Tag Archives: dreams

Faith, Fact OR Fear

Faith, fact or fear

Faith, Fact OR Fear

Today I shared at Living Water Teaching’s US Headquarters, in Caddo Mills, TX on “Faith, Fact OR Fear”.  Please go check it out and also help me get this teaching out to as many as possible.

You can CLICK HERE to go online and listen to the message.

You can also go to iTunes by CLICKING HERE and subscribe to the Kingdom Thinking podcast.

I would love to hear from you below!

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Greatness Through Serving

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“Greatness Through Serving”

Today I shared at Living Water Teaching’s US Headquarters, in Caddo Mills, TX on “Greatness Through Serving”.  I used Matthew 20:20-28 as my reference.  I believe with all my heart that TRUE & LASTING greatness only comes through serving others!

You can CLICK HERE to go online and listen to the message.

I would love to hear from you on your thoughts on serving and also how you would define it, below.

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Resolution -vs- Solution

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Greetings to all the Kingdom Thinking family.  Debbie and I are excited to have a guest post this week from our good friend, Julieann Hartman.  You can read more about Julieann in her bio at the end of this post.  So put on your seat belt and get ready!

It’s January 2017 and what do most people do for a new year’s resolution? They all promise, vow & post about how they are going to get into shape! Then about 4 to 6 weeks later, you start to see less and less of the “weight loss” posting and then they’re back to posting pictures of food! I was a trainer for many years and unfortunately, I’ve seen and heard this same pattern over and over and over AND over again. It has always made me feel so much compassion for the ones that start out so gung-ho and then start to lose their steam as the days move forward into the year. I hated to see people feel like they failed. It would affect them negatively in so many areas of their life. Why make this sort of New Year commitment when you can do it at any time? All it takes is a little discipline throughout the year. It’s so self-defeating when you start out the “new year” making a promise to yourself and the whole world (in some cases, thank you social media!) that you probably won’t keep or you won’t pursue to your end goal. Why does it have to be a temporary fix? If you could work on this all year long, it would be so much easier. This would make you feel confident and “on top of the world”. What if you didn’t do it for yourself? What if you did it for the Lord?

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” (1st Cor 6:19).

Don’t most of us say “I would do anything for you, Lord”? Most of the worship music we listen to usually has a part in the song that says “I will seek you with all my heart”, or “I will shout your name on the mountain tops”? Well why when it comes to our “daily, minute to minute lives” and our “daily consumption” we don’t involve the Lord? I hope this doesn’t sound mean or offensive, but I know that some of you reading this can get very disappointed in yourself for something that you can really learn how to control. This is exactly what the enemy wants us to do. He wants us to create bad habits so he can remind us of them every time we start to make a change. Don’t let him be the Lord of your life! Jesus is the Lord and the love of your life. It’s a choice we have to be serious about making. Remember, it’s not God that makes you feel condemned by your weaknesses. We have awesome scriptures like, “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Eph. 6:10) that empower us to know that it’s not by our strength – but His. He loves us so much and knows that if we are not reading, meditating, or hearing the Word of God day and night, not letting this Word depart from our lips,we are going to succumb to the wiles of the devil, the lust of our flesh, the pride of our eyes and every other thing that we know is not good for us.

Exercise can be a tricky one because usually 8 out of 10 people do not like to exercise (unless you live in L.A.) They do it because they feel they have to in order to be healthy! The Bible does not say that being healthy comes from exercise. I have only found one scripture in the Bible that says anything about exercise and it’s “bodily exercise profits you little” (1 Timothy 4:8). That scripture does not say bodily exercise is the key to your health! In fact, the rest of that scripture says but godliness is profitable for all things, having the promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come”.

Proverbs 18:21 says “death and life are in the power of the tongue”. So, to me, your health really comes from what you say and what you don’t say. It doesn’t say that death and life are in the power of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, exercise, etc. It says it comes from the power of the tongue! Interesting, huh? The medical experts say that we can benefit from exercise and controlled eating. Yes, in the natural that is true; but please don’t put all your health concerns in the basket of food and exercise. Resting in the finished work on the cross, peace and joy are all ways of staying “healthy”. Heck, even Proverbs 17:22 says, “A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” Dry bones can break and dry bones can maybe be what causes arthritis.

One of the biggest reasons why people are not successful in this part of their life, is because they really don’t love or like themselves. It can be a vicious cycle. You don’t like yourself so you won’t be nice to yourself; so you eat out of self-hate and not out of self-love and then you find yourself being mad at yourself because you went out of control when you could have been in control; but now you feel like you want to give up and eat whatever because “Why not? Who cares? It’s my body. I’m not trying to impress anyone”. Do you hear the noise on the inside of our heads? Well, if you are in Christ that’s not true. You were bought with a price. Jesus was the price and His life was the ransom for your freedom. Please think about this. God LOVES you so much that He gave His only begotten son just for you and your freedom. “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed”! (John 8:36) There is no trainer or diet plan that loves you like your Heavenly Father does.

Okay, so now that we know that we’ve exposed some “stuff”, let’s get to the root of the problem. I believe most people have been a victim of identity theft. Who are you? Whose are you? Who do you live for? Where do you live? What’s your inheritance? Who do you trust? What does God say about you? Why are you so important to Him? Who do you say He is?

I know this very well because my identity was stolen. From birth all the way until just recently, I never really understood who I was in Christ. I could see Christ in others, but I felt so bad about myself I didn’t think God even had the time to waste on this girl who didn’t live for Him or even acknowledge Him very often. WRONG! FALSE! LIE! DECEPTION! As I got older, I thought my identity was in who I was to everyone on the outside – my body, my abs, my ability to workout multiple hours a day and the list goes on. That’s what I thought made me who I was. I thought that was my strength. The Word of God says that “the joy of the Lord is my strength”. (Neh. 8:10) What I found out was that no matter how many hours I worked out or how many calories I counted or how many foods that I removed from my diet because they were ‘bad’, I was still in His LOVE. My self -image started to change and I wasn’t afraid anymore. Fear can make you do things you never thought you’d do and it can also make you not do things you’ve always wanted to do. We are free in Him! “Therefore, now there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk not according to the flesh, but according to the spirit.” (Romans 8:1)

Spend time cultivating a one on one relationship with the Father. Crawl up in the secret place of the Most High (Psalm 91:1) on a daily, hourly basis. Don’t be hard on yourself. Love yourself. Love the one who takes up residence in your heart: Jesus. If you do, you will find forgiveness, healing, deliverance, protection and provision. It’s the only way to live.

About Julieann:

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Julieann Hartman is a native from Los Angeles. She’s been married for 25 years to an incredibly loving & talented Executive Producer of Television Animation and has 2 adult daughters who love the Lord with all their hearts! She’s had many careers in her life up to this point. She’s been an Actress, Executive Secretary, Material Supervisor on the game show Jeopardy!, Tae Bo instructor and Personal Assistant. She and her husband, Butch, are the Co-Founders of their Non-Profit Foundation “Hartman House” established in 2005.

No matter how exciting these careers might seem, NOTHING takes the place or even comes close to being a wife, a mother and an Ambassador for Jesus Christ!

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TODAY

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I can’t believe that we are almost to the end of 2016. In fact, as I write this letter, we only have 33 days remaining. For so many, this is disheartening news and for others, they are rejoicing and saying, “Come on 2017!” There are also those living in the very present moment full of the joy of the Lord in whatever they are doing.

We read in Matthew 6, where it warns us not to be anxious about our life. Isaiah 43:18 tells us “to forget the former things; do not dwell on the past”. God wants us to live in the present, as the very present moment is really all we have been promised on this earth. It’s time to stop thinking about everything that you didn’t get done and stop worrying about all that you want to get done and make right now the most impactive moment of your life.

I look at it this way; Jesus at the cross redeemed us from our past and also secured victory in every present moment. There will be moments where it does not look or feel like you’re a victor BUT we are NEVER to be moved by what our physical senses try to dictate to us. Faith simply knows that God is God 24/7/365 and makes that the final authority in all things.

So, if you feel like you are off track in what you’re supposed to be doing, then ask God to forgive you and get back on track right where you left off. If you’re not sure what the Lord has called you to do, then ask! He has a plan for all of us and He will not leave us alone to fend for ourselves. He is the greatest example of a loving Father, so rest in that knowledge.

This very moment is a new one; there will never be another like it, so make it count. I read a quote once that went something like this: “What would you do if you knew you could not fail? Then do it!” Today, start living for God like there is no tomorrow. Dare to be a man and or woman after God’s own heart. He loves you so much and this season we are coming into, should be the greatest reminder of this.

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“Growing Pains” in your marriage =)

 

 

My wife, Debbie, and I just attended a really great marriage conference hosted by Kirk Cameron, and with special music by Warren Barfield. (You can CLICK HERE and find out more about this conference and upcoming events.) It was a really great date night for us and I wanted to share with the guys out there, what I walked away with from this event.

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Before the main conference started, we had the opportunity to go to a VIP time where Kirk spoke to a small group of us and then did an autograph session afterwards. It was really cool to meet him!

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As I looked around at all of the couples in the room, I wondered what their relationships were like. Now as for me, I’m married to my best friend. We did not spend our childhood growing up together, but when we met, something just clicked. I would say that, YES, it was love at first sight, at least for me =) But let me add, that the road to where we are 23 years later from that first date, has not always been an easy one. I have told on myself many times in my writings and probably will have many more times to do that, but that is not the point of this post. Our journey, although one filled with lots of good, bad and sometimes ugly encounters, always seems to just get stronger and stronger, in our love for one another.

One of the highlights of the night, was when Warren Barfield sang “Love is not a Fight”. I know most of you have probably heard this song, but if you have not, I would recommend CLICKING HERE to go listen to it; truly listen to the words! I know that all couples are at different places and have traveled different journeys, but I believe that Warren’s song says it all, “Love is worth fighting for”!!

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Kirk spoke a simple to follow and easy to understand message all based on one scripture. He used 1 Peter 3:7 (NKJ) “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.” Now I’m sure if you compared notes with my wife and others there that night, we all had a different take on what he was saying, but I’m going to share in this post what I walked away with.

Here are 6 points based on this scripture:

  1. Dwell with them” – Spend time with her, invest time getting to know the uniqueness of the person she is. Our investment into our spouse, is important and will strengthen and grow our relationship.
  2. Understanding” – To understand anything in life we have to grow in the knowledge of it. We should know her, her likes and dislikes, favorite color and so on. Feeling understood is important to almost everyone and so who best should understand your wife, than you?
  3. Honor” – We as guys, need to move beyond respect and actually honor our wives. We honor her by how we treat her, both in private and public. Both when we are with her and when we are apart. We should NEVER make her the punch line of our jokes and she should never be seen by others as being less than the most important person or thing in our life, second only to God. She is NOT your sister, so remember that in how you treat her. Kirk mentioned that we should inventory all that she does. Start making a written list of all that she does around the house, what she does for you and the children and what she does for others and when that list is finished, you should make sure she knows that she is 100% appreciated.
  4. Weaker vessel” – Now never think for a moment, that this means that this weakness dictates your right to control her! You’re called by God to be a leader and not a dictator; she can’t follow someone who is not leading her somewhere! I see it as a reference to the fragileness as that of the finest china or other precious item. We should have our wives backs and never allow anyone to make her feel like she has been backed into a corner. I myself have failed at this one and when I think back to those times, I cringe! We should ensure that she feels safe and bring peace to the situations of life. This is one place that my heart was convicted strongly of at the conference. There have been times that we have been driving and Debbie has gotten scared over something I or another driver might have done and instead of comforting and making her feel secure, I responded negatively and got offended.
  5. Grace of life” – Our love for our wives should be just as God’s love is for us. It should be FREE and not based on what she says and does, but solely on what I know I’m supposed to do and be. Grace defined to me, is simply unmerited favor and kindness. So again, it’s FREE!
  6. Prayers not be hindered” – Now I don’t believe God turns His back on His kiddos, but I do believe that we can close the door on our blessings. Our love walk is key to the success of all that we put our hands to do. Marriage, business, all areas; so with that said, I believe that if we are not walking in love, then everything is pretty much going to be out of whack and spiraling downhill for us.

These 6 areas I believe are key to having a healthy and blessed marriage and making your wife feel like the queen she is. Always remember that she was God’s daughter before she was your wife! I see God’s grace in this, because if someone hurts my daughter, then they might get to see a side of me that might be very surprising and if God created all things by His words, then I’m sure He could relocate things by His words. Just saying! =)

We need to take responsibility as the God ordained leaders we have been called and created to be. We need to take responsibility for our actions and today, make right the wrongs and ask forgiveness for any areas we have fallen short in.

Make consistency the new normal in these areas and watch your marriage become the one God wants you to have.

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BUT!!!!!

Welcome to another Kingdom Thinking blog post in the Kingdom Relationship series. I’m finding that I’m my best person to focus on when deciding my topics. I guess you could say that I’m telling on myself! So buckle-up, grab a pen, notepad, and Bible, and let’s get this journey underway.

First though, if you have not read the other posts in this series, here are their links:
And Two Shall Become One…
All Or Nothing!
Two In, Two Out

So now back to my story =) This last week, my wife, Debbie, and I had a disagreement. Actually, we had to agree to disagree. BUT I felt I was right and was determined to prove it. Anyways, after I acted like a 5 year-old, she went her way and I went mine, but my conscious got the best of me and so I went back to her office and apologized. Now that would have been fine and dandy, but I did not leave it at I’m sorry. I added the infamous BUT in the sentence! Now that’s all I’m going to say about that. =)

I think it is CRAZY that two words can be so hard for many to speak and if they are spoken, then how hard it can be to not add anything other than “I LOVE YOU” after them. I recently read something that said a good apology has three parts:
1. I’m sorry
2. It’s my fault
3. What can I do to make it better

You might not define this as a good apology, but I think it is for sure one that will make life better than some apologies I have heard. (I also know that silence is an answer that sometimes screams louder than words).

My wife’s uncle, Pastor Jerry Zirkle, was my first pastor and he used to say, “Whoever says I’m sorry first, is right”. Debbie has always told me that I can be the one that is right. =) Right or wrong, an apology is the starting place for every battle to truly end. I believe that just fuming until one decides to grow up and move on, never brings resolution to an issue, BIG or small. We owe it to each other to give an apology and ask for forgiveness. True forgiveness means leaving that issue there and never bringing it up again later.

God designed us to love and to care for not just ourselves, but for one another. Actually, we are to prefer one another above ourselves. Romans 12:10 (AMP) “Love one another with brotherly affection [as members of one family], giving precedence and showing honor to one another.” Admitting you might have said or handled something wrong does not make you a lesser person, but instead, a bigger person than you might have given yourself credit for.

I’m making this post short on purpose, but I’m praying that the impact is eternal. Right now, if there is someone you need to apologize to, then there is no better time than right now.

So that’s the end to this part of the adventure in the Kingdom Relationship series, but I feel that there will be more posts in this series. Until next time, I pray God’s richest over you and yours!

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And Two Shall Become One…

After reading comments from the pictures and posts I put on Facebook from my Anniversary Date Day on May 1st, I was led in my heart to start this series. This is Part 1 to the “Kingdom Relationship” series.

Notice: I am not a professional marriage counselor, nor a perfect husband. My wife has put up with a lot and given more grace than anyone should have to. I write this series from my heart and under the prompting of the Holy Spirit, my hope is that this message will in some way minister to others and bring those relationships to a whole new level – one I call a Kingdom Relationship.

“And the two shall become one flesh, so that they are no longer two, but one flesh.” (‭Mark‬ ‭10‬:‭8‬ AMP)‬‬‬‬‬‬

I had mentioned in my last blog post that I would be starting a series on Kingdom Relationships. I am not doing this because I have all the answers or think I’m the perfect husband. I am just a man who was blessed over 23 years ago with the most amazing woman ever to grace this planet. I’m pretty sure I could write a book on what NOT to do in a marriage. “I’m sorry” and “please forgive me” are words I have spoken way too many times and my wife has always forgiven me and loved me no matter what! We live life forward nowadays, not looking back; and you must do the same. She has truly stuck by my side through the good, the bad and the ugly.

Debbie Spanberger, AKA Angel, I dedicate this series to you and want to say thank you for making me the most happy and blessed man on the planet!

Back to my opening title and scripture. One of the reasons I feel relationships fail, has to do with the fact that many never fully see themselves as “one together”. The word “commitment” is almost a dirty word nowadays, and one that society has perverted in so many ways. We want to be on our own and live like we are on our own, even in our marriages. Separate lives, separate dreams, separate bank accounts and the list keeps going. I’m not asking for you to agree or disagree, I’m simply speaking from what I see and hear around me on a regular basis. Marriage failure rates seem to grow daily. (I talk from experience, as I have gone through the divorce walk and I wish that on no one!)

“Many marriages would be better if the husband and the wife clearly understood that they are on the same side.”
Zig Ziglar

Again, a Kingdom Relationship is not a perfect one. We are human and we are going to mess up. I hear couples say “we never fight” and I want to ask them, “Do you live in the same house and talk to each other?” As male and female, we are wired completely different. (We will get more into that thought later.) I think as males, we have a streak of stupid embedded in us because of some of the things we do and say…. just being real and honest here!

I read an article a few years ago in USA Today that was talking about a growing trend in people living together before marriage, to see if they fit into each other’s lives. They want to see if they like living with each other before they get married so that if they don’t like it, they won’t have to get divorced, just in case the relationship doesn’t work out. How sad of a concept and one that is totally against what the Bible calls marriage. Any level of relationship, especially marriage, is not a trial offer like a piece of software that you try to see if you like it first, but instead, it is a relationship that you enter into fully and committed to from the start.

Nothing I ever put in my posts is meant to be me passing judgment, but instead, to hopefully bring a Christian perspective to those that have ears to hear. I know my readers come from different backgrounds and beliefs, but I will always write and share according to what the Bible says and never add or take away from it. And from that I know that we all can grow and learn.

“Whatever your mindset is when you enter into a relationship, will reveal your staying power during hard times.”
Keith Spanberger

Marriage is clearly defined in Ephesians 5:22-33 (CLICK HEAR TO READ). No gray areas: one man, one woman, fully committed, forever, end of story! So what happened? The lack of commitment as I have said many times already, is the start, but not the full answer.

“Compromise and lack of commitment will destroy any relationship and leave us one day asking why.”
Keith Spanberger

Again, don’t think my wife and I have a perfect marriage, but instead, we have a marriage filled with God’s grace which is crucial for success in anything we do in life.

I have only scratched the surface in this post, but I hope that it stirs your hunger for creating a new fire in your marriage or relationship. Stay with me as we journey deeper in the next post on having a Kingdom Relationship. Also, please share this post with others you know. This blog post and this series are not about lifting me up, but instead, lifting up my God and His Son, Jesus, my savior. My life and marriage would be nothing without Him!

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