Posts tagged " |spiritual strategies| "

Mountains and Molecules

October 21st, 2014 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

My children constantly fascinate me when we hike in breathtakingly beautiful British Columbia during the summer. Some of them visibly thrill to the vast vistas and magnificent landscapes revealed as we crest a hill.  Others seem oblivious to the large scale spectacles but will stoop to pick up a pebble which can absorb their attention for twenty minutes.  Similarly when boating, one child gazes endlessly at the wave pattern stretching to the horizon.  Meanwhile, her sister lies on her tummy on the edge of a dock peering down at a school of tiny fish darting around as if being signaled by an invisible choreographer.

We learn much from the patterns of larger arrangements such as the earth’s upheavals that created the mountain ranges and the erosive forces that carved majestic canyons.  However it is just as important to understand the microscopic forces that help atoms to form molecules and the characteristics that shape those tiny molecules into complex substances.

Just as understanding both the macro of mountains and the micro of molecules helps us relate to physical reality, so understanding both the macro and the micro of the letters, words, and texts of the Bible helps us relate to spiritual reality.

Whenever we probe the inner meaning conveyed by a word or letter in the Lord’s language as we often do here in Thought Tools, we are exploring the micro.  However, when we examine patterns that reoccur in different parts of Scripture we are allowing the macro to reveal its secrets.

Let’s wrap our souls around four famous parallels linking God’s Garden of Eden with the desert Tabernacle and its successor, the Jerusalem Temple, both constructed by humans.

1.   God walks in both the Garden of Eden and the Tabernacle.

And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden…
(Genesis 3:8)

And I will set my tabernacle among you…And I will walk among you…
(Leviticus 26:11-12)

======================

2.  Water flowed out of the Garden of Eden and also out of the Temple.

And a river went out from Eden…
(Genesis 2:10)

…and a fountain shall issue from the house of the Lord…
(Joel 4:18)

==============================

3.   Cherubs appear in both places to guard and protect.

…and he placed cherubs at the east of the garden of Eden…to guard the way to the tree of life.
(Genesis 3:24)

And the cherubs shall stretch out their wings on high to cover the covering with their wings…
(Exodus 25:20)

==============================

4. Special garments [ketonet] are required in both places

For Adam and for his wife the Lord God made leather coats [ketonet]…
(Genesis 3:21)

And these are the garments which they shall make…an embroidered coat [ketonet]
(Exodus 28:4)

Recounting the four parallels, we see:

1   God walks in His garden and in the places we create.
2   Water flows out of His garden and out of the places we create.
3   Spiritual forces protect the way to the Tree of Life and to the Tablets of the Covenant.
4   God made clothing for humans in His garden; we emulate Him in our holy places.

Today, in our current conditions, we are obviously unable to locate the Garden of Eden let alone enter it.  However, God did provide us with blueprints to create our own substitute.  Moses and the Israelites used them to build the Tabernacle and later Solomon used them to create the Temple.

As long as we recognize that both the Tabernacle and the Temple were human replicas of the Garden of Eden, we too become capable of erecting our very own Garden of Eden substitutes right in our own homes.  We merely need note the four parallels.

One, our homes must be places where God walks and we walk with Him.  We don’t sit with Him or stand with Him, we walk with Him.  Meaning we and our families are on the move; we are never in exactly the same (spiritual) place.

Second, water, (associated with spiritual sustenance in Torah nomenclature) must flow out of our homes.  By regularly inviting guests to share our meals and participate in the uplifting conversation that suffuses our dining tables we encourage our ideas to flow and spread.

Third, we must ensure that spiritual forces are in place to protect our most cherished attributes, namely our faith and our families.  With the same enthusiasm that we invite the right people to enter, enjoy and contribute to the atmosphere of our homes, we must also keep out those people and influences that could harm it.

Fourth, and finally we must always, even in the privacy of our home, clothe ourselves in the garments of human dignity. Clothing is holy because God bestowed it upon His children as a way of distinguishing us from the animal kingdom.  Almost all of us look better clothed than naked and for all of us, being clothed protects our sense of self.  This is why the first thing Nazi concentration camps did to Jews upon their arrival was strip them naked.

It is all too easy to figuratively ‘let ourselves go’ when we’re at home.  It is so tempting to slide into poor behavior, abysmal manners, inadequate clothing and other unwholesome self-indulgences when we’re in our own homes.  In reality, in order to build our own Garden of Eden we need to resist these allures.

It is never too late to turn our own home into a Garden of Eden, a Tabernacle, or a Temple.  The rewards are incalculable and more than worth the effort it takes.  Keep both the mountain and the molecule in mind.  The former is the larger vision for the kind of home you’d like to live in while the latter is the list of four details we have covered here.

Grasping the incredible patterns that God placed in Scripture brings bountiful blessing. These patterns affect our lives to this day. Listen to Tower of Power: Decoding the Secrets of Babel and hear how ancient Jewish wisdom reveals human tendencies and weaknesses that shed light on current events, amazingly, even including the administration’s response to Ebola.

 Tower of Power:

Decoding the Secrets of Babel

 

Bones in Israel

July 15th, 2014 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

The 100 million Moslems surrounding Israel often escalate their oft-stated desire to destroy six million Jews into action.  They dispatch murderers into Jewish neighborhoods, they launch sudden street attacks, and they shoot thousands of missiles into Israel’s population centers.  However, life in Israel continues.  Behold the Guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps. (Psalms 121:4)

Whenever one of these periodic crises escalates, some Thought Tool readers ask me why I don’t devote a Thought Tool issue to the Israel situation.  The reason is because though it would be cathartic for me, it would do nothing for you, my loyal readers.  Yes, I have children living in Jerusalem, and yes, I would like to express my feelings about primitive barbarians imperiling their lives.  But that is not my mission.

There are many excellent writers who regularly illuminate Israel’s existential struggle.  My purpose each week is to provide you with a Bible-based nugget of ancient Jewish wisdom that you can deploy to enhance your quality of life.  I want it to be as relevant and as helpful to you today as it will be when you return to reread it ten or twenty years hence.  In other words, I don’t tie Thought Tools to current events.

Nonetheless, it is clear that spiritual strengths rather than physical forces shape Israel’s struggle to survive.  Her enemies could overnight transform their physical existence by laying down arms.  Many nations of the world would happily hand over billions of dollars and limitless economic, technical and medical aid to help build a new United Middle East.  With a real peace, average per capita income would skyrocket for the inhabitants of Egypt, Gaza, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.  Their average life expectancy would climb meteorically.  Yet none of this matters.  Obliterating Jewish lives is more important than improving Moslem lives.

Why do Jews stay in Israel despite being surrounded by enemies?  Their material circumstances would dramatically improve if they emigrated to America, Canada, Australia, Taiwan, Singapore, or Sweden that would reluctantly admit them as the price for an end to Middle East turbulence. Yet, to them, the spiritual significance of living on the land that God gave to Abraham as an eternal inheritance means far more than the physical goody-bags of a diaspora.  Both sides are driven, not by physical and material considerations but by spiritual imperatives.

Secular fundamentalists like to think of themselves as supremely rational. They argue that only the physically and scientifically quantifiable is important—only materialism matters.  Yet, two Yale psychologists, Drs. George Newman and Paul Bloom, proved that people do believe in the spiritual by analyzing estate auctions of the rich and famous. They realized that otherwise rational people willingly paid large sums of money for possessions previously owned by a celebrity.

The only way to explain this is that the buyers believe that some non-material quality of the former owner has been transferred to the item making it far more valuable than the identical item purchased new from a store.
Explaining the spiritual urge to murder Jews is outside the scope of this Thought Tool (though I do explain it in our audio CD program, Clash of Destiny: Decoding the Secrets of Israel and Islam).

However, I do want to explore the unbreakable spiritual connection between Jews and the Land that God gave them.  It is also far more powerful than the connection between Marilyn Monroe and the purchaser of an ashtray she once owned.

And Moses took Joseph’s bones with him because he’d made the Israelites swear saying, ‘God will remember you and you must bring up my bones from here with you.’
(Exodus 13:19)

Wait!  Did Joseph really use the words that Moses reported?  Let’s see…

And Joseph made the Israelites swear saying, ‘God will remember you and you must bring up my bones from here.’
(Genesis 50:25)

Joseph didn’t actually say those last words, “…with you.” Why did Moses insert them?

Ancient Jewish wisdom explains that Joseph’s love for the Land of Israel was such that, no matter how long it took, he deeply desired ultimately to be buried there.  However, Moses understood that Joseph’s bones carried spiritual qualities.  Rather than doing Joseph a kindness by taking his bones to Israel, the bones would impart spiritual strength to the Israelites as they entered the land. Those bones were not going to leave Moses’ possession until, forbidden from entering the land, he passed on to Joshua the sacred mission of burying them in Israel.  Thus Moses remembered the instruction as including the words, ‘with you.’

And the Israelites buried the bones of Joseph which they had brought
up out of Egypt, in Shechem.
(Joshua 24:32)

In the year 2000, Moslem mobs razed and burnt Joseph’s tomb in the city of Shechem, known in Arabic as Nablus.

Did this inflict military damage? Of course not. This was not about material damage.  The destruction of Joseph’s tomb was meant to attack Israel’s soul, not her body.

Bones are not just dried calcium, they are spiritually linked to the person they once carried.  Yes, it is true—and not only bones.  We impart something of our spiritual reality to all the objects we own. We even spiritually mark items we touch.  That is why we feel violated when we discover that some stranger has been rifling through our belongings.  Though the hooligan may have inflicted no physical damage upon our keepsakes, his handling of them spiritually tarnished them.

The forces shaping the Middle East are spiritual, not physical, a fact not understood by the State Department or the U.N. The battle affects not only the Middle East but the rest of the world as well.  Why do they fight?  Will it ignite broader conflagration?  How will this all play out?  The more we understand God’s plan the more we can prepare ourselves for the end game. We hope that our audio CD program and study guide Clash of Destiny: Decoding the Secrets of Israel and Islam will illuminate this mystical conflict for you.

CODY small

Let’s Get Together

July 9th, 2014 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

In the 1961 movie The Parent Trap as well as in its 1998 remake, two young girls at a summer camp loathe one another until they discover that they are really twins.  They then collaborate in a plot to bring their divorced parents back together again.

The movie worked well partially because of the genuine love that grows between the two girls even before they hit on the idea of restoring their broken family.  Authentic unity based on real connection can greatly further shared interests.

By way of contrast, when George and Sandra started dating they saw shared preferences, such as choosing the same dish at a restaurant, as a thrilling indication that they were meant to be together.  But in spite of liking the same food and having similar tastes in music and entertainment, their romance didn’t last long.

In the Middle East, two notorious groups, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, often act in concert and with all appearances of unity based on their shared hatred of Israel.  However they have fought one another before and will fight again.  An illusion of unity based only on shared interests can mislead both individuals and groups.

Seven weeks after leaving Egypt, the Israelites arrived at Mount Sinai in order to receive the Ten Commandments.

In their long journey through the desert, the Israelites camped many times.  With one exception, the Hebrew verb used for this camping is in the plural.  They, meaning many people, camped.  There is only one exception in which the singular verb is used:

…then Israel camped (singular) there by the mountain.
(Exodus 19:2)

Ancient Jewish wisdom explains that their submission to God and their eagerness to accept His Law unified them in a unique fashion. Hence the verb camped appears in the singular.  They camped as if they were one person, an utterly united people.

However, there is another interesting example of unity.  Perplexingly, their Egyptian pursuers were also unified:

…and the Children of Israel lifted up their eyes and behold Egypt is traveling after them…
(Exodus 14:10)

The verb traveling appears in its singular form. Ancient Jewish wisdom teaches that the Egyptians were also unified by their shared mission to capture the Israelites.

Israel’s unity leads to their becoming God’s people, winning their land and lasting destiny.  Egypt’s unity leads to drowning in the Red Sea, death and oblivion.  What is the difference between the two unities?

In the case of Israel, (Exodus 19:2) the Hebrew verb “and he camped” VaYiCHaN implying unity, appears before the word Israel.

However, in the case of Egypt, (Exodus 14:10) the Hebrew verb ‘is traveling’ NoSeA implying unity, appears after the word Egypt.

In other words, just before receiving the Ten Commandments, Israel was unified in preparation for their mission of receiving the Torah. The unification preceded their national identity and its mission.  Egypt’s national identity and its mission of hauling Israel back into slavery was the cause of its unity.

Ancient Jewish wisdom teaches that love that is dependent upon some outside factor is temporary.  Once the outside factor no longer exerts its influence, the love vanishes.  However, love that is genuine lasts and imparts durability.

For this reason, Biblical marriage is based on commitment producing love rather than hoping that love will bring commitment.  Love based on attraction may or may not bring constant commitment but commitment will almost always bring lasting love.

Similarly, business partnerships between parties that feel real respect and affection for one another do better than those that are based only on shared interests.  Families whose members are bound by nothing but socio-economic commonalities are not the same as those bound by ties of deep love and filial obligation.

Thinking that there is a deep bond of affection, only to find that there isn’t one causes much heartbreak and disillusionment. Summer and the fall season frequently herald new living circumstances and making new acquaintances. Our store carries two books, Hands Off: This May be Love and I Only Want to Get Married Once, by acclaimed authors because we think that the easily accessible, often humorous wisdom in these books is so valuable. We urge you to read them and share them with others, especially young people who have the opportunity, with your help, of choosing smart, successful relationships.

Hands Off smaller IOWT

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

 

Trust, Ownership, Decency

June 17th, 2014 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

Is it a coincidence that countries with healthy Jewish populations tend to enjoy far greater economic success than those without?  King Edward I expelled the Jews from England in 1290.  For about two hundred years prior, England’s economy had been growing dramatically with Jews playing a significant role in the development of silver mining, currency and banking.  With their departure, the English economy went into decline.

In his wonderful book, History of the English Speaking Peoples, Winston Churchill explains that as bankers and lenders Jews held the mortgages on a great deal of English land on which they had loaned money to the crown or aristocratic landowners. Edward I realized he could transfer all those instruments to himself by expelling the Jews.  He did exactly that. It may have helped Edward but it hurt the country.

Almost immediately, English economic vitality plummeted.  Twenty five years later there was a terrible famine that decimated the population.  For about 350 years England’s economy languished, only to recover when Oliver Cromwell encouraged Dutch Jews to move to England.

A similar scenario played out when Spain expelled its Jews in 1492.  After centuries of glittering economic prowess, Spain went into decline. Though the expulsion order was officially revoked in 1968, until very recently Spain never invited its Jews back and it remains one of the most conspicuous failures of the European Economic Union.

The truth is that when countries expel Jewish Biblical values by adopting socialism, either through revolution as in Russia, China, and Cuba or through a sad slide as in a number of European countries and perhaps even the United States, their economies fade and fail just as surely as did those of England and Spain.

Conversely, countries that reopen themselves, at least on some level, to Biblical values, inevitably see their economies begin to thrive.  Think of South Korea.  China has definitely become more open to Christianity with over a hundred million Christians and, not surprisingly, a rapidly growing economy.  The jury is still out on Russia but I am seeing a new openness towards Christianity and Judaism in that troubled land so I expect to see their economy starting to improve quite noticeably.

In my resource package, The Income Abundance Set, I explain this far more extensively and with far more attention to practical suggestions for your life.  However, for the purposes of this Thought Tool let’s examine three characteristics that traditional Jewish values impart to the culture in which they live.  Trust. Ownership. Being nice.

Trust:  When a Jewish merchant in Amsterdam shipped goods to a co-religionist in Paramaribo he could be confident that when the ship arrived, he would be paid.  When Quakers established Barclays Bank in London at the end of the 17th century, people deposited money because Quakers who adhered to Biblical values were trusted.

Ancient Jewish wisdom teaches that the first question we will all be asked when we arrive in judgment before the Heavenly Throne is “Did you conduct your business affairs in a trustworthy way?”   Trust flourishes among those guided by principles such as exact weights and measures from Leviticus 19, leading to prosperity.

Ownership:  The Torah has many laws that only make sense in a culture that allows individuals to own property.  For instance, we are warned against infringing on the boundaries of our neighbors’ property. (Deuteronomy 19:14). The Tenth Commandment prohibits us from even wanting other’s property.

Though King Ahab angered the Lord greatly by worshiping the Baal idols he was stripped of his kingdom only after he stole Navot’s vineyard.  (I Kings 21:19)

Decency: Admonitions that include being kind to the orphan and widow, not gossiping and being grateful are incumbent on each individual. Not surprisingly, people prefer dealing with others who treat them kindly, courteously and considerately.

Business means serving others in exchange for their payment and being in business incentivizes us to become a little more trustworthy, more aware of the importance of people’s possessions, and a little more kind, courteous, and considerate.  Truly, if we are faithful to God’s system, doing well is proof of doing good.

Right now the most devastating obstacle to increasing your income is when you subconsciously buy into today’s relentless cultural message that having a lot of money is evidence that you’re not a good person.  The only way to expiate your sins, they tell you, is for the government to take more of your money in an effort to introduce the fairness that your success violated.  Unless you can extirpate this belief from your heart, your efforts will be handicapped.   Please get hold of my Income Abundance Set while there’s still time to make 2014 a great year.  Discover ways to counter the anti-business psychology while learning dozens of real-life business applications from ancient Jewish wisdom that have helped Jews succeed at so many different times and in so many different places.

IncomeAbundanceSet, March 2014

Fight the Friction

June 10th, 2014 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

Place your hands together, palm to palm, in a praying gesture.  No problem, right?  Now rapidly rub them backwards and forwards pressing them against each other as you rub.  Feel the heat?  What if you tightly clasp a rope and quickly pull it through your hand? You’ll quickly raise a heat blister. Friction, which produces heat, is how nature resists movement.

Nature makes it easy for things to remain stationary. The problem, however, is that in order to make an often reluctant earth yield her bounty to man, we need to find a way to leverage our efforts.  The first way we did so was by means of mechanical devices, the most important of which was the wheel.

Nobody knows whether the first wheel was a slice of tree trunk or a stoneroller.  Either way, it needed to be placed on an axle which had to rotate.  The problem, as we discovered when you tried out my recommended experiments, is that when things move against one another heat is produced.  The axle assembly on Fred Flintstone’s car in real life would quickly heat up and catch fire.  In fact, rapidly rotating a wooden rod on another piece of wood is exactly how scouts are taught to light fires.

flintstones

The problem of how axles could rotate rapidly without being destroyed by the heat they generate was solved by a Welsh engineer in 1794.  Early in the industrial revolution, Phillip Vaughan came up with what we call a ball bearing. The axle no longer rubs against whatever is holding it in place.  Instead it rides on a number of smooth steel balls rotating with it.

Motion is vitally important and quite indispensable but it is hard to achieve.  This principle of physics has its spiritual parallel.  We humans find it easiest to remain in place just where we are.  In other words, we find it easiest to tell ourselves, “I am what I am.”

A father who has regular temper outbursts towards his children can change.  A wife convinced she feels no love for her husband can change.  An employee frustrated by unfulfilled entrepreneurial dreams can change.   While it is true that spiritual friction resists our progress, God always encourages growth and beckons us toward movement and change.

How do we make change happen?  Well, to begin with, consider the power of the written word.  Of all creatures, only we humans express abstract ideas by means of signs and symbols that our hands carve into stone with a chisel or place on paper with ink.  Those very words can inspire vast armies of people, even those not yet born at the time of writing.  Those words possess the power to affect the cosmic balance of the universe.  But most importantly those words impact the life of he who wrote them.

So, yes, write down your goal in a clear, specific and measurable way.  For instance:

“For the rest of today, every time I feel anger rising in me, I will pause and stay silent.

“Regardless of how I am feeling, once a day this week, I will act towards my spouse in a loving way.”

“I will exchange an hour a day of web surfing for reading a good book on starting a business.

Here’s the most important secret:  Putting that goal down by writing with a pen on paper is itself the first action step in achieving your desire—and any action step unleashes miraculous power.

Think of Israel, terrified by the approaching Egyptian army.

When Pharaoh drew near, the Israelites lifted up their eyes and …they were very afraid and…cried out to the Lord.
(Exodus 14:10)

You’d have thought that at this dramatic moment, God would have told Moses to lift his rod and split the sea.  Instead we read,

God said to Moses, Why do you cry to me? Direct the people of Israel to march forward.
(Exodus 14:15)

God told Moses to lead the people right into the water of the Red Sea before He split it!

Only once the Israelites were in the water—and ancient Jewish wisdom records that it reached up to their necks—does God instruct Moses:

Lift up your rod and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it so that the people of Israel will go on dry land through the sea.
(Exodus 14:16)

And so it was. The miracle of the splitting of the Red Sea was brought about only once the people had done their part. Until the Israelites took the courageous action of stepping into the very waters of the sea, Moses stretching out his rod would have accomplished nothing.

So it is with us too.  Taking an action, a real action, unleashes miracles.  Don’t just sit around and pray, said God. Excellent advice.  If you want to change something in your life, take an all-important action, starting with writing down your plan.

There is another equally important aspect of words. We can do more for ourselves as well as others by limiting ourselves to words that heal rather than harm and that help rather than hurt.  Equip yourself with the tools necessary to modify your speech patterns.  Enjoy the benefits, both social and professional, of more effective communication free of distracting negativity.  Join the thousands who have successfully moved forward with Perils of Profanity—You Are What You Speak, a one hour audio CD. Act now!

Perils of Profanity - CDs coming out of case                 Available at www.rabbidaniellapin.com Order now sign
by  mail or download

and on Amazon.com            amazon 64x 64 cropped

How to Meet Angels

June 2nd, 2014 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

You may be one of those people to whom interesting things keep happening.  I hope you’re always saying things like, “You won’t believe what happened to me today!” or “Guess who I ran into yesterday.”  Friends sometimes ask you, “How did you get that interview?” Or, they exclaim, “I can’t believe that you found one of those!”  Your response is usually, “Well, let me tell you what happened.  There I was just walking along, when all of a sudden…”

On the other hand, you might be another kind of person.  In the quiet of the night, you find yourself asking, “How come nothing lucky ever happens to me?”  This type of individual goes through life mostly as a spectator, watching from the sidelines as others drink fully from the well of life.  He certainly never meets an angel.  In fact, he might not recognize one if he saw one.  Well, here’s good news:  we’re going to explore some ancient Jewish wisdom on how passive people can transform themselves into participant people.

Chapter 13 of Judges describes a man named Manoach (‘ch’ as in Johann Sebastian Bach, the great German 18th century composer) and his wife, who were unable to have children.  An angel appeared to her saying that although she was barren, she would conceive and bear a son.  Therefore, he explained, she was to drink no alcohol and eat nothing unkosher. Furthermore, these rules would also apply to her son who would be a Nazirite for God. Additionally he should never cut his hair because his destiny was to save Israel from the Philistines.

Manoach’s wife told the remarkable story to her husband, referring to the angel as a “man-of-God.”  She also omitted the part about their son saving Israel from the Philistines.  Instead of sweeping his wife into an embrace at the wonderful news, Manoach prays to God asking Him to send back the man-of-God to teach them what to do with their future son. (Judges 13:8)

We can almost see Mrs. Manoach rolling her eyes as she thinks to herself, “We already know; the angel told me what to do and I just told you.”

Yet, God did send the angel back for a second visit. However, once again he appeared only to Mrs. Manoach.  She ran to find her husband and he hurried after her to where the angel was.  Clearly, Manoach had no idea this was an angel because he asks, “Are you the man who spoke to the woman?”  (Judges 13:11) We are struck by Manoach’s detachment from his wife. Not only is he never near her when the angel appears but he refers to his wife as “the woman.”

Manoach addresses the angel, of whose true identity he is utterly oblivious, saying, “May your words come to pass, and if they do, how should we raise the child?”   I am sure that the angel rolled his eyes as he wearily said to Manoach, “I’ve already told her everything she should do, but okay, I’ll repeat it for you.”  Manoach then offered the angel some lunch but the angel demurred and the verse plaintively informs us, “…Manoach did not know that this was an angel of the Lord.” (Judges 13:16)

Only when the angel leaps into a flame and ascends heavenwards, does it dawn on Manoach that this must have been an angel. Rather than rejoicing, he tells his wife that having seen an angel of God they were about to die.  She dismisses her husband’s foolish fears assuring him that if God wanted to kill them it would have happened already.

Deep study of Scripture depends upon many aspects of the Lord’s language—Hebrew.  Most notably we must always be aware of what people’s names mean.

In Hebrew, Manoach means resting, taking it easy, putting out no effort or energy; in other words—passive.  What a perfect description for the man whose wife, rather than he, always saw the angel.

Scripture provides three tips to help us avoid becoming a Manoach.

1.   As a boy I watched many of the 1966 World Cup soccer games.  I have never forgotten players like Pele of Brazil and Eusebio of Portugal.  I remember being astounded at how they were always exactly where the ball was going to arrive.  They were always at the heart of the action.  Manoach was always AWOL.  Be where the action is.

2.    Manoach didn’t respect his wife, referring to her as ‘the woman’ and distrusting her by asking for the message to come to him directly.  Clearly, she didn’t feel comfortable sharing with him that it was an angel and that their son would save Israel from the Philistines. If you don’t respect people, they won’t feel comfortable sharing information that could bring you into the game.

3.  Cultivate courage.  Don’t react to the angels in your life with fear.  God is not trying to kill you. He’s trying to get you to live.  Fully!

In few areas is this more helpful advice than in the area of making money.  Generating significant revenue requires one to be in the heart of the game, respecting all, and being courageous.  The Bible contains many more spiritual success strategies for financial abundance.  I have packed forty of them into my brand-new book Business Secrets from the Bible which is helping thousands of my friends move themselves and their families forward into a new economic reality.  It will do the same for you and for those to whom you present it.

Business Secrets from the Bible, 350x533

 

 

Sleep in the Bed You Make

May 27th, 2014 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

I never knew what the job of ‘community organizer’ entailed.  I knew what a bus driver, a plumber, a bookkeeper, or a ballerina do. But, what does a community organizer do?  I found out by reading a little book called Rules for Radicals written by Saul Alinsky, a Chicago political activist.  (And no, I’m not sure what activists do either.)  At any rate, Alinsky explained that a community organizer should “…rub raw the resentments of the people of the community; to fan latent hostilities of many of the people to the point of overt expressions.”  Okay, now I know.

Ancient Jewish wisdom teaches that one definition of wisdom is being able to learn something from everyone.  I guess I’m not so wise because I am not sure what I could learn from community organizers.  However, I know I have much to learn from bus drivers, plumbers, bookkeepers and ballerinas. Around Memorial Day each year, I think about things I learn from soldiers.

This year, I learned from the head of Special Operations Command, Admiral Bill McRaven, why soldiers always make their beds first thing in the morning.  Here are his words from his Commencement Day speech at the University of Texas:

“If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.  If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.”

He got my attention as the Code of Jewish Law opens with the words:

One should be as strong as a lion in rising in the morning
for the service of one’s Creator.

(Shulchan Aruch 1:1)

Don’t just rise in the morning like a lion but rise in the morning like a lion for the purpose of serving one’s Creator.  The question is, how do we best serve our Creator?

Here is one clue:

Cursed be he who does the work of the Lord negligently…
(Jeremiah 48:10)

According to ancient Jewish wisdom, this verse means that anyone who fails to satisfy his employer or customer with speedy and diligent service is cursed. (Midrash, Tana D’vei Eliyahu Rabbah)

What a stunning insight! Taking care of our customers, clients, and employers is doing God’s work!

Interestingly, an English word that describes taking care of business speedily and diligently is enthusiastically.

Here is the etymological source of the word enthusiastic.

From the Greek “entheos” meaning inspired by God.

Admiral McRaven had it just right. Being diligent in the tasks we undertake in our day, even ones that seem minor, leads us to end our day looking back at a string of accomplishments.  When we recognize that performing work for which we are paid is God’s work, our accomplishments grow even more.

I know that it utterly changed my life when ancient Jewish wisdom first taught me that taking care of my boss, my customers and my clients is also serving God.  It transformed workdays from drudgery to ministry.  It transformed servitude to service.  It transformed lethargic indifference to passion and enthusiasm.  As a side benefit, I started making much more money.

That’s God’s work.  Contributing to other people’s lives.  It might even be the life of your commanding officer.  If you’re a bus driver, plumber, bookkeeper, or ballerina it’s very clear how you help other people.  Community organizers? Not so much.

Some people tell me that they want to offer their services to others but don’t know how. Others fumble job interviews or excuse themselves as simply not “people people.” Then there are those who have great business ideas but can’t interest others in them and those who insist that they work hard but don’t seem to be progressing.  For all of you, I recorded my 2 audio CD set Prosperity Power: Connect for Success. Starting your day listening to these CDs as you make your bed, work out or travel to work will propel you to do enthusiastically what is necessary to power up your work life.

PP package frontevensmaller

Viva La Difference

May 6th, 2014 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

Walking past a house in drought-stricken California lately, I noticed that the homeowner had replaced his front lawn with artfully arranged colored gravel. White and reddish-brown stones were arranged in a sharply delineated wave shape covering his front yard.

Sometime later I happened to be passing the same house and paused again to admire the pattern.  To my surprise, the edges were no longer as sharp.  The pattern was still there, but the interface was no longer clearly marked.  Some white stones could be seen just over the border in the reddish-brown part of the wave, and many darker colored stones appeared just into the white section of the pattern.  I don’t know if those stones were moved by a neighborhood dog or by the action of wind and rain or just by family members walking across their property, but the borders had become blurred.

I was instantly transported back a few years to when I brought home a box of watercolor paints for one of my children who displayed temporary artistic talent.  The neat little tin box containing ten bright colors and a few depressions in the lid for mixing your own colors enchanted my tiny Toulouse Lautrec.  A little while later I noticed the now abandoned paint box and saw that the ten colors had vanished.  In their place were ten blobs of similarly colored dull pigment.  The temptation to mix and match had been irresistible to my miniature Monet, and mix and match she did until the original colors vanished.  I should mention that she has since become enormously accomplished, just not as a painter.

It is almost a law of nature that borders blur, differences blend, and distinctions fade.  Yet Scripture virtually screams the message that God created for us a world in which distinctiveness brings harmony.  A world filled with men and women works better than one populated entirely by passionless, unisexual beings.  People with their own dreams and desires improving their lives with their separate skills and ambitions works better and creates far more human harmony than sinister centralized power using force and decree to make everyone the same.

A world with millions of different species of plants and animals works really well.  A world with different chemical elements and compounds works very well. Much of modern technology depends on the differences between semiconductors like silicon and germanium.  God created a world with countless differences and He wants us to keep it that way.

For this reason, we are admonished:

…you shall love your neighbor as yourself, I am the Lord.  You shall not make your cattle interbreed with different species, you shall not sow your field with mixed seed, nor shall a garment mixed of linen and wool come upon you.
(Leviticus 19:18-19)

What an odd verse to follow the golden rule! Wouldn’t it make more sense to discuss giving charity, being kind to widows and orphans or not giving false testimony? Instead, the Creator, in His infinite wisdom is telling us something counter-intuitive to our limited understanding. We might mistakenly think that the more we encourage everyone to be the same, do the same and have the same, the more loving the world will be. To ensure that we do not make that mistake, Scripture immediately tells us we should even take care to keep separate certain things that we might think would go well together, like wool and flax/linen. How much more careful must we be to honor the distinctions that God built into the world, such as male and female or animal and human, and to honor the individual talents, desires and work of each individual.

How odd it would be if some naïve visitor to my home thought that the menu on my wife’s kitchen counter constituted that evening’s dinner or if the same visitor mistook a business plan for the intended factory. That’s what many of us do with Scripture. We mistake the seemingly simple words for the entire story. No! Scripture’s holy words actually reveal the awesome realities of your life. All you need is information to see beyond the surface into the marvelous world of 3,000 years of ancient Jewish wisdom.  Our 5 piece Biblical Blueprint audio CD set is a great resource to help you onto this path.

BiblicalBlueprintSetFinancial Book Package

 

 

 

 

700 Club Clubbed

April 8th, 2014 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

The aftermath to my appearance on The 700 Club with my friend Pat Robertson last Monday astounded me.  Like noxious mushrooms after a rain, articles suddenly sprang up condemning Pat for something people thought he said, and condemning me for not condemning him.  Also, I received a bunch of negative communications, almost all of them from self-proclaimed Jews.  I find myself sadly amused by hostile letters written to a rabbi that are filled with Yiddish curses.

They ranged from one or two politely critical ones to the majority, featuring vile and vulgar expletives about me and my family; two contained explicit death threats.  I am not complaining, I’m a big boy and can take care of myself.  I am accustomed to telling the Truth and living my life accordingly in spite of the anger this occasionally generates among fervent and extremist secular fundamentalists of all ethnic backgrounds.

What drives people with extremely limited data to rush to judgment and quickly criticize, condemn, and excoriate others?  What happened to giving people the benefit of the doubt?  I think it is collateral damage from the retreat of religion.  I believe that it is Biblical wisdom that lubricates human social and economic interaction and when that becomes eroded, people rush to judge one another harshly.

…in righteousness you shall judge your friend.
 (Leviticus 19:15)

Still, this is a bit vague. After all, what does ‘righteousness’ really mean?  Fortunately, ancient Jewish wisdom tells us about very important paragraph markings that can be seen in a traditional Torah scroll.  These divisions provide a graphically visible separation of a Torah column into specifically related topics. This verse is part of a paragraph which includes another verse:

…and you shall love your friend as you love yourself
(Leviticus 19:18)

Thus we see juxtaposed two parallel ideas (1) judge one another righteously, and, (2) love one another as you love yourself.

In other words, judge others the way you’d like them to judge you—giving the benefit of the doubt. Sadly, those who wrote angry denunciations were rushing to draw the very worst of conclusions.  They were hardly judging the way they’d like to be judged themselves.

I do have to say that the impact of these few vitriolic letters was utterly overwhelmed by the colossal cascade of positive and enthusiastic letters from friends and fans who saw the 700 Club interview on CBN.

Which brings me to an interesting aspect of most of the vituperative letters: most of those who scrawled them did not bother to view the twenty-minute show.  They wrote to me after reading Internet reports written by ideologues not shy about their hatred for religious conservatives such as Dr. Robertson and me.

Disregarding the obscenities and threats they contain, these letters revealed that their authors view Pat Robertson as virulently anti-Semitic and me as a hateful and unworthy member of the Jewish people for associating with him.

Let’s see what the interview was about and what Dr. Robertson actually said.  We were discussing my new book Business Secrets from the Bible which is a sequel to the best-seller from 2002, Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments for Making Money.

In this new book, I reveal forty business secrets from the Bible, but in a short interview, I focused on only a few examples.  One of which was that many start-up entrepreneurs mistakenly try to do everything themselves.  I explain that you should try to do those things that only you can do while hiring others to do everything else.

Attempting a humorous example, I observed that you seldom find Jews tinkering with their cars or mowing their lawns on weekends.  I did not say that there are no Jewish lawn landscapers or Jewish car mechanics.  That would be nonsense; like other successful groups, Judaism does not view any form of work as menial.

My point was that auto-mechanics should hire plumbers to fix their water pipes, and lawn maintenance specialists should hire auto-mechanics to fix their cars.  This frees each to become more competent in his own field and better able to serve his fellow humans.  I explained that not only would my mechanic repair my car more competently and more quickly than I could but that in the time he did so, I could probably make more money than he would charge me if I applied myself effectively to my own trade.

During the 700 Club interview I mentioned the Biblical foundations for this principle of the morality of specialization which western economics only grasped when Adam Smith wrote The Wealth of Nations at the end of the 18th century.

Responding to me, Dr. Robertson laughingly alluded to diamond polishing as a popular Jewish specialty.  This is to say that diamond polishers should not repair their own cars any more than auto mechanics should spend months polishing a raw diamond to present to their fiancées. Instead, they allow the diamond specialist to do the polishing while they pursue their own work.

There was nothing troubling in this conversation.  Anyone with even a passing knowledge of the industry knows that over 90% of the diamond business, whether in Manhattan, Antwerp, or Tel Aviv, is conducted by Jews.  So what?

There was nothing anti-Semitic in this conversation.  There was no suggestion that all Jews are rich.  I explicitly stated that obviously there are poor Jews but at the same time, it is hard to ignore that Jews are disproportionately represented among the Forbes Four Hundred and other listings of the financially successful.

The entire point of much I have written and published is that Jewish financial success is not racial and genetic but cultural. Furthermore I demonstrate how anybody can learn, understand and apply the cultural principles rooted in the Bible just as so many Jews have done over the centuries.

However, there are always a few bitter and hateful individuals.  People whose loathing of Judeo-Christian tradition and repugnance for Biblically based conservatives makes them abandon facts and focus with frenzied fanaticism on microscopic morsels they scoop up and transform into bogus evidence to justify their hate.

Pat Robertson, regularly honored and loved by Israelis for his remarkable generosity to the Jewish state has yet to be shown to have ever caused harm to any Jew.  It is a frighteningly dangerous precedent for Jews to abuse the terrible term anti-Semite in order to bludgeon those with whom they disagree into silence and submission.  It is not only dangerous but it is also stupid and evil.  Some of my fellow Jews should be ashamed of themselves.  I know I was embarrassed to see a friend so insulted by those to whom he has always been kind and gracious.

The only people left in the whole world who still openly like Jews and support Israel are America’s Evangelical Christians.  I sometimes worry that God might wonder whether we Jews really do deserve these good friends.

Meanwhile, let’s remember that we unnecessarily jeopardize relationships by failing to judge others the way we’d like to be judged.  Furthermore, those to whom you do extend the benefit of the doubt will never forget your goodness.

3,326 years ago, God judged the Egyptians while bringing the Israelites out of Egypt. Each year, we relive this Exodus by celebrating Passover, including refraining from work and earning money on the first and last two days. See the sidebar for next week’s details. Take advantage now of our remaining open hours to enjoy holiday savings on our Library Pack and Library Pack PLUS (including free shipping in the continental U.S.). These packages provide hours of stimulation, enjoyment and growth, improving your economic, family and social life at an unbeatable price. Enjoy!

COMPLETE LIBRARY PACK                                COMPLETE LIBRARY PACK PLUS

LibraryPackPlus with BSB, April 2014LibraryPackage with BSB, April 2014

Sign up to receive our AAJC newsletter and our free weekly teachings!

Sign Up Now!

Follow AAJC on its new Facebook Page!
X