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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, 2014

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

SEVEN RESOLVES THAT HAVE KEPT ME THESE 60 YEARS OF KNOWING JESUS (Part 3 of 7)

 

#3  Dont miss it with the family

 

As I write, Ruth and I have just celebrated our 47th wedding anniversary.  I have to tell you,  I am nutzoid over her!  By Gods grace, our kids are on track spiritually, as are their spouses.  They are doing a dynamite job of raising their children. 

 

At the height of my professional career I stepped down from considerable responsibility that demanded an inordinate amount of time away from the family.  I chose instead to take a relatively obscure position to not lose my family. Looking back at age 75, I have no regrets!

 

Dads and moms, your spouse and children have legitimate needs wired into them by God, that only you can meet. Dont trade those precious relationships for a higher position, more money or notoriety. It simply is not worth it.

 

Paul instructs us, Anyone who wont care for his own relatives when they need help, especially those living in his own family, has no right to say he is a Christian. Such a person is worse than the heathen. (I Tim. 5:8b TLB) That word care conveys the idea of planning ahead; giving forethought on how to take care of anyone within the circle of family relationships.  Leading a family well is not a casual or ad hoc affair. Paul instructs us that a spiritual leader in the church must manage his own family well. That is, he is to diligently care for, shepherd and guide them.  (I Tim. 3:4)

My father was the general manager of a global shipping firm.  In my early years, I was raised by maids while my mother attended social events at private clubs and imbibed alcohol. What I knew of my father was someone who was consumed with work with scant awareness of my existence.

 

At age 9 my parents divorced. When I was 15, my mother died in a car accident, drinking while heavily intoxicated. A year later my 17 year old sister eloped.  18 years later, trapped in an insufferable marriage, she took a large dose of pills after a heavy night of drinking and never woke up, leaving six children and an alcoholic and abusive husband who died four years later.  Fast forward thirty years:  One of her children spent many years in prison; the daughter is on her 8th marriage, and the other four live desperate existences. 

 

CHALLENGE: My friends, the stakes are just too high for us to miss it with our marriages or with our children. Would you take a few moments and ask God if you are on track? The health of future generations depends on us getting it right.

 

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

R. Dwight Hill

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

SEVEN RESOLVES THAT HAVE KEPT ME THESE 60 YEARS OF KNOWING JESUS (Part 2 of 7)

 

#2  Learn to move at Gods pace, not yours

 

In Eugene Petersons translation of Matthew 11:2830 (The Message) he captures the tone of spiritual exhaustion many believers are experiencing today, and then wonderfully quotes Jesus solution:  "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? 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."

It is truly Gods intent that we move from a frazzled, ulcer-inducing life-style to a place spiritually where we are experiencing the unforced rhythms of grace  that results in a life lived freely and lightly.  

Both the Israelites en route from Egypt to the Promised Land, and the 12 Disciples under Jesus  tutelage were, in a sense, forced to move at Gods pace.  When the cloud or the pillar moved, the Israelites moved.  It was move at His pace and live; or move at their own pace and put themselves in life-threatening peril.  Jesus directive to the Twelve was to follow Him at His pace and priorities: Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be (Jn. 12:26a).

By moving with Jesus at His pace who in turn was moving at the pace and directives of the Father -you became recipients of His care, love and protection.  (See Jn. 8:28)

The only way such a God-directed pace is remotely possible in our helter skelter world is by hearing the voice of God in those quiet times where we steal away to be with Him and to wait on Him. (See Psa. 37:7)  Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest puts it this way, Enter into the secret place, and you will find that God was right in the middle of your every day circumstances all the time.  Get into the habit of dealing with God about everything.  Unless you learn to open the door of your life completely and let God in from your first waking moment of each new day, you will be working on the wrong level throughout the day. But if you will swing the door of your life fully open and pray to your Father who is in the secret place, every public thing in your life will be marked with the lasting imprint of the presence of God.1

CHALLENGE: Fundamentally, we must decide the quality of life we desire and whether we are willing to pay the price in altered priorities and lifestyle to experience it.  Conformity to the worlds values and mode of living will ravage our souls. Choosing to live life on His terms promises us life…in abundance to the full, till it overflows (Jn. 10:10b – Amp).  Are you up to the challenge?

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

R. Dwight Hill

1My Utmost for His Highest Oswald Chambers, Oswald Chambers Publications, 1992; August 23;

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

SEVEN RESOLVES THAT HAVE KEPT ME THESE 60 YEARS OF KNOWING JESUS (Part 1 of 7)

 

Sixty years ago this month this needy teenager made his way to the counseling area at a Billy Graham Crusadeand met the Lord Jesus.  By Gods great grace that relationship has grown deeper and increasingly fulfilling over these many years. Looking back, I can identify seven reasons why I am still here, excited about the things of God, and enjoying a life that is blessed beyond anything I could ever have imagined. How true the statement, God gives the best to those who leave the choice to Him.

#1 Keep fresh with Jesus:  Almost everything in your world challenges the idea of living close to the Master:

 Unbridled materialism

 Ubiquitous sensuality and uninhibited pleasure seeking

 Incessant pressure to produce, conform and impress

 Accelerating uncertainty in the job market and political arena

 Eroding societal values and standards

 Disintegrating family life

 Warp speed pace of living

If you are in business or a profession, my guess is that your life is beyond  complex.

Without a strong resolve to go deep with Jesus in order to counter-balance our cultures toxic influences, your spiritual life will descend into lifeless mediocrity. Little wonder thatPaul lamented, 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). 

Clearly, Paul understood the seductions of his world in voicing this perspective: I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him [of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly]. For His sake I have lost everything and consider it all to be mere rubbish (refuse, dregs), in order that I may win (gain) Christ (the Anointed One (Phil. 3:10 Amp).

QUESTION:  What is one step you can take today that will help you defeat the negative aspects of our cultures intrusion into your inner life, and foster in you a deeper, more intimate walk with Christ?

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

R. Dwight Hill

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

PRIDE (Part 6 of 6)

 

TESTING YOUR PRIDE QUOTIENT:  (Continued)

  How do you respond when others are chosen or advanced ahead of you? (Discussed in last weeks Facts). 

  How do you react to criticism?  By self-justification? Harboring resentment? Retaliating?  Jesus instructed us: Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you (Mt. 5:44 NKJV).

  Do you make it a habit of comparing yourself with others?  Paul: We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise (2 Cor. 10:12).

  How willing are you to serve behind the scenes and allow others to receive the credit?  Jesus:
So when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty (Lk. 17:10b).

DEALING WITH OUR PRIDE

William Law wrote, Pride must die in you or nothing of heaven can live in youLook not at pride only as an unbecoming temper, nor at humility only as a decent virtueOne is all hell and the other all heaven.

Is it not true that in all of us there resides secret sins, issues, imaginings, motives and past deeds we want no one to know about?  If unmasked we would lose our vaunted position among our friends and associates. God sees it all and has forgiven us. Surely this should breed in us a deep humility and stop us from judging others of their speck when we harbor a plank. We need to ask God to expose us for what we are; expose our blind spots, our rationalizations; our defense of our shortcomings and sins.  We need to invite God to discipline us of our pride  (See 2 Cor. 12:7).

CHALLENGE

Prayerfully invite the Holy Spirit to alert you to the fact that you have a problem with pride, if in fact you do.  Are you willing today to face it head  on and deal with  it?  St. Paul admonished us, We have an  obligationbut  it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live (Rom 8:12b, 13).

QUESTION: What is one practical step you can take now to begin the process of moving from pride to humility?

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

R. Dwight Hill

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

PRIDE (Part 5 of 6)

 

In our previous four Facts we defined pride, spoke of Gods view of pride, and how we manifest pride. We continue:

EXAMPLES OF PRIDE:

 

  UzziahAll the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in place of his father AmaziahHe did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father Amaziah had doneBut after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God, and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense (2 Chron. 26:1-4, 16 Selected).

 

  King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia erected a gold image of himself, demanding  that all nations worship it. Sometime later, he was driven away from his people by God to live with the wild animals, eating grass like cattle, until he acknowledged the Most High as sovereign over the kingdoms of men. (Dan. 3:1-6; 4:28-37)

 

  Proud businessmenNow listen, you who say, Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money. Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that. As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil (Jms. 4:13-16).

TESTING YOUR PRIDE QUOTIENT

  How do you respond when others are chosen or advanced ahead of you?  When Jesus entered his public ministry, John the Baptist quietly stepped into the background stating, He must become greater; I must become less (Jn. 3:30).

In next weeks Facts we will continue to test our Pride Quotient.

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

R. Dwight Hill