BETA

Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for May, 2002

Wednesday, May 29, 2002

AN OPEN LETTER TO A CLOSE FRIEND ABOUT SEXUAL TEMPTATIONS

Dear Andy,

I dont know how I could be more proud of you. You really have your act together. You know where you are going career-wise, have a quality marriage, and are growing spiritually. But here is a sobering fact: Better men then youcertainly better men then I, today are living diminished lives of grave disappointment. In my wildest imagination I would not have guessed that they would have fallen. I am talking here about sexual temptation. I pray for myself and for you that this will never happen; that we will remain pure. Not a common feat in todays unimaginably permissive and undisciplined society.

I would like to make a few observations and comments to you and reminders to myself on this subject:

#1 Women love powerful, successful men who know where they are going. They are also attracted to gentle, sensitive, and caring men. Because you possess these qualities, you can be sure you will encounter attractive women who will want intimacy with you. (See Gen. 39:5-7; Pro. 7:13-18)

 

#2 There is a level of titillation and allurement that all of us find irresistible. Believe it. Do you know what that level is? Are you resolved to never be put into a position to find out? (See 2 Sam. 11; Pro. 22:3; Jms. 1:14,15)

 

#3 Do you really think it could never happen to you? If so, you are already half way there toward committing the sin. It happens to the men who least think it will happen to them. Ray Johnson told me that many of the hot shot pilots he knew in Viet Nam are dead. Because he viewed himself as a so-so pilot, he played it cautious, and is still alive. A former U. S. Presidents son pushed the envelope and perished. (See 1 Cor. 10:12)

#4 Tiny little indulgences can easily develop later into irreversible and destructive patterns: flirting, touching, sharing confidences, dipping now and then into pornography, etc. (Pro. 5:3-5,22; 7:21-27; 22:14; Ecc. 7:26)

#5 Sensual dads run the high probability of producing sensual daughters. Daddys little girl intuitively senses the sensuality in her father, and what men like. Is that what we want to produce in our daughters? (Exo. 20:5)

So, what is a man to do? Well, here are a few suggestions:

 

#1 Regularly, pray defensively against temptations and encounters with sensual women. (Matt. 6:13)

#2 Get into some kind of genuine accountability situation with another man or group of men. (Jms. 5:16)

#3 Avoid like the plague sexually stimulating input from the media, and emotional involvement with any woman other than your wife. (Pro. 6:20-32; 7:24-27; 9:16-18; Rom. 6:12,13; 1 Cor. 6:18; 2 Tim. 2:22; 1 Pet. 2:11)

#4 Memorize and claim Scriptures relevant to sexual temptation. Out of desperation, I probably have memorized every verse in the Bible on the subject. (Psa. 119:9-11; Pro. 6:20 – 29)

#5 Work diligently at maintaining quality and quantity time (daily/weekly) with your wife. Dont loose touch!

#6 Anticipate and prudently avoid alluring situations before they occur. A friend of mine who is a commercial pilot has his wife call ahead to the hotel where he will be staying, and ask them to unplug the R and X rated stuff before he arrives, after a long day of flying. (Pro. 14:16; 27:12)

#7 Visualize your daughters wedding day. If you have violated her trust, how will it affect that day?

#8 Recognize that the only thing that will keep you in that moment of temptation is a deep, abiding, intimacy with Christ, which we all know is something that is cultivated daily, through meaningful time with Him.

Warmly,

Dwight Hill

 

 

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

BIBLICALLY BASED MANAGEMENT FROM THE LIFE OF MOSES:

During Israels trek across the desert, Moses father-in-law, Jethro, paid him a visit, observed his style of operation, and offered some sage advice on management principles:

 

#1 Allow mentors into your life: We need people around us who respect us but are not overpowered or impressed by us; people who are not afraid to tell us what we need to hear, rather than what we want to hear.

When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, What is this you are doing for the people?What you are doing is not goodListen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you (Exo. 18:14a,17b,19a) (See I King. 12:1-19; Pro. 11:14;15:22;24:6; 20:18 Isa. 19:11-14)

#2 Recognize your own limitations: Divest yourself of visions of grander, Lone Rangerism, the Napoleonic or Messianic complexes. President Eisenhower likened the indispensable man to a person who, after pulling his thumb out of a bucket of water left its impression.

 

Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till eveningHis father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, [and] said, What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening." (Exo. 18:13b,14b) (See 1Chron. 29:11-14; Pro. 16:18,19; 26:12; Jn. 3:27; 1 Cor. 4:7; Gal. 6:3)

#3 Model spiritual leadership:

 

You [Moses] must be the people’s representative before Godand show them the way to live (Exo. 18:19b, 20b) (See Jn. 13:15; 1 Cor. 4:15,16; 11:1; Phil. 3:17; 1 Thess. 1:6; 2 Thess. 2:14; 3:9)

#4 Define responsibilities and supply appropriate training for them to do their job:

 

Teach them the decrees and lawsand the duties they are to perform. (Exo. 18:20:a,c) (See Dt. 4:1;5:1)

#5 Select quality people for leadership positions. Jethro specified three characteristics:

 

Capable: (Literally, virtue, valor and strength) (Exo. 18:21a) (See Josh. 6:2; Jud. 6:12; 18:2 1)

Fear God (Literally, fear and revere God) (Exo. 18:21a) (See Gen 22:12; 42:18; Neh. 7:2; Ecc.12:13)

Trustworthy (Literally, hate bribes ) (Exo. 18:21a) (See Jer. 5:1; Ezek. 18:8; Zech. 7:9; 8:16)

#6 Delegate levels of responsibility:

 

Appoint [men] as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tensHave them serve as judges for the peoplebut have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. (Exo. 18:21,22a,c) (See Act. 6:1-6)

#7 Provide stability:

Have them serve as judges for the people at all times (Exo. 18:22a) (See Exo. 18:26; 1 Cor. 15:58)

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

WE MUST KEEP UP APPEARANCES!

 

That was the oft repeated mantra around our household while I was growing up. Translated, meant maintaining the right address, cars, pedigree, image, and connections, in order to impress those who possessed the ability to help us shimmy up the social and economic ladder one more rung. One key to projecting the correct image was to never, ever let them see you sweat. In reality, however, we functioned like those regal swans that appear to serenely glide across the pond, while peddling like mad underneath the surface!

This morning in my devotions, I was arrested by Jesus statement in Matthew 5:3, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (See Matt. 11:25; 18:1-3; Lk. 4:18; 18:10-14)

True humility poverty of spirit – is the by-product of one who, by his exposure to The Holy Presence, recognizes his utter spiritual destitution, barrenness, weakness, and sterility. Grieved and humbled over the gap between his inner depravity (Matt. 5:4) and Gods consummate perfection, he is compelled to respond to his fellow man with grace and compassion.

Indeed, it is no easy task for the truly poor in spirit to interface with the business environment, driven as it is by mega egos. Anyone evidencing even a trace of brokenness is viewed with disdain, as woefully out of touch. Weak. The proud (termed by Bruce Barton as Gods gift to little men) are, after all,

Accountable to no one Demanding of their rights Judgmental Self-satisfied

Adept at rationalization Exacting Manipulative Slanderous

Arrogant Haughty Merciless Stubborn

Basking in their success Impatient Punctilious Threatening

Censoring In no need of God Self-absorbed Trusting in wealth

Conceited Inflexible Self-important Unashamed

Defensive Intolerant

The fact is, God takes a dim view of the proud,

 

"God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humbleYou (God) save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughtyThe Lord preserves the faithful, but the proud he pays back in fullThe Lordon highlooks upon the lowly, but the proud he knows from afar. (Jms. 4:6b; Psa. 18:27; 31:23b; 138:6b) (See 2 Chron. 26:16-23; Pro. 3:34; 6:16, 17; 8:12,13; 16:5; 29:23; Isa. 2:11; Dan. 5:20-23)

But is profoundly committed to the poor in spirit:

 

For this is what the high and lofty One says– he who lives forever, whose name is holy: I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contriteto comfort all who mourn. (Isa. 57:15; 61:2b) (See Psa. 34:18; 51:17)

QUESTION: How do you think the folks a notch or two below you on the societal pecking order view you? As poor in spirit, or as one who fits the description of the list above? How do you surmise God sees you?

Wednesday, May 8, 2002

SHARING CHRIST

After hours of driving in torrid heat, the air conditioner on our vehicle gave out. Wheeling into an automotive repair shop, Cliff, a burley, seasoned expert on things mechanical, breathed life back into our ailing carriage. Half way through the repair work, in an attempt to share Christ, I asked, Cliff, do you have any kids? Yeah, I got five. Hows it going, raising them an all, I inquired? Better now, he offered. Hows that? Well, for 20 years I boozed and chased my way through two marriages. Four years ago, my wife took me to church, and I met Christ. Then, things began to change.

 

Cliff, I asked, do you know how to get into Gods word? No, I dont. Would you like a couple of simple, practical suggestions? Sure would, came his reply. After a few minutes of explanation, I asked Cliff, Would you mind if I prayed for you and your family, that God would give you the wisdom you need to keep your marriage and family together in this tough world? Yeah, Id like that.

Upon the completion of the repair job, Cliff and I parted with a hug, and his insistent, Theres no charge, Mr. Hill. As I turned to walk toward my car, I detected just a trace of a tear in his eye, hidden behind his sweat soaked face.

This morning, while meditating in 2 Timothy, chapter 2 – with my encounter with Cliff on my mind – I came across several principles of evangelism that will be of help to me in the future,

  Be willing to suffer for the Gospel, Paul stated, This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. (2 Timothy 2:8b,9a) (See Act. 9:16; 1 Pet. 3:16)

 

  Be sure that you are a clean vessel whom God can use, If a man cleanses himselfhe will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. (2 Tim. 2:21a,c) (See Eph. 2:10; 2 Tim. 2:20-22; Tit. 3:14)

 

  Openly acknowledge Him before others, If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself. (2 Tim. 2:12b, 13) (See Matt. 10:33; Rev. 3:8)

  Make a diligent effort to accurately communicate the truth of Gods word, Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truthable to teach (2 Tim. 2:15, 24b) (See 2 Cor. 4:2)

 

  Avoid getting unnecessarily embroiled in foolish argumentation, Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel (2 Tim. 2:23, 24a) (See 2 Tim. 2:14,16,25; Tit. 3:9)

 

  Recognize Gods sovereign role in bringing a person to Himself, Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth. (2 Tim. 2:25) (See Act. 8:22; 1 Tim. 2:3,4)

 

 

Wednesday, May 1, 2002

Im gonna be like you, Dad.

While I was growing up, Dad only showed up once at any of my school or extra curricular activities. I was in the 8th grade, playing first on a baseball team. There was Dad in the stands! Boy, was I excited! After the game, his one comment to me was, You should be pitching, not playing first base. Thats where the leadership is!

 

In reflecting back, I am reminded of the lyrics to Cats in the Cradle:

 

A child arrived just the other day. He came to the world in the usual way. But there were planes to catch and bills to pay. He learned to walk while I was away. And he was talkin fore I knew it and as he grew he said, Im gonna be like you, Dad, you know Im gonna be like you.

 

My child turned ten just the other day. He said, Thanks for the ball, Dad, cmon lets play. Can you teach me to throw? I said, Not today, I got a lot to do. He said, Thats OK. And he, he walked away, but his smile never dimmed. He said, Im gonna be like him, yeah you know Im gonna be like him.

 

He came from college just the other day, so much like a man I just had to say, Son, Im proud of you, can you sit for awhile? He shook his head and said with a smile, What Id really like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys, see ya later, can I have them please?

 

Ive long since retired, my sons moved away. I called him just the other day. I said, Id like to see you if you dont mind. He said, Id love to, Dad if I could find the time. You see, the new jobs a hassle and the kids have the flu, but its sure nice talkin to you, Dad. Its been sure nice talkin to you. And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me, hed grown up just like me. My boy was just like meWhen you comin home, son? I dont know when, but well get together then, Dad. You know well have a good time then, then.

 

Last week, after our son called that his wife, Jeanna was having contractions, I drove 9 hours to be there as soon as possible for the birth of their first child. Ruth, away on a trip, flew 3,500 miles to get there. What a joyful time it was, celebrating that remarkable experience with them! After returning home, I received this note from Jeanna,

Your presence here has been so marvelous for me. Your tenderness, support and prayers mean so much to me. Our little Hayden is so blessed to have you for a grandpa. And I am richly blessed to be your daughter-in-law. Thank you for showing how much you love me. I love you, Jeanna.

 

And this message from our son, Wes,

Dad, it has been very special to have you be part of our Hayden birth experience. It was great that you were here 5 hours after his birth! I love you and admire you so very muchWes

 

I am prompted by the truth of I Timothy 5:8, If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. The word provide conveys the idea of looking out in advance for our progeny. Having regard for them. Caring for them.

QUESTION: Dad, judging by your current investment into the lives of your clan, are you pleased with the reality that some day they are in fact gonna be just like you? If not, what changes do you plan to make, starting today?