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Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for May, 2015

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

TEN BUSINESS PRINCIPLES FROM THE BOOK OF PROVERBS (Part 3 of 12)

PRINCIPLE #2: CHOOSE BLAMELESS BUSINESS PRACTICES OF INTEGRITY

I don’t know about you, but my head is still spinning from the Enron and Bernie Madoff ponzi schemes. (I won’t mention the games recently played by Wall Street!). As His followers, we obviously are called to a higher standard. God help us.

  • The Old Testament defines blamelessness as being ethically strong and operating entirely in accord with the truth:

Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord” (Psa. 119:1).

Examples include:

Noah : “…Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God” (Gen. 6:9)..

Job : “In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job…[who] was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil” (Job 1:1b).

Daniel : “…The administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent” (Dan. 6:4b).

  • The Book of Proverbs clearly addresses the issue of living a blameless life of integrity:

“[God] holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless ” (2:7). “Uprightness” conveys the idea of going straight; being direct in the way: “ Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you” (4:25). (See Pro. 11:5)

Righteousness guards the man of integrity, but wickedness overthrows the sinner” (13:6). Thus, righteousness is affirmed by conforming to, and not being deterred from an ethical, moral standard. (See Pro. 21:21)

  • The New Testament defines blameless as being inculpable, above reproach, living an innocent life without blemish and without fault. (See Luk. 1:6; Phil. 2:15; I Tim. 3;2; Tit. 1;6)

PRAYER : “Lord Jesus, working as I do in an unethical world of compromise and rationalization, grant me the courage and grit to stand alone, if necessary, in reflecting your blameless life of integrity.”

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

R. Dwight Hill

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

TEN BUSINESS PRINCIPLES FROM THE BOOK OF PROVERBS (Part 2 of 12)

PRINCIPLE #1 : KEEP YOUR BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE AND PRIORITIES ON MONEY STRAIGHT:

How easy it is for us to be seduced by wealth: “…Though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them “ (Psa. 62:10b). Thus, Solomon solemnly reminds us: Whoever trusts in his riches will fall…
Your riches won’t help you on Judgment Day; only righteousness counts thenBetter a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice” (Pro. 11:28b,11:4 – TLB; 16:8).

#1 Don’t sell your soul for the pursuit of wealth:

“What good will it be,” Jesus cautioned, “for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul” (Matt. 16:26)? St. Paul wrote, “ 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 griefs ” (I Tim. 6:9, 10)

#2 If God blesses you with wealth, self-indulgence is not an option:

Remember Jesus’ parable about the greedy, rich farmer who rebuilt his barns to store his excess crops? “…God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God” (Luk. 12:20b, 21). (See Luk. 16:19-31) With the rich, greedy farmer in mind, it would behoove us to prayerfully ponder Jesus’ teaching on our responsibility toward the less fortunate among us. (See Matt. 25:31-46;1 Tim. 6:17-19; 1 Jn. 3:16-18)

#3 If God grants you wealth, accept it without guilt:

It may come as a surprise that God is not against wealth per se, but against the inordinate love and pursuit of it: “…Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well…” (Matt. 6:33). Proverbs 10:22 affirms this truth in stating, “The blessing of the Lord brings wealth, and he adds no trouble to it.” After all, it was God who made Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Job, David, and Solomon, wealthy. (See Gen. 13:2; 26:12-14; 36:6,7; Job 42:12; 1Chron. 29:28; 2 Chron.9:22; Matt. 27:57) (See also Deu. 8:17, 18; Psa. 113:7,8; Isa. 27:8)

#4 Choose to be content with what God allows you materially:

Wealth or no wealth, we are to receive with humble gratitude whatever monetary level God assigns to us: “…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” (I Tim. 6:6-8). (See Ecc. 5:10; Phil. 4:11 – 13)

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

R. Dwight Hill

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

TEN BUSINESS PRINCIPLES FROM THE BOOK OF PROVERBS (Part 1 of 12)

If you are a follower of Christ and dealing with the world of business, you know you need all the help you can get to make a go of it. As Monk has informed us, “It’s a jungle out there.” Someone playfully stated that “before you can be old and wise, you have to be young and stupid.” Not so, according to wise old Solomon. Here is what he promises his son, and young men in general, if they will ingest and apply his proverbs:

To know wisdom and instruction, To perceive the words of understanding, To receive the instruction of … justice, judgment, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion (Pro. 1:2-4 –NKJV).

The starting point in gaining wisdom is given in Proverbs 1:7: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…” (See Pro. 9:10; Job 18:18; Psa. 111:10; 112:1) For starters, what does it mean to fear God? Matthew Henry states,

“God is to be feared, to be reverenced, served, and worshipped…Our minds [are to] be possessed with a holy reverence of God, and every thought within us be brought into obedience to him…[We] are [to be] careful in everything to please him and fearful of offending him in anything.”

From Proverbs 1:2-4 (above), wisdom certainly helps equip us for marketplace challenges in giving us:

Instruction : Reproof, warning, and restraint. (See I Kin. 3:9-12; Psa. 19:9-11)

Understanding : Wisdom, perception and prudence. (See Pro. 8:14-16)

Justice : “Conformity to an ethical or moral standard.”1 (See Psa. 145:17; Job 29:12-15; Amo. 5:15, 24)

Judgment : “To exercise the process of the judicial function of government.”1

Equity : Ethical uprightness: To go in a straight or direct way. (See Pro. 3:6; Isa. 40:3)

Prudence : Two meanings: (1) In the positive: Thoughtful behavior; (2) In the negative: Guile.

Knowledge : Cunning and wit. (See Pro. 24:5; Matt. 10:16)

Discretion : Sagacity. (See Pro. 5:2; 8:12)

In the next ten “Facts”, we will explore ten business principles from the Book of Proverbs.

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

R. Dwight Hill

1Theological Word Book of the Old Testament-

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

THE SINCERE PRAYER OF A FATHER AND HUSBAND

This last weekend, we concluded our yearly men’s retreat at Lake Tahoe, CA, USA. One of the men penned this letter to God. Perhaps you would like to mirror his prayer in your own life. I added the Scripture reference.

“Dear Lord Jesus,

“I have never needed you more in my life than right now. Please give me the passion to study your word; help me to prioritize time with you daily. (Psa. 42:1, 2; 63:1; 84:2; Heb. 5:12-14; Eph. 5:16; Col. 4:5)

“My family needs my leadership right now. They need me to be a servant leader, not a bully. Traci needs her Daddy now, more than ever! David needs a connected Grandpa. (Eph. 5:20; 1 Tim. 3:4,5,12; Jn. 13:1-17; Psa. 103:13; Eph. 6:4; Col. 3:19, 21)

“Lord, protect me from cynicism; guard my heart from apathy; and please send your Holy Spirit to keep my heart and mind open to your promptings. (Heb. 12:15; Rev. 3:15-18; Lk. 11:9-13)

“Heavenly Father, when I consider my life, I acknowledge that the best things always happen when I am closest to you! (Psa. 34:10; 84:11; Matt. 6:33)

“Lord, I give you absolute permission to light a fire in my belly to serve you. Please give me the willpower to do the right thing, and please remove the gray areas. Make my life like a chessboard – black and white. (Isa. 50:7; Matt. 5:37; Lk. 9:62; I Cor. 15:58; Jms. 1:5-7)

“Father God, please put a mentor in my life; someone to hold me accountable…and guide me to be a mentor for someone else. Dear Jesus, my Savior, help me to be less selfish with my time and money. After all, it really all belongs to you. The only claim is to your grace. (Pro. 27:17; Ecc. 4:9, 10; Lk. 12:13-21; 2 Tim. 6:6-10, 17-19)

“Lord, help me to finish the race strong. Please do not let me falter or stumble. Allow me to be a pillar of strength to my son, Matt. Please allow him to see Jesus in me. Lord, please strengthen Matt at work, a hostile environment; help him to stand tall for you. (I Cor. 15:58; Phil. 1:6; Heb. 13:5; 2 Tim. 4:6, 7; Rom. 13:14)

“Thank you Father for granting all these requests. (Matt. 21:22; 1 Jn. 5:14)

“With love and respect, Rob.

“P. S. Lord, please allow me to love my wife better than I love myself. (Eph. 5:27-32; Col. 3:19; I Pet. 3:7)

Thank you!

Rob Purvis

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

R. Dwight Hill