Saturday, February 28, 2015

Spirit Savvy Network … renew your mind

by Dale Shumaker

3. Renew your mind, transform your mind to Spirit.

Our brain is a marvelous creation. It remains one of the most powerful computers on earth. It not only can store great amounts of information, but can make judgement calls, express and understand emotion, and keep what is recorded in it through our whole lifetime, in storage as long as we are alive.

As soon as we are born our senses go to work to pull in everything it sees, hears, feels. We come into the world like a hard drive that has the operating system in place to run our body functions, then as soon as we are born we begin programming our brain. What our eyes see, what our ears hear, what our feelings feel is being downloaded into our subconscious.

The brain begins filling up all the experiences we have and it stores them one after another. Neuroscience says the mind can store over a million gigabytes of information. The subconscious stores everything we hear, see, feel, and categorizes it.

Without conscious effort, the brain programs all experiences and categorizes them in areas most common to our past decisions. How and what we think, feel, act is based on this. We respond automatically and instantly from this information harbored in our brain's subconscious mind.

That's the good news. The bad news is it also stores decisions eliciting behaviors not to our best interest. Then again the good news is that we can control this, and not let the brain have its own way. We spend years in school to organize and respond to this information we store in the best way possible, so we can use it in beneficial, life enhancing ways. Then again what we learned in school, through our experiences may not be to the best interest to our well-being. So again we must decide what is best to be put in our brain.

If we don't deliberating control and guide it, it will set up patterns of behavior on its own. Some are good, some are not so good. The more we repeat an action, the more it becomes an innate, auto-programmed responding behavior. Consequently, whether being happy, sad, mad, motivated, lethargic, has been determined by these past repetitive decisions that become automatic reactors in the brain.

All habits, thought patterns, and behavior are developed from what's familiar… our reaction to past experiences, outside of our conscious control. As we mature as a person, we live as a slave to what becomes the subconscious reaction to these experiences.

We face two choices... we don't take control of this process and live an aimless life without reason, based on programmed outside influences. Or we take control of this process, reprogram our brain to patterns and behaviors that are abundantly fruitful for us.

For the Spirit to work in us, we must be the commander of the brain and implant the Spirit into our brain, replacing the past mind's information with a New Mind of Spirit. The mind must become uniform and consistent with the Spirit. One mind of Spirit. Jesus said a house divided against itself can't stand. When the mind has conflicting sets of information to work from, we have a very dysfunctional person. So we need to renew the mind, program it to the principles of the Spirit.

Today a complaint I hear about those who attend church is they are one thing at church, but totally someone else during the week.  Some say they are hypocrites. The cause behind living two life standards may go back to their lack of aligning the mind to Spiritual principles. Many hold Spiritual principles in their intellect, but have not made it one with the mind. A person may be able to recite Spiritual principles, but not have it as a normal functional part of their lives.

To resolve this mental double standard, the Apostle Paul admonishes us to be transformed by renewing our mind. (see Romans 12) It's essential and crucial to see Principles of God's Spirit being expressed in our lives... as an automatic behavior. We must become one mind, controlled by the Spirit and Spiritual principles. Only then will we live out the Spirit's capabilities, to become the character of the Spirit as being who we really are and what people see. Only then can we fulfill the inspired Magnificent Mission stamped on our DNA by God. When we live without the mind and Spirit in sync with each other, it causes us to feel like something is just not right. We don't know what's wrong; we are just not happy with life, or lack a sense of satisfaction.  Although when mind and Spirit are in harmony with each other, we live in a greater power, are contented and satisfied within.

Consequently, taking calculated, thoughtful action to renew the mind is of utmost importance.

Our mind has been programmed by all our life experiences, ideas, media we hear without our consent. We have allowed it to be a host to a mindset, a way of thinking, that in most cases is inconsistent with the Spiritual principles of God. We can change this, must change this to be a Spirit Savvy person, living out our Magnificent Mission.

When you buy a car and follow the manufacturer's directions on how to maintain and care for the car, it will run well and last longer. The same is true for the Spirit.  As you live out the mission you are designed for and follow God's manufacturing instructions, life goes better.

For all this to happen, carefully guide and direct what you put in your brain, and follow the Spiritual principles of your Creator. When your mind is transformed to line up with God's principles on how He designed you, you function phenomenally.

When Jesus said a person needs to be born again, this includes a rebirth in how we think, a renewal and transformation of the mind to be a Spiritual mind, living out Biblical principles, doing things God's way.

It needs to be re-calibrated to the way of the Spirit. It takes a conscious, calculated effort to become Spiritually-driven as a person. The mind must be reborn, rebuilt, realigned with the systems of the Spirit for the Magnificent Mission to reach the magnitude it is made for.

"Study this Book of Instruction(the Bible) continually. Meditate on these words (the Scriptures) day and night and what you set to do will be accomplished." Be diligent to do everything it says and do it well. Then be bold and courageous because the Lord God, the Almighty Spirit of God will be with you.
(see Joshua 1, Deuteronomy 6)

Do this.
Your best time to take in information that goes into your subconscious is at night, right before going to sleep. Read Jesus' teachings, the Apostles letters, the Psalms, as the last part of your evening. Play a Bible audio version as you fall asleep. Then the first thing when you get up read the Scriptures. Go to your Scripture of the day if you have a devotional that provides one. There are also several sites on the Internet with Scriptures of the day. Your church may have a Bible reading plan, do it daily.  

Throughout the day, take a Bible reading break. In the middle of the day, when you have a spare moment read faith promises, Jesus' teachings, etc.. Carry a small New Testament or download an app to use on your smartphone. Listen to faith, inspired teachings as you drive, and do activities around the house.

Talk to a friend and share your Scripture, or Spiritual thought that is going through your mind that day, or something that happened that reminded you of one of God's principles.

I heard a minister say he has a notebook of God's Principles. In it he has over 100 Scriptures that build up his belief in God's Power, and the very character of God's Spirit. Consider doing  this too. Using Bible Gateway, or another Bible site, do keyword searches of the characteristics of God's Spirit, such as faith, belief, hope, love, forgiveness, trust. Make your own notebook (paper or electronic) of Scriptures that inspire or direct you.

Inundate yourself with Inspired Praise Music, the inspiration of the Scriptures, and Inspired teachers. Do this morning, noon and night. A balanced diet of the Psalms, Proverbs, the Prophets, Jesus' teachings, the words of the Apostles... taken in every day will keep your Spiritual Well-Being steady and strong. It takes a disciplined, deliberate, systematic habit each day to keep you tuned into His Spirit and to live out God's principles daily. Create a plan and follow it every day. By having a plan you stay on course. On your days off from work, create an advanced plan, go more in depth in your study of Scriptural principles.

Joshua 1 works today. Mediate on His Words, day and night, and what you do will go well for you.

Consider this.
Jesus prayed that "they be One as we are One." (John 17) To be One with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit deliberate reprogramming is a must. One foot in the world's philosophies and one foot in God's way of doing things will only bring great frustration, create inertia, make a person inept.

To be One in Spirit with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, the mind must be one with the mind of Christ. We gain the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2) through the Spirit. Lining it up with God's principles, His Mind, or the Mind of Christ, our influence in the world grows like Jesus' did.

In Leviticus 26 it outlines the blessings for obedience. First it says to have no other idols before you and then to honor the Sabbath rest and show reverence for His Sanctuary. In the New Testament our body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit, His Sanctuary. (1 Corinthians 6)

Consider this, Sunday is one day of seven in a week. Relating it to a day that's one seventh of a day, or about 3.5 hours. If we spent that amount of time daily putting God's Spirit first in our lives before anything else, would not the blessings from obedience come our way. ...(see the rest of Leviticus 26). With that focus in a day, we would most certainly reprogram our minds to be His Spiritual mind, and replace the old programming of this world's inept principles with the Power of His Spirit. We would most certainly see His Spirit work in our lives in a way we have never seen before.

To re-program our thinking to be the mind of Christ requires a daily discipline, it requires constant diligence. As Charles Spurgeon said, "Do not indulge the notion that you can be contented without learning, or learn without discipline. It is not a power that may be exercised naturally, but a science to be acquired gradually." What we do repetitively, daily over time becomes an inherent part of us.

Scripting the Movie.
While preparing to play the role of Jesus, in the Visual Bible series The Gospel of Matthew, Bruce Marchiano memorized all of Jesus' words in this Gospel for the movie (produced word-for-word using the New International Version).  To be Jesus, he spent every hour of his day for seven weeks totally immersed in memorizing every word of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew. But more than that he studied the persona of Jesus so he would be the very character of Jesus.

Actors call this characterization. They not only memorize lines, but they study their character's personality, emotions, how the character responds to varied situations.

Actors strategically reprogram their minds as much as possible so they take on the traits of the person they portray. They work to literally become that person. They do this so well, you actually see the other person instead of the actor.  Marchiano said this absolutely changed his life. Living, thinking, speaking Jesus' words transformed who he was.

We can do the same. Following the process actors use to form a character, we then can bring our minds into a harmony with God's Spirit that works in us. Being in Harmony with His Spirit, we don't need to work at it, because it is naturally who we are.

Knowing this, and being trained in education, psychology, and theater, I applied it to making the Scriptures be who I am. Like the actor Marchiano, I felt to live like Jesus I had to be like Jesus.

My spirit was willing, but my mind needed to be transformed and retrained in ways of the Spirit and the Scriptures. I initiated a personal brainwashing process.

I begin reading the Scriptures as much as I could throughout the day. The first thing in the morning I spent an hour or two with my only exposure to the Scriptures. I would read a verse of the day, read an Inspired devotional, go to the Bible and follow a reading plan. Many times I would go off somewhere where it is quiet and just think about what I am reading. I deliberately would not watch the news, read the newspaper or anything of the earth's origin at these times.

When in the car instead of listening to the radio, I would play a CD series of the Bible. All day long, when I had a moment I had my Bible with me and I would read it whenever I had those "in between" times. Over several months, I continued this.

When I had lunch during warm weather, I would go off to a quiet place, park the car and reflect on the Scriptures. In the evening, many times I would watch a movie from the Bible, that was produced using the Scriptures from the Bible. This included two or three Jesus' movies, taken directly from the Scriptures. As I was falling asleep, I made it a point to turn on an audio series from the Bible.

Frequently I would put on Praise and Worship music as I was going to sleep. It's proven scientifically there is power of taking in information while falling asleep. The subconscious mind is most receptive to information when you are in the twilight state between awake and asleep.

From studying psychology and advanced education principles, I knew that this enhanced our abilities in recalling information, especially when impressed on the mind  in a very relaxed state between being awake and asleep.

What you imagine then becomes fixed in your mind. This makes it easier to recall when awake. It also forms a pattern in our behavior, in that we live out what we program in our brain without having to think about it.  During the going to sleep and waking up times, I get creative ideas, solve problems, get direction on what to do, and I feel I hear more clearly what the Spirit is impressing on me.

While in the process of waking up, driving, or falling asleep, you learn easier, faster, and come up with ideas. It is an ideal time to implant in your mind the ultimate vision for your Magnificent Mission.

The moral of the story:  To live as Jesus, it's necessary to be like Jesus, to be Jesus. Jesus sends us His Spirit to live in us. Although, we must transform our minds so we spontaneously think and reason in line with Spiritual principles. So our mind and Spirit are One. Then the way we think, talk, act is consistent with the Spirit, and it's an automatic, top-of-the-mind way of thinking, talking, and acting. As we keep putting His Scriptures in our minds they become the forefront of our thoughts.

How you think and act is programmed into your subconscious by the world through the experiences you have every day. Deliberately and diligently inundating yourself daily with The Scriptures, will override the world induced way of thinking.

You create a Spiritual mind, a renewed, transformed mind of Spiritual power. As Marchiano said, this changed his life. Doing this will change your life, so you become a magnificent person for your Magnificent Mission.
(see Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 2)


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Spirit Savvy Network ... With faith all things are possible

by Dale Shumaker

2. With faith all things are possible                             

"Nothing will be impossible for you" with faith. Jesus said it. It's a very bold claim. And Jesus is the son of God and He is telling us when we even have very small faith, nothing will be impossible. When Jesus says this He was explaining to His disciples why they couldn't cast out an evil spirit from a person.  He said it was their lack of faith. With Faith, "nothing will be impossible for you." (Some manuscripts add with prayer and fasting. See Matthew 17.)

This is a tremendous declaration by Jesus and most certainly worth thoughtful consideration, but  more than that, daily reliance on. What we are about, our mission begins with faith, believing it can, and it will happen.

God gives us a Magnificent mission. It is bigger than us. If you master this one quality, Faith, all things will be possible for you, when you believe. What God asks you to put your energy, time, talent to, it will be done... when you master Faith.

Will I find faith on the earth when I return, Jesus asks. Did you have faith, belief, undeniable belief that what you see and hope for will happen? Faith is the trigger that fires the powers of Heaven to earth. (see Luke 18)  

Faith is having belief in the vision of your mission that God has given you. It is seeing it in your imagination, and believing it will certainly happen. We all can dream something, but the belief it will happen takes faith. We believe it can happen when we are certain God's Spirit gave us the idea, commissioned us to do it. When we are absolutely certain of this, His Spirit goes before us.

Your Magnificent Mission is driven by faith. Faith is seeing the outcome of your mission, in its most ideal form. You see it vividly in your mind. You live in the excitement of what you see can and will happen. You think about it all the time.

Faith is seeing your life through God's eyes. Seeing what He has made you for, what His purpose for you is, and what mission He designed... just for you.

When we live only in the limitations of our own ability, we may lose heart in anything we set out to do. When we live in God's vision for us, see that vision, and see Him there helping us, it ingrains courage and feeling of being unstoppable. Sometimes we may not see progress but with faith in His Spirit we continually keep forging ahead.

God with us is a powerful sustainer, regardless of trying circumstances, faith in Him maintains us,  keeps us on course. Jesus said He would be with us always. Jesus said He would sent the Spirit to help us. The Bible has claim after claim of God being with us while we are living out the mission He inspires us to do, has prepared us to do, has made us to do. His mighty, unmatchable Spirit will be with us as we do it.

As you cultivate your mission, faith is the key to keep you going regardless of what is going on around you. The Scriptures say the righteous live by faith, living in the excitement of His vision for you. We see it so strong, so clear in our imaginations, we are driven by what we know it will be and can do for mankind.

Obstacles don't cause us to give up, they may delay us, but we never give up. The noble nature of what we are doing energizes us to continually advance forward when life throws obstacles at us. Actually, setbacks and challenges build our faith as we work through them. In them we build faith muscle. We get stronger in faith to conquer even bigger challenges that we may face ahead.

It's a vigorously-strong, ever-growing force that moves our minds, fuels our spirit, keep us moving up to higher levels when things go well, and inbreeds in us an unexplainable capability to overcome when things may go wrong.

The Devil's scheme is to make us dwell on the fear of failing. In Outwitting the Devil by Napoleon Hill he says the devil's two secret strategies to defeat us are fear of failure, and not having a clear view of our direction in life. The devil wins when he can get us off track, and discourage us so we quit. If we don't quit, we win.

Faith overpowers fear and aimless living. To outwit the negativity of the mind (our devil), we fill it with vision of what can be, and are driven by the power of the image of what our Magnificent Mission will do when accomplished. What we believe and ask God for will come about when we can see it, know it, feel it actually happening (in our imagination before it happens), that's faith. (see Hebrews 11)

With Faith, we don't have to know how, we just know, with complete confidence in God, that He will

George Muller was a man of great faith. He built several orphanages in the mid to late 1800's on faith. Here's one acclaimed story about his faith.

"The children are dressed and ready for school. But there is no food for them to eat," the housemother of the orphanage informed George Mueller. George asked her to take the 300 children into the dining room and have them sit at the tables. He thanked God for the food and waited. George had an unbudging belief God would provide food for the children. Soon there was a knock at the door. It was a baker. "Mr. Mueller," he said, "last night I could not sleep. I felt an urgency to bake some bread for you. So I got up and baked three batches for you. I will bring it in."

Shortly thereafter there was another knock at the door. It was the milkman. His cart had broken down in front of the orphanage. The milk would spoil by the time the wheel was fixed. So he asked George if he could use the milk. He would give it to them. George smiled as the milkman brought in ten large cans of milk. It was just enough for the 300 thirsty children. (from

Do this.
Write down your Magnificent Mission vision, make it clear on paper, or your computer. Email it to a few trusted people. Tell others about it. The more clearly you see it, the more conviction you have in sharing in it. The more you share it with others, more your conviction builds, building faith. Be careful at first to only share it with trusted friends who love and support you.( see Habakkuk 2)

Meet with one or two others on a regular basis to talk about your mission, pray about the vision. Share the inspired thoughts you get after praying. In faith, act on it.

To build your faith, go to a Bible website (e.g., Bible Gateway) and type in the word "faith or believe or trust" in the keyword search. Note all the places it comes up and how it is used. Write down or store in your cell phone some of the verses that inspire you, that impress on you how Great God is. Recite them often. Read them frequently, memorize them and recite them to yourself daily. Our faith is based on God's Power. Keep reminding yourself it is by His Power and not just yours. It's by His Spirit all things are accomplished.

Create a daily Bible reading plan. Take time each day to read the New Testament, Psalms, the prophets in the Old Testament. Many daily devotional books have a daily Bible reading plan. Read the selective Scriptures they recommend. I like Oswald Chambers' "My Utmost for His Highest." On the Internet version, it has a selection of chapters in the Bible to read each day. I click on them and read them too as part of my devotions.

Of highest importance is invest in a Study Bible. Read the comments, background for the verses and sections of the Bible. Many excellent translations exist that have Study Bibles. This will be one of the best investments you can make in your life. Buy a good one, refer to it regularly, and have it as your reference guide throughout the day. (Also, many have an app for your mobile phone.)

A key to building faith is to focus on faith-building Scriptures, have a daily Bible
reading time, establish pondering sessions daily, listen to those who speak faith.

Your Magnificent Mission may seem beyond you, your means or abilities (as you see them now).  For it to happen, it would take great faith. The first step in your mission is believing in God, that He is with you and He will help you. Believe it will happen, and begin what you feel impressed to do.

A magnificent mission so often seems bigger than you. But given by God, it is something that only His Power can do, and you must have faith in Him who is much bigger than you for it to happen. Start by believing it can happen. And with the Power of the Spirit it will happen.

Consider this.
Sometimes our faith wanes. Sometimes we grow weary in sticking to our mission. Before Jesus died, He said He would come back when He did die. The disciples weren't so sure after Jesus was crucified. In fear, they locked themselves in a room fearing they might be the next ones to die. Although, in spite their fear, Jesus came to them. They even locked the doors, locking him out. Miraculously, He came to them through the walls and appeared to them. (see John 20)

Consider the soldier with a sick child who told Jesus he believed but asked for help about his unbelief. In compassion and love, Jesus will come to help you even when you lack faith. He is the builder of our faith and knows our human tendencies for being discouraged, and giving up. (see Mark 9)

When you put your trust in God and His Holy Spirit, in your weak moments He will send someone to lift you up. When Jesus invited Peter to come to Him on stormy waters, Peter began walking to Jesus on the water. When his eyes got off Jesus, he saw the choppy waves of water around him, his faith faltered. He began to sink. Jesus reached out and saved him from drowning. Jesus spoke out, Oh you of little faith. Keep in mind that although Peter lost faith, Jesus still saved Peter from perishing in the storm. (see Matthew 14)

When you put your trust in Jesus in your mission, even when your faith fails, Jesus' love for you will not let you drown. The Spirit is compassionate, and His Power will be with you as you build your faith in All That God can do through you. In every obstacle, challenge, or set back you face, when you overcome through faith, you grow stronger in your faith for greater things ahead.

Remember the words of Jesus, whatever you ask in prayer and believe you have received it (that it is already accomplished as you speak), it will be done for you. Faith in prayer is seeing the answer on its way the moment you ask, and in faith you see and know it is accomplished. (see Mark 11)

Faith is the building block of strength necessary so you persevere in your mission. Your faith is what makes it possible to accomplish incredible results as you journey through your Magnificent Mission.

Scripting your Movie.
The righteous ones live by faith. Everyone mentioned in Hebrews 11 had a vision of a mission beyond what man would see as possible. In obedience to the vision of the mission God gave them, they moved ahead without any doubt of their mission being accomplished. They lived working in certainty in what they saw, in the vision of the mission God gave them, in a concrete conviction it would happen. Each had faith that if God gave them an assignment, God of all things possible, will make it happen. Without question, each knew he could count on that.

As expressed in Hebrews 11, God created the universe from nothing. What we see now was created out of what was not seen, and His Spirit made the invisible become tangible. This is a key power of those who live by the Spirit's power. What is not seen as tangible, but is seen in the imagination, can by the Spirit's Power become visible. Anything is possible through faith... seeing it, believing it, and living as if it exists.

By his vision of the mission God gave him, Noah began building a big boat that would save mankind. He began building it in a country not known for very much rain. He did it without a chainsaw or engineer-verified blueprints of a ship that could be seaworthy, and with no experience in such a thing. It took him over 100 years to build this giant boat. And he did it while being constantly ridiculed by those who lived nearby. (see Genesis 6)

Joseph had a dream. In his dream he saw sheaves of grain bowing down before him. He told his brothers they  were the sheaves bowing down. This angered his brothers so they sold him to some sojourners on the way to Egypt. After being sold again as a house servant for one of Pharaoh's captains, things got worse. The captain's wife tried to seduce him and when he refused, she accused him of trying to force himself on her. The Captain put Joseph in prison. While in prison he interpreted a dream for a cupbearer of Pharaoh also in prison. Joseph made the cupbearer agree that if Pharaoh liked the interpretation, to ask Pharaoh to release him too. Pharaoh liked the interpretation, but the cupbearer forgot about Joseph. Joseph was left in the prison.

Some time later Pharaoh had a dream he couldn't figure out. He learned that Joseph could interpret dreams, so Pharaoh sent for him. Joseph interpreted the dream. Pharaoh was so impressed he put Joseph in charge of administering his crop production. Being in this position of authority, Joseph was able to save the Israel nation when a famine hit the area. God used Joseph through all his ups and downs to save Israel from starving. He was also reunited with his father and family. But it was only through Joseph's trials that he was put in a place to save his country. (see Genesis 37-46)

The moral of the story: Noah was given very detailed instructions on building a ship that would keep mankind alive. Noah remained faithful through the many years it took to build the ship. Because of his perseverance the ship saved the existence of man. Joseph, although probably the most gifted of his brothers, faced setback after setback before he was placed in authority to save his nation. In God's plan each setback was not a setback at all, but a stepping stone to where he needed to be to fulfill his Magnificent Mission. Each setback served as value to prepare him for the position of trust and authority to save his family, and his people.

But then the fall back. After Joseph died, the Israelites fell into slavery. Sometimes to save ourselves, we can fall victim to a greater demise. The slavery of Israel that followed was worse than the famine. Learn the walk of faith, and to not be dependent on other men. Learn to live within your means and don't sell yourself short, for a short-term gain. If necessary, live humbly until God opens the doors for your mission. But continue to study and prepare for it.

Faith is a long journey sometimes. It may take several life episodes, with many maybe seemingly unrelated, to bring us to the mission God has assigned us to do. But when the rewards come they are exceptionally outstanding.

With your vision of your mission, have faith through all that may come against you, or divert you. In faith, see the result even when you have no idea of how it will eventually work out.

Faith is the invincible foundation your mission is built on that withstands everything that may try to tear it down. Faith is the power that advances you to greater things... your Magnificent Mission.