Believing, in Buisness? – 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”

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My Armour or God’s Armour?


How many times do we feel that we have need to go out and ‘fight the good fight? How many times do we feel that if we don’t go out and fight the good fight, we will be disappointing God? How much of our own strength can we commit to this task when we have so much on our plates?

I have tried many times, rising early, believing that THIS day, I will be a good example of God’s child and stand firm, only to discover, like Peter the disciple, I am truly very weak!

The truth is, in our own strength, we cannot please God and our loving Father is very aware of this fact. The old nature, which we inherited from Adam, is just not equipped to please God.

Our loving Father has already poured out His peace into our hearts, so we should just take hold of it and allow Him to work IN us and THROUGH us, in HIS time. The ‘THROUGH us’ work will be a result of the ‘IN us’ work, just like the fruit of a tree. The tree does not have to concern itself with the fruit making, it’s bearing is a natural process. The quality of the fruit is dependent on the intake of the roots.

So it is with us. Spend time with the Lord in prayer, reading the Word and fellowship with other members of His family, and your ‘fight the good fight’ will be a natural process, not something you have to constantly drive.

What a blessing the scripture says:
Put on all of God’s armour so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil.Armour of God 2

God’s armour…not MY armour. The ‘good fight’ is God’s battle and He encourages us not to try and fight this battle in our strength. Instead, He says…. “submit to me…”. We are His instruments, clay in the potter’s hands…

Gird your loins with truth….. loins are normally associated with giving life – we will only be able to fight the good fight to the level of our own relationship with our Father. The deeper we are in Him, the more effective our fruit to bring new life to those around us – the natural process of fruit bearing. Is it God’s fruit from within, or do we have to force it by the power of our strength?

Put on the breastplate of righteousness…. A breastplate is something that covers a large area of the body and is bright and shiny. The breastplate is seen first when a person approaches. If the breastplate is damaged and dull, it does not create a good impression. A bright shiny breastplate indicates cleanliness and righteousness. Does the fruit of righteousness shine through us as a natural process or do we have to force it by the power of our strength?

Shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel …. Our Father’s desire is to disciple the nations. Our feet are going to take us to our families, communities and Nations. As we go, we will take the Gospel with us. The Gospel will regenerate minds and lives will begin to change. Is the fruit of the Gospel evident in us a natural process, or do we have to force it by the power of our strength?

Take up the shield of Faith …. A shield of trusting God (faith) will protect us. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we believe God has the power to resolve a condition, but we cannot seem to trust (or have faith) that He will do so for us in our time of need. It is at this time, that our trust in God is stretched. The more we stretch our trust, the more we will be protected in any given situation. Is our trust in the Lord evident as a natural process or do we have to force it by the power of our strength?

The Helmet of Salvation…A helmet is vital for survival, protecting the brain, the central command station. It is in the brain that the evil one begins his mission to lead us away from God. He plants a tempting thought and we begin to entertain it. If this thought is not put out of our minds, the scripture says it will take us on a path of death. Salvation in our lives is as secure as a helmet on our heads. Jesus died on the cross that we might receive Salvation as a gift (free) – all we must do is…receive it! Within the Salvation process, our minds are renewed. Are we allowing God to work IN us as a natural process in order that He can work THROUGH us, or are we resisting Him in our own strength?

From: “…time with the Master…”

This is a bi-monthly series of spiritual teachings.
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Nursing Emotional Weaknesses


We are naturally self-centred and therefore it’s not easy for us to accept what other people say about us. We have a built in instinct to defend ourselves and criticise situations or others, if we do not approve.

Continue reading “Nursing Emotional Weaknesses”

Mission Malawi – Chapter Seven


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

This is Chapter Seven of a series. For previous chapters see …time with the Master.

Continue reading “Mission Malawi – Chapter Seven”

Building Bridges – Part Two


In part one of this series, we saw that we are all involved in community somewhere in our lives. There can be great benefit in community situations as we discover the wealth of sharing our lives with fellow members. The flow of wealth in these groups greatly depends on the bridges of relationship……

Continue reading “Building Bridges – Part Two”

Why me Lord?


“Why is this happening to me; how does a loving God allow this to happen”?

Continue reading “Why me Lord?”

Unlocking Wealth in Business


Today more than ever there seems to be a widespread feeling that the Spirit of the Lord is showing us that our walk with Him needs to be more practical. Gone are the days where believers hear the word of God and are unable to practically see it outworking in their lives, as fruit of what they have heard. One of the reasons for this is….’My people perish for a lack of knowledge…”

Continue reading “Unlocking Wealth in Business”

Getting To Know Him


In the world today communication is very important. In worldly terms – success is borne out of effective communication.

We learn communication from teaching institutions but primarily from our upbringing. This would not only be the spoken word but body language as well. We sometimes take these skills for granted – spare a thought for the visually and hearing impaired – how would our lives change if suddenly we could no longer see or hear?

Whenever there is success in a sports team, a business or a marriage, we will find effective communication.

Ray Prayer 7If we communicate better, this results in improved relationships and improved relationships mean unity. Where there is unity there is strength.
Stop to look at ourselves for a moment – how are we communicating in our present circumstances? (In our work and personal relationships). RememberRay Prayer 3 communication is not only the spoken word but body language as well!
We use communication for many different purposes. One such use is to find out information. In other words when we meet people for the first time we try to find out more about them – we ask questions. To those we already know, we ask deeper questions to find out more about them and we will also share some of our opinions with them – this, so they will know more about us and we them. Rayer Prayer 5In this way we form meaningful relationships. Lastly, where we have emotional feelings for someone we tell them as much (“I love you”) and we get to know them more intimately as we learn to trust them with our emotions.

Looking at the spiritual world, God wants us to work in a similar manner. (Psa 105:4; Pro 8:17; Psa 46:10 and Jer 24:7). He gives us the tool of prayer to effectively communicate with Him. This truly is a gift from Him. Just as salvation is a gift from Him (we did nothing to earn it!) so prayer is also a gift from him.
Prayer is really nothing more than speaking to God. It is a tool which we can use to strengthen our relationship with Him.
We need to spend time with God in order to know Him better. This means reading His word and also fellowshipping with other believers. In our private times with the Lord, and during our day-to-day living , we must feel free to ask God questions in order to find out more about Him. We should also tell God how we feel about things – intimately. Jesus said, “All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore, I said that He (the Holy Spirit) will take of mine and will announce it to you.
Some would say…. “Why would such an almighty God want to hear these things from me? He has many more important things to work on…..” Also the scripture says that God knows all our needs before we even pray them, so why ask Him? The answer is simple…. God loves to hear from us and loves to communicate with us. His love for us is so great that He wants to be in constant communion with us. We know from our own experience, when you love someone you want to be with them – all the time!
Find time to commune with God and ask Him about the things that perplex you. Tell Him how you feel about some of the current situations in your life and tell Him about the things in the deepest part of your heart. It’s good to tell Him you love Him.

Ray Prayer 6

All these things will draw us into a deeper place with God and help us to better communicate with Him. Be like the Psalmist David, when he said, “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”
Better communication with God means we come to know Him better and therefore we are able to hear His Spirit within us. The more effectively we hear His Spirit, the more useful we can be in His service.
From: “time with the Master…”

A Timeless Tale – Chapter Seventeen


Living a Life in the Kingdom of God – Continued

As an example of how one, who is living in the kingdom here on this earth, becomes visible – we turn to what Jesus reveals in the Sermon on the Mount.

 Before we continue I would like to raise a point here; you might find it a little confusing that Jesus uses expressions like: “The Kingdom of God” and “The Kingdom of Heaven”

Some say that the kingdom of God is the here and now and the Kingdom of Heaven in the eternal realm.

The expression ‘Kingdom of God” is used one way and another by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the Gospels.

The expression, “Kingdom of Heaven” is only ever used by Matthew.

My own opinion is that both expressions refer to the continued process from the time of Jesus’ ministry on earth until we dwell in the eternal realm and both expressions are applicable to: here on earth and in the eternal realm as well.

Continue reading “A Timeless Tale – Chapter Seventeen”

A Timeless Tale – Chapter Twelve


Chapter Twelve: Living a Life in the Kingdom of God – Continued

“As a man Thinketh in his heart, so is he”. Prov. 23:7 KJV

In the previous chapter, we discussed the fact that, management of the thoughts in our mind is what will determine what we become in this life and where we will be in the eternal world when our present earthly body dies.

Once we cross the bridge from being unbelievers to followers of God, it becomes obvious to us that in order to grow in our relationship with Him, we need to change the way we previously used to think.

Continue reading “A Timeless Tale – Chapter Twelve”