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Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for January, 2012

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

FACING SEXUAL IMPURITY HEAD ON: (Part 1 of 4)

I am vexed, grieved, and angry over what is happening to us as a people in the area of sexual impurity. Just this morning I was recalling a few of the high profile public figures who in recent memory have fallen: One of our Presidents; a recent presidential contender; a public defender in one of our key States, a globally renowned athlete, and several high profile Christian leaders of global reach.  And this is just the tip of the iceberg.  Almost daily I am working with sincere men who are fighting a life and death battle to live a sexually pure life in our sexually-obsessed society.

Following is the essence of a rather lengthy study on sexual purity and what one needs to know and do to experience victory.

MOTIVATIONS FOR VICTORY:

Comprehend Gods high calling on our lives:

To holiness: For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. (Eph. 1:4a) (See I Cor. 6:13-20; Eph. 5:23 27; 1 Thess. 4:3-8; 2 Tim. 1:9; Tit. 2:12-14; I Pet. 1:14-16; 2 Pet. 2:9-11, 16; 4:1,2)

To death over our sinful nature: For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin– because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.  (Rom. 6:6-8)

Recognize that is not Gods intention that we live in a defeated state:   In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:37-39) (See Jn. 8:31, 32; Rom. 5:21; 6:14, 15; Gal. 5:13, 15; Tit. 2:11-14)

Understand that Gods grace does not give us license to sin: What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? (Rom. 6:1, 2) (See Rom. 6:15; Jud. 1:4)

Next week we will continue our Motivations for Victory

This week, may you experience His grace, peace, and protection.

R. Dwight Hill

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

ARE WE SELECTING THE RIGHT PEOPLE FOR DISCIPLESHIP AND LEADERSHIP TRAINING?

What is striking with the men Jesus chose to turn the world upside down (Act. 17; 6) was their sheer ordinariness.  In todays culture they would probably be the truckers, construction workers, and car mechanics. Joe six pack.  Jesus simply bypassed the power brokers, the highly educated, and the politically connected of Israel. To be sure, He demonstrated the maxim, God has the uncomfortable habit of placing his hand on the wrong people.  Thank God, cause Im one of them!

Lets take a sampling of the Twelve:

  Peter, whose name meant rock, was impulsive, and cowardly:  When Jesus began washing the disciples feet, Peter impulsively reacted with, Noyou shall never wash my feet. (Jn. 13:3-9) When Jesus announced that the disciples would soon deny him, Peter impulsively blurted out, Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you   (See Matt. 26:31-35). Hours later, when questioned by the authorities about his relationship with Christ, he stated, I dont know the man (Matt. 26:69-75). (See Gal. 2:11-21)

  Philip lacked spiritual perception: When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?  He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. Philip answered him, Eight months' wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!" (Jn. 6:5-7).  (See Jn. 14:8)

  James and John were hotheads (Sons of Thunder Mk. 3:17) and sought positions of preeminence within the ranks: After Jesus informed the disciples of His imminent death, He asked them, "What were you arguing about on the road? But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest (i.e. His replacement).  (Mk. 9:30-34) (See Matt. 20:21, 22)  On another occasion, when Christs  advance party was ill-treated, James and John asked Jesus, Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?" (Lk. 9:52 54)  (See Mk. 3:17)

Paul also clearly understood Gods unusual selection criteria: Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don't see many of the brightest and the best among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families.  Isn't it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these nobodies to expose the hollow pretensions of the somebodies?" (I Cor. 1:26-28 Msg.)

As you ponder the selection of people into whom you choose to invest your life, you might want to keep in mind the fact that Noah had a drinking problem, Abraham was too old, Isaac was a daydreamer, Jacob was a liar, Joseph was abused, Moses had a stuttering problem, Gideon was fearful, Sampson had long hair and was a womanizer, Rahab was a prostitute, Jeremiah and Timothy were too young, David had an affair and was a murderer, Elijah was suicidal, Isaiah preached naked, Jonah ran from God, Job went bankrupt, John the Baptist ate bugs, the Disciples fell asleep while praying, Martha worried about everything, the Samaritan woman was divorced  more than once, Zaccheus was too small, Paul was too religious, Timothy had an ulcer…and Lazarus was dead!

 This week, may you experience His grace, peace, and protection.

R. Dwight Hill

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

NINE BASIC PRINCIPLES ON MONEY FROM 1 TIMOTHY 6:(Part #2 of #2)

 

In last weeks Facts we presented five financial principles from I Timothy 6: (1) The quality of our life is not to be defined by what we materially possess, (2) From an eternal perspective, the level of our material possessions is of little import, (3) God has wired us so that we can choose to be content with lifes basics, (4) The desire to be wealthy leads to many troubles and our ultimate destruction. (5) If God has blessed us with material wealth, we must guard against pride.

6.  Wealth has the power to seduce our heart away from our hope in GodCommand those who are rich in this present world not toput their hope in wealth (I Tim. 6:17).

This is what the Lord says: Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight, declares the Lord.  (Jer. 9:23, 24) (See Job 31:24-28; Ps. 52:7)

7. God intends that we derive pleasure in life from our material possessionsGodrichly provides us with everything for our enjoyment (I Tim. 6:18).

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 God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart (Ecc. 5:19, 20).

8. God intends that we use our material wealth to enrich the lives of others: Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share (I Tim. 6:18) (See Gal. 5:10; Heb. 13:16).

"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?  Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter– when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? (Isa. 58:6, 7)

A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed (Pro. 11:25).

9. In blessing others with our resources,  the quality of our eternal reward is significantly affected: 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 (1 Tim. 6:19).  (See Matt. 19:21; Matt. 25:35-40)

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matt. 6:19, 20).

Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys (Lk. 12:33).

This week, may you experience His grace, peace, and protection.

R. Dwight Hill

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

NINE BASIC PRINCIPLES ON MONEY FROM I TIMOTHY 6:6-9, 17-19:(Part 1 of 2) But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 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 grief’s. 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.

 

1.  The quality of our life is not defined by what we materially possessGodliness with contentment is great gain (I Tim. 6:6).

Jesus: 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. 12:15).

2.  From an eternal perspective, the level of our material possessions is of little import: We brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it (I Tim. 6:7).

After loosing his earthly possessions, Job stated: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised"  (Job 1:21).

Naked a man comes from his mother's womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand (Ecc. 5:15).

3.  God has wired us so that we can choose to be content with lifes basics: If we have food and clothing, we will be content with that (I Tim. 6:8).

 I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength (Phil. 4:11-13).  (See Lk. 3:14)

 4.  The desire to be wealthy leads to many troubles and our ultimate destruction: They'll self-destruct in no time.  Lust for money brings trouble and nothing but trouble. Going down that path, some lose their footing in the faith completely and live to regret it bitterly ever after (I Tim. 6:9,10 -Msg.). (See 2 Pet. 2:3; 1 Jn. 2:15-17)

 5.  If God has blessed us with material wealth, we must guard against pride: Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant (I Tim. 6:17).

You may say to yourself, My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me. But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today. (Deut. 8:17, 18) (See I Cor. 4:7)

This week, may you experience His grace, peace, and protection.

 R. Dwight Hill