. Then if we happen to have a bit of margin left over well factor in a tad of time with the Presence.  Of course the margin is rarely available, so we end up pushing the Presence to the margin of our life. Except of course when our back is to the wall. Then we cry out to him to bail us out. Until, the crisis is over, that is. The truth is we want his provision more than we want his presence.

Jesus put it simply, Do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matt. 6:31, 33)  Translated: Make nearness to the Presence and what is dear to His heart your top priority and He will take care of the provision issue. The stickler is seeking his kingdom and righteousness as our first passion and priority.  What exactly does seeking his Kingdom mean?  It means loosing ourselves in obedience to the King. (See Matt. 7:21; Jn. 14:21) It means seeking to win people into the kingdom of the King. (See Col. 1:28, 29)  It means yearning for the return of the King. (See Tit. 2:13; 2 Pet. 3:12; Rev. 22:20) Seeking the Kings righteousness means no longer hungering and thirsting for the lust for physical pleasure, the lust for everything we see, and pride in our possessions. (I Jn. 2:16 NLT)  Rather, it means choosing to live a holy life in conformity to the character of the King. (See Col. 3:2, 3; Jms. 4:4; I Pet 1:14-16; 2:11)

Put in those terms, seeking his kingdom and righteous is more demanding than most of us are willing to payor so we think. Just today my wife and I spent time with a couple where the husband, an accomplished professional, placed the pursuit of provision over the pursuit of the Presence, often at the expense of his family.  The price?  A decade of decadence by his offspring, not to mention the unimaginable pain he and his wife endured in a wilderness existence.

God states our options and their consequences in these terms, They are simpletons who turn away from meto death. They are fools, and their own complacency will destroy them. But all who listen to me will live in peace and safety, unafraid of harm."  (Pro. 1:32, 33 NLT) As always, the choice is ours.

QUESTION:  So tell me my friend, which is really first in your life? The pursuit of the Presence? Or the  pursuit of the provision? Are you prepared to reap the consequences, if your preference is the latter?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

THE GRAND ILLUSION, SEDUCTION, AND REALITY

The Grand Illusion today is that those who thumb their nose at God, ignore his injunctions, and go after what they want, any way they want it, are the real winners in life.  Often they are the beautiful, gifted people who enjoy lifes privileged pleasures all with seemingly painless ease.  And I, this struggling pilgrim of Christ, sweat it out making house payments, staying out of sin, raising my kids biblically, and living a life of integrity before God in my business affairs.  In a word, I try to color inside the lines. And often, I do it with little appreciation, recognition, or reward.  Asap, the Psalmist observes these seemingly free spirits, who appear to soar above us mortals:

  They seem to live such a painless life; their bodies are so healthy and strong.

  They aren’t troubled like other people or plagued with problems like everyone else.

  They wear pride like a jeweled necklace, and their clothing is woven of cruelty.

  These fat cats have everything their hearts could ever wish for!

  They scoff and speak only evil; in their pride they seek to crush others.

  They boast against the very heavens, and their words strut throughout the earthLook at these arrogant peopleenjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply.  (Psa. 73:4-9,12 NLT)

 The Grand Seduction:  I have to admit that there are times when I am a bit envious of them!  Asap continues:

  Does God realize what is going onIs the Most High even aware of what is happening?

  Was it for nothing that I kept my heart pure and kept myself from doing wrong? All I get is trouble all day long; every morning brings me pain.

  • But as for me, I came so close to the edge of the cliff!  My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone. For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.
  • Then I realized how bitter I had become, how pained I had been by all I had seen. I was so foolish and ignorantI must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.  (Psa. 73:2,3, 21,22 NLT

The Grand Reality:  Asap concludes by putting it all in perspective:

  • They are under Gods judgment: So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper. But what a difficult task it is! Then one day I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I thought about the destiny of the wicked. Truly, you put them on a slippery path and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction. In an instant they are destroyed, swept away by terrors. Their present life is only a dream that is gone when they awake. When you arise, O Lord, you will make them vanish from this lifeBut those who desert him will perish, for you destroy those who abandon you. (Psa. 73:16-20,27 NLT
  • God will lovingly guide me through my earthly sojourn: Yet I still belong to you; you are holding my right hand. You will keep on guiding me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine foreverBut as for me, how good it is to be near God!  I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.  (Psa. 73:23-26, 28 NLT)

PRAYER:  Lord, amidst the crushing seductions and pressures of the world that would sweep me away into the mainstream of self-indulgence, grant me the grace to maintain your eternal perspective in order to remain true to you and the God-given convictions you have impressed upon my heart.  Whatever the cost. Amen.