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Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for August, 2015

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

HOW DO I KNOW WHEN I AM ENTANGLED WITH THE WORLD ?

As I look around at the Body of Christ, it seems to me that a lot of believers are stuck in the muck of life. Spiritually inert. Entangled.

Paul admonished Timothy, “ No [solder] engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier” (2 Tim. 2:4 – NKJV). The Greek word for entangle is pleko and can be illustrated by sheep that get their wool caught in thorns when they wander off – as do believers when they wander off from their commitment to Christ. ” Unless we keep vigilant watch on our thinking and spirit, we will become snagged on the thorns of popular philosophy and current social values. We must be on constant duty, guarding our commitment and our desires .” 1

“A soldier is a soldier and nothing else; the Christian must concentrate on his Christianity. That does not mean that he must engage on no worldly task or business. He must still live in this world, and he must still make a living; but it does mean that he must use whatever task he is engaged upon to demonstrate his Christianity.” 2 “…A good soldier of Christ Jesus refuses to allow earthly matters to interfere with the fulfillment of his duty to his Lord. Many Christians…have been undermined by concerns and activities that are innocent in themselves but have been allowed to crowd out the primary purpose of serving Jesus Christ in the advancing of His kingdom against the forces of darkness.” 3

Let me suggest four ways we can know when we are entangled in the world :

  • When what I love and what the world loves are twisted together :

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world ” (I Jn. 2:15, 16). (See Matt.27:29; 2 Tim. 4:10)

  • When I am caught in the world’s corruption : “ If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning ” (2 Pet. 2:20)
  • When I am choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures : ” And the seed that fell in the weeds—well, these are the ones who hear, but then the seed is crowded out and nothing comes of it as they go about their lives worrying about tomorrow, making money, and having fun ” (Lk. 8:14 – Msg.).
  • When there is a random aimlessness about my life; a lack of focus : “…I do not run uncertainly (without definite aim). I do not box like one beating the air and striking without an adversary. But [like a boxer] I buffet my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue it, for fear that after proclaiming to others the Gospel and things pertaining to it, I myself should become unfit [not stand the test, be unapproved and rejected as a counterfeit]” (I Cor. 9:26, 27 – Amp. NT). (See Eph. 5:14-17; Phil. 3:10-14).

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

R. Dwight Hill

1Holman New Testament Commentary – I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus, Philemon.2Barclay’s Daily Study Bible (NT).3MacArthur New Testament Commentary, The – MacArthur New Testament Commentary – 2 Timothy

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

ON ENDING WELL

Veteran missionary Hube Mitchell once stated, “As I observe the great men of God, few end well.” That statement has haunted me for 40 years.

Sadly, I have, over these many years come to the conclusion that Mitchell was spot on, as I have observed good men whom God so wonderfully used end in tragedy. The most common debilitating vices seem to have been either pride, entanglements with women, bitterness, or some form of moral compromise.

So, the other day I got to thinking about myself, and jotted down several concerns I have for Dwight Hill in these senior years:

That I stay focused on the big issue to the end: Advancing the Kingdom and glory of God.

That I continue to grow into the stature of Christ. (Eph. 4:13)

That I remain a learner to the end: “Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to take warning” (Ecc. 4:13).

That I not become a brittle, opinionated old crank that people tip toe around and have to placate. Rather that I matriculate into a gracious, others-centered, thoughtful and kind Christian gentleman.

That I continue to influence my progeny toward a life of holiness and servanthood.

That at the end of my journey, I can with integrity say with Paul, I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day…” (2 Tim 4:6b-8a).

That, by the grace of God I leave a legacy that is eternal. I am profoundly struck by the fact that we must lay the foundation of Christ in the lives of our protgs or our ministry efforts are futile. (1 Cor. 3:10-15)

That when I meet Him in glory He will say to me, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matt. 25:21b).

That the inscription I desire on my tombstone rings true that “…When Dwight Hill had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep …” (Adapted from Act. 13:36)

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

R. Dwight Hill

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

“HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM?” (Part #2 of #2)

In last week’s “Facts” we mentioned three principles as they relate to gaining victory over pornography:

1. God promises us victory over sin.

2. Be totally committed to change at whatever cost to gain victory .

3. Understand the pathway to sin as exhibited by the actions of Eve, Achan, and King David.

We continue :

4. Don’t be the Lone Ranger: The cold reality is that you cannot experience sustained victory if you live in isolation without the fellowship, accountability and the encouragement of other believers:

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken…” (Ecc. 4:9-12).

“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Heb. 10:24, 25).

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (Jms. 5:16). (See I Jn. 1:7)

5. If you fall, remember:

  • God’s mercy : He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Pro. 28:13). (See I Jn. 1:9)

  • God’s grace : “…There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1b).

  • Don’t, however, abuse the grace of God : “…Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (Rom. 12:1b, 2).

  • Don’t be a quitter : “…Though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again…” (Prov. 28:13a). (See Matt. 24:13)

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

R. Dwight Hill

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

“HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM?” (Part #1 of #2)

So said John Swigert during the Apollo moon flight in 1970. Well, we, the Body of Christ have a problem: Pornography. Did you know that studies reveal that fifty percent of Christian men and twenty percent of Christian women are addicted to pornography? If this is also your addiction, you may want to consider five important truths:

1. God promises us victory over sin : Unless you have determined in your heart to connect with God on a regular basis through a meaningful time of Bible meditation, repentance, prayer, and worship, you are dead meat. To experience victory over your flesh, it is imperative to position yourself in a way that Galatians 5:16 becomes your daily experience: “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (NKJV). See Isa. 55:6,7; Jer. 29:13 Hos. 6:1-3; Amos 5:4-6)

Then meditate over, claim (and even memorize) these promises: “ I can do everything through him who gives me strength….In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us…Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ ” (Phil. 4:13; Rom. 8:37b; I Cor. 15:57).

2. Be willing to take whatever steps necessary to avoid porn like the plague .

  • Be prudent : “A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it” (Pro. 22:3). See Pro. 5)
  • Be totally committed to change at whatever cost to gain victory : ” You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell ” (Matt. 5:27-30).

  • Flee temptation and relentlessly pursue righteousness : “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Tim. 2:22 – NKJV). (See Gen. 39)

3. Understand the pathway to sin as exhibited by the actions Eve, Achan, and King David: They saw, coveted, indulged in sin, and then tried to hide their action. (See Gen. 3:6; Josh. 7:21; 2 Sam. 22)

When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death ” (Jms. 1:13-15).

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

R. Dwight Hill