Sunday, May 31, 2009

Put Your Dream to the Test... kept by God's Power

by Dale Shumaker

Put your Dream to the Test by John C. Maxwell is about asking the right questions so you will pass the test to achieve your dream. "I believe that if you know the right questions to ask, and if you can answer these questions in an affirmative way, you will have an excellent chance of being able to achieve your dreams." From all the people Maxwell has studied, one common definition of a dream that can be put to the test is: "a dream is an inspiring picture of the future that energizes your mind, will and emotions, empowering you to do everything you can to achieve it."

The Dream Test has 10 questions. Here's the right questions. When you maneuver through each of these questions, you have put your dream to the test, and passed the dream test to reach your dream. Maxwell has many delightful true stories for each question that will inspire and give you direction on grabbing your dream to see it through.

The Ownership Question:
Is my dream really my Dream? Take ownership of the dream by being willing to bet on yourself, lead your life instead of just accepting it, love what you do and do what you love, don't compare yourself (or dream) to others, believe in your vision even when others don't understand you. What are your gifts; what do you like about yourself; what makes you feel special, what are the memorable triumphs in your life?

The Clarity Question:
Do I clearly see my dream? A clear dream makes a general idea very specific, becomes clear with effort, affirms your purpose, determines your priorities, gives direction and motivates your team. Seize your dream, see it and share, so others can see it too.

The Reality Question:
Am I depending on factors within my control to achieve my dreams? Believe in cause and effect. Building on your strengths activates the law of least effort, it enables consistently good results, and gives you the highest returns. Work from your highest potential and make your reality your ally.

Then Maxwell leads you through a critical exercise to put this first part in motion. After reflection and some periods of introspection, write down your answers to these questions.

1. What is my dream?
2. What is my starting point? How can begin from where I am now?
3. What are my strengths and weaknesses? Describe at least 5 abilities.
4. What are my current positive and negative habits? Habits that contribute, habits I will need to change.
5. How long must I practice these habits to reach my potential.

The Passion Question:
Does my dream compel me to follow it? Your passion is your driving enthusiasm that gives you ongoing energy and a continued focus. It does three significant things: Passion pulls us up, enabling us to overcome adversity. Passion pushes us out, giving us initiative. Passion positions us well, giving us the greatest odds for success.

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. Stoke your passion meter and keep it running hot. Consider your temperament, what's important to you, and overcome the fear of being different from others... you're never too old or too young.

To review again quickly, ask if it is your dream, do you see it clearly, does it match your talents and temperament, and are you stifled by the fear of being different?

The Pathway Question:
Do I have a strategy to reach my dream?
SECURE your dream.
State your position. Where are you right now, what will your dream look like in the future.
Examine all your actions. Do something. Do something today, every day, that relates to your dream tomorrow.
Consider all your options. What must you alter to move forward?
Utilize your resources. What do you have at your disposal right now?
Remove all your nonessentials. What is taking your time not related to reaching your dream?
Embrace your challenges. What problems, obstacles or failures may you face in your dream journey. How can you prepare yourself to meet these challenges. From these write out daily disciplines, monthly goals, a long term plan.

The People Question:
Have I included the people I need to realize my dream? DREAM TEAM members should dare to focus on your significance, not simply on your success. Your dream team will respond to your ideas with respect, not disgust or contempt. Expect the best of you. Affirm your talents and abilities. Maximize learning and growth opportunities to improve the dream and the dreamer.

Your dream team will also take time to give honest feedback. Encourage you unconditionally and nonjudgmentally to help you persevere. They will accept only excellence, since mediocrity kills dreams. And help you make the most of your mistakes and failures. Your dream team will inspire you, be honest with you, have skills that complement you.

The Cost Question:
Am I willing to pay the price for my dream? The dream is free, but the journey isn't. The price must be paid sooner than you think. The price will be higher than you expect. The price must be paid more than once. It is possible to pay too much for your dream.
Three things you must pay to succeed:
Pay the price of dealing with criticism.
Pay the price of overcoming your fears.
Pay the price of hard work.
The bigger the dream the higher the cost. If you are not willing to pay the price, you need to change the dream.

The Tenacity Question:
Am I moving closer to my dream? To achieve a dream it takes the willingness to take one more step, when you are convinced you can't take another step. To nourish your dream you need to keep working, keep striving, keep moving closer to your dream. To do that it is vital to recognize that quitting is more about who you are than where you are. Improve your vocabulary by using "can do" words. Waiting for everything to be right is wrong as conditions will never be perfect. Be committed to action, keep thinking on what more you can accomplish, recognize that the resources for your dream stop the moment you do (vision doesn't follow resources; it's the other way around).

Practice the rule of five which is doing five specific things each day that will move you closer to your dream, and remember when you have exhausted all possibilities, you haven't. Every day keep moving closer to your dream even if just an inch at a time. So change your thinking, change your perspective and change your work habits.

The Fulfillment Question:
Does working toward my dream bring satisfaction? Dreaming is about what you become in the process, so the process is the joy of the dream. Is the process fulfilling and a growing experience for you? Is it fulfilling or frustrating? Fulfillment people understand the difference between the dream and it's realization which is enjoying the journey there. The size of the dream determines the size of the gap of your reality today and the reality of the dream.

Fulfilled people keep dreaming while making the journey, appreciate each step forward in the journey. The power of fulfillment is you make new discoveries while living in the gap as you build a new person. Fulfilled people buy in to the natural law of balance and that life is both good and bad. Love the journey and knowing that no matter what you are living toward your dream.

The Significance Question:
Does my dream benefit others? Change your game plan from success to significance.Your dream is unselfishly living beyond yourself and committing to benefit others. Maxwell concludes with three statements about significance in his own life. "I want to do something significant for myself. I want to do something significant for others. I want to do something significant with others." A dream is not worth it if it doesn't benefit others.

As Florence Littauer said, "dare to dream, prepare to dream, wear the dream, repair the dream, share the dream." At what stage are you now? Surviving, already achieving your dream or striving for significance.

John Maxwell provides more at
and Thomas Nelson has an interactive companion to Put Your Dream to the Test,
My Dream Map

In Absolute Surrender, Andrew Murray says that we obtain the full blessing of God by absolute surrender of all into His hands. Here are some power excerpts from the chapter,
"Kept by the Power of God."

"We are kept here on earth by the power of God. There is an inheritance waiting for me in Heaven. God keeps me for the inheritance. He knows you are not able to keep yourself. But God says: “My child, there is no work you are to do, and no business in which you are engaged, and not a cent which you are to spend, but I, your Father, will take that up into my keeping.” God will care for you there. The keeping of God includes all.

What is Almighty God not going to do for the child that trusts Him? The Bible says: “Above all that we can ask or think”. It is Omnipotence you must learn to know and trust, and then you will live as a Christian ought to live. How little we have learned to study God, and to understand that a godly life is a life full of God, a life that loves God and waits on Him, and trusts Him, and allows Him to bless it! We cannot do the will of God except by the power of God. God gives us the first experience of His power to prepare us to long for more, and to come and claim all that He can do. God help us to trust Him every day.

This keeping is not only all-inclusive and omnipotent, but also continuous and unbroken. Our whole spiritual life is to be God’s doing. “It is God that works in us to will and to do of his good pleasure.” When once we get faith to expect that from God, God will do all for us. The keeping is to be continuous. Every morning God will meet you as you wake. If you trust your waking to God, God will meet you in the morning as you wake with His divine sunshine and love, and He will give you the consciousness that through the day you have got God to take charge of you continuously with His almighty power. “Lord, I am going to expect Thee to do Thy utmost, and I am going to trust Thee day by day to keep me absolutely,” your faith will grow stronger and stronger, and you will know the keeping power of God in unbrokenness.

This faith means utter impotence and helplessness before God. In most cases it is utter helplessness; another must do it for me. And that is the secret of the spiritual life. It is possible that you might exalt yourself, and therefore I have sent you this trial to keep you weak and humble. It is when we sink down in utter helplessness that the everlasting God will reveal Himself in His power, and that our hearts will learn to trust God alone. But how am I to get that trust?”

“By the death of self. The great hindrance to trust is self-effort. So long as you have got your own wisdom and thoughts and strength, you cannot fully trust God. But when God breaks you down, when everything begins to grow dim before your eyes, and you see that you understand nothing, then God is coming near, and if you will bow down in nothingness and wait upon God, He will become all.” As long as we are something, God cannot be all, and His omnipotence cannot do its full work. That is the beginning of faith... utter despair of self, a ceasing from man and everything on earth, and finding our hope in God alone.

Faith is rest.
Faith has not attained its strength. But when faith in its struggling gets to the end of itself, and just throws itself upon God and rests on Him, then comes joy and victory. When God comes to me with the promise of His keeping, and I have nothing on earth to trust in, I say to God: “Thy word is enough; kept by the power of God.” That is faith, that is rest. It is a great thing when a man comes to rest on God’s almighty power for every moment of his life. It is a great thing in prospect of these to enter into a covenant with the omnipotent Jehovah, not on account of anything that any man says, or of anything that my heart feels, but on the strength of the Word of God:

“Kept by the power of God through faith.”
My God, let my life be a proof of what the omnipotent God can do. Let these be the two dispositions of our souls every day... deep helplessness, and simple, childlike rest. If you want to get into this life of godliness, you must take time to fellowship with God.

Leave your heart, and look into the face of Christ, and listen to what He tells you about how He will keep you. Look up into the face of your loving Father, and take time every day with Him, and begin a new life with the deep emptiness and poverty of a man who has got nothing, and who wants to get everything from Him... with the deep restfulness of a man who rests on the living God, the omnipotent Jehovah ...and try God, and prove Him if He will not open the windows of Heaven and pour out a blessing that there shall not be room to receive it.

But in great restfulness place ourselves in His hands. God takes care that it shines upon you. And God will take care that His own divine light shines upon you, and that you shall abide in that light, if you will only trust Him for it. Let us trust God to do that with a great and entire trust.

Here is the omnipotence of God,
and here is faith reaching out to the measure of that omnipotence. Shall we not say: “All that that omnipotence can do, I am going to trust my God for?" Are not the two sides of this heavenly life wonderful? God’s omnipotence covers me, and my will in its littleness rests in that omnipotence, and rejoices in it!

The full text of Absolute Surrender is on line at
The Christian Classics Ethereal Library has hundreds of the Christian classic authors and their works directly on line.For more check out the Christian Classic Ethereal Library.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Bible, #1 Business Book... The Body of Christ, Here, Now, How! (11)

by Dale Shumaker

The greatest book ever written is the Bible.

It has been reported that the Bible is the most quoted book by CEO's when giving speeches.

In a survey, managers were asked which current business book was one they most often gave to their staff. The survey had the Bible as #4 on the list... especially the New Living Translation.The Bible is full of Spiritual and predictive intelligence, wisdom, human relationship principles, faith to overcome challenges and encouragement for all people in every situation. It is one of the Best resources to go to when needing encouragement to over come insurmountable challenges in life. Needless to say, to be able to live with God's Supernatural Creative power with you is an awesome way to live.

A great new Bible is the New Living Study Bible. It is easy to read, accurate and a good in-your-business reference Bible. For those in Bible study groups, or wanting to get more out of devotions, this lends relevant insights nicely presented.

The Bible has God's Very Precepts shared through the ages at different times, in different events. It gives us invaluable resources for Greatness in life, business and relationships. Isaiah, a prophet from the Old Testament in the Bible, said...
"Search the book of the LORD, and see what he will do. He will not miss a single detail... His Spirit will make it all come true." (Isaiah 34:16)

The Old Testament was written to show this to be true. Everything it forecast about Jesus coming to earth as God Himself did came true. Its information has proven to be the most reliable in holding up throughout history. I see it as the manufacturing guide book on how to run this human life more effectively, how to run a business venture... to code as prescribed by our Maker. And the most exciting part is a life after this life that's so ecstatic, we can't
even comprehend it.

It's great for short-term intelligence and long-term irrevocable benefits.
It's not a book of theories, but life power principles to accomplish what's naturally unattainable, to overcome the insurmountable, to create lifestyle satisfaction indescribable. The Spirit (that Isaiah mentioned) that makes forecasts come true is the same Spirit we have access to... we get Divine impressions from reading, pondering a Scripture in the Bible, giving us supernatural abilities and intelligence. They are custom designed specific premonitions just for us. These impressions we get many times come about, when inspired to us while reflecting as we read the Bible. Spirit creating matter becomes our reality.
Here are some great Bible translations to consider.
The New Living Translation (NLT) has inspiration with a vocal flow in the words and phrases, considered to be a highly reliable translation.
The New American Standard (NASB) is another one to use along side the NLT. It is not as easy to follow its reading style but has excellent literacy accuracy, considered the most accurate of modern translations.

The New International Version (NIV) is very popular too. It has a good reading flow with acute accuracy in translation.

The English Standard Version (ESV) is considered to also be a superb word for word translation.

The Message is an excellent paraphrase with an emphasis on getting the intended message using analogies related to today. It is not considered to be a translation.

Of course there are many others.
The following website features the whole Bible, with many translations, on the Internet... including devotionals, dictionaries and commentaries.

It features several Bible translations with a great keyword search feature.

The Body of Christ
by Dr. J. Robert Ashcroft concludes with Here, Now and How!.
It is not good for man to be alone. Bird watchers note that birds find a mate, court, nest and raise offspring. The son of Man, Jesus, said that even birds had a place to nest but the Son of Man had no place to lay His head. He was building a family connection so large that no one would be alone without close significant relationships.The Spirit unites, while Satan comes to divide. The Spirit bonds us to many believers. This bonding is more intense and secure than the bond of family relationships. Jesus himself indicated that man would leave father and mother and become followers of Christ. Jesus said, "Who is my mother and brothers. Whomever does the will of the Father is my brother, my sister, my mother." (Mark 3:33,35)

Being united to Christ we become united to each other.
Everyone needs companionship. Each of us needs a support system. It is more than a need. It is a Divine challenge to creativity and productivity. Do we try to reach our full potential alone? When we do we limit our success. God has ordained that the greatest power available to His Children will be manifested when they have the spiritual unity of which He spoke in Matthew (18:19) that when touching anything, the two or three in agreement, will be done by all the powers of our Father in Heaven.

Note that earth and
Heaven are linked together when we are united. This unity is a Spiritual law. This law is equally binding in the Spirit as natural laws are binding in nature... physics, biology, etc.In knowing this, we know we can feed ourselves by sowing and reaping. When we sow Spirit, we reap Spirit. So unity in our relationships work the same way. When family units of husband-wife, parent-child, brothers-sisters are united it creates a family power. The union of husband and wife is such a meaningful life that Paul uses the relationship to explain the union between Christ and the Body of Christ. Just marriage is not enough.

There is social marriage, legal marriage, biological
marriage. Then there is Spiritual marriage. The oneness of this kind of relationship goes beyond procreation. It deals with matters of the Spirit. Here, with this close intimate relationship, we win against all forces. The Holy Spirit becomes our ally in spiritual warfare.The most practical place for this unity of an intense level is with husband and wife. When two become one, all the powers of God's universe beckon to our commands.

With the potential to change our universe through this
relationship so strong, Satan's focus has been very much to divide families, put husband against wife, and children against parents. This takes the power right out of the home. Although, a husband and wife and family who prays together and forms close bonding relationships has exceptional power of Spirit at work in their times together. If married, your spouse is your greatest potential for a prayer partner. Some things to keep in mind to take advantage of this potential is to agree on a time to come together for devotions, and establish a pattern of worship.

This may include reading the Scriptures or
a devotional together, singing praise songs, including your children to read or sing, pray for each other, share what God is impressing on you for each other, do as you felt led as one unit. All major decisions would be better served after this experience to reassure it is God's guidance with you within the decision. Once Jesus took three of His disciples with Him when He prayed,

Establish prayer partnerships in addition to your family.
Or if we don't have this potential in your family, find two or three as prayer partners. We can see great power coming in our lives. Jesus sent his disciples out in pairs. In a business or an individual finding someone like minded in Spirit to become partners in prayer and in mission support, will highly affect all your efforts. (Dr. Ashcroft suggests everyone in the Body of Christ is called to minister or be a ministry of some kind.)

What we are called to do in God's will is a ministry for the Kingdom
of God. So prayer partners and prayer groups will enlarge your function of life in Spirit. This is the key to true Spiritual empowerment. It is critical to form these relationships and allow the Holy Spirit to bond them for His power.

Note that as the number of people increases it increases the
difficulty of having the quality of agreement. Agreement diminishes. The critical factor is unity. So being small with greater unity is better than large and lesser unity. When we look at the phrase "agree together" it comes from the same root word that means harmony. Like a piano that strikes one string, all the strings that are sympathetic to that note will vibrate also. They are in synchronization with one another.  Where there is agape love of God, and we are in love with Jesus and man, it is possible that we function in synchronization with one another. This unity is not possible by human means.  Each person involved must be totally in love with Jesus Christ. 

When He is Lord of the lives of each person in the group, such love is possible. And where there is love, the gifts of the Holy Spirit are manifest. Obviously, where His love is there is healing of every kind. What is needed for prayer groups to be highly successful, with all the Creative Powers of God's Spirit to be at work, is compassionate and sharing love. That's agape love, the love of Christ at the cross. This is a sacrificial sharing love. It is the true meaning of fellowship. It carries the true meaning of the Early Church and intentions of our relationships as One in Spirit.

It is so close in relationship
that they shared their possessions as their needs became known. It takes a Special grace for this ministry, for the actual manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit to meet the needs of the Body of Christ. Bible study groups conducted formally and informally are great places for group prayer to be part of it. Leadership and training are most important forces in sustaining the effectiveness of prayer groups. It is important to remember that the unity of the believers, the flow of compassion as we serve one another in love makes the Body of Christ a conquering force.

Teaching is not learning. Somethings can be taught but not learned. It needs
to be part of our behavior. Change must take place that is self evident and motivates a new desire. To achieve the highest level of discipleship it is necessary to train. This includes teaching, getting information, and training, making it work effectively in daily applications. Intercessory prayer, the kind that gets individuals involved with the subject of one's prayers is a most critical factor in successful praying. Prayer includes that we obey the directions we get from prayer.

Too many times we only take time to tell God what is needed and fail
to get His strategies for getting the answer. He gives Spiritual intelligence... Divine Strategies for accomplishing things Supernaturally. The ability and comfort to pray with others out loud is a valuable part of prayer training. Each of us must find a way to join with another believer (or other believers) to touch the lives of those around us.

Missions are as much across the street as they are around the
world. The hurting or hungry family may be your next door neighbor, or the business just next to you. Take note, and always be available to pray for and help where you can.The reality of the Body of Christ is that it reaches out to a perplexed and wandering world.

Our groups should welcome as many as we can
into the fellowship, koinonia, and experience as a group the love and practical caring we give to each other. That people find a place to find gifts and abilities, cultivate Spiritual gifts, and become empowered so strongly that others notice and want to be part of it too.

This is our challenge in becoming one with God and One with each other.