OUR BATTLE... is not against flesh and blood

Today I spoke at our church about reality.  We looked at the hard truth of John 16:33 - In this world you will have trouble and we unpacked Ephesians 6:12 - For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 

Have a listen to the MP3 here or watch the video below.


Being a Woman in Business - Who Respects Men

The way you treat a man at work will hugely affect how well he will perform.  That is the bottom line.  If you want to get the most out of the men you either lead or work for you need to learn to treat them with respect.  Respect is a huge key to a better work life.  A man needs to know that he is enough and a man needs be respect.  These needs are so important that without them a man will be crippled.  If you can understand how to work with men then you will have more success than women who don’t understand a man’s needs.
     The Bible clearly states the needs of men and women in a marriage setting.  Ephesians 5:33 says, “Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”  Respect is their fundamental need and they need it both at home and in the work place. 
     When respect is absent a man will naturally show harshness and hostility in varying degrees.  Disrespecting a man emasculates him and you will not get the desired result as a woman in business if you go around emasculating men.  Respect powerfully motivates a man.  If you want to motivate the men in your workplace or a male client then show them respect on a regular basis. 

How to Show Respect:
It’s one thing to say that you should respect a man but for many women this simply doesn’t come naturally.  You will need to work at this.  Here are some practical tips for how you can show respect to the men in your world. 

Respect His Abilities
A woman who constantly second guesses a man is annoying to the man.  We, as woman, tend to always try to fix men and we even try and do this in the work place.  If you want a good working relationship with men give them credit where credit is due.  Boost their ego.  Mention how impressed you are with their abilities.  Say things that give them a lift and show respect for their abilities.  Even if you can do it ten times better, just show them respect for what they are able to do.
    Men need to be left to figure things out for themselves.  Once they have succeeded they will enjoy a great sense of accomplishment and will feel that they have conquered.  Men need to be ‘it’ much more than women, who need to be liked. 

Respect His Position
If you have male superiors then it is essential to show them respect for their position.  You don’t need to respect their character or their bad behaviour if they are up to no good, but you do need to respect their authority over you. 

Respect in Public
It appears to have become fashionable and funny to disrespect men in public.  Women laugh and make fun of men in front of their work colleagues, TV and movies make this sort of thing look funny but actually it deeply wounds the men.  Make every effort to show respect to men in public.   

Respect Sincerely
Cultivate a lifestyle of sincere respect for men.  Honour them and show them respect even behind their back.  Don’t become two-faced just so you can get what you want from them.  That is not at all what we are aiming for.  Some men are real jerks and you might think they don’t deserve respect, especially when they treat you poorly.  In these cases don’t respect what they do but intentionally respect what is good in them.  Soon enough they will become the person that you have respected and the silly jerkishness will fall away.

Women do not naturally respect men that we are familiar with.  Usually, we respect the man we meet at first but as soon as familiarity creeps in we lose that respect.  It is at this point that we need to continue showing respect for him out of our own free will.  In fact, it is in our sinful nature to disrespect men and to think we know better in most cases but you should not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement.  
    I am fully expecting an uproar about this section but may I ask that before you get upset please observe yourself.  Take time to see how you truly feel about the men your work with and observe how you treat them.  More often than not I suspect you will find that deep down inside you do not respect them and it is likely that you are not communicating respect to them.  Don’t be upset with me, judge yourself soberly and if it’s not true for you then well done and if it is then made the necessary changes. 

Find out more about Being a Woman in Business here or use this material to host your own Girl's Night.  We also have a monthly business networking event called Women in Business, find our more here


Being a Mother - Who Loves

Above all things I believe in love. Love is like oxygen. Love is a many-splendored thing. Love lifts us up where we belong. All you need is love!  -  Christian, Moulin Rouge (2001)

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
-  The Bible, Romans 5:8

We often speak of the need to love our spouse, to love our neighbours and to love God.  Love is the subject or many songs, movies and advertising billboards.  Love truly is all around us and God Himself is love.  When we speak of loving our children most of us will have warm fuzzy feelings and think of all the lovely kisses and cuddles that we share with our precious children.  Warm fuzzy feelings are good and a necessary part of life but love is so much more than that. 

In Titus 2:4-5 the older women were instructed to teach the young women to love their husbands and to love their children.  The Greek word philoteknos is used in the original Bible text in this verse and refers to mothers loving their children.  It is specifically maternal love.  Motherly love is a special sort of love that God has given us women to enable us to take good care of our children. 
    The fact that the older women were told to teach the younger women to love their children means that there are things to be learned too.  Love is so much more than a feeling and most certainly much more than a cuddle.  I hope that together we can learn how to love our children in a way that is pleasing to God.
    True love is clearly defined in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.  This is the standard for loving anyone, including your children.  Have a read through the list of love attributes and measure yourself against them.  Do you truly love your children?

Love is patient
Love is kind
Love is not envious
Love is not boastful
Love is not proud
Love is not rude
Love is not selfish
Love is not provoked
Love keeps no record of wrongs
Love thinks no evil
Love does not rejoice in iniquity
Love rejoices in the truth
Love bears all things
Love believes all things
Love hopes all things
Love endures all things.
Love never fails    

I fall short and I am sure you do too.  Loving is not a warm fuzzy feeling but hard work.  Loving pays a price to love.  Loving takes commitment and dedication.  If we can do our best to truly love our children then they in turn will learn how to give love to others.  We all fall short, only God is capable of loving perfectly, not missing one thing on the list ever, not even for one minute of a day. 
    We cannot love so perfectly but that doesn’t mean we can’t try.  When last did you try and be patient with your child or not assume the worst of them.  Were you provoked by your rude teenager or rude to your nine year old who is getting cheeky?  Yes of course children push us to our limits and I know how difficult loving an unkind teenager can be but we don’t do it for them.  We do it to please God.  Whenever I know I have failed in loving my children the first thing I do is apologise to God because I know that they are very precious to Him.  The second thing I do is apologise to my children and tell them that I was wrong and that they don’t deserve to be treated that way.  
     You see, as parents we reflect the love of God to our children.  They will learn what love is through us.  They will learn how to treat others lovingly by imitating us.  Their ability to give and receive love will stem from how we loved them.    
    I am often ashamed when I see my children be rude or impatient or unkind.  It is clear where they got it from.  More often than not it is from my bad example.  Even though I try my best to be loving, patient, kind and all the things on the list, they will imitate the one time I got it wrong!  I know I need help.  I know that this sort of love is divine and so I ask God for His love to be inside of me so that when I love I can access His prefect love which is everything on the list all of the time.   Like you, I want to love my children as best I can and teach younger mothers how to love their children too.  If that is the only thing we work on as a mother that’s alright because love never fails.

Find out more about Being a Mother here or use this material to host your own Girl's Night or Mum's Group.


Nature's Way - Oils

Baby oil, along with other common household oils for massage, hair, and bath, essential oils, eucalyptus and camphor oils, are responsible for at least 3000 reported ingestion accidents to young children every year in Australia.
    Toxicologist Dr Naren Gunja from NSW Poisons Information Centre at Westmead Hospital says most parents don't realise the danger.  "Once the child has ingested it depending on how much they ingest then it could be too late. Over a period of time, the child can die," says Dr Gunja. "It is a gradual process that can take several days, two weeks to die."

Mineral Oils
White oil, mineral oil and more commonly known as baby oil when we buy it for our little ones, is a petroleum by-product.  I don’t know about you but I don’t feel so good about rubbing anything from petrol all over my body.  This oil is used on its own or as a base for many other cosmetic products.  It has been shown to increase the risk of cancer and is also know to trigger asthma. 
     This mineral oil coats the skin like clingfilm which inhibits its ability to breathe and absorb moisture or nutrition.  Even though you might use oil to keep our skin from drying out you will find over a period of time that it actually causes dryness and irritation and will compound the very problems you were trying to fix.   When using these oils you will disrupt the skin's natural immune barrier as well as its ability to release toxins.  The result is blocked pores which can lead to spots or acne and other skin disorders.   It will also slow down the skins normal functions and cell development which will cause your skin to age prematurely. 

Plant Oils
Plant oils that we use in our kitchen on our body are either heat extracted oils, expeller pressed or cold pressed oils.  You would think that because it is a plant based oil that it will be safer for you than mineral oils.  Sadly, even these oils can be dangers so you need to choose wisely before eating or applying these oils to your body.  There are three methods of extracting vegetable oils from nuts, grains, beans, seeds or olives: heat extracted oils, expeller pressed oils and cold pressed oils.  Cold pressed oils are the most natural oils to use.  You will usually find the cold pressed oils much more expensive than heat extracted or expeller pressed oils so if you are not sure the price will definitely be a giveaway.
Heat Extracted Oils
Extracting oil with this method is done by heating up the raw materials and possibly even adding chemicals to help extract more oil.  Heat pressing increases the yielded quantity of oil which is why cold pressed oils are more expensive than heat pressed oils.
    The introduction of heat and chemicals to the process of making oil degrades their flavour, nutritional value and colour.  Oils are composed of long-chain fatty acids and these are damaged by heat extraction method.  Little pieces break off the long-chain fatty acid when heated and are toxic to the body. 
    A solvent is often added to assist with the extraction.  Usually a petroleum by-product like Hexane, Pentane, Heptane is used and then removed again afterwards by distillation.

Expeller Pressed Oils
Expeller pressing is a mechanical method for extracting oil from raw materials.  This uses a screw or continuous press with a constantly rotating worm shaft where raw material goes in one end and is put under continuous pressure and discharged at the other end, producing oil.  It is during this process that temperatures can rise up to 250 °C as a result of friction.  Expeller pressed oil is similar to cold pressed oil in that neither process involves the use of any chemicals.  The difference between expeller pressing and the cold press method is heat.  Both methods use presses but cold pressed is done in a temperature-controlled setting.

Cold Pressed Oils
Cold pressing is an ancient method and yields the best quality oil. The only two materials that will yield enough oil without requiring heat are sesame seeds and olives.  These oils are the most natural form of oil have great colour, odour and flavour.  If oil has been extracted by hydraulic press but has been heated prior to pressing, he will refer to it as pressed, not cold pressed so read your labels carefully.  When choosing oil you need extra virgin cold pressed oil.  Unrefined is always best as well as undistilled.    

Nature’s Way Oils
Extra virgin cold pressed oils are the only oils that you should be consuming or using on your body.   

Choosing Your Oil 
  • Light - Olive oil can become rancid from exposure to light and heat, so choose an olive oil that comes in a dark tinted glass bottle.
  • Temperature – Buy olive oil that has been kept in cool area, away from any direct or indirect contact with heat.  Cold pressed extra virgin olive oil is always best.
  • Acidity – Extra virgin olive oil can contain up to 0.8% of free acidity.  Any more than that is not extra virgin.
  • Purity – This term can be misleading.  You do not want pure olive oil, this means that is a mixture of olive oils or has been purified by one of many methods that strips the oil of it nutrients.  Cloudy olive oil is a good sign not a bad sign.

Sadly, to see the words "extra virgin olive oil" on the label of a bottle does not guarantee that you are getting extra virgin olive oil.  You really need to know what you are looking for, the oil you are looking for is not commonly found and is not cheap. 

Find out more about Nature's Way here.