Seeing Beyond The Cracks

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I took this picture from the top of a watchtower in the medieval town of Rothenburg, Germany.

I was looking at this picture that I took from the top of a watchtower in the medieval town of Rothenburg, Germany. As I looked at it, I noticed the cracks in the glass but then I also noticed the weathered antique window frame surrounding that cracked glass. BUT THEN I saw it – the beautiful vintage buildings beyond the cracked glass and the breathtaking beauty of the land and all of God’s creation.

I wonder how much of the time we stop and only see what is the first glance of what is right in front of us! We focus on the cracks in our lives instead of seeing past them to the beauty that’s there. Those cracks might represent past hurts as well as current health or relationship issues. Life is going to have its cracks but that’s OK, as those cracks are proof of the journey. Sometimes a simple change in perspective goes a long way to newfound freedom.

The power of perspective is unmeasurable. One of the definitions of perspective is, “A particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.” What would happen if I just slightly altered my point of view of that which I’m currently facing? A good place for me to start would be within those cracks and to find something that I can be thankful for.

Don’t end 2019 standing in the same point of view focused on the cracks any longer. It’s time to finish strong! Push yourself today to see beyond the cracks by changing your point of view about what you’re facing.

Is the Grass Really Greener?

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Have you ever looked at someone and thought, “I wish I had what they have”? If so, you’re not alone and if you answered “no” then you need to repent for lying =)

I think everyone at one time or another has done this. The “I hate my job, life, situation, etc. bug” has bitten us all and that’s OK. But I can remember a friend once told me, “If you’re not happy where you are, you won’t be happy when you get to where you think you want to be”.

Learning to be happy and finding joy in your present moment is key to living a happy life. I call it having a heart of thanksgiving. Yes, that means even if your job is horrible and doesn’t bring you joy, find a reason to be thankful. Do you have food, clothing and a place to live because of that job? Then be thankful, as many people are living on the streets and struggling to have any one of those things.

You can honestly apply this to anything and in any area in your life. I am not saying this is easy or playing down what you the reader might be going through, but, in all things, we can all find a reason to give thanks!

We live life as though joy is an option when really it’s not unless you want to live sad, depressed and make others around you feel the same. I do believe with all my heart that our joy matters to God and that it’s essential to living a Kingdom life. To look around us and see all that is going on and still realize that joy is possible is the first step BUT it is truly up to us to take that first step. We must stop putting the burden of our joy onto others or giving that much power for our joy to be because of others.

The Bible is full of scriptures referencing “joy”, in both the Old and New Testament.

Psalm 97:12 NIV “Rejoice in the Lord, you who are righteous, and praise his holy name.”

Psalm 100:2 ESV “Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!”

Psalm 32:11 NKJ “Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous; And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!”

Even in hard times, we are called to rejoice which seems to be a crazy concept, BUT honestly, what does complaining and allowing our joy to be stolen away really do? NOTHING!

Matthew 5:12 NIV “Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Luke 6:23 NIV “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.”

Luke 10:20 NIV “However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

We have hope in all things and in all times. Paul pointed this out and it should be a constant reminder.

Romans 12:12 NIV “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

2 Corinthians 13:11 NIV “Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.”

1 Thessalonians 5:16 NIV “Rejoice always”

And there is scripture after scripture: Philippians 2:18, Philippians 3:1

What do you think when you hear the word “joy”? Do you see your problem and start your list of excuses OR do you see Jesus and His completed work at the cross? It’s up to you to find hope in this world and we as believers can find it in the Word and the completed works of Christ every second of every day.

Our joy is not meant to be based on how or how bad we see our life but instead, how we see our God. If you’re struggling today, then it’s time to see God as who He really is, a loving Father who gave His Son as a price paid for you to have life and have it more abundantly.

2018 In Our Rearview Mirror

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Debbie and I hope that everyone had a Merry Christmas and are truly enjoying a Happy New Year! We just left behind one of our favorite times of the year. We love when fall arrives and we then enter into the Christmas season. There’s joyfulness in the air almost everywhere you go! As we look back over 2018, we thank God for all His many blessings we saw throughout this past year!

Debbie and I have traveled many miles by plane and car and taken some adventures that we never thought we would take. In June we took part in a week-long training called TEAMS training. This is a training put on by a Christian group that does international rescue missions into the sex-trafficking world. We then returned in August and I put on a week-long medical training course to the same group. (We do plan at some point to connect and go on a mission with them overseas.) Before we returned home to TX, we celebrated Debbie’s birthday at Niagara Falls enjoying both sides, but I think we enjoyed the Canada side the most.

In September I went to California and ministered at a church in Compton, CA that I go to each year. I normally either do a youth camp or the Friday night youth service and then minister in both Sunday AM services. While there this time I taught a “Response Ready” seminar for their church. In these seminars, we talk about active shooter situations and also do a basic medical/CPR training.

In November we flew to Guatemala for our director’s meetings with all our international directors, but the highlight of that trip was watching 502 students graduate from the Bible School in Guatemala. (www.livingwaterteaching.org) It was a blessing to have some good fellowship with our missionaries while there as well as attend a 3-day Holy Spirit seminar. We also had breakfast at the orphanage on campus (The Promised Home) and laid hands and anointed with oil and prayed over each of the babies and toddlers.

We have watched our grandkids take their first steps and added a new furry family member named “Yogi” into our home – he is a chocolate brown cocker spaniel, and everyone loves him. We ended this year watching our son, Ricky, say “I do” to a special young lady he has known almost his whole life. As we now look ahead into this new year, we know God has amazing things for all His children and we are ready for we know the best is yet to come.

So Happy Journeys to all in 2019 =)
Keith & Debbie, Parker & Brandie, Ricky & Harley, Collin, Youko, Astaire, & Koga Spanberger, Josh, Ashley, & Gabriel Underwood, & The Amazing Yogi

To find out more about us and the many things that we are putting our hands to do, CLICK on the following links:
Living Water Teaching www.livingwaterteaching.org
Operation Shoebox CLICK HERE
Mission Trips CLICK HERE
MedCo Training International Facebook Page CLICK HERE
Base-Camp Men’s Encounter Facebook Page CLICK HERE

Instagram:
@rkspanberger
@lwt_inter
@live_response_ready

Focus & Peace

Sunset at Seal Beach in Huntington Beach, California

Sunset at Seal Beach in Huntington Beach, California – Photo taken by https://reachonedesigns.wordpress.com/

Focus & Peace

I want to share something that has been on my heart lately. We will start in John 14:27 (NLT) “I am leaving you with a gift-peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So, don’t be troubled or afraid.”

My pastor just used a quote that I have read many different versions of but this one sticks for me, “If it costs you your peace, then it’s too expensive”. I believe that true peace is a gift from God paid for by the Blood of Jesus.

Webster defines peace as “a state of tranquility or quiet” and for most, this is not where they find themselves this moment. I can tell you this, without focus it’s impossible to keep your peace and nothing in life is worth our peace.

Much of the time, Christians think that life is going to be all rainbows and roses, but God never promised us that. He did, however, promise that when struggles in life come, and they will, He will always be there with us in the midst of the storm. 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV) “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” His only begotten son, Jesus, became our out!

Here is the perfect scripture to ground us in the fact that our peace comes through our focus. Isaiah 26:3 NLT ” You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” I must keep my thoughts focused on Him, NOT because I have to BUT because I GET to! I use this statement often, “In Him is the answer to every question, the solution to every problem, and the peace in every storm”.

So, what’s your level of peace this very moment? If there is an absence of peace, then I would venture to say that there is also a lack of focus. Make the decision to redirect your focus to Jesus and watch how your peace seems to find its place back in your life. Remember, worry and peace can’t dwell together just as light and darkness can’t.

So here are some ways that you can bring your focus back in line and regain your peace.

1. Laugh more – Laughter has been proven to be a powerful tool in relieving stress and worry which are focus thieves.
2. Take time to check out – Find time in your day to just zone out and not think about anything. Our new smartwatches have a breathing app and I have found that just taking a one or two-minute breathing break does help greatly.
3. Control your media intake – Watch what you allow into your life. This could be from social media, TV, radio and YES, friends and family.
4. Exercise – YES, this requires you to move in some way, shape, or form! Move, stretch, run, walk, do something to get the blood pumping.
5. Journal – I have found journaling has all positive attributes and no negatives unless you’re just lazy! To me, journaling is just thinking on paper and writing about whatever comes to mind and a certain moment in time.

These are just a few; this list could go on and on and that’s what I would like it to do in the comments below =) Let’s hear your thoughts and ideas. GO….

Hit the Reset Button

Reset Button

Hit the Reset Button

I’m going to date myself a little here – when I think about “Hit the Reset Button” I’m reminded of when I played Atari as a kid. I would get stuck in a place I couldn’t find my way out of or obtain a score that I didn’t like and I would reach over and hit the big old red reset button. Can I get a BIG amen from all those out there that can remember that same thing??

So now let’s bring this topic to a present point that is relative in all our lives. Hitting the reset button as a child of God, one who has an eternal hope, is something that we all have access to. Our kingdom reset button is God’s grace and love. I see so many people struggle in life with their past which every day becomes their present and then their future UNLESS the cycle is broken! How do you break the cycle? HIT THE RESET BUTTON!

Failure and/or sin can only hold on to you as long as you will let them. You might be able to check all the boxes on the failure scale BUT that doesn’t make them eternal unless you let them. Not one person is without sin in this world, not even one. God’s grace is for all and there is no expiration date or a limit to the number of times that we can use it. His love for us is limitless just like His grace.

Paul gave us a perfect example of a winner’s mindset in Phil 3:13 – 14 NLT “I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, (14) I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.”

I see one word that is key to you moving on and getting back on track in your life. He said “forgetting” which is defined like this: “to cease or fail to remember; be unable to recall, to fail to think of; take no note of or to neglect willfully”. Honestly, the good, the bad, and the really uglies of yesterday need to be left right where they are – in yesterday. Those 3 things are part of the past and this new moment that you are in deserves your best which should be aimed at a higher place than yesterday. If I can’t fix or change it then all I have left to do is FORGET it!

So here are 4 things to do once you have hit the reset button:

1. Put God First In Your Life: When God is truly first then the past has no power to rule over you. He has redeemed the past and placed a new in the present. So put HIM first. Your relationship with Him is like no other.
Matthew 6:33 AMP “But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.”
Phil 3:10 AMP “[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope].”

2. Forget: Stop dwelling on what was and put yourself in the now 100%. Make this moment shine like no other. Phil 3:13 – 14 NLT “Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.”

3. Live In The Now: We spend so much time focusing on a future that we have not been promised. I wonder how many spent their last moment worrying about the future and yet never see it manifest. Worry and regret both destroy our bodies, minds, and relationships. Here’s a great question to ask yourself each morning. “What am I doing with what God has given to me?” Note that I didn’t say “in the future” but instead, the focus is on what I have in my hands right now. So live in the now! Phil 4:6 NKJ “Be anxious for nothing.”

4. Forgive Yourself: I might be opening myself up for an attack, but I don’t care. Jesus died on the cross for all sins, past, present, and future all at once. The forgiveness doesn’t flow when you ask for it; but instead, all sin was paid in full forevermore at the cross. Me going to God and repenting is me acknowledging that I have fallen short and yes, that I’m sorry and then thanking Him for the completed work of Christ on the cross. If He can forgive me then I can surely forgive myself.

Every day away from God makes us weaker, just the same as when we fill our bodies with junk day in and day out. The weaker we are, the easier of a target we become spiritually, physically and emotionally.

So “Hit the Reset Button” and allow yourself to start anew and make this very second, minute, hour and so on, shine like never before!

 

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!

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.