People are forever asking, “What is the will of God for my life? What should I do? How can I know what it is?” Inferred in the questioning is the false belief that God’s will is mysterious, difficult to discern, and is probably somewhere else other than where I am. “ Should I go to Africa and work in an orphanage, or go with YWAM into Detroit’s inner city? Paul was called to Macedonia and Jonah to Nineveh. Where am I called ?”
The questioning is often prompted out of a parched and shallow relationship with God. Often is it asked out of a heart that longs for more of God. “ If only I can find the will of God I will feel closer to God. I’ll be fulfilled.”
Sadly, our quest is all about us: Our fulfillment. Our finding purpose in our lives. Little, if any passion is expressed toward advancing the Kingdom and the Glory of God. Rather, it is about filling the emptiness of my vacuous spiritual existence. The Savior informed us of the path to fulfillment in stating,
“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it” (Lk. 9:23, 24)
Management guru, Peter Drucker instructs folks in the market place: “Don’t ask what should I do, but what needs to be done.” Similarly, Jesus, in a moment of angst over his disciples’ self-focused existence, chided them in stating, “Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” (Jn. 4:35b).
Good grief! Let us open our eyes to the troubled world surrounding us and see the eons of families that are disintegrating before our eyes, the untold numbers of people addicted to drugs, sleeping around, or living on the edge economically. Only God knows the untold millions who are one step away from giving up on life. Do we even see the massive blocks of our Christian population who are hooked on pornography and other sins of the flesh? Our churches are heavily populated with men and women who are confused, spiritually defeated, and totally unaware that there is an abundant life available to them in Christ; a life of fruitful fulfillment and victory.
And we are asking, “What is the will of God”? You have got to be kidding!
Here it is in a nutshell : “ If anyone…sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? …Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins…” (I Jms.. 3:17b; Jas. 4:17). (See Matt. 25:35-46; Lk. 16:19-31)
It was recorded of Jesus that he “went around doing good” (Act. 10:38). Surely we can do that! And that, in simplest terms, is at least the beginning step in finding and living out the will of God.
This week, may you experience His grace, peace, and protection.
R. Dwight Hill
#9 He manages his life and family well:
First he must manage himself like an Olympic contender who is operating on the world stage. Sloppy thinking, procrastination, half-heartedness, excuse-making, and a mediocre work ethic do not exist for the fruitful spiritual laborer. In a word, he is highly disciplined in mind and body:
“… We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ…I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified” (II Cor. 10:5b; I Cor. 9:28 – NLT).
Most business and professionals work in a culture hyped on a plethora of multiple choices in every direction that are moving at an increasingly accelerated pace. Germane to the market place culture are long hours, shifting market conditions, and incessant personnel problems. With globalization have come intensified worldwide competition, increased complexity and financial instability. Just to stay competitive demands herculean effort.
If he or she is to sustain their walk with God in this spiritually toxic environment, he or she will choose – with intense inner disciple – to heed St. Paul’s admonition to “make it [our] ambition to lead a quiet life…” (I Thess. 4:11a). Only in a sustained effort to focus and simplify one’s life will one be able to even think about carving out time to (1) cultivate and sustain a vital pattern of prayer and Bible intake, and (2) win the lost and disciple the saved.
Little wonder, is it not that Jesus cautioned us against being seduced by “ the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things [that] come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful” (Mk. 4:19b).
Second, he (husbands and fathers) must manage his household well . This is the primary proving ground for his qualification for ministry. If he does not know how to manage (lead, preside, have authority over) his home in a biblical fashion, he is unqualified to lead members of Christ’s body. (See Tit. 1:6; 1 Tim. 3:4, 5) The proof of his “success” is in his children: Are they under control “with all dignity?” His ability to produce children of this caliber testifies to the fact that his family is ordered, disciplined, and not in rebellion. His success at home prepares and validates him for a broader ministry. After all, his family is the first circle of the Great Commission (See Act. 1:8; Matt. 28:18-20).
This week, may you experience His grace, peace, and protection.
R. Dwight Hill
A lot of people dabble at discipship. Most efforts are program centered with little attention to life on life relationships. Kind of an auto assembly line approach, where one size fits all. So lets talk about what really transforms lives into Christs image in the discipling process. It is a given that unless the Holy Spirit is at the heart of our efforts, it is an exercise in futility.
Lets start with the discipler. If he or she is to bear true fruit, it will only happen as a product of a rich and deep walk with God. By that I mean the discipler is dead serious about consistent, unrushed, in depth time with God in prayerful meditation, study, and application of Gods word. Feather weights in the spiritual disciplines are not fruit bearers. Jesus talked about the vine branch relationship. That is, Jesus, the vine, pours His life into us, the branch. The two live in intimate union and communion with each other, and fruit naturally happens. Heres how He puts it, Just as the branch cannot bear any fruit unless it shares the life of the vine, so you can produce nothing unless you go on growing in me. It is the man who shares my life and whose life I share who proves fruitful. For the plain fact is that apart from me you can do nothing at all (Jn. 15:4, 5 Philips Trans.).
Secondly, discipleship is not a program but a relationship. One life poured into another. Or several people; building into each others lives (See Col. 3:16; Eph. 3:16). Paul talked affectionately of his son in the faith, Timothy, reflecting back on how they did life together over a period of about 17 years. Pauls example of godly sacrifice was infused into Timothys life by their close proximity to each other: You have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions (2 Tim. 3:10, 11 -NKJV) Timothy caught Pauls godly example, and chose to emulate it. (See Pro. 23:26; 2 Tim. 2:2)
This week may you experience His grace, peace and protection.
R. Dwight Hill
Three: Fruit (Continued)
In last weeks Facts we stated that fruit was characterized by (1) A life empowered by the Spirit, (2) A righteous life, and (3) A life that flourishes. Continuing:
A life characterized by good works: In His prayer to the Father the night before the cross, Jesus prayed, I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. (Jn. 17:4) The Scriptures clearly confirm that we are to model Him in continuing the Fathers work:
Those who have believed God may be taking careful thought to busy themselves constantly in good works… (Tit. 3:8 Wuest Trans.).
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. 15:58b)
As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers (Gal. 6:10).
We pray that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work (Col. 1:10b).
Godwill not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them (Heb. 6:10). (See Lk. 6:35; Acts 9:36; 13:2;1 Cor. 16:10).
QUESTION: Am I basically a giver or a taker?
A life that overcomes: Paul lived out his own admonition to others: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. 15:58b):
Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city(Act. 14:19, 20).
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyedAs servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger (2 Cor. 4:8,9; 6:4,5). (See 2Cor. 11:23-29; Psa. 84:5-7)
Shortly before he was martyred, Paul stated: 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. 4:7, 8a)
QUESTION: Do I have a victim or over comer mentality?
This week, may you experience His grace, peace, and protection.
R. Dwight Hill
In our wacko world of helter skelter, (that includes the market place) we, the followers of the Lord Jesus must be asking the question from time to time, Where is God? Is He really in control? If so, why do horrible things happen to His people? Why are the wicked flourishing and His children languishing? In truth, many things are happening around us that simply make no sense and seem so unjust. So, where is God? (See Ps. 73)
How are we to understand, for example, the Scriptural account of the decapitation of John the Baptist at the whim of an inebriated king and a sensual teen ager? (Mk. 6:14-29). How is it that Job suffered unimaginably as the star player in a drama played out between God and Satan without a modicum of explanation to Job as to why? The Scriptures do remind us that, the secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law (Deut. 29:29) St. Paul addresses lifes mysteries by stating the fact that this side of eternity we don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! (I Cor. 13:12 – Msg.)
We do know from the word of God, and from personal experience that God is good, and that he has our best interests at heart (Gen. 1:31; Psa. 4:5; 52:1; 139:14; 145:9, 15,16; Jer. 29:11).
So, what does the term God is Sovereign mean? It means that God is exercising His supremacy as the Most High Lord of heaven and earth. He is subject to no one, and is influenced by none. He is absolutely independent. That is, God does as He pleases and none can hinder Him: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. (Isa. 46:10b) (See Gen. 18:14; Jer. 32:27; Matt. 3:9; 26:53) As the Sovereign of the universe He is directing all things in conformity with the purpose of his will (Eph. 1:11b).
Certainly, we are cautioned in Scripture to not question His sovereignty: Woe to him who strives with his Maker!a worthless piece of broken pottery among other pieces equally worthless [and yet presuming to strive with his Maker]! Shall the clay say to him who fashions it, what do you think you are making? (Isa. 45:9 Amp.). (See Psa. 135:6; 115:3; Dan. 4:35) In our moments of confusion or grief, Job stands out as our quintessential example as to how we are to respond to the sovereignty of God, confusing as it may appear: Job, upon hearing of his monumental loses, Got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised. In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. Said heShall we accept good from God, and not trouble? In all this, Job did not sin in what he said (Job 1:20-23; 2:10). (See Gen. 50:20)
Charles Spurgeon, that great British preacher of the 1800s stated, There is no attribute more comforting to His children than that of Gods Sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most sever trials, they believe that Sovereignty has ordained their affliction, that Sovereignty overrules them, and that Sovereignty will sanctify them all. (See Pro. 21:1; Rom. 9:15-18)
Prayer: Lord, there is much in life that is beyond my scope of understanding. As an act of faith I choose to surrender to and trust in you, my Sovereign God. Amen.
The familiar narrative of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead reveals three types of faith in the people surrounding that story. And guess what? They are us! Jesus was in Jerusalem when word came that his friend Lazarus in Bethany was ill. So the sisters sent word to Jesus, Lord, the one you love is sick. When he heard this, Jesus said, This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it. When he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days. (Jn. 11:3-6) In the mean time Lazarus dies. As the story unfolds, three types of faith are revealed. Which one is you?
1) A manipulative faith is the kind of faith that believes God exists primarily to serve my needs. This being true, I have little, if any concept that God may be operating on a larger stage than mine, or that I am an integral part of his grand design. Mary and Martha demonstrate this type of myopic faith in expecting Jesus to meet their needs, on their terms, and on their time table. Said they to Jesus, If you had been here, my brother would not have died. (John 11:21, 32)
QUESTION: When God appears not to meet your immediate needs, do you grouse about it, or choose to rest in the fact that he is working his will behind the scenes for a greater good, and for his glory?
2) A detached faith is faith that intellectually knows the facts about Jesus to be true, but refuses to allow that truth to penetrate to the core of my being that matriculates into a commitment to faith in his lordship. This story illustrates detached faith in two ways:
Some Jews, the Pharisees, and the chief priest knew, stone cold, that Jesus performed miracles, and that his miracles validated his claim to be the Son of man, the Messiah. Yet the Pharisees and chief priests fear of loosing power and control was so over-powering that they were willing to commit murder to stop Jesus rather than repent and surrender to him:
Some [Jews] who saw [Jesus raise Lazarus], went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. What are we accomplishing? they asked. Here is this man performing many miraculous signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation." (Jn. 11:46 – 48)
Caiaphas, the high priest spoke up (in the Sanhedrin), You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish. He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. (Jn. 11:49b-53)
Here is this amazing prophesy by Caiaphas, concerning Jesus. Yet there is no evidence that he personally confessed Christ as Lord. As part of the powerful established leadership, he apparently remained in league with these future killers.
QUESTION: Could it be that you know Christ is exactly whom he claims to be, but are unwilling to surrender to his Lordship?
3) A genuine conversion-based faith is childlike in its embrace of Jesus as Lord and Savior: Many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him. (Jn. 11:45) (See Matt. 18:2-6)
QUESTION: Have you chosen to put your faith in Jesus Christ, surrendering to his lordship not only for salvation but for daily living?
Last week we talked about: (1) Recognizing that you are vulnerable to temptation, (2) Monitoring how you are doing spiritually, and (3) Maintaining the health of your own marriage. Today we will discuss the following three subjects:
Protect your mind. Sin always starts with the mind. Lose control of your thought life and you have lost the battle. I am ruthless as to what I allow into my mind. Ruth and I are exceedingly careful as to what we watch on T. V. or at the movies. I am brutal with myself as to how I handle the internet. I will set no worthless thing before my eyes. Worthless here means wicked, destructive and without profit. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things…We are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (Psa. 101, Phil. 4:8 and 2 Cor. 10:5). There is a school of thought that says we need to know about what is going on in the world to have victory over it. Baloney! St. Paul emphatically stated, I want you to be wise in what is good, and innocent in what is evil (Rom. 16:19 NAS). To maintain purity in my mind, I need to wash my mind regularly in the word of God: Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word. (Eph. 5:25, 26 NIV) (See Jn. 15:3; 2 Tim. 4:5 I Pet. 1:13 )
Think about the devastating consequences of moral failure. Remember Jimmy Baker, Jimmy Swaggart and Ted Haggard? Visualize the day of your daughters wedding and she does not ask you to walk her down the isle. Imagine the crushing devastation to your spouse. The loss of trust and respect. Think of the people who, over the years have looked to you as a beacon of light; an icon of strength and spirituality.
Randy Alcorn, writing in Leadership Magazine stated, "Whenever I feel particularly vulnerable to sexual temptation, I find it helpful to review what effects my action could have: grieving the Lord who redeemed me; dragging his sacred name through the mud; one day having to look at Jesus, the righteous judge in the face, and give an account of my actions; following the footsteps of people whose immorality forfeited their ministries and caused me to shudder; losing my wife’s respect and trust; hurting my daughters; destroying my example and credibility with my children; causing shame to my family; losing self-respect; forming memories and flashbacks that could plague future intimacy with my wife; wasting years of ministry training; undermining the faithful example and hard work of other Christians in our community; and on and on."
Even more sobering, consider, Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depth of the sea. (Matt. 18:6) When lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. (Jms. 1:15)
Do whatever it takes to protect yourself. Proverbs 22:3 states The prudent sees the evil and hides himself, but the naive go on, and are punished for it. There are certain people and situations that I avoid like the Black Plague. Period. How about Matthew 26:41 "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." Dull spirituality is a set up for moral failure. Know your enemy. Guess what, he is not a cutesy little red devil. He is wise, immensely attractive, brilliant, and a gifted strategist when it comes to destroying you. Consider: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroyBe self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devourBe strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Jn. 10:10a; I Pet. 5:8; Eph. 6:10 -12)
When I meet the Lord in eternity, I want to be able to look him in the eye and know that I lived my life with moral integrity before him. I want him to say to me, Well done, good and faithful servant! Come and share your Master’s happiness! (Matt. 25:23 NIV)
1 Key points adapted from How to Maintain Moral Integrity in the Ministry, Rick Warren
Mr. and Mrs. R. Dwight Hill have invested the past 45 years of their lives in discipling men and women to follow Jesus Christ, and apply Biblical principles to daily living. Their primary focus has been to equip lay people to multiply their lives spiritually, thus helping to fulfill
Christ’s Great Commission to make disciples of all nations. (Matthew 28:18-20) For the past 25 years the Hill’s have concentrated their discipling efforts on leaders in the business and professional community, in the United States, Asia and Europe.
Mr. Hill grew up in Hong Kong, as his father was the director of a shipping company headquartered there. Mr. Hill is a graduate of Pepperdine University in Southern California, U. S. A., and Mrs. Hill is a graduate of Gordon College in Boston, Mass., U. S. A. The Hills have two children, Wes and Julie who were born in the Philippines. Their children and their spouses are also serious followers of Christ. The Hills enjoy five grandchildren.
Mr. Hill is the author of four books that focus on helping business and professionals relate Christ to the marketplace. Mr. Hill is the author of the weekly electronic newsletter, “The Facts of the Matter” for business and professionals, which enjoys a worldwide audience.
On April 2014 Mr. Hill passed away from an inoperable brain tumor on his 78th birthday. His time on earth serves as an example of a life well lived to the glory of God.