Walking in Godly Principles


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Prayerfully for Others


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The Apostle Paul tells us that, as believers – born of water and the spirit, we are citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. Normally a citizen of a certain country will display characteristics of the country from which they come. For instance, as South Africans, if we were to visit Japan we would immediately be seen as different. We would tend to live the lifestyle that we are accustomed to. So, as citizens of the Kingdom of God, should we not then display the characteristics of the Kingdom of heaven while we are here on the earth?

Part of our mission on earth is to represent our real (and permanent) home – the Kingdom of God. We are like small agents, if you like, of the Kingdom. Our ‘head office’ would desire us to represent the Kingdom as best we can all through our day. It really means that we should ‘be about our Father’s business. Yes – we do need to make sure that certain needs are met for our life here, but those efforts should not consume us to the point where we are not able to perform our Kingdom duties.

Continue reading “Prayerfully for Others”

Let this Cup Pass from Me…


Matthew 26:36-44

36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.
37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
39 And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.
43 And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.
44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.”

 

Why did Jesus make this request of His Father not once, but three times!

Many commentators have offered their versions of what this means and of all those I have read; none really gave an explanation affording me a revelation of why the Son of God should have requested the very purpose of his mission on earth be ‘passed from Him?’

I have long removed myself from making definitive statements about interpretations of scripture; as all to often, after making a definitive statement, I felt that my interpretation might be wrong.

Let me say then, for me this request to his Father from Jesus is a mystery.

Yet, I wonder if it has any link to the last words of Jesus on the Cross, “…My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” 

 

Many commentators suggest, and I can understand this; the darkness of the ‘sin of the world’ Jesus bore in that moment was such, He felt utterly abandoned (the Greek root word for forsaken.) In His entire lifetime he had NEVER felt ‘abandoned’ by His Father. After all, Jesus said, “I and the Father are one…” 

Could the request have been an expression of the love of Jesus for His Father, being so eminent in His life; He did not want to experience the state of separation from His Father?

Would that our love for the Father be such as never to sense His abandonment in our lives.

If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.
If you are worldview inclined see my other site; http://www.sirpeterjames.com.
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The Miracles


A sponsored article by Vivi.

This miracle I’m going to tell you about, illustrated to me how amazingly God is outside time as we know it!  He was compassionate and merciful in revealing to my husband and I, we had a neighbor who needed prayer and care, which included being driven to do shopping, when he could no longer drive.

The neighbour attracted my attention by showing me what a healing God had done over sixty years ago!

Continue reading “The Miracles”

With God Nothing is Impossible


The Following article was submitted for publication by Vivi and is a timeous warning on the danger of alcohol abuse.

‘I’m not an alcoholic’! – many alcoholics claim. The good news is, even if you are, you can be cured.

Alcoholics have been heard to comfort one another with the fact that although they are alcoholics at least they do not have cancer.

Someone by the name of Don who died of cancer, had this read at his funeral:

Cancer is so limited – it cannot cripple love – it cannot shatter hope

it cannot corrode faith – it cannot eat away peace

it cannot destroy confidence – it cannot kill friendship

it cannot shut out memories – it cannot silence courage

it cannot invade the soul –

However, unless alcoholism is prevented through abstinence – it can cripple love, shatter hope, corrode faith, destroy healthy diet, drink away peace, cripple confidence, kill friendship, break up marriages, decimate families, kill the body and sometimes (in accidents caused by drunkenness) even kill other, innocent people!

If you had cancer, would you search for some help or treatment?  Perhaps even have an operation to remove it, in the hope that it will not grow again.  Why then, I wonder, do people with a drinking problem take so long to recognize the fact that they might be on the way to becoming an alcoholic and continue drinking when all they need do is get some help?  To abstain means that the alcoholism is arrested – even overcome and the Lord loves overcomers!!

After a few years of marriage, my husband realized that his drinking habit was spoiling our relationship and although he tried to come home after work without stopping for some drinks on the way home, he’d tell himself: ‘I’ll just have ONE beer’ but, after one, his resolve was broken down and he’d come home having had four or five!

I was attending weekly Al-Anon meetings at a local church-hall and after a few narrow escapes while driving, my husband agreed to come to the weekly AA meetings on the same evening.  The meetings were remarkably interesting and educational in that we both learned just how addictive and how poisonous alcohol/ethanol is!

He realized he was actually addicted to alcohol, that is, he accepted he was  an alcoholic and kept trying to shake off the addiction, which some of those attending the meetings had managed to do, though certainly not all of them!

When I say, ‘shake off the addiction’ and in the heading: ‘you can be cured’, I should make it clear that there is no cure, except for abstinence and the addiction is only successfully ‘shaken off’ when it is no longer being fed!  That is only possible it seems, with the help of God.

In AA’s “Twelve Steps” the word ‘God’ is mentioned four times, and ‘asked “Him” to remove our shortcomings’ in the seventh step.  However, now, in order to keep those of differing faiths accepting, they call the Lord a ‘higher power’. For me – He is the Highest Power!be7295ddfb9c2160832b9d09b4855ed8

After a few ‘slips’ my husband asked the men at our Bible study evening to pray for him, because he really wanted to be free of the addiction.  They got up, stood around him and prayed for him.

On only one occasion after that did he drink and the result was he fell down the stairs from the garage to the house!  When I arrived home he tearfully told me it was his fault, because he had had a drink!  But after that, he never looked back!  He had seen his folly, made up his mind, asked the Lord for the strength and received it.  He has not touched alcohol since then; nearly twenty years ago!  We are so grateful to God with whom nothing and no-one is impossible!  (However, He does not force them)!

So the answer to the question of how to deliver your loved one from the clutches of alcoholism is: you cannot, but the Lord can and will.  However, He waits for the person who is addicted to ask Him and commit themselves to His guidance!

When alcoholism/nicotine addiction/any drug addiction has been in our family we need to forewarn our children that they may be susceptible so that they are forearmed.  Although no-one knew anything about DNA when the scriptures were written onto scrolls, God did – and He warned us that the sins of the fathers would be visited on the children to the third and fourth generation.

It sounds like a gong of doom, but it is not a curse, it is a warning!  God inspired the prophets to warn us (because He loves us)!  So if your dad is a heavy smoker, or your granddad was a heavy drinker, not only should you be aware that these habits can become addictions, but also, be aware that the susceptibility can be passed on to the next vulnerable generation!Alcoholism

God does not blame the children or punish them for what their parents did, see Ezekiel Ch. 18, in particular, vs 20, we can inherit traits (strengths and weaknesses) and susceptibilities from our parents, grandparents and even great-grandparents, especially when the traits are on both sides of the family!

Although the advertising of cigarettes has been stopped in this country and a warning of the danger of lung cancer is now printed on the packets, there is no warning on bottles of alcohol, that alcoholism could be the result of consuming the contents!  It is socially acceptable to have a drink and good times are continually advertised on television, interrupting your entertainment and ‘brainwashing’ you to get started or to have another drink!

Scriptures that tell us to guide and teach our children: Deuteronomy Ch. 4 vs 9: ‘Make them known to your children and grandchildren’ (your seed and your seed’s seed).  We are encouraged to keep God’s commandments so that it may go well with us and with our children after us, so that we may ‘prolong our days/live long on the land which the Lord is giving us for all time’.

‘I will appoint you as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations, to open blind eyes and free those that walk in darkness’.  If people cannot see that they are becoming addicted, they are blind to the disaster that could be lying ahead – and the Lord wants them to be free of that bondage – to whatever substance!

So the answer is to pray for those who suffer from alcoholism or other substance abuse and then encourage them to ask for help! They need to get to the point of acknowledging that they are addicted and the Lord will answer their prayer.

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If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

 

 

Believing, in Business? – Part Two


Part Two

Who is the CEO of your business?

15. Did you need capital to start your business, and if you did, do you mind telling me how much?

“As mentioned, by Gods grace I didn’t need a capital amount up front to start the business. I had no money of my own and I didn’t want to apply for a bank loan. We bought the business for about R240,000 and I made an arrangement to pay this off on a monthly basis as the cash flow came in.

At home, I had an amount of about R1,500.00 which I kept in my clothes cupboard. It was money that I used to pick up if I found it lying around the house or small change from other purchases. We used that money to buy some product for the first order we got and it grew from there! ”

16. How long did it take you to cover all your costs and become profitable?

“The way I planned the forecast was that we should be profitable from the start. It was only monthly running expenses that had to be paid at the end of the month. The business has shown a profit each year of trading to date. It has taken us about 6 years to get to a place where I can comfortably say the company makes an annual profit.”

17. Did you experience pressures in the beginning?

“Yes, it was mostly the doubt of the business succeeding. There were personal pressures and family pressures. There were also business deal pressures and added stress wondering if suppliers would produce what we needed on time and in full.”

18. Did you have a mentor, or someone who was able to guide and direct you?

“No, no particular person. There were quite a few people who gave me advice through the experience of working with them. I was able to witness first hand when situations went wrong and learn how not to do things! But, really at the end of the day, it’s my relationship with the Lord that is my guiding hand. There are answers for everything in God’s word and it is the best “How to…” manual ever!”

19. Were you able to develop successful networks and how did you achieve that?

“Yes, I’ve been able to achieve some very successful networks because of communication and mutual respect for others. I have learned that one of the most important things in life are relationships. Good solid, productive networks are formed by open, honest and respectful communications with those around us. This is not restricted to businessNetworking but applies to marriage, family and friendships as well. As I spend time with people, I get to know and trust them and the reverse applies.

Once again, I take my example from the Lord. Relationship bridges are formed out of serving others, putting their needs before mine. When we have this attitude towards our relationships they will be meaningful and long lasting.”

20. Was your family negatively affected in the beginning?

“I think they were affected but I wouldn’t say negatively. Like myself, they were concerned about the future of the business. They could see that, at times, I was very worried. It was amazing to see how they encouraged me with words that I had spoken to them years before. Things the Lord had taught me to share with my wife and children, were coming back to help me. So, they were concerned, but also very supportive.”

21. What do you perceive your strengths to be?

“I think probably my best strength would be communicating with others. Based on my relationship with the Lord, I strive to deal with people in an open, transparent and honest way. This has helped our business to form long term, healthy relationships with our clients.”

22. What was your most exciting moment in the business?

“There have been a few exciting moments because of the growth the business has shown over the last 6 years. Now is one of those moments because we have just exceeded our best sales month since we started. The turnover is tenSales Bar times bigger this month than it was in our first month of trading!”

23. What was your most challenging moment in the business?

“There have also been a few of those…mostly relating to concerns over cash flow. When the bank balance is low and I have commitments to make, that is always a challenging time for me. Our staff are No.1 in our business, followed by our suppliers and then our customers, so it is very important that our employees’ salaries are paid on time. It has only been in the last eight months or so that I’ve learned to have peace during these tough cash flow times.”

23. How difficult was it to find good staff?

“It was very difficult, and still is, to find good staff that are willing to work hard, to be loyal and honest. Finding the right person for the job takes time and skill. Great attention needs to be paid to the interviewing of prospective employees. It helps to have a guideline for interviewing candidates so that not too much emotion interferes with the selection process. When finding new staff, I pray hard to ask the Lord to put the right people across my path.”

24. Do you feel now that you take a more managerial role versus an entrepreneurial role?

“Yes. However, the entrepreneurial side is always there, it’s not something that I can just turn off. I find myself constantly coming up with ideas – the majority of which are absolutely disastrous! I have to be more managerial at this current time to lead the business. I believe it’s important to understand the difference between managing and entrepreneurship. Management is taking care of the seed born out of an inspired idea.”

25. Where did you set up your business?

“We operate from a business park in Johannesburg. We have a warehouse and a showroom with administration offices. Customers are able to visit us, browse the various bottles and products and then purchase what they need. We cater for the small entrepreneurial business and large companies who require us to deliver to their warehouses.

26. How did you choose this location?

“It was a branch of the previous company that I worked for. I was involved in the set-up of the branch originally. We selected that area because of its location to Johannesburg’s CBD and also the town of Soweto in the South West of Business ParkJohannesburg.”

27. Have you faced many challenges since setting up the business, and how have you dealt with them?

“There have been a number of challenges relating to finding new customers and suppliers. We concentrated on our service to the small customers, making sure we served each one equally. This resulted in repeat business and once we were taking good care of the smaller clients, the bigger ones came.

In the beginning, starting the business with no capital was difficult. This has slowly been resolved by careful cash flow management and using profits to fund our growth.

Staff difficulties were and are resolved by applying Godly principles. Often we try to resolve situations with too much emotion, when, if we apply Godly principles, situations are resolved fairly. Applying God’s principles in our business means we have to trust God for the outcome – not something that comes easily!”

28. What is the most important piece of advice you can give any person thinking of becoming an entrepreneur?

“As human beings, we all enjoy attention. So being able to sell yourself is a first step. We all do this when we socialise so why not in business? As people grow to like you, they trust you more and then selling your product or service is the next natural step. If you can’t sell yourself, selling your product or service will always be an uphill battle. Your testimony is very important. How you treat others, how you present yourself and whether or not you conduct your business in a fair and honest way. Respect for others is critical. Your focus should always be on the needs of your customer and not your own gains. These all come back down to the Godly command of loving your neighbour.”

29. What do you find personally rewarding and satisfying in owning your own business?

“When I look back and see how far the business has come in six years, I feel excited and humbled at the achievement. It has been wonderful to see the Lord’s hand working in every aspect. The most rewarding thing for me is now that my sons are involved in the business, I have more time to do my ‘real’ job, which is sharing the Gospel with others, whether they be connected to the business or outside of it. That is my true passion.

Personally, it has been very rewarding to have been used by the Lord in this process.”

30. Has it all been worth it?

“Yes, very much so. I have learnt a lot about trusting God. You know, there is a difference between having faith in God and trusting in God. I have never had a problem believing that the Lord can do anything He wants to do at any time (faith in God). However, trusting Him in a given circumstance is sometimes very difficult, waiting on Him for His will to be done in that instance.

It has been amazing to see how the Lord has changed lives through the business. Not only those employed here, but others outside the business.”

31. What is the most important lesson you have learnt?

“Probably the most important lesson was to learn to be honest and open with people, whether employees, suppliers or customers. The relationships I have with each of these people are like bridges for communication. Clear communication with others in our lives is critically important. When situations fail, you can be sure somewhere along the line, there is miscommunication – one party’s expectation was different to another. As a manager, I have learned to issue a clear instruction and then ask the other person to repeat back the instruction to me so both our expectations are the same.”

32. How did your Christian faith help you with this experience?

“I found that when you own a business, it is easy to become lazy and take shortcuts. From the start of the business, I placed the Lord as our CEO. Therefore, in my heart, I was meeting with Him every day and reporting on what was happening in the business. I had placed His principles into the business and did everything within those boundaries. At times when I didn’t feel like doing things, my relationship with the Lord would help me push through. When I was humbled in relationships with others, the Lord helped me accept the error of my ways and put myself in the shoes of others.

Without the Lord’s relationship, I can categorically say that there would be no business.”

…time with the Master”

“…time with the Master…” is an on-going series of teachings, about lifestyle in the Church and is published bi-monthly.
If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’
button).

A Privilege to be Used


Have you ever wondered why it is that we find ourselves in the daily situations and circumstances that we do?

There are a number of answers to that question but one answer is that we are used by God as vessels to bring salvation to others as well as presenting situations before Him. What an exciting thought – to be used by the almighty Father! Is it possible the Lord would need to use us as ‘agents’ here on earth? Well, yes it is!

Continue reading “A Privilege to be Used”

Mission Malawi – Chapter Fourteen


‘Mission Malawi’ is a series, printed from the Journal of Brother Ray, His family and a team of missionaries. Why not start from the beginning of their journey – you will be truly inspired.

Continue reading “Mission Malawi – Chapter Fourteen”

Mission Malawi – Chapter Six


Publisher’s Note:
I was unable to download original pictures from the Malawi collection, for technical reasons and hope to have this sorted by the next issue. Thank you for bearing with us in this challenge.

The instances of ministry are too numerous to mention during this time of the restaurant. I was able to minister daily to the people who were working in the business as well as the customers. Many refugees from Somalia, Mozambique and Rwanda came to eat and received spiritual food as well. Some were healed of sicknesses as we prayed for them during our time of work.

Continue reading “Mission Malawi – Chapter Six”