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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, 2015

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

TEN BUSINESS PRINCIPLES FROM THE BOOK OF PROVERBS (Part 7 of 11)

PRINCIPLE #6 : PLAN YOUR WORK AND WORK YOUR PLAN

I Plan carefully:

  • It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the ways…An upright man gives thought to his ways” (Pro. 19:2; 21:29).

The ant is an example of a self-starter without supervision, who carefully plans ahead: “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! 7 It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest ” (Pro. 6:6- 8) (See Lk. 14:29-32)

II Seek good advice:

  • Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance…Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise…Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning…Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another…” (Pro. 1:5; 19:20; 9:9; 12:1; 27:17). (See Pro. 2:1-9)

III Bring God into the center of your endeavors:

  • All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord. Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed…All a man’s ways seem right to him, but the Lord weighs the heart…I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes” (Pro. 16:2,3; 21:2; Psa. 119:59).

  • If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does…When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures ” (Jms. 1:5-8; 4:3).

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

R. Dwight Hill

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

TEN BUSINESS PRINCIPLES FROM THE BOOK OF PROVERBS (Part 6 of 12)

PRINCIPLE #5: SURRENDER YOUR PLAN TO GOD :

I God’s plan for our lives is a mystery:

A man’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?..For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’” (Pro. 20:24; Isa. 55:8, 9).

II God’s sovereign purposes will prevail over man’s plans:

In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps…Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails…I know, O Lord, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps” (Pro. 16:9; 19:21; Jer. 10:23).

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory…But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations…I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please ” (Eph. 1:1, 12; Psa. 33:11; Isa. 46:10). (See Isa 14:24; 27; Dan. 4:35)

IV You will not succeed if you go against God’s plan:

There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord…Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed…Now 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. 15 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. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins” (Pro. 21:30; 16:3; Jms. 4:13-17).

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

R. Dwight Hill

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

TEN BUSINESS PRINCIPLES FROM THE BOOK OF PROVERBS (Part 5 of 12)

PRINCIPLE #4: TEMPER YOU DESIRES WITH KNOWLEDGE BEFORE ACTING

I wish I had a buck for every guy who has moaned to me about how he rushed into a deal that was too good to be true only to find that it was too good to be true. I think it has something to do with greed, impulse buying, or lack of due diligence.

Thus, Solomon warns us:

  • It is dangerous and sinful to rush into the unknown” (Prov. 19:2 – TLB).
  • Ignorant zeal is worthless; haste makes waste” (Prov. 19:2 – Msg.).
  • It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way” (Prov. 19:2 – NIV).

On the positive side he instructs us:

  • The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty ” (Prov. 21:5).
  • The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways…” (Prov. 14:8a).
  • A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps ” (Prov. 14:15)

The word prudent in these verses conveys the idea of cunning, crafty, subtle, shrewd.

The word simple conveys the idea of being “open to all kinds of enticement, not having developed a discriminating judgment as to what is right or wrong.”1

QUESTION : In your business practices, are you cool headed, measured in your approach, and strong on practicing due diligence? Or are you impulsive, greedy, and prone toward allowing your emotions trump your common sense?

Again, wise old Solomon: Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; hurry and scurry puts you further behind” (Prov. 21:5 – Msg.).

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

R. Dwight Hill

1Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

TEN BUSINESS PRINCIPLES FROM THE BOOK OF PROVERBS (Part 4 of 12)

PRINCIPLE #3: SEEK BIBLICALLY BASED COUNSEL IN YOUR BUSINJESS PRACTICES

From the Book of Proverbs we learn that there are two classes of people: The wise, who basically are teachable learners, and the fool who refuses to receive instruction or learn from his mistakes:

  • “The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin…Wise men store up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool invites ruin” (Prov. 10:8, 14).
  • Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others” (Prov. 12:15). (See Prov. 15:14; 17:10)

We begin life by learning from our parents. When we honor and obey them, we are promised a good and long life. (See Prov. 1:8; 9:11; Eph 6:3) Solomon informed his son that the purpose of the Proverbs is “to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives” (Prov. 1:2 NLT).

In life, as in war or in business, we need advisers to help us succeed: “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeedFor waging war you need guidance, and for victory many advisers…” (Prov.15:22; 24:6).

Given our fragile egos, our natural inclination is to surround ourselves with flatterers; with people who choose not to challenge us. Yet Proverbs tells us it is better to be wounded by a friend than flattered by an enemy. (See Prov. 27:5,6; 28:23)

Over the years I’ve noticed that “success” in the eyes of man rarely breeds a spirit of humility: “ Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to take warning” (Ecc. 4:13) The arrogance of kings Uzziah, Asa and Joash powerfully drive this point home. (See 2 Chron. 26; 16:7-14; 24:17-27).

Recently, I interacted with a dozen or so top tiered businessmen who have a passion for God and the furtherance of His Kingdom. The overarching impression I received from these good men was their deep humility and teachable attitudes.

Humble people are learners and seek advice. Fools eschew advice and suffer severe consequences.

Which are you?

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

R. Dwight Hill