Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Make Today Count... the Joshua Principle

by Dale Shumaker

Make Today Count by John C. Maxwell is a condensed version of Today Matters (2004) and released in a small, handy, hard cover book. He features his daily dozen decision areas that if you do them daily they will bring success as you want. He attributes this to his success and shares his plan with you.

You are preparing for something and you can be a masterpiece. The two ingredients to a masterpiece are decision and discipline. Decide your daily focus, and create a discipline to do it every day.

The Daily Dozen: attitude, priorities, health, family, thinking, commitment, finances, faith, relationships, generosity, values and growth.

Attitude: making the decision to choose and display the right attitude daily. Keep a positive attitude, change bad attitudes to good ones. Think, act, talk and conduct yourself like the person you want to become.

Recognizing your attitude needs daily adjustment. So find something positive in every thing. Remove negative words and replace with positive words. Do the same for people and circumstances. Be a person to express gratitude and find something good to say about people and things. What disciplines must you practice today to have an upbeat, positive attitude.

Priorities: making the decision to determine and act on important priorities daily. Prioritize your life and set it on what brings the highest return.
Ask yourself 3 questions:
What is required of me? Family, in my job.
What gives me the greatest return? High return activities.
What gives me the greatest reward? Productivity with satisfaction.

Stay in your strength zone. Commit to live every day according to your priorities which means five things:
1. Evaluate priorities daily.
2. Plan time carefully.
3. Follow your plan diligently.
4. Delegate whenever possible.
(If they can do it 80% as good as you that's good enough.)
5. Invest in the right people daily. Invest in people of potential.

Decide today your daily priorities.

Health: making the decisions to know and follow healthy guidelines daily. Take good care of yourself by exercising and eating right. Have a purpose worth living for, do work you enjoy, find your pace, learn to laugh. What health disciplines will you practice daily.

Family: making the decision to communicate with and care for may family daily. Decide on problem solving strategies. Put your family on your calendar first. Create and maintain family traditions. Find ways to spend time together...significant events, needs, fun time. one on one time. Put your marriage first,constantly express appreciation for each other, resolve conflicts quickly. What family discipline will you practice each day?

Thinking: making the decision to practice and develop good thinking daily. Take time to think each day and practice the right thinking. Set aside time for thinking every day. Create a process. Use the following: focus on the positive, gather good ideas, spend time with good thinkers. Be an intentional thinker.

Commitment: making the a commitment to make and keep proper commitments daily. Commit to carry through what you determine as worth doing. Count the cost and be willing to pay the price. Always strive for excellence.

Expect a struggle when you commit; don't rely on talent alone, you must put something into it. Focus on choices not conditions because some choices will require struggle, it will require you commitment. Do what's right even if you don't feel like it.

Finances: making the decision to earn and properly manage finances daily. Put the value of things into their proper perspective. Do not be preoccupied with things, envious of others, over value possessions, believe money is happiness, and constantly crave more.

Life follows the pattern of learn, earn, and then return. Reduce debt. Use financial formula like 10-10-80; give 10%, invest 10%, and live on 80%. Create a financial game plan. Follow it daily. Be grateful for what you have and give as much as you can.

Faith: making the decision to deepen and live out faith daily. Decide to accept God's gift of His son as your personal savior. Faith in partnering then with God, and using the Bible as your source for Spiritual principles for living and taking action based on these daily. Faith is the heart of life. Faith is birthed out of difficulties which strengthen, and enlarge faith. Tested faith is trusted faith.

To manage the discipline of faith:
1. Embrace the value of faith.
2. Put God in the picture.
3. Associate with people of faith.
4. Explore and deepen faith.

D.L. Moody said he learned faith when he opened his "Bible and began to study, and faith has been growing ever since."

Relationships: making a decision to initiate and invest in solid relationships daily. Place a high value in people and really work at learning to understand people. Give respect freely but expect to earn it from others. Commit yourself to adding value to others: looking for ability in others, helping others develop their abilities.

To manage relationships, put others first, don't carry emotional baggage, give time to your most valuable relationships, serve others gladly, express love and appreciation often.

Generosity: making the decisions to plan for and model generosity daily. Live to give. Give others your money. Give others yourself. Add value to others and start by valuing people and giving to them, giving others' respect, know what people value, making yourself more valuable by committing to personal growth, and doing things that God values. Don't wait for prosperity before you become generous. Develop a generous mindset with who you are and what you have. Find reasons to give every day and find people to receive everyday.

Values: making the decision to embrace and practice good values daily. Maxwell's values include to be God's man, develop his potential to the best of his ability and be a true spiritual leader. Create a list of good values, embrace them and live them daily. Evaluate each day in light of your values.

Growth: making the decisions to seek and experience growth daily. Develop and follow a personal growth plan for your life. Set growth goals, learn to enjoy the journey and make your goal to constantly move forward to your greatest potential. To grow each day, Maxwell listens to audio lessons daily, reads two books a month, sets an appointment each month to learn from someone. File what you learn, apply what you learn.

To make today count,
each day do one thing in each of the areas.
Make the daily dozen decisions to be a masterpiece.
Ask these three questions.
1. Have I made the decision to improve in this area daily.
2. When did I decide.
3. What did I decide.
What discipline will you practice today and every day to be successful in this area.


Follow the Joshua Principle.
A daily discipline of fixing our minds on God's principles, renewing our minds, rebuilding our minds, and taking disciplined action every day with the Power principles of Spirit is our driving force.
The first chapter of Joshua and the Psalms emphasize the power behind constant meditation, sharply focused thinking to concentrate on the precepts, principles of the Bible. In Joshua, God guarantees success in efforts that follow this method:

" I promise you what I promised Moses: 'Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you. No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you. "Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1: 1-9, NLT)

"But they delight in the law of the Lord,
meditating on it day and night.
They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
and they prosper in all they do." (Psalm 1:2,3, NLT)

The Lord told Joshua to check out the territory... get intelligence on what is going on where he was to take the land.
" Then Joshua secretly sent out two spies from the Israelite camp at Acacia Grove. He instructed them, "Scout out the land on the other side of the Jordan River, especially around Jericho." So the two men set out and came to the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there that night."
(Joshua 2:1, NLT)

And sometimes His methods are unorthodox, out of the ordinary, even a little bizarre. Think of it, God has His Servants stay in a prostitute's house. That definitely would raise a few eyebrows, but the cleverness here is the enemy most certainly wouldn't expect that as Children of God.

With this intelligence, He guarantees that we will be effective when we follow what he tells us strategically to do.

"So Joshua and all the fighting men set out to attack Ai. Joshua chose 30,000 of his best warriors and sent them out at night with these orders:" (Joshua 8:3,4, NLT)

Whenever they followed the orders of the Lord, the Angel of God's Spirit went before them and they had overwhelming success. When they didn't, they had humiliating defeat. The only defeats came when they failed to follow His instructions to the finest detail. We can be assured He, the Spirit, will give us instructions to the finest detail if we seek his strategies first. And then follow them precisely.

The important thing is seeking His Strategies, first.
We then are assured overwhelming victory.

How can we develop this ability to hear the exact mind of Christ, the strategies of God and His Spirit. It takes a life of discipline in the Spirit.

Oswald Chambers refers to William James in what we have to do to become holy people. Holiness is a discipline where we must launch ourselves with as strong and decided initiative as possible; never having an exception in this practice until the new habit is securely rooted in our lives; and continually act on all the resolutions you make. Never stop working consciously on this discipline until it is part of your life. It is habitually working out a life of practical holiness until we have renewed our minds, and keep the mind renewed. (Conformed to His Image)

As I wrote in Jesus Is Us (using my pen name Geffry Fields), here's an excerpt from Practical Side of living in Jesus Spirit:

To be consistent to what we believe and stand for requires a personal disciple daily... morning, noon and night... keep mulling over the teachings of Jesus and His Apostles in the Bible. Joshua advocated to meditate on Spiritual principles day and night…i.e., constantly and all the time.

Jesus Spirit lives in us and teaches us directly
. When we take time to focus on His Spirit in Us we get Divine direction. When our thoughts come in alignment with Jesus way of thinking from the Scriptures, it ignites the Spirit of Jesus to come alive and speak to us, through our thoughts. And It actively works to become our reality for us.

When you read the Scriptures regularly, this happens more and more and gets more refined. Reconditioning, reprogramming takes time. When you desire circumstances to change and you stay in this High level meditative thought pattern, the elements of earth become a slave to your thought images.

What you see intensely, vividly for a length of time, with strong heart-felt emotion, while intensely in Jesus Spirit, begins moving conditions affecting this.

Those who practice this relate that they have seen great miracles when they do this repeatedly. How you prepare in quiet, in Jesus Spirit, in the Secret place of the Most High, will be manifested, come into reality.

We, in concert with Jesus Spirit create the reality, the will of Spirit, purpose of life
it becomes us and we then partner with Jesus Spirit to bring it into existence. The biggest part of all this transformational process happens during "Secret Place" times. As a civilization we don't spend as much time here. Those who do will verify that this begins to happen.

But it takes renewing the mind through reprogramming its thought processes, with Jesus Spirit processes and then allowing it to saturate our being as it takes us on a mystical journey in our mind and soul. The more time spent here the greater the external results you will see. The more Spiritual Power you will see being part of your life. The more results you will see in untouchable areas of your life....mind, body, relationships, purpose, mission, gifts, skills.
You live a Powerful, Action-packed, Spirit-guided lifestyle.

(For the complete article note:)

What does God require of us...
a life of discipline, each day and serving His interests.

As Joshua continues to remind us:
"But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord."

(Joshua 24:15, NLT)

It's about what we do Today!
Each hour, each minute. Make that choice every second to live the Principles and Thoughts of Spirit which we choose to allow into our minds

"But be very careful to obey all the commands and the instructions that Moses gave to you. Love the Lord your God, walk in all his ways, obey his commands, hold firmly to him, and serve him with all your heart and all your soul." (Joshua 22:5, NLT)

"So be very careful to love the Lord your God." (Joshua 23:11, NLT)

Seeking God's precise instructions each day is an expression of our love and respect for who God is and how He really wants to bless us in all we do. He wants to be part of us in all we do.

We are called to take the Land,
and use the exact methods and strategies He gives to us.
Develop the discipline of Spirit daily.
Secure His Divine Intelligence.
Get His orders and carry them out exactly.

And know how much He loves us, as we serve Him with such gratefulness, in love, knowing how much He cares for us. What drives us is the love affair God has with us and He asks that we love Him the same. He extends His love first. He just asks us to feel the same for Him as He feels for us.

So in love, we naturally love Him back with all we have,
with all our strength and efforts.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Brain Rules... Spirit Controls

by Dale Shumaker

In Brain Rules, author John Medina, molecular biologist, tells us how our brain works. He has twelve rules for making the brain work better. His bonus DVD gives you specific directives on how to put the rules to work.

The twelve rules for Brain Power:

Rule #1: Exercise to boost brain power.
Exercise twice a day ... 20-30 min. aerobic in the morning and strength sessions in the afternoon is all it takes. Even if you're getting older and get away from exercise, it will come back if you start now. Walking 12 miles a day will do it too.

Rule # 2. The human brain has evolved too.
Our brains have developed over time with symbolic reasoning. From experiences, we learn to figure things out. We actually have three brains. One runs our body functions. The second brain allows us to feel emotions... rage, fear, pleasure. It creates and remembers emotions from experiences. The third brain, the cortex, is highly specialized for speech, vision, memory. Our brains are getting bigger from generation to generation. This one figures out others, motivation, the ability to create relationships. With symbolic reasoning, we can understand others' intentions and motivations, allowing us to coordinate within a group.

Rule #3: Every brain runs circuits in its own unique way.
Every brain, in terms of function, is wired differently. We each store things in different areas. The brain does not pay attention to age as some things by some are learned in different ways, at different times than all the others. For example he found most brains aren't ready to learn reading when, at the age, it is taught in most schools.

Since all brains function differently, at different time lines, smaller group education is better, customized approaches are the best. So we have many ways to be intelligent which don't show up on the IQ Test. And remember, no two people store info the same way, and every brain develops at different rates in different people.

Rule # 4: We don't pay attention to boring things.
What we pay attention to is influenced by memory... of the past experiences and how we felt about them then. Our cultures influence us too. Emotionally arousing events, at least for a certain person, gets attention. The emotion is remembered more than details. Knowledge is organized around these core commotions of the mind. Then details are formed around these notions.

The brain doesn't multi task. It does things sequentially... one after another. We can't process attention-rich inputs simultaneously. The brain shifts to an "alert" to something (task, idea), then it activates task functions. It then disengages; and again, it recognizes another "alert" to the next task, then to task activation. It disengages again, signals an "alert" and continues the process again and again.

This keeps reoccurring about every ten minutes. After ten minutes it wants to shift. This is important in that it affects attention, learning, listening, task function effectiveness. So if speaking to someone you must grab attention back by saying it in another way, or doing something different... constantly changing the mode or style of communication. In a task, we should change the nature of the task at these intervals even if just going back and forth from one form to another.

Emotional arousal helps the brain to learn... fear or great joy at peak levels affects our ability to remember. The brain remembers the dramatic, shocking, intense, deeply heart felt...and ties information to it then.

Rule # 5: Short-term memory.
Repeat to remember. In 30 days we forget 90% of what we learned in a class. Actually, we forget most of what we learn in class a few hours after the class. But when applying space in learning, repeating information in timed-intervals, we increase memory.

Memory has 4 stages: encoding, storing, retrieving, and forgetting. How we encode the first few seconds of exposure to information has the greatest affect on how we remember and can retrieve it. The more elaborately we encode in these initial moments, the stronger the memory. You can increase chances of remembering by re-producing the same environment when it was first exposed, put into your brain. If sad when you first were exposed to the information, you recall it faster, again when in a sad state. You will notice when in certain moods, you remember or just happen to think of certain things. This how the brain works... it creates associations with emotion.

Rule # 6: Long-term memory remembers to repeat.
Information needs repeated shortly ( a few hours) after it is presented. This should be repeated again in a few hours. Repetition and review must go on at constant time-spaced intervals.

Rule # 7: Sleep well, think well.
Sleep loss means mind loss. It hurts attention, execution function, immediate memory, working memory, mood, quantitative skills... Sleep is rather intimately involved with learning. We down shift in certain parts of the day. Take naps when you are downshifting (25-45 minutes is a good length for a nap) and see 34% productivity improvement.

Rule # 8: Stress.
Stressed brains don't learn the same way. Stress comes from feeling helpless and loss of control in our lives. It happens when you have a problem and have no control over the problem. Stress releases adrenaline which scars your blood vessels. This then can cause a heart attack or stroke. To relieve stress, find ways to relieve or change the situation you feel you have no control over, or it puts you in a sense of feeling helpless in doing anything about it.

Rule # 9: Sensory integration.
Stimulate more of the senses at the same time. Students learn better when multi-media is used with words and pictures together, presented simultaneously, than successively; near each other, with extraneous information excluded and with animation and narration instead of text. We rely on past experience, when deciding how to combine signals. Vision influences learning.

Rule # 10: Vision
Vision trumps all the other senses. Visual processing doesn't just assist in the perception of our world, it dominates our perception of the world. The brain actively reconstructs what it is sent through the eyes. It de-constructs the information, then pushes it through a variety of filters, and reconstructs it again to what it sees or thinks it sees. So we literally can see things that are not there. Previous experience plays a vital role in what the brain allows you to see.

The more visual the input, the more likely it will be remembered and recalled. In 72 hours, people remember 10% of what they hear, while retaining 65% of pictures they see. With words we read, we create many pictures in the mind to decide which picture to use. Text and Microsoft is not natural for the brain. Trees and leaves are. We try to visualize in our brains the words we read... creating many versions based on past experiences. Power point has too many words to be effective.

Our visual system creates movies, generates hallucinations, consults with previous information before allowing us to see outside. The retina creates streams of movies, some parts of the brain registers motion, the other color. We then combine all of these... this is what we see. We learn best through pictures. Text requires many simultaneous processes for us to grasp meaning.

Rule #11: Gender
Male and female brains are different. We all have known this but some cultural issues have caused us to deny it. Medina presents a case for dealing with the realities of it.

If you get two X chromosomes, you are a girl. If you get an X and Y you are a guy. The egg never carries the Y, only the sperm. So the male determines the sex. The X does most of the developmental lifting. So girls' early development passes up the boys. The X chromosomes creates more proteins involved in brain manufacturing of highly cognitive functions in verbal skills, social behavior and intelligence.

Men synthesize serotonin faster than females, so they usually get over emotional things faster than females. Females get depressed more. Males are more antisocial, while females have more anxiety. Most alcoholics and drug addicts are males, most anorexics are female. In emotional situations, females remember more detail and males walk away with the gist of the thing. Under stress women tend to focus on nurturing offspring, men tend to withdraw. Girls advance verbal skills sooner then boys in school, whereas boys advance mathematically faster. Doing things together is the glue for male relationships, while girls talk.

Boys are more directive, girls invite the group in on things. Girls who are directive are considered bossy.

Rule #12: We are powerful and natural explorers.
We actively test situations through observation, hypothesis, experiment and conclusion. We recognize and imitate behavior because of "mirror neurons" scattered across the brain. That's why culture and our experiences have such a big effect on how we think. What each person sees, that brain records that as its reality.

The good news is our brains stay malleable like as when we were babies, so we create neurons and learn new things throughout our lives. There is hope as we age: old dogs can learn new tricks. For more on brain tricks to stir up yours, note John Medina's website:

The lyrics of an old popular worship song keep going through my mind,
"We are One in the Spirit, We are One in the Lord,
and we pray that all unity will one day be restored.
And they will know we are Christians by our love."

Paul the Apostle said in Ephesians that we are One body and One Spirit. We are all united by One Spirit.

In Spirit we become one with the Father, through the Holy Spirit that rides in us. We are the vehicle it rides in and where we go; where we take it, it goes with us.

When we walk in that Spirit, and others walk in the Spirit, the Spirit unites us. Then we become one in Spirit. As the Apostle Paul said...

"Don't you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?" (1 Corinthians 3:16, NLT)
"Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all." (Ephesians 4:2-6, NLT)
"Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose." (Philippians 2:1-2, NLT)

We have one mind, one purpose and walk as a mass as Christ. We have literally become, when this authentically exists, the incarnate presence of Christ on earth... through a love-bond united Group as One.

The power we have is walking in this One Love, this One Spirit. When we all go to the same Spirit, and work in maintaining the unity of our faith, we are powerful.The secret to Spirit Power is in these principles which Paul so emphatically explains, exhorts us to adhere to. That's why this process in the Spirit Powered business is powerful...

Each of the inner core, need to hold close relationship with the Holy Spirit, spending personal time in the Inner Chamber of God. This is essential and cannot be bypassed. The depth of this is then reflected in the power when we come together.

To hear the voice of God, each part must be shared with each other... the spark of God's voice is ignited then. As a group of combined voices, we hear all of God's voice and not just a part of it as may come from just one person. We need the combined voice of God, from all the parts of everyone, to hear all of God's voice. It's here we fall short in living in God's Power in business. The inner relationship core strength is not established and each person falls short in their own responsibility and diligence in entering the Holy Chamber of God.

Joint worship does this. When the core group enters into group worship, worship that exalts God will then hear from God. It is important to provide time and place to hear the Voice of God... this happens when the group comes together in Spirit. The Inner Chamber surrounds the group, the Most Holy Place of His Presence is entered. Not practiced by very many, although, this is the core, the nuclei of power.

We are controlled by the Spirit, when we allow Spirit to have full reign of our minds. Brain rules become slaves to the Spirit in doing what is pure of the Spirit. "But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you." (Romans 8:9, NLT)

When others witness the love this manifests as a group, your efforts in any business, organization or group will have a drawing effect on everyone around you. The Spirit hovering in and over you is like a magnet, that will draw all men to the presence of Jesus among you. This brings the image of Jesus visible so all see, and you have the power of Jesus on you when this is perfected in your group.

In all you do, make this the pattern as Paul suggests and you will See His Power among you.