Posts tagged " Business Secrets from the Bible "

How do I combine ministry and business?

September 17th, 2015 Posted by Ask the Rabbi No Comment yet

Question:

I am your distant student here in South Africa. I am struggling to reconcile my passion to be a committed Bible teacher and create a real estate business at the same time. The general view of most Christians is that to be successful Bible teacher zone must be divorced from running businesses.

Over the years I have been finding it hard to abandon either of these passions. If it is Biblically correct to integrate Bible teaching and creating a real estate investment business, how can I do it successfully and in a way that pleases God? I have been thinking of setting up a leadership and business training business in South Africa,that upholds and teaches Biblical principles as you have explained in your books, Thou Shalt Prosper and Business Secrets from the Bible. How can it be Biblically correct that students pay for learning about leadership and business from the Bible? 

Thank you in advance for shedding some light in this matter-May God bless you and the work you are doing, you are changing our lives for good here in South Africa.

∼ Emmanuel N.

Answer:

Dear Emmanuel,

First of all, let me say how happy I was to hear from you.  As you might know, I was born in South Africa and I think that no matter what, we all retain a primeval emotional connection to our birthplace.  So if we can help you in any way, we would be helping not only you but also the other citizens of South Africa whom I remember with fondness.

Second, we are delighted that you have found our books and programs helpful. We think that you may be asking two separate questions. The first is about pursuing two passions; the second is about combining them.

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Perhaps Love

June 25th, 2014 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

If you know what your car engine sounds like when running normally, you will instantly pick up early signs of mechanical problems. If you know the sound your baby makes when he’s hungry, you will immediately recognize a cry of pain. Departure from pattern is a warning sign.

In forensic accounting, false expense submissions are often picked out because the culprit tends to make up numbers randomly. However, in the real world there are predictable patterns regarding the occurrences of various digits (The interested can pursue this phenomenon by exploring Benford’s Law). Departure from predictable patterns alerts us to something possibly significant.

The Lord’s language, Hebrew is a beautifully precise language, often conveying not only the meaning of the word but also the emotion behind the meaning.

Consider, for instance, the word “perhaps”; on the surface, a simple word. It indicates that something may or may not happen.

Now consider these two sentences:

Looking at the man she loved, Jane wondered to herself, “Perhaps he will propose to me this evening.”

Tom ruefully contemplated his dismal sales reports and realized that perhaps he faced termination.

From the point of view of Tom and Jane’s emotions, those two underlined words mean two very different things. Jane hopes that something wonderful will happen while Tom dreads the possibility of something awful happening.

However, in Hebrew, there are two different words for perhaps. The word ULai is used in circumstances when the speaker devoutly wishes for the event to occur, while the word PeN is used when he hopes it won’t.

Perhaps (ULai) there are fifty
righteous people in the city [of Sedom]…

(Genesis 18:24)

…now let us go there, perhaps (ULai)
he’ll tell us the road…

(I Samuel 9:6)

And from the tree in the middle of the garden, God said you shall not eat of it or touch it, [or else] perhaps (PeN) you’ll die.  
(Genesis 3:3)

Come let us deal wisely with him
[or else] perhaps (PeN) he’ll multiply and
when war comes he will join our enemies…

(Exodus 1:10)

Once we understand this difference, we can be alert for any examples in Scripture when it appears that the wrong word is being used.

When Abraham dispatches his Chief of Staff, Eliezer, to find a bride for his son, Isaac, we spot such an unexpected usage.

Abraham directs Eliezer to travel to his birthplace and bring back a bride. Eliezer reasonably inquires what is to be done in the event of a problem.

…perhaps the woman will not be willing
to follow me to this land…

(Genesis 24:5)

Since this would be a most undesirable outcome, we’d expect Eliezer to have used the word PeN. Yet, inexplicably he says ULai.

This informs us that deep down, Eliezer desired his mission to fail. He subconsciously hoped that no girl would come back with him to marry Isaac.

Why? Ancient Jewish wisdom teaches that Eliezer had a daughter of marriageable age. He was harboring the hope that his master, Abraham, would say, “Eliezer, you have a lovely daughter, I have a wonderful son…”

When Abraham didn’t suggest this, Eliezer forlornly held one remaining hope. Perhaps no woman would be willing to accompany him to Canaan. Perhaps then Isaac would marry his daughter.

Abraham’s next words dashed his hopes by making clear that Eliezer’s daughter was not an option for Isaac.   It is to the credit of Eliezer that after this big disappointment, he nonetheless carried out his mission faithfully and successfully.

Once we know the general rules, any departure from those rules attracts our attention like a flaring Fourth of July firework rocket arcing through a dark night sky.

For this reason it pays to know the rules; knowing how the world REALLY works makes it easy to spot exceptions. Spotting exceptions helps provide early warning of forthcoming problems whether in business or in social interactions. Forty rules of how the world REALLY works form the basis of my new book Business Secrets from the Bible-Spiritual Success Strategies for Financial Abundance. Join my many friends who have already elevated the trajectory of their earnings. Loving money is a bad idea but making money is wonderful. I’d like to see you (or someone you care for) make more money. Can I send you your own copy of Business Secrets from the Bible?

Business Secrets from the Bible

 

Three Wise Men

April 29th, 2014 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

What if I told you that you could change how intelligent you are – or your children will be? Perhaps you’re saying, “That’s ridiculous. IQ is immutable and unlikely to be altered by one’s behavior. Or maybe you’re saying, “I don’t know, but if it’s true sign me up!”

However you may have reacted, I hope you’re intrigued enough by this proposition of ancient Jewish wisdom to try it out for size.  I think you’ll be surprised at how precisely it accounts for your experiences in the real world.

We read of three men whose wisdom was admired and whose guidance and leadership was sought: Joseph, Daniel, and Mordechai.  Each withstood alluring attempts to get them to abandon restraint.

Watch Joseph as his employer’s wife, by all accounts a most attractive woman, tries to seduce him.

…after these things, his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, lie with me.  But he refused… ‘[saying] because you are his wife, how can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?’  And she spoke to Joseph day by day but he did not listen to her to lie with her or be with her. 
(Genesis 39:7-10)

Soon after, we find that Joseph’s wisdom and leadership qualities become evident to all.

And Pharaoh said to his servants, ‘Can we find anyone like this man in whom the spirit of God is’?  Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘In as much as God has shown you all this, there is none so smart and wise as you are you shall be over my house, and according to your word shall all my people be ruled.’
 (Genesis 41:38-40)

We encounter Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah in the court of King Nebuchadnezar.  The Babylonian King, intending to entice them into the Babylonian aristocracy, arranged for them to be fed his royal, but unkosher, food.

And the king appointed them a daily portion of the king’s food, and of the wine which he drank; and to bring them up during three years, that at its end they might stand before the king.  Among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.
 (Daniel 1:5-6)

Refusing to surrender their Hebrew identity, the four heroes requested a purely vegetarian diet (which is by definition kosher).  The king’s steward, nervous about disobeying the king and being held responsible for the four Jews’ not looking well fed, hesitated.  Daniel made this suggestion:

‘…test your servants, I beg you, ten days; and let them give us only vegetables to eat, and water to drink then let our faces be looked upon before you, against the faces of the other young people that eat of the portion of the king’s food; and according to what you see, deal with your servants’.  So he consented to them in this matter, and tested them ten days and at the end of ten days their faces appeared better in appearance…
(Daniel 1:11-15)

After resisting the appeal of the king’s food, Daniel and his colleagues became recognized for wisdom:

And the king talked with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah…in all matters of wisdom and understanding that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.
 (Daniel 1:19-20)

Finally, we meet Mordechai who refused to bow to the wicked Haman. Each day, courtiers tried to persuade Mordechai to submit.

It came to pass as they spoke daily to him and he did not listen to them, that they told Haman…And when Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow, nor did him obeisance, then was Haman full of wrath.
 (Esther 3:4-5)

Though it would have been so much easier to submit to Haman, Mordechai stood firm, loyal to his spiritual identity.  Not surprisingly, as the book ends, we read:

And all the acts of his power and of his might, and the declaration of the greatness of Mordechai, to which the king advanced him, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia?..Mordechai the Jew was next to King Ahasuerus…
 (Esther 10:1-2)

What phenomenon is playing out in all these cases? Leviticus 11:43 sheds light.

Vayikra 11-43 754x288

…nor shall you make yourselves impure with them [forbidden non-kosher foods] that you should be made impure by them.

The underlined Hebrew root for impure is  טמ  pronounced TaM

Ancient Jewish wisdom asks what the repetition of the root word TaM adds to the verse. The response is that in addition to impure, the word also means unintelligent, dull  or– dumb. In fact, T’ and ‘D’ are both dental consonants, produced by placing the tongue behind the upper teeth causing considerable etymological ambiguity between these two letters.  Many scholars believe that the English word ‘dumb’ derived from the Hebrew source TaM.

dumb, impure 500 pixels

The message is that yielding to pressure, including bodily appetites, reduces the chances of a happy and fulfilled life.  What is more, submitting to hedonistic urges gradually makes one stupid.  If practiced multi-generationally, it eventually produces very dumb people.  The process of exercising restraint and saying ‘no’ makes people smarter and better suited to leadership.

In other words, adhering to Biblical faith, its rituals of restraint and its principles, is a key to wisdom, leadership and success.  This is an inconvenient truth because so many who have cast their lot in with the camp of the secular fundamentalists, America’s current government-sponsored religion, are dismayed to discover the very real and practical benefits of the twin Biblical faiths, Judaism and Christianity.

These benefits occur in both the social and economic arenas. My books Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments for Making Money and Business Secrets from the Bible give practical, concrete guidance for applying these spiritual success strategies to your financial life. This is a great opportunity to invest in yourself as well as to bless a soon-to-be graduate. Help them enter the real world with Godly wisdom on their side.

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… my spirit recognized new truths in your teaching. I am grateful.   Cathy P.

Sing(apore) for Your Supper

March 11th, 2014 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

“I’m sure you’re doing your best.”  This is a subjective statement.
“Your grade dropped to a ‘D’ this semester.”  This is an objective fact.

“Management is satisfied with the company’s 2013 performance which was in accordance with expectations”    Subjective.
The company lost $3.7 million in fiscal year 2013.  Objective.

Measuring performance objectively brings success whether the goal is competing in the Olympics, losing weight, or increasing profit. Or, yes, learning.

Let me give you an example from Singapore, a tiny island nation with a racially and culturally diverse population that until 1965 was dependent upon Great Britain. Back then, less than fifty years ago, it was a sort of international welfare case with a Gross Domestic Product per capita about one twentieth of the United States.  This means that on average, each Singaporean produced less than one twentieth of the economic value that the average American produced.  Today, Singapore’s per capita GDP is slightly higher than that of the United States.  What brought about that miracle?

Lee Kuan Yew, who served as Singapore’s first prime minister for thirty years and is still known as the Father of Singapore, stated that it happened because of their education system.  How does it differ from education in America?

Among other factors, Singapore places a heavy emphasis on objective subjects like mathematics and science as opposed to subjects that have the word “studies” in their titles.  They don’t do social studies, earth studies, and environmental studies in Singapore. The country routinely scores at the very top of each year’s International Mathematics and Science Study while the United States according to recent data, scored at number 23, well behind countries like Thailand, Russia, Slovenia, Hungary, and Belgium.

Lest you respond that we must spend more on education, another objective fact tells us that Singapore spends about $2,000 a year per student while in the United States the comparable figure is about $12,000.

There is much data that those who care about children should examine. Focusing on objective facts rather than subjective fantasizing would be a good place to start.

Concentrating on objective actions and behaviors also helped transform a rag-tag band of slaves into the Hebrew nation about 3,326 years ago.  You see, little about life as a slave encourages objective analysis.  Foolishly, a slave master’s goal is often to keep the slave working endlessly. The slave’s time loses all meaning since a high level of accomplishment rarely betters his situation.

The Exodus was surrounded by many of God’s rules and rituals for the precise purpose of introducing the concept of an objective way of looking at reality.  Rather than fuzzy generalities, Exodus chapter 12 contains hundreds of specific details defining exactly what the Israelites must do before and during the Exodus from Egypt.

People whose lives lack objective measure amble and dawdle through the day.  By contrast, God directed the Israelites to move with such haste that even the dough wouldn’t have time to rise. (Those of us who have ever been shocked to realize how long we spent surfing the Internet would do well to learn this lesson.)

Also, membership in the group that was to be delivered from Egypt was not left to subjective feeling.  “Aw, c’mon, I really, really feel like an Israelite.”  Instead, each male was to be circumcised, surely a very objective indicator. Either you are or you’re not.  (Exodus 12:48)  Then in precisely 49 days they were to be standing at the foot of Mt. Sinai. Not 48 days and not 50 days. Precise and objective detail.  It is no wonder that the Israelites transformed from slaves to one of the most successful people in the world.

Understanding how details in the Bible reveal underlying vital messages such as this one, is an example of the type of ancient Jewish wisdom that I share in my brand new book Business Secrets from the Bible: Spiritual Success Strategies for Financial Abundance. I would love for this book to bless you and those you love and I can’t wait to hear your feedback. Find out more about it here and see how you or someone you know can greatly benefit from it, available now at a reduced price.

Please be aware that I will be conducting teaching on these and other Exodus topics at a special 8 day Passover Conference Retreat at the beautiful Rancho Bernardo Inn resort in San Diego from April 14 to April 22.  I would love to share the Pesach festival with you.

Business Secrets from the Bible, 350x533

I Win – You Win – We All Win

March 4th, 2014 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

Would you enjoy working with an investment advisor who is paid for the number of trades she recommends whether or not you make any profit? What do you think of a teacher who is paid even if his students learn nothing? Would you frequent a store that charges you for trying on clothes whether or not you buy anything? These are examples of simple transactions in which the interests of the two parties are not aligned.

The sales professional who works on a commission-only basis with no salary ceiling is a great example of interests that are aligned.  When his employer prospers, so does he.  When he prospers, so does his employer. Whether you are interviewing job-seeking candidates or whether you are applying for a position, clearly understanding this powerful principle is invaluable.  It is equally valuable in running a marriage or family. Part of effective leadership is persuading people that you are all ‘on the same team.’ In any interaction, focusing on merging everyone’s interests increases the probability of a successful outcome.

This vision of economic interaction in which both sides prosper is completely at odds with the socialistic worldview in which every economic transaction is viewed with suspicion. According to the secular materialist, if a storekeeper is happy with the sale, the customer was exploited. If a customer walks out smiling, he must surely have ripped off the storekeeper.  However, in God’s view of human economic interaction, the ideal transaction benefits both parties.

We learn this idea from a surprising source. Ancient Jewish wisdom teaches that in the stages of life, fifty years old is well suited for imparting advice.  The Scriptural basis for this stems from the few verses declaring that Levites should actively serve in the Temple from the ages of twenty-five to fifty. Knowing that a chapter in my book Thou Shall Prosper disparages retirement, many people have written to me asking if the Levites retire at age fifty.  Nothing could be further from fact.  After their fiftieth birthdays, their tasks changed. No longer involved in the day-to-day responsibilities of the Temple, they were busier than ever advising and guiding their brethren. (Numbers 8:24-26) They were uniquely suited to this assignment. Why?

Here is the key fact about the Levites: They received no portion of ownership in the Land of Israel.  Instead, they lived exclusively on a tithe from the income of the rest of the nation. (Numbers 18:21).    Their interests were perfectly aligned with those of all Israel.  When they blessed Israel, the blessing was genuine and whole-hearted.  When Israel prospered, so did the Levites.

Would you rather seek advice from someone who cares for your success as much as you do or from someone who views you as unimportant or a rival?  Clearly, advice from someone whose interests are aligned with yours is worth more than advice from an indifferent stranger, or worse, from someone who benefits when you fail.

After twenty-five years of prospering or suffering based on the financial successes or failures of others, the Levites completely internalized the message that their interests paralleled those of the children of Israel. They were ideally poised to offer sincere advice to others from an attitude of genuine concern. While the Temple no longer stands and while we are not all Levites, we can all benefit by learning from their experience. Before offering advice to anyone, whether our children or our business colleagues, we must be sure that our interests are aligned with theirs.  Just as importantly, we must be sure that they know and believe this to be true. The more our happiness and achievements mesh with the happiness and achievements of others, the more we all thrive.

This type of Biblical principle is highlighted in my hot-off-the-press book, released this week. Business Secrets from the Bible: Spiritual Success Strategies for Financial Abundance picks up where Thou Shall Prosper: The Ten Commandments for Making Money leaves off and reveals God’s plan for personal prosperity.  It’s not that God wants us to be rich, but He does want us all to behave in ways that produce prosperity. Among these ways is recognizing that our economic well-being is intertwined with the economic well-being of others.  I am delighted to make it possible for everyone to tap into ancient Jewish wisdom and discover tips and techniques for success. In these difficult economic times, going back to the Source is priceless.

Order alone or as part of our new Financial Book Package

Business Secrets from the Bible, 350x533 Financial Book Package