Friday, October 30, 2009

Most of the big spenders are young professionals, married and singles, and the wealthy

Recession hits Singapore unevenly
Insight Down South
Saturday October 31, 2009

While the rich few rejoice, many Singaporeans are making do quietly.

YOUNG Singaporeans, who were raised in an era of affluence, have been indulging in a spending binge that appears out of line with economic realities.

The splurge, which followed signs of a mild recovery in recent weeks, resulted in a strong price run-up in stocks, properties and cars, taking many economists by surprise.

It was so strong that people were ironically fearful of an asset bubble building up during a weak economy. This apparent over-indulgence appears to ignore repeated warnings from government leaders and economists that more job cuts are in store and the recession could return.

One of its sovereign wealth funds, Temasek Holdings, said that as far as it was concerned, Singapore is still in crisis.

Despite these, expensive restaurants are once again packed with weekend diners and private clubs, once quiet, are again buzzing.

Most of the big spenders are young professionals, married and singles, and the wealthy. Their buying has caused prices of resale public flats and private condominiums to soar.

And despite the downturn, car usage in Singapore – one of the costliest in the world – has risen at the expense of public transport.

Analysts have, however, pointed out that the consumer splashing is unlikely to last and is only one aspect of life in a recession.

It is confined largely to the upper-middle class and irrationally exuberant professionals, who appear unfazed by the severity of it all.

Growing up in a golden era with years of news screaming about more good times ahead, many Singaporeans seem oblivious to their country’s vulnerability to world turmoil.

The bigger story is of a struggling middle class (some two-thirds of the population) that is too badly affected to be able to buy luxury items.

When I mentioned it to an old friend, a businessman and former human resource manager, he said the wider picture is different.

For the majority of workers, jobs have been lost and take-home pay diminished.

Almost all Singaporeans, rich and poor, have lost out in the recession, the worst being the poorer class.

“I admire these people very much. Mostly old and little skilled, they struggle on silently. No time to talk about their plight, just carry on working,” he said.

During the past two years, almost every Singaporean had to dip into his own savings to sustain himself, like the government did with its reserves in an effort to protect jobs.

The picture is different for the rich, whose number has been growing substantially through immigration.

The crisis has decimated fortunes, but the bulk of high-asset owners have enough financial muscle (again like the country itself) to ride out the storm or even prosper from it.

It is largely the spending habit of this group that fuelled the recent indulgence.

Years later, if writers looked back at the current severe downturn to ask what lasting impact the global crisis had on this society, one answer would be the erosion of the middle class.

The trend was first detected in Japan, and to a lesser extent in Hong Kong and Taiwan, as these middle-class societies prospered.

The theory, known as the M-shaped society, was enunciated by Japanese strategist Kenichi Ohmae. He observed that in Japan’s “M-shape” class distribution, very few middle-class people may climb up the ladder into the upper class, while the others gradually sank to the lower classes.

These people suffered a deterioration in living standards, faced the threat of unemployment, or their average salary was dropping, he said. Gradually, they could only live the way the lower classes lived: taking the bus instead of driving their own car, cutting their budget for meals instead of dining at better restaurants, and spending less on consumer goods.

Kenichi said all this might take place while the economy enjoyed remarkable growth and overall wages rose. However, the wealth increase may concentrate in the pockets of the very few rich people in society.

The masses cannot benefit from the growth, and their living standard goes into decline. For many middle-class Singaporeans, these sound uncomfortably like home.

The government, which relies on middle-class voters to keep itself in power, has vowed to make the closure of the economic gap a national priority.

It is a doubly tough job given the economic crisis which is widening – rather than narrowing – the differences. Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew seems to find this gap an inevitable feature here.

Singapore has the second-highest income gap with a Gini score of 42.5 among developed economies after Hong Kong, according to the UN Development Programme report,

(The Gini Coefficient index measures the income gap between the poor and the rich in any country with zero denoting absolute equality.)

Lee was speaking at a forum with undergraduates when he rejected a minimum wage for workers to narrow this gap, saying it was more important to keep jobs.

“Never mind your Gini coefficient,” he said. “If you don’t have a job you get zero against those with jobs.” In other words it is better to have a job with lower pay than no job.

Such remarks would obviously be more acceptable, albeit grudgingly, to the previous generation of poorer citizens than the current one.

It was such logic that helped turn Singapore into the richest country in South-east Asia, with a per capita GDP income rising steadily in four decades to S$53,192 (RM130,048) in 2008.

But in today’s high-cost city with Singaporeans finding it harder and harder to cope with the crisis, his words have neither helped nor dispelled many concerns.

Fasting Part 4

What Physical Effects to Expect

By Dr. Bill Bright

Although fasting can be an indescribable blessing, it is not always easy for everyone. In this time of discipline, self-sacrifice and reflection, do not be surprised if you experience mental and physical discomforts.

To begin, you may experience some inner conflict when you deny yourself the pleasure of eating delicious food. Any sort of fast may sometimes leave you feeling impatient and irritable. During a 3-day fast, this struggle can intensify toward the end of the second day. That seems to be a favorite time for the "self" to rise up and say, "This is as far as I want to go. I have done enough."

Physical Effect

Hunger Pangs: These are greatest usually during the first three days of the fast. Your body is adjusting from using the food in your digestive tract (which remains about three days) to consuming stored fats.

Suggested Relief:

Psyllium Bulk: Help eliminate hunger pangs and also aids in cleansing the body. Several capsules can be taken throughout the day with plenty of water.

Silymarin tablets may also be helpful, for they are believed to protect and enhance the cleansing of the liver.

Physical Effect

Coldness, bad breath and heightened body odor, changes in elimination (constipation or diarrhea), light-headedness, changes in sleeping and dreaming patterns, aches and pains.

A white-coated tongue at the beginning of a fast may be a part of the body's pattern of throwing off toxins.

Also expect to go the the bathroom often (you will be drinking lots of water!)

Suggested Relief

After the first two weeks of an extended fast, many of these symptoms subside. Continuing aches in a certain area of the body usually means elimination of fatty tissue is going on in that area, which is not harmful. However, any extensive pain should be examined immediately.


Physical Effect
Headaches or stomachaches may be a result of salt, sugar, or caffeine withdrawal.

Suggested Relief
Eliminating those items from your diet prior to fasting is the best way to avoid these pains.

Physical Effect
Lower back pain may indicate that you are dehydrating

Suggested Relief
Drink more fluids

Physical Effect
Dizziness may be caused by a sudden change in position, such as rising suddenly from a chair.

Suggested Relief
Stop for a second or two, then recover. Move slowly. (A word of caution: these conditions may be symptoms of other problems requiring medical attention).

Physical Effect
Minor fasting discomfort

Suggested Relief
Take one teaspoon of psyllium seed powder morning and evening. Mixed in lukewarm water, it becomes like Jell-O. This powder will hasten the elimination of toxins from your colon and help to prevent headaches and dizziness for most healthy people. Alfalfa tablets can help control bad breath and cleanse the system. Two tablets at a time can be taken several times a day.

In my desire to be absolutely faithful to my first 40-day fast, I stopped taking my usual vitamins and minerals. However during subsequent fasts, I have felt strongly impressed to continue my vitamin and herbal therapy and also using psyllium. I do this to keep my "temple" healthy while continuing to deny myself the pleasure of eating solid food.

During your fast, you may have your struggles, discomforts, spiritual victories, and failures. In the morning you may feel like you are on top of the world, but by evening you may be wrestling with the flesh-sorely tempted to raid the refrigerator and counting how many more days are left in your fast. This is especially true if you are new at fasting. To counteract temptations like these, take extra time with the Lord to spend with God. Step outside for fresh air and a moderate walk of a mile or two, and talk to the Lord as you walk along. And in the process always keep on sipping water or juice frequently during your waking hours.

How to Finish Your Fast in a Healthy Way

All the experts agree that "breaking the fast" is the critical phase of fasting. While your body is in the resting mode, your stomach shrinks and your intestines become idle, so solid food must be re-introduced very slowly to avoid kidney failure or digestive distress. In fact, after a 40-day fast, you should make a careful transition for at least three days before returning to eating meats or fats or normal foods.

Further, if you end your fast gradually, the beneficial physical and spiritual effects will linger for days. But if you rush into solid foods, you may lose much of your deep sense of peace and experience physical problems such as diarrhea, sickness, fainting, and frankly even death in some cases, due to shock!

Dr. Paul Bragg and his daughter Patricia have conducted fasting clinics for many years. Their book, The Miracle of Fasting, gives a specific daily food plan for breaking a 7-day fast that could be adapted and stretched out over several more days for a 40-day fast.

Breaking a Seven-Day Fast
5 o'clock as you end your 7th day of the fast

Peal four or five medium-sized tomatoes - cut them up, bring them to a boil and then turn off the heat. When they are cool enough to eat, have as many as you desire.

Morning of the 8th day

Salad of grated carrots and grated cabbage, with half an orange squeezed over it.
Bowl of steamed greens and pealed tomatoes (spinach, Swiss chard, or mustard greens). Bring the greens to a boil, then turn off the heat.

You may eat two slices of 100 percent whole-wheat bread, which has been toasted until it is thoroughly dry-this is called "Melba toast." After it has been cooled, the toast should be so dry that it would powder if you squeezed it in the palm of your hand. As I have stated, this first food should be in the morning.

During the day, you may have all the distilled water you wish to drink.

For dinner, you may have a salad of grated carrots, chopped celery and cabbage, with orange juice for dressing. This will be followed by two cooked vegetables, one such as spinach, kale, shard, or mustard greens, and one such as string beans, carrots, steamed celery, okra, or squash. You may have two pieces of whole-grain "Melba toast." These meals are not to contain oils of any kind.

Morning of the 9th day

You may have a dish of any kind of fresh fruit, such as banana, pineapple, orange, sliced grapefruit, or sliced apples. You may sprinkle this with two tablespoonfuls of raw wheat germ, and sweeten it with honey, but not over one tablespoonful
At noon you may have a salad of grated carrots, cabbage, and celery, with one cooked vegetable and one slice of "Melba toast."

At dinner you may have a salad dish of lettuce, watercress, parsley, and tomatoes, and two cooked vegetables.

Most experts agree that breaking a fast with vegetables, either steamed or raw, is best. Your stomach is smaller now, so eat lightly. Stop before you feel full. Stay away from starches like pastas, potatoes, rice, or bread (except for "Melba toast") for at least a week. Also avoid meats, dairy products, and any fats or oils for a week or more. Introduce them very slowly and in small amounts.

Extended fasts are not the only fasts which need to be ended with caution. Even a 3-day fast requires reasonable precautions. It is wise to start with a little soup -- something thin and nourishing such as vegetable broth made from onion, celery, potatoes, and carrots -- and fresh fruits such as watermelon and cantaloupe.

In terms of resuming any sort of exercise routine, the advice is the same. Start out slowly, allowing time for your body to re-adjust to its usual regime.

Fasting Part 3

How to Prepare Yourself Spiritually and Physically

By Dr. Bill Bright

Spiritual Preparation

In preparation for this special time with God, I strongly urge you to examine your heart, and detect any unconfessed sin. Scripture records that God always requires His people to repent of their sins before He will hear their prayers. King David said:

Come and hear, all of you who reverence the Lord, and I will tell you what he did for me: For I cried to him for help, with praises ready on my tongue. He would not have listened if I had not confessed my sins. But he listened! He heard my prayer! He paid attention to it!

Blessed be God who didn't turn away when I was praying, and didn't refuse me his kindness and love. (Psalm 66:16-20)

In your prayers, confess not only obvious sins, but less obvious ones as well. The sins of omission as well as the sins of commission experiences. These may be experiences leaving your first love for our Lord: worldly-mindedness, self-centeredness, spiritual indifference, and unwillingness to share your faith in Christ with others, not spending sufficient time in God's Word and in prayer, a poor relationship with your spouse, your children, your pastor, or other members of your church.

Another great way to prepare for your fast is to practice what I call "Spiritual Breathing." The concept is simple, but it has changed my own life and that of millions of others.

Like physical breathing, Spiritual Breathing is a process of exhaling the impure and inhaling the pure. If you knowingly sin, breathe spiritually to restore the fullness of God's Holy Spirit in your life. You exhale by confessing your sins immediately when you become aware of them, and you inhale by inviting the Holy Spirit to re-take control of your life. As an act of faith, trust Him to empower you. During the fast, spiritual breathing-constant reliance on the Holy Spirit-will enable you to resist temptation, not only to sin but to abandon your fast.

Physical Perparation

Although fasting is primarily a spiritual discipline, it begins in the physical realm. You should not fast without specific physical preparation.

If you plan on fasting for several days, you will find it helpful to begin by eating smaller meals before you abstain altogether. Resist the urge to have that "last big feast" before the fast. Cutting down on your meals a few days before you begin the fast will signal your mind, stomach, and appetite that less food is acceptable.

Some health professionals suggest eating only raw foods for two days before starting a fast. I also recommend weaning yourself off caffeine and sugar products to ease your initial hunger or discomfort at the early stages of your fast.

How to Manage Your Schedule While Fasting

How long you fast, the kind of fast you undertake, and how you adjust your work schedule depends mostly on your occupation. Persons with office jobs, pastors, or homemakers may find it easier to continue their duties and fast for longer periods of time. In fact, on the basis of my personal experience, worldwide travels and the many letters, which I have received, I am confident that many, many thousands of pastors and lay men and women have already completed a 40-day fast!

Though there are many who engage in strenuous physical labor and have enjoyed their extended fast, if you are so engaged, you may wish to fast only one or more days of the week, limiting yourselves to partial fasting if you are so engaged. Or you may look to weekends as the prime time to abstain from food. Remember, too, fasting during major holidays is not always a good idea. Families may be inconvenienced, and temptations to eat can be overwhelming.

Reasons for schedule adjustments, especially during an extended fast, are two-fold...

The first is physical. Throughout your fast, you may feel somewhat weaker than normal. During the first few days, you may feel tired and irritable. Lightening your workload and cutting down on strenuous exercise would be a very good idea to maintain your health and your morale.

The second reason is spiritual. Fasting is not just denying yourself food. It is exchanging the needs of the physical body for those of the spiritual. Long times of prayer and reading God's Word will be very essential if you are to enter into a more intimate communion with God to maintain your fast to its completion. While fasting, if you dissipate your energy on numerous errands or busy-work to the neglect of spending special time with God, you will starve both physically and spiritually. You will find yourself becoming discouraged and frustrated with your fast instead of being benefited and uplifted and blessed. I don't want that to happen to you.

The more time you spend with God in fellowship, worship, and adoration of Him, and the more you read and meditate upon His Word, the greater your effectiveness will be in prayer and the more meaningful your fast will be. So I encourage you to arrange your schedule accordingly!

Dealing With the Responses of Friends and Loved Ones

Many people are reluctant to tell others that they are fasting so they will avoid the sin of the Pharisees: fasting just to gain recognition for themselves. I strongly believe that attitude is a result of a wrong interpretation of our Lord's teaching and that it is a trick of the enemy who does not want us to fast, nor to share with your loved ones, neighbors and friends the benefits of fasting.

By isolating ourselves from the support of other Christians, we will be more susceptible to doubts and negative influences (both human and demonic). We need the prayer shield of our Christian friends and family members to help us continue when we feel alone and when the enemy tempts us to give up Our Lord as he did Jesus Christ. Eventually, people will notice you are not eating.

However, I have found that unless you see them daily, they do not consider your skipped meal much of a concern. If you are asked, nonbelievers may be satisfied by such a brief answer as, "I have other plans for lunch today." Or Christians should be satisfied when you answer that you are fasting today.

If friends and family express concern for your health, ease their fears by telling them that you will stop fasting the moment you feel you are harming your body or if the Lord leads you to end your fast. Tell them you are fasting under your doctor's care, which I urge you to do if you have any question concerning your health.

There is usually no reason for telling strangers or casual acquaintances that you are fasting. If you do, they may subject you to a lot of questions that you may not want to answer. But in any case, use your best judgment and the Lord's leading in telling people about your fast.

How To Make Your Spiritual Experience the Best it Can Be

Receiving God's best blessing from a fast requires solid commitment. Arranging special time each day with God is absolutely crucial in attaining intimate communion with the Father. You must devote yourself to seeking God's face, even (and especially) during those times in which you feel weak, vulnerable, or irritable. Read His Word and pray during what were mealtimes. Meditate on Him when you awake in the night. Sing praises to Him whenever you please. Focus on your Heavenly Father and make every act one of praise and worship. God will enable you to experience His command to "pray without ceasing" as you seek His presence.

As you enter this time of heightened spiritual devotion, be aware that Satan will do everything he can to pull you away from your prayer and Bible reading time. When you feel the enemy trying to discourage you, immediately go to God in prayer and ask Him to strengthen your resolve in the face of difficulties and temptations.

The enemy makes you a target because he knows that fasting is the most powerful of all Christian disciplines and that God may have something very special to show you as you wait upon Him and seek His face. Satan does not want you to grow in your faith, and will do anything from making you hungry and grumpy to bringing up trouble in your family or at work to stop you. Make prayer your shield against such attacks.

My major reason for fasting is for personal revival, revival for our nation, for the world and for the fulfillment of the Great Commission by the end of the year 2000. But praying for our own needs and interceding for others are also important reasons to fast and pray. Bring your personal needs before the Lord, intercede for your loved ones, your friends, your church, your pastor, your community, your nation, and the world. By your prayers of humility, as you fast, you will help the Great Commission be fulfilled.

However, do not become so caught up in praying for yourself and others that you forget about simply reverencing and praising God. True spiritual fasting focuses on God. Center your total being on Him, your attitudes, your actions, your motives, desires, and words. This can only take place if God and His Holy Spirit are at the center of our attention. Confess your sins as the Holy Spirit brings them to your attention and continue to focus on God and God alone so that your prayers may be powerful and effective.

A renewed closeness with God and a greater sensitivity to spiritual things are usually the results of a fast. Do not be disappointed if you do not have a "mountaintop experience," as some do. Many people who have successfully completed extended fasts tell of feeling a nearness to God that they have never before known, but others who have honestly sought His face report no particular outward results at all. For others, their fast was physically, emotionally, and spiritually grueling, but they knew they had been called by God to fast, and they completed the fast unto Him as an act of worship; God honored that commitment.

Your motive in fasting must be to glorify God, not to have an emotional experience, and not to attain personal happiness. When your motives are right, God will honor your seeking heart and bless your time with Him in a very special way.

How to Maintain Nutritional Balance and Health From Beginning to End

I know the prospect of going without food for an extended period of time may be of concern to some. But there are ways to ensure that your body is getting the nutrients it needs so you can remain safe and healthy during your fast.

For an extended fast, I recommend water and fruit and vegetable juices. The natural sugars in juices provide energy, and the taste and strength are motivational to continue your fast. Try to drink fresh juices, if possible. Off-the-shelf juice products are acceptable, as long as they are 100% juice with no sugar or other additives.

If you are beginning a juice fast, there are certain juices you may wish to avoid and certain ones that are especially beneficial. Because of their acid content, most nutritionists do not advise orange or tomato juice (these are better tolerated if mixed with equal portions of water). The best juices are fresh carrot, grape, celery, apple, cabbage, or beet. They also recommend "green drinks" made from green leafy vegetables because they are excellent "de-toxifiers."

Fruit juices are "cleansers" and are best taken in the morning. Since vegetable juices are "restorers" and "builders," they are best taken in the afternoon.

I usually dedicate a portion of my 40-day fast to a special liquid formula, which I have found to be effective over many years. A few recipes and my comments are on this page, as well as a helpful schedule.

One gallon distilled water
1-1/2 cup lemon juice
3/4-cup pure maple syrup
1/4-teaspoon cayenne pepper.

The lemon juice adds flavor and vitamin C, the maple syrup provides energy, and the cayenne pepper -- an herb -- acts to open small blood vessels which, I believe, helps the body as it cleanses itself of stored toxins. (A word of caution: although I use this formula with no ill effects, cayenne pepper could cause severe physical reactions in persons with a specific allergy to this herb.)
My favorite juice is a mixture of 100% pure white grape juice and peach juice. The juice is available in frozen cans under the Welch label. Most knowledgeable nutritionists recommend:

Watermelon -- just put it in the blender without adding water
Fresh apple juice
Green juice -- blend celery, romaine lettuce, and carrots in equal proportions. (Vegetable juices like this one are important, for they supply the electrolytes necessary for proper heart function!)
Some nutritionists recommend warm broth, especially if you live in a colder climate. You may find their recipes helpful:

Boil sliced potatoes, carrots, and celery in water.
Do not add salt.
After about a half-hour, drain off the water and drink.
Gently boil three carrots, two stalks of celery, one turnip, two beats, a half head of cabbage, a quarter of a bunch of parsley, a quarter of an onion, and a half clove of garlic
Drain off the broth and drink up to two or three times daily.
You may find the following daily schedule helpful during your fast. I recommend you print it and keep it handy throughout your fast.

5:00 a.m. - 8:00 a.m.

Fruit juices, preferably freshly squeezed or blended, diluted in 50 percent distilled water if the fruit is acid. Orange, apple, pear, grapefruit, papaya, grape, peach or other fruits are good.

10:30 a.m. - noon

Green vegetable juice made from lettuce, celery, and carrots in three equal parts.

2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Herb tea with a drop of honey. Make sure that it is not black tea or tea with a stimulant.

6:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Broth from boiled potatoes, celery, and carrots (no salt).

I suggest that you do not drink milk because it is a pure food and therefore a violation of the fast. Any product containing protein or fat, such as milk or soy-based drinks, should be avoided. These products will restart the digestion cycle and you will again feel hunger pangs. Also, for health reasons, stay away from caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea, or cola. Because caffeine is a stimulant, it has a more powerful effect on your nervous system when you abstain from food. This works both against the physical and spiritual aspects of the fast.

Another key factor in maintaining optimum health during a fast is to limit your physical activity. Exercise only moderately, and rest as much as your schedule will permit (this especially applies to extended fasts). Short naps are helpful as well. Walking a mile or two each day at a moderate pace is acceptable for a person in good health, and on a juice fast. However, no one on a water fast should exercise without the supervision of a fasting specialist.

The most important consideration in fasting is your motive

How To Fast Safely

By Dr. Bill Bright

As you begin your fast, you may hear from concerned loved ones and friends who urge you to protect your health. And they are right. You should protect your health. But I assure you, if done properly, fasting will not only prove to be a spiritual blessing, but physical blessing as well.

By all means, consult your doctor before you begin your fast. But, be aware that many doctors have not been trained in this area and so their understanding is limited. Even so, it would be wise to ask your doctor for a physical exam to make sure you are in good health. You may have a physical problem that would make fasting unwise or dangerous. Also, if you are under any type of medication, make sure you talk to your doctor before changing your regime. Prudence and caution are in order.

When you are assured that you are in good health, you are ready to begin your fast. Follow the guidelines in the Physical Preparations and Maintaining Nutritional Balance and Health parts of this website.

In spite of the absolute safety and benefits of fasting, there are certain persons who should NEVER fast without professional supervision. For example:

1. Persons who are physically too thin or emaciated.
2. Persons who are prone to anorexia, bulimia, or other behavioral disorders.
3. Those who suffer weakness or anemia.
4. Persons who have tumors, bleeding ulcers, cancer, blood diseases, or who have heart disease.
5. Those who suffer chronic problems with kidneys, liver, lungs, heart, or other important organs.
6. Individuals who take insulin for diabetes, or suffer any other blood sugar problem such as hyperglycemia.
7. Women who are pregnant or nursing.

How Long and What Type of Fast is Right for You

If you have never fasted before, I applaud your present interest! Fasting has been a major emphasis in the lives of many of the great spiritual leaders throughout history. John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist denomination, fasted every Wednesday and Friday and required all of his clergy to do the same. Effective ministers of God from the apostle Paul to Martin Luther to John Calvin made it a continual part of their walks with God.

None of those men had a "formula fast" that was the only "right" way. Fasting is about the condition of the heart, not the number of days. Each time that I have fasted for forty days, it was because I felt impressed by God to do so.

So, start slowly. Fast for one meal a day, or one day a week, or one week a month. Build up your spiritual muscles so that you will be prepared in a period of several months to fast for an extended 40 day period.

The Bible Recounts Primarily Two Types of Fasts

A partial fast is described in the book of Daniel. Although the water fast seemed to be the custom of the prophet, there was a three-week period in which he only abstained from "delicacies," meat, and wine (Daniel 10:3).

The two primary types mentioned in the Bible are the "absolute" and "supernatural absolute" fasts. These are total fasts-no food (solid or liquid) and no water. Paul went on an absolute fast for three days following his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:9). Moses and Elijah engaged in what must be considered a supernatural absolute fast of forty days (Deuteronomy 9:9; I Kings 19:8).

So, I strongly advice you to drink plenty of liquids. Obviously, if God leads you to undertake an absolute fast, you should obey. If so, be certain, without doubt, that God is leading you.

Water-only fasts that last for more than several days need to be undertaken with complete rest and under medical supervision because of the extreme danger of over-toxification, breakdown of vital body tissues, and loss of electrolytes.

I personally recommend and practice water and juice fasting, especially if you are going to fast for an extended period of time. This type of fast will provide you with more energy than absolute or water-only fasts and still lead you into the humbling experience of denying your desire for solid food that you can chew.

When it comes to making your final decision about what type of fast is right for you, the best advise I can give you is to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. He will guide your heart and mind as to what is best for you. Remember, the most important consideration in fasting is your motive. Why are you fasting? To seek something personally from God's hand or to seek His face in worship, praise and thanksgiving?

Through fasting and prayer, the Holy Spirit can transform your life!

Your Personal Guide to Fasting and Prayer

By Dr. Bill Bright

Fasting is the most powerful spiritual discipline of all the Christian disciplines. Through fasting and prayer, the Holy Spirit can transform your life.

Fasting and prayer can also work on a much grander scale. According to Scripture, personal experience and observation, I am convinced that when God's people fast with a proper Biblical motive-seeking God's face not His hand-with a broken, repentant, and contrite spirit, God will hear from heaven and heal our lives, our churches, our communities, our nation and world. Fasting and prayer can bring about revival - a change in the direction of our nation, the nations of earth and the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

The awesome power can be released through you as you fast through the enabling of the Holy Spirit.

Fasting is one of the most neglected spiritual admonitions. In fact, it has been ignored for so long that it is difficult to find information on the "how-to's" of this life-changing experience. When I first undertook an extended fast, I had a difficult time finding information on the nature of a Biblical fast, how to start, what to expect physically and spiritually, and how to terminate a fast.

These pages are designed to answer your practical questions about fasting and ease any concerns you might have. In this series, you will learn:

Why you should fast
How to fast safely
How long and what type of fast is right for you
How to prepare yourself spiritually and physically
How to manage your schedule while fasting
How to deal with the responses of friends and loved ones
How to make your spiritual experience the best it can be
How to maintain nutritional balance and health from beginning to end (including specific juice and broth recipes)
What physical benefits to expect
How to finish your fast and return to your normal schedule in a HEALTHY way

I want to be of help to you so I will be speaking to you from these pages at various points in the study. I have completed five 40-day fasts. I want to share with you what I have learned and what has helped me. Whether you hold a 1-day fast or an extended 40-day fast, I pray that our Lord's most wonderful love and blessings will be poured out on you as you take this exciting step of faith.

Why You Should Fast

If you do not already know of the power and importance of fasting, here are some very important facts:

1. Fasting was an expected discipline in both the Old and New Testament eras. For example, Moses fasted at least two recorded forty-day periods. Jesus fasted 40 days and reminded His followers to fast, "when you fast," not if you fast.

2. Fasting and prayer can restore the loss of the "first love" for your Lord and result in a more intimate relationship with Christ.

3. Fasting is a biblical way to truly humble yourself in the sight of God (Psalm 35:13; Ezra 8:21). King David said, "I humble myself through fasting."

4. Fasting enables the Holy Spirit to reveal your true spiritual condition, resulting in brokenness, repentance, and a transformed life.

5. The Holy Spirit will quicken the Word of God in your heart and His truth will become more meaningful to you!

6. Fasting can transform your prayer life into a richer and more personal experience.
Fasting can result in a dynamic personal revival in your own life-and make you a channel of revival to others.

7. Fasting and prayer are the only disciplines that fulfill the requirements of II Chronicles 7:14: "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

If you fast, you will find yourself being humbled as I did. You will discover more time to pray and seek God's face. And as He leads you to recognize and repent of unconfessed sin, you will experience special blessings from God.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

ISAIAH 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil

Awards for reps who take single mums as 2nd wives!

Published: Wednesday October 28, 2009 MYT 3:53:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday October 28, 2009 MYT 4:10:09 PM

KOTA BARU: Kelantan Women, Family and Health committee chairman Wan Ubaidah Omar suggested that awards be given to assemblymen for marrying single mothers should they decide to take another wife.

Her suggestion drew support from backbenchers -- all of them men -- who started thumping their palms on the table at the Kelantan State Assembly on Wednesday.

She said the assemblymen could increase their quota to help single mothers with young children and it would help greatly if the assemblymen assisted by marrying them.

Her statement prompted house speaker Nassuruddin Daud to ask Wan Ubaidah to explain the word “quota.”

“What I meant by quota is the number of wives; awards should be given to learned House members who take the lead in doing this and also for those who have already married single mothers.

“This would help to reduce the number of single mothers in the state,” she said in reply to a question by Hassan Mahmood (PAS-Tawang), who had asked what was being done to reduce the number of divorce cases and what efforts were being taken by the state government to help single mothers.

To a supplementary question, Wan Ubaidah said that based on state records, there were 16,500-registered single mothers below the age of 60 in Kelantan and this figure did not include those who had been left in the lurch by their husbands.

She said one dilemma facing some single mothers in Kelantan and the country as a whole was that many of them could not register at the Welfare Department or related agencies because their husbands had left them without filing for divorce.

She said that she agreed with the call by Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Nik Mat to whip irresponsible husbands who left their wives high and dry without any reason.

She said Kelantan spent RM2mil annually to look after the welfare of single mothers who had no source of income.

“Apart from that, we have organised entrepreneurial workshops to help single mothers earn a living.

“The government has also organised talks to educate the immediate families of single mothers to take the initiative to help and not leave them alone to fend for themselves.

“We have had similar educational talks for husbands who had divorced their wives to encourage them to pay alimony to help their ex-wives get on with their lives,” she added.

Train ourselves to worship in all circumstances

Worship Sets Us Free

And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone¹s chains were loosed. Acts 16:23-26

Worship sets people free. How much do you worship? When do you worship? Are you able to worship when your circumstances are the very worst, your patience has failed and your confusion is maxed out? Do praise songs come to your mind at the most stressful times? We need to assess our ability to worship because worship will change our lives. We need to .

Paul and Silas were beaten, thrown in the inner prison and their feet were fastened in stocks. They were probably in too much pain to sleep, so at midnight they broke out in worship. They did not have a worship leader, instruments, power point, or a radio to sing along to. They probably could not even tap their feet to keep the beat. Paul and Silas may not even have had good singing voices. But from the wellspring of their hearts, their mouths worshipped the Lord despite their circumstances. As a result, other prisoners listened to them and even better, everyone¹s chains were loosed. Worship set prisoners free.

In many ways, you may feel like a prisoner. You may have habits that you cannot break, you may find yourself in circumstances that have not changed, you may feel that God isn¹t answering your prayers. What are you to do? Worship. Worship when you are sad, feel bad, and after you were mad. Worship every day, at work and at play, worship any way. Worship will change your life and if you sing loud enough for others to listen, your worship may set them free as well.

Lord, teach me to worship. Lord, bring songs to my mind so that worship can be my way of life. Change me through worship and allow me to see the fruit of worship in the lives of others around me.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Don't be a donkey! Listen to your donkey!

A Talking Donkey
Tuesday, February 01, 2005
by Os Hillman

The donkey said to Balaam, ''Am I not your own donkey, which you have
always ridden, to this day?'' ~ Numbers 22:30

Most workplace believers I know tend to be task-oriented, motivated visionaries. And they will do just about anything to make their projects successful. This great strength can, if not properly bridled by the Holy Spirit, be a great weakness in their ability to fulfill God's will in their life.

Sometimes we want something to succeed so much that we fail to listen to that little voice inside trying to warn us by directing us on a different path. Such was the case of Balaam. He started out as a man of God, but then took the path of a "prophet-for-hire." God was not pleased with Balaam's decision to respond to a pagan king's request that he curse Israel. As Balaam rode his donkey to keep his appointment with the king, God sent the angel of the Lord to stand in the way and oppose Balaam.

Although Balaam did not see the angel, his donkey did. Three times the donkey turned from the path and three times Balaam beat the animal in anger. Finally, the donkey turned around, and to Balaam's shock and amazement, began to speak to him, admonishing his master for beating him. Imagine a donkey talking to you! He warned Balaam of the angel of death who was standing in the road with a sword drawn, ready to kill Balaam if he continued.

There are times when pushing harder, trying to manipulate the circumstance, or pressing those around you is not the response to have to the roadblock. God may be trying to have you reconsider your ways. God may be doing one of four things when you are faced with an obstacle:

1) He's blocking it to protect you.

2) His timing to complete this stage is not the same as yours, and He may need you to go through a process of character refinement.

3) He may want other players to get in place, and the circumstances are not yet ready for them to enter.

4) He may be using the process to develop patience in you. Relying on the Holy Spirit
to know which one applies to your situation is the key to moving in God's timing.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The need to stand up

Lessons of the world history speak louder than words.

When the fascists came to Germany, a German pastor, imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp, Martin Nimeuller said:

"At first the Nazis took the communists. I kept silent because I was not a communist.

Then they took the Jews. I kept silent because I was not a Jew.

Then they took members of organized labor. I kept silent because I was not a trade union member.

Then they took the Catholics, but being a Protestant I kept silent again.

When they took me there was nobody who could intercede for me".

Friday, October 23, 2009

I see Sabah as a powerful state ....

Sabah – paradise and a paradox
Friday October 23, 2009

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is a paradox – it is a land blessed with many resources yet remains poor.

That is how Prof W. Chan Kim, co-author of the best-selling Blue Ocean Strategy, sums up the state.

“When you have so much natural resources you are comfortable to sell what you have (but) what you have will one day disappear,” he said.

The professor, who co-authored the Blue Ocean Strategy with Renee Mauborgne, said there was a need to exploit the state’s resources in areas which are untapped.

Noting that Sabah was home to the third largest rainforest in the world, he said it was important that the state made itself known to the world as Asia’s rainforest tourism destination.

The main areas of economic growth in the world are pharmaceuticals, bio-science and telecommunications, he said, noting that the rainforest provided 25% of the ingredients for modern pharmaceutical use.

“I see Sabah as a powerful state especially compared to a place like Dubai which had nothing apart from a desert, goats and some oil and gas and today is a big tourist spot.

“You have incredible resources. Sabah can become better than Dubai but you must do more to attract the world,” he told reporters at a Yaysan Sabah-organised Blue Ocean Strategy conference opened by Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman.

The Blue Ocean Strategy is about finding new market space that offers low cost, in-demand solutions.

Prof Kim said his advice to Sabah was to conserve its resources and attract people from around the world to come and multiply its resources to improve its economy and eradicate poverty.

He said the state should look at the future and adopt new ways to handle its resources.

“You have to put the pieces of the jigsaw together to get the full picture,” he said.

Flirts with someone other than his/her spouse

Marriage “Red Flags”

Steve and Vickie Hall

(These things are signals that could eventually lead to the failure of a marriage. Remember, it takes TWO people with God’s wisdom, to make a successful marriage. It only takes ONE person to ruin it! If either of you has a problem with any of these things, GET IT FIXED IMMEDIATELY! If necessary, get help! If not, it may well cost you your marriage! )

One spouse cares more about keeping the kids happy than keeping his/her spouse happy

One spouse enjoys being with someone else more than with his/her spouse

One spouse has an anger problem

One spouse expects to get his or her way most all the time

One spouse teases the other with teasing that stings

One spouse flirts with someone other than his/her spouse

One spouse is not willing to work on improving the marriage

One spouse is not interested in learning the other’s needs

One spouse takes the other for granted

One spouse is not interested in spiritual growth

One spouse does not treat the other with basic politeness and does not show basic respect

One spouse is not interested in meeting the other’s sexual needs

One spouse seeks to pressure the other into doing things that are uncomfortable for him/her.

One spouse tries to manipulate the other with guilt or threats

One spouse is addicted to drugs, alcohol, gambling, or pornography

One spouse is not willing to do his/her part for the financial well being of the marriage

One spouse is not willing to share significantly in chores and work around the house

One spouse almost always expects the other to apologize when there are misunderstandings

One spouse blames the other for his or her own irresponsible behavior (e.g., “You make me get angry!”)

One spouse is consumed with jealousy. (A desire to protect your spouse from others is healthy unless it turns into irrational, uncontrolled jealousy!)

One spouse desires to completely control the behavior of the other spouse.

One spouse shows signs of not having any skills in relating to people or authorities. (e.g., getting into legal trouble, being fired from jobs, angry clashes with family members, etc.)

One spouse has a problem telling the truth.

Current studies show that 47% of all marriages end in Divorce in USA

15 Basic Marriage Principles You Need to Know


Today's statistics on marriage are a little scary. Current studies show that 47% of all marriages end in Divorce. Numbers are no different between those who do and do not attend church. Kenneth Conner, President of Family Life, says that most of the crime problems we have in America today stem from the breakdown of the traditional American family. People used to get married and stay married. Kids used to have one set of parents their whole life. Today statistics show 1 in 3 children are born out of wedlock and more than half of the children in America do not have a loving mom and dad to share their life with. Nobody goes into marriage thinking that it will end in divorce. It's like buying a new car. They all look and smell good when you take your first ride. So what's the problem? The Bible said there would be days like this.

In the 1st chapter of Corinthians verse 21 Paul says: "….But those who marry will face many troubles in this life."

To give us hope, in the 16th chapter of the Gospel of John verse 33, Jesus says: "I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have troubles, but take heart, I have overcome the world."

Marriage is a union of two imperfect people coming together in a fallen and sinful world, both with good and bad traits, habits, sins, selfish desires…….both like sheep…gone astray and wanting to be happy. Paul says it's a formula for trouble. Jesus says even though you will have trouble, take heart because there is a solution.

People study their profession for years. I am an Engineer and I studied for 7 years. Doctors study for 10 or more. It takes a plumber 6-10 years. How many years did you study marriage before you decided to walk down the aisle? Could we have maybe hit on the solution? Most people do not know the basic principles God laid out for marriages to be successful. So what is that solution and how do we succeed?

Doctor Lance Radbill and I have been researching this subject for over 12 years. We both do marriage counseling along with our lovely wives of 30 years plus and the following is a list of 15 basic principles that we think will make or break a marriage. These principles are aimed at two totally different sets of people.

A. Those who have never been married
B. Those are married and feel like the honeymoon is definitely over.

In Mark chapter 4:34 there is a very interesting verse in the Bible. It says: " He (Jesus) did not say anything to them without using a parable." A parable is simply a word picture, analogy, or story that helps illustrate a principle. With this in mind I will use several analogies as I talk about the 15 principles below.

15 Principles

1. Listen to God ... the way football players listen to a coach. This is a key concept for all the other principles that follow. If you were going to be a football player, how would you prepare? You would LISTEN to the coach. You would spend time studying his instructions about what was involved in the game of football. I am amazed at how many times I ask people if they are having a daily quiet time with God and I usually get one of two answers: A. "Yes, I pray."(That's talking not listening) or B. "Yes I know I should but just don't do it all or the time."

A few verses you might review: Psalm 37:4 says: "Delight yourself in the Lord and HE will give you the desires of your heart." If the desire of your heart is to have a happy marriage, perhaps you need to delight yourself in the Lord. How do you do that?
Proverbs 3: 5-6 says: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean NOT to your own understanding. In ALL your ways acknowledge HIM and HE will make your paths straight." There are hundreds of verses plus an entire Psalm (119) devoted to this subject, but perhaps the most important is the verse found in John chapter 15 verse 5. We insist that the couples we council memorize this verse. John 15:5 "I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man (and woman) abides in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." Think of a grapevine (which is what he was referring to) when you read what Jesus is saying. How could a branch possibly survive if it was not a part of the vine? It could not! And yet we go our merry ways in life and marriage trying to make this relationship work without the author and King of all relationships. I spend every single morning reading God's word, thanking him for his teachings, my health, my wife, my children, etc., and then asking Him to show me how to love my wife and children as well as those He puts me in contact that day. I also ask him to order my day, as I, like you, never have enough time to do all that I have to do. I started this 16 years ago and it is the one thing I would recommend you do above all else. Actually if you get this part right, you can skip the next 14 principles as God will instruct you through this process.

2. Listen to your Spouse. You are taking your last course in college and you simply must pass to graduate. It's a big class. Where do you sit and what do you do? I would suggest that you would sit right in front of the professor and listen to him very intently, as you become a student of that subject with a goal in mind. That is the same intensity we try to train couples to use in their sharing time and we call it "Becoming a Student of your Spouse". Oneness is not automatic, but the result of shared experiences both good and bad. Think about it……How did the two of you fall in love in the first place? Didn't you share with one another for hours upon hours? For some reason we (especially men) forget this after we get married. The men usually clam up and especially do not talk about the bad things in their life and the women spend the little bit of time they can get from their husbands talking about the kids, the problems around the house. That is NOT what we are talking about here. Just like spending time with God, you also have to set a time aside in your busy day to spend quality time with each other sharing the way you feel. We have to train couples to do this in our counseling, as it does not come naturally. The verse we use is found in James chapter 1 verse 19: "Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger". It is an act of love to listen with eye to eye contact to what your spouse is sharing with you. Now that you know it, you will be blessed if you do this. One more thing…..mostly to the guys. When someone shares, do not try and tell them that they should not feel that way and do not try and tell them what to do the next time such and such happens. Just look at them, repeat what they said, and acknowledge that you understand. That's all you need to do. Sound easy? Try it. You will be amazed at how well it works if you can do it.

3. Learn How to Love Each Other Think of a fire that you start while camping. Falling in love was the spark that started your fire, but if you do not know how to continue to add fuel to your love fire it will go out just like that camp fire no matter how hot or big you get it. Most people do not really know what love is and many define love as a special feeling. True love is not a feeling but a decision to seek the welfare of the one whom is the object of your love. When the Jews asked Jesus what was the most important command was, He said it was to love God and love one another. In John 13:34 at the Last Supper He said: "A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." So love is actually a command that we receive from Jesus. He loved us unselfishly and finally gave His life for us and He says that is the way we should love one another. Not always looking to be loved, but instead we are to love one another unselfishly as He loved us. So how do we do that? You need to learn what your spouse's love languages are. There are five love languages that we talk about in our classes: Words, Actions, Time, Gifts, and Touch. Once you know which love languages works best for your spouse, you need to try and use their love languages on them and not your own which is what most of us do. Another way to show love is to serve which is our next topic.

4. Learn How to Serve Each Other in Secret Has your spouse ever served you in secret and then you found about it later? We always ask this trick question: When you serve your spouse do you serve to show them that you love them? That is what most of us do and it is the wrong motive. If you serve expecting a reward and then your spouse does not notice and you don't get a pat on the back, you usually end up getting your feelings hurt. We teach that you should serve in secret and look to Jesus for your reward and not your spouse. When we serve in this way, we are not looking for any reward from our spouse as we are just doing what we are commanded to do. In Mark10: 45 Jesus said: "Even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and give His life for many". Then there is the classic example of Jesus washing the feet of the Apostles found in John 13:15 after which Jesus said: "Now that I your Lord and Teacher have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet." The key to serving is to understand that we are commanded to serve so that when we do serve our spouse it should not be to show THEM we love them but instead we serve in obedience to a command form God to show HIM we love them. Then HE rewards us beyond measure. Try it. Spend a week as a secret servant.

5. Leave and Cleave Think of that happy "just married" couple waving to everyone as they pull off from the wedding headed for their honeymoon. They are leaving everyone so they can cleave to one another. The problem is that many couples do not really leave for good but just for honeymoon. There are 3 places in the Bible that God gives us very clear instructions about this. In Genesis 2:24 God said: "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and they will become one flesh" Jesus repeats the exact same thing in Matthew 19:4. We are amazed to find couples that have been married for years and have still not "left". When you say "home" and mean your parents… haven't left. Home is with your spouse. This is a 3-step process that must be followed in order. First you leave, then you cleave, and then you can become one flesh. When you marry your spouse you need to leave your parents, your friends, your old hobbies and habits, activities and anything that keeps you from cleaving to one another. Nothing other than God should be more important than your spouse. Balance is the key to success here. We do not teach that you should not associate or spend time with your parents or friends. It is a matter of where you place your priorities. Have you left "home" yet?

6. Role of Husband = Servant Leader/ Protector/ Provider Sometimes men do not understand what their role as a husband is. Sometimes wives do not allow their husbands to assume the role that God laid out for them. Either way the marriage suffers. Paul teaches us in his letter to the Ephesians 5:25 what the role of the husband is: "Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. In this same way husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies." Husbands are you doing that? You are responsible to protect your wife from the outside world, from impurity, from physical harm, and from anything that might damage your marriage. You are responsible to provide your wife with a safe place to live, a home that she can be comfortable in and raise a family in safety. You are responsible to work and supply the income needed for food, shelter, and clothing. You are responsible to protect your family from debt. God is holding you accountable and expects you to do what you were designed for. You have the role of a quarterback in calling the plays, but you are to listen to God the coach who ultimately calls the play. You are also responsible to make sure your wife is talking the coach as many times God likes to send plays in with the wife.

7. Role of Wife = Helper/ Team Player/ Nurturer In every single place a wife is mentioned in the Bible, she is portrayed as a "helper". In Genesis 2:18 it says: "The Lord God said it is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a HELPER suitable for him." A "helper" is one perfectly matched to make a team. Note that both players of this team are actively involved with the task at hand. Paul speaks to the wives in the same letter to the Ephesians 5:22-24: "Wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord" Many women have a problem with this idea of submitting, but this is something between them and God. Husbands cannot make their wives submit, but if they love their wives the way God tells them to they should ALWAYS be looking out for the welfare of their wife and be willing to give their lives for them if necessary. Your job as a wife is to allow the man to assume his role the way God intended him to and you are to come along side as a helper. If you decide that you want to lead instead of follow you will be going against God's plan for a happy marriage. We did not write the rules. If you disagree, you will have to take that up with the one who made the rule. Please understand you are not to be a silent doormat or slave. A helper is a player just like a football game. You just can't be the quarterback. If your husband makes a decision that you feel is wrong, you are to voice your opinion but submit to his decision. This is an act of love and God will reward you for it and protect you from harm because you are being obedient. In 34 years of marriage Wanda and I have had very few situations where this ever came up. If steps 1 through 7 are being done correctly it should never be an issue.

8. Learn to Agree = Two people on the same team. It is a fact that you will have disagreements and when you do there are only 3 possible solutions. Either one of you will have to change your mind and go to the other's side, or you will both have to compromise and meet somewhere in the middle. If neither of these work, then you need to agree to take some time to pray……..Call time out in the huddle and talk to the coach. We always recommend that you read and even memorize 3 verses in Phillipians chapter 2 verses 2, 3, and 4 when you are having a disagreement. Verse 2 says, " be like-minded having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose." This means to remember you are on the same team so what are you fighting each other about? Verses 3 and 4 tell you that you should: "Do NOTHING out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." If you examine your motives, you may find that you are being selfish and wanting your own way. We teach that it is not your way and not your spouse's way, but God's way that you need to seek. If you are in disagreement, you should both ask God what HE wants you to do and "lean NOT unto your own understanding". In Amos 3:3 it says: "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?". Work hard to agree and when you disagree, stop and examine your motives.

9. Develop a Positive Response to Anger = Think of a temperature gauge on a car. What do you do when the temperature gauge shows hot? Would breaking the glass and grabbing the needle and pulling it back down work? Would we not have to stop the car and open the hood to try and determine the cause? When your spouse gets angry, be thankful for the information and work to find out what is wrong and deal with it. If anger is not dealt with, it will destroy a marriage. Anger is the #1 barrier to communication and agreement. Here are some steps to take: A. Confess your anger. In 1st John 1:9 it says: "If we confess our sins, He will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness". B. Restrain your response. In James 1:19 it says: "Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger." C. Give up your right to be angry. In Ephesians 4:32 it says: "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another just as in Christ God forgave you." And finally D. Replace anger with love and forgiveness. If you just remove the anger and then do not replace with love and forgiveness you will just play the same record over again later. Go back and read Phillipians 2: 2-4. Remember you are on the same team and you should do NOTHING from selfishness. Is your anger caused by selfishness? Pray for each other. In Luke 6:27-28 Jesus says: "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you, Pray for those who mistreat you." Ask forgiveness and kiss and make up……..see next step.

10. Sex and Romance We don't know what it is, but when people get married they have a tendency to get so busy that they forget to keep the romance going. They forget to keep dating one another. Men are off trying to build their career and sometimes forget their first love. Women are busy with running the house, taking care of kids and sometimes working and forget to fix up and do the things they did before they were married to win the affection of their man. Men, it is romantic to take the time and effort to plan a romantic evening just like you did when you were courting. Ladies be ready for your husband when he comes home. Both of you need to take notice and actively love each other. Sex was created by God to bring pleasure to both of you. Read Song of Solomon and 1st Corinthians 7: 1-5 to each other. Understand that God wants you to be sexual and romantic to each other. Wives do not deny sex to your husbands and cause them to sin. Keep your marriage bed pure at all costs. Remember Jesus said: "A new command I give you: love one another." He didn't say if you have time or if you feel like it. He said do it and you will be blessed.

11. Pray for Each Other…….Satin is a roaring lion seeking to destroy your marriage. You must both protect your marriage from affairs at all costs. Do not allow any private meetings with the opposite sex. Do not let yourself be drawn in to mental affairs in thought, pictures, or the Internet. No private lunches with the opposite sex. Do not make even the slightest provision for an affair. In 1st Peter 5:8 it says: "Be self controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion Looking for someone to devour". The devil is cunning and will use every means at his disposal to try and break you up. It all started with Eve. The devil was cunning…..looked like no harm could be done….just a little bite. We see this all the time as a man and woman at work will just talk and try to help each other…..never planning on having an affair. You need to understand what you are dealing with and never give in to this type of temptation. The bible says that you should Flee the devil…..Flee any type of encounter with the opposite sex. Think forward 15-20 years and picture yourself either alone in a retirement home or sitting on porch with the wife of your youth and 3 kids and 20 grand kids all around loving you. Is the future loneliness worth a short fling of self-indulgence? So pray for each other and hold each other accountable. Get a group of friends (same sex) to hold you accountable and pray with you.

12. Plan and make long-term goals with each other. Think of what you want 10-20 years out and start making plans now on how you are going to get where you want to be. Plan your time. There is so little of it, but if you plan to use it wisely you will be blessed. Plan your money, finances, and career (more on that below). Plan your retirement. How will you fund it? Plan your diet and exercise. What good is growing old together if you are in poor health? Plan for romance. Plan date nights and weekend trips to get away…..just the two of you. Take an entire day at least every New Year and pray about what God would have you do. Write out what He tells you and keep this in a journal so that each year you can see how He answers prayer. One of the verses we recommend you memorize is Jeremiah 33:3 which says: "Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." Jeremiah 29:11 says: "For I know the plans I have for you" declares the Lord "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." and finally we would recommend you read the Prayer of Jabez by Bruce Wilkinson if you have not already. Pray this prayer. God wants to bless you just like you want to bless your children…..not with material things but with blessings that are eternal in nature.

13. Children = A Gift From God. The last 3 subjects are what we call "rain". Remember that fire you built back in step 3? Well "rain" falls and trys to put that fire out so you have to be aware of it and make provisions for it. Children, money and careers are just 3 of the most dominant. Anger, business, fatigue, debt, and all the things of the world in general are all what we consider "rain". Children are a gift from God and you need to understand what God expects you to do with this gift He gives you. Most people think that their goal with children is to make them happy, but God never says that. What He does say is that you are to: Love, Discipline, and Train them. The biggest child abuse of all is failing to do these 3 things and not keeping your relationship strong in lieu of trying to make your children happy. You are only going to have your children a few short years and your job during that short time is to raise up future husbands and wives that can do all the things we have been talking about. You need to start today with that goal in mind. You children are watching you. Every principle above that we have talked about with you and your spouse also holds true as you love your children. You need to actively love them by spending time with them and using all of the love languages. You need to discipline them. Read Ephesians chapter 6 verses 1,2, and 3 to them which says: "Children obey your parents………that it may go well with you". Proverbs 12:1 says: "Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge but he who hates correction is stupid." We strongly suggest that you lovingly set guidelines and when those guidelines are not followed you discipline the child with a yardstick or "switch" in love…..not with your hand. You cannot hurt the child with something like this, but you will hurt them in later life if you do not discipline them. Proverbs 23:13 says: "Do not withhold discipline from a child. If you punish him with the rod, he will not die." Finally you are to train your children The best training is watching you. Be a good example. Think of what your children would say about you if they were telling a friend in private about their mom and dad. You will be amazed how fast the time goes by and one day they will pull out of the driveway as they pack up and "leave". Make good use of the little bit of time you have. You can play golf with the guys later.

14. Making Money an Asset to your Marriage. Again we always ask a trick question: "How many would have all your money problems solved if we could set you up to receive an extra $1000.00 tax free every month for the rest of your lives?" Most people raise their hands and say that would solve our problems. So why is it that we find the same money problems with couples who make $30,000 or $300,000? Our position is that it is not the amount of money you have that is the problem but your attitude toward money. Would you believe that almost 80% of couples argue over money and spending habits? Why is that and how could it be an asset instead of a problem? Money is just paper….gold trinkets. And yet Jesus knew it would be a problem. There are 3 times as many verses in the Bible addressing money than prayer. The Bible teaches that we should learn to be content with what God gives us and understand that He is in control and will supply all of our needs. We should trust in Him and not money. Read what Jesus says in Matthew chapter 6 verses 19-34. He tells us not to worry about what we will eat or drink and not to worry about storing up treasures on earth. In Luke 12:15 Jesus warns us of greed: "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." In Hebrews chapter 13 verse 5 it says: "Keep your lives free from the love of money and learn to be content with what you have for God has said never will I leave you never will I forsake you." Money arguments are caused because you both come into marriage with different attitudes about how much money you should save, spend and give away. That is all that you can do with it. What you need to do is spend time talking about your attitudes toward money and why you feel that way. The goal is to come to a plan on how much you will save, spend, and give away together. This does not come automatically, but requires time and talk and prayer. The key is to not demand your way, but seek God's way. Make a plan to spend less than what you make over a long period of time. Avoid debt at all costs. Debt is the tool Satin uses to play on your selfishness and then cause problems in your marriage. Do not give him a foothold. If you are in debt, seek guidance from an older couple that has been there before. This is a big topic and if you are having money problems, we recommend Christian counseling. Contact someone at your church.

15. Careers….What do you want to do when you grow up? Why do we talk about this in a marriage class? Because you need to know how to deal with it as Satin can use it as a tool to break up marriages. You need to understand the dangers of : Greed, Power, Pride, Unfaithfulness, and women being under another's authority. No, we do not recommend women have a career outside the home. We find nothing in the Bible that recommends that and it just started 100 years ago. Guess when the divorce rate started going up. Reports and surveys show as many as 80% of Americans are discontent with their careers. What's the problem? Either they are not content where God has placed them or they are just OK with it but want to do something else. The secret is to seek Gods will and not yours. Read the story of Joseph in Genesis chapters 37 - 47. He went from slave to prisoner to house boy to king's assistant, but worked as unto the Lord in whatever position God put him in and God blessed him. Again this is something the two of you need to discuss and plan. If you are unhappy with your career, try and determine what about it is making you unhappy. Is it selfish ambition? Pride? Money? People? Go back through the planning principle and seek God's will together. Seek Godly council from the church and an older couple. The key to happiness is not to seek happiness but seek God's will. When you find yourself in the center of His will, He will bless you with happiness and the desires of your heart.
I will end with a section from James chapter 1 verses 22-25 that says: "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says……….and you will be blessed."

John Lovoy

The Wife is the most powerful influence over her Husband!


1. Marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman, Initiated by the exchange of vows.

2. The Husband is the head of the house and responsible for the marriage.

3. The Husband is commanded by God to love his wife.

4. The Wife is commanded by God to respect her husband.

5. The Husband and Wife are joint heirs to life.

6. Man needs a Wife.

7. A Wife is God's grace to the Husband.

8. The Wife is the most powerful influence over her Husband.

9. Marriage is a sexually intimate and passionate relationship.

10. Marriage is the mystery of the Messiah's relationship with us.

Seeking status, sex, wealth and security are the wrong reasons to be in relationship.

Marriage Principles

If you're not married yet, share this with a friend.

If you are married, share it with your spouse or
other married couples and reflect on it.

An African proverb states, "Before you get married,
keep both eyes open, and after you marry, close one

Before you get involved and make a commitment to
someone, don't let lust, desperation, immaturity,
ignorance, pressure from others or a low-self esteem
make you blind to warning signs.

Keep your eyes open, and don't fool yourself that you
can change someone or that what you see as faults
aren't really that important.

Once you decide to commit to someone, over time their
flaws, vulnerabilities, pet peeves, and differences
will become more obvious.

If you love your mate and want the relationship to
grow and evolve, you've got to learn how to close one
eye and not let every little thing bother you.

You and your mate have many different expectations,
emotional needs, values, dreams, weaknesses, and

You are two unique individual children of God who have
decided to share a life together.

Neither one of you are perfect, but are you perfect
for each other? Do you bring out the best in each other?
Do you compliment and compromise with each other, or
do you compete, compare, and control?

What do you bring to the relationship?

Do you bring past relationships, past hurt, past
mistrust, past pain.

You can't take someone to the altar to "alter" them.

You can't make someone love you or make someone stay.

If you develop self-esteem, spiritual discernment,
and "a life," you won't find yourself making someone
else responsible for your happiness or responsible for
your pain.

Manipulation, control, jealousy, neediness, and
selfishness are not the ingredients of a thriving,
healthy, loving and lasting relationship.

Seeking status, sex, wealth and security are the wrong
reasons to be in relationship.

What keeps a relationship strong?

Communication, Intimacy, Trust, A sense of humor.

Sharing household tasks.

Some getaway time without business or children.

Daily exchanges (a meal, shared activity, a hug, a
call, a touch, a note).

Leave a nice message on their voicemail or send a nice email.

Sharing common goals and interests.

Growth is important. Grow together, not away from each
other, giving each other space to grow without feeling

Allow your mate to have outside interest.

You can't always be together.

Give each other a sense of belonging and assurances of

Don't try to control one another.

Learn each others family situation.

Respect his or her parents regardless.

Don't put pressure on each other for material goods.

Remember, for Richer or for Poorer.

If these qualities are missing, the relationship will
erode as resentment, withdrawal, abuse, neglect,
dishonesty, and pain replace the passion.

"Nurture your mind with great thoughts, for you will
never go any higher than you think."

The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of God stands for ever. Isaiah 40:8

The GENERAL marriage principles that people fail to follow

20 Marriage Principles for a happy marriage
By @ 12:29 PM

Marriage is a ‘life relationship’ between two people. Marriage principles are ways, techniques and methods that can be followed by a couple to strengthen and protect their marriage relationship. It is a fact that more and more marriages end up in divorce. The good news is that there are principles that when applied consistently can save a marriage from the disaster.

Marriage is in essence the substantial union of two people and the maintenance of an oath that they will be next to each other in good and bad times.

If we accept that we have married for all the right reasons, i.e. love, the companionship, communication, love and the absolute agreement of the heart with the logic, then what are these reasons, mistakes or marriage principles that we do not follow that eventually will lead the marriage into a disaster?

The mistakes that lead to a deadlock in marriage are common with some variations depending on the conditions and character of every human being. A marriage ends when the two people cease to care for each other. This is the result of many emotional processes such as anger, bitterness, stress and depression, envy and fraud, lost confidence, low self esteem and of course the wrong choices as well as not following the most common marriage principles and lack of communication.

What Mistakes / Principles can cause marriage problems?

1. The reason we decided to get married

Let us start from the largest and perhaps the most important mistake: the reason we decided to get married! Unfortunately we marry for all the wrong reasons and that is why almost 50% of marriages end up in divorce. What are the most common reasons that we may get married?

Pressure from our environment: The pressures from our environment because we have reached an age close to or more than thirty and we have not yet married.

Insecurity: Feelings of insecurity that if we do not get married with the person we are together we will not be able to find another person who wants to marry us.

Sudden conditions: A sudden pregnancy, which leaves us with no other options.

Sudden love: A sudden love that ends in 6 months after marriage.

Immaturity: The immaturity of our self does not help us realize that marriage is a choice for life and takes a lot of thought and a lot of effort in order not to make us unhappy.

Wellness: The economic comfort has now become a key criterion when selecting a spouse in today's society.

Non-logical thinking: The young age that can lead to hasty decisions without any logical thinking!

2. Our great mouth!

This is one of the marriage principles that people fail to follow. What happens in most cases is that we open our mouth and say anything that comes in our heads without first applying the "filter of logic" on the spoken words. As a result from our mouth we throw words that wound the other person, words that create sour, disappointment, offensiveness, and words that most often we do not believe... but unfortunately the negative effect they create is hardly forgotten by the other half. Rather this situation creates the first problems in the story of our marriage. The lack of respect towards our spouse is a mistake, which by time makes the two people enemies rather than being in love.

3. Lack of communication

The failure to actively listen to our spouse is another big problem. People have become very selfish. We tend to do more talking and we have forgotten to listen. We are always correct and the other person is always wrong. We do not do any self-criticism but we tend to continuously criticize our partner. We rarely hear what they are saying to us and even more rarely we do something to change what may have disturbed or wounded them. As a result of this we end up with no speaking but watching television. Neither of the two wants to listen see, or feel.

20 Marriage Principles for a happy marriage

After identifying the reasons that create problems in a marriage, the next step is to take some corrective actions to solve those problems and give the marriage a chance to be successful. One of the ways to do that is to follow some proven marriage principles. Marriage principles are in essence things that you should and things that you should not do or say in a marriage. If the couple follows these principles then the changes that marriage will be successful are increased.

1. Be fair, you are not always correct

Be fair with your self and partner and have always in your mind that you are not always correct. You may be sometimes wrong in your decisions and thoughts. It is a fact that when two people disagree, the truth is somewhere in the middle. And when two people separate then certainly the blame is in both. If from time to time we forget the middle ground, and we do not compromise then this will create severe problems to our marriage. The marriage principle in this case is to compromise and accept the fact that you are making mistakes and sometimes exaggerating more than needed.

2. Do not promise anything you cannot do

If the marriage was based on our many words, but words were never made into projects, it is perfectly logical to be full of frustration and anger. The words and promises are made too easily when we love and when things go well. But when you get into a difficult situation things change. This is the time to stop the unreal promises and start making actions.

3. Everybody makes mistakes

Accept the simple principle, that all people make mistakes. The mistake is part of human nature and we should be able to forgive and look to the future. If we rehash the mistakes, and if in any disagreement we mention one hundred other reasons we should in the past being angry with our partner, then this will kill our soul and will fill it with the anger and bad memories.

4. Respect to be respected

Perhaps while we promised respect, eternal love and devotion, we do not follow this oath? Maybe we did not understand that the marriage is a commitment to life and we must respect and honour the person with whom we connected our lives. Showing lack of respect to our partner, whether occasional or on a permanent basis, is perhaps the biggest mistake that we do. When respect is not mutual in a marriage then it is more likely that marriage will end up in a disaster.

5. Show your interest to your partner

Marriage is like a flower that wants watering every day or else I will be destroyed. So we must not rest on the fact that now that we are married we should not show any interest in our partner but let things as they come. It takes a lot of trouble and struggle to maintain quality and a genuine relationship. We need every day to show our interest in our partner not only in words but also in deeds.

6. Be consistent

We need to be consistent between words and acts so that the other person can trust us. Even taking care to be together and supportive in every difficult moment of our partner and not only look on how we can have a good time.

7. Be open for discussion with your partner

All issues and disputes must be settled and resolved through dialogue and not by absolute positions that are dogmatically imposed from one person to the other person. As a good principle, do not avoid discussions and never try to impose your opinion on your partner. Everybody has his or her own opinion and this should be respected. In case of a disagreement the best way to find a solution is through discussion.

8. Do not take advantage of your superiority

Do not exploit your possible superiorities in a particular area over your partner. For example if you are in a better financial position or have a better job than your partner do not try to take advantage of that and make your partner feel inferior. Instead, as a principle try to support and help your partner to improve with out criticism.

9. Make mutual decisions with your partner

Decide together for the birth and education of a child. Not one has illusions that everything will be rosy and everyone knows that within life there is routine, boredom, and disconnection. You need to have patience and faith in the strength of the relationship and always try to find ways to tackle a difficult situation together through dialogue and mutual decisions.

10. Do not neglect your partner

In the context of marriage you have to give your partner the attention he/she deserves. You should not always deal with your work or children and neglect your partner. The principle is that you should have a balance in your life, so as to manage your time efficiently and have enough time to devote to your partner and family.

For those who like quick and easy to remember ‘rules of thumb’ here are 10 more marriage principles you can easily follow to make your marriage better.

11. Do not get nervous at the same time
12. Do not shout to each other unless the house is on fire.
13. If someone must win a ‘fight’ then let the other win.
14. If you must judge and criticise your partner then do it with love.
15. Do not repeat mistakes you made in the past.
16. Neglect the world around you than neglecting your partner.
17. Never go to bed without being in terms with your partner.
18. Try at least once a day to compliment your partner.
19. If you make a mistake, be ready to admit it and apologize.
20. It takes two to make a brawl, and usually the one that is wrong talks more.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Polygamy as panacea to win the love of God?

Controversial polygamy club spreads its wings to Indonesia

Tuesday October 20, 2009
The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The controversial Ikhwan Polygamy Club intends to set up branches in Indonesia.

There is already one in Bandung, launched by the Malaysian chapter chairman Hatijah Aam, the second wife of Ashaari Muhammad.

Ashaari was the founder of the now-defunct Al-Arqam movement.

Launched in an upscale hotel, the event themed “Polygamy as panacea to win the love of God” attracted 150 people.

Hatijah told the Jakarta Globe that she planned to open more branches in Indonesia.

“I have travelled throughout Indonesia to convey the mission of polygamy,” she told the newspaper.

Hatijah said the club in Malaysia, set up in August, currently had 300 members from various countries, including Indonesia, Australia, Singapore, the Middle East and Thailand.

Last month, former Al-Arqam member and legal adviser Zabidi Mohamed had said that the setting up of the club in Malaysia was an attempt to revive the defunct movement.

“The name and the packaging may be different, but the people leading it are the same ones,” he said.

The polygamy club is managed by Global Ikhwan Sdn Bhd.

Global Ikhwan was set up by former Al-Arqam members after their previous outfit, Rufaqa Corporation Sdn Bhd, was busted by the religious authorities a few years ago.

Home Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Mahmood Adam was reported to have said last month that the ministry was keeping a close eye on the club and was waiting for the right time to act.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Jesus never climbed any ladders of success. The devil showed him plenty!

From Chapter 1 of The Art of Pastoring by David Hansen.

As a parable of Jesus Christ I deliver something to the parishioner that I am not, And in the process I deliver the parishioner in to the hands of God.

Am I so desperate for identity that I’ve resorted to calling myself Jesus? No. I’m just a hook with some feathers and threads on it. I observe that when I encounter people along the way, they don’t experience me so much as they experience God. How do I account for this? I am a parable of Jesus.

Every Christian’s life is meant to be a parable of Jesus. But pastors are particularly suited to this, because so much of our lives are spent doing what Jesus did in his life. An adequate definition of pastoral ministry emphasizes following Jesus as the act of ministry, and particularly following Jesus on the way of the cross.

Jesus’ ministry is so simple that most pastors consider it naïve. Word. Prayer. Friendship. Sacrament. Leadership. That’s all.

Jesus’ life has a general narrative direction. We call this general direction the Way of the Cross. Jesus understood from the beginning that his was a life of sacrifice. His life flowed toward the cross at all times. He never climbed any first-century ladders of success. The devil showed him plenty. The people begged him to climb them. Jesus rejected ladders and consistently chose the downward road of sacrifice…

The power to do pastoral ministry and its central focus, that which gives every aspect of meaning, lies specifically in the everyday, concrete following of Jesus, led by him on the Way of the Cross. That is how we become parables of Jesus and deliver him to the people we meet. Paul recognized this when he told the Corinthians: “We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body” (2 Cor 4:10-11).

Don’t think that following Jesus is hard. The pastoral ministry is much, much harder for those who do not deny themselves and pick up their cross. Jesus’ words apply to us when he says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Mt 11:28-30).

Here’s what the pastoral ministry is for me: Every day, as I go about my tasks as a pastor, I am a follower of Jesus. I am therefore a parable of him to those I encounter. The parable of Jesus works the power and presence of Jesus in our lives.

I am no more Jesus than a hook with feathers and threads is a mayfly. As I follow Jesus throughout my day, I fish for people for God. Ultimately what I am is the bait.

Friday, October 9, 2009

God still calls men and women to be His ambassadors today!

June 29, 2009

I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” —Isaiah 6:8

Macauley Rivera, one of my dearest friends in Bible college, had a passion for the Savior. His heart’s desire was to graduate, marry his fiancée Sharon, return to the inner city of Washington, DC, and plant a church to reach his friends and family for Christ.

That dream ended, however, when Mac and Sharon were tragically killed in an accident, leaving the student body stunned at the loss. At Mac’s memorial service, the challenge was issued: “Mac is gone. Who will serve in his place?” As evidence of the impact of Mac’s example, more than 200 students stood to take up the mantle of Christ’s fallen servant.

The response of those students echoes the commitment of Isaiah. In a time of fear and insecurity, the prophet was summoned into the throne room of God, where he heard Him say, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Isaiah responded, “Here am I! Send me” (Isa. 6:8).

God still calls men and women to be His ambassadors today. He challenges us to serve Him — sometimes close to home, sometimes in distant lands. The question for us is, How will we respond to His call? May God give us the courage to say, “Here am I! Send me.” — Bill Crowder

Take the task He gives you gladly;
Let His work your pleasure be;
Answer quickly when He calleth,
“Here am I, send me, send me.” —March

Whom God calls, He qualifies; whom He qualifies, He sends.