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Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for June, 2012

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A SURE FIRE WAY TO REDISCOVER GOD IN A LIFE-CHANGING WAY (Part 1 of 4)

Carl Barth, the famed German theologian, once stated that what we believe about God is the most important thing about us.  It was Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer, the Founder and President of Dallas Theological Seminary who suggested that most of us possess too high a view of ourselves and too low a view of God.  Once, however we grasp from Scripture who God truly is, we will never doubt Him again. We will be able to entrust our lives to Him without reservation.  We will also begin to experience living joyfully and freely in His Sovereign love and care.

In my mid-20s I spent a year studying the attributes of God; a discipline that changed the course and the quality of my life. 

In this series of four Facts I will lay out attributes of God with key Scriptures.  May I suggest that you  diligently study each of these attributes, prayerfully musing over their powerful truths, and praying them into your life. May I also suggest that you memorize some of the key Scriptures. When looking up the Scriptures for further study, be sure to study the verses in their context.

Attributes of God:

The Self Existence of God God is self existent…He is not only independent in Himself, but causes everything to depend on Him. 1

Key ScripturesTo whom, then, will you compare God? What image will you compare him to?…Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in (Isa. 40:18, 21, 22).  (For further study: Psa. 33:11; 115:3; Dan. 4:35; Jn. 5:26; Act. 7:25; Rom. 9:19; 11:33, 34; Eph. 1:5; Rev. 4:11)

The immutability of God: That perfection of God by which He is devoid of all change, not only in His Being, but also in His perfections, and in His purposes and promises.  

Key Scriptures:  God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Num. 23:19; Psa. 119:89; Heb. 13:8). (For further study: Ex. 3:14; Deu. 32:4; 1 Sam. 15:1-35; 19:1-24;  Psa. 33:11; 100:5; 102:26-28; Isa. 41:4; 48:12; 54:10;  Mal. 3:6; Rom. 11:19; Heb. 1:11,12; Jms. 1:17)

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

R. Dwight Hill

1 Systematic Theology, L. Berkhof, Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI, 1976, pg 58; 2 Ibid, pg 58

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

ON EXTENDING GRACE TO OTHERS

Theres a guy in my health club who pumps a gazillion pounds of pig iron, is built like a Ram Heavy Duty Cummins Diesel truck, and is plastered with tattoos.  Without realizing it, I found myself taking a wide path around him.  Im not looking for trouble. Certainly not from him!  A few weeks back however, we got to talking in the locker room and I found him to be articulate, polite, established in a career, and from a respected family. His passion? Fishing. During our conversation he treated me with utmost respect, repeatedly addressing me as Sir.

God forgive me for my censorious attitude toward this decent human being.  The fact is that I have become quite adept at mentally censoring people who happen to be outside of my comfort zone; people who dont measure up to the standards I have set for myself. God help me. When will I learn not to judge others by external appearances? (I Sam. 16:7; Matt. 7:1; Jn. 6:37) I for one need to learn how to extend grace to others by actively looking for ways God is at work in their lives. 1

St. Paul is a model of someone who extended grace to others. In his introductory remarks to the Corinthians, he expresses his unconditional love for them, despite their obviously sinful behavior, I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus (I Cor. 1:4). By sinful behavior I mean:

 

  Their drift away from the centrality of Christ into human wisdom (I Cor. 1:17-2:19).

  Their incessant fighting among themselves, which resulted in major factions within the church (I Cor. 1:10-17; 3:1-9).

  Their toleration of gross immorality within their body of believers (I Cor. 5:1-13; 6:12-20).

  Their lawsuit happy approach to solving problems with fellow believers  (I Cor. 6:1-11).

  Their proclivity toward drunkenness at the Lords Supper (I Cor. 11:17-25).

  Their convolution and abuse of  the gifts of the Spirit (I Cor. 12 14).

  Their rejection of Paul as an Apostle of Christ (II Cor. 10).

 

But because Paul chose to see them from Gods point of view, it profoundly affected his attitude toward them. In his eyes, they were saints – with feet of clay – in process, and on their way to Zion! 

 

He continues: [God] will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful (I Cor. 1:8, 9) (See Phil. 1:6).  Paul was indeed living out the Scriptures definition of love toward the Corinthians:  Love looks for a way of being constructiveLove knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything.  It is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen (I Cor. 13:4, 7, 8 Phillips Tran.).

QUESTION: Do you need to join me in learning how to better extend grace to others by actively looking for ways God is at work in their lives? 

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

R. Dwight Hill

Humility C. J. Mahaney, Multnomah Press, Three Sisters, 2001, pg. 98

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

HOW DO I KNOW I AM ON TRACK IN MY APPROACH TO DISCIPLING? (Part 3 of 3)

In this three part series, we are analyzing Jesus principles of discipleship from John 17:

#14 A time will come when you will need to send your disciples back into the world to do the Fathers work. Pray that the Father protects them from the evil one: My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one… As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world (vss.15, 18).  (See Jn. 15:18-21; I Pet. 4:4; Jn. 20:21; Isa. 61:1-3; 2 Cor. 5:20)

#15 Ask God to develop your protgs into holy people through intake of His word. Set the pace by first allowing God to do the same work in your life: Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truthFor them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified (vss. 17, 19). (See Jn. 15:3; 2 Cor. 3:18; Jms. 1:21; 1 Pet. 1:22)

#16 Ask yourself what price you are willing to pay for their sanctification:  I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth (vs. 19 NLT). (See Phil. 1:20; 2:17, 30; Act. 20:24; 21:13; 2 Cor. 12:15; Gal. 4:19; 2 Tim. 4:6))

#17 Pray that God will use your disciples to reach the world with the Gospel"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message (vs. 20). (See Rom. 15:18, 19; 1 Thess. 1:6-10)

#18 Pray that your disciples reflect a unity of spirit among themselves that is reflective of the unity between the Father and the Son. Recognize that such unity is a prerequisite for the world to believe in the incarnation of Christ. Jesus prayed that all of [the disciples] may be one just as you [Father] are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me… and have loved them even as you have loved me (vs. 21, 23b). (See Act. 4:32; I Cor. 1:10; 12:12, 25-27; Eph. 4:3-6)

#19 A goal in your discipling is that your protgs complete the pilgrimage to heaven, thereby experiencing Jesus in His full glory: "Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world  (vs. 24).  (See Matt. 25:21,23; Lk. 22:28 30; Jn. 12:26; 14:3)

#20 Are you revealing God to your disciples in such a way that they are experiencing the love of the Father and the Son? I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them." (vs. 26) (See Jn. 15:9; Eph. 3:16-19)

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

R. Dwight Hill

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

HOW DO I KNOW I AM ON TRACK IN MY APPROACH TO DISCIPLING? (Part 2 of 3)

In this three part series, we are analyzing Jesus principles of discipleship from John 17:

#7 Humbly acknowledge that whatever knowledge, gifts, talents, etc. you possess originate from God.  Take no credit to yourselves: Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you (vs.7).  (See I Chron. 29:11-16; Pro.2:6; Isa. 42:8; Matt. 25:15; Jn. 3:27; Rom. 12:6; I Cor. 4:7; 12:11)

#8 Pass on to your protgs the truth God is revealing to you: I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them (vs. 8) . (See Eph. 4:11, 12)

#9 Our primary focus in discipleship is not on reaching the world, but on the development of our disciples,  realizing that in time they if correctly discipled – will reach the world: I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given meMy prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message (vs. 9, 20).

#10 Is there evidence that your disciples reflect the character of God in their lives?   Glory has come to me through [Christs disciples] (vs. 10).

#11 Because intentional discipleship is for a season, there will come a time when you, like Christ, will need to release your disciples to the Fathers care. We will follow Jesus example in praying for (1) their protection, and (2) their unity: I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name–the name you gave me–so that they may be one as we are one (vss. 11, 15). (See Jn. 17:12; Act. 20:22-32)

#12 The tenor of your message to your disciples is to be one that produces in them the joy of Jesus. I say these thingsso that they may have the full measure of my joy within them (vs. 13). (See Jn. 15:11; Rom. 14:17; 1 Jn. 1:4; 1 Jn. 1:12)

#13 You will know that your ministry of the word to your disciples is effective when they are hated by the worldI have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world (vs.14).  (See I Jn. 2:15, 16; Jms. 4:4)

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

R. Dwight Hill