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Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for March, 2014

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

MEN: WHAT IS PROBABLY THE GREATEST SPIRITUAL CHALLENGE YOU WILL FACE IN YOUR LIFE ?

Trusting God for finances?

Telling the truth?

Living free of fear?

Reigning in your anger, bitterness, wild tongue, or sexual drive?

Obeying God in winning the lost?

Nope . How about this: Husbands…be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life…” (I Pet. 3:7a).

You’re thinking, “Nah, it can’t be THAT! Yeah, it really is. Because God warns us that if we don’t get this one right He cuts us off in terms of responding to our prayers. That is, He reaches down and turns off the valve. We are now on our own.

So here is what He expects from us:

  • To live considerately with our wife. Simply put, that means picking up our underware off of the floor, helping her with the dishes and the kids, compassionately listening to her heart and respecting her feelings. Being considerate means viewing her as precious, and treating her with dignity; holding her in high esteem. Ephesians 5 tells us:

– To love her as Christ loves us – After all, He sacrificed Himself for us at Calvary. (vs. 25)

– To nourish and cherish her as Christ does us, and as we do our own body. (vss. 28, 29)

  • To honor our wife .

To respect her as physically weaker. You know, do the heavy lifting around the house. Just because you can put in 14 hour days does not mean she can…or should. Honoring her means taking out the garbage before she asks you. It means choosing to be a gentle man. It means looking for ways to make life easier for her. And how about giving her a bouquet of flowers once in awhile with an endearing note?

To respect her as a joint heir with you of eternal life. Guess what? The male chauvinistic culture does not exist in heaven. There she will be on equal status with you. To avoid culture shock, you may want to start practicing honoring her now as your equal!

Back to God cutting off the valve: If we choose not to consider and honor our wives, Scripture informs us that our disobedience will “ hinder [our] prayers.” That is, God will intentionally cut off and frustrate them. (I Pet. 3:7b)

CHALLENGE : There is no greater test of your true character than in how you treat your wife. Lose here and you can write off any illusions of influencing your world for Christ. Get it right in this wonderful, but challenging relationship, and the world (spiritually) is your oyster: “ Jerusalem…Judea…Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Act. 1:8b). Are you man enough to step up to the plate on this one? I am confident that you are.

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

R. Dwight Hill

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

EVER TRY TO DISCIPLE A LUKEWARM BELIEVER ? (GOOD LUCK)

You know the types: “believers” who seem satisfied with a bland, insipid spiritual life. No fire. No passion. Skin deep. Flabby. Anemic.

Jesus had strong words for such people: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth” (Rev. 3:15, 16) Some believers make Jesus weep, others make him angry, but the lukewarm folks at the Laodicean church made him sick.”1

“Christ’s metaphorical language is drawn from the Laodicean’s water supply. Because it traveled several miles through an underground aqueduct before reaching the city, the water arrived foul, dirty, and tepid. It was not hot enough to relax and restore, like the hot springs at Hierapolis. Nor was it cold and refreshing, like the stream water at Colossae. Laodicea’s lukewarm water was in a useless condition.1

Lukewarm believers may be characterized in four ways :

1. They are self-righteous and judgmental of others: “… The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get’ ” (Lk. 18:11, 12).

2. They possess an inflated idea of their own importance: “… Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you ” (Rom. 12:3a). (See 1 Cor. 15:10; Eph. 3:7, 8)

3. They take full credit for their success: God cautioned the Israelites about their forthcoming success in the Promised Land: “ When you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery” (Deut 8:12, 13). (See Psa. 106:21; Pro. 30:8,9; Eze. 16:10-15; Hos. 2:8, 9)

4. They often are busy in religious work while lacking a depth of relationship with God: “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ “ (Matt. 7:22, 23). (See Psa. 5:5; Lk. 13:25, 27)

CONCLUSION : Because you need to carefully steward your valuable time in discipling, by-pass the lukewarm types for the F-A-A-T types: Faithful, available, able to teach, (2 Tim. 2:2), and teachable.

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

R. Dwight Hill

1 John MacArthur Commentary on Revelation

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

THREE SIMPLE BUT IMPORTANT TESTS TO SEE IF I AM ON TRACK SPIRITUALLY : 1

The Scriptures exhort us to “examine [ourselves] to see whether [we] are in the faith…” (2 Cor. 13:5b).

1) Am I bearing fruit inward by living in God’s word? Jesus: ” If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:31b, 32).

Ask yourself if these past couple of weeks your time alone with God in prayer and the Scriptures has been your top priority. If not, according to John 8:31, 32 you are living in bondage. Last week I asked a friend in full time Christian service about his time with God. Skimpy. Yet he manages to busy himself with creating and running “Christian” programs. He should be mindful of John 15:5: I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

2) Am I bearing fruit outward by loving others? Jesus: ” A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (Jn. 13:34, 35 – NIV). The caliber of Jesus’ love lived through us is:

  • Selfless : “For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Cor. 4:5).
  • Forgiving : “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Lk. 23:34b).
  • Sacrificial : “…Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple” (Lk. 14:33b).

3) Am I bearing fruit upward by winning the lost and discipling the saved? Jesus: If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (Jn. 15:7, 8). This abundant fruit is manifest in two ways:

1) Character: “… The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law ” (Gal. 5:22, 23).

2) Service: “Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together” (Jn. 4:35, 36).

QUESTION : Would you take a few moments now to prayerfully examine yourself in these three areas, asking the Holy Spirit to reveal the state of your inner life. Is there a change you need to make today?

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

R. Dwight Hill

1 Some of the key ideas for this “Facts” credited to Spiritual Discipleship, J Oswald Sanders, Moody Press, Chicago 1994, ppg. 27-34.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

IF YOU HAPPEN TO BE IN THE DUMPS, READ THIS:

I don’t care how good you are, there are those times when life crowds in on you, saps your strength and you lose a clear sense of perspective. Fear gnaws at you, and yes, you begin to wonder if God knows or even cares about you. Recently, I went through such a period. Subliminally I worried and fretted. Does God know my circumstances? Will He prove Himself to be faithful once again as He always has in the past? Can I really count on Him, that He will fulfill His promise that He will never leave or forsake me? (See Heb. 13:5) As I look back, my fears and doubts were irrational, yet very real. Debilitating. Even paralyzing.

When we are in such a state we need to lay hold of God’s promise. For example:

“…In me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world… E veryone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God… Thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession…” (Jn. 16:33b; I Jn. 5:4, 5; 2 Cor. 2:14b). (See Rom. 8:35-37; Col. 2:13,14)

Because Christ overcame the forces of sin (Rom. 8:3), death (Heb. 2:14), and the forces of hell, (Col. 2:15; 1 Pet. 3:19) we are all over comers through His overcoming: “…In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Rom. 8:37):

  • I will give [them] the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God” (Rev 2:7b).
  • [Overcomers] “will not be hurt at all by the second death” (Rev. 2:11b).
  • “I will give [overcomers] some of the hidden manna” (Rev. 2:17b). (See Jn. 6:48-51)
  • [Overcomers] will “ be dressed in white. I will never blot out [an overcomers’} name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels” (Rev. 3:5b).
  • “I will give [overcomers] the right to sit w ith me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne” (Rev. 3:21b). (See also Rev. 3:12; 21:1-7)

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (I Cor. 15:58).

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

R. Dwight Hill