Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for December, 2010

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

YOU CANT LOSE WHAT YOU GIVE AWAY. Wisdom from Guerdon Ely: (2 of 2) 1

Financial security may be impossible, but financial peace of mind isnt. Financial peace of mind requires doing the things that can reduce financial risks (saving, limiting debt, and diversifying investments) and accepting the fact that they may not work. It also requires a generous attitude. It doesnt take a genius to realize that you can do two things with money, save it or spend it. Too much saving is hoarding and too much spending is self-indulgence. By limiting what you save for yourself and spend on yourself you have money left over to be generous and, in an odd way, this selflessness may be the most important part of financial peace of mind and even financial security.

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to shareBe generous: Invest in acts of charity. Charity yields high returns. Don't hoard your goods; spread them around. Be a blessing to others. This could be your last night. (I Tim. 6:17, 18 NIV; Ecc. 11:1-2 – Msg.)

A finance professor at the local university used to have me talk to his graduating seniors. My speech was different from the usual, This is how you get rich with a finance degree speech. I would ask them who they thought was the most financially secure person in the world. Back then, the two most common answers were Donald Trump and the Shah of Iran. I replied by offering the name of Mother Theresa. If she got sick there would be a plane waiting to take her to any hospital in the world. She could eat in any restaurant and sleep in any hotel and no one would dare charge her. Trump and the Shah could lose what they had (the Shah did) but Mother Theresa couldnt lose the goodwill she had accumulated.

Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it againGive and [gifts] will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will they pour into [the pouch formed by] the bosom [of your robe and used as a bag]. For with the measure you deal out [with the measure you use when you confer benefits on others], it will be measured back to you.  (Ecc. 11:2 NIV; Lk. 6:38 Amp.)

Financial markets are scary right now, but dont lose hope. As my grandfather, who got his private bank through the Great Depression used to remind me, Hard times mean good times are coming. So there is always hope, but even more important than hope is the peace of mind that comes from knowing you cant lose what you give away.

Jesus: In me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."  (Jn. 16:33)

1 Credit Mr. Guerdon Ely Financial Planner, Chico, CA; Scriptures added by Dwight Hill

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

YOU CANT LOSE WHAT YOU GIVE AWAY. Wisdom from Guerdon Ely: (1 of 2) 1

 Youve done it, youve reached financial security. Twenty-five years ago as a young financial advisor, I heard that tag line for a television commercial and I actually audibly responded to the TV, Thats a lie; there is no such thing as financial security.

Dont wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to know when to quit. In the blink of an eye wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle.  (Prov. 23:4,5)

It would be nice if we lived in a world of certainty but we live in a world of chance. A smoker lives a long life and a jogger dies young, the best relay team drops the baton, a presidential election is decided by 327 disputed votes, and on 9/11 a person is at the wrong place at the wrong time. Chance can destroy a great plan and reward a sloppy one.

The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.  Moreover, no man knows when his hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so men are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them. (Ecc. 9:11, 12)

You can avoid a lot of financial disasters, but because of chance you cant eliminate them all. The unforeseen and the unknown are always lurking in the shadows. I was sharing a story the other day with a good friend about a school principal who was afraid that Y2K was going to cause a total financial collapse. So he sold everything and moved into a cabin in the woods, where he could be self-sufficient. Y2K turned out to be a non-issue but his attempt to avoid a perceived disaster resulted in a real disaster when his propane tank exploded, killing him. My friend related her own story about a co-speaker at a conference who was afraid to fly, so he arranged to have his speech video-conferenced from his office, the Twin Towers, on September 11, 2001, where he died.

The wise man has eyes in his head, while the fool walks in the darkness; but I came to realize that the same fate overtakes them bothThe lot is cast into the lap, but the decision is wholly of the Lord [even the events that seem accidental are really ordered by Him].  (Ecc. 2:14 NIV; Prov. 16:33 Amp.) (See I Kings 22:29-38)

1 Credit Mr. Guerdon Ely Financial Planner, Chico, CA Scriptures added by Dwight Hill

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Jesus High Priestly prayer in John 17 reveals principles of discipleship he practiced with the Eleven. These principles are exemplary and instructive for us, as we seek to emulate Jesus in the discipleship process:


My primary focus in prayer is for my God-assigned protgs, and secondly for those who will believe in Christ through their message:


I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yoursMy prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message. (vv. 9, 20) (See Lk. 22:31, 32; Heb. 7:25; 9:24; 1 Jn. 2:1)

We are to pray for our disciples unity, knowing that their unity with each other and with God profoundly affects (1) the worlds belief in Christs incarnation, and (2) belief in the Fathers love for them: 


[My prayer is] that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.  (vvs. 21-23) (See Jer. 32:39;  Act. 2:46; 4:32; Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 1:12; 12:12, 25-27; Gal. 3:28; Eph. 4:3-6; Phil. 1:27; 2:1-5; Col. 3:11-14; 1 Pet.3:8)


One goal for my protgs is that they experience the full measure of Jesus joy and the Fathers love:


"I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within themI have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them." (vvs. 13, 26) (See Neh. 8:10; Psa. 43:4; 126:5,6; Jn. 15:11; 16:22-24, 33; Act. 13:52; Rom.14:17; Gal. 5:22; 1 Jn. 1:4; Jn. 15:9; Eph. 1:4-6; 2:4; 3:16-19)

It is my responsibility to give Gods word to my disciples.  One effect will be their separation from the worlds values, while continuing to engage with the people of the world:

I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it…As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. (vv.14-16,18)  (Matt. 10:24, 25; Jn. 15:18-21; 2 Thes. 3:3; 1 Jn. 5:18; Jn. 20:21; 2 Cor. 5:20)

I am to pray for my disciples sanctification through Gods word.  I also am to be sanctified, recognizing that my  sanctification profoundly affects theirs:

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truthFor them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. (vvs. 17, 19)  (See Psa. 19:17-19; 119:9,11; Jn. 8:31,32; 15:3; 2 Cor. 3:17,k18; Eph. 5:26; 2 Th. 2:13; Jms. 1:21; 1 Pet. 1:22,23; 1 Cor. 1:2; Tit. 2:14; Heb. 2:11; 9:26; 10:5-10)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Jesus High Priestly prayer in John 17 reveals principles of discipleship he practiced with the Eleven. These principles are exemplary and instructive for us, as we seek to emulate Jesus in the discipleship process:

Ultimately, the goal in discipleship is the glory of the Father and Son:

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: "Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify youI have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world beganAll I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through themI have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are oneFather, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.  (vv. 1, 4, 5, 10, 22, 24) (See Jn. 5:23; 11:28; 12:32; 13:31, 32; Act. 3:13; Phil. 2:9-11; Heb. 1:3; 1 Pet. 1:21; Rev. 5:8-14)

God gives us the people to disciple who are destined for eternal life:

For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.  (vs. 2)  (See Jn. 6:37, 39; 10:28,29)

The primary focus of discipleship is fostering intimacy with the Father and Son:

Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. (vs. 3) (See I Ch. 28:9; Psa. 9:23, 24; 31:33; Heb. 8:11, 12; I Jn. 4:6;5:20)

It is Gods intention that we complete the work of discipleship assigned to us by God:

  I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. (vs. 4) (See Jn. 4:34; 5:36; 19:30; Act. 20:24; I Cor. 9:24-27; Phil. 3:13-15; 2 Tim. 4:7)

My responsibility is to reveal God to the people he has assigned to me.  The validation that they are getting to know God is evidenced by their obedience to His word:

  "I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. (vs. 6) (See Ex. 9:16; Psa. 22:22; 71:17,18; Isa. 52:7; Mk. 16:15,16; Rom. 10:15; 2 Cor. 5:18, 19; Heb 2:12)

My protgs are to be aware that what I reveal to them originates from God, not me.  The net effect will be their belief in Christs incarnation:

  Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me (vvs. 7, 8) (See Jn. 7:16,17; 14:7-10, 20; 16:27-30; 8:28; 12:49, 50; 16:15)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. (vs. 1)

  Dear God, today, may I live moment by moment in your presence.

Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. You turn men back to dust, saying, Return to dust, O sons of men. For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning– though in the morning it springs up new, by evening it is dry and withered. (vvs. 2-6)

Lord, help me to gain a glimpse of your eternal sovereignty compared to my fragile and brief existence on this earth.

 You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.
(vs. 8)

Lord, help me grasp the fact that you know everything about me, including my secret sins that are set in the revealing light of your countenance .

We finish our years with a moan.
(vs. 9)

Lord, grant me the grace and strength to live victoriously and joyfully amidst the troubles and sorrows of life.

The length of our days is seventy years– or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly awayTeach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (vvs. 10,12)

Lord, help me grasp the brevity of my life.  May I not squander my days. Grant me a heart to grow in wisdom.  (Ps. 90:12 NLT)

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble.  (vvs. 14, 15)

Lord, this morning, gratify my soul with a deep sense of your love, that I may sing in gladness and joy todayand all my days. Amen.

May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us– yes, establish the work of our hands.
(vs. 17)

Lord, may your beauty and favor be upon me as you confirm and establish my endeavors this day. Amen.