BETA

Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for February, 2012

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

HOW TO STOP CHASING YOR TAIL LIGHTS

Is it the norm for you to be maxed out?  Are you finding it tough to integrate your walk with Christ with the complexities, pressure, seductions you name it – of your world of work?  Good grief! Of course!  Its a rat race out there! What else is new?  Well, if your answers to the questions above are yes, and YES!, then S-L-O-W-L-Yand  prayerfully read the material below. This piece is taken from the writings of a 17th century French believer, Francois de Fenelon: 1

You need to take time to turn to God.  Do not pray only when you have set aside time to do so.  The busier you are, the more you must practice turning to God.  If you wait until the time is convenient, there is little doubt that you will end up spending little time with God.

  Try to come before God both in the morning and in the evening.

  Pray during and between all your other jobs as much as you can.  You cannot retire too much from the mindless chatter of the world.  Learn to steal this time in little snatches, and you will find these moments the most precious part of your day.

  You dont need much time to tell God that you love Him.  Lift your heart to Him:

– Worship Him in the depths of your spirit. 

– Offer Him what you do and what you suffer.

– Tell God the most important things that occur to you.

– Tell Him what stands out to you as you read the Bible.

– Cling to your dearest Friend.

– Live in Him with unbounded trust.

– Speak to him out of a heart of love.

As you learn to continually turn your spirit toward the loving presence of God within you, you will find yourself strengthened to do what is required of you.  Here is the kingdom of God coming to life within.

These times of inward retirement are the only solution for your quick temper, critical nature, and impatience. Turning to God will help you, but you need to do it frequently.  As God draws you to Himself, follow Him in complete trust.  Love him as you would wish to be loved.  Does this sound extravagant? It is not giving Him too much. As He shows you new ways to love Him, then do so. Speak and act without too much planning and self-examination. Set your eyes on God and you will feel less of a need to please others.  The wonderful thing is that you may end up pleasing them more.

Jesus"Are you tired? Worn out…? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with mewatch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly" (Matt. 11:28-30 Msg).

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

R. Dwight Hill

1 The Seeking Heart  – Francois de Fenelon, Vol. 4, Library of Spiritual Classics, pgs, 75, 76 – Christian Books Publishing House, MCMXCII

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

CLEARING THE AIR ON THE ISSUE OF HOMOSEXUALITY. JUST WHAT DOES THE BIBLE TEACH?1

 

Homosexuality is defined as sexual preference for and sexual behavior between members of the same sex, considered to be an immoral life-style and behavior pattern throughout the biblical revelation.2 Only heterosexual relationships are sanctioned in the Scriptures as it relates to Gods plan for men and women. As such, all sexual behavior is to find expression within the confines of marriage.

The issue of homosexual orientation, or homosexual desires are not addressed in the Scriptures. Clearly, homosexual behavior is patently condemned as a departure from Gods will for humankind. Thus, it is reasonable to conclude that any homosexual proclivity, feeling, or desire must be seriously dealt with as a potentially dangerous temptation akin to heterosexual temptations that culminate in committing adultery or fornication.

The Scriptures tell the story of an attempted homosexual gang rape by wicked men who confronted Lot and his family (Gen. 19:1-11).  Lot viewed this behavior as wicked. Other Scriptures mention this kind of behavior and condemn it in the strongest language possible. (See Jud. 19:22-30; Jer. 23:14; Ezek. 16:49, 50; 2 Pet. 2:6-20; Jud. 7)

In Leviticus homosexuality is spoken of as an abomination (18:22) that is punishable by death (20:13).

The early church in New Testament times viewed homosexuality as a sin.  Paul condemned it in Romans 1:26, 27, viewing it as a sign of Gods wrath on blatant sinfulness. He viewed homosexual behavior as an expression of debased passion that was unnatural, indecent, and worthy of death (Rom. 1:32).

It is apparent that some of the Corinthian believers had previously been homosexuals (I Cor. 6:9-11): Such were some of you (v.11). Through their belief in Christ they had been washed, sanctified, and justified (v. 11). Paul communicated the idea that homosexual activity is forgivable when one embraces Christ, and that we are to resist homosexual temptations as  vigorously as we would the temptation to commit adultery or fornication (v. 9).  In I Timothy 1:10 Paul taught that homosexuality was contrary to sound doctrine.

Gods word gives no credence to homosexuality as biologically constitutional or heredity, but views its origins in mans sinful nature; a learned behavior that is an expression of mans rebellion against God.  God holds man responsible for such behavior. 

No doubt this is a complex problem with many causes or roots.  Certainly believers are to exercise great compassion, and hopefully through the gospel be used of God to bring about redemptive change.  To be sure this is a critical issue that the Body of Christ must address in terms of counseling, education and bringing the gospel to the lost.

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

R. Dwight Hill

1 The key ideas for this article are drawn from the Holman Bible Dictionary, Guy Greenfield -2 Quoted from the Holman Bible Dictionary, Guy Greenfield

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

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

We now conclude Steps To Victory:

Understand the steps that often lead us into sin. Observe Adam (Gen. 3:1- 12), Achan (Jos. 7:21), David (2 Sam. 11), and patterns taught in the Book of James (1:12-15).

Recognize the importance of fleeing temptation:  Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. (2 Tim. 2:22) (See Gen. 39:11, 12; Pro. 6:5)

Be aware of the importance having a band of brothers (or sisters) for mutual support and accountabilityTwo people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real troubleA person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. (Ecc. 4:9, 10, 12 NLT) (See 22 Sam. 23:8-39; Pro. 27:17; Mk. 6:7; Act. 20:4; Jms. 5:16)

Understand the importance of knowing your enemy and how to win over himBut I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.   (2 Cor. 11:3)  (See Lk. 4:1-13; 8:12; 22:31, 32; Jn. 8:44; Eph. 6:10-18; Jms. 4:7; I Pet. 5:8)

Be aware of the characteristics of immoral women:  The woman Folly is loud; she is undisciplined and without knowledge. She sits at the door of her house, on a seat at the highest point of the city, calling out to those who pass by, who go straight on their way. "Let all who are simple come in here!" she says to those who lack judgment.  "Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!" But little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of the grave. (Pro. 9:1318) (See Pro. 2:16, 17; 5:3-6; 6:23-26; 7:6-23; 9:13-15)

Appreciate the destructive power of being involved with immoral women: None who go to her return or attain the paths of lifeHer feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the graveThe prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your very lifeHer house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death. (Pro. 2:19; 5; 5; 6:26; 7:27)

Be prepared to take drastic measures when necessary: "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. (Matt. 5:27-30)

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

R. Dwight Hill

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

FACING SEXUAL IMPURITY HEAD ON: (Part 3 of 4)

In last weeks Facts we mentioned three Steps To Victory:  (1) Ask God for a strong desire to live a holy life, (2) Comprehend the fact that in Christ, we are not under condemnation in our struggle with sin, (3) Be aware of the impossibility of victory under the law.  We continue:  

Understand that Christs resurrection demonstrates Gods power in freeing us from sin to live a new life:  All of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death. We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (Rom. 6:3, 4) (Rom. 12:2; 13:14; 2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 5:8; Col. 3:11)

Appropriate the indwelling Holy Spirit in overcoming sinLive by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (Gal. 5:16) (See Rom. 8:2-14)

Grasp the importance of getting Gods word into your heartHow can a young man keep his way pure?  By living according to your word.  I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. (Psa. 119:9, 11). (See Jn. 15:2; 17; 17)

Grasp the power of claiming Gods promises:  His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. (2 Pet. 1:3, 4). (See II Pet. 1:3-8)

Make a volitional decision to live a righteous lifeYou were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires. (Eph. 4:22). (See Jos. 24:15; Eph. 4:17; 5:8)

Choose inner transformation over exterior conformity to the worldTherefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Rom. 12:1, 2). (See 1 Jn. 2:15, 16)

Recognize the dynamics of the war withinI do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.  And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.  As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.  I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing.  Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.  So I find this law at work:  When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.  For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.  What a wretched man I am!  Who will rescue me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God–through Jesus Christ our Lord!… (Rom. 7:15-25a). (See Rom. 8:3-13)

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

R. Dwight Hill

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

FACING SEXUAL IMPURITY HEAD ON: (Part 2 of 4)

In last weeks Facts we gave three Motivations for Victory:  (1) Comprehend Gods high calling on our lives,  (2) Recognize that is not Gods intention that we live in a defeated state, and (3) Understand that Gods grace does not give us license to sin. We continue:  

Appreciate the high cost of sin: Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (I Cor. 6:9, 10) (See Pro. 5:8-14; 6:25-29, 32-35; 7:26, 27; 9:17, 18; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:3-5; Heb. 13:4)

Be aware of impending accountability:  Be happy, young man, while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you to judgment.  (Ecc. 11:9) (See Psa. 9:8; 96:10; Ecc. 12:14; 2 Cor. 5:9-11; 2 Pet. 3:10, 11)

 

STEPS TO VICTORY:

Ask God for a strong desire to live a holy life:  Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure. (I Jn. 3:2, 3)  (See Psa. 51:10; 119:133; 2 Cor. 7:1)

Comprehend the fact that in Christ, we are not under condemnation in our struggle with sin: There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. (Rom. 8:1, 2)  (See Rom. 8:34, 39; I Jn. 3:19-21)

Be aware of the impossibility of victory under the law:  I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death.  For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good. Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! But in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it produced death in me through what was good, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.  We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a save to sin. (Rom. 7:10-14)

In next weeks Facts we will continue Steps To Victory.

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

R. Dwight Hill